Board of Directors

Lenny Knott, Chair

For the past 30 plus years Lenny Knott has worked in the commercial construction industry with a general contractor in North Carolina, serving in both the Charlotte and Raleigh markets. Currently he is employed by Barringer Construction, a Charlotte based company, and is helping to build their Raleigh team.

Lenny comes from a family with a strong military history. A father who served in the Air Force, 2 brothers who served in the Marine Corps, a brother in the Air Force and another in the Army. Lenny is a former United States Marine himself. While serving in the Marine Corps in the early 80’s he was part of a multinational peace keeping force that served in Beirut, Lebanon. After leaving the Marine Corps he served 4 more years with the North Carolina Army National Guard.

Lenny has been the dedicated husband of Cissie Knott for the last 40 years. He is also the proud father of 3 exceptional children, and 9 beautiful grandchildren. He holds a “bachelors degree” in the “History of Ideas” and “Biblical Studies” from Southeastern College at Wake Forest and a “Masters of Divinity” Degree from Southeastern Biblical Seminary. He has served in a multitude of positions in the local church over many years.

Dedication, commitment, faith and hard work sum up Lenny’s philosophy of love and life.

Ellis Boyle, Vice Chair

Ellis is a lawyer at the Ward & Smith law firm who focuses on business litigation and helping injured victims seek justice through the civil justice system. Prior to joining Ward & Smith, he worked at Knott & Boyle. Ellis also served as General Counsel and Deputy Secretary at the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. Before DPS, Ellis served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of North Carolina for two years. Ellis started his practice as a lawyer in Womble Bond’s Winston Salem office for several years before moving to Raleigh.

Ellis is from northeastern North Carolina; born and raised in Edenton. He earned a history degree from Davidson College. After graduating, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army for four years, leaving as a Captain. After his Army service, Ellis earned a law degree from Wake Forest University Law School. Upon graduating, Ellis spent a year as a law clerk for the Honorable Claude Hilton, a U.S. District Court Judge in the Eastern District of Virginia.

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Michael Beam, Treasurer

Michael is a Vice President and Commercial Banker with First National Bank. In this role, he targets companies in and around the triangle while managing a portfolio of existing relationships in excess of forty million.

Michael got his start with Wachovia where he spent seven years in Business Banking. He continued his career at Fidelity Bank where he spent seven years as a Regional Supervisor while maintaining a commercial portfolio with credit commitments in excess of $20 million. He moved to NewBridge Bank in January of 2015 which was acquired by Yadkin Bank and later by FNB.

Michael is a graduate of NC State University and currently lives in Raleigh with his wife and two sons where he is active in the community coaching his son’s sports teams and routinely volunteering for local charities.

Originally from Shelby, NC, Michael spends most of his free time in the eastern part of the state relaxing with his family.


Edward D. Gray, Secretary

Edward D. Gray is an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Prior to joining the Federal Public Defender’s Office, Ed spent a decade as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of North Carolina prosecuting complex international narcotics investigations, organized crime syndicates, cartels and violent crimes. He also represented the government in Adam Walsh cases, involving the civil commitment of sexually dangerous persons. In addition to prosecuting cases, he was a civil attorney defending FTCA, Bivens and catastrophic torts cases for the United States. Prior to joining the United States Attorney’s Office, Ed was in private practice in Raleigh, NC. Additionally, Ed is a retired United States Air Force officer having served as a Judge Advocate on active duty, the USAF Reserve, and North Carolina Air National Guard. He has deployed to numerous areas of operation in the capacity of Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, Command Staff Judge Advocate, and Trial Counsel. While on active duty, Ed successfully prosecuted the first courts-martial in the Central Command Area of Operations. He is a graduate of Howard University, Vanderbilt Law School and The George Washington University. He also served on the Faculty of the United States Air Force Judge Advocate General’s School teaching trial advocacy. Among his numerous awards, Ed has been awarded the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Prosecution of the Year Award, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Mobility Command Judge Advocate of the Year Award, the Twenty-First Air Force Judge Advocate of the Year Award, and was the former Editor in Chief of the Air Force Law Review.

