Ashburn was appointed by the Boards of Education on June 10, 2019. Leah is a second-generation family owner of Highland Brewing Company and serves as President and CEO. Her father, Oscar Wong, founded the company in 1994 when it was Asheville’s first legal brewery since Prohibition.
After a career in educational sales in Charlotte, Leah joined Highland in 2011 as a sales representative. She moved into marketing and was named President in 2015. Since 2015, Highland’s beer portfolio and brand have seen a revolution.
Leah’s board service includes the NC Craft Brewers Guild, Buncombe County TDA, Asheville Chamber, and RiverLink.
Bell was appointed by the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners on August 1, 2016. He joined the Asheville Housing Authority as the Director of Maintenance and Construction in 1994. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Asheville Housing Authority and Executive Director of Brevard Housing Authority in October 2005. He retired from that position in June 2019. He graduated with a degree in Business Management from Xavier University. Gene was employed with IBM for over 20 years, and owned a construction company before coming to Asheville. He has served on the Asheville City School Board for eight years where served as Chair for six of those years. Gene currently serves as the President of the North Carolina Housing Authority Directors Association, Board of Directors of Muddy Sneakers. He is a trustee on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Housing Authority Risk and Retention Pool (NCHARRP). He serves as chairman to the Buncombe County Planning Board.
Briggs was appointed by the Governor on July 1, 2015. He is a retired judge from Mars Hill. He earned degrees from Mars Hill, Western Carolina and Wake Forest Universities. He is a member of the N.C. State Bar, Twenty-Fourth Judicial Bar Association. He served two terms in the N.C. State Senate, was an assistant U.S. Attorney, district court judge, resident superior court judge, special superior court judge, He was a member of the N.C. Board of Corrections and the Governor’s Task Force on Domestic Violence.
Brigman was appointed by the Madison County Commissioners on February 20, 2013. A native of Madison County, Brigman is a graduate of A-B Tech. Brigman services as the board chair of the Madison County Commissioners, board member for Land of Sky Regional Council, and board member of A-B Tech’s Board of Trustees. Brigman is a self-employed trucking safety consultant and owner of I-26 Truck and Equipment. He also works with JKS motorsports in the NASCAR field and is a member of Bald Creek Masonic Lodge and Paint Gap Baptist Church.
Brumit was appointed by the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners on February 7, 2011. He is the Owner/President and CEO of Brumit Restaurant Group and served three terms as chair of the A-B Tech Board of Trustees. Brumit has also been a member of the A-B Tech Foundation Board of Directors since 2002 and served as chair for two terms starting in 2007. During that time, the Foundation set records for funds raised, scholarships awarded and grants received. He attended the University of Tennessee and sits on the Eblen Charities board, as well as three corporate Boards.
Edgerton was appointed by the Governor on July 13, 2017. He was more than four decades of leadership experience in high tech industries. Edgerton has turned struggling companies into success stories with a focus on customer driven strategies and highly effective management of superior R&D teams, worldwide sales, global marketing and operational organizations. He is currently a board member of Tempo Semiconductor. Edgerton holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (Summa Cum Laude) and a Masters of Business Administration in Finance and Accounting from Western Michigan University. He is on the Board of Trustees of the Asheville Art Museum and serving on the Audit Committee and Marketing Committee. He is on the Board of the Manna Foodbank where he serves on their Audit Committee and Chairs the Advocacy Committee.
Fryar was appointed by the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners on December 16, 2013. He has been a resident of Buncombe County for 50 years. He attended A.C. Reynolds High School and served in the U.S. Navy. A self-made man and small business owner for 32 years, Mike started his career sweeping floors for the legendary Banjo Matthews — working his way up the ladder and eventually starting his own engine business, Fryar Performance, in 1980. He currently serves as a Buncombe County Commissioner for District 2. A board resolution awarded him an honorary associate degree in governmental management, Fryar "has applied ... (his) interest in saving taxpayer dollars to recent construction projects on the college campus, while also providing the state-of-the-art educational facilities needed for a world-class college."
