Developers Council, a statewide trade association for affordable housing developers and professionals active in Tennessee. In 2013, he spearheaded the launch of NH&RA’s Preservation through Energy Efficiency Project, a major educational initiative supported by the MacArthur Foundation. Amdur graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University with a double major in Political Science and History.
Rob Chrane has more than 30 years of experience as a top producer and executive in the real estate and mortgage finance industries. Chrane launched Down Payment ResourceSM to connect eligible homebuyers and eligible properties with hard-to-find down payment programs. Chrane has volunteered with the Urban Land Institute and its Terwilliger Workforce Housing Center, the National Council of State Housing Agencies; the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies, the National Housing Council, and the Metro Atlanta “Piece by Piece Regional Foreclosure Initiative.” Chrane also volunteers his time with Habitat for Humanity and the Buckhead YMCA.
Anna Lea Cothron
Aging Commission Liaison
Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability
Anna Lea Cothron works in partnership with other department programs to promote collaborative planning and participation with all local/county/state agencies that seek to promote good health and quality of life for older Tennesseans. She has a BS in Recreation Therapy with a minor in Gerontology from Middle Tennessee State University.
Bob Currie oversees support of Tennessee’s Interagency Council on Homelessness, which recently approved Tennessee’s State Plan to End Homelessness. He also administers the award-wining Creating Homes Initiative, which has developed over 15,500 housing opportunities since 2000 by leveraging over $505 million for people diagnosed with mental illness and substance abuse disorders. He also oversees 11 statewide programs addressing housing and homeless challenges. Currie has over 45 years of experience in Tennessee State government and nonprofit agencies leading efforts to provide treatment, prevention, recovery support, and housing development.
Ed DeMarco researches issues involving housing finance, housing policy, and financial institution regulation. From 2009 to 2014, DeMarco served as acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and regulator of those companies and the Federal Home Loan Banks. He was named HousingWire magazine’s Person of the Year in 2012 for his impact on housing finance. Previously, DeMarco was chief operating officer and senior deputy director of the FHFA and its predecessor agency from 2006 to 2009. He received
a BA in economics from the University of Notre Dame and a PhD in economics from the University of Maryland.
A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Michael Dunthorn has worked with community partners along with local, state and federal officials on homelessness issues for over 15 years.
Housing West Tennessee Legal Services
Carol Gish is WTLS Managing Attorney, Housing; Fair Housing Project Director, with oversight of the Fair Housing Project, in affiliation with Legal Aid of East Tennessee and Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands; and Project Director of the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program through NeighborWorks®. She was WTLS/Tennessee Project Director for the FHIP-FHOI grants with California Rural Legal Assistance, Mississippi Center for Legal Services, and Legal Aid of North Carolina. She represents individuals alleging violation of the Fair Housing Act, violation of the Truth in Lending Act, RESPA violations, and/or common law violations associated with residential mortgage lending and noncompliance with legal requirements associated with the landlord/tenant relationship.
Lindsay Hall has worked with THDA since 2010, working in the housing arena since 1986. She has developed and managed retail origination teams for national lenders, owned and operated a mortgage company and combined her lending, appraising education, and real estate knowledge to specialize in REO listings and sales. Hall joined THDA as the assistant director of Single Family Programs and was promoted to senior director of Single Family Programs. She has held licensure as a real estate salesperson, residential real estate appraiser and mortgage loan originator. Hall believes this combined experience helps her understand the challenges that THDA partners encounter on a daily basis.
Don Harris has statewide responsibility for the Single Family Housing loan and grant programs and the Multi-Family Housing rental and subsidy assistance programs. During 2009-10, he was assigned to the National Office in Washington, D.C., as the team leader for the National Outreach Initiative Pilot Program that provided specialized outreach and loan packaging services for persistent poverty counties located across the nation. In 2010, he was awarded the Tomlinson Award for outstanding achievement and leadership in the affordable multifamily housing industry by the Council for Affordable and Rural Housing. Harris previously worked with THDA and the Tennessee Department of Correction.
Mary Hernandez oversees assessment, recommendation, disbursement, and monitoring of Affordable Housing Program (AHP) funding awards for housing development projects. Hernandez has over 20 years’ experience in housing, community, and economic development in both the public and private sectors. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas Woman’s University and a Master of Science degree from Northern Kentucky University, as well as several certifications in housing and economic development finance, Low Income Housing Tax Credit development and compliance, and property management.
Hallerin Hilton Hill was named to the “Top 100 Most Powerful People in Tennessee” and the “Top 50 Most Powerful African-Americans in Tennessee” by Business Tennessee magazine in April 2004. His afternoon radio show airs from 3-7 p.m. every weekday on Newstalk 98.7 WNOX. Hill is also a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter. He speaks to thousands of people each year to help inspire, motivate and encourage excellence. Hill is the CEO and founder of Wisdom House, a multimedia company focused on inspiring people around the world to grow in wisdom. He is married to Nedra and they have two children, Hallerin II and Halle Nicole. Most importantly, Hill loves God.
