David Wielicki, Executive Director
David Wielicki founded the South Carolina Waterfowl Association (SCWA) on December 16, 1986. He has served as the Executive Director of SCWA since the organization’s inception. David graduated from Auburn University in 1983 with an honors degree in Wildlife Management. During his undergraduate and graduate studies, he spent three years in Manitoba, Canada assisting waterfowl researchers on waterfowl and wetland ecology projects and conducting his own research on aspects of mallard nutrition during the summer molting period. David’s research was funded by the Delta Waterfowl Foundation. He received his Master of Science degree from the University of Manitoba. Prior to founding the South Carolina Waterfowl Association, David worked for Ted Turner managing more than 2,000 acres of coastal rice field impoundments. David has more than 25 years of experience as a waterfowl biologist and manager. David grew up in north Alabama hunting and fishing with his father, Tony Wielicki. David is an avid waterfowl hunter and fisherman who enjoys sharing the outdoors with his father, Tony, wife Joette and two children, Gracie and Tony. His duties at SCWA include Association management, strategic planning, raising funds and waterfowl management.
Val Elliott, Chief Operations Officer
Val Elliott began his career in the Summer Camp and Outdoor Education Center field in 1989 as a camp counselor at Kanakuk-Kanakomo Kamps, one of the largest Christian Sports camps in the world, located in Branson, Missouri. Val served there for two summers as a camp counselor and in the CIT Director role. Upon graduating from The Citadel in 1991, Val took on the role of Program Director for Clemson University’s RM Cooper 4-H Leadership Center where he hired, trained staff and ran the day to day program operations and during this time Val also was a part of a team who created the “Teaching KATE” Outdoor Education program. In 1995 Val moved into the Center Director role at RM Cooper where he oversaw all day to day operations including summer camp, outdoor education, and conference groups. In 2007, Val and his wife Elizabeth and five children (Emma, Lucas, Eliza, Ethan and Palmer) moved from RM Cooper to YMCA Camp Hanes as Val became the Executive Director of YMCA Camp Hanes. YMCA Camp Haves saw tremendous growth during his tenure at YMCA Camp Hanes which included new summer camp partners, attendance growth in all programs, doubling the annual operating budget, quadrupled the annual giving campaign and many site improvements including a new retreat center, airnasium, shotgun range, equestrian center and a 5700 square foot conference facility.
Val served on the American Camping Association Southeast section board and the SE Local Council of Leaders for over eight years and has been an Accreditation standards visitor for over 20 years and is currently a Standards Instructor. Val grew up locally in Summerton fishing and hunting with his father on Lake Marion. His duties include overseeing the day to day operations for SCWA.
Mac Bagnal, Director of Chapter Development
Mac became interested in SCWA in 1996 when he was asked to join his local SCWA committee. Six years later, in 2002, the committee elected Mac chairman of the Clarendon SCWA Chapter. Mac’s passion to help raise money for SCWA’s programs and Camp Woodie landed him a full-time position as SCWA’s Director of Chapter Development in June of 2004. Mac believes in SCWA’s mission to enhance, and perpetuate our waterfowl heritage. Mac is an avid outdoorsman. He who loves to hunt and fish. He enjoys spending time outdoors with his son Donald McQueen III (Trey), daughter Mary McKenzie, and his wife Lisa.
His duties at SCWA include assisting Chapter Chairperson and volunteers with raising funds, event planning and implementation, strategic planning and budget development. Mac invites each SCWA member to become active with their local SCWA Chapter Committee. To get involved with SCWA, call Mac: 803-938-3145.
Trey Gardner, Assistant Director of Chapter Development
Trey was hired by SCWA in the beginning of 2018 and serves alongside the Chapter Development Coordinator to develop and maintain SCWA chapters throughout the state. Trey will graduate from Clemson University in May of 2018 with a degree in Agricultural Education. Born and raised in Clarendon County, SC, Trey has always been an avid outdoorsman and developed an interest in agricultural education in his time as a part of the Manning High School Chapter of the FFA. His career at SCWA began 7 years ago as a committee member, which would later lead him to filling the roles of Camp Woodie counselor and SCWA chapter chairman. When he’s not working with SCWA, Gardner is farming or volunteering in the community.
Kirby Smith, Fundraising Coordinator
Kirby was hired in May 2018 as the Fundraising Coordinator. She first became aware of SCWA through her friends on SCWA committees who attended banquets. Kirby’s interest began to grow after attending many banquets, and she was extremely excited when offered the chance to be a part of the organization. Growing up in a rural area, Kirby was always hunting and fishing with her father, and her love for the outdoors continues to grow. She hopes to be an asset to the South Carolina Waterfowl Association and help them expand and spread their cause.
Pam Hickman, Membership Services Director
Pam was hired as the SCWA Membership Services Director in April 2018. She currently holds 2 Associate’s Degrees in Management & Marketing, along with a Certificate in Accounting. Pam is currently attending Coker College pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Pam currently lives in Turbeville, SC with her husband Jason, and 2 children, Josh and Hannah. She was raised to love all aspects of nature and wildlife and is excited to be part of an amazing organization that blends nature, wildlife, and education into an environment that creates better futures for the children of today’s society. Pam urges you to get involved in growing our organization by becoming a member. Please visit the “Get Involved” section of our website or contact your local chapter committee member.
