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Management Team

Anthony Starr

B.S. in Community & Regional Planning, Appalachian State University
Master of Public Administration, Appalachian State University
Municipal Administration Course, UNC School of Government
Sustainable Communities Training, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Professional Experience
Anthony is a veteran of the US Army/Army Reserve obtaining the rank of sergeant and began his public service in 1992. He started his local government service as an intern for the City of Lincolnton in 1995 and has served in a variety of roles including, Catawba County Deputy Sheriff, Hickory Firefighter, Conover Planner, WPCOG Planner, Catawba Town Manager, Henderson County Planning Director, WPCOG Assistant Executive Director, and became the WPCOG Executive
Director on January 1, 2015.

Anthony oversees all operations of the WPCOG with a staff of 61 professionals that serve our region. He manages the WPCOG budget exceeding $22 million and provides direct support to the 28 local governments and other key partners in the region and state.

Sherry Long

Bachelor of Science, in Business Administration, Western Carolina University

Professional Experience
Joined the WPCOG in October 1986 as a Community Development Specialist; promoted to Community Development Administrator in January 1988 and again in January 1997 to Community Development Director. As Community Development
Director, her responsibilities included grant writing, project administration, serving as a HUD Certified Housing Counselor, and managing a department of nine employees including seven Community Development Administrators, a Senior Planner for Infrastructure and Economic Development, and an Environmental Development Administrator. Promoted to Assistant Executive Director in 2015, while maintaining her current duties, accepted the additional responsibilities of overseeing operations of the WPCOG Regional Housing Authority and Workforce Development.


Has received funding for 23 local governments in the region; a solid reputation for writing successful grants; a HUD Certified Housing Counselor; 1992-93 served as the President for the North Carolina Community Development Association (NCCDA); actively involved with projects for the Western NC Housing Partnership.

Alison Adams
Ashley Bolick

Bachelor of Arts, Business Management, Charles M. Snipes School of Business, Lenoir-Rhyne University

Professional Experience
Has served as the Western Piedmont COG’s Director of Administrative Services & Human Resources since April of 2015. Prior to Joining the WPCOG, served as the Re-employment Services Supervisor for the NC Department of Commerce, Division of Workforce Solutions/NC Works Career Center in Caldwell County and with Bank of Granite as the Employment & Training Specialist.


Ashley is responsible for providing guidance and recommendations to the other department directors and the executive director in matters concerning personnel or WPCOG policies. Additionally she serves as the benefifits administrator and risk manager. Ashley serves as the Clerk to the WPCOG Policy Board and Executive Committee.

Taylor Dellinger

B.S. in Geography with a Minor in Mathematics from Western Carolina University
Masters of Science in Geography from Appalachian State University

Professional Experience
Taylor Dellinger has been employed by the WPCOG since April 1998 as professional staff assigned to the WPCOG Data Center.

Handling local government, public and private-sector requests for economic and demographic data concerning the four-county metropolitan area; writing and editing the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton MSA Economic Indicators Newsletter (EIN) and the City of Hickory Economic Indicators Report; creating and managing the Unifour Regional Building Analysis Network (URBAN), generating student growth estimation models for the Caldwell County, Catawba County, Hickory Public and Newton-Conover Schools; producing the Western Piedmont Industry Growth Analysis (IGA); assisting in developing the Hickory Metro Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and providing support for all of the WPCOG’s research and grant activities.

Stephanie Hanvey

Bachelor of Arts from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Professional Experience
Stephanie joined the WPCOG in 1993 as a Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) Program Specialist. She was Involved in determining the eligibility for educational and job training programs for the economically disadvantaged residents of our four county area. She joined the Community Development Department in 2000 as the First-time Homebuyers Individual Development Account Program Coordinator. She taught classes on home buying and performed in-depth credit counseling with class participants. Stephanie also provided default/foreclosure counseling to residents of the region who were in danger of losing their homes. In May of 2013, Stephanie was promoted to the Regional Housing Authority Director. Upon implementing a new Administrative Plan, there has been an increase in the number of housing vouchers that are available in our region. Stephanie and her staff are assisting more families with housing and with opportunities though our Family Self-Sufficiency Program to live independently in our community. In 2018, the Regional Housing Authority was designated as 1 of only 17 EnVision Centers nationwide. Under her guidance, Stephanie hopes the EnVision Center will offer additional opportunities for residents to become self-sufficient.

