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Four Advisory Members provide input to the Board. The Board of Directors and Advisory Members to the Board come from a variety of professions, bringing a breadth of expertise to DRF. They are also representative of the geographic area the Foundation serves.
Diron is a Danville native who was educated in Danville Public Schools. After graduating from George Washington High School, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and a Master of Business Administration Degree (MBA) from Averett University. Diron is a Realtor, Associate Broker and the Vice-President of Wilkins & Co. Realtors which is the largest real estate firm in the region. Diron owns and operates Clements Quarter Horses where he specializes in training and selling barrel racing horses. With over 30 years' experience in the equine industry, he is a nationally ranked and known competitor competing at the highest levels of barrel racing events across the country. Diron is also the owner of Clements Forestry and Land Management. His forestry company maintains, manages and clears large wooded acreage tract using large forestry equipment owned by the company. Diron serves on the State of Virginia Realtor Board of Directors as well as Movement Bank’s Board of Directors. He enjoys spending time in the woods and around the farm with his twin son’s Riley and Cole.
Philip Kauneckas is the Operations Manager at Intertape Polymer Group (IPG) in Danville, VA. Philip has over sixteen years of professional experience in engineering and lean manufacturing. Born in Australia and raised in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Herndon, VA, Philip has lived in the region since 2007. He holds a degree in industrial engineering from North Carolina State University and an MBA from Averett University. Philip is the recipient of the 2020 Young Professional PACE Award for Professional and Community Engagement in the Danville-Pittsylvania County Region. He is a founding member of the Association of Energy Engineers – Danville Chapter and held various officer positions within the chapter. Philip serves on the Averett University Business Advisory Committee and is an active member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. He is a Certified Energy Manager and Six Sigma Black Belt. Philip is married to Stephanie Kauneckas and they are proud parents of Ethan and Emily.
Austin, the General Manager of the Danville Otterbots, was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina before graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Religious Studies. He was named 2022 Appalachian League Executive of the Year, was a recipient of the 2022 Danville-Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce PACE (Professional and Community Engagement) Award, and was named June 2023 Danville Citizen of the Month. Under Austin's leadership, the Otterbots were named 2023 Danville-Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce Pinnacle Small Business Award winners, were placed on the Virginia School Boards Association's 2023 Business Honor Roll, were voted Favorite Family Funspot by Showcase Magazine readers in 2021 and 2022, and were recognized by eVince Magazine for Exceptional Community Service in 2022 and 2023. He currently serves as the Fundraising Chair for the Danville After Hours Rotary Club--where he was named 2022-2023 Outstanding member of the Year--is the Chair of the Danville Public Schools Education Foundation Board, and was the United Way of Danville-Pittsylvania County 2021 campaign chair.
Cheryl B. Terry is a native of Halifax, Virginia, and a resident of Danville. After graduating from Halifax County High School, she moved to Texas to attend college where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems, and an MBA, with concentration in Electronic Commerce. She has also completed all coursework, and is a candidate for a PhD. Once she returned to Halifax County in 2002, she taught Mathematics for Halifax County High School, and Accounting and Mathematics for Southside Virginia Community College. She has been employed by Danville Community College since 2004 and has served in several capacities including Director of the Middle College program, Director of Business and Industry Services, and Dean of Student Success and Academic Advancement. She also served as the college’s Equal Employment Opportunity Center (EEOC) officer and Title IX Coordinator, and managed numerous grant-funded initiatives. Since 2021, she has served as Dean of the Workforce Services Division.
She previously served a four-year term as an elected member of the Halifax County School Board. She enjoys helping others and is very active in her church. In her spare time, she loves jigsaw puzzles, reading and traveling.
The DRF Board of Directors is composed of 11 regional leaders, each serving limited, rotating terms. Four Advisory Members provide input to the Board. The Board of Directors and Advisory Members to the Board come from a variety of professions, bringing a breadth of expertise to DRF. They are also representative of the geographic area the Foundation serves.
