As mayor of Spartanburg, Bill Barnet helped bring the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) to Spartanburg’s Northside, and VCOM became the catalyst for the redevelopment of Spartanburg’s Northside with the vision of a thriving, diverse community. When Junie White succeeded him as mayor, he asked Bill to champion extensive coalition-building and a strategic approach to creating a revitalized northside community, one that focused on improving healthcare access, housing and community assets, and educational, social, and economic opportunities for the residents of the Northside community. As a founding member and the board chair of the nonprofit Northside Development Group, the backbone organization managing the redevelopment of Spartanburg’s Northside community, Bill has filled the critical role of a community champion of the Spartanburg Northside Initiative.
Dr. Russell Booker has been a key collaborator in advancing the vision of the Spartanburg Northside Initiative. From 2010 to 2020, he served as superintendent of Spartanburg School District 7. During his tenure, he partnered with the Northside to launch innovative program models at the Cleveland Academy of Leadership as well as the construction and operations of The Franklin School. Following his retirement in 2020, Dr. Booker was named executive director of the Spartanburg Academic Movement (SAM), a nonprofit organization committed to ensuring Spartanburg’s youth reach academic and life success by convening partners, aligning resources, and driving equity outcomes. SAM is currently leading a $5.6 million investment strategy to support an equitable pandemic recovery and the development of an economic mobility investment strategy within the Northside and Highland communities.
Phil Feisal is president of Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, adjunct instructor of government and international affairs at Wofford College, chair of the OneSpartanburg, Inc. Executive Board, and a board member of Spartanburg Academic Movement. Spartanburg Regional was among the first partners in the Spartanburg Northside Initiative, and since 2010, Spartanburg Regional has invested millions of dollars in the neighborhood redevelopment efforts. Moreover, Spartanburg Regional’s Access Health has moved into office space physically within the Northside community, it has opened a dental clinic residency program adjacent to the Northside, and members of staff at the medical center have created a construction apprentice program for Northside residents.
Tammie Hoy Hawkins
Currently the chief executive officer of CommunityWorks, Tammie Hoy Hawkins served as the project manager for the Northside Development Group’s Northside Redevelopment Initiative in Spartanburg from 2013-2020. Tammie oversaw the day-to-day operations and business strategy for the organization and worked with a team of community leaders and small but mighty Northside Development Group staff as they successfully developed a plan focused on housing, education, health and wellness, while integrating it with what the community wanted. In addition to leading the master planning effort, she worked with her team to develop and implement a multi-tiered housing strategy, implement key community economic development projects, and manage several supportive services programs. Prior to coming to Spartanburg, Tammie was the executive director of the Lowcountry Housing Trust in Charleston, now known as the South Carolina Community Loan Fund, where she found her passion for affordable housing, growing the organization to one of Charleston’s lead entities in neighborhood stabilization.
Mitch Kennedy is the assistant city manager for the City of Spartanburg. The City was a partner in the Northside Initiative from the start, working in a supportive role alongside the Northside Development Group and other non-profit, corporate and community stakeholders. Mitch has helped lead collaborative gatherings, including the neighborhood charettes, works with partners to navigate complex funding processes, and regularly engages with the people of the Northside to build trust and solve problems. A native of Spartanburg, Mitch is heavily invested in his community, serving on several boards and working to support the vision of developing a community of choice, rooted in people.
Tony Thomas, a longtime resident of the Northside, has been an integral member of the team of partners strategically planning and implementing the transformation of the Northside. An original member of the Northside Voyagers, a resident leadership team passionately interested in the growth and betterment of the Northside community, Tony has been involved in improving the health and wellbeing of his fellow community members since before the birth of the Spartanburg Northside Initiative. Currently, Tony serves as community engagement coordinator for the Northside Development Group (NDG), a role in which he continues to ensure trust is maintained between NDG and the residents of the Northside.
Michael Williamson became chief executive officer of the Northside Development Group (NDG) in March 2020 and is responsible for leading the team in executing NDG’s mission and goals. He focuses heavily on managing the redevelopment initiatives of NDG, while also supporting the staff on community engagement and economic mobility programs. Prior to joining NDG, Michael was project manager for economic and community development for the City of Greenville from 2013- 2020, working to address both the City’s affordable housing needs and the needs of the neighborhood residents, including neighborhood master-planning and owner-occupied repairs.
Jacki Martin joined the Riley Institute as Deputy Director in 2009. Martin has extensive experience in community development issues. She has provided project management, communications and strategic services for policy-centered initiatives connected to downtown development and land use, with an emphasis on large-scale, multi-partner initiatives. She has held positions with the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street USA program, the S.C. Coastal Conservation League, and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, and has worked with the Urban Land Institute, the I’On Group, LS3P Associates, and Keane & Company. She also has considerable experience in public education, having directed communications for the Technical College of the Lowcountry and catalyzed the growth of the Riley Institute’s Center for Education Policy and Leadership.
Carol Naughton is the chief executive officer of Purpose Built Communities, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving racial equity, economic mobility, and health outcomes in communities across the country. Since 2010, she has worked alongside the Northside Development Group, their partners, and community members to plan and implement a sustainable, equitable and holistic neighborhood revitalization of the Northside neighborhood of Spartanburg. Carol previously served as executive director of the East Lake Foundation, the community quarterback for Atlanta’s East Lake neighborhood revitalization. Prior to joining the East Lake Foundation, as general counsel for Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA), she was a key member of the leadership team that transformed AHA into a national leader in community development.