Joe Manchin
U.S. Senator (D-W.Va.)

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) was sworn into the United States Senate on November 15, 2010 to fill the seat left vacant by the late Senator Robert C. Byrd. For Senator Manchin, serving as West Virginia’s Senator is truly an honor and a privilege. From his days as a state legislator to his six years as Governor to his current role, Senator Manchin has always been committed to his philosophy of “retail government”-- in other words, connecting with all of his constituents and making service to them his top priority.

As a Senator, Joe Manchin is committed to bringing this same spirit of bipartisanship to Washington. As he has done throughout his entire life, he remains committed to working with Republicans and Democrats to find commonsense solutions to the problems our coun­try faces and is working hard to usher in a new bipartisan spirit in the Senate and Congress.

Senator Manchin is strongly committed to developing a balanced national energy plan that utilizes all of our resources and recognizes that fossil fuels will be a vital part of our energy mix for decades to come. He believes that a balanced, commonsense approach that considers the needs of our environment and the demands of our economy can and must be developed if we are to achieve energy independence within this generation.

Senator Manchin currently serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the Senate Committee on Appropriations, and the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs - four critical committees that tackle the important work of addressing our nation’s energy needs, standing up for our veterans, and overseeing discretionary spending and intelligence activities.

H. Wood “Woody” Thrasher
Cabinet Secretary
West Virginia Department of Commerce

H. Wood "Woody" Thrasher was appointed the West Virginia Secretary of Commerce in December 2016 by Governor Jim Justice. In that role he oversees ten agencies, including the Development Office, Divisions of Energy, Forestry, Labor, Natural Resources and Tourism, the Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, WorkForce West Virginia, the Office of Economic Opportunity and Geological and Economic Survey. As Secretary of Commerce, Thrasher’s main goal is creating more jobs in West Virginia by growing existing businesses and attracting new businesses to the state.

Thrasher is the previous president and chief executive officer of The Thrasher Group, Inc., a leading Mid-Atlantic engineering and architectural firm, with the headquarters based in Bridgeport, West Virginia. In 1983, Mr. Thrasher with his Father, Henry, started Thrasher Engineering in Harrison County with one employee. The company has grown to employ over 400 professionals in six different states. In addition to his engineering pursuits, Thrasher also held interests in commercial and residential developments in North Central West Virginia through High Tech Development, LLC, the developing company of the White Oaks Business Park.

Mr. Thrasher remains very active with his alma mater. In 2012, he was elected to the West Virginia University Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, and currently serves as its chairman. He is a distinguished alumnus of the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources and has been active on various committees within the College. He has served as past president of the West Virginia American Council of Engineering Companies and the West Virginia Society of Professional Engineers. In 2000, Thrasher was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the national professional services firm of Ernst and Young. He has also served as an officer on the executive and financial committee for West Virginia University Hospital. He is also very involved in the community, being a part of Chambers and local organizations throughout the state. He is past president of the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce, and on the board of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

Dennis DiBello
Chief Inspector
American Property Consultants, Inc.

Mr. Dennis DiBello is the founder and Chief Inspector of American Property Consultants, A Nationwide Inspection & Consulting Company based in St. Leonard, Maryland. APC started performing UPCS inspections under the initial HUD REAC pilot program in July 1998 and has been performing inspections and training since. In these last 20 years Dennis has certified multiple times as HUD REAC inspector: initially, under the pilot program and again as updates have occurred. APC has performed UPCS inspections from Maine to Puerto Rico to California and Mr. DiBello has conducted over 175 UPCS training sessions for over 5,000 housing personnel. Dennis DiBello is fluent on the past, present, and future of REAC and can provide his insight on the recent changes to REAC.

Ellen Allen
Executive Director
Covenant House

Appointed by Governor Manchin, she has served on the WV Human Rights Commission and the WV Women’s Commission.

Before joining Covenant House, Ellen served as Director of the YWCA Resolve Family Abuse Program in Charleston and the Executive Director of the Family Refuge Center in Lewisburg. Her career in advocacy spans over 30 years where she advanced equal opportunities for girls to participate in sports, equal access in schools for visually impaired and blind students, supported legislation to end violence against women and girls, raised money for research for multiple sclerosis, advanced LGBT equality, and reproductive freedom and health. Ellen is a staunch housing advocate whose organization advances rights for the homeless, working poor and people living with HIV/AIDS.

A graduate of Concord College with a MBA from Averett University, Ellen enjoys travel, hiking and cycling.

Matt Boggs
PR Executive Director
Recovery Point WV

Matt Boggs, Executive Director of Recovery Point WV (formerly known as The Healing Place of Huntington), manages four separate long-term, residential substance use recovery facilities across West Virginia as well as being a Peer Recovery Support Specialist (PR) certified through the state of West Virginia. Mr. Boggs has served in various roles at Recovery Point, including as Project Coordinator of a statewide peer recovery training class and as the organization’s Director of Development. In addition, he serves on numerous committees throughout the state aimed at promoting prevention, treatment, and recovery including serving as chair of the West Virginia Certification Board of Substance Abuse Professionals, acting as a member of Congressman Evan Jenkins’ (R-WV) substance abuse advisory council, and advisory member for the Cabell-Huntington Harm Reduction program.

