Marilyn Gordon has long been a fixture of Henderson County. As one of the owners and operators of Norm’s Minit Marts in Hendersonville, we have to thank Marilyn for maintaining one of the principles upon which civilization may very well rest: air for your car tires should be free at gas station convenience stores! As a Henderson County Commissioner and member of the Board of Health, Marilyn learned another great truth: quality medical care needs to be available to each and every member of the community. Indeed, her connections to leaders and the community is what has made Marilyn such an effective Chair. When she is not leading critical health initiatives for the Pardee Hospital Foundation, you can often find her taking long walks with her adorable dachshund Beauregard.
Kandi Hendricks has served on the Pardee Hospital Foundation Board for four years, while also working as a realtor in Western North Carolina. Kandi’s success as a realtor has proven vital to her success organizing charitable events for the Pardee Hospital Foundation: each involves tremendous organizational skills, emotional intelligence, and problem solving. What drew her to Pardee Hospital Foundation was the realization that she was extremely lucky, in her words, to have a community with such a fantastic hospital and cutting-edge medical treatment. “Knowing,” she explained, “that the worst possible thing that could happen to you and your family is that they end up at the region’s best hospital really puts things in perspective. It makes me extremely grateful.” When Kandi is not helping folks in Henderson and beyond find their dream home or organizing Foundation Galas, she is also employed as a part-time chauffeur for her 11-year-old daughter and teenage son.
Hilton Swing has been an active member of the community of Henderson County, N.C. for the past five decades. In addition to serving as a board member for the Pardee Hospital Foundation, Hilton holds the position of President of the Housing Assistance Corporation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating safe and affordable housing opportunities for Henderson residents, and works with the Flat Rock Park and Recreation Department. As a realtor for the past 15 years, he brings along his extensive network of friends and colleagues in his work with the Foundation. When he was a graduate student at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, Hilton honed his talent for golf on the famed links of the same name.
Heather Ward began her career working at a small community bank in central Florida, eventually rising to the position of Regional Private Banking Executive at tFirst Bank of Hendersonville. While Heather is relatively new to her position as chair of the Finance Committee, similar to the other employees, board members, directors, and chairs of Pardee Hospital Foundation, her enthusiasm for the work is palpable. As she explains, “I grew up in a family of doctors in a small town, and remember making ‘the rounds’ with my Grandfather. I’ve always been interested in the ‘miracle’ of quality medical care.” As a self-proclaimed bookworm, Heather enjoys reading in her downtime from work at First Bank and Pardee.
As a recent addition to the Pardee Hospital Foundation Board, Gerard Colucelli, MD will bring his unique perspective as a physician to his new position. An Ophthalmology Specialist from Jacksonville, FL, with 46 years of experience in his field, Gerard recognizes and appreciates the value Pardee Hospital brings to the communities of Western North Carolina. In his free time, Gerard enjoys golf and travel.
Cameron Baker has been a board member for the Pardee Hospital Foundation for the past year-and-a-half. His primary job as a professional land surveyor in Western North Carolina brings him into contact with many residents of the area, and he always makes sure each and every one of them leave him knowing how much good Pardee Hospital does for the community. As a lifelong denizen of Henderson County, Cameron was drawn to donating his time to the Foundation because he understands what a critical asset the hospital has been to the region. In his freetime, Cameron enjoys nothing as much as spending time with his wife and two children, Colter and Huntley.
Nicola Barksdale recently joined the board of the Pardee Health Foundation. Beginning as a part-time bank teller at First Citizens Bank in 1999, Nicola has rocketed up the ladder and now serves as Manager of the Business Banking Team in Western North Carolina. As a 20-year resident of Hendersonville, Nicola understands the importance of the work Pardee Hospital does firsthand. When her mother was recently misdiagnosed with breast cancer, Pardee Hospital’s oncology department stepped in to ensure her Mom received the proper treatment and care. Nicola hopes that her work on the Board of the Pardee Health Foundation will offer others in the community the same life-saving medical interventions.
