Ben Teague joined NCEDA’s board of directors in 2017. He is executive director of the Economic Development Coalition of Asheville-Buncombe County and chief operations officer of the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, posts he’s held since arriving in North Carolina in late 2008. His professional background includes extensive regional economic development work in Mississippi. In January 2017, Ben was named one of the economic development profession’s “40 Under 40,” a national citation awarded at IEDC’s Leadership Summit. He was also listed as a “Top 50 economic developer in North America” by Consultant Connect. Ben holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Mississippi College and earned an MBA from the University of Mississippi, where he was a John N. Palmer Fellow and president of the campus MBA Association. He is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at Oklahoma University and achieved the designation of Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP). Ben resides in Buncombe County with his wife, Haley, and their two sons, Campbell and Coleman.
State Senator Phil Berger has served as President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate since 2010, the first Republican to hold the office since the 19th century. Representing Rockingham County, he was first elected to the Senate in 2000, where he quickly earned respect for his advocacy for common sense, conservative reforms in state government. In 2004, his Senate colleagues elected him Minority Leader. Senator Berger grew up in a working-class household in Danville, Virginia, where he learned the value of hard work. He worked in a local factory and as produce manager in a grocery store while attending Averett University and raising two children. He was the first in his family to graduate. Senator Berger then worked his way through law school at Wake Forest, graduating early. He practiced law briefly in Charlotte and Raleigh before settling in Eden, where he runs the Berger Law Firm. Senator Berger is married to his high school sweetheart, Pat. The couple has three kids – Phil Jr., Kevin and Ashley – and four grandchildren.
Speaker Tim Moore is currently in his second term as the presiding officer of the North Carolina House of Representatives. First elected to the General Assembly in 2002, Speaker Moore represents Cleveland County. He is a lifelong resident of Kings Mountain and holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned is Juris Doctor degree from the Oklahoma City University School of Law. After passing the North Carolina Bar Exam, Speaker Moore returned to Cleveland County to practice law in Shelby, becoming a partner at the firm of Flowers, Martin, Moore, & Ditz, P.A., where he practiced until 2009. He then founded his own firm, Tim Moore, Attorney at Law, P.A., in Kings Mountain, where he currently practices. Speaker Moore also serves as the County Attorney for Cleveland County and General Counsel for the Cleveland County Water Board of Commissioners. He resides with his two sons, McRae and Wilson, in Kings Mountain, where he is a member of First Baptist Church.
Jessica Martin-Lane joined NCEDA’s board of directors in 2016. She is the president of Asheville-based WR-Martin (formerly Martin-McGill, Inc.), a women-owned business that provides management consulting services to North Carolina government clients and private businesses throughout the United States. The firm’s more than 30-year expertise helps communities and private clients embrace opportunities in strategy, operations, planning, funding, communications, real estate, and financial management. Before joining WR-Martin in 2007, Jessica began her career as a management consultant for Ernst & Young, and later directed client solutions for Hewitt Associates / Exult. In addition to her NCEDA leadership role, Jessica serves on the board of Eliada Homes, an organization that provides housing, therapy and social services to children and families in need. Jessica holds BS and MS degrees in Industrial Engineering and an MBA from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. Jessica and her husband, Alan, are the parents of two young sons and live on a blueberry farm in Western North Carolina.
Adrienne Cole began serving as an NCEDA board member in 2016. She is president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, the Research Triangle Region’s largest business association, with over 2,300 members. Prior to assuming her current position in 2017, Adrienne was executive director of Wake County Economic Development, a program of the chamber. She and her team worked with the county’s 12 municipalities, the Research Triangle Park, county and community leaders, and state and regional partners to market Wake County and region as a global destination for jobs, companies, people and investment. Adrienne’s professional background includes experience as business development director at the global construction giant Lend Lease and economic development leadership roles in Carteret and Pamlico counties. Adrienne is a 1993 graduate of Meredith College, where she majored in American civilization and political science. She also holds an MPA from Appalachian State University. Along with her NCEDA service, she is a member of the boards of directors of the RDU Airport Authority, Marbles Kids Museum and Research Triangle Regional Partnership. Adrienne, her husband, Walt, and their three children are residents of Raleigh.
