January 14, 2019
Mountain Area Workforce Development Board honors our region’s employers, job seekers and youth

We thank everyone for making our annual recognition luncheon a success.  Over 150 people attended the luncheon.  Special thanks to AB Tech, “Racheal Woodall and the Tuesday Boys” and Red Radish Catering.
Background: Frontline WIOA staff and workforce partners who have worked with the participants and employers recognized submitted the following profiles. The Mountain Area Workforce Development Board is honored to recognize these individuals and employers.
Chris Worley,
WIOA Out-of-School Youth
Madison County Schools
NCWorks Next Gen Youth Intervention Program
Vicki Kelley, Youth Career Coach
When Chris and I first met, he was an angry young man who was often in trouble at school and had little to no respect for authority. Chris lived with his aunt, where he was surrounded by drug use. After getting in trouble with the police, he dropped out of school. He was placed on probation and required to return to school or go to work. Chris’ probation officer recommended him to a friend whose father had a roofing business. He went to work for him and after his aunt kicked him out, Chris moved in with him and his family. He also returned to school.
Through the support the WIOA program has provided, Chris has gained work experience in several different areas, which has allowed him important mentorship from some great male role models. Through his WIOA-funded work experience he has learned to take pride in a job well done. Chris also worked a paid summer internship at Advanced Super Abrasives, through the Goodwill Youth Services OneLife program. Chris’ hard work and determination at school has paid off as well. He is now on track to graduate in June. And while Chris is not 100% certain what career path he would like to pursue, he has enrolled at AB Tech for next fall.
Chris’ overall outlook on life has also changed. He has a much better attitude and can see himself on a path to success, a vision he lacked before.
Madison County Schools is proud to nominate Chris Worley as its Outstanding Participant for 2018.
Davion Rivera
WIOA Out-of-School Youth
Henderson County Schools
NCWorks NextGen Career Coaching Program
Peggy Tittle, Youth Career Coach
Davion is an amazing young man who has overcome many obstacles and struggles in his young life. He faces each day with optimism and each barrier with a strong fighting spirit. Davion never complains about what he does not have, but simply works harder to achieve his goals. In the last year alone, Davion has graduated from high school, enlisted in the military, completed basic training, and enrolled in Community College for the Spring 2019 Semester. It has been an absolute pleasure working with this young man. Watching him grow, succeed, and accomplish his goals has been a moving experience for all of us at the Career Academy who were given the opportunity to help guide him along the way. I am excited to see what incredible things this young man will accomplish over the next few years and am extremely proud of him!
Bradee Hyder
WIOA In-School Youth
Buncombe County Schools- NCWorks NextGen Career Readiness Program
Jeanine Phillips, Youth Career Coach
Success is always the goal we are striving for as we work with our youth in the WIOA program. That goal is often met with so many obstacles that students may want to give up. My participant this year was not willing to let those obstacles stop her. When I met Bradee Hyder, she was working part-time to support her mom who had cancer. Bradee’s father had tragically passed away from a heart attack suddenly several years before I met her. This affected her deeply. Bradee is a private person and is not eager to ask for help. When Bradee first began this program, we had enrolled her in a certified nursing assistant (CNA) class while she was in high school. I watched her begin to worry about her first obstacle: uniform, shoes and a watch for her clinicals. The issue was huge to her but easily taken care of with funding from WIOA. During the middle of the program Bradee’s car broke down, the bill was quite pricey, and she began to panic. An email to a wonderful agency and all was well again. They were able to pay her auto repair bill and for that, she was beyond thankful. Thankful to the point of tears. Bradee was a good student. No one had noticed that she was struggling. As issues arose, each one was met with an answer throughout the year. One thing we can say she has learned would be that we always need to be ready with a plan “B”. Bradee just needed a helping hand to guide her. To date, Bradee finished her CNA course and was hired at the Brian Center in Weaverville where she currently works. In addition, she is enrolled at AB Tech full-time to pursue her nursing career. Just a couple of weeks ago, Bradee was able to purchase a new car. She is stepping up and with her own hard work. Bradee is preparing a career pathway for herself and will not give up until she reaches her goals. Bradee is one that is so eager to work to achieve what she needs to. She is so thankful for the support and financial assistance from WIOA. It is always a pleasure to assist someone who has the strong desire to make it on their own and is willing to work hard to get there. Bradee Hyder is just that. Congratulations to a very determined, hardworking, overcoming, young woman.
