Jared Bellmund is the managing partner of ALLCHOICE Insurance in Hendersonville. A native of Long Island, New York, Bellmund was awarded a cross country and track scholarship to Appalachian State where he majored in political science. Bellmund did not find work in his field after graduation. He accepted a server position with a restaurant chain in Charlotte and worked his way to general manager within 18 months. When the Charlotte location closed, he was transferred to Asheville. In 2012 Bellmund changed course and moved from food service to insurance. He says insurance can be difficult to understand, and he wants to help individuals and small businesses make good choices. Bellmund initially worked for Farm Bureau, and he later moved to a local independent agency. This year, he opened the Hendersonville office of ALLCHOICE with a partner. Bellmund is an Eagle Scout. He says the leadership skills he honed achieving that rank have helped him to excel professionally and personally. Bellmund says he prides himself on “never being outworked, always making moves and never making excuses.” Bellmund supports his community in several ways. He served as president of the Fletcher Area Business Association for 2 years, and has been on its board for 7. During his tenure, the organization has grown from a handful of members to over 125. He is a board member and ambassador for the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce and the Hendersonville Downtown Advisory Committee, among other volunteer initiatives. Bellmund and his wife, Jennifer, have two children.
Jared Bellmund is managing partner of ALLCHOICE Insurance, an agency he opened in 2019 with a partner. An Eagle Scout from Long Island, New York, Jared attended Appalachian State on a track scholarship. He spent 5 years in food service before moving to insurance. As board member of the Fletcher Area Business Association for 7 years, including two terms as president, Jared helped it grow from a handful of members to over 125. He serves on the board of the Henderson County Chamber and Hendersonville Downtown Advisory Committee, among other volunteer activities. Jared and his wife, Jennifer, have two children.
Tamara Bernazky-Alm is the nurse case manager for the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program at Heart Path with Mission Health. The Ornish Program is a cardiac rehabilitation program offering heart disease patients support and education to make sustainable lifestyle changes. Through the program, patients learn stress management techniques, nutritional guidelines, receive relationship support and develop an exercise program. As program facilitator, Bernazky-Alm’s responsibilities include enrollment, nursing care, marketing, team coordination, alumni events and democratic leadership. Within one year, participation in the program has increased 30 percent. Bernazky-Alm graduated from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where she studied biology and psychology. She continued her education at UNC-Wilmington where she earned a B.S. degree in nursing. She has worked as a staff nurse in the emergency departments of Pardee and Mission Hospitals and on the trauma care team at Mission. Bernazky-Alm saw the emergency side of heart disease and says she wants to find a way to use her nursing background and skills to impact patients’ lifestyles and help them achieve positive change. Bernazky-Alm says she has found that opportunity in the Ornish Program. She is also a certified yoga instructor at Yoga and Massage in Hendersonville and the YMCA of WNC. Active in the community, she volunteers at the Blue Ridge Humane Society, has been a soccer coach with Hendersonville Parks and Recreation and taught yoga at Mountain Community School. Bernazky-Alm and her husband, Brian, have an 8-year-old son, Phoenix.
Tamara Bernazky-Alm is the nurse case manager for the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program at Heart Path with Mission Health, a cardiac rehab program offering support and education to heart patients. In a short time, Tamara helped grow the program 30 percent. An Old Dominion University alumna, she also earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from UNC-Wilmington. She is a certified yoga instructor and has taught yoga at Mountain Community School. She volunteers at the Blue Ridge Humane Society and has coached soccer locally. Tamara and her husband, Brian, have an 8-year-old son, Phoenix.
Justin Blythe is a vice president with First Bancorp, western region, North Carolina. Blythe is a top producer within the company and western region. He had an unusual start to his banking career. Right after graduating from high school, with college golf scholarship offers in hand, he chose instead to tour the country with his band in support of two major recording contracts. Their music was distributed internationally through Sony BMG Music. After 6 years of touring, the band split up, and Blythe was unsure of his next direction. An avid skier, he became ski patrol director at Wolf Ridge Resort in Mars Hill. One of the volunteer patrollers was an experienced commercial banker and gave Blythe the opportunity to work for him. Blythe accepted the challenge, and through mentoring and course work, learned and grew in the field. Seven years later, he moved to First Bank. Blythe says he has achieved success by “saying yes to opportunity.” Blythe is a 12th generation western North Carolina resident and stays involved with several organizations including the Henderson County Rescue Squad, North Carolina Mountain Search & Rescue Program, National Ski Patrol and the annual Green River Narrows kayak race where he coordinates emergency personnel. He plans to stay local and continue to enjoy all the area has to offer with his wife, Katheryn, and their two children.
Justin Blythe is a vice president with First Bank and a 12th generation western North Carolina resident. Also a professional recording artist, Justin toured the country with his band after high school. When the band split up, he became ski patrol director at Wolf Ridge Resort. A volunteer patrol gave Justin the opportunity to work for him at Mountain 1st Bank & Trust, and that began his banking career. Justin’s nonprofit support includes the Henderson County Rescue Squad and National Ski Patrol. He is an avid golfer and enjoys being outside with his wife, Katheryn, and their two children.
Martha Bradley is the local managing attorney with the Forrest Firm in Asheville. She is a practicing litigator and at the helm of the firm’s new local office. Her responsibilities include supervising, recruiting, training and financial policy enforcement, along with fostering community partnerships. Prior to Forrest Firm, Bradley worked for Cannon Law, P.C., in Waynesville. Bradley says she was interested in a law career from an early age. After graduating from St. Mary’s School in Raleigh, she attended UNC Chapel Hill and played piccolo in the marching band. Bradley graduated from Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law. She is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association Board of Governors and executive committee member of the Young Lawyers Division. She has been awarded the North Carolina Lawyers Weekly 'Rising Star’ award, North Carolina Bar Association Robinson O. Everett Professionalism Award and recognized by the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce as its Young Professional of the Year. Bradley says she strives to “make someone’s life better, win or lose” and to be an integral part of the community. Bradley has served as the president of the Rotary Club of Waynesville-Sunrise, and on the board of the Haywood Chamber of Commerce and Haywood Habitat for Humanity. She is a member of Waynesville’s Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee. An avid Tar Heel basketball fan, she attended all home basketball games her junior and senior years, and she followed that with a trip to the final 4. Bradley’s hobbies include painting, cooking, reading, writing and traveling.
Martha Bradley is the managing attorney with Forest Firm in Asheville. A practicing litigator, she is also at the helm of the firm’s new office. Martha graduated from UNC Chapel Hill and Campbell University School of Law. Her awards include ‘Rising Star’ by North Carolina Lawyers Weekly and Young Professional of the Year by the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce. Martha serves on the leadership team of several organizations including the North Carolina Bar Association Board of Governors. She is president of the Rotary Club of Waynesville-Sunrise. Martha is an avid Tar Heels fan and her hobbies include painting, cooking, reading and writing.
Jessica Bryant was the fundraising and events coordinator for Irene Wortham Center. Its care centers serve over 100 children and adults with disabilities in the Shiloh community. Since she was hired in 2017, Bryant helped raise $210,000 in grants and funds. She was also instrumental in helping the Center hold its most successful toy drive for kids last year. Bryant is a Waynesville native. She graduated from Tuscola High and attended Gardner Webb on a basketball scholarship. Bryant says she was in top physical condition when she tore her ACL, an injury that sidelined her career. She came back from that disappointment and completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Appalachian State. Recovered from her injury, she competed on the Appalachian State Ski Team. Prior to joining the Irene Wortham Center, Bryant ran an animal rescue in Boone for six years. The success of her program was captured in a Fox News documentary. Locally, Bryant manages the Asheville Downtown Association volunteers. She is an ambassador for the Asheville Chamber, supports the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the WNC Children’s Fund. She fosters animals and coaches youth soccer. Bryant is a beekeeper and supports local beekeeping efforts. Bryant says she strives to live by a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote that says, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Jessica Bryant was the fundraising and events coordinator for Irene Wortham Center. Its care centers serve over 100 children and adults with disabilities in the Shiloh community. In two years, Jessica helped raise $210,000 in grants. A Waynesville native, she graduated from Tuscola High and attended Gardner Webb on a basketball scholarship. A torn ACL sidelined her career, and she completed her undergraduate and graduate work at Appalachian State. Jessica’s volunteer work includes the western North Carolina Children’s Fund and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. She fosters animals and coaches youth soccer. Jessica enjoys spending time beekeeping and tending animals on her farm.
