David Nelems

Don Ryan Center for Innovation
Title: CEO
Phone: 843 540-0405

David Nelems Headshot 2022

David Nelems is the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Don Ryan Center for Innovation (DRCI).

Nelems is responsible for helping grow early and mature-stage companies in Bluffton and the surrounding region through DRCI Programs such as STARTUP, GROWTH and leveraging partnerships with other regional organizations.

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, and a full-time resident of Beaufort County since 2012, Nelems is a serial entrepreneur who has been involved in four different successful startups throughout the last 30 years.  He was CEO of DRCI from 2013-to 2018 and returned to DRCI in early 2020 after another successful startup endeavor.

Nelems earned a degree in Aviation Sciences and Management from Georgia State University.

Nelems and his wife Janelle have two children.  Michael, who is an emergency room physician, and Madison, who is an entrepreneur in the equine industry.


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