Garrett Nelson

Master's degree student
UNC Charlotte Urban Institute

Biography

Garrett Nelson was born and raised in Charlotte. He is a graduate student in the UNC Charlotte Department of Geography and Earth Sciences with a focus on economic geography, and is studying entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology. His thesis explores using Kickstarter.com projects as a geographic measure of entrepreneurial activity within the United States.

Education

Nelson has a bachelor's degree from N.C. State University in political science, and expects to complete his master's degree in May 2015 in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences.

Richard Rankin

Headmaster
Gaston Day School

Biography

Richard Rankin is an educator, historian, conservationist and native of Gaston County and Stanley Creek.  He was assistant professor of history and vice president for institutional advancement at Queens University of Charlotte for 13 years. Since 2001 he has been headmaster at Gaston Day School.

Education

Rankin received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a doctorate in history from UNC Chapel Hill.

Expertise

He has written five previous nonfiction books on state and local history and outdoor life.

Collin Brown

Partner
K&L Gates

Collin Brown is a partner in the Charlotte office of K&L Gates, where he focuses his practice on land use and zoning, and land use and real estate litigation. Collin represents land owners and developers on a wide range of development projects, and is engaged in development projects from the rezoning stage through the issuance of building permits and enforcement issues that arise during the life of a development. Collin’s practice includes legislative, quasi-judicial and administrative approvals.

A native of Covington, GA, Collin graduated from the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s in arts and earned his J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law. He also has a Master of Public Administration, with a concentration in planning and economic development, from Georgia State University.  Collin is a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP), a distinction he earned through the Green Building Certification Institute. As a LEED AP, he has a thorough understanding of green building practices and principles, as well as the LEED Rating System. Collin was the first North Carolina attorney to earn this credential.

Eric Caratao

Research Analyst
Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority

Biography

Eric is a Research Analyst at Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.  He formly worked at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute as a Social Research Specialist.  His work at the Institute included: conducting needs assessments, program evaluations, focus groups, telephone and web-based surveys, database management and other various research services and technical assistance to community organizations, policymakers and educators. Eric’s research interests include organizations, demography and stratification.

Education

M.A. in Sociology UNC Charlotte and B.A. in Sociology and English UNC Charlotte.

Expertise

Human resources management, grant writing, research design, data collection and analysis, and market research.

Nancy Pierce

Photographer
Nancy Pierce Photography
704-458-5503

Biography

Photographer Nancy Pierce works on assignment for editorial, corporate and nonprofit clients. She was primary photographer for the Levine Museum of the New South’s permanent exhibit, Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers, and for that museum’s 2009-2010 exhibit, Changing Places. She was commissioned for the award-winning exhibits Families of Abraham photo exhibit at the Levine Museum (2006) and River Docs at the Light Factory (2007).  She has helped community organizations create photography projects to build interracial trust, assess residents’ urban infrastructure needs, and raise awareness about land conservation. Nancy and her husband are the parents of two young adult sons. Her spare time is usually spent bicycling, running, swimming, hiking or kayaking on the Catawba River. Visit her at www.nancypiercephoto.com

Education

Nancy holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Minnesota and an MA in Psychology from UNC Charlotte, where she explored using photography as a tool in psychological assessment and treatment.

Expertise

Her photography assignments often reflects her interest in land/water protection, community infrastructure and environmental sustainability.

Bill McCoy

Emeritus Faculty
UNC Charlotte
704-687-1200

Biography

William J. (Bill) McCoy is the retired Director of the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, and former Associate Vice Chancellor for Extended Academic Programs. He came to UNC Charlotte in 1970 as an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department.  In 1979, Dr. McCoy joined the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute on a part-time basis and was named its Director in 1985.  He retired from that position in 2001.


Among community activities, he has served on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission, on the Citizens Advisory Committee for the 2005 Transportation Plan, on the Planning Board of the Town of Davidson, and served as the Executive Director of Leadership Charlotte.  He is  currently serving or has served on the following Boards of Directors:  Leadership Charlotte, the Carolinas Land Conservation Network, Central Carolinas Choices, the Charlotte Chamber, WFAE, the University City Area Council, the University City YMCA, Child Care Resources, Inc., Grier Heights Economic Foundation, and the Mecklenburg Council on Aging.

Education

B.A. and M.A. degrees from Western Kentucky University and Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee.

Expertise

State and local politics, national political institutions, physical planning at the local level, facilitator of community processes, and approaches to development. 

Crystal Cockman

Director of Conservation
Three Rivers Land Trust

Biography

Crystal Cockman is director of conservation for Three Rivers Land Trust, formerly The LandTrust for Central North Carolina, which focuses focus primarily on land protection and stewardship in the Uwharrie Region. In her free time she enjoys backpacking, hiking, reading, flyfishing, and pretty much anything outdoors.

Education

Bachelor of science and master of environmental management graduate of Duke University.

Expertise

Environment, land protection, Uwharries.