Jeremy Cloninger is the practice manager for Asheville Urological Associates. His leadership has helped Asheville Urological grow from one to three offices with 6 physicians, 2 mid-level providers and 22 support staff. Cloninger began his 15-year medical practice management career at Digestive Health Specialists, and then he transitioned to Allergy Partners. He moved to Asheville Urological in 2013 for the opportunity to manage a practice on a local level. In his current role, Cloninger’s responsibilities include oversight of daily operations, billing and revenue, physician and staff recruitment and everything else required to keep the practice moving and growing smoothly. He was raised in Dallas, North Carolina, and graduated from Appalachian State with a major in health care management and marketing. The son of an entrepreneur, Cloninger knew he wanted to be actively engaged in business. After high school, however, college was not a ‘given.’ He credits getting a college education as one of the smartest things he has done. He hopes to continue his education and pursue an MBA within 5 years. In addition to his office work, Cloninger supports the practice’s community outreach, from coordinating the sale of car wash cards to helping bring the ZERO prostate cancer annual 5k race to Asheville. He plays an active role in the annual 21st Century C.A.R.E. Foundation prostate cancer screening, and he supports a local Boy Scouts troop. Cloninger enjoys Asheville’s music scene and spending time with his wife, Shelly, and two children.
Jeremy Cloninger is the practice manager for Asheville Urological Associates. His leadership has helped the practice grow from one to three offices with 6 physicians, 2 mid-level providers and 22 support staff. Jeremy began his medical practice management career after graduating from Appalachian State. He has grown in the field for 15 years. Jeremy supports the practice’s community outreach, from selling car wash cards to helping with the 21st Century C.A.R.E. Foundation prostate cancer screening. Outside of work and volunteering, Jeremy enjoys Asheville’s music scene and spending time with his wife, Shelly, and their two children.
David Dowd is the Asheville market manager for Bank of America. In that role, he plans, coordinates and manages the bank’s local philanthropic contributions, events and sponsorships. Dowd was formerly a relationship banker and manager for Bank of America. He led his market as the client engagement champion and was awarded the President’s volunteer service award. Born in Shelby, North Carolina, Dowd holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Montana. He continued his education in linguistics at Northeastern Illinois University. Dowd speaks several languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Turkish and Chinese and intended to pursue a career in southwestern Asia. The Syrian civil war made prospects too dangerous, and he changed direction. Dowd relocated to Asheville and initially worked in constructions. Finally, in 2015, he secured a job with Bank of America. Dowd has been active with nonprofits since college where he served as cultural affairs officer, food kitchen manager for a local church, and teacher assistant for an English as a Second Language (ESL) program. In Asheville, he donates his time to Asheville Community Theater’s finance committee and helps the theater on and off stage as a crew member, props master and lead in a musical. He is the Asheville Alternative Sports co-commissioner. An avid cook, Dowd volunteers at Homework Diner, a tutoring and meal program for middle schoolers. Dowd enjoys living in Asheville with his wife, Reeni, and son Viktor. He enjoys playing kickball, farming, hiking and beekeeping.
David Dowd is the Asheville market manager for Bank of America. He plans and manages the bank’s local philanthropic contributions. David was formerly a relationship banker for Bank of America and was awarded the President’s volunteer service award. Fluent in several languages, he earned degrees from the University of Montana and Northeastern Illinois in anthropology and linguistics. David is an active Asheville community leader and devotes his time to the Asheville Community Theater, Homework Diner, and others. He enjoys living in Asheville with his wife, Reeni, and young son, Viktor, along with playing kickball, farming, and beekeeping.
Anderson Ellis is an attorney with The Van Winkle Law Firm’s business practice group. Prior to joining Van Winkle, Ellis practiced with a firm in Hendersonville handling criminal and civil litigation matters. Ellis grew up in Hendersonville. At 13 years old, he accepted a merit-based scholarship to McCallie School, a young men’s boarding school in Chattanooga. Ellis credits that experience with giving him a strong academic background and helping him learn responsibility at a young age. Ellis graduated from Wake Forest University and pursued a law degree from the University of Mississippi. Ellis is admitted to practice law in North Carolina and Tennessee state and federal courts and before the U.S. Supreme Court. An active community volunteer in western North Carolina over the past 8 years, Ellis has served on the board of the Kiwanis Club of Hendersonville and Henderson County Education Foundation. He currently sits on the boards of the Children & Family Resource Center and Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development. Since 2013, he has served as president of the Henderson County Bar Association, through which he has organized local court sessions of the North Carolina Supreme Court and Court of Appeals and recruited the North Carolina Bar Association High School Mock Trial Competition to Hendersonville. Ellis is a beer-brewing hobbyist. Some of his creations include ‘Porter in the Court’ and ‘Res Ipsa Lager-tur.’ Ellis enjoys spending free time with his wife, Brittany, young daughter, and their rescue dog.
Anderson Ellis is an attorney with the Van Winkle Law Firm’s business practice group. He graduated from Wake Forest and received his law degree from the University of Mississippi. Anderson is an active community volunteer. He has served on the board of the Kiwanis Club of Hendersonville and the Henderson County Education Foundation. He currently serves on the board of the Children & Family Resource Center and Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development. Anderson has been president of the Henderson County Bar Association since 2013. He enjoys spending free time with his wife, Brittany, young daughter, and their rescue dog.
Josh English is a district manager and assistant vice president with Wells Fargo. A Henderson County native, his banking career began at age 18 when he saw an ad for a part-time teller on an ATM at First Union Bank. At the time, he was working at a car wash while attending Blue Ridge Community College. His grandmother gave him the encouragement he needed to find a more challenging job than washing cars. The teller position was a springboard into banking positions with more and more responsibilities. Over the past seven years at Wells Fargo, English’s district has consistently grown in deposits and number of customers. He worked his way up and continues to grow within the company. English says he commits himself each day to being a leader and helping to make a difference in people’s lives. English has already logged over 100 volunteer hours this year supporting several local initiatives. He currently serves on the boards of the Henderson County Education Foundation and the North Carolina Apple Festival. He is a mentor with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. English has coached youth sports for several years and has served on the board of Henderson County Youth Baseball. His coaching has included baseball, football, softball and basketball. English is a member of the Kedron Masonic Lodge in Hendersonville and the Hendersonville Shriners Club. He lives in Hendersonville with his wife, Heather, and two children.
Josh English is a district manager and assistant vice president with Wells Fargo. His banking career began at age 18 as a part-time teller while attending Blue Ridge Community College. He stayed in banking ever since. In his 7 years at Wells Fargo, Josh’s territory has continuously grown. An active volunteer, he has already exceeded 100 hours of community service this year. Josh serves on the boards of the Henderson County Education Foundation and North Carolina Apple Festival. As a youth sports volunteer he has coached baseball, football, softball and basketball. Josh and his wife, Heather, have 2 children.
Nick Ficker is the head strength and conditioning coach at Asheville Christian Academy. He was recently named the school’s 2019 Coach of the Year. A West Henderson High graduate, he played soccer and swam on two consecutive state championship teams. Ficker attended Blue Ridge Community College, and for 8 years, he worked in all facets of the cycle industry, racing, building, sales and marketing. In 2010, he headed to Western Carolina to complete his undergraduate degree, commuting daily from Black Mountain to Cullowhee and working 2nd shift at Cane Creek Cycles. In 2014 he was offered the job of head strength and conditioning coach at ACA. Ficker says he “jumped in head first.” He found a mentor and started the process of earning national certification in strength and conditioning as well as becoming a speed specialist. He is an original member of the National High School Strength Coaches Association and was named its 2019 Southeast Regional Strength Coach of the Year. Ficker says a challenge he faces is helping student athletes, and their families, understand the role of strength and conditioning coaches, along with the benefits of training, to prevent injury and improve performance. The first year he opened the weight room for summer training, 7 students showed up. This year more than 70 participated. Outside of the weight room, Ficker is the strength coach for the Asheville Saints youth football program. He volunteers with the Black Mountain Home for Children and Families. Ficker and his wife, Crystal, have two children.
Nick Ficker is the head strength and conditioning coach at Asheville Christian Academy. A West Henderson High student athlete, he attended Blue Ridge Community College before heading to Western Carolina to complete a bachelor’s in physical education. Nick become the head strength & conditioning coach at ACA in 2014. He was named Asheville Christian’s 2019 Coach of the Year, and the 2019 southeast regional Strength Coach of the Year by the National High School Strength Coaches Association. Outside of the weight room, Ficker volunteers with the Black Mountain Home for Children and Families. He and his wife, Crystal, have two children.
