2019 Fall Symposium Speakers
Mayor Pro Tem Corey Branch
Raleigh City Councilor Corey Branch is a native of Raleigh and has served Raleigh in numerous ways. While working at AT&T as an Associate Director- Technology, Corey serves as District C Councilor and Raleigh’s Mayor Pro-Tem in working to improve the availability of housing of those from all incomes, a modern and reliable transit system, and programs to aid and assist in development of our youth and young adults of Raleigh.
Corey attended Wake County Public Schools throughout his matriculation. Fuller Elementary, Ligon Middle, and Enloe High Schools each played a role in his early academic success. He continued his education at North Carolina A&T State University, graduating in 2000 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He exemplifies “Aggie Pride” and returns often to Greensboro for sporting and other special events, in support of the institution that contributed so much to his development as a leader, a thinker, and a do-er.
Corey currently serves as Chair of the Transportation and Transit Committee. Previous to being elected, he served as Vice Chair of the Raleigh Transit Authority and continues his work with them as the City Council liaison for the group. He also serves on the city council’s Economic Development and Innovation committee, is the council liaison for the Fair Housing Board and city representative to the Triangle J Council of Governments board.
Howard L. Craft is a father, husband, playwright, poet, essayist and arts educator. He is the author of two books of poems, Across The Blue Chasm (Big Drum Press 2000), and Raising the Sky (Jacar Press 2016). His poetry also appears in Home is Where: An Anthology of African-American Poets from the Carolinas, edited by Kwame Dawes. His essays have appeared in The Paris Review and have been included in The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre (Routledge Press 2019). He is the author of several plays including: Freight: The Five Incarnations of Able Green, a New York Times Critic Pick for March 2015; Calypso and the Midnight Marauders, Orange Light, and The Jade City Chronicles Volume 1: The Super Spectacular Badass Herald M. F. Jones. He is the creator of the first African-American super hero radio serial: The Jade City Pharaoh. Craft is a recipient of the North Carolina Playwriting Fellowship, and a two winner of the NCCU New Play Project.
As an arts educator Craft works as a creative writing instructor for Mike Wiley Productions and is the current Piller Professor of the Practice at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for the Writing for the Stage and Screen program.
Craft lives in Durham with wife, young son and Beagle, Shazam.
Although she’s been looking at and thinking about old buildings since childhood, Sarah Woodard David has worked in the preservation field since graduating from the University of Georgia in 1999. After a stint in the office of David Gall, Architect, in Winston-Salem, Sarah joined Edwards-Pitman Environmental where she worked until moving to NCDOT at the beginning of 2006. In 2008, she left the office for a few years, but in 2013, she returned to work with Mulkey Engineers, now Calyx Engineers, and in November, 2018, she finally landed at the State Historic Preservation Office, where she probably should have been all along. In May of 2019, she was promoted to Survey and National Register Branch Supervisor.
Sarah grew up in Germanton, on the Stokes-Forsyth County line, and in addition to a master’s degree in historic preservation from UGA, she holds an undergraduate degree in history from Guilford College. She lives in Raleigh and has two boys, Jed and Macon, who turn sticks into muzzle-loading rifles and manage to work State Historic Sites into yo’ mama jokes.
Cynthia de Miranda
Cynthia de Miranda, a Raleigh native, has studied historic structures across North Carolina as well as in the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest. Cynthia has been involved with documenting several National Register-listed properties that have been relocated in order to avoid demolition, including the Graves House and the Nathaniel Jones House (more commonly known as the Crabtree Jones House) for Preservation North Carolina. She has worked in the public sector–on the staffs of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the Raleigh Historic Districts Commission (now the Raleigh Historic Development Commission)—and for many years now in the private sector as a consultant. In 2008, Ms. de Miranda established MdM Historical Consultants with her long-time colleague Jennifer F. Martin. Cynthia and Jennifer co-authored the 2014 book The Historic Architecture of Brunswick County, North Carolina.
