Celebrate the Generations Campaign launch

You're invited to join us for drinks, hors d'oeuvres & live bluegrass at the launch of the Generations Campaign on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 in Greenville.

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Meet the Team: Board Treasurer Tom Kester

October 23rd, 2023

Get to know Upstate Forever's Board of Directors Treasurer Tom Kester through a few rapid-fire questions.

How long have you been a member of the Upstate Forever Board of Directors

I joined UF board in early 2003, so now over 20 years.  I have been either the Treasurer or the Chairman for almost all those years.  I have served as the Chairman of the Land Trust Committee from its inception to about 2020 and was on the first Strategic Planning Committee before the Crossroads campaign.

Tom Kester, left, pictured with former Upstate Forever land trust director Dana Leavitt and founder Brad Wyche

Why is Upstate Forever's work important to you?  

We lived in the Fort Lauderdale area in the 1970s and early 1980s. We saw how sprawl completely took over from Palm Beach to Miami. I don’t want to see the same thing happen between Charlotte and Atlanta.

How long have you called the Upstate home?

We moved here in 1988, so have been here over 35 years. I transferred to Greenville with my company, KPMG, LLP.

What do you love most about the Upstate?  

The greenery and proximity to the mountains.

What hobbies do you enjoy?  

I love skiing, hiking, and traveling.

Where’s your ‘happy place?'

My wife, Sandy, is my soul mate. My happy place is with her.

Tom and Sandy enjoying a scenic autumn vista in the Blue Ridge Mountains

More about Tom

Tom currently serves as a member of the board of InspireMD, Inc. (NASDAQ: NSPR) and was a board member of Orthofix International, N.V. from 2004 to 2010. He is the Treasurer and board member of the South Carolina Environmental Law Project. Tom is the Chief Financial Officer of Kester Search Group, LLC, an executive recruiting firm that specializes in the permanent placement of senior-level management positions as well as field-based sales reps into medical device, diagnostic, and dental companies throughout the United States. From 2004 until 2019, Tom was either the Chairman or Treasurer of the Conestee Nature Preserve while it acquired and built a 400 acre nature preserve in Greenville County that is the largest park in the City of Greenville. Tom wrote a brief history of Lake Conestee Nature Preserve which is available at lulu.com or Amazon.com.

Tom spent 28 years with KPMG, LLP in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Dublin, Ireland; and Greenville, South Carolina. Prior to his retirement in 2002, he was the managing partner of KPMG’s Greenville office. He is currently a CPA Emeritus in SC. 

Tom holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from Harvard University. He previously served as an officer on active duty in the US Navy.
In addition to his strong interest in conservation and environmental issues, Tom also enjoys skiing, woodworking, and traveling. Tom and his wife Sandy have two adult sons, Ross and Lee, and the family have called the Upstate home for over 35 years.

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