Murphy Fletcher is an attorney with McGuire, Wood & Bissette, P.A. As an employment and commercial litigation attorney, she helps businesses with state and federal regulatory issues. She advises employers on human resource issues, drafts employment policies and agreements and represents businesses before government agencies and in state and federal court. In addition to human resources issues, Fletcher assists employers with state and federal tax issues, including representation before the Internal Revenue Service and North Carolina Department of Revenue. Last year, she graduated from the North Carolina Bar Association Leadership Academy. She was also named to Business North Carolina Legal Elite. In the office, she is chairman of the firm’s business development committee and serves on its innovation and community engagement committees. Fletcher grew up in Emporia, Virginia. She studied biology and business at Sweet Briar College prior to entering Wake Forest School of Law. When her husband, Milton, accepted a position as assistant district attorney in Asheville, the couple relocated here. Fletcher is active in the community through the Asheville Humane Society. She began as a volunteer on its human resources committee and is now chairman-elect of its board of directors. Fletcher plans to continue deepening her knowledge in her field and writing, presenting and advising. In addition to her legal work and volunteer activities, Fletcher is learning English-style horseback riding and enjoys gardening, especially creating pollinator gardens. She and Milton have 2 dogs and 2 cats.
Murphy Fletcher is an attorney with McGuire, Wood & Bissette, P.A. As an employment, tax and commercial litigation attorney, she helps businesses with state and federal regulatory issues. In the office, she is chairman of the firm’s business development committee. Murphy studied biology and business at Sweet Briar College prior to entering Wake Forest School of Law. Outside of work, she is the chairman-elect of the of the Asheville Humane Society board of directors. Murphy enjoys English-style horseback riding and gardening. She and her husband, Milton, have 2 dogs and 2 cats.
Anna Frank is the store manager of Talloni, a Shoe Salon, in Biltmore Park. A West Henderson High graduate, she began working at the salon 7 years ago while attending Blue Ridge Community College. At the time, the local economy was weak, especially for retail. From Talloni’s owner, Connie Bergman, Frank learned that a conservative approach to inventory and strong customer relationships were key to success. After 5 years and two promotions, Frank began managing the entire business, including shoes, jewelry, handbags, scarves, hair accessories and leather goods. She says managing the boutique can be complicated and involves tight budgeting and financial management, marketing and social media skills, inventory control, customer relationship development and event management for semi-annual promotions that support local nonprofits. It also requires a strong sense of fashion and design, and Frank uses hers to continuously create new merchandise displays. For the past 4 years, Frank has accompanied Bergman on buying trips to New York City, Las Vegas and Atlanta. She now manages all vendor relationships, sets appointments, researches products and arranges travel. Frank has developed close working relationships with high-end designers and may ‘tweak’ a shoe design to make it more suitable to Talloni’s clientele. Frank supports local charities including Meals on Wheels, MANNAFood Bank, Helpmate, Flat Rock Playhouse, Brother Wolf and ABCCM. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Brandon, watching the Carolina Panthers, hiking and playing with their two dogs, Kimber and Kuechly.
Anna Frank is the manager of Talloni, a Shoe Salon, in Biltmore Park. A graduate of West Henderson High, she started working at the boutique 7 years ago while attending Blue Ridge Community College. She was promoted to manager in 2017. Anna is responsible for all aspects of the business from finance to marketing, and inventory to customer relationships. Anna supports Meals on Wheels, MANNAFood Bank and Helpmate. When she is not working, Anna enjoys spending time with her husband, Brandon, watching the Carolina Panthers, hiking and playing with their dogs Kimber and Kuechly.
Dana Frankel is the downtown specialist for the city of Asheville. An Asheville native and graduate of Asheville High, she studied community and regional planning at Appalachian State and completed her graduate studies in urban planning at Hunter College in New York City. Frankel serves as a point of contact and coordinator for downtown projects and initiatives. She seeks to ensure Asheville’s downtown grows effectively, not just for tourists, but for local citizens and business owners. Her work ranges from helping to address parking concerns to promoting street performer guidelines. Frankel says the position affords her a chance to meet and work with many different people and organizations. Recently, she was instrumental in getting a new mural installed on the public stairwell connecting Battery Park and Wall Street. The mural is a pilot project for a program that would allow private investments in creative projects on public property. Prior to assuming her current position, Frankel worked in New York City for nearly 10 years in commercial district management, real estate, economic development and community relations. She lived and worked across neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens before returning to Asheville 3 years ago to start the position of downtown specialist for the city. Frankel says that she enjoys working in her hometown, being an ambassador for downtown and riding a bike to work. With her free time, Frankel enjoys stand-up paddle boarding, cake decorating and spending time with her fiancé, Matt and dog, Luna.
Dana Frankel is the downtown development specialist for the city of Asheville. An Asheville native and Asheville High graduate, she studied urban planning at Appalachian State and Hunter College. Dana is the point of contact and coordinator for downtown projects and initiatives. She worked in New York City for 10 years in commercial district management before returning to Asheville 3 years ago. Dana says she enjoys working in her hometown, being an ambassador for the Downtown Association and riding a bike to work. Dana enjoys stand-up paddle boarding, cake decorating and spending time with her fiancé, Matt, and dog, Luna.
Karla Furnari is the greenways planner and Special Olympics local coordinator for Buncombe County Recreation Services. A Miami native, she left Florida Atlantic University and moved to the area to complete her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Western Carolina University. As a greenways planner, she was instrumental in creating a funding model that generated $20 million for greenway design and construction, with less than $4 million coming from local sources. In her role as Special Olympics coordinator, Furnari built a program that now serves more than 100 year-round athletes and 500 school-aged athletes competing in a dozen different sports. She oversees 25 year-round and 100 special-event volunteers who help at local and regional competitions. Furnari has worked as a volunteer with special needs individuals since middle school. She says success to her is helping people realize their true potential. Her Special Olympics efforts and commitment extend well beyond her job. Working with a local CrossFit gym, Special Olympics athletes now receive free programming that caters to their needs and abilities. She also coaches the local Special Olympics soccer team. Other volunteer work includes serving as commissioner of the Asheville Chapter of Stonewall Sports and community and government relations representative on the Asheville Buncombe Adult Soccer Association. She serves on the Beer City Cup committee, the nation’s largest adult sanctioned soccer tournament with over 100 teams. Outside of work and volunteer efforts, Furnari competes in CrossFit, travels, and spends time with her adopted cats and dogs.
Karla Furnari is the greenways planner and Special Olympics local coordinator for Buncombe County Recreational Services. A Miami native, she moved to the area to attend Western Carolina University. Karla helped create a funding model that generated $20 million for local greenway design and construction, with less than $4 million coming from local sources. In her role as Special Olympics coordinator, Karla built a program that has more than 600 athletes competing in a dozen different sports. Outside of work, Karla competes in CrossFit, travels, and spends time with her adopted cats and dogs.
Collin George is part owner of Talent Matters, a full-service talent management company. Using the Harrison Assessment, George establishes customized hiring, development, and retention solutions for companies. He is also a battalion executive officer in the U.S. Army Reserves, having served two tours to Afghanistan and two tours to Thailand. He holds an undergraduate degree in business from Carson-Newman University and is pursuing an MBA from Syracuse University. George grew up in Haw Creek and graduated from Asheville Christian Academy. He attended Carson-Newman on an ROTC scholarship. George says the program gave him a sense of a greater purpose and launched him in the right direction. He was commissioned in 2007. At age 22, George was a platoon leader responsible for 24 paratroopers preparing for global deployment. He served as an airborne fire support officer, responsible for 40 Soldiers and $1 million in equipment, safely executing more than 1,000 fire missions in support of ground forces. In 2011 he was selected to attend the Psychological Operations Qualification Course at the U.S. Army Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The Psychological Operations branch of the Army attempts to influence foreign targets through information rather than lethal means. George served 7 years and 9 months on active duty and was awarded numerous medals and citations. George and his wife, Melissa, co-own Mountainside Family Farms, raising grass-fed cattle on their 56 acre property in Swannanoa where they are also raising four children.
Collin George is part owner of Talent Matters, a talent management company. He is an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves, having served two tours to Afghanistan and two tours to Thailand while on active duty. Collin graduated from Asheville Christian Academy and attended Carson-Newman on an ROTC scholarship. He was commissioned in 2007 and served as an airborne platoon leader, fire support officer and in Psychological Operations for almost 8 years. Collin and his wife, Melissa, co-own Mountainside Family Farms on their 56 acre property in Swannanoa where they are also raising four children.
