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Roberts, Lee Harris

leeroberts2Feb. 19, 2015

Lee Harris Roberts, Budget Director State of North Carolina

On Wednesday, August 6, 2014, Governor Pat McCrory appointed Lee Roberts State Budget Director. The state’s budget director oversees the development of the spending and revenue plan the governor presents to the N.C. General Assembly. The plan recently agreed upon by both legislative chambers totals more than $21 billion.

 

Roberts, 45, is the former managing director of Piedmont Community Bank Holdings in Raleigh and also served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of VantageSouth Bancshares. Roberts also founded a real estate investment and advisory firm called Coley Capital and has worked for Morgan Stanley & Co., Cherokee Investment Partners and as an associate with Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.

 

Roberts grew up in the Washington, D.C., area, earned a degree in political science from Duke University, then a law degree from Georgetown University. He has lived in Raleigh for eight years. He is on the board of Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and has also served on the Board of Trustees for the Ravenscroft School and is vice president of the Duke Alumni Association.

Ross, Thomas W.

tom20rossJanuary 9, 2012

President University of North Carolina

Thomas W. Ross became President of the 17-campus University of North Carolina on January 1, 2011.  Born and raised in Greensboro, N.C., he holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Davidson College (1972) and graduated with honors from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law (1975).

 

After a short stint as an Assistant Professor of Public Law and Government at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Government, Ross joined the Greensboro law firm of Smith Patterson Follin Curtis James & Harkavy in 1976.  He left the firm in 1982 to serve as chief of staff in the Washington, D.C., office of U.S. Congressman Robin Britt.  The following year, at the age of 33, Ross was appointed to fill a vacancy on the North Carolina Superior Court.  He held the position for the next 17 years.

 

From his vantage point on the bench, Ross witnessed first-hand a state justice system beleaguered by uneven sentencing and a fast-growing prison population.  In 1990, North Carolina’s Chief Justice tapped him to lead a new Sentencing and Policy Advisory Committee.  Over the next two years, this panel of judges, lawyers, legislators, law enforcement officers, and citizens devised a structured sentencing system that would toughen sentences for violent crimes and repeat offenses, while increasing community-based alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenses.  Adopted by the NC General Assembly in 1993, the new system has become a model for similar programs nationwide.

 

In 1999, Ross was appointed director of the state’s Administrative Office of the Courts.  Over the next two years, he led efforts to improve the management of the court system and advocated for additional resources.  In 2001, he left the bench to serve as executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, a Winston-Salem-based philanthropic organization devoted to improving the lives of the people of North Carolina.  During his seven-year tenure at Z. Smith Reynolds, (2001-2007), the foundation awarded about $20 million annually to non-profit groups focused on community economic development, democracy and civic engagement, the environment, pre-college education, and social justice.  Ross stepped down in 2007 to return to Davidson as its President, serving in that role until he assumed leadership of UNC.

 

Active in civic and community activities, Ross currently serves on the Board of Governors of the Center for Creative Leadership, advisory boards for the NC Humanities Council and the NC State University Institute for Emerging Issues, and the honorary Board of Directors of the Conservation Trust of North Carolina.  A former chairman of the UNC Greensboro Board of Trustees, he has previously served on the Boards of Visitors for UNCG, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest University.  In addition, he has served on the boards of Davidson College, the North Carolina New Schools Project, the Kenan Institute for the Arts, the Institute of Government Foundation, the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law Alumni Foundation, the Wake Forest Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.

 

Ross has received numerous awards and accolades for his vast public service and professional achievements.  His many contributions to the judicial system have been recognized through the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence (2000), given annually to one state judge in the nation; Governing Magazine’s National Public Official of the Year Award (1994); the Foundation for the Improvement of Justice Award (1995); the NC Academy of Trial Lawyers Trial Judge of the Year Award (1996); the American Society of Criminology President’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Justice (2007); the NC Justice Center Defenders of Justice Award (2008); and the NC Bar Association Citizen Lawyer Award (2010).  He has been honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards from Davidson (2001) and the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law (2005) and holds an honorary doctorate from UNCG.  In addition, he has received the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award (1993), the National Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Eagle Scout Award (1999), and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine (1999).

 

Ross has been married since 1972 to Susan Donaldson Ross, a graduate of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education and a former executive director of the Greensboro Bar Association.  They have two adult children.

Royal, Walter

June 28, 2012

Head Chef, The Angus Barn 

Chef Walter Royal, Jr. was born on May 18, 1957 in Eclectic, Alabama to Ida Mae and Walter J. Royal. At the age of fourteen, Royal knew he wanted to cook professionally. However, his parents dissuaded him, unsure of how successful he would be as a black chef. In1974, Royal attended LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia, where he graduated with his B.S. degree in psychology. In 1980, he graduated from Auburn University with his M.S. degree in psychology. After working with mentally disabled children for five years, Royal enrolled in a nine-month program at Nathalie Dupree’s Cooking School in Atlanta, Georgia in 1983. After graduating from the cooking program, he was hired as a sous-chef at the Fearrington House restaurant in Pittsboro, North Carolina. There he worked under acclaimed chef Edna Lewis. In 1986, Royal was hired as a chef at the Magnolia Grill in Durham, North Carolina before becoming the executive chef and co-owner of the Crescent Café. In 1995, Royal was hired as the executive chef of the award-winning steakhouse The Angus Barn in Raleigh, North Carolina.

