Jeff Gray of Raleigh is the 2009 recipient of the Outstanding Government and Public Sector Attorney Award from the N.C. Bar Association. The award honors North Carolina’s governmental and public sector attorneys for excellence, dedication and passion for justice. Gray served in the N.C. Attorney General’s Office for more than a decade and currently manages the Raleigh office of Rose Rand Wallace Attorneys P.A. He received his law degree from Campbell University in 1985.


Edward M. Levy, a native New Yorker and expert in corporate security, in April became director of security for the Empire State Building, which stands 1,454 feet tall in midtown Manhattan.


Monica Henson Bomengen of Highlands is director of education services for the East Coast operations of New Education for the Workplace Inc., which operates Schools for Integrated Academics and Technologies charter high schools. Bomengen, a native of Hayesville, was editor of the Western Carolinian and also was the first recipient of the J.W. and Patricia Palmer Scholarship for students from Clay County. Her son, Brook, is a WCU history major, the fifth generation of the family to receive higher education in Cullowhee.


Judge Mark D. Martin has completed his 10th year of service as a member of the N.C. Supreme Court. He authored in March an opinion for the court he hopes proves “very beneficial to people who practice in or come in contact with our appellate courts.” In 2008, Martin served as program chair at the Appellate Judges Education Institute annual meeting, held in Phoenix, where Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor gave the remarks during a banquet dinner. He continues his work as a commission member of the World Justice Project and was co-chair of the American Bar Association’s summit on fair and impartial state courts in May. Martin also teaches courses in the law schools of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University.

Amy K. Smith was named among the “legal elite” in the January issue of Business North Carolina. Inclusion in the annual list is based on the results of ballots distributed to more than 16,000 attorneys in the state. Smith specializes in tax and estate law with the law firm of Bell, Davis & Pitt, with offices in Charlotte and Winston-Salem.


Willa Hamrick has worked in radio for 22 years under the on-air name Catherine Lane. Now on WSOC-FM in Charlotte, Hamrick is Charlotte’s first female to solo host both a morning and afternoon drive show. She recently received a nomination from the Country Music Association for major market radio personality of the year.

Myron McGhee won first place in the National Archives Excellence in Genealogy Awards essay contest. His essay, titled “The Use of National Archives Holdings for Genealogical Research,” traced his family’s ancestry using federal, state and local government records. McGhee, of Decatur, Ga., is a graduate student at Valdosta State University and a circulation specialist with the Pitts Theology Library at Emory University.


Lisa T. Briggs MPA ’89, WCU assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice, recently received the university’s College of Health and Human Sciences’ Faculty Student Engagement Award. “This award means a great deal to me because it is a direct reflection on how much our criminology and criminal justice students give back to their communities,” Briggs said. Briggs joined WCU in 2002 and lives in Cullowhee. Earlier this year, Briggs received a Chancellor’s Meritorious Award for Engaged Teaching.

Tony Johnson, an Edward Jones financial adviser in Orlando, Fla., since 1999, has been named a principal with the firm’s holding company, Jones Financial Cos. LLLP. Johnson was one of 25 individuals chosen from more than 36,000 associates across the globe to join the firm’s 310 principals.


Alfred E. Blount celebrated 10 years of service as pastor of Tried Stone Missionary Baptist Church in Asheville. He is married to Regina McDaniel Blount

Phil McManus MBA ’91, an associate professor and head of the culinary arts program at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, was named 2008-09 Educator of the Year by the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce. McManus also is a member of WCU’s Alumni Association board of directors.


Richard F. Shoestock Jr., a computer systems administrator at Smoky Mountain Center in Sylva, has been working toward the organization’s automation goals. Working in 15 Western North Carolina counties, Smoky Mountain Center coordinates prevention, treatment and support services for individuals and families with developmental disabilities, and mental health or substance abuse issues. Shoestock created a scheduler, a “to do” list that reduces incomplete data, and electronic timesheets accessible to employees throughout the region.


The governor of Kentucky recently appointed Danette Morton MS to a four-year term on the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology.


George Brosi MAEd is editor of Appalachian Heritage, the literary magazine of Berea College in Kentucky.

J. Eric Powell earned a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in December. His research focused on training public safety personnel to respond to terrorism incidents. Powell is a program director with the Division of Public Safety at Walters State Community College in Morristown, Tenn., and teaches state and local EMS, fire service and law enforcement personnel. In addition to numerous professionally related volunteer pursuits, Powell is past president of the WCU Alumni Association board of directors.

Jeff Reece is chief executive officer for Marlboro Park Hospital in Bennettsville, S.C.

Mickey Renner joined Wachovia’s South Carolina team as statewide area business banking manager. Renner joined Wachovia in 1991 and is responsible for business banking strategy and performance and leads teams around the state. He and his wife, Angela Harrison Renner ’93, and their two children live in Columbia, S.C.


James Michael Baldwin MS ’98, a product applications
engineer with Tyco Electronics Corp. in Fairview, presented a paper at the Society of Automotive Engineers (more commonly known as SAE) Power Systems conference in November in Bellevue, Wash. The paper, titled “Inductive Load Switching Suppression Methods: Increasing Military and Aerospace Applications Reliability,” was selected as one of 10 for journal publication; best oral presentation in its category; and most outstanding technical paper.

Deborah M. Mullen, a doctoral candidate in health services policy and administration at the University of Minnesota, was named a 2008 Juran Fellow by the Joseph M. Juran Center for Leadership in Quality. Mullen is finishing her dissertation on patient safety issues in outpatient medical clinics.

Caron Bishop, a native of Rutherford County, is managing director for Chautauqua Opera and lives in New York with her husband, Julian Moreno, and their son, Luke.


Joe Price MA is librarian at the Louisville, Ky., campus of the Galen College of Nursing. He and his wife, Christine, have three sons.

Jason Hatfield has been involved in more than 40 theatrical productions since moving to Wilmington in 1997. He worked with the late Pat Hingle and Frank Capra Jr. and played Linda Lavin’s son in “Driving Miss Daisy,” the longest-running show in Wilmington’s history. Hatfield has done voice acting for several Japanese animation and live-action films and has twice acted during training exercises with U.S. Marine Special Operations Command. “It is one of my proudest moments, and one of my more surprising, never having actually thought I could use acting abilities to serve my country,” Hatfield said.


Natalie Mathis Norman MS ’99 was named Macon County teacher of the year for 2009 and Macon County teacher of excellence for the exceptional children’s program. She is married to Greg Norman and has two children.

BB&T promoted Steve Eng MS ’99, who works in BB&T’s business loan administration department in Winston-Salem, to vice president. Eng and his wife, Amber Wendelin Eng ’98, have been married five years.


Gov. Bev Perdue appointed Marsha Ball Hicks of Cherokee to the Governor’s Western Residence board of directors.