Chairman of Porter Airlines, Inc. Donald Carty announced the appointment of Ambassador David H. Wilkins to its board of directors. “We are privileged to be the first company Ambassador Wilkins has chosen to associate with since finishing his term in office earlier this year,” said Carty. “We can’t think of anyone better to provide insight and guidance at the board level as Porter builds its presence in the US.”
Ambassador Wilkins is currently a partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP in Greensville, South Carolina and chairs the public policy and international law practice group, which focuses primarily on representing businesses on both sides of the US-Canadian border and offers experience on a wide range of strategic bilateral issues.
Mr. Wilkins was nominated by President George W. Bush to become the United States Ambassador to Canada and was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate. On June 29, 2005, he became the 21st United States Ambassador to Canada.
During his tenure, Ambassador Wilkins helped to resolve some of the most high-profile issues between Canada and the United States, including the decades-old softwood lumber dispute. He is known on both sides of the border as an honest broker who worked for solutions on the toughest issues – energy, national security, the environment, trade, and travel – impacting millions of citizens in both countries.
“I’m delighted to be continuing my close association with Canada in this role with Porter Airlines,” said Wilkins. “Porter represents the entrepreneurial spirit that so many Canadian and US businesses have been built on over the years. The company provides an important link between our two countries, facilitating commerce and tourism.”
Prior to his appointment as ambassador, Mr. Wilkins practiced law for 34 years in Greenville, South Carolina and has extensive experience in civil litigation and appellate practice.
Mr. Wilkins was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1980 and served there for 25 years. He quickly rose through the ranks in the House of Representatives, serving six years as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and two years as speaker pro tem before being elected speaker, a position he held for 11 years. He was the first Republican-elected speaker of any legislative body in the south since the 1880s and retired as one of the longest-serving speakers in the country. In 2001, he served as president of the National Speakers Association.
He was appointed by the President to the board of visitors to the United States Academy at West Point in 2002 and served for three years. He currently serves as a trustee on the Clemson University Board.
A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Ambassador Wilkins earned his undergraduate degree from Clemson University and his law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law. He also served in the US Army and US Army Reserves.