Mr. Boggs is a person in long-term recovery from substance use disorders and an alumni of Recovery Point in Huntington. A graduate of Marshall University, Mr. Boggs plans to begin a Master’s Degree program in healthcare administration in the near future. In his free time, Mr. Boggs volunteers with a local animal rescue, One by One Animal Advocates in Huntington, is a member of the Huntington Rotary Club, and lives with his wife, Megan in Huntington.

Fritz Boettner
Downstream Strategies

Fritz Boettner is a Principal at Downstream Strategies and has 15 years of professional experience in a wide array of consulting and project management activities. Mr. Boettner has led the development of the Land Program at Downstream Strategies, having pivotal roles in all of the economic development and planning projects at Downstream Strategies. Mr. Boettner offers an in-depth and rural understanding of priorities, a history of contributing to the development of local economies, the planning and technical expertise necessary to assess the feasibility of concepts, and the experience necessary to develop forward-thinking yet practical plans. Mr. Boettner has focused on planning and implementation of economic development projects in the region for the past 10 years. Mr. Boettner has worked with many communities across Appalachia focusing on asset-based development and developing plans that are supported by the community.

Forest J. "Jack" Bowman
Executive Director
Imagine West Virginia

Forest J. "Jack" Bowman is the Jackson Kelly Professor of Law Emeritus at West Virginia University where he was named "Professor of the Year" by seven graduating classes during his twenty-three years on the faculty, a record that remains unmatched to this day. in 1988 he was named "Professor of the Year" for all of higher education in West Virginia by the Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia.

Jack Bowman now serves as Executive Director of Imagine West Virginia, an independent policy research organization designed to advocate sound, data-based policy from a non-partisan, apolitical perspective. Imagine West Virginia is now engaged in an effort to attract 2nd home owners to the state and has conducted research into this topic with finds from several states and local communities.

Jennifer Brennan
Structural Historian
West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office

Ms. Brennan serves as the Tax Credit Coordinator and as a Development Grant monitor with the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office. In these roles, she works with property owners who are interested in the rehabilitation of historic properties, both for investment purposes, as well as on their private residences. In 2015, Jennifer completed the National Development Council Historic Real Estate Training program, which focuses on the development process as it relates to structuring deals for the development of historic properties. Additionally, she works as the Certified Local Government Coordinator, working with city and county governments on their historic preservation ordinances.

In 2005, she received her Master’s degree in History with concentrations in Historic Preservation and Museum Studies from the University of North Carolina – Greensboro after completing undergraduate degrees in History and Historic Preservation at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.

Joshua C. Brown, C3P
Senior Manager – Asset Management
West Virginia Housing Development Fund

Josh Brown currently serves as the Senior Manager - Asset Management for the West Virginia Housing Development Fund in Charleston and also continues to serve as the Fair Housing Compliance Officer.

Prior to serving in this position Mr. Brown served as an investigator for the West Virginia Human Rights Commission where he investigated alleged violations of the West Virginia Human Rights Act and the West Virginia Fair Housing Act. Prior to that, Mr. Brown worked in the private sector where he served in multiple roles over several years including fraud investigator and as a supervisor of a loss prevention department dealing primarily with the investigation of card not present fraud transactions.

Mr. Brown has a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice from West Virginia State University and a Masters Degree in Security Management from Bellevue University in Nebraska. Mr. Brown also completed the fair housing training curriculum offered through the Patricia Roberts Harris National Fair Housing Training Academy in Washington, DC.

Cathy Colby
Senior Manager-HOME Program
West Virginia Housing Development Fund

Cathy has worked with nonprofits since the early 1990s, has been involved with affordable housing since 1998. In 2007, Cathy began working with the Fund in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Department, and in 2014 was named the Senior Manager of the HOME Program.

Cathy was born in Chicago, raised in Rockville, MD, and has called Charleston, WV, home for thirty-six years. She received her undergraduate and Master’s degrees from the University of Charleston.

Walter Crouch
President/ CEO
Appalachia Service Project

Dr. Walter Crouch is the current President/ CEO of Appalachia Service Project (ASP). Before joining ASP in 2011 he was a faculty member at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, TN and served as the Vice President of Church Relations. Walter’s professional experience blends a quarter-century of ministry with hands on skills learned as a journeyman electrician as well as a certified general contractor, mortgage broker and real estate agent. During the course of his educational pursuit and academic career, he served as either full-time or interim pastor at churches in Florida, Missouri, Kansas, Texas and Tennessee. He holds a BA from Palm Beach Atlantic University, the MDiv from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the PhD from Baylor University.

Jenny DeSilva
Blueprint Housing Solutions

Jenny has over 16 years of experience in affordable housing and is a recognized industry compliance expert with extensive training knowledge in both HUD's Multifamily Housing and IRS LIHTC programs. Jenny has proven experience developing customized compliance products for a variety of entities that choose to outsource some or all of their leasing and TRACS compliance duties and policy development. She provides regular quality assurance and technical expertise to vendors offering TRACS compliance software and is an active member of multiple HUD Working Groups. Jenny is a Certified Occupancy Specialist, Tax Credit Specialist and Certified Housing Manager.

