Former U.S. Ambassador to Canada
Ambassador David H. Wilkins is Special Advisor to Global Public Affairs
and a Partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP where he chairs the
Public Policy and International Law practice group, which focuses primarily on
representing businesses on both sides of the US-Canadian border and offers
experience on a wide range of strategic bilateral issues.
Mr. Wilkins was nominated by President George W. Bush to become the
United States Ambassador to Canada. He began his service on June 29, 2005 and served until January 20, 2009.
During his tenure, Ambassador Wilkins helped to resolve some of the
highest profile issues between Canada and the United States, including the
decades-old softwood lumber trade dispute. He is known on both sides of the
border as an honest broker who worked for solutions on the toughest issues –
energy, national security, the environment, trade and travel – impacting
millions of citizens in both countries.
Most recently, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley tapped Ambassador
Wilkins to serve as chairman of her transition team as she worked to form her
Prior to his appointment as Ambassador to Canada, Mr. Wilkins practiced
law for 34 years in Greenville, South Carolina, and developed extensive
experience in civil litigation and appellate practice.
Mr. Wilkins was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives
in 1980 and served there for 25 years. He served six years as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and two years as Speaker Pro Tem before being elected Speaker, a post he held for 11 years. He was the first Republican elected speaker of any legislative body in the South since the 1880s and retired as one of the longest-serving speakers in the country. In 2001, he served as President of the National Speakers‘ Association.
Mr. Wilkins served as State Chairman of the Bush-Cheney ‘04 campaign and
as Co-Chair of the campaign in 2000. He was appointed by the President to the Board of Visitors of the United States Academy at West Point in 2002 and served for three years. He currently serves as Chairman of the Clemson University Board of Trustees, as well as on the boards of directors for AbitibiBowater, Porter Airlines, the Royal Bank of Canada and the Greenville Area Development Corporation.