Brian Horton
Wendy Johson

Associate of Science, Industrial Management, Catawba Valley Community College
Bachelor of Science in Human Services & Counseling, Gardner-Webb University
Master of Human Resource Development, Clemson University


Professional Experience
Ms. Johnson Joined the Western Piedmont Council of Governments in August 2009, and served as a Business Services Representative to the Workforce Development Board for four years. In 2013 was promoted to role of Workforce Development Board Director. Prior to joining WPCOG, Wendy spent over 20 years in the private sector with 15 of those years working in Training and Development for industries such as fiber optics, semiconductors, and pharmaceuticals.


Manages, plans and coordinates the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (Title 1) workforce development programs in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties under the direction of the Western Piedmont Workforce Development Board. This also includes planning and oversight of the one-stop system/operator (NCWorks Career Centers) in the four county area.

Todd Justice
Scott Miller

Bachelor of Arts in Geography with a concentration in computer cartography and a minor in computer science, Appalachian State University

Professional Experience
Has served as the Western Piedmont COG’s GIS Manager since 1997, officially adding Information Technology management duties in 2014; prior to joining the WPCOG, served as GIS Applications Programmer with the NC Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (CGIA) in Raleigh and GIS Specialist with the Lincoln County, NC Tax Department.

Largely responsible for developing and expanding COG GIS services across the region and managing the Information Technology needs for the agency. The WPCOG Regional Geographic Information System houses spatial and statistical data for the counties of Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba on the same operating system and applications platform. Scott and his staff provide a full-service GIS department to Hickory and utility mapping, inventory and web-based applications to Drexel, Maiden, Rutherford College, Taylorsville and Valdese. Notable IT related projects of late include implementation of an electronic document management system, migration of agency email services to the Office 365 cloud, downtown WiFi RFP assistance to Granite Falls, Hudson and Rutherford College and vendor selection for a new office phone system.

Tina Miller

Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from North Carolina State University
Master’s Degree in Gerontology from Appalachian State University

Professional Experience
Tina Miller joined WPCOG in 1998 as a Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) Specialist. She became Aging Specialist with the Aging Services Division in February 1999. She was promoted to Director of the Area Aging on Aging in March 2015. Tina also has a background with Evidence-Based Health Promotion Programs, Reverse Mortgage Counseling, and Senior Games. As Director, she has developed programs and secured grants to increase her department’s annual budget by more than $500,000. These increased funds have allowed her department to expand their services to more older adults and caregivers and expand the Aging Department by two additional staff members.

Tina works on behalf of older adults and their caregivers in the region in the areas of advocacy, resource and program development, funds administration, quality assurance and information brokerage. She is an active community leader striving to make our region more “Dementia Friendly.”

Andrea Roper

Master of Accountancy - Gardner-Webb University
BSBA-Accounting – Gardner-Webb University
BSBA-Finance & Banking; Risk Mgmt & Insurance – Appalachian State University

Professional Experience
Prior to working at WPCOG, Andrea worked as an accountant for Catawba Valley Community College and Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute. Before deciding to pursue accounting as her career, she worked at the Bank of Granite. Andrea enjoyed banking during her senior year of high school and through college. Once she graduated college, Andrea changed career paths and began selling insurance for Farris Insurance Agency. It was during this time that she discovered accounting was my true passion.

Andrea is responsible for the financial administration and budget development/management at WPCOG as well as providing local government finance administration to our local governments and other regional clients.

Johnny Wear


Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies, Catawba College
Masters of Arts in Geography with emphasis on Community Planning, UNC-Charlotte

Professional Experience
Joined the WPCOG in November, 2006; prior experience as Planner for the Town of Troy, NC, and Land Management Director for the Town of Spencer, NC, and Naturalist with Rowan County Parks and Recreation.


Includes creating regional plans for air and water quality, acts as staff for the Unifour Air Quality Committee (UAQC) and the Western NC Water Resources Committee. John also oversees outreach/education activities concerning air quality, primarily in alternative fuels, as well as stormwater outreach as part of the Stormwater Partnership, and conducts water quality grant searches and administration for region and manages the Unifour Septic System Repair Project. John also manages the Land Use Planners and works on other relevant planning projects.

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