Seth DiStefano
Campaign Coordinator
WV Center on Budget and Policy

Seth DiStefano is a native of Randolph Co. WV and graduate of West Virginia University. He has management experience in both private and non-profit sectors and has worked on multiple issue campaigns important to low and middle income West Virginians.

Susan DuPlessis
Program Director
South Carolina Arts Commission

Susan DuPlessis has spent most of her life in South Carolina. She has a deep sense of connection to the people, history and geography of the state and to the variety of ways its citizens express their sense of connection. As Program Director for the South Carolina Arts Commission, she engages with people who call themselves ‘artists’ and those who don’t; her work also includes partnering with community organizations, educators, grassroots community leaders and culture bearers across the state. She continues to learn about the places and people that make living in South Carolina unexpected and rewarding. Working within the realm of community engagement and development, she is particularly proud to co-direct the coastal Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor partnership program for the state arts agency as well as to lead its creative placemaking initiative in South Carolina's rural, six-county Promise Zone called The Art of Community: Rural S.C.

Laura Dupuy
Project Development Advisor
Virginia Community Development Corporation

Laura N. Dupuy is a member of the staff of the Virginia Community Development Corporation (VCDC) and provides technical assistance and consultation in real estate development financing to VCDC clients and partners. VCDC builds equity pools that are invested in affordable housing, historic preservation, and community development projects throughout Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. She specializes in working with single-project, non-profits sponsors engaged in development projects that are eligible to receive tax credits from many sources including the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Historic Preservation Tax Credits, and New Market Tax Credits.

Dupuy is the former executive director of the Lynchburg Neighborhood Development Foundation (LNDF). Ms. Dupuy is also an attorney, previously serving with the Virginia Legal Aid Society in Farmville and Lynchburg. She currently serves on several local and statewide boards including WordWorks-Lynchburg, Inc. and the Lynchburg Area Food Council. Ms. Dupuy is a graduate of New York University and George Mason University Law School and is a member of the Virginia State Bar.

Susan Economou
Legal Assistant
City of Charleston

Paul Ellis
City Attorney of Charleston
City of Charleston

Hoy Ferguson
Commercial Loan Officer
Davis Trust Company

Hoy Ferguson is the commercial lender for Davis Trust Company located in Elkins, WV. He specializes in the acquisition and construction of commercial real estate lending, commercial equipment loans and commercial lines of credit. He has also collaborated with the USDA, the SBA, the WVEDA and Woodlands Community Lenders to assist his clients with their financing needs. Hoy received his B.S. from West Virginia University and his Masters from Loyola College. As a postgraduate, he has completed programs at the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University and Commercial Lending School at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Hoy is active in his community serving as President of the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, a board member of the Randolph County Development Authority, a member of the Elkins Rotary Club and is graduate of Leadership West Virginia. Hoy and his wife Teresa, live in Elkins together with their daughter Madalynn.

Nathan Fetty
Managing Attorney
WVU Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic

Nathan Fetty is the managing attorney at the Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic at the West Virginia University College of Law. A native of Spencer, West Virginia, he is a graduate of the WVU College of Law and West Virginia Wesleyan College. After law school, he clerked for Hon. Thomas A. Bedell in West Virginia's Fifteenth Judicial Circuit. He later was a Skadden Fellow. Fetty's background includes work in environmental and land use law, coal mine health and safety, and consumer protection. He lives in Buckhannon, West Virginia.

Katherine Garvey
WVU Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic

Katherine “Kat” Garvey directs the Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic at the West Virginia University College of Law. Garvey began her career at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region VII in the National Agricultural Compliance Assistance Center and with the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics. She developed and audited environmental management systems for military and large agricultural operations. Garvey transitioned from federal to local government in 2006, when she worked for the City of Lee’s Summit, Missouri as the Environmental Coordinator. She helped the City comply with permitting requirements for its airport and landfill. She continued her focus on local protection of natural resources as an Assistant Professor of Law and Staff Attorney at the Land Use Clinic at Vermont Law School. In Vermont, Garvey worked with local governments, land trusts, and other non-profits to address legal questions related to land conservation in the Northeast. Garvey received her JD from the University of Missouri in Kansas City in 2004, and LLM from Vermont Law in 2010.

Kathy Gentry
Executive Director
SAFE Housing and Economic Development

Kate Greene
Development Programs Manager
Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center

Kate Greene was born and raised in Fairmont. She headed west for college in 1995 and just kept going until she found her home in Montana. After nearly 17 years in Montana’s tourism and hospitality industry, Kate returned home to the Mountain State with her husband Jamie and their two sons, Kerrigan and Cormac.

Kate is a Redevelopment Specialist with the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at West Virginia University and manages the Downtown Appalachia initiative, a program designed to help West Virginia communities realize place-based redevelopment opportunities. She facilitates community interaction and outreach, capacity and relationship building, and she engages with public and private sectors to coordinate data-driven development in rural communities.

