Andrea Albright

Howard Cohen










Velinda Fisher

Joan Weaver










• Andrea Albright, Howard Cohen, Velinda Fisher and Joan Weaver, all with Collins Group Realty, have each earned the 2020 Realtor Service Award.

Recognized by Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors, the award honors those members who throughout the past year have achieved high levels of continuing education, professional development, Association involvement and leadership, as well as serving our community by volunteering their time, talent, and financial support. Only a small percentage of members are eligible for this distinction. 

Their long history of community involvement and giving back has meant Weaver and Fisher have received the Service Award annually since 2004, Albright since 2008, and Cohen since 2011. Independently, they serve on various committees within HHAR as well as organizations within the community, including raising funds for local charities, volunteering with Meals on Wheels, food and school supply drives.

Collins Group Realty has a commitment to community involvement, hosting annual food drives for The Deep Well Project, toy drives that benefit Bluffton Self Help and the Boys and Girls Club of Bluffton, as well as the 200th Home Sale for Charity.

Lee Levesque

• Lee Levesque has been hired as the Town of Bluffton’s new director of emergency management. He will direct all aspects of the Town’s emergency management program and will also act as the Town’s risk manager.

Previously, the emergency manager role was performed by various members of the Bluffton Police Department’s command staff.

Levesque, formerly the community risk reduction officer for the Bluffton Township Fire District, has more than 30 years’ experience in the prevention and preparation fields.

Levesque worked for the Fire District for more than six years as a risk reduction manager and public education-outreach coordinator. He was also a firefighter for Lady’s Island-St. Helena Fire District and a code enforcement officer for the City of Beaufort.

Levesque served in the U.S. Army and earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia Southern University in Orange Beach, Ala.

• Synergy HomeCare of the Lowcountry has received the 2021 Best of Home Care – Provider of Choice Award from Home Care Pulse. The award is granted only to the top-ranking home care providers, based on client satisfaction scores gathered by Home Care Pulse, an independent satisfaction research firm for home care.

Best of Home Care – Provider of Choice award-winning providers have contracted with Home Care Pulse to gather feedback from their clients by conducting live phone interviews with their clients each month. Because Home Care Pulse is a third-party company, it is able to collect honest and unbiased feedback.

Synergy HomeCare of the Lowcountry was founded in August 2019 by Mark and Lisa Piegza and Bob and Melissa Risk with a mission to provide outstanding care to fellow residents of the Lowcountry while creating a collegial and rewarding work environment for our team.

Paul Newell

• Paul Newell has joined Verity Investment Partners (VIP), a Financial Times Top 300 Registered Investment Advisory Firm, as a senior portfolio manager.

Newell joins the investment team with more than a decade of experience in providing financial planning and investment advisory services for high-net-worth clients.

Newell received a juris doctor degree from the Charleston School of Law and his undergraduate degree from Presbyterian College. Newell has extensive experience in the financial services industry, most recently with Fifth Third Bank in Nashville, Tenn.

Additionally, he has held associate attorney positions at prominent law firms in Columbia and Greenville. Newell is relocating with his family from Tennessee.

Verity Investment Partners serves clients nationwide with a focus on Savannah, Bluffton, Beaufort and Charleston. For more information, visit or call 843-379-6661.

Justin Rowland

• Justin Rowland has joined Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort on Hilton Head Island as its new director of food and beverage.

An industry veteran, Rowland will oversee all elements of dining and catering at Palmetto Dunes, including Alexander’s Restaurant & Wine Bar, all three restaurants located at the resort’s trio of golf courses, the oceanfront Dunes House, which is open to resort guests and property owners, and the resort’s new food truck.

Rowland has nearly two decades experience in the food, beverage and hospitality industries, including nine years at Montage Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, where he served as director of restaurants and helped elevate the resort to a 5-star Forbes rating for the first time in its history.

He has also worked at Grand Wailea Resort in Wailea, Hawaii, and The St. Regis in Atlanta. He is married and has two teenaged children.

For more than two decades, Dunes Catering & Events has served Hilton Head Island weddings. In 2021, for the fourth consecutive year, Palmetto Dunes received the prestigious “Couples Choice Award” from, the global online leader in connecting engaged couples with wedding professionals.