Pictured Left to Right, Back Row: Rocky Buchanan, Wes Brinegar, Eddie Settle, Dennis Aldridge, Jim Blevins, Tom Hartman, Charles E. Vines. Front Row: Rennie Brantz, Larry Fontaine, Andrew Soots, Kelly Melang, Doug Matheson, Jeff Whitson, Valerie Jaynes.
Not Pictured: Theresa Coletta, Vern Grindstaff, Gunther Jochl, Robert L. Johnson, Mark Johnston, Brenda Lyerly, Todd McNeill, Bill Osborne, Kevin Reece, Paul Robinson Jr., Larry Turnbow, Joel Whitley, Eddie Yarber.
Valerie Calloway Jaynes currently serves as the Mayor of the Town of Newland. She has served as mayor and has been an active part of the HCCOG Board for 14 years. Valerie was awarded “Outstanding Local Elected Official” by the HCCOG in 2018. She’s an Avery County native that has served her community with 32.5 years of service at Mountain Electric Cooperative, and the Newland Volunteer Fire Department as Secretary for 20 years. Valerie has one daughter, Lauren, who is a current Alderman for the Town of Newland, expecting Valerie’s first grandchild.
“I am so very proud of the direction our region is heading. I feel that the HCCOG is a huge part of local success in the areas of tourism development, local infrastructure, and the creation of job opportunities.”
“I count it an honor to have the opportunity to work alongside the Executive Director of the HCCOG in an effort to promote our beautiful region.”
Todd McNeill currently serves as chairman of the Ashe County Board of Commissioners. He began his tenure as commissioner in January 2018, being appointed to fill a vacancy, then was elected for his first 4 year term the following November. He has served as chairman of the Ashe County Board since December 2018. Todd, a small business owner and entrepreneur, and his wife Maggie live in the Grassy Creek community of Ashe County. They have 4 children; Henry 11, Libby Jean 6, Sarah Lane 4 and Beau 2. Todd grew up in Ashe County, attending Ashe Central High School and later graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in public relations.
“The collaboration of local governments throughout the High Country region continues to make our corner of North Carolina an even better place to live and work. Serving Ashe County and the High Country is one of the greatest honors of my life!”
Doug Matheson is currently a Council Member for the Town of Blowing Rock and has served for 11 years. He has served on the HCCOG board for 3 years. Doug is a native of Watauga county where he retired from the State after 38 years (16 with Appalachian State University). He is also a retired Fire Chief of Blowing Rock Fire and Rescue, having served the department for 30 years. Doug and his wife Barbara have 3 children, 7 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild.
“I’m very honored to be a part of HCCOG and looking forward to working with all members for the continued success of the region.”
Dennis Aldridge is currently serving his first term as an Avery county commissioner. He previously served on the Avery Economic Development Board for 6 years and is currently serving on the MAY Coalition board and is chairperson of the Avery JCPC. Dennis has served as a bi-vocational pastor for 30 years and is currently pastoring at Linville Falls Community Church. Dennis has an A.S. from Lees-McRae College, a B.S. from Gardner-Webb College and a M.A. from Trinity Theological Seminary. Dennis is married to Cindy and his hobbies include restoring vehicles and building projects.
“I decided to run for commissioner not because I wanted to as much as that I felt I needed to in order to use my learned body of knowledge to benefit the people of Avery County. After traveling and living other places, I have never been prouder to be called a native of Avery County.”