Mary Lou Haley
Main Street Hinton

Retired, Community Volunteer, President Main Street Hinton Extended Care

Summers Co Chamber of Commerce, Hinton Area Foundation, New River Gateway Convention & Visitors Bureau, ARH Hospital Advisory Council

Jonathan Hamilton, NHA
Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community

After several decades as an adult protective services social worker I moved into the world of long term care. I've held the resident services, marketing, admissions and social work positions in several continuing care retirement community. For the last seven years I've served as the administrator for both for-profit and non-profit nursing homes.

Russell “Skip” Heath
Board Member
Monroe County Council on Aging

Skip retired to Greenville, WV in 2013 after 36 years with the military (24 years active duty (Colonel – USAF) and 12 years defense contractor). Skip and his wife Sue are active in the Greenville community, supporting the Monroe County Council on Aging (MCCOA) and the Monroe Farm Market (MFM). Skip currently serves on the MCCOA Board and provides program management support for the “Greenville Senior Living and Community Center” project which MCCOA sponsors. He is fully behind the project, “We’re deeply passionate about expanding MCCOA’s mission to provide housing for seniors and disabled in Monroe County.”

“The Greenville Project is more than housing, it’s a wonderful community-focused complex.”

Skip has rural roots – he grew up dairy farming in Ohio and enjoys the rural, agricultural setting of Monroe County WV. He keeps busy with beekeeping, farming, woodworking and music. He joins members of the Greenville project team each week to play music at MCCOA senior centers. He also builds and plays acoustic guitars in his spare time. Skip’s wife Sue is a retired high school science teacher and currently serves as the Secretary of the MFM Board of Directors.

Esther M. Hupp
Housing Coordinator
Take Me Home, West Virginia

Esther Hupp is the Housing Coordinator for the Take Me Home, West Virginia program. As Housing Coordinator for this Money Follows the Person statewide initiative, Hupp is responsible for locating safe, affordable, accessible and integrated housing for persons with disabilities transitioning back into the community from institutionalized settings. She is also responsible for developing, encouraging, and/or instituting the creation of additional opportunities for accessible, affordable and integrated housing throughout the state. Prior to her work with Take Me Home, Hupp worked as the Lead Housing Investigator for the WV Human Rights Commission and completed the five week training course for Fair Housing Investigators with the National Fair Housing Training Academy in Washington, D.C. She also spent two years as a part-time reporter for the Charleston Gazette. Hupp graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in English and minors in French and Communications from West Virginia State University in 2010.

Anne Jones
Executive Director
Tucker County Economic Development Authority

Anne Jones has over 20 years of experience in the corporate and non-profit sectors working on issues of economic development, employment and small business growth. Anne Jones served for six years as Executive Director of the Tucker County Development Authority working to promote economic development while embracing the heritage of this rural community.

She is a member of the West Virginia Small Business Development Center Advisory Board , and the Eastern Community College Foundation Advisory Board. Anne holds a B.A. from St. Lawrence University, an M.A. from University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an M.B.A. from Cranfield School of Management, UK.

Linda Koch
Asset Management Specialist
WV Housing Development Fund

Mrs. Koch joined employment with the West Virginia Housing Development Fund in October 2014 with seventeen years’ experience working with the HOME program as a Project Manager. Previously, she was with the Randolph County Housing Authority, where she began managing the first four units built and owned by Woodlands Development Group, a CHDO, in 1999. When she left the company in 2014, she was managing forty units for Woodlands Development Group, all of which were financed with HOME grants/loans. She also helped design and manage twelve units for Randolph County Housing Authority that were financed with HOME grants/loans, along with a RD property, a Federal Home Loan property, a LIHTC property and several market rate properties.

Mrs. Koch is well trained in all aspects of desk reviews and physical inspections, all of which makes her a valuable member of the Managing Asset team.

Marlo Long
Senior Vice President - Community Development Specialist

Marlo Long, Senior Vice President & Community Development Specialist, with BB&T’s CRA & Community Development Department manages the banks Community Reinvestment Act activities for the states of West Virginia, Kentucky and the Cincinnati MSA. Marlo graduated from the College of Charleston, SC where she received dual Bachelor of Science degrees in the life and physical sciences. Marlo is an Economic Development & Housing Development Finance Professional certified by the National Development Council and a graduate of the Economic Development Institute. She is a former Community Development Representative with the West Virginia Development Office and Program Coordinator for a non-profit job training service provider.

Donna J. Martino
Area Manager
West Virginia Housing Development Fund

Donna Martino currently serves as an Area Manager for the West Virginia Housing Development Fund. Mrs. Martino came to the Fund in 1993 and heads the organization’s Clarksburg office. She works with public and private entities throughout the state to promote and implement Housing Fund programs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Fairmont State University and has completed many commercial lending courses including NDC’s Housing Development Finance Professional Certification. She lives in Bridgeport with her husband and their two daughters.