Cheryl Cohen, relatively new to Pardee Hospital Foundation, brings an abundance of expertise and experience to her role as a Board Member and Chair of the Gala Committee. As the managing director of hospital systems, Cheryl oversaw financing and the allocation of money for innovative healthcare equipment, as well as working to improve the efficiency of hospital information technologies. Formerly the CFO of South Amboy Memorial Hospital, Cheryl served as a board member of the NJ Organ and Tissue Sharing Network for six years, as well as the President of the NJ Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. When Cheryl is not making the financial engines of hospital systems churn, she can be found hitting the golf links with her husband, Frank Kimchick.
Leeman “Lee” Covey worked as the Director of Fiscal Affairs for Mobile, Alabama for 15 years, before becoming the VP of Finance at Spring Hill College. In the latter capacity, he recognized the need to provide students housing options, forming the Collegiate Housing Foundation, where he currently holds the title of President Emeritus. Lee’s extensive experience and education in economics and statistical research has served him well in putting Foundation dollars to optimal use. He credits his late wife with his involvement in the Pardee Hospital Foundation—as a native of Henderson, she worked as a medical technologist while putting herself through school at UNC Asheville. As an avid Tar Heels basketball fan, Lee, in good company with basketball enthusiasts worldwide, still can’t stand Christian Laettner.
Chip Gould has served on numerous foundation boards and charities throughout his career; he has been a member of Pardee Hospital Board for more than three years, now serving as its chairman. Chip is currently the President and CEO of Cason Companies, Inc., and as he explains felt compelled to be of service to his community. From his perspective, the growth of the hospital and the foundation go hand-in-hand. A recipient of the G. Ray Cantrell Award for Community Service, Chip enjoys spending his days out on his boat
Randy Hunter recently joined the board of Pardee Hospital Foundation, bringing along his considerable business savvy to this position. For 38 years, Randy has worked at the Hunter Automotive Group, where he is now the owner. As he shared, “in my close to four decades in business and serving on nonprofit boards in Hendersonville, there is not much I haven’t experienced.” Solving problems, whether in business or his local community, is embedded in Randy’s DNA. When he is not busy giving back to his community, you can often catch Randy fly fishing in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
William “Bill” Jansen has practiced law and managed a large law firm in Detroit since he graduated with his JD from the University of Michigan—where he also studied Chemical Engineering as an undergrad—in 1976. As a member of the Pardee Hospital Foundation Board for the past year, Bill’s success as a board member can be attributed to his analytical mind, honed over the course of his career as an attorney. His decision to join Pardee’s board was a result of his conviction that the people in his community deserve quality healthcare. When Bill is not practicing law or serving the Foundation, you can find him avoiding sandtraps at the Hendersonville Country Club.
Sherri Johnson is a recent addition to the Pardee Hospital Foundation board, although she is certainly a welcome addition. As a native of Henderson County, Sherri built many relationships over her 15 years as real estate agent in the region, which has provided her with a palpable sense of what her community wants and needs when it comes to healthcare. Indeed, one of her motivations for joining the Foundation board was to ensure that she and other residents of the community could have access to stellar healthcare locally. When Sherri is not volunteering her time or working, she enjoys mentoring the young people at her church, playing tennis, and sewing.
James “Jay” Kirby has served as the President and CEO of Pardee UNC Health Care since 2011, bringing 30 years of healthcare management experience in his stewardship of Pardee Hospital’s acute care unit, cutting-edge cancer treatment center, four urgent care facilities, six orthopedic clinics, and a network comprising of 341 physicians. Under Kirby’s leadership, Pardee has expanded its services to include only the second STEMI-certified department for the treatment of cardiac emergencies in all of Western North Carolina. He has also been instrumental in dramatically increasing the number of interventional cardiologists and vascular surgeons at Pardee, as well as adding to the units of pulmonology, neurology, oncology, thoracic surgery, and infectious diseases. Finally, he played a key role in building the second largest orthopedic group in the region.