Ebony Burt
WIOA Out-of-School Youth
NCWorks Next Gen Goodwill Buncombe County Program
Kristin Kress, Youth Career Coach
Goodwill’s NextGen Outstanding Participant of the Year for 2018 is Ebony Burt. Ebony started working with WIOA in 2016. At that point in her life, she was pregnant, unemployed, and not in high school.
She was a great fit for WIOA because she had big goals, including earning her GED and pursuing a CNA license. After Ebony gave birth to her beautiful baby girl, she got right back to GED classes as soon as she could. She worked diligently to increase her skills and pass her GED tests, all while learning to be a new mom.
In addition, Ebony chose to participate in a workplace experience with CarePartners so that she could start gaining experience in the healthcare field. Ebony’s positive attitude and willingness to learn made her a great A participant, confirmed her desire to pursue a career in the healthcare field, and made her a great WIOA Out-of-School Youth participant.
In May 2018, Ebony earned her GED and wasted no time in signing up for the next Nurse Aide class, which she passed with flying colors. She earned her CNA license this past September and is now working at Care Partners after successfully ending her workplace experience.
Ebony has always shown a commitment to her education and her goals, and she plans to pursue a degree in Sonography next year. Congratulations on all your success, Ebony! We cannot wait to see what you accomplish next!
GF Linamar, LLC
Outstanding WIOA Employer for Henderson County
Blue Ridge Community College/
NCWorks Career Center-Henderson County
Shanda Bedoian, Director of Corporate &
Customized Training
A flagship facility ready for the future! GF Linamar LLC – a joint venture combining the expertise of a two hundred year old world leader in high pressure die casting, Georg Fischer, a Switzerland-based company with the Canada-based automotive metal machining leader, Linamar Corporation.
Every aspect of the facility meticulously planned under the keen leadership of General Manager, Carlos Vasto to provide outstanding quality parts to the NAFTA Market (Canada, Mexico and United States). The facility sets a milestone in advanced manufacturing of all types for today and the future. The same attention to detail and high standards are woven into the collaborations formed starting with the joint venture between the two leaders to the community relations developed through the assistance of The Partnership (Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development).
One of these collaborations due to Georg Fischer’s global OEM connections is the realization of the one and only high-pressure die casting hands-on training cell in the country located in SAMTEC – Southeastern Advanced Molding Technology Education Center – on the campus of Blue Ridge Community College. All employees (78 to date) of which had no previous high pressure die casting experience have been trained utilizing the unique occupational training this cell provides.
This 21st century and beyond “Vision – Collaboration – Investment in the Future” for an advanced and nearly autonomous manufacturing ecosystem of well qualified professionals spells SUCCESS.
GF Linamar’s keen approach to workforce development is why they have been chosen as Henderson County 2018 Outstanding Employer of the Year.
The Greystone Inn
WIOA Outstanding Employer for Transylvania County
Blue Ridge Community College/
NCWorks Career Center-Transylvania County
Jason Chappell, Director
This year the Transylvania County NCWorks has selected The Greystone Inn as our Outstanding Employer of the Year. In late 2017, after several years of being closed, Ellis Mountain Management owned and operated by Geoff and Shannon Ellis; purchased the Historic Greystone Inn in Lake Toxaway NC.
Since acquiring the property, they have invested over $5 million into The Greystone Inn and reopened the facility only five months later on May 09, 2018. During this time, they have done a complete renovation on the Inn including everything from new roofs, floors, electrical, plumbing, bathrooms, kitchens, HVAC, painting, wall paper etc.
From the very beginning, the Ellis’s have worked closely with the Blue Ridge Community Colleges’ Transylvania NCWorks Career Center in order to hire an entire staff. The Career Center has held multiple job fairs, helped to prescreen employees and assisted with finding dedicated employees for this Historic Property. To date they currently have 45 dedicated employees. The Greystone Inn has a rich history in Transylvania County and now that legacy has grown due to the amazing work and partnerships established by the Geoff and Shannon Ellis. We are honored to have them as our Outstanding Employer of the Year.