Paul was raised on a tobacco farm in Pittsylvania County and received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics from North Carolina State University. He is a Financial Advisor and the Branch Manager of the Danville office of Davenport & Company LLC, a financial advisory and wealth management firm headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. The first 20 years of Paul’s career were spent in the domestic and international leaf tobacco business, 12 of those with Dibrell Brothers and DIMON. He and his wife live in Pittsylvania County and are active members of Osborne Baptist Church in Eden, NC. Paul has served on numerous church and non-profit boards including: past president of the United States Leaf Tobacco Exporters Association; Twin Springs Elementary PTA; and the Olde Dominion Agricultural Foundation.
Jim Bebeau, a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), is the Executive Director of Danville-Pittsylvania Community Service (DPCS), an organization providing community-based treatment and prevention services for those with behavioral health or developmental disabilities. Holding an undergraduate psychology degree from Hampden-Sydney College, a graduate counseling degree from Longwood College, and post-graduate work at Lynchburg College, he has extensive experience in behavioral healthcare and has worked in various capacities at DPCS since 1994. Jim is a native of Danville and has a strong commitment to the community, serving in various volunteer capacities since 1992. He is a Life Member and Life Board Member of the Danville Life Saving Crew, having served as an Advanced Life Support provider and more recently as a Board Member and Vice President. Jim is a member of the Danville Riverview Rotary Club and was the 2008/2009 Club President. He serves on the Board of Directors of Smart Beginnings Danville-Pittsylvania, the Danville Area Training Center, the Virginia Association of Community Services Boards as a Vice Chair, and has also served on the Board of Directors of the Danville Science Center, Sacred Heart School and the Boards of Directors for the Community Policy & Management Teams in both Danville & Pittsylvania County. Jim is an avid biker – enjoying the local trails on a mountain bike and the scenic county farmlands on a road bike.
Alexis Ehrhardt, Chair
Alexis Ehrhardt is the Executive Director of State Government Relations and Special Assistant to the President at University of Virginia. Previously, she served as President & CEO of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce, where her work focused on serving the business community to make a stronger Dan River Region. Prior to that, she served as the founding Executive Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness at Averett University. Raised in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Rockville, MD, Alexis has lived in the region since 2000. She graduated magna cum laude from Emory University with a B.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Spanish, holds a Master’s degree in Higher Education from the University of Virginia, and a doctorate in Leadership Studies from Lynchburg College. Alexis currently serves on the boards of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation, the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, and Lead Virginia.
Paul Erwin, DVM, Vice-Chair
Paul Erwin, a native and resident of Pittsylvania County, is a veterinarian and co-owner of Chatham Animal Clinic. Dr. Erwin earned a Bachelor of Science from Virginia Tech and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Auburn University. He primarily practices large animal medicine and surgery. Paul is past president of the Pittsylvania County Education Foundation, past president of the Carlisle School Board of Trustees, and served on the Board of Directors of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce. Paul is married to Lucy Erwin. They have two children, Dixon and Mollie along with a menagerie of dogs, cats, horses and cows.
Carolyn B. Evans
Danville is home for Carolyn, who was born and educated in the city. Employed by the City of Danville, she is Director of Customer Service for the city′s Utilities Department, and was elected by city employees and served as chair of the Employee′s Retirement System Board of Trustees, a role she has held since 2011. An active member of Calvary Baptist Church, Carolyn has served as church clerk for almost 30 years. She is a member of the Board of Directors for Danville City Employees Federal Credit Union. She is a graduate of Danville Community College. Carolyn enjoys spending time with family, crafts, and especially enjoys reading.
Maurice Ferrell is the Vice President of Technology and CIO for the UNC System office. Previously, he served as the Associate Dean of Information Management at the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to that, Ferrell served as the first Chief Information Officer at the Institute for Advance Learning & Research in Danville, VA. Maurice also serves as the ninth Pastor of the Vance Street Missionary Baptist Church in Danville, VA. Maurice holds a Doctorate in Leadership Studies from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, holds an MBA from Liberty University, a Bachelor of Business from Averett University, and an Associate’s Degree in Information Technology from Danville Community College.
