Synergi Partners is made up of partners, executives, leaders, government relations specialists and associates who have made significant contributions to the tax credit and incentives industry. Each one brings a unique set of skills and expertise to our organization. Our team of 350 +, and growing, is comprised of some of the most dedicated and accomplished industry veterans, lawyers, CPA’s, sales all-stars, and six-sigma gurus and focused customer services allies. We are in communication daily with our prospects, clients and internal community to ensure everyone who partners with us are in compliance with the ever-changing legislation.
Chief Executive Officer
Jim Brown serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Synergi Partners. As one of the leading national voices on tax incentives, he maintains an active pulse on tax credits and incentives as well as federal and state practice and procedure issues.
Jim has over 40 years of experience in the tax credit industry. Prior to starting Synergi Partners with his partners, Jim owned and operated Shelly Management Services (SMS), the largest tax credit practice in the country at the time. SMS was acquired by ADP in 2003. After the acquisition, Jim served as Senior Vice President of Tax Credits and Director of Government Relations at ADP for over 14 years. In 2016, Jim retired from ADP. Realizing there was a need in the industry, Jim set out to start a tax credit and incentive processing company that prioritized customer relationships—Synergi Partners, Inc.
Jim is a former BB&T advisor. Currently, Jim sits on the board of the Florence Downtown Development Corporation (a non-profit organization established by the City of Florence to foster revitalization in Downtown Florence), Trinity Collegiate School, and the National Employment Opportunity Network (NEON).
Chief Operating Officer
Chad Witcher serves as the Chief Operating Office and is an industry veteran with more than 25 years of tax credit experience. To ensure Synergi drives sustainable growth, Chad is committed to fostering an exceptional client service experience. He is a results-oriented leader known for recruiting, developing, and engaging the most talented teams and helping Synergi remain the largest solely focused tax incentive firm in the country.
Prior to joining Synergi, Chad held executive/leadership positions with Walmart, SMS Management Services, and ADP.
Chad has his B.A. in Accounting and his expertise includes federal and state tax incentives, financial management, operational efficiencies, audits, acquisitions, and partnerships. Chad is a founding member of Grace Chapel Community Church, leading the finance committee and college ministry. He is very passionate about his faith, his family, and helping students navigate the transition from high school through their collegiate years.
Executive Vice President
Tim Norwood serves as the Executive Vice President. He has over 26 years of experience working with state and federal tax credits, regulatory compliance, and employee screening. Tim has worked with thousands of clients—from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies—providing education about tax credits and guidance through the eligibility and monetization process.
Prior to joining Synergi Partners, Tim worked alongside his long-time colleague Jim Brown at Shelly Management Services (SMS). He later served as Vice President of Sales at ADP Tax Credit Services. In addition to his role at Synergi Partners, Tim is also an entrepreneur and business owner so he understands challenges facing businesses today and can relate to his clients.
Tim graduated from Francis Marion University with a degree in political science and has served on the board of trustees for many years. He is an active member of the Florence community where has served as President of the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce, President of Florence County Progress, Chairman of the Pee Dee Area Boy Scouts and Chairman of the Florence Downtown Development Corporation (a non-profit organization established by the City of Florence to foster revitalization in Downtown Florence). Tim achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America and remains very active with the organization today.
Chief Product Officer
Kerstin Nemec serves as the Chief Product Officer (CPO) and is a veteran in the tax services and consulting industry. Kerstin oversees and develops strategies for customer service, implementation, and product development. Kerstin assists companies with developing credit and incentive strategies; negotiating discretionary incentives; brokering transferrable credits; and qualifying, calculating, and preparing hiring, disaster, zone based and investment tax credits.
Prior to Synergi, Kerstin served in leadership positions with ADP, KPMG and GE. She has helped clients build cost saving strategies utilizing credits and incentives and helped companies save well over $3 billion throughout her career. Kerstin’s experience makes her an expert in developing cost saving solutions for businesses.
Kerstin holds a B.A. in Management from The University of Texas at Austin. She has been featured in the WSJ, Financial Times, Bloomberg, and Area Development Magazine. Kerstin actively supports the Sebastian Society and numerous other charities associated with animal and children’s welfare. She also sits on the board of the Florence County Airport and First Reliance Bank.