Cameron McKinney
General Counsel
West Virginia Human Rights Commission

Cameron graduated from West Virginia University’s College of Law in 1996 and began his career in a small private practice in Wyoming County, West Virginia, where he grew up. In 1998, Cameron joined the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office as in-house counsel for the newly-created Division of Juvenile Services under its original Executive Director, Phyllis Carter. Cameron also worked in the W.Va. Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division for a few years before moving to a private firm in Charleston where he handled numerous consumer protection and employment discrimination cases. Cameron started as General Counsel for the Human Rights Commission in 2015, where he primarily assists investigators in examining allegations of discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Earlier this year, Cameron was selected to serve on the first Advisory Board for the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs by its Executive Director, Dr. William White.

Chad Napier
Prevention & Education Coordinator

Lt. Napier retired from the Charleston Police Department in 2015 with twenty years of service. The vast majority of his career was with the Metro Drug Unit conducting or supervising drug investigations. Over the past several years, Lt. Napier spends the majority of his time presenting drug awareness and prevention presentations throughout West Virginia. Lt. Napier is currently the Prevention & Education Coordinator for Appalachia HIDTA.

Kevin O’Connor
Senior Business Lender – West Virginia
Natural Capital Investment Fund

Sean O'Leary
Senior Policy Analyst
West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy

Sean O’Leary is a Senior Policy Analyst with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. Since joining the Center in 2010, Sean has authored numerous reports on working family issues, economic development, and state and federal budget and tax policy, including annual reports on the state budget and the State of Working West Virginia. In 2011, Sean co-authored “The Importance of Federal Earmarks to State Coffers” that appeared in the Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management. Sean also collaborates with West Virginia Kids Count for the annual West Virginia Kids Count Data Book. Sean holds a B.A. in political science and economics and a Master of Public Administration from West Virginia University.

Susan M. Pearce
Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer
WV Division of Culture and History

Bryan Phipps
Chief Development Officer
People Incorporated of Virginia

Bryan Phipps is Chief Development Officer for People Incorporated of Virginia, a Community Action Agency and Community Development Corporation headquartered in Abingdon, VA. He provides leadership and strategic direction for key capital growth projects, and supervises a variety of organizational, program, community economic development, affordable housing, public relations and capital raising initiatives for People Incorporated and its affiliates.

Throughout his career, Bryan has worked to increase the availability of investment capital and services to low-income people and communities. He has substantial experience designing, planning and managing successful, high-impact community development projects. Bryan was instrumental in the development of People Incorporated's New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) program, and specializes in raising and deploying investor capital, originations, project development, program compliance, providing technical assistance to staff and stakeholders, and conducting community outreach for a variety of community economic development initiatives.

Bryan graduated with a bachelor's degree in History and Political Science from the University of Virginia-Wise, and has over 18 years of experience working in non-profit development and management. Bryan received his Certified Community Action Professional designation from the Community Action Partnership in 2012.

Dr. Jennifer Poling
Business Developer
Woodlands Community Lenders

Jennifer joined Woodlands Community Lenders as the Business Developer in 2014. She works with entrepreneurs who are seeking financing for business startups and expansions in Barbour, Randolph, and Tucker Counties. Jennifer’s work involves assisting clients with the development of business plans, cash flow projections and underwriting loan proposals for the Woodlands Community Lenders board. Jennifer holds a Doctorate in Resource Management and Sustainable Development from West Virginia University.

Prior to working for Woodlands, Jennifer worked for West Virginia University as a WVU Extension Agent in Tucker County, and an Assistant Professor in Rural Entrepreneurship on the main campus in Morgantown. Currently, Jennifer teaches Guide to Entrepreneurship for freshman business majors at Davis & Elkins College, along with her responsibilities at Woodlands. Her background and research focuses on rural entrepreneurship and sustainable business practices. Jennifer lives in Barbour County with her husband and two daughters.

Bob Reeder
Program Director
Rural LISC

J. Robert ‘Bob’ Reeder is the Program Director and Program Field Manager for Rural LISC (the rural component of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the nation’s largest community development support corporation). An 11-year veteran of Rural LISC, Bob has built a thirty-year career devoted to social and economic justice, permanently affordable housing, equitable public policy advocacy, community engagement and comprehensive community and economic development. Most recently he has led the charge within Rural LISC and worked with several national Arts and Culture-based private and governmental entities to elevate and to provide funding to support the active inclusion of creative place making among the range of strategies utilized to help revive distressed rural communities.

A native of Rock Hill, South Carolina, Bob earned a BA degree in Government from Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC, and a JD degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law in Nashville, Tennessee.

Jon M. Rogers
Senior Division Manager, Single Family Lending
West Virginia Housing Development Fund

Jon has served in the position of Senior Division Manager – Single Family Lending since January, 2015. This position directs all activities of the single-family lending operation of the Fund and constitutes Jon’s second stint at WVHDF where previously, from 1996 to 2004, he managed federal and state housing programs. Prior to accepting his current position, Jon served as Executive Vice-President for Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises in Berea, KY from 2006 to 2015. Immediately prior to FAHE Jon was Senior Deputy Director for Fannie Mae in Charleston. In Jon’s early career he held increasingly responsible mortgage-related positions with several Charleston, WV-based banking institutions beginning in 1986.

Jon’s education includes completion of the Citi Leadership Program at The Wharton School at Penn in 2014, a Master’s of Science Degree in Legal Studies from WVU in 2004 and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from West Virginia State University in 1984.