Melissa George is the co-owner of Mountainside Family Farms in Swannanoa. Melissa and Collin George manage a 56-acre farm in Swannanoa and have partnered with another farm in Virginia to raise grass-fed livestock and poultry in a style that simulates the natural environment. Pastured livestock and poultry are moved frequently to fresh paddocks as they would in nature. George says she is driven to educate people about the benefits of eating fresh foods. A native of Springfield, Ohio, George attended Carson Newman University on a volleyball scholarship and studied elementary education. She married Collin 4 months after he accepted his U.S. Army commission. The couple was initially stationed in Alaska where Melissa taught elementary school. They would later move to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and then Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Melissa says moving around helped them learn to depend on each other. As Collin began a new career after active duty, the couple looked for a small farm to purchase and found 56 acres in Swannanoa. They launched their farm business in 2017 selling grass-fed beef, pork and poultry primarily through buying clubs. Melissa created the business plan and manages the sales, marketing, inventory and accounting. She earned a master’s degree in accounting from Liberty University along the way. Her plans for the future include getting their products into more restaurants. Along with managing the farm, Melissa enjoys reading, cooking and vegetable gardening and spending time with Collin and their four young children.
Melissa George is the co-owner of Mountainside Family Farms in Swannanoa. Melissa and Collin manage a 56-acre farm in Swannanoa raising grass-fed livestock and poultry in a style that simulates the natural environment. They launched their farm business in 2017, and Melissa manages the sales, marketing, inventory and accounting. She attended Carson Newman University on a volleyball scholarship and studied elementary education. She recently earned a master’s degree in accounting from Liberty University. Along with managing the farm, Melissa enjoys reading, cooking and vegetable gardening and spending time with Collin and their four young children.
Ryan Guthy is co-founder and co-owner of Wicked Weed Brewing. A Carolina Day School alumni, Guthy graduated with a business degree from Elon University and spent two years managing operations for the PGA Tour. At the end of 2012, Guthy, along with his parents and two friends, opened Wicked Weed Brewing. He began as restaurant manager, moved on to director of sales, and is now president. In 6 and 1/2 years, Wicked Weed Brewing has grown to 4 locations with 350 employees, 330 local to Asheville and Candler. In addition to the original Brewpub on Biltmore Avenue, Wicked Weed Brewing opened Funkatorium, the east coast’s first sour beer dedicated taproom, Wicked Weed West, a 50-barrel clean production facility and tasting room in Candler, and the Funk House, a sour beer production facility in Arden. Last May, they opened Cultura, a fine-dining restaurant. Guthy says at a young age he learned the importance of giving back to the local community. Since its sale to Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2017, Guthy says Wicked Weed Brewing has donated $2 million dollars to local charities from its ‘Beers that Build’ and Charity of the Month programs, along with personal giving. Local nonprofits receiving donations include Eblen Charities, MANNA FoodBank, Habitat for Humanity Asheville, Haywood Street Congregation, Pisgah Legal Services, YMCA, and many others. Guthy is an avid golfer in his free time, and has tried his hand at home brewing (with mixed results, he says). Guthy and his wife, Jennifer, have two children.
Ryan Guthy is co-founder and co-owner of Wicked Weed Brewing. A Carolina Day School alumni, Ryan graduated from Elon University and spent two years managing operations for the PGA Tour. Ryan and his parents and two friends opened Wicked Weed Brewing in 2012. Since then, the company has grown to 4 locations with 350 employees. Through its charitable giving programs and personal donations, Wicked Weed Brewing has donated $2 million dollars to local charities since 2017. Outside of work, Ryan is an avid golfer. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two children.
Johnson, Rev. Dr. Patrick
Rev. Dr. Patrick Johnson is the senior pastor and head of staff at the First Presbyterian Church in Asheville. He was called to that position in 2015, having served previously at Frenchtown Presbyterian Church in New Jersey and as an adjunct faculty at Princeton Theological Seminary. Johnson says being a pastor allows him to work “at the places where life is most full of meaning and purpose.” At First Presbyterian, Johnson guides and challenges the congregation to build knowledge and engagement around today’s current social issues. Raised in Virginia, he attended the College of William and Mary. He helped out at his local church during school and enjoyed teaching classes and directing the choir. Johnson began to take religious classes and to shift his career direction from government and possibly law school to the seminary. He graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary with a master of divinity degree in 2006. He earned his Ph.D. in practical theology in 2013. In graduate school, Johnson says he expected to have an academic career. Over the course of several years, however, his vocational path led more into pastoral leadership. At a professional level, that required developing a new set of leadership and management skills. Personally, Johnson says he needed to understand himself and the arc of his work in a new way. Listening to the voices of teachers and mentors was key, he says, to identifying where his gifts could best serve others. Johnson and his his wife, Caitlin, have four children. He enjoys his free time playing golf, sailing, hiking and woodworking.
Rev. Dr. Patrick Johnson
Rev. Dr. Patrick Johnson is the senior pastor and head of staff at the First Presbyterian Church in Asheville. He was called to that position in 2015. At First Presbyterian, Patrick guides and challenges the congregation to build knowledge and engagement around today’s current social issues. Raised in Virginia, Patrick attended the College of William and Mary. He graduated with a master’s in divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2006, and earned his Ph.D. in practical theology in 2013. Patrick and his his wife, Caitlin, have four children. He enjoys his free time playing golf, sailing, hiking and woodworking.
Jon Jones is president, CEO and co-founder of Anthroware, a full service creative agency and product studio comprised of designers, engineers and business strategists. Jones leads Anthroware’s business design, innovation, culture and goal setting. He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in applied physics and nanotechnology from Appalachian State. Prior to co-founding Anthroware in 2013, Jones was a corporate software engineer at Borg Warner where he helped develop custom software solutions for the turbocharger testing process. Holding an excellent job in a down economy, Jones took a risk and moved to Public Consulting Group, where he met his business partner. In mid-2013, Anthroware was launched. The company achieved early success when all four of its first four proposals were accepted. Anthroware has grown to 17 full-time employees and achieved 90 percent compound annual growth. His goal is to help Asheville-based Anthroware compete with top creative and product development companies around the world. Jones says he believes that finding his business partner, surrounding himself with a strong team and simply “getting started” were keys to success. Jones says the hardest part of getting started is leaving a comfortable situation and embracing the unknown. He is a founding board member of Hatch AVL Foundation, a local nonprofit that helps high-growth startup companies progress even faster. Through Hatch AVL, Jones coaches entrepreneurs to “dream a lot bigger.” Outside of work, Jones enjoys the outdoors with his wife Carly and two children.
Jon Jones is president and CEO of Anthroware, a creative agency and product studio. He earned his degrees in applied physics and nanotechnology from Appalachian State. Jon was a software engineer at Borg Warner prior to co-founding Anthroware in 2013. Since then, Anthroware has grown to 17 employees and achieved 90 percent compound annual growth. His goal is to help Anthroware compete with top creative and product development companies around the world. Jon is a founding board member of Hatch AVL Foundation helping high-growth startups. Outside of work, Jon enjoys the outdoors with his wife Carly and two children.
Jordan, Dr. Myra
Dr. Myra Jordan is an associate professor of counseling at the Lenoir-Rhyne University Center for Graduate Studies at Asheville. She is also one of the organizers of the university’s Master of Arts in Counseling degree program. Jordan mentors dozens of students each year who will ultimately represent the future of local mental healthcare. Raised in Washington, D.C., the daughter of two ordained ministers, Jordan attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts. The racial diversity of her high school experience influenced the choices she made as she continued her education and began her career. Jordan earned her a bachelor’s degree in sociology and gender studies from Manchester University in Indiana and her master’s in counseling from Sonoma State University in California. Following 2 years working in a residential treatment center, Jordan decided to pursue teaching counseling where she might reach more people through a classroom than one-on-one in counseling. She entered the highly rated Counseling and Counselor Education program at UNC-Greensboro and was awarded her Ph.D. in 2013. Jordan has taught and guest lectured at several universities, including UNC-Greensboro, University of Texas, Oregon State and Virginia Tech prior to becoming an associate professor at Lenoir-Rhyne. She says her background and skills in teaching multi-cultural counseling classes and classes that deal with diversity issues helped her earn her spot at Lenoir-Rhyne. Jordan and her husband, Matt, have two very young children and enjoy food, traveling and the outdoors.