Ashley Hogsette, J.D.
Chief Legal Officer
Ashley Hogsette serves as Chief Legal Officer for Synergi Partners. She utilizes her knowledge of law and various tax incentives to assist clients in interpreting and understanding the written intent of legislation to maximize benefits.
Prior to joining Synergi, Ashley worked as an attorney at a large defense firm where her practice focused primarily on corporate transactions, tax planning, tax controversy, and estate planning. During this time, she also served as outside counsel to Synergi Partners for several years.
Ashley is a graduate of Clemson University (B.S., magna cum laude) and earned her J.D. at Charleston School of Law ( magna cum laude). Ashley also attended New York University School of Law where she earned her LLM in Taxation.
Chief Technology Officer
Eric Duncan serves as the Chief Technology Officer for Synergi Partners. Eric has over 25 years of experience assisting clients of all sizes in achieving their business objectives through innovative technical solutions.
Specializing in the financial sector, Eric has designed and implemented systems that calculate federal tax credits for a variety of clients, from small regional businesses to the largest companies in the world. He has also built systems that apply automated financial controls to tax credit data to assist in the analysis and validation of these credits.
Catherine Cunningham, J.D.
Senior Vice President of Compliance
Catherine Cunningham serves as Senior Vice President of Compliance at Synergi Partners. Catherine works with the various operations and sales teams to ensures the legal compliance of corporate documents and materials. She assists with training Client Success Managers and Sales Representatives on tax legislation to ensure clients receive premiere customer service.
Prior to joining Synergi Partners, she practiced employment law and later served as assistant general counsel for a large healthcare system.
Catherine is a graduate of Clemson University and earned her law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law.
Chief Data Officer
Wilson Huntley serves as Chief Data Officer where he oversees the collection, management, and storage of data across the organization. He is responsible for developing and governing Synergi’s data and information strategy in order to drive business decisions and growth. Wilson works closely with various departments to collect, prepare, organize, protect, and analyze data while ensuring that the company meets industry best practices. He has a proven track record in data management, leadership, and information technology systems and tools.
Prior to joining Synergi Partners, Wilson worked at Fleet Mortgage in the tax and data management department and ran data operations teams at Shelley Management Services (SMS), ADP, and EmployReward Solutions.
Wilson holds a BS degree in Financial Management from Clemson University and has more than 30 years of experience focusing on tax operations and data management.
Chief Information Security Officer
Tom Scott serves as the Chief Information Security Officer. Tom is responsible for establishing and maintaining the enterprise vision, strategy, and programs to ensure information assets and technologies are adequately protected.
Tom has 30 plus years of experience in the technology sector and a wealth of knowledge and experience in protecting critical infrastructure and cyber assets. He has been a key leader in the cyber education, cyber workforce development, and cyber protection efforts in both South Carolina and across the nation. He holds certifications in information security, information auditing, security leadership, critical infrastructure protection, and project management – Tom is also recognized a FEMA Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP) Practitioner.
Providing leadership and guidance, Tom is a member of the FBI’s InfraGard program and serves as an advisory board member for the Dutch Fork High School Cyber program. He has actively participated as a member of the MS-ISAC’s Executive Committee as well as the USC School of Law Cybersecurity Task Force. Tom serves the academic community through board service to the Industry Advisory Board for the USC Integrated IT program, the ECPI Computer Security program and the Charleston Southern Computer Science program. He is the founding director of the South Carolina Cyber Foundation and Association. In his community, Tom is working actively as a volunteer and soccer referee for various youth groups.
President – CARES Act
Larry Feinstein serves as the President of Synergi’s CARES Act team. Larry uses his passion for people, development, and innovation to help Synergi Partners remain the leading tax incentive firm in the country. His passion for developing people and building a winning work culture have been the foundation for his success.
Prior to joining Synergi Partners, Larry served as the CEO of Hire Dynamics, an award-winning staffing company which he helped transfer to an industry Top 50 Staffing Company. Larry also previously served as the Senior Vice President of ADP’s Human Resource Outsourcing (HRO) business where he was responsible for a global business serving over 8,000 clients and 800,000 employees. He was instrumental in the rapid growth of ADP’s Tax Credit Services business.