Alice Ruhnke
The Grant Advantage

Alice Ruhnke is the founder and owner of The Grant Advantage, progressive, innovative consulting business devoted to helping nonprofit organizations unleash their strengths to embrace tomorrow’s opportunities. Located in Charleston, West Virginia, The Grant Advantage’s services include grant writing; funding searches; qualitative evaluation; capacity building assistance; and learning opportunities through trainings, workshops, webinars, and manuals.

Alice has raised over $27 million writing federal, state, foundation, and corporate grants and has been in charge of awarding and monitoring federal funds to nonprofit organizations throughout West Virginia. If Alice is not at her computer writing, she can usually be found facilitating trainings for individuals and organizations. Alice is also the author of Mapping the Course: A Practical Approach to Grant Writing, a practical, step-by-step manual that walks through an entire grant proposal from start to finish.

Laura Rye
Relationship Manager
FHLBank Pittsburgh

Laura Rye, MSW, HDFP, has been with FHLBank of Pittsburgh since 2006. FHLBank Pittsburgh is a congressionally chartered cooperative of local financial institutions operating across Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The Bank uses private money to assure the flow of credit and services to local lenders and assists them in serving the affordable housing and community and economic development needs of the communities in which they operate.

Previously, Ms. Rye has worked within non profits, higher education, and state government to expand resources and revitalize communities. A graduate of both West Virginia University and the University of Houston, Laura lives in Morgantown, WV with her husband and three children.

Mitchell Schaefer
Structural Historian - Review and Compliance Program
WV Division of Culture and History

Phil Schenk, MS
West Virginia Partnership for Elder Living

Phil Schenk came to West Virginia in 1978 from the Midwest. He was a broadcast journalist in Preston County. He was also a part-time farmer there. In 1990 he became a community relations specialist in healthcare. He has held positions as head of the WVDHHR Division of Primary Care and the WV Primary Care Association. He has also been a policy analyst for the WV House of Delegates Committee on Health. Since 2011 he has been the Director of the West Virginia Partnership for Elder Living. Phil has a B.A. in theatre and an M.S. in organizational psychology.

Patti Shamblin
Division Manager, Single Family Lending
West Virginia Housing Development Fund

Patti Shamblin (NMLS 199704) is a National & State Licensed Loan Originator and the Director of Loan Origination and Correspondent Lender Programs for West Virginia Housing Development Fund with over 34 years of mortgage lending and title insurance experience. She is an FHA Direct Endorsement Underwriter (C515) and VA Authorized Credit Examiner and approved Land America Title Insurance Underwriter. Patti is a member of the Board of Directors for the Greater Charleston Home Builders Association and Associate Member Director and Associate Vice President of the State Homebuilders Association.

Dustin Smith
Project Manager
Woodlands Development Group

Dustin Smith completed his degree in History at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Following the completion of his studies, Dustin combined his passion for history and the built environment by completing an internship with the National Park Service, working on the preservation of historic structures at Nicodemus National Historic Site. This led him to West Virginia, where he served as an AmeriCorps member with Woodlands Development Group, focusing on the adaptive reuse of historic structures. Dustin now works as a project manager for Woodlands Development Group, with an emphasis on downtown redevelopment projects.

Jeffrey S. Smith
Structural Historian
West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office

Jeffrey S. Smith is the current National Register and Architectural Survey Coordinator at the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). In this capacity, Mr. Smith reviews nominations of historic properties to be considered for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and provides technical assistance to those interested in listing their property. In addition, Mr. Smith oversees the Architectural Survey program and provides general guidance to cultural resource professionals and those interested in documenting the state’s architectural resources with the SHPO.

Mr. Smith received a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies with a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Historic Preservation as well as a Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Bachelor of Arts in Public History from West Virginia University.

Mary Shelton Skeens
CommunityWorks in West Virginia, Inc.

Mary Skeens is Executive Director of CommunityWorks in West Virginia, Inc. a statewide membership organization of 32 nonprofit housing and community development organizations. Since coming to CommunityWorks the organization became a Seller/Servicer of loans to NHSA expanding its lending capacity; sponsored the Campaign for Excellence, a leadership program for the nonprofit managers and developed the Affordable Housing Internship Program in partnership with WVU, Marshall University, and WV Wesleyan University. CommunityWorks sponsored the work of the West Virginia Housing Policy Group resulting in a Housing Policy Framework approved by the Governor and Legislature. CommunityWorks is the lead Sponsor of the West Virginia Housing Conference. CommunityWorks is a licensed lender with a loan program providing home ownership loans; owner occupied rehab loans, and a commercial loan program made available to it member organizations.

Mary career spans 39 years with experience in the housing and community development arena. Prior to joining CommunityWorks in West Virginia in 2007, Mary was the FAHE Field Office Director serving West Virginia and Virginia. Prior to that she worked with the West Virginia Housing Development Fund assigned to the Commercial Business and Development Department for over ten years. Mary received her BS Degree from Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky.