 

Royal has won numerous culinary awards. In 1997, he was the first African American chef to be awarded the Restaurant Guild’s Five Star Chef of the Year. Royal was also deemed one of the James Beard Foundation’s Rising Stars along with being honored as one of the Top Five Chefs in the Southeast, the Top Black Chef in America and the Best Chef in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Royal was featured in Southern Living magazine. In addition to being featured in Ebony, Royal performed a cooking demonstration in Raleigh, North Carolina on the CBS Network program The Early Show. In 2006, Royal competed on the Food Network reality cooking show, Iron Chef America . Royal has cooked with popular American chefs and television personalities like Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri and Cat Cora. In 2010, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. Royal has one son, Walter Royal, Jr.

Schmitt, Harvey

harveyschmitt3apr15231472600x600November 9, 2015
President Emeritus Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce
Harvey Schmitt, president emeritus of the Greater Raleigh Chamber, has been a tireless advocate for improving the community’s economy and quality of life. His fingerprints can be found on almost every major community initiative over the past 20 years.

 

Before retiring from the Chamber in June, Schmitt spent 21 years as president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Chamber and 43 years as a chamber professional.

 

During his tenure, the Raleigh Chamber played a role in building the market by:

 

  • Building the PNC Arena and attracting the NHL Carolina Hurricanes to the market
  • Establishing and funding five consecutive five-year strategic economic and community development programs. These initiatives have generated billions of dollars in economic growth.
  • Creating the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, the catalyst for much of downtown’s renaissance
  • Recruiting Red Hat and RBC (now PNC) to downtown Raleigh
  • Building the Raleigh Convention Center
  • Creating the Regional Transportation Alliance to advocate for transportation investments to coincide with the market’s growth.
  • Constructing the Triangle Expressway, the first modern toll road in North Carolina and the largest road construction project in the state’s history
  • Passing over $3 billion of school construction bonds, including major bond campaigns in 2006 and 2013

 

Prior to his role in Raleigh, Schmitt was president of the Greater Tampa (FL) and the Greater Greenville (SC) Chambers, general manager of the Jacksonville (FL) Chamber, and executive vice president of the Dubuque (IA) Chamber. Schmitt has served on a number of professional and civic boards, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100, the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, St. Augustine’s University, Kids and Community Foundation, Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives and many more. Some of Schmitt’s recent awards include The Order of the Long Leaf Pine from the State of North Carolina (2015); Vernon Malone Friend of Education Award from the Wake Education Partnership (2015); Lifetime Achievement Award from the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (2015); Triangle Commercial Association of Realtors Community Foundation Award (2015); Lifetime Legacy Award from the Occoneechee Council Boy Scouts of America (2015); Impact Award from the Triangle chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women (2015); Distinguished Leadership Award from the Downtown Raleigh Alliance (2014). William Peace University awarded Schmitt an honorary doctorate of business in 2012, and a scholarship was endowed in his honor Saint Augustine’s University in 2015.

 

Skavarla III, John E.

March 10, 2014
NC State Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources

Gov. Pat McCrory named Mr. John E. Skvarla, III Secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Dec. 2012, as part of his new Cabinet and administration.

 

Mr. Skvarla comes to DENR after a successful career in business. He most recently served as CEO for Restoration Systems, an environmental mitigation firm based in Raleigh that helps improve and restore wetlands and waterways. His past environmental experience also includes his work as chairman with Wilkinson Hi-Rise, a world leader in manufacturing new products such as waste management and automated recycling systems. Skvarla previously served as chief operating officer for The Aviation Group, Inc., a company that emerged as the world’s largest all-cargo airline during his tenure. He also has been managing director of an investment banking office in Raleigh and owner of a Sandhills golf course community. An attorney, Skvarla in 1978 founded and served as senior partner to the Raleigh-based Skvarla, Wyrick and Robbins law firm, where he specialized in corporate and tax matters, as well as public and private capital formations.

Smith, Robin

October 25, 2012

Assistant Secretary for the Environment
NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Robin Smith, Assistant Secretary for the Environment oversees development of major policy initiatives for programs having such diverse responsibilities as the permitting of discharges to surface waters; issuance of air emissions permits; implementation of major grant programs for waste-water and drinking water projects; remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater; permitting of coastal development; and regulation of animal operations.

 

Before being appointed to DENR in September 1999, Robin Smith served in the attorney general’s office for 12 years. During that time, she provided legal representation and guidance to DENR on a variety of environmental issues and served as legal counsel to the state’s Coastal Resources Commission and the Clean Water Management Trust Fund. She also served as legal counsel to the state’s mining, sedimentation and radiation protection commissions.