Maggy L. Gregory is an attorney and partner with the law firm of Fisk & Gregory, PLC in Chatham, where she focuses on estate and trust planning and administration and closely held business succession planning. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and her juris doctor from the College of William & Mary, and clerked for two years prior to entering private practice. She also co-owns and manages Gregory Family Farms, Inc., raising and finishing beef cattle and meat lambs alongside her husband and two sons on their family farm.
E. Gregory Hairston
A native of Cascade and current resident of Danville, Greg graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University and the Marshall Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary. He is currently general counsel for URW Community Federal Credit Union. Greg serves as President of the Danville Branch of the NAACP and is an active member of the local graduate chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., as well as being a member of the Board of Trustees with Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.
Charles H. Majors
Charley earned his law degree from the University of Virginia, was admitted to practice law in Virginia, Georgia and Florida, and joined the Danville firm of Clement & Wheatley in 1972. With a specialty in corporate and banking law and after 20 years of practice, Charley became president of American National Bank and Trust Company and American National Bankshares, Inc., in 1993, and was named Chief Executive Officer in 1994. After retiring as CEO, Charley served as Board Chairman of American National from 2013 until May 2023. He is a past chairman of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Virginia Bankers Association, Danville Regional Foundation and GO Virginia Region 3 Council. He is a board member and past chairman of the Future of the Piedmont Foundation and also serves as a trustee of the Carrington Trust and the Davenport Trust. In 2013, he served as President of the Federal Reserve Board′s Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council and was the 2013 recipient of the Kiwanis Citizen of the Year Award.
Martha Walker currently serves as one of three Community Viability Specialists with Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) and is a faculty member in Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. She works with counties and cities throughout Virginia as well as multiple state agencies assessing community needs, facilitating community-based action plans, and identifying resources from Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, and other state and federal agencies. In 2015, she received the Virginia Tech Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension (Individual Specialist) in addition to the programming awards she received throughout her career with Extension. She was an elected member of the Pittsylvania County School Board between 1996 and 2004, is past president of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce, and has served on various non-profit boards. Martha has a Bachelor’s degree from Averett College, a Master of Science degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Old Dominion University.
Beth Doughty has had an extensive career in economic and community development. Her strengths include building consensus, developing and implementing unique strategies, fostering regionalism, strategic planning, and marketing. She was recognized as one of the top 50 economic developers in North American three times by Consultant Connect, is a former president of the Virginia Economic Developers Association, and recipient of its Cardinal Award for leadership in the field of economic development. Her career includes 23 years as executive director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership and a decade as president of the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce. She is an honors graduate of the University of Virginia.
Annie Martinie is a Senior Fellow focusing her work on Shared Learning and Civic Leadership. She focuses on helping the Dan River Region embrace a new vision of leadership - one that brings diverse groups of people together to build trust, learn together, heal divisions, create shared goals, and collectively address issues that concern them. DRF’s mission is to be a catalyst for long-term economic transformation and we believe that the key to achieving this mission is helping more people believe that they are an integral part of this transformation. If successful, we will reknit the social fabric of collective knowledge, action and community life, becoming more resilience and responsive in the face of challenges. Achieving this mission, requires all of us to develop new mindsets and skillsets. Building upon the collaborative leadership program, Collaboration Lab, Annie will work in partnership with many across our region to explore, develop and implement learning opportunities for individuals, organizations, and collaborative groups that create the foundation to accelerate community change. Prior to this role, Annie was a senior program officer and director of collaboration for DRF focusing on health and wellness.
Susanne R. Bell
Susanne joined DRF in March 2020 and serves as the Senior Program Officer focused on education. She’s a native Virginian and is thrilled to be back in the Commonwealth. Before joining the Foundation, Susanne served as senior consultant with the Smarter Learning Group, with a majority of her time devoted to the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (GLR). She joined the GLR Campaign a year after it launched and built field capacity among the network of GLR communities as it grew from 124 to 300+. Susanne also worked at First Book, a unique social entrepreneurship nonprofit where she led relationships with a number of national nonprofits, and was an inaugural staff member at the National Summer Learning Association, where she conducted quality assessments, program evaluations and policy analyses. She holds a bachelor’s from Carson-Newman University and a master’s in public policy from Johns Hopkins University.