Jennifer McNeely, Office Manager
Jennifer McNeely was hired by SCWA in November 2011. While Jennifer grew up as a city girl in Raleigh, NC, she has grown accustomed to the laid back atmosphere and outdoor lifestyle in Clarendon County, SC. Jennifer originally became involved with SCWA as a volunteer and committee member for the Clarendon Chapter in 2008 and fell in love with the organization and its cause.
Jonathan Patrick, Habitat Manager
Jonathan Patrick (aka JP) started working for the South Carolina Waterfowl Association in February of 2015. He grew up in Clarendon County and has a great love for farming and the outdoors. Prior to his current role, JP was a counselor at Camp Woodie. After his time as a counselor, JP earned an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science & Natural Resource Management from Central Carolina Technical College. JP married his wife, Allison, in December 2015. He has a great respect for South Carolina Waterfowl Association’s goal in maintaining and enhancing South Carolina’s natural habitats.
Maria Hackney, Communications Director
Maria joined the South Carolina Waterfowl Association (SCWA) in August of 2021. She recently graduated from the University of South Carolina (Columbia) in 2021 with a degree in Mass Communications holding certificates in social media and SEO management. She grew up in the heart of our state, Columbia, South Carolina and now resides in Manning, South Carolina. Maria enjoys the outdoors with a particular interest in wildlife conservation. She has competitively ridden horses on the hunter/jumper “AA” circuit since she was eight years old and travels the United States with her horse, Herr Chico “Chico.” She is excited about her opportunity here because “this job is rewarding not only in an educational aspect but because the organization is about giving back.”
Joe Gonzalez, Education Programs Director of Sales & Marketing
Joe joined the SCWA team in May of 2012 as a Wildlife Technician. Growing up in rural upstate New York, Joe quickly fell in love with the outdoors – leading to his decision to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Science from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science & Forestry. After graduating in 2011, Joe worked at a flyfishing ranch in New Mexico as a guide, but felt the calling to come back East, where he was hired by SCWA. It has been an extremely rewarding experience to work in the field of conservation, as well as teach the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts about the importance of the natural world.
TJ Morgan, Camp Woodie Director
TJ studied Camp and Outdoor Adventure Leadership at Liberty University. After college, he started as an outdoor educator at Camp Hanes for two seasons before being called to SCWA to serve as the Camp Leopold Interim Director. Growing up in the small town of Cornelius NC, TJ always attended YMCA Camp Hanes in King, NC, where he first fell in love with the camp atmosphere and discovered he wanted to serve in the camping industry full-time. Every summer after high school, he dedicated his summers to learning more to prepare him for one day being a Camp Director. He worked at Camp Hanes as a counselor, and then on the leadership team as the Shooting Sports Leader for two summers. In this role, he was in charge of teaching gun safety and 5-stand to the campers and staff. He worked a summer as a tower staff member at Camp Eagle Rock in Charlotte NC, where he worked to help campers climb to new heights and challenge themselves to overcome their fears. He branched out from his normal summers at camp and served as a High Ropes Guide at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, helping guests on zip lines and challenge courses, but always knew that camp was his home away from home. TJ started his journey with SCWA as a Camp Leopold Instructor in the Fall of 2019. In March 2020 he was promoted to the Assistant Camp Woodie Director and has since then been promoted as of fall of 2021 as the Camp Woodie Director.
Blake Huddleston, Assistant Habitat Manager
Blake started his career at SCWA as a habitat apprentice in the Gary Dietrich Wildlife Management Apprentice Program in 2019. He developed an interest in the outdoors growing up helping on his best friend’s family farm. Blake studied Agriculture Business at Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College after playing baseball at Francis Marion University for a year. Blake married his wife, Summer, in March 2021. Blake has always been a passionate outdoorsman and loves making a difference by improving our wildlife habitat to better it for future generations.
Abby Zabrodsky, Director of Camp Leopold
Abby Zabrodsky has joined our team as the new director of Camp Leopold, SCWA’s school-year natural resource education program. Abby first joined the SCWA team back in Fall 2020 as a Camp Leopold instructor and had a large part in the success of the Camp Leopold +PLUS in-school program adapted due to the restrictions on field trips as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Born and Raised in Brookfield, IL, she grew up visiting family in Seattle, Washington which led to exploring national parks, national forests, and long stretches of amazing wilderness. Abby recalls, “From a young age, I had a great affinity for the outdoors—I was always on the lookout for cool insects or interesting plants. I developed a deep love for all things outdoors and became dedicated to conserving nature all around me.” Abby is excited to start her conservation education career at Camp Leopold: “I am especially looking forward to meeting students and educators from across the state, further developing our curriculum, and learning more about the wonderful ecosystems South Carolina has to offer. Growing up, I had so many wonderful outdoor educators who helped foster my love and curiosity of the outdoors. I am so excited to give back to my community by fostering that same passion for the outdoors in students across the state of South Carolina!”