Young Professionals Board
Crystal Thomann, Chair, relocated to the Queen City from Roanoke, Va., in 2005 after graduating from Roanoke College with dual degrees in English and marketing. The past three years she have been the account executive at the Central Piedmont Community College Harris Conference Center (HCC), a 10,000-square-foot executive conference center in a serene setting with exceptional customer service and state-of-the-art technology. HCC’s affiliation with CPCC allows her to foster her enthusiasm for education while actively engaging in the corporate world. Outside of work, she is passionate about the community, giving back, and engaging others. She enjoys donating her time and energy to numerous volunteer activities through Hands on Charlotte as well as serving on the Steering Committee of the Young Executives for Success (YES!) division of Dress for Success. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling to new places, running, and being a self-proclaimed DIY decorator.
Kate Payerle, Vice Chair, is an attorney at Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, where she focuses on litigation practice on behalf of individual and corporate clients who require representation in court, in arbitration, or on appeal. She has aggressively litigated financial services industry disputes, personal injury lawsuits, employment cases, agency proceedings and trade secret claims in all stages of the litigation or arbitration process. Immediately before joining Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, Kate served as a law clerk for a federal trial court judge, where she gained insight into to trial and pre-trial strategies from the court’s perspective.
Kate currently serves on the North Carolina Bar Association's Citizen-Lawyer Committee, the City of Charlotte's Privatization and Competition Advisory Committee, and is Charlotte City Council's appointee to the Citizen Transit Advisory Group. She grew up in Charlotte, went to college in Chapel Hill, and then spent nearly seven years in San Diego, CA earning a Master's degree in Pacific International Affairs and a law degree before returning to Charlotte. She is thrilled to see how Charlotte has grown and changed in that time, and has especially enjoyed discovering the growing greenway system on early morning runs and bike rides.
Curtis Watkins, Past Chair, works for Duke Energy in Global Technology Development, exploring emerging technology in the utility sector ranging from electric vehicles to energy storage to clean combustion, as well as managing international partnerships with companies in areas such as Japan and China. In addition to his involvement on the board for Engage Charlotte, Curtis also serves as a commissioner on the Mecklenburg County Air Quality Commission and the Historic District Commission, is Vice President of the Wilmore Neighborhood Association Board, and volunteers his energy experience for other local economic development efforts such as with the Energy Capital Committee.
In his spare time Curtis enjoys working on classic cars, learning to play musical instruments, reading, writing, cheering on his favorite sports teams, and spending time with his family. Curtis holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University and various project management certifications.
Whitney Bauman moved to Charlotte in 2008 after graduating from Virginia Tech with her Bachelors of Science in Marketing Management and her Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Organizational Leadership. Her current role is Director of Marketing & Business Development at MSS Solutions, LLC, the single source solutions provider for HVAC services, building automation systems, fire and security systems, capital projects and project management. The company is headquartered here in Charlotte, NC. Whitney diligently works to represent MSS at a variety of industry events, build relationships and develop new leads, and increase their exposure in the surrounding area.
Whitney is currently on the leadership team for CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) and is serving as the Co-chair of their Queen City in Pink event this year. In 2012, she was presented with their New Member of the Year award. She also sits on the IFMA board as the co-chair of the Programs committee. Whitney is an active member of BOMA, IREM, HTA, USGBC, ULI and CoreNet as well where spends her time helping to plan their golf tournaments, social programs, Green Gala Silent Auction, and their Young Leaders events. Outside of work, Whitney is passionate about supporting local charities and volunteers her time with Ronald McDonald House and Classroom Central. In her spare time, she enjoys playing volleyball, going to the gym, cooking, and hiking with her husband Andy and their lab puppy.
Lisa Burzotta is a northerner who found her way down south by attending Elon University, and moving to Charlotte immediately after. At Elon she studied Corporate Communications and Leisure and Sports Management. Currently, she works in the Office of Regional President as the Client and Community Relations Coordinator at PNC Bank. There, she plans client entertainment events, community events and works on PNC's signature philanthropy Grow Up Great. At PNC, Lisa also is the Founder and Co-Chair of the PNC Charlotte Young Professionals. The PNCCYP's are a fairly new group, but have already been very active in the community volunteering and networking. Lisa also spends her time volunteering at The Bethlehem Center of Charlotte and Second Harvest Food Bank. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, cooking, running and yoga.
Matt Connell works for McNeary Inc. as a Business Development Officer within their Property and Casualty Brokerage, his role pertains to new Business Development with a focus on the Manufacturing and Construction Industries - developing insurance and risk management solutions with today's complex financial, regulatory and legal environments to meet his clients' unique needs. In addition to serving on the board, Matt is also involved with the Young Affiliates of the Mint, and volunteers his time as a youth basketball coach for Mecklenburg County. In his spare time Matt enjoys playing golf, reading, cheering on his wide array of favorite sports teams, and most importantly spending time with his family. Matt holds a B.A. in Political Science from Roanoke College.
Danilo Formolo is the Director of Language Services for Carolinas HealthCare System and has been working with the organization since 2004. His team bridges the communication gap between patient and provider by offering language assistance to those in need. Danilo earned his Bachelor’s Degrees in Management and International Business from UNC Charlotte, as well as an MBA from Strayer University. Danilo and his wife, Alyssa, have a son, Lucas, who was born on December 18, 2012.
Patrick Horne is an attorney at Moore & Van Allen PLLC (MVA), where he focuses on intellectual property protection and counseling for clients ranging from startups to large institutions. Patrick has experience procuring and managing domestic and international patent and trademark portfolios, and he strives to communicate potential risks and opportunities clearly by providing business-oriented advice. Patrick and his wife Karen moved to Charlotte because of the area’s vibrant growth and entrepreneurship. Patrick believes Charlotte can attract and retain young professionals by creating exciting new YP opportunities.
Patrick is a member of the Bar Leadership Institute Class of 2013, sits on the Charlotte Clemson Club Board, and is active in his church – serving on its Finance Council and the Knights of Columbus. Patrick volunteers through the United Way Young Leaders, A Child’s Place, the MVA Devonshire Reading Program and the MVA/Safe Alliance Domestic Violence Pro Bono Program. At home, Patrick enjoys spending time outdoors with Karen and their kids – Anne Marie (2) and Joseph (3).
Jessica Hreha is yet another Ohioan to make the transition from the Great Lakes winters to Charlotte’s much more temperate climate. A graduate of University of Dayton with a double major in Public Relations and Political Science, Jessica started her career at Time Warner Cable in Cincinnati, OH as a Government Relations intern. She has climbed the ranks to become the Field Marketing Manager for Time Warner Cable Business Class, the commercial services arm of the company. Jessica manages sponsorship and event strategy as well as other lead generation and revenue growth initiatives for the sales teams in the Carolinas and across the East Region. She enjoys networking and is active in many other business organizations including Charlotte Hospitality and Tourism Alliance (HTA), Hood Hargett Breakfast Club and CREW. Outside of work, Jessica is active in her church choir and enthusiastically supports Charlotte’s local foodie scene with her husband, Jon.
Thomas Hsiao’s experience and expertise in the Green Industry can be attributed to the mentorship he received from one of the pioneers and early adaptors in the industry, Sean Cochrane. A LEED Associate and member of the U.S. Green Building Council; Thomas’ professional career has afforded him the pleasure of being a guest lecturer at University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business International MBA Program, University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, Johnson & Wales University’s College of Business, and University of Hong Kong's School of Business. He has also been a guest of US Ambassadors and Consulate Generals as a Speaker at various industry conferences in Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Singapore, Taiwan and Tokyo.
Thomas’ career, and collaborations with Green industry pioneers, has garnered him with expertise in Sustainable Solutions, Solar and Wind power, E.V. Charge stations, LED Lighting, Sky-lighting, Solar Thermal, Ventilation and Energy Management products. In his current role as President of SuperGreen Solutions Charlotte Mid-Atlantic Region he combines those skills with skill sets from previous roles in Sales Management, Public Relations, Brand Strategic Marketing & Planning, Sales & Management Training, Hiring, and General Management.
Lauren Hultz works for AREVA Inc. in Corporate Communications as the Charlotte Site Communicator. In this role, Lauren manages internal communications to the nearly 600 employees at AREVA’s North American headquarters in Charlotte, community and stakeholder relations with local educational and non-profit organizations, and media relations within the Charlotte market. Lauren is currently chair of the AREVA Charlotte Chapter of the North American Young Generation in Nuclear and is involved in the AREVA Charlotte Women in Nuclear chapter, International Association of Business Communicators, and the Myers Park Presbyterian Church Choir, in addition to her role with the CCYPs.
Outside of the office, Lauren enjoys spending time with friends, singing, reading, writing, cooking, traveling, and being active through CrossFit, tennis and other sports. Lauren holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from Liberty University. A Detroit-area native, she moved to Huntersville in April 2013 from Lynchburg, Va.