Stephanie S. Blevins
Stephanie was born and reared in Pittsylvania County. She joined DRF in 2005 as an accountant responsible for maintaining cash controls on all accounts as well as managing payroll. She holds a bachelor′s degree in business administration from Averett University and an associate′s degree from Danville Community College. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked as the office manager for the Admissions Office at Chatham Hall, and as an administrative assistant for the plant manager followed by the treasury department for what was then DIMON, Inc.
Clark is the President & CEO of Danville Regional Foundation (DRF), a place-based funder that exists to support the expansion of prosperity in a region that includes the City of Danville, Virginia, Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and Caswell County in North Carolina. All of DRF’s work is designed to support our regional partners as they work to improve the education, economic vitality, health, financial stability, and civic capacity for all citizens of the Dan River Region. Since 2005, DRF has made over 400 grants totaling more than $160 million dollars.
Clark grew up in Floyd, Virginia. He received his undergraduate degree from Radford University and his master’s degree from the University of Mississippi. He has Certificates in Entrepreneurship from the University of Virginia, Economic Development from the University of Oklahoma, and Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management from the Harvard Business School.
Clark serves on the Board of GO Virginia Region 3, the Future of the Piedmont Foundation, and is currently Vice-Chair of the Board for the Virginia Funder’s Network.
Joshua Hearne is originally from northeastern Kentucky but has happily lived in Danville since 2008. He graduated from Georgetown College before going on to earn a master's degree from Duke University. Joshua spent several years serving alongside people experiencing homelessness, poverty, addiction, hunger, and discrimination in Danville through Grace and Main Fellowship. During this time, he completed a doctorate at Mercer University focused on asset-based community development and housing-related decision-making. In June 2022, Joshua joined the foundation as the Senior Program Officer focusing on encouraging community engagement, building stronger networks of neighbors in communities and housing. He is passionate about involving people in decisions about what affects them directly and in being a part of building a community that is beneficial to all members.
Shirley Jo Hite
A native of Pittsylvania County, Shirley Jo earned an associate degree from Danville Community College and joined the workforce as an agency secretary for Jefferson Pilot Life Insurance Company. She then accepted a position with what was then Dibrell Brothers, Inc. (and eventually DIMON Inc.) prior to joining DRF as the executive assistant in 2005.
Willie joined DRF in January 2021 and serves as the Senior Program Officer focused on quality of life. He is a native of Ohio and has lived in North Carolina for the last 11 years. Prior to joining the Foundation, Willie served as the Board & Grant Specialist for Foundation For The Carolinas, where he served over five regional community foundations. Willie also worked at The Duke Endowment as a fellow in Charlotte, NC and an AmeriCorps VISTA in Cullowhee, NC He holds a bachelor’s of science from Brevard College.
A native of Pittsylvania County, Lori serves as the director of marketing and communications working to develop strategic marketing efforts for DRF and its regional partners. She has experience that spans public relations; event/sponsorship management and marketing; strategic communications planning; and digital and social media project planning, development and implementation. Prior to joining DRF, she held various positions with Birmingham, Alabama-based Luckie & Company, a national full-service marketing and advertising agency. She is a Cum Laude graduate of Samford University with a major in Journalism/Mass Communications and a minor in Business. She is also certified by the Institute for Crisis Management. Lori is a 2015 graduate of Lead Virginia, a 2016 recipient of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals PACE (Professional and Community Engagement) Award, a member of the board of directors for God's Storehouse in Danville and holds a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University Office of Continuing Studies.
J.C. joined DRF in August 2020 as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, bringing with him over a decade of specialized accounting experience. J.C. has called the Danville/Pittsylvania County area home since 1989 and has always considered Danville his hometown. Currently a Pittsylvania County resident, J.C. has held upper level financial positions with American National Bank & Trust Company and most recently Daly Hotel Management Inc. He holds a bachelor's degree in Accounting from Averett University and is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia.