WNC Communities Leadership

BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Fiscal Year End 6.30.2023

Chair: Jimmy Cowan, District Field Representative of NC Farm Bureau Federation

Immediate Past Chair: Dean Kanipe, McDowell County

First Vice Chair:  Karen Hammett, Haywood County

Second Vice Chair: Craig DeBrewHenderson County

Treasurer:  Bill Yarborough, Haywood County

Secretary:  Jeffery Owen, Attorney, McGuire, Wood & Bissette

President:  K. Ray Bailey, Buncombe County

Vice President:  L.T. Ward, Buncombe County

Chivous Bradley, Rutherford County

Edie Cecil, Buncombe County

Lumpy Lambert, General Manager, Harrahs Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel 

Laura Leatherwood, President of Blue Ridge Community College

Joey Owle, Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, EBCI

Bruce Peterson, Buncombe County

Harris Prevost, Vice President of Grandfather Mountain

Kaleb Rathbone, Assistant Commissioner, Western NC Agricultural Programs and Small Farms, NCDA&CS

Randy Rogers, Haywood County

Zeb Smathers, Mayor of the City of Canton

Shelley White, President of Haywood Community College

Roger Wiggins, Jackson County

Ross Young, Madison County


  • W. Louis Bissette Jr., McGuire, Wood & Bissette
  • F. Ed Broadwell, Buncombe County
  • E. Charles Dyson, Bladen County
  • Jacob F. Grigg, Madison County
  • Sam H. McGuirt Jr., Henderson County
  • Richard B. Wynne, Henderson County


Executive Director:  Jennifer Ferre

Director of Community and Agricultural Programs:  Terri Wells

Community Programs Coordinator: Susan Garrett

Agricultural Programs Coordinator: Dana Brown

Scholarship Coordinator: Abigail Parker

Director of Hemlock Restoration Initiative: Margot Wallston

Accounting:  Amy Tipps




In Memory…

WNC Communities has been fortunate to have great leadership through the years in two of our region’s finest, Morris L. “Mac” McGough and Patricia Brinkley Shulimson.  Please see their dedication pages to learn how we continue to honor their lives and contributions to our mountain home.