Larry holds a B.A. in Finance from Muhlenberg College. He is the founder of, and actively involved with, The Spectrum Careers. Their program, via a close partnership with Autism Speaks, helps adults with autism find meaningful employment.
Executive Vice President of Operations – CARES Act
Jim serves as the Executive Vice President of Operations for the CARES Act team. Jim’s experience building high performance teams with an extreme focus on client success helps ensure continued growth for Synergi. He is known for creating loyalty, trust and followership by fostering an inclusive and empowered culture.
Prior to joining Synergi Partners, he served as Senior Sales Leader for Automatic Data Processing’s (ADP) Compliance Solutions business where he was responsible for the operations, sales strategy and growth of a national business serving all market sizes with a comprehensive solutions portfolio. Jim has proven success leading teams through transformation and solving demanding organizational challenges.
As a graduate of Clemson University with a B.S. in Marketing, Jim will always be a Tiger. He actively supports the college and is passionate about supporting local children’s charities as well as Make-A-Wish Georgia.
Chief Financial Officer
Kennedy Breeden serves as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) where he provides financial, accounting, and business guidance to help develop and execute Synergi’s strategies while ensuring Synergi meets key objectives and milestones. Kennedy directs the accounting and financial team as it strives to provide the organization with financial reporting and guidance.
Kennedy’s career spans over 40 years in finance and accounting, which included periods at Fortune 500 and international companies, such as Wang Laboratories, Lanier Worldwide and BARCO, Inc. Kennedy has also worked for several smaller and regional type companies, including a recent 23-year career as CFO for Diamond Hill Plywood Company, Inc. in Darlington, South Carolina.
Kennedy graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.S. in Finance and an M.B.A. in Financial Management. He served for 5years in the U.S. Air Force and was a Captain rank when he left the U.S. Air Force. Kennedy has served on the Trinity Collegiate Board of Directors for 10 ten years and has been Treasurer for 9 years. He also serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors at The Manor and was previously on the Board of Directors for House of Hope of the Pee Dee. Whenever there is available time, Kennedy enjoys playing golf and providing service at Central United Methodist Church.
President of Synergi Puerto Rico
Rodrigo Masses serves as President of the Synergi Partners’ Puerto Rico business where he oversees providing tax incentive solutions for Puerto Rican businesses to help them regain productivity, employees and focus on growth. Rodrigo’s planning and innovative thinking have been instrumental in helping Synergi Partners’ Puerto Rico office become a trusted partner of local businesses.
Prior to joining, Rodrigo founded and led A Masses Approach, a consulting firm specialized in business development to support local and international companies in identifying new opportunities to achieve business growth. He also served as former Chairman of the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association where he held one of the leading voices and was an advocate for the economic sector that represents more than 48% of Puerto Rico’s GDP.
Rodrigo has a B.A. in Accounting and a J.D. from InterAmerican University. He is a founding member of the Alliance for Growth (A4G) an organization created to promote the development of all economic sectors in Puerto Rico. A4G has been active in Washington promoting vital projects related to their economic recovery after the devastating hurricanes and earthquakes.
Senior Vice President of Sales
Jeff Walker serves as the Senior Vice President of Sales. As SVP of Sales, Jeff oversees the company’s direct and indirect sales efforts, strategic partnerships, and business development strategies. Jeff’s focus has been helping companies implement solutions that deliver a solid ROI, focused on the recruitment and retention of their employees. Working closely with product, government relations and operations is instrumental to the success of his clients in maximizing their tax incentive portfolio.
Jeff spent most of his career at ADP in a variety of roles, all focusing on the human capital management space. After many years in individual contributor sales roles, he rose to lead the ADP Global Enterprise Solutions team for 10 years. He uses his successful track record to build a high performing sales team at Synergi that is focused first on the needs of the customer.
Jeff graduated from Moravian College with a B.A. in business management. He is actively involved in his community and is a committed member of Boy Scouts of America, specifically Troop 994.