Hallum was appointed by the Boards of Education on September 19, 2016. She is the director of Health Careers and Diversity Education at the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC). She is a native of Asheville and has been employed with MAHEC for 21 years. Her healthcare background spans more than 30 years with special interest in health parity, culturally appropriate care, and workforce diversity and inclusion. She is an advocate for social justice and enjoys the experience of mentoring and working with marginalized youth. She graduated with a degree in Business Administration and a concentration in Marketing from NC A&T. She received a dual Masters degree in Business Administration and Health Administration from Pfeiffer University .
Kern was appointed by the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners on June 12, 2107. Born in Greensboro, NC and then moved at a young age to Erwin, Tennessee, he was raised on a 30-acre farm deep in the Appalachian Mountains. Growing acres of burley tobacco, corn and potatoes, as well as picking up many hay bales taught Matt the value of hard work and respect for the land. Kern attended Western Carolina University and received a BS in Environmental Health and a Masters of Public Administration(MPA). He started his own residential construction company, M.C Kern Contracting, Inc, in 2003. Matt has also been a Co-Organizer of the very successful French Broad River Festival, Inc. since 1997.
Lake was appointed by the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners on September 5, 2017. A native of Asheville, Lake loved basketball, so much so that he was one of the best basketball players in the state during his high-school career. After playing college basketball and having a brief career playing professional abroad, he made his way back home to Asheville where he has been working for Buncombe County Health and Human Services for the past 15 years. The bulk of his work has been social work in the form of Child Protective Services, and more recently Community Engagement social work. In 2012, Lake started the My Daddy Taught Me That movement with a Book, followed by a Men’s Development Youth Program. Today he is a public speaker, author, social worker, community activist, and CEO/Director of My Daddy Taught Me That. Lake has found a passion in helping others and has a special gift working with youth.
Metcalf was appointed by the Boards of Education on June 15, 2015. A life-long resident of the Enka Community, Roger received a BS degree from Appalachian State University, a MA degree from Western Carolina University and a doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Forty-two years in public education included service as a teacher, coach, principal, and assistant superintendent in the Asheville City and Buncombe County Schools. The last 17 years were spent as director of the Western Region Education Service Alliance. He received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest honor. In 2008, Roger retired to the family farm in Candler where he helps his wife, Anita, with her gardens, and she helps him with his bees. He spends as much time as possible with his granddaughters, Meredith and Elizabeth, and occasionally plays a round of golf.
John Parham Jr., MD
Dr. Parham was appointed by the Boards of Education on November 7, 2011. He currently is serving a second term as Vice Chair. He received his M.D. from the University of Mississippi Medical Center and did post graduate training in anesthesiology from Duke University. He was a captain in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps and was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medical in 1983. He is a primary care physician at the Charles George VA Medical Center, where he has practiced since 1986. Dr. Parham is a member of Calvary Presbyterian Church, elder and treasurer, lifetime member of NAACP, Blue Ridge Mental Health board of directors 1991 to 2003, board chairman 1998 to 2003, lifetime member of the YMI, lifetime member of Trout Unlimited and North American Fishing and Hunters Clubs.
Ramsey was appointed by the Madison County Commissioners on June 2, 2014. A life-long resident of Madison County, Ramsey earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Western Carolina University. She taught 30 plus years for Madison County Schools and finished out her educational career as an adjunct faculty member for A-B Tech’s Madison Site. Ramsey currently serves on the Board of Trustees at A-B Tech, the Advisory Board for Madison County’s Cooperative Extension agency, Board and Executive Board for the Smith-McDowell House, and volunteers with Madison County Schools helping develop volunteer programs for the school system
Mary Ann Rice
Rice was appointed by the Governor on July 1, 2014. She currently serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees. A native of Asheville, Rice is a graduate of UNC and a Senior Vice President of the State Employees’ Credit Union. Currently based at the Biltmore Village location, she he has opened and supervised numerous SECU branches in Western North Carolina. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Arboretum, on the A-B Tech Foundation Board and is a member of the Women’s’ Society for Mission Hospital. She has received the state’s highest honor, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.