Staff Directory

Justin Hembree, Administration

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.

Peggy Aazam, Workforce & Talent Development

Peggy Aazam, Workforce & Talent Development

Peggy Aazam provides management and administrative oversight to the Mid-Carolina Regional Council’s Workforce Development Board. Aazam helps to oversee the activities of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program and operations staff located in the NCWorks Career Center.

Aazam evaluates program and service delivery strategies and outcomes that lead to efforts that support and improve the effectiveness of existing programs and services. She also evaluates the development and implementation of innovative projects and initiatives, in accordance with local, state, and federal policy direction and guidance.

Glenda Dye, Administration

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.

Matthew Fowler, Workforce & Talent Development

Executive Director
Matthew Fowler, Workforce & Talent Development

Matthew Fowler serves as the Executive Director of Workforce & Talent Development with the Council. Fowler also works as the NCWorks Regional Operations Director for North Carolina’s Sandhills Region. 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. 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

Lashanda Gough, Aging

Health Promotion Coordinator
Lashanda 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 beautiful two daughters.

Tamara Hodge, Workforce & Talent Development

Adult & Dislocated Worker Program Analyst
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.

Tracy Honeycutt, Aging

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.

Gypsy Hunt, Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)

Gypsy Hunt, Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)

Gypsy Hunt is a Senior Community Service Employment Program Finance Associate in the Aging Division of the Mid-Carolina Regional Council. Hunt has been associated with finance for over 25 years and associated with SCSEP finance for over 12 years. Hunt has the greatest joy in developing seniors’ skill sets so that they can find employment and become financially independent.

 

Carol Miller, Aging

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.

Chris Onate, Fayetteville Cumberland Reentry Council

Tony Porter, Local Government Services

Code Compliance Officer

Kiersten Powell, Workforce & Talent Development

Young Adult Program Analyst
Kiersten Powell, Workforce & Talent Development

Kiersten Powell is a Youth/Young Adult Program Analyst for the Mid-Carolina Regional Workforce Development Board. Ms. Powell assists in planning strategies to improve Career and Educational programs for local area youth and serves as a department communication liaison. Away from the office, Powell is a dedicated world history buff and avid cook. Powell also loves watching baseball, dancing, and spending time with her family.

Andrew Resnick, Administration

Lead for NC Fellow
Andrew Resnick, Administration

Andrew Resnick is a Lead for NC Fellow working with the Mid-Carolina Regional COG this year. In his capacity, Resnick will be assisting all departments within the COG. Resnick hails from Bethesda, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C.  He recently graduated from Elon University with a double major in political science and strategic communications. Resnick has diverse experience working with governments on the local level. He previously interned with the president of his county council back in Maryland and additionally conducted research for another candidate’s campaign for the county council.

In his free time, Resnick enjoys playing hockey, golf, and lacrosse among other sports, and is a dedicated sports fan, rooting for any DC sports team.

Mike Rutan, Local Government Services

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

Aging Program Specialist
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

Management Consultant
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 retirment. 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, 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

Long-Term Care Ombudsman
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.

Barbara White, Aging

Family Caregiver Specialist
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.

Samantha Wullenwaber, Local Government Services

Samantha Wullenwaber, Local Government Services

Samantha Wullenwaber serves as the Council’s Director of Local Government Services. 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.