Cristin Lee is the Business Development Liaison for Party Reflections, the special event rental company in Charlotte. She is an event planner by trade recently re-locating to Charlotte from Asheville, NC and uses this background in her new role representing Party Reflections at industry events. She works diligently to build business relationships, generate new sale leads as well as manage Party Reflections’ online presence.
Currently she represents Party Reflections in multiple professional organizations including, NACE (National Association for Catering & Events), NAWP (National Association of Wedding Professionals), HTA (Hospitality & Tourism Alliance), Visit Charlotte Partner, BLOC (Business Leaders of Charlotte) in addition to the Chamber’s Young Professional Board. Cristin is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, has completed two years of AmeriCorps service, and volunteers her time with Girls on the Run. She enjoys running, cooking and watching her son grow up with her husband Brian.
Jennie Lewis is a Healthcare Audit Manager with Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP, and has lived in and around Charlotte her whole life. A CPA by trade, she audits the financial statements of hospitals and other healthcare entities in the Carolinas. She enjoys the challenges of public accounting and aspires to make it a lifelong career. Jenni is a member of the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Jenni is president-elect of Teen Health Connection in Charlotte, a specialty practice that focuses on adolescent medical and mental health. She hopes to help Teen Health Connection achieve status as the national model for adolescent healthcare. Between auditing and volunteering, she has been planning her June wedding. Jenni also enjoys writing letters, yoga, tennis, hiking, and learning about history, arts and languages.
Andrew Morton Andrew Morton currently works as the Senior Director of Sales and Marketing for Taxi USA, LLC, a company specializing in advanced taxi and transportation services. In this role, Andrew oversees marketing initiatives, business development, sales performance, and branding for all Taxi USA fleets and companies. Before joining Taxi USA, Andrew served as the Sales and Marketing Manager for the Hampton Inn & Suites SouthPark in Charlotte. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Andrew has been in Charlotte for ten years, and is a graduate of UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business.
In addition to the CCYP’S board, Andrew also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Hospitality and Tourism Alliance, and the UNCC Belk College Alumni Council Board of Directors. Outside of work, Andrew enjoys hiking and camping, rooting for the Browns, and spending time with his two daughters.
Christa Newkirk works for McGuireWoods LLP as a Marketing Technology Coordinator overseeing the CRM activity and strategic efforts for the firm’s 19 offices including London and Brussels. In addition to her involvement with the Charlotte Chamber Young Professionals, Christa serves on the board of First Book Charlotte, which is part of the national all-volunteer, nonprofit network of local advisory boards, whose sole mission is to help children from low-income families read and own their own books. She has also been active with Hands on Charlotte, Charlotte American Marketing Association, Habitat for Humanity and the Charlotte Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta.
Christa is originally from California but has quickly claimed North Carolina as her home away from home. She graduated from North Carolina A&T State University with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and from the University of Colorado, Denver with master’s degrees in Marketing and International Business. In her spare time, she enjoys watching or playing sports, spending time with family and friends, and exploring all Charlotte has to offer.
Russell Norris is a Tax Manager with Grant Thornton LLP. As a CPA with more than seven years of public accounting experience, he focuses on identifying and addressing federal tax issues for businesses in the transportation, distribution, and manufacturing industries. Russell is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants, and is a licensed CPA in North Carolina. Russell is actively involved in several volunteer opportunities with several organizations in the Charlotte community, including youth activities with St. John’s Baptist Church, Junior Achievement and working with Bruns Avenue Elementary through the Playground Build and Communities in Schools programs.
Russell served on the Generation Y Council with several other young professionals and community leaders in developing the Center City 2020 Vision Plan. In addition, he currently serves on the advisory board for Bright Blessings USA, headquartered in Matthews, NC. Russell is originally from Charlotte and grew up in Franklin, NC. He graduated from Wake Forest University with a Bachelor of Arts and from the Cameron School of Business at UNC-Wilmington with a Master of Science in Accountancy. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, and playing golf.
Joe E. Randolph II is currently employed with The Vanguard Group Inc, as a Manager in Vanguard’s Retail Investor Group. Prior to joining Vanguard, Joe was previously employed with Wachovia/Wells Fargo where he was an Assistant Vice President, serving in management roles over the Fraud Operation department and in the Wachovia Securities Retail Investment Group. Joe is also an Adjunct Professor at Johnson C. Smith University in the Business and Economics department. Joe is currently a National Board member for the National Urban League Young Professionals Auxiliary, serving as Southern Region Vice President. He currently serves on the Executive Board for National Black MBA Association Charlotte Chapter as Immediate Past President and the Coker College Alumni Board. Joe is also a Fellow with the NC Institute of Political Leadership and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Joe is a graduate of Pfeiffer University where he obtained his Master’s in Business (MBA) and Masters of Science in Organizational Leadership and Development. He also attended Coker College in Hartsville, SC, having earned a B.S. in Business Administration. Joe is a native of Gainesville, GA.