Dr. Myra Jordan
Dr. Myra Jordan is an associate professor of counseling at Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Center for Graduate Studies at Asheville. She helped organize the university’s master’s in counseling program. Myra engages her students through a curriculum that addresses diversity, based on her own multi-cultural experiences. She received her Ph.D. in counseling and counselor education from UNC-Greensboro in 2013 and has taught and lectured at UNC-Greensboro, University of Texas, Oregon State and Virginia Tech prior to accepting the position at Lenoir-Rhyne. Myra and her husband, Matt, have two children and enjoy food, traveling and the outdoors.
Judd, John Jr.
John Judd Jr. is co-owner of Judd Builders, an Asheville builder of custom homes. Judd was born in Anchorage and grew up in Asheville. He graduated from TC Roberson High School and attended Montreat College. Judd started his building career as a teenager working for a custom builder during the summers. Following college, he worked for a large contractor and was promoted to construction superintendent overseeing a team of workers in multiple developments. That position helped Judd hone his leadership skills along with his knowledge of homebuilding. John Judd senior and junior formed a partnership to launch their company when the younger Judd was still in his 20’s. They opened in 2007. Judd says to get through the recession, they had faith, worked hard and sacrificed. Early on, the Judds worked out of their trucks, and then from a rented room over a garage. They now have grown to about 25 employees in their own building in Arden. Judd says he enjoys watching the daily production, seeing a home where nothing existed a few months prior. Judd Builders has grown every year and supports several community nonprofits including Western Carolina Rescue Ministries, Boy Scouts, Youth with a Mission Asheville and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. They also sponsor several youth sports leagues. Judd says for him success is a balancing act, learning to have a happy home life and work life. He enjoys free time with his wife, Sandy, and two children hiking and caring for his horses.
John Judd, Jr.
John Judd Jr. is co-owner of Judd Builders, an Asheville builder of custom homes. He graduated from TC Roberson High and attended Montreat College. John and his father formed Judd Builders when the younger Judd was still in his 20’s in 2007. They now have about 25 employees in their own building in Arden. Judd Builders has grown every year and supports several community nonprofits including Western Carolina Rescue Ministries, Boy Scouts and Youth with a Mission Asheville. He enjoys free time with his wife, Sandy, and two children, hiking and caring for his horses.
Katie Kestner is a physician liaison for 21st Century Oncology in Asheville. She grew up in a small, rural, town in Virginia and studied art history at Radford University. Upon graduation in 2007, Kestner found few jobs in her field. She accepted administrative positions in banking and at a local spa before moving into healthcare in 2010. Kestner says she took any good opportunity that came her way and performed to the best of her ability, even when she know it was not her ‘dream job.’ She says she now has her dream job, working with physicians and patients. Kestner is the race director for the Zero Prostate Cancer Race in Asheville. Now in its fourth year, the race was held at Carrier park on August 24. The Zero Prostate Cancer race is the only men’s health related race series in the country. Kestner leads an all-volunteer team of local Asheville professionals, prostate cancer survivors and care givers. The races have raised more than $200,000 to fund free prostate cancer screenings, advance research and provide assistance to men and families needing support. Kestner also serves as a volunteer for the C.A.R.E. Foundation. The Foundation assists cancer patients with expenses related to their treatment. She coordinates events, plans screenings and attends health fairs. Kestner is a vacation bible school director at Hominy Baptist Church in Candler. She and her husband, Dillon, have two children. Kestner paints and enjoys photographing families and maintaining a blog.
Katie Kestner is a physician liaison for 21st Century Oncology in Asheville. She grew up in rural Virginia and studied art history at Radford University. Katie says she now has her ‘dream job,’ working with physicians and patients. Katie is the race director for the annual Zero Prostate Cancer Race in Asheville. In four years, the races have raised more than $200,000 to fund free prostate cancer screenings. Katie is the vacation bible school director at Hominy Baptist Church in Candler. She and her husband, Dillon, have two children. Katie’s hobbies include painting, photography and maintaining a blog.
Stacey Klimchuk is an elite broker with Ivester Jackson BlackStream. An Asheville native, she graduated from Carolina Day School before accepting a scholarship to Denison University where she competed on the varsity women’s golf team. After graduation, she worked in sports marketing in New York City as a summer intern at ESPN Media Networks, and on an associate rotational program with the National Basketball Association. She returned to Asheville in 2017 to work with a start-up, and early in 2019, she accepted a position with Ivester Jackson BlackStream. Klimchuk says she enjoys “helping people as they make possibly the largest purchase of their lives.” She is using technology to market her business and to provide her clients with tools to help them make sound decisions. Klimchuk serves on the membership committee of Women for Women and is a member of the Junior League of Asheville. She is currently vice president of the European Maccabiah Games held this year in Budapest in July. The Maccabiah Games are the third-largest international sporting event after the Olympics and FIFA World Cup. Klimchuk serves on the Young Leadership Council of the Basser Center for BRCA research, helping young adults stay informed about the latest advances in BRCA-related cancer research. Klimchuk and her husband, Aaron, live in Biltmore Forest with their golden doodle, Bogey. They enjoy golf, hiking and exploring Asheville’s restaurants.
Stacey Klimchuk is an elite broker with Ivester Jackson BlackStream. An Asheville native, she graduated from Carolina Day before attending Denison University on a scholarship. After graduation, she worked in sports marketing in Manhattan before returning to Asheville. Stacey supports Women for Women and is a member of the Junior League of Asheville. She is vice president of the European Maccabiah Games held this year in Budapest. She also serves on the Young Leadership Council of the Basser Center for BRCA research. Stacey and her husband, Aaron, enjoy golf and hiking with their golden doodle, Bogey.
Ryan Krishnan is a senior recruiter on the Dixon Hughes Goodman Search team. DHG Search is an executive search and recruiting service line within the company. His specialty is working with key accounts in the subcontractor sector of the local construction industry. Krishnan has helped DHG Search achieve 7 percent year-over-year growth, in addition to 40 percent last year alone. Earlier this year, Krishnan was published in one of the leading industry magazines, and he represented DHG as a speaker at a national construction conference. Originally from Utah where he graduated from Weber State University with a degree in technical sales, Krishnan came to Asheville “looking for a guitar.” With family already living here, he stayed. Prior to DHG, Krishnan spent 10 years as a market leader at Kimmel & Associates recruiting throughout the northeast U.S. Krishnan has worked in the construction industry since he was 12 years old when he spent 4 years learning to build houses. Mentoring, he says, has been key to his success, which he defines as “finding out how to get the most out of yourself or your team, and giving it.” In the past, Krishnan was a certified juggler and snowboard instructor. He has attended his church for over a decade, serves as an elder and recently was ordained as a Christian pastor. A music lover, he played in a rock band in Utah, and now plays guitar for his church band. Krishnan and his wife, Meredith, enjoy entertaining and cooking, especially Indian food.
(school is PRONOUNCED WEE-BUR)
Ryan Krishnan is a senior associate on the Dixon Hughes Goodman Search team. He works with key accounts in the subcontractor sector of the local construction industry. Ryan has helped DHG Search achieve significant growth and increase market share. This year, he represented DHG as a speaker at a national conference. Originally from Utah, Ryan graduated from Weber State University and relocated to Asheville to join family. He serves as an elder at his church and plays guitar in the church band. Ryan was recently ordained a Christian pastor. Ryan and his wife, Meredith, enjoy entertaining and cooking, especially Indian food.
Mandy Kutschied was the director of human resources at Warren Wilson College until Sept. 1. She recently accepted a new position in her field. An HR professional with over 9 years of experience, Kutschied says she has a strong passion for diversity, equity, inclusion work and employee training. In 2007, Kutschied and her husband, Ben, came to Asheville on vacation. It would take ten years before they finally moved here. In 2017 she accepted a position at Warren Wilson College and was a leader on the president’s cabinet. While at Warren Wilson, Kutschied introduced several new procedures to help the HR department, and the school, operate more effectively. These included implementing the first online candidate tracking system in the college’s history, which improved candidate communication and aligned compliance issues. She also created a new staff and faculty evaluation system. Born in New Mexico, she grew up in Minnesota and graduated from St. Olaf College with a concentration in theater. She worked part-time doing human resources work in St. Paul and found the work was interesting to her. Prior to arriving in Asheville, Kutschied was the HR manager for the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul. Kutschied volunteers with the WNC Diversity Coalition. She also volunteers at the Verner and ArtSpace schools. This year she created a week-long summer theater camp in her home for children whose parents were in need of childcare. Kutschied enjoys local theater, hiking and traveling with her husband and two children.
