We are a hodgepodge group of mechanics, number crunchers, tech gurus, and marketers that have come together to make the Midlands a better place for cyclists.
Executive director of Cola Town Bike Collective (CTBC) since March 2021, Scott Nuelken served as president of the board of directors of CTBC from April 2015 until his transition into the nonprofit’s first paid leadership role. As leader of one of South Carolina’s only nonprofit bicycle shops, Nuelken works with the board, volunteers, donors and grantmakers to further CTBC’s mission to provide reliable transportation to an array of communities in the Midlands region.
An Eagle Scout with a long history of community service, Nuelken is an avid bicycle user and staunch advocate for cyclists’ rights and for equity for underserved communities. In 2012, Nuelken co-founded CTBC and collaboratively grew it from a grassroots initiative housed in a residential garage to a full-fledged charitable organization that has secured grant support from funders like BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and Central Carolina Community Foundation. With his colleagues at CTBC, he has developed products like the Sprocket app, which features curated Midlands cycling maps to help local cyclists connect with safer routes. In addition to managing CTBC’s retail bike shop located at the Elmwood Ave. overpass in downtown Columbia, South Carolina, he works with local human services charities like Transitions, Lutheran Services Carolinas, Providence Home and Catholic Charities of the Midlands to provide bikes at low cost or as a donation to those in need. He has volunteered with various organizations to support those impacted by natural disasters, and he has served on Columbia’s Bike Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC).
Vice President, Co-Chair
David has worked in the public sector working as a Senior Officer for the SC Retirement Investment Commission, which serves over 500,000 beneficiaries across the state since 2010. He has completed his MBA from the Darla Moore School of Business and was named in the State Newspaper’s Top 20 under 40 in 2019.
As a founding board member of the CTBC in 2015, David has worked towards expanding access to transportation and advocating for safer roads for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. David has served on Columbia’s Bike Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC), been involved in grassroots advocacy groups, and has written numerous grants to create virtual and physical cycling infrastructure around the Midlands. David also serves as the president of the Laurel Hill neighborhood association. He has a passion for learning, cooking, and being outdoors.
Aaron is an IT Product Owner for Colonial Life, where his goal is to maximize the value of what insurance products are implemented and release, and that the software is intuitive and usable. Aaron started his own web company years ago, and led it to acquisition. He was then hired by the acquiring company to lead the content team, and later promoted to lead the development team. In between IT careers, Aaron worked in Underwriting roles where he learned about the industry.
Aaron has board experience. He recently served on the Nickelodeon (Columbia Film Society), President of the Elmwood Park Neighborhood Association, and previously was VP of Carolina Cyclers. Currently Aaron is on the Advisory Council for Historic Columbia.
Aaron’s passions are for cycling and diversity & inclusion. At Colonial Life, Aaron serves on a small “Inclusion Council” that guides strategies to make employees feel more included and that they can be themselves at work. This improves workplace culture, and helps mobilize careers for people that have received fewer opportunities previously. Aaron also serves on Unum’s Social Justice Fund board for Columbia to find opportunities to fund programs that address root causes of social injustice.
Meg Southern Syms
Meg manages Marketing and Public Relations for a Columbia architecture, interiors & planning firm and has been on the Cola Town Bike Collective Board since summer 2019. She’s an active member of the Columbia community, serving also on the board of Columbia Opportunity Resource, as a member of Historic Columbia’s Palladium Society, and as the founder and chief organizer of local College of William & Mary alumni. Meg is a tireless champion for Columbia in her professional and extracurricular activities. She is a member of the Columbia Chamber’s Leadership Columbia Class of 2022.
Meg’s dad is a national champion and internationally-ranked Masters road cyclist and the inspiration for her interest in bikes. Meg’s own cycling is more hobbyist than her dad’s: she enjoys riding the bikes she purchased from CTBC around the North Main, Main Street, and Vista neighborhoods, primarily to and from local restaurants and Segra Park.
Constantine Pournaras has been an Assistant Public Defender in Columbia, SC for the Fifth Circuit Public Defender’s Office for 11 years, where he currently serves as the Director of Community Outreach and is a founding member of the CIty of Columbia Municipal Homeless Court. Along with direct representation of indigent persons facing criminal charges, Constantine’s focus is on reentry programming by building and strengthening relationships with community service providers to assist persons leaving the criminal justice system to access housing, mental health, employment, and recovery resources.
Jacob is a lifelong outdoorsman and advocate for human powered movement. He moved to Columbia three years ago and immediately found himself volunteering at the shop. From there he has become the Volunteer Coordinator and a Board Member. Previously he worked with the Lower Savannah River Alliance and Savannah Riverkeeper advocating for a healthy environment and outdoor recreation.
Jacob works as an Environmental Health Manager at the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, and holds Masters of Science in Environmental GIS. He can be found throughout the Midlands enjoying human powered adventure in his free time.