Raul Peralta joined NCEDA’s board in 2015. He is senior vice president of regional business development with ECS Southeast LLP. The company is a subsidiary of Engineering Consulting Services, one of the nation’s largest engineering firms. Raul’s role with ECS Carolinas centers on interacting with companies and communities across North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina to embrace economic development opportunities. Prior to joining ECS in 2004, he was vice president of Titan Atlantic in Raleigh. In addition to his service to NCEDA, he is secretary-treasurer of the 7X24 Carolinas Chapter and second vice chair of the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC). Raul also serves on the Rockingham County Economic Development Board. He holds a BS degree in environmental science from NC State University. Raul resides in Trinity. Along with being a master gardener, he is president of the American Brussels Griffon Association (ABGA) and a former delegate to The American Kennel Club.
John Nelms has been a member of the NCEDA board since 2015. He is senior economic development manager for Duke Energy, where he supports the recruitment and expansion of businesses in the company’s service area. The nation’s largest utility, Duke Energy, has facilitated the development of traditional industries such as textiles and furniture, as well as others such as bio-manufacturing and data centers that have emerged more recently. John joined the Duke team by way of Progress Energy’s economic development staff, where he had worked since 2005. His career has also included experience with the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the NC Department of Commerce and the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. In addition to his voluntary service to NCEDA, John is on the boards of the North Carolina Rural Center, the North Carolina Military Foundation and North Carolina’s Southeast. He holds a BA in business management and economics from NC State University and an MBA from Campbell University. John and his wife, Autney, live in Raleigh with their two teenage children.
Chris Platé joined the NCEDA board in July 2017. He is executive director of Monroe-Union County Economic Development, which oversees economic growth and diversification in one of North Carolina’s fastest-growing counties. Chris was NCEDA’s Economic Developer of the Year in 2016, an award that recognized his success with major expansions at O’Neil Digital Solutions, ATI Specialty Materials, Glenmark Pharmaceutical and other companies. In 2002, he launched the Aerospace Initiative in Monroe, a cluster development strategy that has since yielded the highest concentration of aerospace companies in the Carolinas. Prior to joining the staff of Monroe-Union County Economic Development in 1999, Chris held economic development positions in York and Chester counties, South Carolina. He earned a BS degree in economics from Clemson University, where he minored in political science and law. Chris and his wife are parents of two children.
Maureen Little joined the NCEDA board of directors in 2015. She is vice president of economic development at the North Carolina Community College System. The system and its 58 campuses serve approximately 720,000 learners across their academic, technical, continuing education and customized training programs. Maureen began her economic development career in 1987 as director of business and industry services at Stanly Community College. A Union County native, she is an honors graduate of UNC Charlotte, where she earned a BA. Maureen also is a graduate of Leadership North Carolina and a recipient of the Stanley Frank Class Award. A competitive shag dancer, she and her husband, Rick, are both members of the Beach Shaggers National Hall of Fame. Maureen serves as an officer of the North Myrtle Beach-based organization. The couple lives in Monroe.
Randall Johnson joined NCEDA’s board of directors in 2013. He is executive director of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s Southeastern Office in Wilmington. The office strengthens the region’s life science economy through the development of jobs, businesses and investment in clinical research, renewable energy, and marine, agricultural and industrial biotechnology. Randall is a cum laude graduate of Wake Forest University, where he studied psychology. He holds an MBA from WFU’s Babcock Graduate School of Management and has completed numerous International Economic Development Council courses. He is also a graduate of Leadership North Carolina. In addition to his service to NCEDA, Randall has voluntary leadership roles with the Southeastern Economic Development Commission, the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, the Institute for Emerging Issues’ Environmental Council and the Advisory Committee for Biotechnology in Southeastern North Carolina, which he co-founded. Randall resides in Wilmington with his wife, Leigh, and their young son, Ace.