Mandy Kutschied was the director of human resources at Warren Wilson College. This month, she accepted a new position in her field. At Warren Wilson, Mandy was a leader on the president’s cabinet and introduced new procedures to help the school operate more effectively. Mandy grew up in Minnesota and graduated from St. Olaf College. Prior to arriving in Asheville, she was the HR manager for the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul. Mandy volunteers with the western North Carolina Diversity Coalition and at the Verner and ArtSpace schools. She and her husband, Ben, have two children.
Brandon Maynard is director of food and beverage for Capella on 9, AC Hotel Asheville’s rooftop restaurant and bar. Maynard’s responsibilities include everything related to the culinary experiences within the hotel and rooftop bar. His culinary career started at age 16 when he was a food runner at a fish camp. In the recent past, in Greensboro, he was the lead line cook at the Marriott and assistant food and beverage director at the Doubletree before becoming executive sous chef at the Embassy Suites and Homewood Suites, properties that totaled 310 rooms and 22,000 square feet of banquet space. After high school, Maynard attended San Diego State University majoring in journalism. He took a part-time job in a breakfast restaurant, and before long, he was asking for more shifts while focusing less on school. He left San Diego to attend Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh and receive his formal culinary training. Maynard accepted a graduate externship at the Marriott Marquis in Time Square and hoped to stay in New York City. Maynard says the cost of living and quality of life for many chefs in New York City is difficult. He chose instead to bring his knowledge and training from New York City back to North Carolina. Outside of work, Maynard spends time with his girlfriend, Mikal, and restores 1990’s BMWs. Over the past two years, he restored a 1996 BMW Z3 convertible.
Brandon Maynard is director of food and beverage for Capella on 9, AC Hotel Asheville’s rooftop restaurant and bar. His culinary career started as a food runner at a fish camp at 16. Brandon graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh. He lived and worked in New York City before bringing his knowledge and training back to North Carolina. Brandon held several positions with hotels in Greensboro prior to moving here. Outside of work, Brandon spends time with his girlfriend, Mikal, and restores 1990’s BMWs.
Molly Maynard is a staff attorney with Pisgah Legal Services. She has served this community for seven and a half years and helped more than 1,500 low-income individuals and families in crisis. Maynard specializes in landlord/tenant law and consumer protection. Through negotiations with landlords and tenants, as well as in court, she has assisted hundreds of families avoid eviction and homelessness and helped families save their homes from foreclosure. As the Children’s Law Project director, Maynard is involved in helping low-income families have greater access to childcare and affordable housing. She also trains and mentors local private attorney volunteers who support Pisgah Legal’s low-income clients. On the administrative side, she manages Pisgah Legal’s case management system. Maynard was described as “a brilliant attorney who gives a piece of her heart to her clients.” Maynard says that win or loose, her clients know that somebody fought for them. The Wilmington, North Carolina, native was a literature major at UNC Chapel Hill prior to attending law school there. During her undergraduate years, she was named to Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society. Maynard comes from a family who serves the community. Her father is a legal services attorney and her mother works for a nonprofit. Maynard says she enjoyed mountain biking and yoga in the recent past, but presently her time outside of work is spent with her husband Yonton and two very young children.
Molly Maynard is a staff attorney with Pisgah Legal Services. She has served this community for seven and a half years and helped more than 1,500 low-income individuals and families in crisis. Through negotiations and in court, Molly has assisted hundreds of families avoid eviction and homelessness. Molly is director of the Children’s Law Project, helping low-income families find childcare and housing. The Wilmington, North Carolina, native earned a bachelor’s degree from UNC Chapel Hill prior to attending law school there. Molly spends her time outside of work with her husband, Yonton, and two very young children.
Ben Mitchell is the vice president of administration for Biltmore Property Group. He serves the company and its affiliates as counsel. A Georgia native, Mitchell grew up in a family of contractors. He challenged himself to leave home and attend the University of Texas, and he became the first male in his family to graduate from college. He returned to Georgia to attend Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law. While there, he was chosen by the Dean to interview faculty candidates. In 2011, Mitchell accepted a position in Charlotte and settled there with his wife, Catherine, an Asheville native. Mitchell says the job was not fulfilling to him, and he took a position in Columbia, South Carolina, working for an affiliate of Biltmore Property Group. Mitchell logged 30,000 miles in his car commuting from Charlotte to Columbia for a year and another 30,000 from Charlotte to Asheville before relocating his family here. Mitchell describes his career as simply “trying to make two good decisions in a row.” Mitchell says he is teaching his two young sons that every job has meaning and to conduct themselves as gentlemen. Outside of work, he serves on the board of the Historic Biltmore Village Partnership and the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County. He is active with the Asheville Chamber and commissioner of the Historic Resources Commissions of Asheville & Buncombe County.
Ben Mitchell is the vice president of administration for Biltmore Property Group. . He serves the company and its affiliates as counsel. A Georgia native, Ben graduated from University of Texas and Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law. He worked as a legal researcher in Charlotte prior to coming to Asheville. Ben serves on the board of the Historic Biltmore Village Partnership and the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County. He is active with the Asheville Chamber and commissioner of the Historic Resources Commission. Ben and his wife, Catherine, have two children.
Alaina Nelson is a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Asheville. Born in the Philippines to Air Force parents, Nelson grew up in Pensacola, Florida. Upon graduation from the University of West Florida, she spent her early career years in Colorado in college admissions and education. While there, she earned her master’s degree in psychology. A company merger resulted in Nelson’s team being eliminated. At that point, Nelson says she relied on her grandfather’s advice to “make good choices,” and determined to find work where she had more control over her career. An interest in finance led her to Edward Jones, and the desire to live in a smaller city led her to Asheville. She recently opened her own Edward Jones office in east Asheville. Nelson says getting to know her clients, finding unique solutions for them and earning their trust is what she finds most rewarding in her profession. She is growing her business through networking, referrals and word-of-mouth. She defines success as “using my expertise to add value to people’s lives.” Nelson actively participates with local nonprofits. She sits on the boards of directors of the YWCA and Blue West Opportunities. She is a member of the Children’s Welfare League and serves on the Development Committee for the Friends of the WNC Nature Center. Nelson plans to continue to to grow her business and enjoy Asheville with her husband, Brett, and their two rescue dogs.
Alaina Nelson is a financial advisor with Edward Jones. After graduation from the University of West Florida, she moved to Colorado to work in higher education and earn her master’s degree. An interest in finance led her to Edward Jones, and the desire to live in a smaller city led her to Asheville. Alaina sits on the boards of the YWCA and Blue West Opportunities. She is active with the Children’s Welfare League and WNC Nature Center. Alaina spends her free time enjoying Asheville with her husband, Brett, and their two rescue dogs.
Shane Nickle is a distribution technician for New Belgium Brewing. Using the company’s remote inventory system, Nickle acts as the Asheville distribution center’s point of sale coordinator. Prior to New Belgium, Nickle spent 12 years with Target, working his way up to team leader in Charleston. Raised in Florence, South Carolina, Nickle attended Francis Marion University for two years. At the same time, he was singing in a local band. Nickle left to tour with the band. In 2007 the band was living in Charleston when tragedy struck. The members broke up soon after. Nickle found another band for a while, but decided to move to Asheville, a city he had visited earlier. He attended Blue Ridge Community College’s Craft Beer Academy before being hired by New Belgium as point-of-sale coordinator for its Asheville Brewery, managing beer, product and display inventory distribution primarily to states east of the Mississippi. Nickle works early morning hours and finishes in the afternoon. He uses that schedule to volunteer locally. Nickle supports the United Way Homework Diners program for middle schoolers, builds storm windows with the Energy Savers Network, works with Habitat for Humanity and volunteers in the warehouse at MANNA FoodBank. Since 2016, he has visited 11 countries. Some of his trips have been made to help underserved people. He is currently planning a volunteer trip to Cusco, Peru, to rebuild homes. Nickle and his partner, Rene, are animal lovers and currently have four dogs and one cat.
Shane Nickle is a distribution technician for New Belgium Brewing. Previously, he spent 12 years with Target in Asheville and Charleston. Shane left college to tour with his band and moved to Asheville when they broke up. He attended Blue Ridge Community College’s Craft Beer Academy before he was hired by New Belgium. Shane supports several nonprofits including United Way’s Homework Diner, Energy Savers Network, MANNA FoodBank and Habitat for Humanity. Shane is currently planning a trip to Cusco, Peru, to rebuild homes. Shane and his partner, Rene, are animal lovers and currently have four dogs and one cat.
