FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University’s Alumni Association presented its 2001 Distinguished Alumni Awards at a dinner on Nov. 6.
James A. Brown Jr. of Marion received the Outstanding Alumnus Award and H. Michelle Coward Pilger of Latta received the Benjamin Wall Ingram III Young Alumnus Award.
Brown received a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Francis Marion in 1977. In 1979, he founded SMS Management Services and SMS Tax Incentive Group – two management consultant firms that give advice to national corporations on federal and state tax incentives. As president and chief executive officer of these corporations and president of Home Health Management, a statewide provider of home health services for South Carolina, Brown employs hundreds of Florence residents.
Brown has served on the Florence City-County Regional Airport Commission, which he chaired for 10 years. He has been a member of the South Carolina Medicaid Waiver Task Force (1994-1996) and the Citizens Judicial Screening Committee for the Pee Dee Area (1995 to present). He has also served as chairman of the Government Affairs Committee of the South Carolina Home Care Association (1994-1995).
Brown has been a member of the FMU Board of Trustees since August 1999, and was chair of the BB&T/Amelia Wallace Faculty/Alumni House steering committee. He and his partner, Tim Norwood, contributed to the financial support for the creation of FMU’s first Faculty/Alumni House.
Brown is married to FMU alumna Candace Phillips Brown and has four daughters, Elizabeth, Ashley, Hannah and Hallie.
Pilger earned a bachelor of science degree in physics and mathematics from Francis Marion in 1993. She also earned a master of science degree in health physics from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1995. A member of the National Chapter of the Health Physics Society and the Atlanta Chapter of the Health Physics Society, she served as secretary for the Atlanta Chapter from 1999 to 2000.
Currently, Pilger is associate radiation safety officer for Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, where she implements and maintains occupational radiation safety regulatory requirements for a 587-bed research hospital that includes a cyclotron and radiochemistry laboratory. Prior to this position, she was a senior health physicist.
In 1999, she was a contractor for McDermott Technology Inc. in Lynchburg, Va., writing health and safety procedures for an environmental restoration project at the Alliance Research Center. She was also a dosimetry lab manager for HPNW Inc., and a supervisor for Babcock and Wilcox NESI Inc.
Pilger is a member of Atlanta First United Methodist Church and serves on the church’s administrative board. She is a “Hands On Atlanta” volunteer and served on its TeamWorks Steering Committee in 2000. A Grant Park Conservancy member and volunteer, she also serves on the Atlanta Preservation Center/Grant Park Neighborhood Walking Tour Historical Research Committee. She is a volunteer for the Atlanta Midtown Assistance Center and is a representative for the EmoryGives Community Campaign.
Pilger was instrumental in planning the first FMU Atlanta Area Alumni Dinner in May 2001. She is a lifetime member of the FMU Alumni Association. She and her husband, Brian, live in Atlanta.
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