Charles Francis is the founder and Managing Partner of The Francis Law Firm, PLLC. Mr. Francis was born and raised in Raleigh. A product of the Wake County public schools, he is a graduate of Princeton University and Duke University School of Law. He began his legal career as a law clerk to the late Chief Judge Richard C. Erwin, then Chief United States District Judge in the Middle District of North Carolina. He went on to become a federal prosecutor in the Middle District of North Carolina during the tenure of then U.S. Attorney (and now North Carolina Supreme Court Justice) Bob Edmunds. After serving as a federal prosecutor, Mr. Francis chose to return to Raleigh, because he wanted to practice law and live life helping people he had known throughout his life and participate in the dynamic growth of the region. After practicing for three years in the Raleigh office of an international firm, Mr. Francis co-founded Wood & Francis, PLLC, the predecessor firm to The Francis Law Firm, PLLC.
Mr. Francis is married to Marvea Jackson Francis and they are the proud parents of three children.
Dr. Tom Hanchett
Dr. Tom Hanchett is a community historian in Charlotte, NC. Educated at Cornell, University of Chicago and UNC Chapel Hill, he came to Charlotte in 1981 to research older neighborhoods for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission. He recently retired from Levine Museum of the New South where he curated a string of national-award-winning exhibitions including COURAGE about the Carolina roots of the Brown v Board Civil Rights case. Tom’s writings range widely on urban history and Southern culture including a book about how Charlotte got segregated, Sorting Out the New South City (UNC Press); essays exploring the history of US shopping malls, Rosenwald Schools, and Four Square houses ; and a monthly Charlotte Observer column “Food From Home.” He is currently historian-in-residence with the Carolina Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
April Johnson is Executive Director of Preservation Durham. She is a Historic Preservationist who worked with the City of Charlottesville, City of Winston-Salem, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to maintain, promote, and advocate saving historic buildings. After spending the last three and a half years in preservation planning with the City of Winston-Salem, April believes historic preservation’s most important role in the 21st century, is to create community through the reawakening of historic buildings that contribute to civic beauty, economic development, social dialogue and uplift, and a collective identity.
April intentionally seeks to make a positive impact in the cities she resides in. She serves on the board of Triad Cultural Arts, was as a board member and President of the Winston-Salem Urban League Young Professionals, Chairperson of the Citizens Advisory Committee, and served on multiple in-school/after-school programs tutoring and mentoring disenfranchised youth.
April holds a master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Planning and a master’s certificate in Historic Preservation.
Deborah Holt Noel
Deborah Holt Noel is a producer and on-air talent at North Carolina’s statewide PBS network UNC-TV. As host and contributing producer of the network’s weekly travel and leisure program “North Carolina Weekend”, she travels the state’s small towns and big cities to bring viewers stories about great destinations for recreation and adventure, wining and dining, cultural events and exploration, family fun, night life and relaxation.
Noel also produces and occasionally hosts “Black Issues Forum”, a weekly 30-minute public affairs program about people and concerns of the state’s African American community. Although Noel lived in several states growing up in a military family, she considers herself a true North Carolinian with parents born and raised in Raleigh. Noel is a graduate of Saint Augustine’s University.
After obtaining her masters degree at the University of Maryland and several years of work at a small film company in Northern Virginia, Noel moved to the Triangle in 1999 and through work on “North Carolina Weekend” fell in love with the beauty and diversity of the state from its rugged mountains to crisp coastal waters.
Deciding to give her talents back to others, Noel held the position of adjunct professor in 2001-2002 at her alma mater, teaching courses in Writing for Broadcast, Editing, Television Production, and Desktop Publishing. Today she enjoys being a wife and mother and looks forward to sharing more of the state with new and long-time viewers of every age.
James H. Perry, J.D. is president and CEO of the Winston-Salem Urban League. Perry leads a 20-person team across the North Carolina’s Triad, advocating for civil rights, employment opportunities, economic opportunities, affordable housing, health and wellness, voting rights, food security, and more. Under his leadership, Perry has authored the eye-opening State of Black Winston-Salem report, raised nearly $1.4 million, and strengthened and reorganized the agency’s programs.