Epsilon, Inc.
Outstanding WIOA Work-Based Learning Employer
Mountain Area Regional Business
Barbara Darby, Regional Coordinator
Epsilon is located in Weaverville, NC and Arlington, VA. Eric Oelschlaeger, President, oversees the Weaverville based corporate headquarters location, which employs forty local employees and over one hundred employees in the greater Washington DC metro and at customer locations across the country. Mr. Oelschlaeger has served on the MAWDB since 2015 and is currently Vice Chair.
Epsilon provides compliance-driven services to support all technology related functions typically performed by an in-house IT department. They provide consulting services to Chief Information Officers, cloud and hybrid cloud hosting of all core business applications, technology support for customer employees, wired and wireless network design and build-out, new workstation deployments, and cybersecurity compliance services. Their mission is to align technology with customer objectives by eliminating complexity, simplifying compliance, and by providing transparency in their approach. This gives their customers piece of mind and provides the foundation of a trusting relationship. Over 60 businesses and 12 government agencies trust Epsilon to manage their IT functions. They have supported customer locations in 12 states and 4 countries. Epsilon’s core values are Consideration, Simplicity, and Improvement.
The workforce board’s relationship with Epsilon began in 2012, with the development of on-the job (OJT) contracts. From 2012-2014, Epsilon hired 10 workers through the OJT program and from 2017- 2018 Epsilon hired an additional 8 workers through OJT. These 18 individuals have trained in the following positions: Support Technician (8), Network Engineer (6), Senior System Engineer (1), Senior Network Engineer (1), Research Assistant (1) and Accounting Assistant (1). Eight dislocated workers and 10 Adults have found careers with good wages, advancement opportunity and access to professional development at Epsilon. Each employee is required to obtain a certification aligned with their job and has access to up to $3,000 per year for study material and credentialing. Several positions provide tiers so one can advance with experience and credential attainment. Epsilon operates 24/7, 365 days/year which requires several shifts.
Case studies of Epsilon’s work locally can be found at Featured local clients include: GMG-CPA, Asheville Museum of Science, WNC Birth Center, Four Seasons Compassion for Life, Highland Brewery, and French Broad Electric Corporation.
Epsilon has been a great workforce partner for six years, providing employment for both entry level and advanced technology workers. Their contribution to the Mountain Area Workforce Board and Community has been substantial. For these reasons, we are recognizing Epsilon as the Outstanding Employer for Work-Based Training.
Arrone Weston
WIOA UpSkill WNC Program
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
Phillip Cooper, Career Navigator
Arrone Weston was released from prison in 2012. He worked temp jobs through staffing agencies, as well as working as a prep cook. In 2013, he made the decision to enroll in the Business Administration program at A-B Tech. While in school, he worked in a warehouse full-time. In 2017, Arrone graduated from the Business Administration Program and reached out to the Justice Resource Center, where he connected with Philip Cooper, Career Navigator with the UpSkill WNC program operated through A-B Tech with a WIOA Innovation Grant from the Mountain Area Workforce Development Board. Arrone needed help, Arrone needed advocacy, and more importantly, Arrone needed a new job. Philip referred Arrone to Mission Hospital for a patient transport position. Arrone did well at Mission, but was still hoping to utilize his skills that he gained while in school. RHA posted a job and Philip reached out to them to discuss Arrone’s background and skillset. Arrone met with Philip prior to his interview to check in and gain confidence about how to discuss the “tough stuff.” RHA hired him for a supervisor building maintenance role, with a promise to utilize his office administration skills so that he could add that experience to his resume. Currently, Arrone is still working at RHA.
