The Commission is composed of five Commissioners; three elected for staggered six-year terms, and two Ex-officio Commissioners, consisting of the Mayor and one City Council member. All Commissioners serve without remuneration. Elected Commissioners are Chair Phillip A. Kilgore, Vice-Chair James W. Bannister, and Commissioner Deb M. Sofield. Ex-officio members are Mayor Knox H. White and Council Member J. David Sudduth.
The Commission is the policy-making body and approves all major operating procedures, expenditures, capital improvements and rates and charges and makes recommendations to City Council for the issuance of bonds. It appoints the Chief Executive Officer who is responsible for the day -to-day management and oversight of Greenville Water’s operations. As a matter of policy, the Commission continually reviews recommendations of management relating to capital improvements, water usage trends and projections, along with revenue requirements to meet these needs.
Phillip Kilgore serves as Chair for the Greenville Water Commission. He has been an attorney with Ogletree Deakins Law Firm in Greenville since 1986 in the practice of labor and employment law. Mr. Kilgore litigates cases involving workplace disputes (claims of discrimination, wrongful discharge and tortious conduct), and other diverse areas such as products liability, shareholder disputes, intellectual property disputes, environmental cases, toxic tort cases and other commercial disputes. He also is a certified mediator and certified arbitrator. Mr. Kilgore has been recognized as a leading labor and employment lawyer in South Carolina by The Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers.
Mr. Kilgore has volunteered his time and efforts in affiliation and leadership of several civic organizations, such as the Rotary Club of Greenville, where he served on the Board for many years and as President in 2000 to 2001; the Greenville City Board of Zoning Appeals from 1997-2002; the Poinsett Club Board of Governors from 1997 to 2000 and from 2003-2006, serving as President in 2006; the Urban League of the Upstate (SC) Executive Board and serving as General Counsel from 1994 to 2000; the Greater Greenville Convention and Visitors Bureau Board; and the Blue Ridge Counsel, Boy Scouts of America, Executive Board from 1990 to present, where he has served as Vice President numerous years and will become President in 2013.
James W. Bannister was born and raised in Greenville City. He graduated from J.L. Mann High School, received his BA from the University of South Carolina in 1992 and received his J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1995. After graduating, he returned to Greenville where he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Henry M. Herlong, Jr. of the U.S. District Court.
In 1997, he began his private practice and is currently a partner at Bannister & Wyatt, LLC. Mr. Bannister was named the S.C. Young Lawyer of the Year in 2004. In 2007, he was certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is currently listed in the Best Lawyers in America, Superlawyers, The National Top 100 Trial Lawyers and as a Greenville Elite Attorney.
Mr. Bannister attended Leadership Greenville Class 25. In 2000, he was nominated for Greenville’s Best & Brightest Under 35. He served on the Civil Service Commission for Greenville between 1999 and 2004. He was also on the Greenville Chamber of Commerce Board of Regents.
He is married to Krista Ellis Bannister. They have 3 daughters –Adair, Rebekah, and Winna Beth. Mr. Bannister has been active in the community and with his church, Buncombe Street United Methodist Church, where he currently serves on the Board of Stewards.
Debra M. Sofield
Debra “Deb” M. Sofield is a former two-term member of Greenville City Council and is the first woman appointed and elected to the Greenville Water Commission. Ms. Sofield grew up in Greenville and has a BA in Public Speaking. She is a National Speaker, Author, Coach, Radio Talk Show Host and is President of her own Executive Speech Coaching company.
She is a visiting professor at Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government and on the faculty of the Woman’s Campaign School at Yale University, where she is Past President of the Board. She is a Trainer for the International Republican Institute, Women’s Democracy Network and The Center for Liberty in the Middle East.
Ms. Sofield is former chairman of the Greenville County Museum of Art Commission, and served on the boards of South Carolina Children’s Theatre, City of Greenville Small Business Committee and the Columbia College Board of Visitors. She is a Liberty Fellow and a graduate of Leadership America, Leadership South Carolina and Leadership Greenville. Ms. Sofield is a Recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, the ATHENA Award, Women of Achievement, Leading Women Award, and the Legacy of Leadership Award.
Knox H. White has been Mayor of the City of Greenville since 1995. A cornerstone of his leadership has been advancing neighborhood initiatives, neighborhood revitalization, and involving citizens in city government.
His most ambitious project has been reclaiming the birthplace of Greenville, the historic Reedy River Falls, and the creation of a world-class public garden along the river. Mayor White is a partner in the law firm of Haynsworth, Sinkler & Boyd, where he heads the Firm’s immigration and customs practices.
A native of Greenville, Mayor White graduated from Christ Church Episcopal School, Greenville Senior High School, Wake Forest University, and the University of South Carolina School of Law. Mayor White is married to Marsha P. White and they have two children. He is a member of Christ Church Episcopal, North Greenville Rotary, Board of Visitors of the University Center of Greenville, and serves on the Boards of The Peace Center for the Performing Arts and the Commission of Public Works.
A graduate of Clemson University with a BS degree in Financial Management (1990-Magna Cum Laude), and a Masters in Business Administration (1998). David has been employed with Greenville Health System since 2013 and currently serves as the Executive Director of Community and Governmental Affairs. He has earned the designation of Fellow with the Healthcare Financial Management Association (FHFMA).
David was elected to Greenville City Council in 2005 and serves as the Mayor Pro Tem and Chairman of the Finance Committee.
From 1982-1986, he served in the United States Navy earning numerous awards for professional achievement. David is a life-long resident of Greenville County and a graduate of Leadership Greenville and Leadership South Carolina.
David served on the Greenville County Library Board from 1997-2005 and served 3 consecutive terms as Chairman. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Greenville and Past President of the North Greenville Rotary Club and Leadership Greenville Alumni Board. He serves on the Board of Visitors for Clemson University, the Board of Directors for the Peace Center, University Center of Greenville, Ten at the Top, Upstate SC Alliance, St. Francis Federal Credit Union, Legislative Committee of the SC Hospital Association, Legislative Agenda Task Force of the SC Chamber of Commerce, Appalachian Council of Governments, Senior Action and the Diaconate of Augusta Road Baptist Church.
He is married to Kathy Davis Sudduth. They have 3 children – Emily, Haley and John.