Adrienne Schermer graduated from Penn State University’s Behrend campus in Erie, Pennsylvania. She received her BA in Communications & Media Studies, she was heavily involved in student life including the Lady Lions Dance Team, Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, Order of Omega Honor Society, and spoke at her graduation ceremonies. After graduation Adrienne relocated to Charlotte, sight unseen, for the city’s reputation of warm weather, friendly people, and rapid growth.
Adrienne has a passion for the hospitality industry holding sales positions at Visit Charlotte, selling the Queen City as a destination to meeting and event planners, Marriott International, and currently the Westin Charlotte. As Account Director of Business Strategy at the Westin, she is responsible for market development, account strategy and holds the position for community service chair for the sales & marketing department. In addition to her involvement with Charlotte Chamber Young Professionals, Adrienne has been involved with several nonprofit organizations including Children’s Miracle Network, Dress for Success, Freedom School, Second Harvest Food Bank, and Goodwill Industries. In her free time she enjoys yoga, Pilates, attending food, wine, and Craft beer tastings with her boyfriend. They both enjoy walking their dog, Miss Chloe Rae of Sunshine, through their neighborhood.
Chris Turner serves Bank of America as its Senior Vice Present for business continuity and crisis management. In his fourth year at the company, Chris leads a team focused on global operational resiliency across more than 100MM square feet of real estate and 30 corporate services. In his role, Chris has overseen over 1,100 disaster events that have impacted facility operations and service delivery in every country where Bank of America operates. Notable response efforts include Hurricane Sandy, which impacted 1,000 locations and required over 5,000 care packages for employees. He also led the facility-related planning and response for the DNC, RNC, and NATO in 2012. Proactively, Chris championed a multi-million dollar technology solution focused on emergency preparedness impacting 150,000 employees. Prior to his current role, Chris drove the financial health and analysis for an award-winning green energy program in over 3,000 banking centers across Bank of America’s US retail portfolio.
Chris moved to Charlotte in 2009 and holds a Juris Doctorate and Masters in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina. He received his Bachelors of Arts in History and Religion from Hampden-Sydney College. In his spare time, Chris supports the Charlotte Chamber campaign as the COO of Bank of America’ team and serves on the CoreNet Carolinas Board of Directors. He enjoys fishing, volunteering with his church, and all things politics.
Amanda Wiegel relocated in 2006 from her home state of Pennsylvania to Charlotte, NC after graduating from Allegheny College with a BA Degree in English Literature and dual minors in History and German Language. A large percentage of her ancestral background is German which has had a heavy influence on both her scholastic as well as professional career development. Her current role is as an account manager for Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, a family-owned global freight forwarder, providing logistics and supply chain services worldwide since 1871. The company’s global footprint consists of branches in over 140 countries worldwide with headquarters in Miami, Hong Kong and world headquarters in Osnabrueck, Germany. Presently Amanda manages a team supporting the daily operational flow and logistics streamlining for one of Hellmann’s top 5 global accounts.
Outside of work, Amanda has served on the planning committee for the Charlotte Film Festival, consistently attends the annual International House Gala, enjoys attending Charlotte Chamber and German American Chamber events and spends time with her family. She loves international travel and leads a very active lifestyle professionally and personally.
Dan Woodley moved to Charlotte with his wife two years ago from Washington, D.C., and they have developed personal and professional relationships that have surpassed their expectations. After spending 2.5 years working on Capitol Hill for Senator Richard Burr (NC) and subsequently assisting financial services companies with enhancing their government relations efforts, Dan made a career change to commercial real estate. After a 20 month stint as CBRE’s market research director in Charlotte, he moved on to office tenant representation at Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer.
The firm was directly involved with the corporate headquarter relocations of Chiquita and United Technologies. Dan has worked closely with the economic development team at the Chamber as Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer is often at the forefront of corporate real estate companies who assist with large relocations to the Charlotte area. Dan’s experience in public service working with the constituents of North Carolina combined with his professional business background allows him to add value to his professional and volunteer leadership roles.