Board of Directors
The Community Home Trust Board of Directors is made up of one third Home Trust homeowners, one third elected officials and one third community members. Board Members can serve two consecutive three-year terms.
Alan moved to Chapel Hill in 2008 after living 33 years in Washington, D.C., in search of a better life-style in a smaller community. With many years of experience in commercial real estate and finance, he has volunteered to help the Trust. Alan’s accounting practice is as a part-time Chief Financial Officer for a group of small business and non-profit clients. He lives with his wife, Christina Cornell and their Dalmatian, Flicka.
Jennifer Ferris is a freelance writer who has lived in her Community Home Trust home in Culbreth Park since 2007. When not spending time with her husband, Bill, and two young sons, Jennifer volunteers for a number of local charitable organizations. These organizations include the Carolina Abortion Fund, Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, the Durham Luchadoras, and Aldersgate United Methodist Church Preschool.
Gordon Merklein is the Executive Director of Real Estate at the University of North Carolina. Gordon joined UNC in 2009 and has more than 20 years of experience in commercial real estate. Gordon oversees the UNC Property Office as well as real estate management, investment and development activities for the University, including redevelopment of University Square. Gordon holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Southern Methodist University and a Master of City Planning from Georgia Institute of Technology. He is married to Catherine Duncan and has two sons, Sam and Ethan.
Cresha was elected to the Home Trust board in October 2012. She was previously appointed to a vacant seat on the board in July 2010. Cresha is retired from the Duke Clinical Research Institute where she was a registered nurse and clinical trials coordinator. Cresha believes that developing affordable housing in Chapel Hill needs to be a key priority in maintaining its vibrancy and livability. Her “fun” interests include gardening, yoga, ballroom dancing and water painting. She has lived in Chapel Hill for over twenty years with her husband, George and their two rescue dogs, Tira and Chloe.
Kathleen was appointed to the Home Trust Board by the Hillsborough Town Board in December 2013. She came to Hillsborough in 2001 after accepting a position at Quintiles, where she currently serves as Associate Director, Strategic Pricing and Partnering. Kathleen became involved in local community service when she co-founded the Hillsborough Heights Neighborhood Watch in 2004 and worked with fellow residents to reclaim neighborhood quality of life. Since then, she has served in a variety of volunteer and appointed positions at the Town and County level. Kathleen is married to Ike Ferguson and shares their home with their three canine rescues, Tallulah, Mr. Speckle, and Miss Midget.
Emily moved to North Carolina from northern Virginia in 2008. An alumna of George Mason University, she works as a graphic designer at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government. She learned about the Community Home Trust and bought her home and moved to Chapel Hill with her crazy dog, Pippi, in 2012. In her free time, she can be found training for her next half marathon, partaking in a number of art projects, and going on adventures.
Michelle was appointed to the Home Trust Board by the Town of Carrboro in December 2013. She has lived in Carrboro since 2001 and has remained well connected in the community. She lives and works in the heart of downtown Carrboro as a social worker in private practice on Weaver Street, an artist working out of her in-home studio on Center Street, a yoga instructor who can often be found at Carrboro Yoga Company, and a social justice activist in Carrboro and across the state.
Jaimie is a native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and became a homeowner thanks to the Community Home Trust in the summer of 2011. Jaimie graduated cum laude from Emory University in 2004, receiving a B.A. in French studies and music. After graduation, she was a Mellon Fellow and graduate assistant, traveling to Senegal, Ghana and South Africa. She also worked in marketing for Kilpatrick Stockton, LLP in Atlanta, and in public relations in Atlanta and Los Angeles. From 2005-2006, Lee participated in a teaching assistant program in Nantes, France.
Jim is a native of Chapel Hill who graduated from Lincoln High School in 1961. He went to college in Hampton, Virginia and worked in the local school district in Hampton until his retirement as a school principal in 2004. Jim served on the Chapel Hill Town Council in 2008 and 2009 and was appointed to the Town of Chapel Hill’s Comprehensive Plan Initiating Committee.
Penny was appointed to the Home Trust board by the Orange County Board of Commissioners in September 2013. Penny was elected to the Orange County Board of Commissioners in November of 2012. She also served on the Chapel Hill Town Council from 2009-2012. She is currently a small business owner of a personal chef/catering service.
Maryann is a native of New Jersey who moved to North Carolina to be closer to her children and grandchildren. She purchased her East 54 condominium through the Home Trust in 2009.
Jim was appointed to the Home Trust board by the Town of Chapel Hill in December 2013. A four-term Council Member, Jim is a UNC employee working as Director of Horticulture at the North Carolina Botanical Garden for the past 38 years where he leads development of plant collections and landscaped areas, teaches public education courses, and serves as liaison between the Botanical Garden and other agencies and groups. Ward is married to Lynne Wentworth, program director for the Orange-Chatham County Guardian ad Litem program. They have two adult sons, Nick and Sam.