Lisa Morris
WIOA UpSkill WNC Program &
WIOA Adult Program
NCWorks Career Center-Madison County
Joyce Robinson, UpSkill WNC Career Navigator/
Stacy Peek, Skills Development Coach
Lisa Morris had recently begun a new position as a Personal Care Assistant (PCA) when she attended a Career Fair at NCWorks Madison in April 2018. It was there that she became familiar with the NCWorks Career Center resources and began working with the UpSkill Career Navigator, Joyce Robinson. Although, Lisa was working she was underemployed in her current position and needed more stable and secure employment. Joyce and Lisa began discussing different options to achieve this goal and it became apparent that the Nursing Assistant (NA I) training would be an ideal fit for her. Not only would this training help her advance in a field that she enjoys but would also create the opportunity for more stability. They discussed how this training would give her more options in the Mountain Area’s certified Healthcare Career Pathway and would provide marketable skills and credentials for an occupation that is in a high demand. Mrs. Robinson referred Lisa to our WIOA program for financial assistance with the Nursing Assistant training at A-B Tech Madison. With financial assistance from the WIOA Adult program and additional guidance from the UpSkill program during her training she successfully completed the Nursing Assistant class on October 30, 2018. She now has a variety of opportunities available to her in this field and anticipates a raise from her employer when she completes her state certification.
Stephen Harrington
WIOA Adult Program
Blue Ridge Community College/
NCWorks Career Center-Henderson County
Evan Smith, Skills Development Coach
Stephen has had various service industry jobs in the past and slowly discovered a strong interest in work that would require a CDL license. The last job he had before beginning training offered only minimal hours at minimal pay and he knew he needed something more dependable. After learning about the ongoing need for professional drivers and the opportunities available, he enrolled in WIOA supported CDL training and began training with Trans-Tech on 10/22/18. He faced some challenges with the entry requirements but was determined not to give up. Upon finishing training on 11/18/18, he was quickly offered an interview for a driving position with Southern Concrete. He was hired on 11/27/18 and began work on Monday, December 3, 2018. Stephen is excited about the opportunity and says he is very grateful for the training opportunity and the assistance through WIOA.
Luz Maria Soto
WIOA Dislocated Worker Training Program
Blue Ridge Community College/
NCWorks Career Center-Transylvania County
Jason Chappell, WIOA Skills Development Coach
Luz Maria Soto, like many people today found herself in a situation where she had to pick up and move to help take care of her family. Fortunately, her son was old enough to take care of himself so she could take on this responsibility without worrying about him. Her father was very ill so she moved from Florida to Pisgah Forest, which is located in Transylvania County. While helping her mother care for her father, she began to realize she needed to do something to better herself.
She came into the NCWorks Career Center and began exploring her options. She was enrolled with the WIOA UpSkill WNC and National Emergency Grant Dislocated Worker programs. Both the UpSkill Navigator and the WIOA Skills Development Coach worked extensively with her. After exploring her options and using various services in the NCWorks Career Center, she decided to take the Nursing Assistant 1 class at Blue Ridge Community College. Now Maria has gained employment in the OR at Pardee Hospital.
During her class, she has found her ability to speak Spanish an asset and has found herself doing some translating at work.
Luz Maria Soto is a hard worker. Juggling family, class and work has been a challenge, but she has been successful. The next step in her journey is to become a phlebotomist and then, hopefully, pursue a degree in nursing. Due to her hard work, dedication to bettering herself and a great attitude, it is our pleasure to nominate Luz Maria Soto as our Outstanding Participant.
Vivian O’Hannon
WIOA Adult Program
A-B Tech Community College/
NCWorks Career Center-Asheville
Ellie Waters, Skills Development Coach
Vivian first visited NCWorks-Asheville in late August 2017 and met with Stacy Peek. She was not happy with her sterile processing laundry job at Mission and was thinking about a career change. By September Vivian had missed work due to illness and now found herself without a job.
Vivian had talked about training options with Stacy in August and after this change in employment status, she decided to pursue her dream job of driving. She found a part time job at TJ Maxx in order to accommodate the training schedule at Trans Tech Driving School. Vivian had driven a school bus in the past and enjoyed this work. She wanted to turn her love for driving into a career and get her Class A license through WIOA-supported training services.
