Justin Hembree, Administration
Justin Hembree currently serves as Executive Director of the Mid-Carolina Regional Council. A native of Mitchell County, NC, Hembree has over 20 years of experience in municipal, county, and regional government management. He has previously served as County Manager of Mitchell County, NC, Assistant County Manager of Henderson County, NC, and Town Manager of Taylorsville, NC.
Hembree is active with the NC City and County Management Association, serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Development Organizations, is a Past Chair of the Western NC Managers Association and served a term as President and currently serves as Treasurer of the Appalachian State University Local Government Alumni Association. He holds a BS and an MPA, both from Appalachian State University, and served as a Cavalry Scout in the US Army.
Hembree occasionally competes on the professional barbeque circuit and was on a team that placed 2nd in the Whole Hog Category at the 2017 Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. He is NC Pork Council Certified Judge and is one of the founders of the Carolina BBQ League.
Samantha Wullenwaber, Administration
Samantha Wullenwaber serves as the Council’s Deputy Executive Director. Wullenwaber began working for the Mid-Carolina Regional Council in 2021. In her role with Mid-Carolina, she assists member governments in Harnett, Cumberland, and Sampson counties with any needs they may have.
Prior to working for the Council, Wullenwaber worked as a Planning Technician and Director in the City of Dunn before being promoted to the Planning & Inspections Director. While in Dunn, Wullenwaber additionally served as the Executive Director of the Dunn Community Development Corporation. She worked as the Planning Director for the Town of Clayton before being named the Interim Town Manager for the Town of Spring Lake.
Wullenwaber received her undergraduate degree from East Carolina University and her Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She is also a certified planner through the American Planning Association, AICP, and a Certified Zoning Official, CZO.
Glenda Dye, Administration
Glenda Dye works as the head finance officer for the Mid-Carolina Regional Council. Dye has served the Council in multiple roles during her tenure, including the Director of the Aging Department for seven years. She has worked at the Regional Council for over 34 years, serving in her current position as Finance Officer since 2017. She received her BS in Accounting from Fayetteville State University in 2006. Dye was born and raised in Fayetteville, NC, loves singing in her church, and walking her dogs.
Ifetayo Farrakhan, Aging
Ifetayo Farrakhan is the newest member of the Aging team. Recently retired from Cumberland County as Director for Community Transportation Program, she will be working with us part-time as the ARPA Aging Program Coordinator. In this role, she will be managing new direct services, the ARPA Transportation Mileage Voucher Program, and Chore/Enhanced Chore services for eligible older adults. Farrakhan is also a newly appointed member of the NC Senior Tar Heel Legislature as an Alternate for Cumberland County. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, and raised in New York, Farrakhan holds a BS in Sociology and an Associates Degree in Business Administration from Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC.
Matthew Fowler, Workforce & Talent Development
Matthew Fowler serves as the Executive Director of Workforce & Talent Development with the Council. In this role, he oversees regional coordination of workforce services, develops regional partnerships with key stakeholders in the public and private sectors, and supervises all local career center managers to ensure effective service delivery.
Fowler previously served as the NCWorks Career Center Manager for centers in Edenton, Elizabeth City, and High Point. Fowler also worked as the NCWorks Regional Operations Director for North Carolina’s Sandhills Region. He has multiple years of management, service delivery, and program design experience, and is considered an expert in the integrated service delivery approach to workforce programs on both the regional and local levels.
Matthew enjoys white water rafting and playing basketball, but most of all he loves making a difference by empowering others to be successful. His motto in life is as Maya Angelou puts it, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
Jessie L. Garner, Fayetteville Cumberland Reentry Council
Jessie Garner plans, facilitates, coordinates and implements projects and program activities, including coordinating delivery of services to clients in collaboration with key community partners. Garner meets with local, state, and federal legislators to lobby for policy changes that present barriers to those that are justice-involved in the community. He is responsible for developing resources for program enhancement through grant writing and securing local, state, and federal funding. Garner establishes and monitors projects to ensure timelines are met with quality output. He researches and implements best practices for case management and establishes collaborative relationships with community-based organizations, outside agencies, and businesses that are critical to their successful reintegration into the community.
Orin Gill, Workforce & Talent Development
Business Services Manager
Orin Gill began his employment as the Business Services Manager with the Mid-Carolina Regional Council, Division of Workforce and Talent Development, on September 18, 2023. He comes to the team after retiring from a 30-year career in public health with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention. Gill’s experience at CDC spanned responsibilities at the county, state, national and international levels.