Mary served as member of the Board of Directors of West Virginia Affordable Housing Trust Fund for the past 11 years. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the West Virginia Partnership for Elder Living; and in 2016 was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Board of Directors of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund. Mary’s most recent appoint is to serve on the National Community Advisory Council of Huntington National Bank. Mary was inducted into the West Virginia Affordable Housing Hall of Fame in 2012. She and her husband Jim resides in the Charleston area.

Leslie Stone
Stone Strategies, LLC

Since 2006, Stone Strategies has served others through facilitation, designing and leading strategic thinking, problem-solving and planning efforts; designing and implementing evaluation processes; cultivating and training teams and helping teams use their results.

Leslie especially enjoys connecting groups to new ideas and each other to meet the needs of a quickly changing environment. Leslie has worked with state and local government, public and higher education and in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Stone Strategies works across many different disciplines and with cross-sector and multi-state initiatives.

Leslie holds both a BA and an MA from Eastern Kentucky University. She has specializations in kindergarten, gifted education, mathematics education and research, and behavior disorders from East Tennessee State University and Marshall University College of Graduate Studies. Leslie is certified in basic and community mediation and has formal training in facilitation, qualitative evaluation and cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset.

Margaret Stout
Associate Professor of Public Administration
West Virginia University

Margaret Stout is an Associate Professor of Public Administration at West Virginia University. Following her first career as a practitioner, she continues a passion for community development through service learning and action research projects as a faculty member. She employs a unique apprenticeship-style approach in her teaching that has been recognized by her college through its Outstanding Public Service award (2016) and the Community Development Society through its Outstanding Educator award (2017). Professor Stout’s research explores the role of public and nonprofit practitioners in achieving democratic social and economic justice with specific interests in administrative theory, public service leadership and ethics, and sustainable local governance and community development. She has a particularly strong interest in the ontological underpinnings of these issues, as shown in her books Logics of Legitimacy: Three Traditions of Public Administration Praxis (Taylor & Francis), Integrative Process: Follettian Thinking from Ontology to Administration (Process Century Press), and A Radically Democratic Response to Global Governance: Dystopian Utopias (Routledge).

Jenni Sutherland, LSW
Executive Director
Putnam County Aging Program

Jenni Sutherland has worked in various capacities in the aging field for over seventeen years and currently serves as the Executive Director for Putnam County Aging Programs. Jenni has extensive experience working with home and community based service programs and the Older American’s Act and has administered various federal grants and served on numerous advisory committees and boards. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Marshall University and a West Virginia Social Work license.

Nathan E. Testman
Division Manager – Multifamily Lending
West Virginia Housing Development Fund

Mr. Testman joined the Housing Development Fund in 2016. Prior to 2016, Mr. Testman worked in commercial banking at United Bank, where he gained experience in credit underwriting and commercial lending. He graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – Finance.

Alexander Thomas
AFHA AmeriCorps Member
Woodlands Development Group

Alex Thomas graduated from Wake Forest University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in History. From 2015-2017, Alex served as an AmeriCorps member, splitting time between the Barbour County Development Authority and Woodlands Development Group.

Nancy Tyler, J.D. M.S.W.
WV Partnership for Elder Living, Inc.

Ms. Tyler is a private healthcare consultant. Nancy has worked as Counsel for the House Health Committee and the House Finance Committees of the West Virginia Legislature. Ms. Tyler’s background includes a variety of health related duties including: Director of the Office of Health Facilities Licensure and Certification in the DHHR, Director of WV Operations for United Health Care, and Deputy Attorney General. She also has worked for United Cerebral Palsy, and Shawnee Hills Community Behavioral Health Center and has had a long term commitment to people with disabilities. Recently she has provided consulting services to many organizations including the WV Partnership for Elder Living, the Perinatal Partnership, Cabin Creek Health Systems and the Center for Rural Health Development. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Family Services from Auburn University, her Masters in Social Work from West Virginia University and her Law Degree from the University of Denver.

Jessica Varner
Community Living Services Program Coordinator
Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living

Jessica Varner is a West Virginia native. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in Business Administration, Communication Studies and Entrepreneurship. Jessica has experience in multiple case management/service coordination roles and has assisted with linkage and referrals for necessary services. She is currently the Community Living Services Program (CLSP) Coordinator at the Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living (NWVCIL). Jessica’s program assists individuals with disabilities to function more independently in their homes and communities and provides independent living services, such as assistance with: Home Modifications, Assistive Devices and Equipment, Communication Services, Vehicle Modifications and Durable Medical Equipment. Jessica is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and completes aging in place assessments to assist with recommendations for beneficial services/modifications to the home/living environment.

Jessica is the Program Manager for the Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant award, My Choice, My Home 2017. This grant was awarded December 14th, 2016 to complete 32 home modifications for accessibility/safety concerns for individuals with disabilities from the CLSP waitlist. Following the approval of this grant Jessica completed the course requirements needed to earn the NCHEC Certification in Post-Purchase Homeownership Education. This certification identifies her as an expert in the field of Homeownership Education and Counseling, demonstrates commitment to serving the community and meets the requirements of the National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling.