Lloyd Blackmon

Lloyd Blackmon

Lloyd Blackmon is a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and licensed North Carolina attorney currently serving as the Director of Contracts and Compliance for S&K Technologies, Inc, a tribally-owned federal services company. Before retiring in 2013, Lloyd served in the Air Force on active duty for 25 years, including two deployments to Iraq in 2004 and 2006.

Lloyd is from southeastern North Carolina; born and raised in Hope Mills. In 1988, he earned a BA in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was commissioned through the UNC Air Force ROTC program. He served four years as a nuclear missile launch officer before transitioning to the business side of the Air Force where he completed multiple squadron-level, headquarters staff, and command duty assignments as a contracting officer.

After his Air Force service, Lloyd earned a law degree from University of Dayton School of Law in Dayton, Ohio, then went to work for S&K where he leads a team of contracting professionals managing a diverse federal business portfolio.

Always believing it is a “Great Day to be a Tar Heel,” Lloyd is an avid college basketball fan. He lives in Rolesville with his wife and son.


Andi Curtis

Andi Curtis joined WakeMed Health & Hospitals in 2012 and is the Manager of Government Affairs. In her role at WakeMed she builds and maintains relationships with local elected officials, key governmental staff members, local businesses and community leaders in Wake County and throughout the immediate region. In 2021, Andi received one of WakeMed’s highest honors, the Pyramid Society Award.

Andi graduated from North Carolina State University with a BA in Communications. She is a graduate of the Leadership Triangle- Transforming Leaders and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce – Leadership Wilmington programs. Currently she is pursuing a Master in Public Health (MPH) at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Throughout Andi’s career she’s served in leadership roles for numerous advocacy and non-profit organizations in Wake County and beyond. She currently serves on the Live Well Wake Action Team, the New Bern Avenue Corridor Alliance, the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee and The 200 Club of Wake County.

For the past seven years she has served as board member and past chair of the North Carolina Heroes Fund. As a granddaughter, daughter, sister and niece of dedicated volunteer and career firefighters, Andi is passionate about supporting the men and women who protect the safety of others every day and is honored to be a part of The 200 Club of Wake County.

In her free time she loves going to Atlantic Beach with her family to swim, kayak and fish. Andi, her husband and three children live in Wake Forest, NC.


Bill Gorman

Bill Gorman serves as a vice president of sales for a company he co-founded, Peak Solutions. His team sells and develops systems for deploying and operational units throughout all US service branches. Bill encourages his team to get involved and give back to the men and women that have served.

Bill previously served 24 years Active and Reserve in the United States Marine Corps. His service includes four combat deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Republic of Georgia.

Bill was raised in Richmond, VA. He is a proud graduate of North Carolina State University and lives in Raleigh NC.

Bill strives to serve his community and Military Family in all aspects of his day-to-day life.


David Hayden

Colonel (USA retired) David Hayden joined Smith Anderson in 2011, after serving as the general counsel and board secretary for USfalcon, Inc.  Colonel Hayden has extensive experience in government contracting, corporate investigations (internal and government) and employment law.  Colonel Hayden previously served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, investigating and prosecuting federal crimes as well as supervising all military attorneys authorized to practice in federal court in eastern North Carolina.  He was appointed by the Governor to serve on the North Carolina Military Affairs Commission where he currently chairs the Economic Development Committee.

Colonel Hayden served in the United States Army for 29 years before retiring in 2005.  Colonel Hayden served as both an Engineer and Judge Advocate Generals Corps Officer.  Hayden’s military career included 12 years of airborne assignments at Fort Bragg, N.C., engineer company commander, criminal law professor and department head at the U.S. Army JAG School, senior litigation attorney and branch chief for the U.S. Army Litigation Division, deployment to Afghanistan as the senior legal advisor to the theater commander, and senior legal advisor to NORAD and the United States Northern Command.