 

Robin is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. She and her  husband, Michael R. Smith, director of the Institute of Government at UNC-Chapel Hill, live in Chapel Hill with their two sons.

Strong, David

April 26, 2012

President, Rex Healthcare

David Strong became president of Rex Healthcare in September 2004. Strong brings a hands-on leadership style that focuses on quality care, patient safety, technology, physician loyalty, and community involvement to Rex Healthcare. Under Strong’s leadership Rex has accomplished: Magnet designation and re-designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, National Chest Pain Center and Advanced Primary Stroke Center Accreditations, the opening of a new state of the art surgery center with 12 digital operating rooms on the main Rex Campus, the opening of new campuses in Wakefield and Knightdale, and implementation of Rex’s electronic medical record system. During Strong’s tenure, Rex was named a Thomson Reuters Top 100 Hospital and a Thomson Reuters Quality Improvement Leader. Rex also was named one of the Best Places to Work in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare magazine for three out of four years. Most recently, Rex was named by Becker’s Hospital Review to the list of 50 Best Hospitals in America.

 

Strong holds degrees from Southern Nazarene University and Xavier University. He is active on a number of boards of directors. He currently serves on the following boards: Triangle Heart Ball, Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, North Carolina Prevention Partners, North Carolina Symphony, Triangle Tomorrow and Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Tata, Anthony J.

tony20tata202February 23, 2012

Superintendent Wake County Public School System

Anthony J. Tata graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1981 and retired after 28 years of uniformed service on June 1, 2009 as a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army. Mr. Tata commanded a paratrooper battalion in the 82nd Airborne Division and an air assault brigade in the 101st Airborne Division. In 2006-07 he served as the Deputy Commanding General of the 10th Mountain Division and Combined/Joint Task Force-76 in Afghanistan. BG Tata deployed on combat missions and operations in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia, Panama and the Philippines.

 

Mr. Tata also served as a National Security Fellow at Harvard University’s JFK School of Government, earned an M.A. in International Relations from the Catholic University of America, and has a Master’s of Military Art and Science from the Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies. He is listed as a distinguished member of the 502nd, 504th, and 505th Parachute Infantry Regiments.

 

A graduate of the 2009 Broad Superintendent’s Academy, which focuses on preparing executives around the country for service as senior leaders in large urban school districts, General Tata served as the Chief Operating Officer of Washington, DC Public Schools. On December 23, 2010, The Wake County Board of Education named Anthony J. Tata superintendent of the Wake County Public School System. As the chief executive officer of the school system, Mr. Tata oversees its administration and implements school board policies.

Wilson, Brad

January 12, 2015
President and CEO Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

Brad Wilson brings to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina a passion for health care, a deep commitment to community, and involvement and expertise in business and public policy. As president and CEO of sthe state’s largest health insurer, with 3.8 million customers, Wilson is dedicated to improving North Carolina’s health care system, making health care more affordable and helping BCBSNC to adapt in a changing health care environment.

 

Wilson serves as chair of the National Institute for Health Care Management to address health care challenges at the national level.  He also serves as a director of the Bllue Cross and Blue Shield Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), BCS Financial Corporation and Prime Therapeutics, among others.

 

This work continues in North Carolina, where he chairs the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carollina Foundation – an independent charitable organization that has invested nearly $90 million in community-based health and wellness efforts.  He is also treasurer of the North Carolina Chamber, board member of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, and a past chair of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

 

Wilson, who joined BCBSNC in 1995, held a range of senior-level positions before being tapped to lead the organization in 2010.  A life long North Carolinian, he previously practiced law and served as general counsel to Gov. Jim Hunt, directing the governor’s legislative strategy and heading his legal department.

Woodard, Doug

About Our Speaker


Doug Woodard, Managing Vice President, Customer Channels US Card Operations
As Managing Vice President of Customer Channels for Capital One’s US Card Operations, Doug Woodard is responsible for all customer contacts across phone and online channels, for Capital One Branded Card and Partnership Card portfolios (private label and co-brand cards). The Customer Channels organization delivers on a full spectrum of customer needs including customer service, fraud, disputes, collections, recoveries, and customer fulfillment functions that include providing statements, direct mail and plastics.  In addition, his organization provides the critical horizontal support functions that enable such an extensive network including training, knowledge management, workforce management, voice of the customer programs, and complaint resolution.  The Customer Channels operations span more than 20 sites, 17,000 agents in seven countries, including internal on-shore, offshore captive, third party suppliers and work at home agents.   More than 10,000 of these agents are Capital One associates.

Growing up in upstate New York, Doug attended SUNY Albany for both his undergraduate and master’s degrees.  Currently, he resides in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife, Noel and their college-age daughter.

 

Prior to joining Capital One, Doug held executive roles at both Staples and Citi, leading extensive customer service operations, as well as accountability for customer experience strategy.  Prior leadership positions included roles at L. L. Bean and Accenture.

 

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