Gary Lanier has served on NCEDA’s board of directors since 2014. He is executive director of the Columbus County Economic Development Commission, a position he has held since 2010. Since 2014, Gary has also served as the county’s planning director. His entry into the economic development profession came after a 30-year career in engineering and manufacturing with Black & Decker, Eaton Corp. and Hubbell Power Systems. Gary holds a BS in engineering operations from NC State University, where his outstanding scholarship earned him the JW Joseph Award. He also holds an MBA from Western Carolina University and an Ed.D in adult and community college education from NC State. In addition to his service to NCEDA, Gary is on the board of directors of North Carolina’s Southeast. A longtime scout Leader, he is on the executive board of the Cape Fear Council of the Boy Scouts of America and is a Vigil Honor member of the Klahican Lodge of the Order of the Arrow. In 2012, Gary was honored with the Silver Beaver Award. A resident of Tabor City, he and his wife, Emily, have two grown sons.
Andrew Tate, a board member since 2011, served as NCEDA president in 2016-2017. He is president and CEO of the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development, a post he’s held since March 2007. Under Andrew’s leadership, Henderson County has welcomed global manufacturers such as RAUMEDIC, GF Linamar, Demmel and Norafin Americas, and facilitated expansions by Continental Automotive Systems, ASG and Elkamet. He was instrumental in the 2012 arrival of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and its $107 million plant and entertainment venue. Prior to joining his current position, Andrew was executive director of the Fuquay-Varina Area Chamber of Commerce. In addition to his service to NCEDA, he devotes voluntary time on the boards of the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority and Blue Ridge Community College. Andrew is a 2000 graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, where he earned a BA in management and society. He and his wife, Brooke, have three young sons.
Secretary-Treasurer Pat Mitchell began her latest leadership role at NCEDA in 2017. She was an officer and director of the organization prior to becoming assistant secretary of Commerce for rural economic development in September 2013. Pat is an assistant professor of public administration at Appalachian State University’s Department of Government and Justice Studies. She served nine years as director of economic development in Ashe County and two of those years as county manager. From 2001 until 2004, Pat taught courses in East Carolina University’s MPA program. She is a graduate of Berry College in Rome, Georgia where she studied language arts and political science, and she holds masters and doctoral degrees in public administration from the University of Georgia. She also holds the CEcD designation from the International Economic Development Council. In addition to her service at NCEDA, Pat serves on UNC School of Government Foundation’s board of directors. She lives in Fleetwood.
NCEDA Vice President Mark Pope has served on the organization’s board of directors since 2011. He is executive director of Lenoir County Economic Development, a post he has held since 2005. The organization recruits new industries, assists in corporate expansions, strengthens the tax base and improves the quality of life in Lenoir County.
Mark’s leadership has helped facilitate the arrival and expansion of numerous companies, including Spirit AeroSystems, Sanderson Farms, West Pharmaceuticals and Moen. He is a Kinston native and holds an AA in arts from Lenoir Community College and a BS in business administration from East Carolina University. Mark joined the economic development profession after a 20-year career in banking. He was named North Carolina Economic Developer of the Year by NCEDA in 2010-2011. In addition to numerous voluntary leadership roles, Mark is active in Westminster United Methodist Church and has coached little league baseball, soccer and basketball.
NCEDA President Steve Yost joined the board in 2012. Since 2009, Steve has been president of North Carolina’s Southeast, an 18-county regional marketing organization based in Elizabethtown. NC’s Southeast collaborates with businesses and county and state-level governmental partners in bringing job growth and economic investment to a region stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Uwharrie Mountains. A native of Stanly County, Steve has worked in the economic development profession since 1994, and his background includes experience as executive director of the Columbus County Economic Development Commission and as senior developer for the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s southeastern regional office. He holds a BA in political science from Appalachian State University and an MPA from UNC Chapel Hill. In addition to his NCEDA leadership role, Steve has served on the boards of the NC Museum of Forestry Board of Directors and the Cape Fear Council Boy Scouts of America. He is an Eagle Scout. He and his wife, Deborah, live in Whiteville.