Derek Epperson is a family man, a businessman and a fisherman. The Indiana native also is the Rotary Club of Daniel Island’s newest president at the helm of the philanthropic organization.
On July 1, Epperson assumed the leadership role that was held by Mary Jo Romeo for the past year. Epperson will hold the position until July 1, 2023.
He moved to Charleston in 2015 from Kentucky, where Epperson had moved after college to pursue a career in pharmaceuticals. He’s been involved in the pharmaceutical business for the past 23 years and for the last seven years, he’s been planting his roots deep in the soil of the Lowcountry.
After Epperson arrived in the area in June 2015, four months later in October he joined the club. “I just love that (Rotary) is so service-oriented,” Epperson said. “They are a very vibrant club that is out doing great things for the community.”
In the early beginnings when Epperson first came aboard, he held the board position of public image director. Since then, he has been part of a slew of community service projects and food drives, especially around the holidays when money, time and resources are tight.
Aside from being the incoming president, he has also served as Mr. Sunshine, a role he launched to bring a bit of laughter to the club’s weekly meetings.
“Derek Epperson is a phenomenal Rotarian and leader,” Romeo said. “He is smart, strategic, kind and thoughtful... Derek has always been willing to step up and serve the club and our community.”
When Epperson was nominated by the board for the job, making him the 21st president in the club’s history dating back to 2001, he was humbled. “One of my mottos in life is to always try to leave something a little better than the way you found it.”
Epperson is aware that the clock is ticking on his newly established presidency. Under the club’s bylaws, every president gets one year in office with no consecutive terms.
This year, Epperson said the club’s focus will be on a big project initiative. Every three to four years, the club will look to do a project that betters the community like a park, memorial or garden – something that can be given back to the community for all to use.
Epperson’s goal is to lay the foundation of the next project for his successor. He hopes and intends for this tradition to be carried onward like a legacy for years to come.
For the foreseeable future, Epperson said he will put his best foot forward in all aspects of life. “I’ve got a full-time job and a full-time family. I typically try to take an hour or two each day in the morning or evening when I get home to stay caught up on any email communications or phone calls.”
Epperson lives on Clements Ferry Road near the Point Hope subdivision. When he’s not meeting the demands of running a nonprofit, he’s watching movies with his wife, Shannon, son, Gus and daughter, Maisie. Or eating out as a family at Dog & Duck, their favorite dining spot.
Rotary club holds one membership meeting a week and one board meeting a month. Next week, the club is traveling to Charleston City Hall for a fellowship event.
The next club meeting will take place Aug. 3, featuring guest speaker Nick Wong, executive director of the Maritime Association of South Carolina.
Later next month on Aug. 17 the club will be paid a visit from Rotary District Governor Bob Gross.
Daniel Island’s rotary club is made up of 94 members. Their satellite club on the Cainhoy peninsula, launched in 2021, currently has 14 members.