January 26, 2023
Briefly describe your role at Golden LEAF.
I am a Program Officer that is primarily involved in the Disaster Recovery and Flood Mitigation programs. I also support Golden LEAF with audio/video (AV) needs for both staff and Board meetings.
Describe yourself in three words.
Easy-going, dedicated, trustworthy.
What’s your favorite part of your job and why?
I get to help towns, counties, and nonprofits recover from previous disasters or plan to prevent future damages. As a part of this job, I learn about the flooding and hurricane history of different areas throughout the state, which helps me better understand the many challenges that rural communities face. Being able to play a role in the recovery and planning process for these communities is what I love most about my job because I know Golden LEAF’s help in these areas allows rural communities to focus efforts on other pressing needs.
What is your biggest work-related accomplishment within the last year?
I have two major accomplishments to share. Over the past year, Golden LEAF received funding for, researched, and launched the Flood Mitigation Program. I participated in the process of the creation of the program. I’m grateful that I was able to provide input and feedback to get such an important program started. Now, I am seeing projects come to fruition, which truly has been a rewarding experience. The second accomplishment is my involvement with the audio/visual production of Board meetings. Since 2020, Golden LEAF has transitioned to hybrid Board meetings, like many other organizations. Experimenting with and finding the best sound system for our meetings has been a major accomplishment. I was able to help Golden LEAF ensure board members, staff, and other participants listening in can be as involved with the meetings as if they were in the room.
What is your favorite pastime outside of work?
I have three pastimes that I truly enjoy because they all involve spending time with my friends and family. Growing up as an only child, I played a lot of videogames and that joy has stayed with me all my life. I have played fantasy sports since my college roommates got me involved in fantasy football, and I share this love with as many groups as I can. Lastly, I love being a “pet-parent.” My wife, Madison, and I love spending time with our two dogs Renny, the “sweet potato,” and Leo, our “little gremlin.”
What motivates you to support long-term economic development in rural, tobacco-dependent, and economically distressed communities?
Growing up in rural North Carolina, I’ve been able to see and experience firsthand the different obstacles experienced by rural communities. In my small town, we always had what we needed, but there were still plenty of challenges. For me, long-term economic development will help rural N.C. be better prepared and able to adjust to the different challenges it will experience. This is what motivates me – to be in a position where I can directly help rural communities. With the increased resources from economic development entities like Golden LEAF, rural communities are in a stronger position to be prepared for future challenges and will have the capacity and resources to expand and grow.