Jennifer Nicolaisen is the executive director and co-founder of SeekHealing, an Asheville-based nonprofit using a novel protocol for treating addiction and fighting the opioid overdose crisis. SeekHealing offers a program based on the importance of communication and human social connection in addiction recovery. A 501(c) 3 nonprofit, Nicolaisen says SeekHealing is the first non-residential program to treat addiction at the community level. A graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, she studied linguistics and Chinese and also speaks French and Spanish. While many of her classmates stayed in academia after graduation, Nicolaisen accepted a statistics position with a consulting firm in Washington, D.C. working in the energy and mining industries. She was living a very comfortable lifestyle when her life took a dramatic turn. At 28 years old, a former school friend overdosed on heroin. When the friend was strong enough to communicate, Nicolaisen was the first person she called. “I stayed on the phone all day with her, knowing if nothing changed she would die.” Nicolaisen said treatment is just the start of the recovery process. After treatment, addicts need a safe place to build new habits. Nicolaisen left her consulting job, and with 3 others, launched a pilot program in March, 2018. The demand for its services was immediate, and Nicolaisen says SeekHealing is working toward a sustainable budget to continue its work. Nicolaisen is also a ceremony guide, minister, and relationship coach. She spends her free time connecting with her partners and friends, practicing yoga and exploring the trails in Pisgah National Forest.
Jennifer Nicolaisen is the executive director and co-founder of SeekHealing, an Asheville-based nonprofit offering a novel approach to addiction recovery. It offers recovering addicts a safe place to build new habits. A graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, she studied linguistics and Chinese and also speaks French, and Spanish. Jennifer worked as a statistician for a consulting firm in Washington, D.C. prior to getting into the recovery field, initially to support a friend with a heroin addiction. Jennifer spends her free time with her partner, Joshua, and friends practicing yoga and exploring the trails of Pisgah National Forest.
Shannon Paris is the marketing director for Keller Williams Realty in Biltmore Village, ‘Asheville’s Dream Team.’ She began her real estate career in 2005 and has held a variety of roles, including office manager and independent agent. Paris describes herself as a “serial networker.” She says that has been key to building her business. Last year, she took on the role of marketing director for Keller Williams. In that position, she plans and executes events, handles print and social media marketing, and nurtures relationships built with local businesses. Paris’ marketing initiatives and networking skills have helped grow her company’s sphere in the short time she has taken over her new responsibilities. The adoption of her hound, Sookie, was the start of her volunteer activities with the Asheville and Haywood Humane Societies. She is a leadership circle member with the Asheville Humane Society. As a broker, Paris donated a percentage of her commissions to the organization. She is also a member of the Rotary Club of Asheville and the Asheville Chamber. A native of Pinehurst, Paris earned her bachelor’s degree from Gardner-Webb University and a master’s of entrepreneurship from Western Carolina University. Paris moderates a social media group called “Young at Heart Professionals,” helping match job opportunities with local candidates. Outside of work and volunteer initiatives, Paris enjoys singing karaoke and taking trips to Disney World. She and her husband, Brandon, have been married for 15 years.
Shannon Paris has been in real estate since 2005. She is currently the marketing director for Keller Williams Realty in Biltmore Village. A native of Pinehurst, she received her bachelor’s degree from Gardner-Webb University and master’s of entrepreneurship from Western Carolina University. Shannon is a member of the Rotary Club of Asheville and a leadership circle member with the Asheville Humane Society. Outside of work and volunteer initiatives, Shannon enjoys singing karaoke and visiting Disney World. She and her husband, Brandon, have been married for 15 years.
Jill Queen is an assistant vice president and mortgage loan officer at HomeTrust Bank, with headquarters in Asheville. A native of Winston-Salem, she ran cross country and track in high school, including earning a spot her freshman year on the school’s state championship team. Queen graduated from UNC Asheville. She acquired leadership experience there as a senior class board member and Student Management Association member. She started her banking career in 2010 as a teller before she was promoted to loan processing and then loan origination. Queen says the fast pace of mortgage lending, being in front of different people every day and paying attention to details are reasons she enjoys the work. Each year her business has grown, and in 2018, Queen helped 81 households move into their homes. Since 2015, Queen has served on the board of directors for OnTrack Financial Education and Counseling of western North Carolina, a program that helps people learn to build their credit, save for a home, create a budget, pay down debt and avoid foreclosure. OnTrack also offers matching funds as participants start to create emergency savings accounts. She is vice president of the Southside Chapter of Business Networking International of western North Carolina. Outside of work, Queen hikes and camps with her husband, Robert, and three children.
Jill Queen is an assistant vice president and mortgage loan officer at HomeTrust Bank. A native of Winston-Salem, she graduated from UNC Asheville. Jill started her banking career in 2010 as a teller before she was promoted to loan processing and then loan origination. In 2018, Jill helped 81 households move into their homes. Jill serves on the board of OnTrack Financial Education and Counseling of western North Carolina, and is vice president of the Southside Chapter of Business Networking International of western North Carolina. Outside of work, Jill hikes and camps with her husband, Robert, and three children.
Erin Renwick is a project manager with Vannoy Construction. At a young age, she has earned the opportunity to be the lead project manager for the new $50 million Hendersonville High School project. A native of northwest Indiana, she attended college at the University of North Alabama where she studied interior design and played volleyball. After three years in the design industry in Florida, she says she “took a leap of faith” and switched career direction to construction management. Renwick returned to Indiana and secured a job with Walsh Construction. Over the past 14 years, she has worked on construction projects ranging from $40,000 to $400 million around the U.S., including the expansion of Raleigh-Durham International Airport and the construction of an FBI building in Hawaii. Renwick says she was fortunate to find a permanent home for her family in Asheville. She was the third person hired into Vannoy’s Asheville office. She says that she enjoys being a woman in construction project management, a predominately male industry. “I don’t see panic or confusion in their eyes when I walk in a room now,” she says. She adds that women in this industry often bring different skills and talents that complement their male counterparts. Renwick supports local professional women’s organizations and women seeking nontraditional professions. Renwick spends her time off enjoying the local community with her husband, Brent, and two children, Samantha and Sawyer.
Erin Renwick is a project manager with Vannoy Construction. At a young age, she has earned the opportunity to be the lead project manager for the new $50 million Hendersonville High School project. Erin graduated from the University of North Alabama where she studied interior design and played volleyball. She began her career in design but soon moved into construction. Over the past 14 years, she has worked on projects ranging from $40,000 to $400 million. Erin spends her time off enjoying the local community with her husband, Brent, and children Samantha and Sawyer.
Riley, Dr. Erin
Dr. Erin Riley is a chiropractor with Radius Chiropractic. A native of western North Carolina, she attended UNC Chapel Hill on a nursing scholarship. Riley says that during her time studying anatomy, physiology and neurology, her interest in the human body shifted in the direction of helping people heal naturally. She graduated with a degree in biology and psychology and continued her studies in chiropractic care at Life University in Georgia. Riley says that “chiropractic chose me.” She graduated as salutatorian of her class, and the next week began working for a large practice in Atlanta. Earlier this year, Riley returned to Asheville to work with Radius Chiropractic. She says the move was a “leap of faith,” but she has learned to trust her instincts. In her short time at Radius, she has already held an event that focused on promoting women’s health and wellness. She describes herself as a “hope dealer,” helping individuals overcome health obstacles naturally. While she serves all ages, she is especially interested in working with pregnant mothers and children and has earned advance certification through the International Pediatric Chiropractic Association. Riley is certified in Torque Release Technique, a highly researched chiropractic method. Each week, she and her team serve hundreds of individuals in the community. She has plans to provide chiropractic care to underserved populations through a local nonprofit. Outside of the office, Riley plays volleyball, canoes on the French Board and hikes with her rescue dog, Dean.
Dr. Erin Riley
Dr. Erin Riley is a chiropractor with Radius Chiropractic. From Hickory, she attended UNC Chapel Hill on a nursing scholarship. During the course of her studies, Erin’s interest in the human body shifted toward natural healing. She continued her studies at Life University of Chiropractic in Georgia and worked for an Atlanta practice. Early this year she returned to Asheville to work for Radius. Erin says she is a “hope dealer,” helping individuals overcome obstacles naturally. She has a particular interest in pregnant mothers and children. Erin enjoys volleyball, canoeing and hiking with her rescue dog, Dean.
