Gov.-elect Nikki Haley announces senior staff
Transition Executive Director Tim Pearson to serve as Chief of Staff
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor-elect Nikki Haley today announced senior staff
appointments for the Office of the Governor. Gubernatorial transition executive director
Tim Pearson will serve as Chief of Staff. Gov.-elect Haley will be sworn in on
Wednesday, January 12, 2011.
Three deputy chiefs of staff will serve in the governor’s office: Katherine Haltiwanger
(Operations), Ted Pitts (Policy and Cabinet Affairs) and Trey Walker (Legislative Affairs
Senior staff appointments include:
Tim Pearson, Chief of Staff. Pearson is Executive Director of Governor-elect Haley’s
transition team. Prior to joining the transition team, Pearson served as Campaign
Manager for Haley for Governor. Previously, he served as Senior Communications
Advisor to Governor Mark Sanford, Director of Rapid Response for former New York City
Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s Presidential Campaign, and as speechwriter for U.S. Senator Rick
Katherine Haltiwanger, Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations). Haltiwanger was a critical
member of the Republican Governors Association fundraising team during the historic
and highly successful 2010 election cycle. Before joining the RGA team, Haltiwanger
was a state finance director for Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign.
Haltiwanger also worked for Governor Mark Sanford and First Lady Jenny Sanford.
Ted Pitts, Deputy Chief of Staff (Policy and Cabinet Affairs). Pitts was elected to the
State House of Representatives from Lexington County in 2002. He was deployed with
his South Carolina Army National Guard Unit to Afghanistan as a Captain in 2010 and
did not seek re-election. While in Afghanistan, Pitts served as the Officer in Charge over
Camp Dubs located in Darulaman, Afghanistan and was awarded the Bronze Star for
service. Pitts has worked as a commercial real estate broker with Grubb & Ellis | Wilson
Kibler in Columbia since 1999.
Trey Walker, Deputy Chief of Staff (Legislative Affairs and Communications).
Walker has served as Attorney General Henry McMaster’s top staff member since 2003,
and was directly responsible for the successful passage of McMaster’s high profile
legislative initiatives on securities reform, Internet predators, domestic violence, white-
collar crime, drug trafficking and animal fighting. The former state GOP executive
director ran Senator John McCain’s successful state primary campaign and served on
the national campaign senior staff.
Swati Patel, Chief Legal Counsel. Patel was Chief Legal Counsel and Deputy Counsel
to Governor Mark Sanford for seven years. Before that she was Assistant Legal Counsel
to the State House Judiciary Committee, State House Ethics Committee and the Judicial
Screening Commission. She was also Staff Counsel to the South Carolina Legislative
Rob Godfrey, Press Secretary. Godfrey is spokesman for Gov.-elect Haley's transition
team and served as communications director for Haley for Governor. Prior to joining the
Haley campaign, Godfrey was campaign spokesman for Attorney General McMaster. He
has also worked at the State House Republican Caucus and the South Carolina
Taylor Hall, Cabinet Liaison. Hall is Personnel Director of Gov.-elect Haley’s transition
team. Prior to joining the transition team, Hall was Haley for Governor’s Deputy
Campaign Manager and Director of Field Operations for South Carolina Republican
Party Victory 2010. Hall also worked at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium,
where he dealt with Transatlantic and European security issues.
Rebecca Schimsa, Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff. A Charleston School of
Law graduate who was recently admitted to the South Carolina Bar, Schimsa is Gov.-
elect Haley’s transition scheduler and served as Director of Operations for Haley for
Jamie Shuster, Director of Budget and Policy. Shuster is Director of External Affairs
at the South Carolina Policy Council. Since joining the Policy Council staff in 2008,
Shuster has dealt extensively with budget and legislative issues and was a research
analyst before working in external affairs. She has a master’s degree in health policy
from Johns Hopkins University.
Katherine Veldran, Legislative Liaison. Veldran is Director of Operations for
ResortQuest Hilton Head Island. A University of South Carolina graduate, Veldran has a
strong background in hospitality and tourism management.