Chair and CEO
Paula Harper Bethea serves as Chair and CEO for J M Smith Corporation and has been a member of the J M Smith Corporation Board since 2016. From 2013 until 2020, she was Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of South State Bank and South State Corporation. She is President of Strategic Synergies LLC and Dillon Property Holdings, LLC. She served as Senior Advisor to President Harris Pastides at the University of South Carolina for several years, and from 2009 until 2016, she was the Executive Director of the South Carolina Education Lottery. In 2001, was chosen by Speaker David Wilkins to be one of nine South Carolinians tasked with establishing the Lottery. Prior to this position, she was with Bethea, Jordan & Griffin, PA and the McNair Law Firm for 30 years as Director of External Relations and Business Development.
Mrs. Bethea served on the Board of Directors of First Financial Holdings, Inc. and First Federal of Charleston from 1996 until 2013, serving as Chairman for several years. She is the former Chair of United Way of America’s Board of Governors, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the Centers of Economic Excellence and is a past President of the University of South Carolina Alumni Association. She is a recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, presented to her by Governor Carroll Campbell, and holds honorary doctorate degrees from the University of South Carolina and Presbyterian College.
CFO and Treasurer
Appointed the CFO and Treasurer of J M Smith in January of 2020, Kyle brings with him a celebrated history serving at Smith Drug Company. Joining the Drug Company over nine years ago as the Director of Finance, he quickly rose to Vice President of Finance. A Certified Public Accountant, Kyle has expertise in credit assessment and financial modeling as well as previous experience as a controller for Circor International, CFO at Ashburn Hill, and an auditor at a big four accounting firm.
Kyle holds degrees in marketing and accounting from Southeast Missouri State University and an MBA from the University of Georgia. He serves as the Palmetto Regional President for Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity and is active in the Leadership Spartanburg program.
He is an avid golfer and holds onto his twelve handicap. Kyle and his wife Leslie are also the proud “dog” parents to Max, Chloe and Elliott.
President, Smith Drug Company
Born and raised in Newport, AR, Wade graduated high school with honors and went on to join the Arkansas National Guard in 1984. After serving for six years as a U.S. Military Officer, Wade began a career in Distribution Management, working for companies like General Electric, Poulan Weedeater and True Temper Sports.
Fifteen years into his new venture, he came to Smith Drug Company as our Director of Operations in 2004. Rising through the organization to Vice President of Operations then to Senior Vice President of Operations and Customer Service, it was a natural conclusion that Wade would be named President in the fall of 2020. A member of the NADDI and the Arkansas Pharmacists Association, Wade also holds a B.S. Business Administration from Arkansas State University and is honored with the title of Distinguished Military Graduate.
Wade enjoys working with charitable organizations that help children and animals, as well as hunting, fishing and recreational sports.
Chief Compliance Officer
Ray transferred to Smith Drug Company in June of 2019 to accept the position of Chief Compliance Officer. His extensive experience in general management, strategy, and business development, in both customer-facing and customer-support roles, as well as transformational leadership in the automotive industry groomed him to be a perfect fit for this position.
He joined the QS/1 division of J M Smith in late 2017 as Vice President of Strategy and Customer Support. In 2018, he was named Senior Vice President, Customer Experience before taking on his next role as Vice President, General Manager.
Ray also spent several years running his own business-consulting firm that focused on start-up and other small company clients in a variety of industries, including drug research. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Ray earned a BBA degree from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor, MI, and an MBA from Harvard Business School in Boston, MA. He is an avid vintage car collector and is currently restoring a vintage passenger bus.
Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
A South Carolina native, Rob Barrett received his B.A. in History from Wofford College, then attended Wake Forest University School of Law for his J.D. Prior to joining J M Smith, Rob served as the managing shareholder at Holcombe Bomar, P.A., a position he accepted following his service as Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for Denny's, Inc., based in Spartanburg, S.C.
Rob brings to J M Smith Corporation a wealth of legal expertise, with a special focus on corporate, business and employment law. Rob currently serves on the Board of Directors of the United Way of the Piedmont and is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Terrier Club at Wofford College. He lives with his wife Angela in Duncan, S.C. In his free time, Rob enjoys cooking, playing golf and keeping up with his four children.
Vice President, Corporate Human Resources
Rhonda Lockhart serves as the Vice President of Corporate Human Resources. She joined J M Smith at the division level in 1993 and was promoted to the Corporate HR position in 1995. Her responsibilities include all companywide HR policies and procedures, all benefits programs, and payroll administration for a workforce of 600 employees across 15 states. The company’s award-winning Wellness Program is one example of innovative HR initiatives developed under Lockhart’s leadership.
Rhonda previously spent 13 years as an HR generalist for Phillips Petroleum. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC.
Lockhart was president of the SC Human Resources Association and remains involved at national, state, and local levels. She is a graduate of Leadership Spartanburg, an invitation-only program to develop business and community leaders. She has served as a board member for the United Way of the Piedmont, Spartanburg’s Partners in Active Living and a member of the Mary Black Hospital System’s Woman’s Advisory Group. An accomplished equestrian who studies dressage and is a three-time champion of the Western Carolina Hunter Pace series, she and her husband live on Rest-a-Bit Farm in Polk County, NC.