Johnson joined THDA in September 2008 as a program compliance monitor. She transferred to the Single Family Division and became the homebuyer education manager in March 2015, where she oversees a network of 50+ approved housing education agencies and online education. Johnson is a proud native of Nashville. She attended Whites Creek Comprehensive High School and continued her education at Middle Tennessee State University, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing.
Kelsie Jones manages the Board’s professional and support staff who hear statewide property tax appeals for farm, residential, commercial and public utility properties in Tennessee and render determinations involving religious, charitable and related property tax exemptions. He has served on planning committees for the Wichita Appraisal Workshop for Public Utility and Transportation Property and the National Conference of State Tax Judges. Jones is an administrative judge for the Tennessee Assessment Appeals Commission, and he has authored numerous decisions, presentations and memoranda on property tax issues, as well as dozens of amendments to Tennessee property tax laws. He is a graduate of Rhodes Colleg and the Cecil Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis.
Betsy Knotts assists the executive secretary in hearing statewide property tax appeals, reviewing tax exemptions, and providing research and support to the Tennessee General Assembly. As senior counsel to the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury for Public Finance , she counsels the Utility Management Review Board and the Water and Wastewater Financing Board and provides legal guidance to all of the divisions within the Comptroller’s Office with a special emphasis on tax incentive programs, public utilities, and local government financial transactions. Betsy is a Fulbright Scholar and a graduate of Tulane University. She received her Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Civil Law from Louisiana State University Law Center.
A former TV news producer and P.R. account executive, Rick Lewis now serves in the Communications division of THDA, where he raises the housing agency’s profile through media relations, advertising, social media, and a wide range of other promotional activities.
Malone’s focus is overseeing the construction inspection process and the asset management for the ARRA portfolio. She has been with THDA since 2001, working serially in the Fiscal Administration and Program Compliance divisions before moving to Multifamily in 2014. Malone graduated with a Master of Science in Management in 2006 from Austin Peay State University.
Denise McBride has been the Community Outreach Liaison for Middle Tennessee for three years. In this role, she listened to the needs, issues and challenges expressed by industry groups and proposed solutions through knowledge of THDA products, assistance in leveraging other resources, and bringing other key players into these discussions. McBride joined THDA in 2010 as an underwriter. Prior to that, McBride worked for 34 years with SunTrust Bank as local, regional and state community development manager. She is credited with implementing a financial literacy curriculum for high school students, initiating a sensitivity /diversity program and co- developing a mortgage product designed to reach first-time homebuyers.
Charmaine McNeilly helps to shape THDA’s brand identity through her work with the agency’s publications, websites, advertising campaigns, and events. She previously served as public relations manager for the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee and communications manager for First Baptist Church of Pensacola. She also worked in communications and development for the Lee County Alabama Habitat for Humanity. McNeilly graduated cum laude from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in Communication with minors in Marketing and Journalism. McNeilly is a graduate of THDA’s Leadership Academy and the Young Leaders Council Nashville.
Chris Osborn is the Chief Operating Officer at HomeSource of East Tennessee, and has worked in creating affordable housing for seniors for over 10 years. Since 2012, he and his staff have searched to find a way to provide coordinated supportive services to the organization’s 95 senior tenants. In July 2015, HomeSource was able to launch a senior care coordination program, providing its tenants with service coordination, education, and activities to help them live independently and to the fullest. Osborn participates on the TennCare Housing Steering Committee, the KY/TN/WV Appalachian Elder Initiative, and the Knoxville Health Advisory Board. Osborn has a Master of Social Work from the University of Tennessee.
Ralph Perrey assumed the executive director’s position in November 2012 following nine years’ service on its Board of Directors. His tenure has seen the agency revamp its mortgage loan products, the down payment assistance program, and establish the Housing CONNECT Team to interact with partners across the state. Perrey serves as the vice president of the National Council of State Housing Agencies. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Housing Conference. Before joining THDA, Perrey worked at Fannie Mae and on the senior staff of Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist.
Community Affairs Specialist
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Memphis Area Office
Michael Powers began his career with the FDIC in 1992 as an assistant examiner in the Dallas Field Office, where he assisted in the Safety and Soundness examinations of banks in northeast Texas. In 1994 he joined the Community Affairs section in the Dallas Regional Office and conducted outreach with banks and community organizations concerning the Community Reinvestment Act, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and fair lending laws and regulations. In 1997, Powers accepted the position of Community Affairs Specialist in the Memphis Office, where he works with banks and nonprofit organizations in the areas of affordable housing, economic development, community revitalization, and financial literacy. Powers received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and his Master of Business Administration from Southeastern Louisiana University.