LaShonda Gough, Aging
LaShonda Gough is the Health Promotions Coordinator for Mid-Carolina Regional Council. She also serves as the Mid-Carolina Senior Games Coordinator. In her role, she helps seniors gain confidence by education on topics such as fall prevention, healthy eating, and exercise. Gough has been passionately serving public health for the last 4 years.
Prior to working for the Council, Gough worked with diverse populations in the Maternal and Child Health sector for the Cumberland County Department of Public Health. During her time there she also assisted with various initiatives and grants including, dental health, local breastfeeding advocacy, healthy & affordable eating, and child safety. Throughout her time in public health, Gough has gained knowledge in community resources, public engagement, and creating close relationships with those around her.
Gough enjoys teaching, networking, and serving her community. She lives in Fayetteville with her husband and two beautiful daughters.
Mary Beth Haire, Workforce & Talent Development
Mary Beth Haire started work with Mid-Carolina Regional Council in September of 2023 as the Administrative Coordinator of Workforce & Talent Development. Mary Beth joins the team with over 15 years’ experience in administrative roles varying from local government to specialized construction industries. Mary Beth is a Fayetteville native and has resided in the Cumberland County area most of her life. She is enthusiastic about the opportunities here at Mid-Carolina and looks forward to reconnecting her passion and contact with community services provided through the council.
Tamara Hodge, Workforce & Talent Development
Tamara Hodge works as an Adult and Dislocated Worker Program Analyst for the Council. Hodge's responsibilities include, but are not limited to, managing, training, developing & overseeing policies and procedures, and fiscal and performance programmatic monitoring of the Workforce Innovative Opportunity Act (WIOA) Program, a federally funded program by the Department of Labor. In this position, she ensures that the program service contractor abides by all federal, state, and local mandates.
Hodge has background experience and education in the Administrative, Banking, Trust & Financial, Human Resources, and Client Service Industries. She was born on the Island of St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands, and moved to Fayetteville in 2016 after the destruction of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Haley Hogg, Local Government Services
Haley Hogg serves as the Council’s Planning Director. In her role, she assists member governments in Harnett, Cumberland, and Sampson counties with any needs that they may have related to Zoning and Land Use Planning.
Hogg began her Planning career with the City of Hickory where she served as the City’s Zoning Enforcement Officer. Following that position, Hogg worked for the Town of Clayton for six years starting as a Planner I and ending her time there as Senior Planner. Most recently, she spent two years working in the private sector as the Planning Manager for a residential construction company. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography, with a Minor in Urban & Regional Planning, from East Carolina University. Hogg is also a certified Planner through the American Planning Association, AICP, and a Certified Zoning Official, CZO.
In her free time, Hogg enjoys reading, cooking, working on home improvement projects, and spending time with her husband and their two dogs and two cats.
Tracy Honeycutt, Aging
Tracy Honeycutt is the head Aging Director for the Mid-Carolina Regional Council. Honeycutt started her career with the City of Dunn Parks and Recreation, then moved on to Cumberland County Parks and Recreation before working with the Council in 2000. In her time with the Council, Honeycutt has served as an Information and Referral Specialist, Local Senior Games Coordinator, Regional Ombudsman, and Health Promotions Coordinator before becoming Area Agency on Aging Director. Honeycutt also serves as Vice-Chair for the North Carolina Senior Games Board of Directors Executive Committee.
Honeycutt was born and raised in rural Sampson County and attended the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where she earned a BA in Parks and Recreation Management.
Verna L. Jones, Workforce & Talent Development
Verna Jones started work with the Mid-Carolina Regional Council in November 2022 as the Deputy Director of Workforce & Talent Development. Jones joined the team with over 30 years of experience in leadership roles. Her extensive experience within workforce and the NCWorks system includes veteran services, employment, reemployment, and other special population services. She also served as the DWS manager for multiple centers for the NC Department of Commerce. She serves as the Chairman of the DEI subcommittee on Education and Training for the NC Department of Commerce. Verna served 8 years in the United States army.
Abby Manning, Local Government Services
Abby Manning is Mid-Carolina’s Planner I. As part of Mid Carolina’s Local Government Services division, Abby assists member governments with planning and zoning needs. Abby received her undergraduate degree from NC State University and later earned her Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Urban and Regional Planning from UNC Wilmington. She began her planning career as an intern for Harnett County before moving on to a planner position with the Town of Angier. In her free time, Abby enjoys baking, gardening, and spending time with her husband and their six cats.
Carol Miller, Aging
Carol Miller serves as the Care Manager of the Mid-Carolina Regional Council’s Care Management Program, and as a Care Advisor for Consumer Directed Services in Cumberland County. She has worked in her role with the Council since 2019. Miller attended Fayetteville Technical Community College and obtained an Associate's Degree in Nursing, working in hospitals, home health, clinics, and travel nursing. Miller was born in Harnett County and has lived most of her life in Cumberland County.
Kimberly Moffett, Local Government Services
Part-Time Town Clerk Consultant
Kimberly Moffett works as a part-time Town Clerk Consultant in the Local Government Services division of the Mid-Carolina Regional Council. Moffett provides a variety of clerking assistance to Mid-Carolina's local government members including agenda preparation, minute taking, creation of ordinances, creation of resolutions, meeting management, record retention, public records, advisory board appointment, process improvement, office management and more.
Prior to Mid-Carolina, Moffett worked for two local North Carolina municipalities for twelve years as both a town clerk and a deputy town clerk. She additionally worked for 16 years with the Suffolk County Police Department in New York. She also spent 13 years working in the non-profit sector.
Moffett is a certified municipal clerk from the UNC School of Government and holds both IIMC and NCAMC certifications. She is a volunteer for animal rescue groups as well as the North Carolina Special Olympics.
A New York native, Moffett relocated to North Carolina in 1994 and has resided in Willow Spring since that time.
Doug Muessle, Workforce & Talent Development
Doug Muessle started work with Mid-Carolina Regional Council in September 2023 as the Fiscal Coordinator. Prior to working for the Council, Doug supported the U.S. Army in various capacities in Intelligence and Finance. Doug enjoys golfing and following the adventures of his wife, Kathi.
Chris Onate, Fayetteville Cumberland Reentry Council
Chris Onate is responsible for managing the caseload of adult justice-involved population. He works closely with Cumberland County Probation and Parole, North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections, and local service providers to plan for reintegration from incarceration. Onate provides assistance with supportive services, assesses barriers of reentrants to achieve successful reintegration, and acts as liaison between clients and community-based organizations.
Tony Porter, Local Government Services
Code Compliance Officer
Veronica Rozier, Workforce & Talent Development
Business Services Representative
Veronica Rozier began her employment as a Business Services Representative with Mid-Carolina Council, Division of Workforce and Talent Development, in September of 2023. She is the military spouse of a retired US Air Force Veteran with an impressive 26-year career. Veronica is a proud graduate of Campbell University and brings a wealth of experience from her years in mortgage banking. Her professional journey has seamlessly transitioned into the realm of Business Services. With years of experience within the NCWorks Career Centers, where she served as a crucial component of the North Carolina Department of Commerce under the Division of Workforce Solutions, Veronica now shares her expertise with Mid- Carolina Regional Council. Serving her community is more than just a job; it's her passion. Her most significant accomplishments are the achievements of others, and she tirelessly works toward the betterment of her community and the success of its members.
Mike Rutan, Local Government Services
Mike Rutan works through the Mid-Carolina Rural Planning Organization (RPO). Rutan has worked in the transportation planning field for nearly fifteen years, serving both the state and local governments. Past positions include working with numerous local jurisdictions while working with the Fayetteville Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), including Cumberland, Harnett, and Robeson Counties, the towns/cities of Eastover, Fayetteville, Hope Mills, Parkton, Raeford, and Spring Lake.
Rutan is a native of Cumberland County and is an alumnus of Fayetteville Technical College, Fayetteville State University, and Methodist University.
Carla Smith, Aging
Carla Smith serves as the Aging Program Specialist for the Mid-Carolina Regional Council. Smith serves as the Regional Options Counselor, providing educational and community resources to residents in skilled nursing facilities which will enable them to transition back into the community. She serves as the contracts manager, provides information and assistance to the community, and conducts the programmatic and fiscal monitoring for the agency’s programs.
Smith obtained her undergraduate degree at Methodist University and completed her Master of Social Work at Fayetteville State University.