As a low income single mother with five children at home, 4 of which were minors, Vivian had her hands full. Fortunately, she had a supportive family to help out. Vivian had worked to get her ducks in a row and pursue the truck driver training that she had discussed with Stacy. She contacted the Center to get help paying for the training, but Stacy was no longer in Asheville. He had started working in the Madison County NCWorks, having accepted a position as Coordinator there. Deb Holebrooks was ill, and Asheville was temporarily without a WIOA Case Manager. Vivian patiently waited and by October the Asheville office had new WIOA staff. Vivian was an easy enrollment as she had everything in place by this time. Vivian started her training at Trans Tech in late October 2017 and completed by late November. In December, she was placed with Southern Concrete. She worked there for a couple of months, but found a better opportunity for herself with Asheville Transit. Vivian really enjoys her job now and has been with ART for 8 months now. Her training really helped her know how to skillfully maneuver the large busses.
Vivian is now making better money than she was this time last year, has a stable job, and a career that she enjoys.
Blair Miles
WIOA Dislocated Worker-Intensives Services Program
A-B Tech Community College/
NCWorks Career Center-Asheville
Irene Canivet, Skills Development Coach
Blair Miles spent 22 years in military service as a Marine, with two tours of duty in Bosnia and three tours in Iraq. He returned to civilian life in 2011 and spent the next two years working as a Substitute Teacher. He liked the work, but without a teaching credential, he could not get regular employment. Therefore, in 2013 he changed jobs, working at a manufacturing company as a Second Shift Line Supervisor. That position ended in May 2016.
For the next ten months, Blair unsuccessfully searched for work. In early 2018, he met with a WIOA Skills Development Case Manager at NC Works-Asheville. She suggested he sign up for the WIOA Intensive Job Search program. The strategies he would learn in the program could help him overcome the challenges he faced as an older worker with a limited civilian employment history.
Blair signed up for WIOA in April 2018. The Case Manager started by discussing his career goal. He told her that he had always liked to help people develop positive solutions for problems in their lives. He said his best work experiences, both as a Substitute Teacher and as a Line Supervisor, were when he helped someone overcome a problem and “not go down the wrong path”. His Case Manager also helped him redo his resume and expand his job search. He learned new interviewing skills and practiced them through mock interviews.
Blair began his job search by exploring Probation and Parole positions, but quickly learned he didn’t have the educational prerequisites for employment in that work. However, through that exploration, he found an organization called the Freedom Life Ministries. It offers a volunteer program to help current and former offenders to successfully transition back into life outside of prison. Blair volunteered and today he is working with two former offenders.
Blair continued with the WIOA Intensive Job Search program to find a position that satisfied his career goals and employment needs. In May 2018, his job search network told him about a “Quest for Success” Instructor position at Craggy Prison. He applied and successfully obtained the position. This past December, his second group of students graduated. He says he would not have considered applying for the position without encouragement and support, but it is the best job he has had. He said he likes the work and looks forward to getting up and going to work every morning.
Outstanding Dislocated Worker OJT Participant.  Jimmie Stewart
Jimmie Stewart was referred by Michael Horvath of Homewood Suites by Hilton. Jimmie had completed an 18-month recovery program and was hoping to find a maintenance position. He had been unemployed over 13 consecutive weeks. Jimmie had many years of experience in maintenance in manufacturing. To get his foot in the door, he completed an OJT at Homewood Suites on Tunnel Road as a Pubic Area Housekeeper in March 2018 with an outstanding attitude and friendly personality. Following five months of employment, he was promoted to Maintenance Assistant where he has done an excellent job of maintaining the hotel. “Jimmie has a strong work ethic and plays a major role in the success of Homewood Suites. We are grateful he is on our staff”, states Michael Horvath, Executive Administrative Assistant.
Outstanding Dislocated Worker Participant  Karen Mayes
Karen Mayes was referred by Jeff Hayes of AVL Technologies. Karen had worked for three staffing agencies consecutively for over three years and wanted to get out of temporary status. In January of 2017, while a temp at AVL Technologies, AVL entered a slow period and Karen and other temps were going to get laid off. With the WIOA National Emergency Grant, Karen had the opportunity to move from temp to perm at AVL through OJT. She was very excited for the opportunity and cross-trained in the small antenna line, the wiring department, painting, and then the medium antenna line where she excelled and is now the trainer. Per Jeff Hayes, HR Manager, “Karen has become an integral part of the team and is acquiring more responsibility in her department.”