Gregory Robel is the chief technology officer for Vistanet Telecommunications., Inc., a position he has held since 2013. He was instrumental in converting the company to an Internet Telephone Service Provider (ITSP). Robel developed and installed processes to streamline installations of phone service, developed a product catalog, pricing structure, ticketing platform and website redesign. Born in Maryland, his family moved to Asheville in 2003. Robel graduated from Mars Hill College and went on to Christ the Saviour Seminary in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, to study theology and liturgical rubrics. Robel is very active in the Carpatho-Rusyn Society, helping to perpetuate the living heritage of the Rusyn people, eastern Europeans who are not associated with a country. Robel uses his technology skills to set up and coordinate video-conferencing to allow people around the world to participate in webinars. One nominator said Robel is “able to both honor his past and embrace the future” by understanding the importance of the traditions of his faith while looking forward to the advances of technology. Robel recently restarted a chapter of a national religious organization in Mills River and serves as president. The chapter is associated with St. Anthony the Great Orthodox Mission of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of America. Robel supports the Asheville Chamber and Fletcher Area Business Association. His hobbies include working with computer hardware, building networks and following the Redskins and Orioles. In the future, Robel hopes to become an ordained priest in his religion.
Greg Robel is the chief technology officer for Vistanet Telecommunications. Greg developed and installed processes to streamline phone service and convert the company to an Internet Telephone Service Provider. A Mars Hill graduate, Greg attended Christ the Saviour Seminary in Pennsylvania. He is active in the Carpatho-Rusyn Society, helping to perpetuate the living heritage of the Rusyn people. Greg uses his technology skills to set up video-conferencing where people around the world can participate in webinars. He is active with the Asheville Chamber and Fletcher Area Business Association. In the future, Greg hopes to become an ordained priest.
Michaela Schmidlin is an entertainment and events programmer for The Biltmore Company. She is the lead project manager for Christmas at Biltmore, the estate’s largest seasonal series of events. Now in her fifth year at Biltmore, Schmidlin manages the project and team of Biltmore employees who create an “enchanting experience” for Biltmore guests. Planning starts in the summer, and Christmas at Biltmore begins with the Banquet Hall Tree Raising Day in November. That event alone attracts about 4,000 guests. Schmidlin also manages Biltmore Blooms and the annual Easter Egg Hunt. Schmidlin says her goal is to elevate an already great experience for Biltmore guests. Outside of the estate, Schmidlin scouts new events appropriate for The Biltmore Company. She was the liaison for ‘Summer of Glass,’ a collaboration between local glass artists and Explore Asheville that coincided with Chihuly at Biltmore, an exhibit that featured the work of renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. Growing up in Columbia, South Carolina, she graduated from Syracuse University. Schmidlin later earned her master’s degree in project management from Western Carolina University. She is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and earned advanced certification from the International Wine Center, both in New York City, where she and her husband, Matthew, lived for several years. Schmidlin says they took a risk moving to Asheville, and it has paid off. As a volunteer, she supported Feast Asheville for 3 years, two as board member. Schmidlin and Matthew have a young son.
Michaela Schmidlin is an entertainment and events programmer for The Biltmore Company. She is lead project manager for Christmas at Biltmore and coordinates Biltmore Blooms and the Easter Egg Hunt. Michaela was the liaison between Asheville glass artists and Explore Asheville for ‘Summer of Glass,’ a series of local events that coincided with Chihuly at Biltmore. From Columbia, South Carolina, Michaela graduated from Syracuse University and earned her master’s degree from Western Carolina. Michaela and her husband, Matthew, moved from New York City to Asheville, a risk that she says has paid off. Michaela and Matthew have a young son.
Allison Schmidt is the director of catering for McKibbon Hospitality. She handles the catering department and oversees private, corporate and social events at AC Hotel Asheville Downtown, Aloft Asheville and the new Kimpton Hotel Arras. She joined the team in late 2016 as sales and catering manager and was recently promoted to director of catering. Schmidt brings 18 years of food service and hospitality experience to her job at McKibbon Hospitality. Her responsibilities range from forecasting and budgeting to creating menus and training. Schmidt studied hotel and restaurant management at Auburn University. She began her career in Chicago focusing on member-owned private country clubs where she managed operations and events. She completed two internships and managed 3 other clubs prior to coming to Asheville in 2011. While searching for jobs in her field here, she accepted a sales position with Coca-Cola Bottling Company, serving over 950 accounts in the area. In 2013 she secured a position with The Biltmore Company as a conference services manager and moved back into hospitality. There, Schmidt managed group events for the Estate, including food & beverage, lodging, transportation, tours and outdoor activities. Schmidt and her team at McGibbon Hospitality volunteer with local nonprofits. This year they organized a book drive for the North Carolina Literacy Association, made dog treats for the ASPCA Rehabilitation Center and worked with Homeward Bound to provide a move-in service for the community. Schmidt and her husband, Jake, have 3 ‘four-legged children’ - Tater, Roux and Storm.
Allison Schmidt is the director of catering for McKibbon Hospitality. She oversees all of the private, corporate and social events at AC Hotel Asheville Downtown, Aloft Asheville and the new Kimpton Hotel Arras. Allison joined the team in 2016 and brings 18 years of food service and hospitality experience to her job at McKibbon. An Auburn University alumna, she worked for the Biltmore Company prior to McKibbon. This year, her team has found several ways to serve the community, including organizing a book drive for the North Carolina Literacy Association. Allison and her husband Jake have 3 dogs.
Whitney Whitson is a senior relationship manager at Wells Fargo Bank. As a business relationship manager, Whitson supports the financial needs of local businesses. Whitson was a home-schooled student, and she graduated from high school at age 16. She immediately entered Haywood Community College to begin college work, and she transferred shortly thereafter to AB-Tech. Supporting herself and paying tuition, Whitson held five jobs while attending AB-Tech. The challenges of finding affordable housing and paying tuition resulted in her being homeless for 10 months and living in her car. Whitson made it through, but she says the experience has helped her guide clients and secure her own financial future. From AB-Tech, she continued her education at East Carolina University where she earned her bachelor’s degree and MBA. Whitson began her banking career at HomeTrust Bank in 2012 as a commercial loan servicing specialist, assisting 3 commercial lenders. Whitson’s job performance led to opportunities with a larger bank, and she accepted a position with First Bank as a regional credit analyst and was promoted to treasury management officer II. In 2017, she moved to Wells Fargo. Whitson is actively involved with several local organizations and currently serves as a board member of the AB-Tech Foundation. She has a particular interest in affordable housing. Whitson and her husband, Nathan, have been married for 8 years. On weekends, they enjoy visiting local restaurants, watching a play or movie, hiking, golfing or attending local events.
Whitney Whitson is a senior relationship manager at Wells Fargo Bank, supporting the financial needs of local businesses. Whitney was a home-schooled student and graduated from high school at age 16. She immediately entered community college and subsequently earned her bachelor’s degree and MBA from East Carolina University. Whitney began her banking career at HomeTrust Bank and later moved to First Bank before accepting a position with Wells Fargo. She is currently a board member of the AB-Tech Foundation. Whitney and her husband, Nathan, enjoy local restaurants, hiking and playing golf.
Lindsey Yemc is a registered and licensed dietician with Nutritious Thoughts. She is also its media coordinator. Nutritious Thoughts is a team of dietitians specializing in eating disorder recovery. Yemc grew up near Pittsburgh and came to North Carolina through a parental job transfer. Yemc earned her bachelor’s degree in human nutrition and dietetics at UNC-Greensboro and completed her master’s degree at Appalachian State. Yemc says completing her graduate work was the smartest, and hardest, thing she has ever done, and it required a big leap of faith. She is a professional member of the Carolina Resource Center for Eating Disorders. Yemc regularly leads eating disorder recovery support groups as well as nutrition education groups for substance use disorder recovery at local treatment center Real Recovery. She is pursuing her eating disorder specialty certification through the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals. Yemc says she knew from a young age she would work in a profession that helped people and it is gratifying when she sees growth and healing in a client. Yemc also says that approaching her clients with patience, compassion and warmth matters and is essential in creating an environment where recovery can thrive. Outside of work, Yemc enjoys all forms of art, but particularly mixed media and photography. She also enjoys spending time outdoors with her dog, Zola.
Lindsey Yemc is a registered and licensed dietician with Nutritious Thoughts. Nutritious Thoughts is a team of dietitians specializing in eating disorder recovery. Lindsey earned her bachelor’s degree in human nutrition and dietetics at UNC-Greensboro and her master’s degree at Appalachian State. She leads eating disorder recovery support groups as well as nutrition education groups for substance use disorder recovery. Lindsey is currently pursuing her eating disorder specialty certification. Outside of work, Lindsey enjoys all forms of art, but particularly mixed media and photography. She also enjoys spending time outdoors with her dog, Zola.