Veteran traveler joins Berkshire Hathaway Carolina Sun


An expanding real estate affiliate launched in Mount Pleasant recently brought on the daughter of a military officer and 40-year Lowcountry area resident.

Donna Gustafson signed on as an associate with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Carolina Sun Real Estate, which also has an operation in downtown Charleston.

"I have watched this city grow not just into a culinary destination, but as a world-class city to live, play and vacation in," she says. "As the daughter of a military officer, I had the opportunity to travel extensively and have been fortunate enough to live with people from many different countries, an experience that has given me a deep appreciation for all cultures."

Gustafson is passionate about the Lowcountry's culture and scenic environs, from historic downtown Charleston to the sea islands and beaches. When not selling real estate, the agent enjoys spending time with friends and family while boating, biking, traveling and eating well.

"Living in Charleston isn't just about the location, its about the lifestyle!" she says.

Carolina One agent granted CCIM designation


A retired military officer earned top commercial real estate recognition bestowed on fewer than 1 in 15 associates, as well as congratulations from his company.

Karl Zerbst, an associate with Carolina One Real Estate's New Homes division, took home the Certified Commercial Investment Member designation this spring. According to Carolina One, he joins a select group of fewer than 6 percent of commercial real estate agents worldwide who qualify as a CCIM.

The certification indicates that Zerbst has amassed the "critical knowledge, technical expertise and market savvy"  to handle the competitive commercial real estate market, Carolina One says. The Carolina One New Homes associate specializes in sales and service involving commercial property and land tracts.

A Charleston native, Zerbst graduated from The Citadel in 1982 with a degree in business administration. He would receive a master's of business administration nine years later. Zerbst attended the Army Command and General Staff College in 1998, retiring from the U.S. Army Reserve with the rank of lieutenant colonel after 22 years of continuous service, Carolina One notes.

Zerbst, before gaining Realtor status in 2011, spent 26 years in the Charleston commercial banking industry. He sat on executive lending committees of a few Lowcountry banks. Zerbst also reached the post of market president for both First Reliance Bank and Ameris Bank in Charleston and in Mount Pleasant.

In terms of community service, he served as council member at St. Matthews Lutheran Church and is a Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow. He is a lifetime member of the Association of Citadel Men, past chairman of the Salvation Army and past board member of the Mayor’s Council on Homelessness and Charleston Affordable Housing Committee.

Zerbst and wife Tami— Realtor in the Isle of Palms office of Carolina One— lived in Mount Pleasant and have four grown children. Reach Zerbst at 843-452-3838 and

Carolina One New Homes, based in Charleston, represents 26 new homes communities. Carolina One Real Estate Services founded the division in 1994.

Community association company names Morales as CFO


As new fiscal chief for Southern Community Services, Melissa Morales will spearhead financial services, upgrade processes and maximize strengths of the back-office team, the company says.

Morales was named chief financial officer of Columbia-based Southern Community Services last month.

“The strength of SCS is our team concept,” says Larry Ridlehoover, president. "With Melissa on board as CFO, we’re seeing even more cohesiveness between the departments under her purview. It’s clear that she is taking this already great 'back office' team to a new level, bringing even better operations and accounting service to our clients across the state," he says.

Columbia-based Southern Community Services counts itself as one of six Accredited Association Management Companies certified in South Carolina.

According to the company, Morales has "taken charge from an accounting and systems perspective, working with the operations group, customer service team, community managers and key clients' on-site staff." Her skills include forecasting, budgeting, financial analysis and auditing, the firm says.

“I look forward to working with the team to identify areas where we can streamline and synergize our accounting processes to better serve our clients and HOAs (homeowners associations),” Morales says. “Collaborating with both internal staff and board members to evaluate our systems for additional integration is high on my priority list," she says. "I am confident that our team will go into the next quarter stronger than ever.”

Morales plans to conduct surveys with internal staff and homeowner association board members to explore possible software upgrades, and she's attended association board, finance and annual meetings.

She served as the company's accounting manager 2008-12 and maintained positive relationships with many Southern Community Services' clients. More recently, she was vice president of operations at Elauwit Networks, LLC in West Columbia. Her expertise in project management, field operations, operational support, purchasing and maintaining inventory are key to her new post as chief financial officer at Southern Community Services.

"SCS is known for providing deliverables in a timely and accurate fashion to clients that require extensive, concierge-type service on the financial side," says Ken Tamsin, company chief executive. "Melissa's breadth of knowledge, attention to detail and years of experience enable us to exceed the expectations of all of our communities, from large-scale, master-planned developments to condo and townhome associations."

She's a graduate of the Leadership Columbia class of 2008, showing community investment and commitment to reinforce Southern Community Services team environment, it says.

“With proven success in client experience, business development and a commitment to cultivating talent, Morales’ appointment as CFO bolsters our growing leadership team,” Ridlehoover says. “Her professional career reflects consistent performance, leadership and trustworthy character, all of which are core values that SCS works to exude through all of our business practices.”

Formed 18 years ago, Southern Community Services specializes in homeowner association management across South Carolina and North Carolina. Go to

New Stantec engineer involved in residential, commercial projects


Mount Pleasant resident Emily Sotherlund will show her experience in large-scale development in her new post with a major community-related firm's local office.

She joined Stantec Charleston as a civil engineer in the company's community development practice. The company says she brings a background in "managing large-scale residential, education, government facilities and commercial site design projects." According to Stantec Charleston, Sotherlund is skilled at project management and coordination, site design, permitting, hydrologic and hydraulic studies, site and roadway grading and utility layouts.

Sotherlund, a University of Miami graduate, holds a registered engineer designation in South Carolina.

Stantec says it will "always design with community in mind." I's specialists are "designers, engineers, scientists, and project managers, who innovate together." Stantec, a publicly-traded company, says it masters projects "that advance the quality of life in communities across the globe."

Assistants sign on with Frampton Construction in Charleston


A regional construction company with sites in the Lowcountry and in Charlotte recently hired new employees to help oversee project set-ups and to assist in the home office.

Frampton Construction Company, LLC, added Brandon Denney as assistant pre-construction manager and Hailey S. Gilbert as administrative assistant. They both will work from the firm's Charleston office.

Denney, who previously worked with Balfour Beatty Construction, graduated from Southern Polytechnic State University with a degree in construction engineering. He lives in Mount Pleasant. A Summerville resident, Gilbert graduated recently from Coastal Carolina University with a bachelor's degree in history.

The building and design company calls itself a "regional full-service construction firm providing planning and design support, pre-construction, construction services, and sustainability services throughout the Carolinas,"

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