Effingham County Commission Chairperson Verna Phillips will lead the annual Rincon Lions Club Christmas parade as grand marshal.
Phillips is married to Elwin Phillips and they have two sons and four grandchildren. She is a member and volunteer with Rincon United Methodist Church.
A native of Vero Beach, Fla., Phillips moved to Effingham in 1975 and lived in Springfield for 18 years before moving to Rincon in 1993 so her husband and sons could spend more time pursuing their love of golf.
She started work in 1975 as the assistant to the business manager at what was then Grumman Aerospace and is now Gulfstream. She transferred to procurement and became a buyer for the service center. When the company added a completion center to outfit its aircraft, Phillips was made part of that team.
She was promoted to supervisor of purchasing for the completion center and later promoted to manager for completion center purchasing. She was the first woman to hold the position of supervisor and manager of purchasing and completions operations manager. She retired from Gulfstream in December 2001.
Phillips decided to bring her business experience and knowledge to local government and ran for county commissioner in 2002. In 2006, she became the first woman county commission chair voted to that position.
Phillips believes the most critical issue facing the county is transportation and she has been instrumental in obtaining funding from the state Department of Transportation to help pave Old Augusta Road Phase I, from Highway 21 to Chimney Road. This project is scheduled to start by the end of the year. She is also a proponent of the Effingham Parkway, which is in the DOT work program to start in 2010.
She ran on a platform to support waste treatment infrastructure for the county and Effingham County now has a state-of-the-art waste treatment facility. She also serves as chair of the health department.