Before taking charge of the Winston-Salem Urban League, Perry served for 10 years as the Chief Executive of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center. Perry led the center through hurricane Katrina, the most disastrous hurricane to make landfall in America. Under his leadership, the center won more than half a billion dollars for victims of discrimination across Louisiana. Perry founded the Mississippi Gulf Coast Fair Housing Center, has testified before Congress eight times, has served on dozens of local, state and national boards and commissions, and has managed political campaigns numbering in the dozens. He currently serves on the National Fair Housing Alliance Board of Directors.
Perry is a political science graduate of the University of New Orleans and Loyola University School of Law. Perry has been a candidate for elected office and served in the leadership of the Orleans Parish Democratic Party.
For over 13 years Michael has excelled in real estate and community development and in project and organizational management. He became President of Landmarks Development Corporation (LDC) and Landmarks Community Capital Corporation (LCC) after five years as a staff member, and in 2018 was named Vice President of the parent non-profit organization, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. He partners with the President of PHLF in organizing and restoring downtown buildings for retail and works in restoring very deteriorated buildings for affordable housing. He led the LDC programs to create 60 units of affordable housing and restored seven houses and sold them to moderate income families in Wilkinsburg. That work lead to three local awards, one State award and the highest award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for this work, all in 2017. He obtained Community Development Financial Institution status from the US Treasury Department for LCC and to date has obtained over $1.3M in grant funds from the Treasury and has loaned that money to other entities for restoring historic buildings for community benefit. His work in growing LCC has made it a premier lending agency for preservation projects in the region.
Tania Georgiou Tully, Senior Preservation Planner with the City of Raleigh Urban Design Center, serves as the primary liaison to the Raleigh Historic Development Commission. After many years as the sole Certificate of Appropriateness staff, Ms. Tully now has the pleasure of leading a three person team of preservationists. Prior to returning to Raleigh in 2007, she worked with the Utah State Historic Preservation Office, the Maryland Historical Trust, and as a preservation planner in Montgomery County, Maryland. Tania holds a Master’s Degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Utah and a BA in Design from Clemson University.
Since 1985, Gregg Warren has served as President of DHIC, Inc. based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Under his leadership, the organization has developed 42 rental communities, comprising 2,700+ apartments across North Carolina, as well as over 400 homes for sale. During the next 2 years, DHIC will be building or renovating 500 apartment homes. Last year, DHIC’s Homeownership Center deployed over $4 million in down payment assistance to 420 first time homebuyers in the region.
Prior to serving at DHIC, Gregg spent 6 years in North Carolina State Government directing the annual expenditure of $50+ million in federal funds and technical assistance to help small towns and rural communities meet housing and community development needs. Earlier, Gregg served as the first Executive Director of a rural housing authority. Gregg has previously served on the Advisory Council of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta and is a past Board member of the North Carolina Fair Housing Center, the Community Reinvestment Alliance of NC and the NC Association of Community Development Corporations and StepUp Ministry. He also is a founding Board member and past Chair of the NC Low Income Housing Coalition. Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors of Community Housing Capital.
Gregg has taught classes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Government and the Department of City and Regional Planning, where he received a Master of Regional Planning degree in 1974. Gregg also completed Harvard’s Achieving Excellence Program at the Kennedy School of Government.
Arthur Ziegler, is co-founder and President of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF) and a leading American preservationist, urbanist, writer, and activist. He is best known for co-founding PHLF in 1964 to combat urban renewal policies that devastated historic sections of Pittsburgh-literally and culturally. He promoted and utilized historic preservation as an effective means to create sustainable affordable housing, healthy neighborhoods, and economic development. Arthur’s work was as much about social justice for disenfranchised populations as it was about preserving important places.
He is known for his ability to work with a wide variety of neighborhood, political, foundation, and corporate leaders, and PHLF is widely viewed as the leading preservation organization in the United States. PHLF has extraordinarily diverse and creative Boards and staff and strong educational programs.
He received the highest award in preservation, the Crowninshield Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Private Sector Achievement Award from the President of the United States and the highest award from Preservation PA, the Otto Haas Award. Point Park University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in the Humanity.