Outstanding Adult OJT Participant  Sharon Stallings
Sharon was referred by David McCartney of Aloft Hotels. Sharon had been incarcerated and also was in a recovery program and was working part time at Goodwill. Sharon completed OJT in housekeeping at Aloft and then after several months progressed to front desk clerk, completing a second OJT in August 2018. The workforce board’s supportive services policy provided work shoes for Sharon and also helped her with one month’s rent when her daughter was hospitalized. Without her own transportation, Sharon has managed to be punctual on any of the three shifts. She has maintained her sobriety through meetings and the support of co-workers. Sharon is off probation and will get her license soon, and plans to take business courses at AB Tech. Per Monica Pernal, Guest Services Manager, “Sharon takes the time to connect with all guests and makes them feel welcome immediately.  She is genuine 100% of the time.”
Outstanding Adult OJT participant  Dominique Scales
Dominique was referred by Jeremy Lett of Green Opportunities. Dominique was working part time and wanted full time employment. Relying on bus transportation to South Asheville, he was hired through the OJT Program at New Peco. He trained as an equipment assembler, worked in other departments as needed, and is now managing the tool crib. Shortly after starting work, Dominique purchased a car that had multiple problems. Through the workforce board’s supportive service policy, a mileage reimbursement was provided to cover transportation costs to and from work. Dominique attended a financial workshop by On Track to better understand money management. Per Jason Hughes, Operations Manager, “Dominique has been a quick learner and a great communicator. He is very dependable, always on time, very proficient and accurate at his job. He is well liked/respected and looks for additional work.”
Outstanding Adult OJT Participant  Clay Hisel
Clay was referred by Terry Bellamy of Upskill WNC. Upskill WNC had assisted Clay with A+ Certification courses at AB Tech in 2017 and he was working part-time at Goodwill as a computer associate. Clay was hired by Charlotte Street Computers through the OJT Program as a Junior PC Technician. Clay earned his CompTIA A+ Certification in June 2018. He completed training in August 2018 in customer service and PC repair and continues to train as a PC technician. The workforce board’s supportive service policy assisted Clay with an eye exam and eyewear. Clay’s love of learning, energy, and positive attitude has made him a great fit for his job. Per Jen Mayer, CEO, “Clay is reliable, kind, respectful and tries extremely hard. He has great customer service skills and we are lucky to have him as part of our team.”
Outstanding Adult OJT Participant.  Brian Laughridge
Brian Laughridge was referred by Julie Chavez of Epsilon. Brian had worked as a retail manager in FL and moved to Asheville in 2017 to find employment in his field of study. Having a BS in Information Technology from Florida State University, he was seeking an IT position. The job search extended into several months but Brian found opportunity at Epsilon. He completed OJT as a Solution Center Technician with Epsilon in September 2017. He progressed to higher technical tiers and more complicated work quickly. He is currently working toward a Security+ Certification. Per April Jones, supervisor, “Brian never says no to any challenge. If he doesn’t know how to fix something, he will figure it out. He has an upbeat personality, is easy to work with, and makes every one laugh. Brian is a great asset to Epsilon.”
Advent Health Hendersonville
Mountain Area Workforce Development Board recognizes AdventHealth Hendersonville for their generous support of our region’s 2018 MFG Day.
Without the contributions from AdventHealth, this event would not have been possible.
Our region’s 2018 MFG Day event was the first time five counties, six public school systems, three community colleges, many workforce partners and over 100 manufacturing firms joined together to celebrate the impact of our region’s Advanced Manufacturing sector.”
GF Linamar, LLC
Mountain Area Workforce Development Board recognizes GF Linamar for their generous support of our region’s 2018 MFG Day. GF Linamar graciously hosted this event on their site and provided significant additional support.
Without the contributions from GF Linamar, this event would not have been possible.
Our region’s 2018 MFG Day event was the first time five counties, six public school systems, three community colleges, many workforce partners and over 100 manufacturing firms joined together to celebrate the impact of our region’s Advanced Manufacturing sector.”

Connect with Mountain Area Workforce Development Board

339 New Leicester Hwy, Suite 140 Asheville, North Carolina 28806-2088