Isle of Palms Mayoral Candidates Ryan Buckhannon and Dick Cronin provided the following biographies at the request of The Island Eye News in order for readers to get to know each candidate a little better. The Isle of Palms Municipal Election will be on Tuesday, November 5.
Few get the opportunity to experience what we as Islanders have – a little piece of heaven.
Growing up, my family would make the annual summer drive from our small town in Michigan to visit family here on the Isle of Palms. The feeling of small town and community is what eventually brought my wife Sonya and me to call this place home.
In 1999 our triplet boys, Ashton, Beck, and Collin were born. They are now freshmen at Wando high school but as a new father and an island business owner I wanted to teach them a value that was passed onto me, “leave things better than what you found it.” That is when I first decided to run for Council, to make our Recreation Department better. Elected to Council in 1999 the work began and as Chair of the Recreation Committee we were able to develop a new building, new playground, new soccer field and new programs.
In 2011, I was re-elected to my fourth term on Council by capturing the highest percentage of the votes cast. The idea to “leave things better than what you found it” is what I believe allowed me to continue to serve the residents. As the only member on Council, and the only candidate currently running for Mayor, to vote against tearing down the dunes in a residential neighborhood to put in commercial parking lots for day-trippers did not make sense. This project would have had a negative impact on quality of life and created an annual operational deficit, putting the burden of funding on our fulltime residents and taxpayers. The idea ultimately failed due to the outcry of the residents.
My experience as a small business owner has served well on Council, by applying the same fiscally responsible policies that I use in the private sector in the City’s budget process. I have been an advocate for setting aside reserves in advance for large purchases instead of financing, saving the city money annually in interest. Finally, the city agrees. This year’s budget is the first to utilize this purchasing policy, a concept that I have been trying to introduce for years.
Common sense solutions and leadership are needed to solve the problems that the City faces every day. Parking is a growing problem on our Island. My idea of creating new signage throughout the City to direct visitors to the commercial district and out of the neighborhood is a start. Council recently voted unanimously to move forward on one of my parking solutions that would ultimately eliminate parking along our most congested residential roads like Carolina, Charleston, Cameron, Hartnett and a number of our avenues.
Residents deserve a representative with common sense solutions to problems. One who is mindful of the City’s budget, spending and above all has a record of enhancing the quality life on the island for all residents. I have shown that I am that voice of reason through my actions and voting record. I ask for your support this November.
I have been asked if I have a philosophy for being Mayor. Simply put, I learn from yesterday, live for today, and work to shape tomorrow. To shape tomorrow, it takes planning, attention to detail, and a respect for those with whom you interact. The City is blessed with citizens who truly care about the island. The spirit of family and community is alive and well. The island will evolve with technology and social changes, but those of us who guide the City work to be sure it does not change our spirit of family and community.
I am a graduate of Tufts University with a degree in Electrical Engineering. I subsequently attended Harvard Business School’s Program for Management Development. My professional career was spent in the electric power industry, as I worked first for Westinghouse Electric and then as President of Combustion Engineering’s Power Plant Company. I started traveling the world over 35 years ago and have operated manufacturing companies in twenty-six countries and designed and built power plants on every continent. I now hold a lifetime membership in the Institute of Electrical Engineers and previously served on the Industry Advisory Board of the Association of Mechanical Engineers.
My service to the City started in 2000 when I was appointed to the Planning Commission. I served as chairman of the Planning Commission until 2006 when I was elected to serve on City Council. In February 2009,I was first elected as Mayor of Isle of Palms. I was re-elected to serve the term starting in 2010. In addition to serving as Mayor, I also chair the Ways and Means Committee, and serve on the Public Safety Committee. This past summer I was elected to serve as the President of the Association of South Carolina Mayors. In addition I now also serve on the Board of the Municipal Association of South Carolina.
Since my retirement, I have enjoyed my long-standing love of tennis and have played on a number of lowcountry teams which have gone on to compete at State wide tournaments; we have yet to win at States but we keep trying.
I reside at 8 Marsh Point Lane with my wife Marcy. Marcy spends time volunteering at Respite Care for those with Alzheimer’s. We have three daughters. Kerry and Becky live in Atlanta, and Kim is in Raleigh. Our three grandchildren, Jack, Allyson, and Kaitlyn, are frequent visitors to the island. My grandchildren inspire me to be sure that everything we do prepares this island for future generations.