Debbie Reeves has served THDA for 20 years as senior mortgage loan underwriter, assistant director of Homeownership, and since 2006 in business development. She led a new three-member CONNECT Team beginning in 2013 to provide more attention to industry associates. She and her team built great relationships with lenders, REALTORS®, and homebuilders through face-to-face and webinar trainings. In her spare time, Reeves dotes on her four grandchildren.
Barbara Sard rejoined the Center as vice president for Housing Policy in 2011 after 18 months as senior advisor on Rental Assistance to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. She previously held the director’s position at the Center between 1997 and 2009. Sard is frequently cited in media outlets, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and the Associated Press. Prior to working at the Center, she was the senior managing attorney of the Housing Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services, where she worked for more than 19 years. Sard has a B.A. in Social Studies from Radcliffe College/Harvard University and a J.D. from the Harvard Law School.
Michael Schocker has worked in Planning and Site Development, and Sales and Marketing with residential and commercial developers. Since joining FOURMIDABLE’s team in 2008, he has held several positions including Residential Manager and Regional Supervisor, and Director of Real Estate Services. Under his guidance, the Real Estate Division closed over $82 million is the sales of multi-family and commercial properties. In 2016, Schocker assumed the position of president. Schocker is a graduate of Wayne State University with a degree in Geography with an emphasis on Urban Planning. In 1997, he received his Master of Science from Eastern Michigan University in Geography with an Urban Planning emphasis.
Toni Shaw has been with THDA for 11 years. She is responsible for the administration of the Community Investment Tax Credit Program and the Tennessee Housing Trust Fund (which includes Competitive Grants, Emergency Repair for the Elderly, and the Rebuild and Recover Programs). Toni also works with the federally funded Emergency Solutions Grant Program. Prior to THDA, Toni was employed for 15 years by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and the Davidson County Community Services Agency. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Fisk University and a master’s degree in Public Service Management from Cumberland University.
Laura Swanson focuses in the area of multi family rental programs. Prior to assuming this role, she worked for 16 years in various positions in THDA’s Rental Assistance Division, working with the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, Moderate Rehabilitation Program, Section 8 to Homeownership Program, and the Family Self Sufficiency Program. Swanson holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
and a Master of Arts in Sociology with an emphasis in Public Policy from Middle Tennessee State University. She is also a published author.
Don Watt leads implementation of federal and state grant programs, including HOME, ESG, LIHEAP, and Weatherization, as well as state- funded programs targeting individuals with disabilities, those who are homeless and individuals with other special needs. Prior to joining THDA in 2015, Don worked for more than 20 years with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs/Georgia Housing and Finance Authority, managing a variety of grant and loan programs serving the homeless, individuals with special needs, and low-income families. He possesses a Master of City and Regional Planning
from The Ohio State University.
Matt Widner oversees the programs and initiatives designed to address Oak Ridge’s ongoing housing challenges. Widner is the staff liaison to Tennessee’s first official land bank (Oak Ridge Land Bank, Inc.), and the City’s Board of Building & Housing Code Appeals. Widner works for the City’s real-estate voluntary acquisition, demolition/disposition programs utilizing various federal/state/local grant funding sources and serves as the City’s flood plain manager. Previously, Widner worked for the City of Cedar Rapids, Ia. Widner holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management from Tusculum College.
Donna Williams oversees the divisions of Open Spaces, Code Enforcement, Community Development, Neighborhood Services & Development, the Regional Planning Agency, the Land Development Office, Public Art, and Economic Development. Known nationally as the GIG City and for its Innovation District, the City of Chattanooga is using technology in its data-driven approach to decision-making across all aspects of economic and community development. During Williams’ tenure, the City of Chattanooga has revamped its approach to the allocation of federal funds, established an Affordable Housing PILOT, a Land Bank Authority, Administrative Hearing Officer, Neighborhood University and Mayor’s Minority Business Task Force.
Mary Wilson’s office serves Tennessee and its three Field Offices. The grant programs under her jurisdiction include Consolidated Planning formula programs: Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships, Emergency Shelter Grants, Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS, and the competitive grants, including the Continuum of Care homeless grants. This office also administers the Neighborhood Stabilization Programs, CDBG-Disaster Recovery grants, the National Resilience Disaster Program, and the National Housing Trust Fund. She has a Master of Public Administration and a B.A. of Sociology from the University of North Florida.
Ed Yandell works with the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Multifamily Tax-Exempt Bond Authority Programs. Prior to joining THDA in 1993, Yandell was a manager for a residential property management company. He graduated from the University of Tennessee at Martin in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.