Board of Directors
Walt is a graduate of McDowell High School and Clemson University. He has owned and operated a successful insurance agency in town for the past 28 years. Walt is involved in several local civic organizations with leadership positions and brings that same enthusiasm of service and goodwill to the board.
Samantha has been a resident of McDowell County her entire life and has served her community as the store manager of Marion Pharmacy for the past 17 years. She has a passion for her community and for seeing it grow and develop. Working in the public service sector for so many years has afforded her the opportunity to know and understand the concerns, goals, and interests expressed by neighbors. Her knowledge of McDowell and work in the community is an asset to this board
Doug Watson comes to the board as a representative of the small business sector of McDowell. Born and raised in the Nebo community, he graduated from Western Carolina University in 1992 and relocated to the Charlotte, NC region where he spent 22 plus years in corporate finance with Ingersoll-Rand Company.
Doug returned home in 2016 and he and his wife became entrepreneurs with the opening of Flavors on Main in downtown. His combined experiences in industry and retail allow him to bring diverse viewpoints to the board and be a part of helping McDowell County continue to grow and prosper.
Emily Causey is co-owner of Mica Town Brewing Company, McDowell County's first brewery. She is also the Vice President of Hospitality at Montreat Conference Center. She is currently enrolled in the LINC leadership program and serves on the board of the Marion Business Association. Emily resides in Marion with her business partner and brewer husband Jason Snyder.
Carol Wolfenbarger is board certified in Healthcare Management and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). Joining Mission Health in 2015 as the President of Mission Hospital McDowell, she provided oversight in the construction of the $49-million-dollar facility occupied in March 2018. During her tenure at Mission Hospital McDowell, the team has achieved the “A” Safety Grade from Leadfrog for four consecutive periods, 2017 Five Star Ranking from CMS, and improved year over year the operating margin for the hospital. A Rotarian, her community involvement includes serving on the Board of the Rutherford Polk McDowell Health District, the Board of the McDowell Chamber of Commerce, the Western North Carolina (WNC) Health Network Board of Directors, and the Board of McDowell Economic Development Association. Wolfenbarger holds both BS and MS degrees in nursing from the University of Tennessee.
Mackenzie is a native of McDowell County who brings a passion and energy to the board. A graduate of Appalachian State University, she holds a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management and an MBA. As a regional post-acute transition care manager for CarePartners Hospice & Palliative Care of McDowell, Mackenzie works to ensure those in the community have access to the best healthcare possible. She is very involved in her church and is also on the Marion Business Association Board. She works to contribute her time and talents to give a voice to those in the community and support the rich array of businesses.
Stacy Buff is a resident of the Glenwood Community in McDowell County. He attends Glenwood Baptist Church where he serves as a deacon and Sunday school teacher. He is married to Amberlie Morgan Buff and they have two children Zayden and Brylie.
Stacy is the dean of continuing education and workforce development at McDowell Technical Community College. He works in conjunction with the Small Business Center director, Human Resource director, and Customized Industry Training director at McDowell Tech to ensure that the training needs of McDowell County business and industry are met.
Dawna is a dedicated community advocate and leader. A native of Marion, she graduated from McDowell Technical Community College as well as Johnson Institute of Senior Center Management, and the Rural Economic Development Institute (REDI). Dawna currently works as the community outreach coordinator for the McDowell Senior Center and heads the local public transportation initiative. Along with her chamber board duties, she is the board chair for the West Marion Community Forum, Inc. among others. She is an asset to her community through her leadership and mentoring abilities. Dawna brings diversity, passion, and advocacy to making changes for a better and healthier McDowell County.
Lee Lattimore moved to and began practicing law in Marion in 2006 joining the law firm of Little and Lattimore, P.A. after graduating from Campbell University. The primary focus of Lee's practice is in commercial and residential real estate law with a focus on closings of residential and commercial real estate, title examinations, and associated document preparation.
Lee provides a legal perspective to the McDowell County Chamber Board and strives to assist in the continued growth in McDowell County.
April Westmoreland is also a Marion native and graduate of the University of North Carolina at Asheville where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Accounting in 1999. She went on to earn a Master of Accountancy from Western Carolina University in 2003 and became licensed in NC as a certified public accountant that same year. With her education and 19 years plus in public accounting, she provides accounting and financial skills to the Chamber board while serving the community. An accountant with Johnson Price Sprinkle, PA., April often serves on panels and presents at educational workshop for our members.
Shannon has worked at RDM Industrial Electronics, Inc. for 15 years in many different aspects including, accounting, strategic planning, and currently as HR Manager. Having lived in McDowell county since birth, she has watched it grow and enjoys seeing new businesses come to our town. Shannon’s experience is invaluable for driving the Chamber forward in its mission.
Lisa Ellis discovered McDowell County when she was 7 years old when her father took the position of city manager of Marion. Lisa made a name for herself managing an $80 million business in the staffing industry and is skilled in business operations, talent acquisition, and sales. She represents the mid-size manufacturing sector as talent acquisition and community networking manager for ABB. She and her family have always been civic minded investing both time and energy into the community. Lisa previously served on the McDowell County Chamber Board (early 2000s) and was president of the McDowell County Rotary. She is very active in her own community of Old Fort where she plans on opening a business with her husband, serves on the planning committee for the Old Fort Community Forum, and started a support group for caregivers of loved ones with Dementia/Alzheimer’s.
Don Lebow comes to the board from Columbia Forest Products in Old Fort and brings more than 40 years of management experience to the table. A graduate of Oregon State University, Don earned his bachelor’s degree in forest engineering in 1982. He has also managed several local and state political campaigns. As a participant in LINC 9 (The Chamber’s leadership program), Don gained a great respect for the communities and institutions of McDowell County and a desire to participate in the continued growth and success of the area.
Tonya Wilson, is a member of the human resource team at Baxter North Cove. Tonya brings 20+ years of management experience with a strong concentration in recruitment, staffing, and safety in various industries. Living and raising her children in McDowell County the last 25 years, she understands the importance of engagement of resources that influence positive change to guarantee a great economic future for generations to come within our community. Being able to continue to serve the McDowell community, is an honor and challenge that is accepted with eagerness.