Nathan A. Huff

Nathan is a former federal prosecutor with nearly 20 years of litigation experience. His practice is focused on health care and commercial litigation and white-collar defense. He represents financial entities, hospitals, hospital systems, and academic medical centers across the country in complex litigation and in responding to civil and criminal government investigations. He routinely appears in state and federal courts at both the trial and appellate levels, including the North Carolina Business Court. He’s first-chaired multiple jury trials to verdict. Nate also provides a broad range of counseling and dispute resolution services to clients operating at the intersection of law and politics, especially those in the agriculture industry. He represents state legislatures, political committees, campaigns, and industry groups in constitutional law litigation in state and federal court. Nate is a partner in the K&L Gates Research Triangle Park and Charlotte offices and a member of the Commercial Disputes and the Investigations, Enforcement, and White-Collar practice groups.

Before entering private practice, Nate was a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina. He began his legal career on active duty in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. He continues to serve as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve.


Dennis Peterson

Dennis serves as Vice President and a Digital Manager within Wells Fargo’s Digital Channels Group. Primarily supporting online security and authentication, he was the lead Wachovia business analyst supporting the Wells Fargo/Wachovia online banking customer migration.   He previously served as the President of the bank’s Eastern Region and Charlotte Chapter of the Veterans Team Member Network.  Initially hired by First Union, he has worked for the combined company for the last 24 years.

Dennis earned a commission in the US Navy Supply Corps from the University of Nebraska Navy ROTC program.  After 22 years of service, he retired as a Commander. During his initial active duty service, he served as the Assistant Supply Officer for USS Crommelin (FFG 37).  Recalled to active duty in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, he served as the Personnel Support and Disbursing Officer for Naval Support Activity Bahrain.

In addition to his service with NC Heroes’ Fund, he also is a member of the North Carolina Committee for the Employers Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) and volunteer for both Charlotte Bridge Home and Concerned Veterans for America (CVA).  He is also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 9488.

A native of Nebraska and an avid Cornhusker football fan, he lives in Charlotte with his wife.  He has two sons and one grandson.

Will Revels

Will Revels

Will Revels is a former Army helicopter pilot-turned-wealth advisor. After spending a decade working for a private bank and several boutique firms, he founded PieCapital, an independent firm specializing in helping retiring executives and business owners transition to living on a fixed income. He is passionate about financial literacy and recently published a children’s book designed to teach kids about investing.

Prior to starting his investment career, Will served in the Army as a Ranger—qualified aviation officer and helicopter pilot. While serving with the 82nd Airborne Division and 7th Special Forces Group, Will deployed twice to Afghanistan, receiving several medals for his service.

He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and he has an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.

Will lives with his wife and three children in Raleigh, where he currently serves as a board member and past president of the Strong Gray Line Corporation, a non-profit established to honor the charitable passions of fallen members of the West Point Class of 2004. He also coaches NCFC soccer and can be seen drinking coffee almost any time of day.

Julie Roper

Julie Roper is currently the Economic Development and Local Government Manager for Dominion Energy in Gastonia, North Carolina. Julie is responsible for communications with city and county officials as well as economic development and community involvement in the surrounding Charlotte and Asheville area. She has a MPA from Appalachian State University and prior to joining Dominion Energy thirty-one years ago, she served in the United States Air Force for four years.  Julie has served on the boards of various civic organizations such as Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, Alliance for Youth and Children, Vice-Chair, of Gaston County Homebuilders Association and represented Gaston County as a state director for the NCHBA .  She served as the board chair of Habitat for Humanity, Montcross Chamber of Commerce, and Crime Stoppers of Gaston County. In addition to the NCHF board, she currently serves on the Gaston County Economic Development Commission as Vice-Chair, North Carolina Economic Development Association, Schiele Museum and the Montross Chamber of Commerce.

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Scott Stone, Founder

Scott D. Stone, P.E. serves as President of American Engineering Associates – Southeast, PA, a regional civil and engineering & surveying firm. Scott is also the chairman and founder of the North Carolina Heroes Fund. He got involved because, “Our military men and women, and their families, sacrifice so much to defend our freedom. NCHF is just a small way of saying thank you for their tremendous efforts and commitment.”

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Kendria Sweet, Executive Director

Kendria Sweet serves as executive director of the NCHF. In this capacity, she is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Fund.

Before coming to the NCHF, she was co-executive director of The Patriot Charities. Kendria, her husband and two boys live in Charlotte, NC.