Fort Mill Times

He builds docks. She builds bank accounts. Both helped build Lake Wylie.

Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce named Gwen Thompson, left, as 2017 Business Person of the Year and Perry Johnston, right, as Citizen of the Year.
Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce named Gwen Thompson, left, as 2017 Business Person of the Year and Perry Johnston, right, as Citizen of the Year. LAKE WYLIE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

He builds docks. She builds wealth. Both helped build Lake Wylie into what it has become, and both have been recognized for it.

At its annual gala earlier this month, Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce recognized Perry Johnston and Gwen Thompson with its highest honors. Johnston, owner of Dock Masters Marine Construction, won Citizen of the Year. Thompson, president and CEO of Clover Community Bank, brought home Business Person of the Year.

Johnston, a Clover High School graduate, had a career in engineering construction before starting Dock Masters Marine Construction in 1987. The company is responsible for a considerable number of dock and shoreline work done on Lake Wylie, the chamber said. But owning a successful business isn’t the only way Lake Wylie residents know Johnston.

“He is well known for his volunteer efforts and devotion to Lake Wylie,” said Ed Stewart, past chamber chairman, who presented the awards. “For many years, he served in a leadership position for the Bethel (Volunteer) Fire Department and also served as a York County councilman.”

Other activities include time in the South Carolina National Guard and civic groups, as well as work with Redeeming Grace Presbyterian Church. He has been involved in Riversweep and Lake Wylie Marine Commission work.

“He is always willing to lend a helping hand and is well respected among his business associates and friends,” Stewart said. “His love for the lake is well known.”

As Lake Wylie works toward a new sports complex, passed by a public vote in 2016 to create a special recreation tax district, Johnston continues his work to provide places for residents to play.

“He was an organizer of the Lake Wylie Athletic Association,” Stewart said. “He has been instrumental in establishing the Lake Wylie sports and recreation complex and is a Lake Wylie park activist.”

Thompson, too, is known for business and community work. She serves on boards of or has supported more than a half dozen area charitable groups. She is a member of the chamber’s board of directors. She also is one of two women in the state who is president of a bank.

“She has worked for Clover Community Bank since its inception 30 years ago and is one of the only remaining, original employees,” Stewart said. “She began her career as part of the bank operations and technology group.”

She became president and CEO in 2001. She led the bank through expansion and growth in the region, including locally.

“She was instrumental in establishing the Lake Wylie branch of the Clover Community bank, and under her leadership has given loans to local businesses based on individual merit, which has allowed these businesses to grow and prosper,” Stewart said.

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