About the Work Team
The Work Team are employees of Gaston Together, Gaston County, CaroMont Health, and Gaston Business Association, who laid groundwork for the visioning effort and now support the Steering Committee in its work to create the vision, dashboard, and implementation plan.
Matt Blackwell is an Assistant Director in the Gaston County Budget & Strategy Office. With primary responsibilities focused on organizational strategy, Matt’s work includes a continued commitment to refine the county-wide strategic planning process and collaborate with departmental leadership to improve department-level strategic plans to ensure alignment with the overall goals of the organization. Additionally, he plans and coordinates the County’s capital improvement process and leads the development and implementation of projects and models to improve processes, create cost-savings, and reduce inefficiencies.
Matt has more than twenty years of increasingly responsible experience in local government, including 15+ years serving the citizens of Gaston County. Prior to joining the Budget & Strategy Office in February 2022, he previously held positions with Gaston County working in the areas of Solid Waste, Public Works and Economic Development. Matt earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina – Wilmington and is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma. He and his wife, Sharon, reside in Kings Mountain.
David Fogarty grew up in Hickory, NC and his family has been living in Gastonia for the past 22 years. He serves as the Gaston County Director of the NC Cooperative Extension Service where he leads educational programs in the areas of agriculture, food systems, and family consumer science.
He supports numerous Extension volunteer groups including the Extension Master Gardeners, the Extension and Community Association, 4-H Volunteers Leaders, and the Gaston County Quality of Natural Resources Committee, as well as independent organizations such as the Gaston Beekeepers Association and the Gaston Cattlemen’s Association. In addition, David has served as Chair of Gaston Together, Chair of the Gaston Community Healthcare Commission, and as President of Gastonia East Rotary.
He holds a BS in Forestry from NC State University and a Masters in Agricultural Economics from the University of Missouri. His wife and he met in Paraguay while both serving with the US Peace Corps in the late 1980’s.
Leslie Lee, the Executive Director of Gaston Together, is a native of Boston, Massachusetts, and resides in York, South Carolina. She holds a degree in voice performance from the University of Connecticut,
certificates in non-profit management and diversity and intercultural competence from Wake Forest University, and a certificate in non-profit management from Winthrop University.
Before joining Gaston Together, Ms. Lee was the Executive Director of the Arts Center of Kershaw County, the Anderson Arts Center, and the Gaston School of the Arts and has held leadership positions with Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas, the Greater Hartford Arts Council, Connecticut Public Broadcasting, and for-profit companies in sales and manufacturing
She has served on a variety of non-profit boards in the greater Charlotte area and currently serves on the Executive Committee of Palmetto State Arts Education.
Donna Lockett is the former Executive Director of Gaston Together. She was instrumental in the early stages of planning for the GV2040 effort. Under her leadership, Gaston Together facilitated Gaston Vision 2012 and Gaston Vision 2020.
During her tenure, Donna organized and nurtured many significant initiatives, including the Civic Engagement Leadership Program, the Gaston Together Healthcare Commission, the Gaston Clergy and Citizens Coalition, the MLK Unity Award, and the Community Leadership Awards annual event.
Donna is now enjoying retirement in Gaston County!
Mumford is President & CEO of the Gaston Business Association, where he provides strategic leadership for countywide initiatives promoting business success, influencing the business environment, and enhancing workforce capacity.
Over his 34-year career, Mumford has gained diverse public-sector, private-sector, and elected office experience in economic development, informing thoughtful and collaborative approaches to driving Gaston County’s transformation into a regional business and economic leader.
Mumford, a Florida native, has been a Charlotte resident since his graduation from Clemson University in 1987 with dual bachelor’s degrees in Architecture and Building Science & Management. He earned a master’s degree in Organization Development from Queens University of Charlotte and is a Board Certified Coach, providing executive coaching services to enhance leader awareness, growth, and e ectiveness.
Mumford and his wife of 30 years have two grown sons.
Del is a senior healthcare executive with over 37 years of industry experience. During his career, he has developed a strong track record for driving organizational growth and improvement through superior strategy development and deployment. Del has a unique blend of experience in strategic planning, performance improvement, new business development and business consulting.
Del currently serves as Vice President/Chief Strategy Officer for CaroMont Health in Gastonia, North Carolina. CaroMont Health is an integrated healthcare system serving four counties. Over the course of this career, Del led his own consulting company, KnewDay Consulting, a firm dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals. Del also worked for 21 years at Atrium Health in Charlotte. During his time with Atrium, Del led efforts to achieve top-line revenue growth; his specific areas of responsibility included system strategic planning, partner development, new business development, joint ventures and certificate of need. Del also spent eight years of his career in Ernst & Young’s national healthcare consulting practice, specializing in strategic planning, financial forecasting, business valuation and new business development. Prior to his time at Ernst & Young, Del served as the Vice President of Clinical Services for Atrium Health-Union in Monroe, North Carolina.
Del holds a B.S. degree in Business from Wingate University and an M.B.A. degree from Winthrop University. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, past president of the Carolinas Society of Healthcare Strategy & Market Development and winner of the Charles L. Hite award for excellence in strategic planning and market development. Del currently serves on the boards of the United Way of Gaston County and the Montcross Area Chamber of Commerce.
Del was born in Gastonia, North Carolina and raised in Lowell (Gaston County, NC). Del resides in Charlotte with his wife of 35 years. Del has three daughters, two sons-in-law, a son-in-law-to-be and four grandchildren.
Gina Shell has enjoyed a 30-year career in public service, working for Western Piedmont Council of Governments in Hickory, for the City of Charlotte, and now for Gaston County.
For Gaston County, Gina has been integral to the effort to revise the County’s internal mission, vision, and core values, and to create its first organizational strategic plan. She was an architect of the
County’s “Strategic Planning University”, an effort to train and equip every County department to create a strategic plan in alignment with the County’s plan. She organized the first joint meeting of the Gaston and Mecklenburg Boards of Commissioners in 2019. She serves as the Special Projects Manager in the Gaston County Manager’s Office.
Gina capped off her service to the City of Charlotte as the Deputy Director of Engineering & Property Management. She developed Charlotte’s first “Policy on City-Owned Real Estate and Facilities”, its first “Policy for Sustainable Facilities”, and its first “Tree Canopy Coverage Goal”. She was instrumental in the founding of the TreesCharlotte public-private tree planting collaborative. She led Charlotte’s safety, transportation, signage, and logistics preparations as the City hosted the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.
Gina holds a BA in Political Science from Davidson College and an MA in Public Policy from Duke University. A native of Hickory, NC, she and her family have called Gaston County home for 23 years.
David L. Williams, MPA, AICP, EDFP
David Williams is a graduate of Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, where he received both Bachelor of Science, and Master of Public Administration Degrees. Currently, Mr. Williams is the Community Affairs and Development Administrator in the Gaston County Manager’s Office. He has nearly 28 years of local government service. He is formerly the Director of Planning and Development Services for Gaston County, NC, where he served for 15 years.
He directed the County Land Use Planning Program, which includes Land Use Planning, Long Range Planning, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Environmental Planning and Administration, Ordinance Amendments, and Historic Preservation Planning. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), and certified as an Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP). Mr. Williams was one of the key organizers to help jumpstart G-CaMP (Gaston and Municipal Planners Group). Mr. Williams has been involved with the Gaston County Census program for over 20 years serving as Chair of the Complete Count Committee as well as Project Manager since 1998. As result of Gaston County efforts with the Census he had to testify in front of a U.S. Congress House Sub-Committee in 2009 on the county-wide 2010 Census promotional and technical activities.