Paula Stewart, Local Government Services
Paula Stewart works as a part-time Management Consultant in the Local Government Services division of the Mid-Carolina Regional Council. Stewart provides a variety of technical assistance to Mid-Carolina's local government members including staffing support, grant management and oversight, formation of policies and procedures, assistance with information technology needs, training, and more. Prior to Mid-Carolina, Stewart worked for Harnett County for twenty-five years, including service as Harnett County manager, deputy county manager, and information technology director. She additionally worked for North Carolina State University for nine years as a budget analyst and an applications analyst.
Stewart holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a certified government chief information officer with the UNC School of Government. Stewart was presented the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award for her significant contributions to the state and her community following her retirement. She also earned the credentialed manager designation from the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), and currently serves as treasurer of the Angier Area Buddy Backpack Program, as a Community Advisory Board Member for the North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees' Association (NCRGEA), and as a Leadership Harnett Board of Directors member.
A native and longtime resident of Harnett County, Stewart currently resides in Angier.
Paul Strickland, Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
Paul Strickland is currently working with the Mid-Carolina Regional Council as an Office Assistant/Receptionist with the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). Strickland retired from the Civil Service DoD Department after thirty-nine years as a Safety Officer, and three years with the House of Raeford Farms as their Safety Director. He has been a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) for over twenty years. Strickland enjoys working with all the staff at Mid-Carolina Regional Council.
Kareem Strong, Aging
Mr. Kareem R. Strong, MPA, CDP, CF-L1
Kareem R. Strong is the Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman for the Mid-Carolina Area Agency on Aging, serving Cumberland, Harnett, and Sampson Counties. Strong has been serving in his position for 10 years, and in his position, provides advocacy for residents in Skilled Nursing Facilities, Adult Care Homes (Assisted Living), and Family Care Homes. In addition to his position with the Council, Strong serves on the Board of Directors for Restoring Dynamic Lives Therapeutic Outpatient Therapy, as the Executive Slate for the North Carolina LTC Ombudsman Association, and as President of Cumberland & Sampson P.E.A.C.E (Partnership for Education, Access, and Choice at End of Life). He also has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, with an emphasis in Health Care Management (MPA), and is a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP), while undergoing the dissertation phase of his Doctorate in Education and Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in Health Care Administration. Outside of the office, Strong is the primary caregiver for both of his parents and is a Crossfit Level One Trainer.
Lanora Washington, Aging
Lanora Washington is the new Vaccine Outreach Coordinator for Mid-Carolina.
Washington graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Small Business Management. Shas been in the mental health business for over 27 years, and has a passion for helping people. She established a non-profit organization called All in Together Development Agency that provides resources and programs for individuals that are in need.
She loves being a servant to the community, and an active member of Glory’s Light Deliverance Ministries. Some of the skills that she is most grateful to possess are reliability, being supportive to others, and hard-working. She looks forward to making a difference at the Mid-Carolina Regional Council.
Washington was born and raised in Stedman, North Carolina. She has a wonderful family of four children and seven grandchildren that bring her joy.
Barbara White, Aging
Barbara White works at the Mid-Carolina Regional Council as a Family Caregiver Specialist. Prior to her current position, White was a contract Social Worker for the Council’s Area Agency on Aging Care Management Program. She has previously worked as a Medical Social Worker for Amedisys Home Health and Advantage Hospice and Home Care, a Bereavement Coordinator for Healthkeeperz Home Care and Hospice, a Community Support and Intensive In-Home Manager for Evergreen Behavioral Management, Inc., and an Administrative Specialist for the United States Army and Army Reserve.
White has received numerous degrees in the field of social work, including, an Associate of General Education from Fayetteville Technical Community College, a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, a Master of Arts from Webster University- Counseling, Pope Air Force Base (Saint Louis Missouri), and a Master of Social Work Administration/Supervision Practice from Texas State University-San-Marcos.
AnnMarie Yow, Local Government Services
AnnMarie Yow is Mid-Carolina Regional Council’s Project Planner, focusing on resiliency efforts throughout the region. She assists member governments with any needs that they may have related to Emergency Management and Resiliency Planning. Mrs. Yow began her career with Florida’s Division of Emergency Management where she served in their Finance and Preparedness Bureaus. Since then, she has held positions at the Florida Department of Health, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and FEMA. Mrs. Yow holds a Bachelor’s degree and Master of Public Administration from Florida State University.
In her free time, she enjoys reading, working out, and spending time with her husband and their two dogs.