David Henry Lucas was born May 25, 1947 in Greensboro, N.C., and grew up in the small farming town of Bishopville, S.C. In the fall of 1965, Mr. Lucas attended the University of South Carolina on a football scholarship. He majored in International Studies and received a B.A. degree in January 1970. At U.S.C., Mr. Lucas earned 3 football letters and was voted honorable mention all A.C.C. He represented the Department of International Studies at the prestigious S.C.U.S.A. conference at West Point Military Academy in 1969.
After a short period in the United States Marine Corp, he was given a medical discharge and returned to Columbia, South Carolina to pursue a career in business. His business career began at Home Federal Savings and Loan as an appraiser and one year later became the youngest loan officer/branch manager in the state. In 1974 Mr. Lucas formed his own real estate brokerage firm, also located in Columbia, South Carolina and added a residential homebuilding company to his businesses in 1975.
In 1979 he moved to the Isle of Palms, S.C., becoming the contractor for the Isle of Palms Beach and Racquet Club; a 2500 unit planned urban development of 2200 acres with over 2.5 miles of beachfront near Charleston, South Carolina. As the primary “in house” contractor, Mr. Lucas developed and built over 100 million dollars worth of residential projects.
In 1984, Mr. Lucas formed a partnership that purchased the resort renamed Wild Dunes. Under Lucas’s direction, the Wild Dunes Resort became the fourteenth largest privately held business in South Carolina with sales of over $100 million annually with total sales within the resort reaching over 300 million dollars during his association with the resort. Wild Dunes remains a highly successful beachfront destination resort with “WORLD CLASS” golf and tennis facilities.
In 1986, Mr. Lucas sold his partnership interest in Wild Dunes Associates and began pursuing other development opportunities. These more recent projects (80’s and 90’s) include: land planning and successful rezoning of a 1500 acre development known as Belle Hall, two successful apartment projects located in Columbia, SC (500 total units), two third generation Travel Plazas (Flying J’s), a card-lock retail petroleum business, a 1000 acre timber farm, an international residential development company operating in Poland and Mexico, a breeding program of Egyptian Arabian horses for the international and national markets and a profitable investment in the cellular telephone lottery.
He successfully pursued a private property rights lawsuit to the United States Supreme Court, Lucas vs. South Carolina Coastal Council. He has written a book about that experience, entitled “Lucas vs. The Green Machine“. In 1991, he established and was Chairman of the National Council on Property Rights; a Washington, D.C. based organization formed to promote the protection of private property from unconstitutional takings. Since 1991 he has been a speaker and consultant for numerous individuals and organizations in the property rights arena. A short list of the groups that he has worked with are: The Heritage foundation, The Cato Institute, The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, The Sierra Club, The National Association of Home Builders, The Florida Legislature, The South Carolina Legislature, The Institute for Justice, The Southeastern Legal Foundation, The Federalist Society, The Jefferson Society, McGeorge Law School, The Foundation for Economic Freedom, The National Cattleman’s Association, The United States Claims Court and others too numerous to mention. In 2003 Mr. Lucas was certified by the SC Bar Association, The SC realtors, and the SC Homebuilders to teach continuing education classes for their members. Mr. Lucas has testified twice before the US Congress and once before the US Senate on national property rights issues.
In 1996 Mr. Lucas and Raymon Finch, Jr. founded Emerald Dunes Entertainment, a movie production company. Mr. Lucas became the president and also co-authored several screenplays. Virginia’s Run, a family film, starring Gabrielle Byrne and Joanne Whaley was made into a full-length motion picture in June of 2001. The film’s theatrical release was August 14, 2002 in over 560 theaters nationwide. Mr. Lucas also received co-producer credit for the film.
Mr. Lucas returned to the development business in 2000 by forming Crescent Construction of Charleston. The company’s projects included the construction and part ownership of the Charleston Travel Plaza, the renovation of a 250 room motel and a single-family housing development. With many strong real estate connections across the Southeastern United States, Mr. Lucas has assisted in facilitating real estate projects for consulting fees.
In 2005, Mr. Lucas became involved in the distribution of several lines of green products. He formed Pure Products, LLC with several investors. In 2006, Teal Green, LLC was formed to distribute additional lines of botanically based green products for the meat processing industry. In December of that same year the investment group purchased the rights to a bio-remediation product to treat grease traps called Grease Guarde and formed Grease Guarde, LLC to market its product and service. The business expanded from a South Carolina only company with 82 customers into a company that was eventually in 9 states with 500 clients. In 2008 Grease Guarde, LLC began to collect used cooking oil for reprocessing and resale. This used cooking oil business provided eighty per cent of the one million, three hundred fifty million dollars in annual revenue for Grease Guarde, LLC. Mr. Lucas retired from this business in 2012.
Having written a book chronicling the history of his US Supreme Court fight to protect private property rights in the 90’s, Mr. Lucas decided to embark on a new profession. In 2012, he began work on a memoir relating the story of his time as a student athlete at the University of South Carolina. During his senior year, the Gamecocks won their only football conference title in school history in 1969.
As a follow-up project, he has taken on the challenge of romanticizing the history of his forbearers, starting in the year 1754. The first novel is entitled “The Rice Kings, Book One, The Beginning” which chronicles the early life and training of Jonathan Lucas, a fourth great grandfather. “The Rice Kings, Book Two. Charleston,” brings the story to America where Jonathan invented the rice mill. This invention allowed the South Carolina Lowcountry to become incredibly wealthy and produced a golden era for the region. This is the first in a series of historical novels that is intended to relate the saga of the rise and fall of the Old South. Time permitting, the series will describe the aftermath of the War Between the States through the eyes of the people who experienced it. Finally, the story of the slow recovery of the South, beginning with the life of my grandfather, H. S. Lucas, born in 1888, and expanding the history of the Lucas Family throughout the 20th Century.
Mr. Lucas is married to the former Martha Black from Bamberg, South Carolina. They have three children: Carey, born 1975, Jonathan, born 1977, and Lydia, born 1983. They also have six grandchildren. David and his wife reside at their family farm, Whitehaven Plantation, near Bishopville South Carolina where they breed Egyptian Arabians horses.
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