Ryan Wallace
City Councilor for the City of Morgantown

Ryan Wallace (MSA, JD 2018) is a City Councilor for the City of Morgantown and a third-year law student at the West Virginia University College of Law, where he currently works at the Land Use and Sustainable Development (LUSD) Law Clinic. Having earned a Master's degree in Community and International Development in 2005, Ryan previously worked for non-profit agencies in the United States, Canada, and Afghanistan to identify community needs, implement programs designed to meet those needs, and write grants for various development projects. It was through this work that Ryan developed an interest in the legal aspects of community and municipal development and governance, and he is now focusing on law in the public interest in West Virginia. At the LUSD Law Clinic, Ryan is helping municipal government officials in West Virginia understand the legalities of managing flood-damaged properties. Ryan is currently researching the role of community land trusts, affordable housing, and municipal annexation, and hopes to use his experience and skills to help the City of Morgantown achieve much-needed development goals.

Mandy Weirich, LSW, MSW
Program Manager
Randolph County Housing Authority

Mandy Weirich is the Wellness Collaborative Program Manager for the Randolph County Housing Authority and is working to expand and improve the Healthy Home Program--a new concept in care to promote an active, purposeful, quality of life for senior residents so that they may live safely in their homes and reduce health care costs. Mandy is an Adjunct Instructor for WVU School of Social Work. She was the full-time Statewide Trainer for Adult Services in WV from 2012-2016 and an APS worker from 2008-2012. She has prior experience as a Community Police officer in Chesapeake, VA. She has been involved in the Abuse in Later Life grant work with the WV Coalition Against Domestic Violence; a member of the Financial Exploitation Task Force; serves as Board Vice President for the Meals on Wheels in Elkins, WV; and is a member of NAPSA serving on the Communications and Policy Committees.

Jennifer Westerbeck
Vice President
Sr. Business Development Associate--New Markets and Historic Tax Credit Investments

Jennifer Westerbeck has worked in Historic & New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Investments at US Bancorp Community Development Corporation (CDC) for 11 years. The CDC’s Historic & NMTC Investment team structures and originates equity investments in tax credit related projects and real estate developments throughout the country. Since the inception of the NMTC program, USBCDC has been involved in over $16 billion of Qualified Equity Investments (QEIs) with more than 200 Allocatees in over 1,100 transactions. Jennifer was hired in August 2006 to open the Washington, DC, office and help expand activities in the east coast and Gulf Opportunity Zone. She has since relocated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Before coming to the CDC, Jennifer was the Director of New Markets Strategies at the National Trust Community Investment Corporation, a CDE and subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Jennifer came to the Trust after eight years with the CDFI Fund of the Department of the Treasury. In her last three years at the Fund, she worked almost exclusively with the NMTC Program to develop the policies and procedures, review NMTC allocation and CDE certification applications and provide training and technical assistance to a variety of audiences.

Amy Wirts, MD Internal Medicine and Hospice Palliative Care Medicine Board Certified
Medical Director Palliative Care Center
Kanawha Hospice Care Palliative Care Center

Amy Wirts, MD Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice Palliative Care Medicine. Medical Director for Palliative Care Center.

Jack David Woodrum
Summers County Commissioner
Member, Hinton Steering Committee for The Senior Living Community

Jack David Woodrum was re-elected to the office of Summers County Commission to serve a 6 year term beginning January 1, 2017. First elected to the Commission in 2010, Commissioner Woodrum was one of 18 participants from across the country nominated by the National Association of Counties (NACo) and subsequently accepted into a rigorous four-day program offered in partnership with Cambridge Leadership Associates (The County Leadership Institute). The program is designed to enhance the capability of county officials to identify and implement innovative solutions to complex challenges facing county government. Commissioner Woodrum has also attended The Mountain State Land Use Academy and the Community Leadership Academy offered by West Virginia University.

Jack David also serves on the following board of directors: The County Commissioners Association of West Virginia (Legislative Committee, Chairman), West Virginia Association of Counties (Legislative committee – Tax Reform Committee), New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, Workforce West Virginia (Region One – Chief Local Elected Official), West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Institute (Executive Council Member), The National Association of Counties (NACo) (Environment, Energy & Land Use Steering Committee), WV Records Management and Preservation Board (Appointed by Governor Tomblin), Summers County Parks & Recreation Commission (President), New River Gateway Convention and Visitors Bureau (President), Summers County Board of Health, Veterans Memorial Museum of Southern West Virginia, Main Street Care, The Hinton Lions Club and the Summers County ARH Hospital (Advisory committee).

Kelly Workman
Community Development Manager
West Virginia Development Office

Kelly Workman serves as Community Development Manager for the West Virginia Development Office, where she coordinates infrastructure and housing projects through the Community Development Block Grant and Neighborhood Stabilization Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Ms. Workman also serves as the Development Office liaison to the state Broadband Enhancement Council.

Ms. Workman holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Concord University and a Master's Degree from Marshall University. Prior to joining the Development Office, she was employed by the West Virginia Senate, West Virginia Division of Personnel, and the Contractors Association of West Virginia. Her professional background includes human resource management, training, public relations, and marketing. Kelly resides in Charleston with her husband, Johnathan, and their daughters, Ashley and Allison.