Dr. Gregory McCarty serves as the Chief Medical Officer of Pardee UNC Health Care, a $340 million nonprofit healthcare system that spans western North Carolina. Named Pardee’s Chief Medical Officer in January 2022, McCarty has championed ways to ensure that all of Pardee’s physicians play a vital role in the strategic decisions about the hospital. Prior to assuming his role as CMO of Pardee, McCarty was Pardee Hospital Chief of Staff, the Director of Pardee Emergency Physicians, Medical Director for the Chest Pain Center at Pardee, and the Medical Director for the Department of Emergency Medicine. He played an instrumental role in the development of Pardee’s Heart Program, and the hospital’s designation as a Percutaneous Coronary Intervention Hospital in 2021. Under his stewardship, Pardee became only the second STEMI-certified emergency department in all of western North Carolina.
Jennifer McAlister, MD, FACS, has over a decade of experience as a board-certified and fellowship-trained surgeon, specializing in breast surgery. Dr. McAlister evaluates and manages patients with breast pain, benign lumps and cysts, abnormal mammograms, and those with breast cancer. She believes in treating each patient as an individual, and educating and empowering them to make the best health care decisions. In her free time, Dr. McAlister enjoys hiking, tennis, and cooking.
Having already served a three-year term on the board as a member of the Finance Committee for the Pardee Hospital Foundation, Carey O’Cain’s enthusiasm for this role has not lessened. In fact, Carey’s efforts on behalf of Pardee Hospital is matched only by his commitment to public service and his community. After a successful career in commercial construction, Carey “retired” early in 2005. Unlike most retirees, however, he has found a way to be busier than ever: serving as the Mayor of Laurel Park since 2010 and managing Wild Birds Unlimited in Hendersonville, which he owns with his wife Lutrelle. In Carey’s limited free time, he enjoys golfing, gardening and travel.
William “Bill” Rushton has served on the finance committee for the Pardee Hospital Foundation for the past three years. With a BA in Accounting and Business Administration, Bill held management positions with DuPont for 28 years, in a variety of domestic and international assignments, including Department Superintendent A&BA and Nuclear Materials Control and Accountability, Savanah River Plant Aiken SC, and N.V.Phillips/DuPont Compact Disc Venture Kings Mountain NC & Utrecht Netherlands. Living in Flat Rock for 30 years, he has been simply amazed at the growth of Pardee Hospital, which is what drew him to serve on the Foundation’s finance committee three years ago. When Bill is not volunteering time in his community, he’s always game to take in a show at the Flat Rock Playhouse or enjoy an evening listening to the Hendersonville Orchestra.
Myra Watkins’ position as the Branch Manager of First Bank of Hendersonville allows her plenty of interaction with the residents of her community. Since 2019, Myra has both served as a volunteer and chaired Women Helping Women events for the Pardee Hospital Foundation. As she explains, “living in a community that has the heart for giving, and supports local nonprofits, is such a wonderful thing.” When Myra is not working or assisting underserved women in Hendersonville in receiving the healthcare they need, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and nature walks.
Dr. Yaseen Zia, M.D. serves as the Director of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Cancer Center where he oversees the delivery of therapeutic radiation for Pardee Hospital cancer patients. He is also an Assistant Professor at Wingate University and preceptor to Allied Health Professions. As a third-generation physician, Dr. Zia believes that healthcare should serve the community. He currently sits on the Cancer Committee and Credentialing Committee at Pardee Hospital. Renowned in the field of radiation oncology, Dr. Zia has authored numerous articles and book chapters, and been an invited speaker at conferences for the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), the Scientific Assembly of the Radiology Society of North America(RSNA), the American Radium Society (ARS), and the World Health Organization (WHO), among others.
As the Senior Accountant for the Pardee Hospital Foundation, Debbie Mentch implements and maintains financial controls and provides strategic analyses essential to furthering the mission of Pardee. Debbie’s BA in Accounting from the University of South Florida has allowed her to move between public and private accounting, until finding her passion for giving back in the nonprofit world. She is blessed to be part of the Hendersonville community, where she has been active with many nonprofits. “My job at Pardee”, she explains, “offers the best of both worlds, by enabling me to use my analytical skills for the betterment of those in my community.” In her free time, Debbie enjoys spending time with her husband and daughters (who attend UNC Chapel Hill), cooking and practicing yoga
Outside of keeping the engine running for the Pardee Hospital Foundation, Jennifer Mennell is the proud mother of three amazing teenagers: her 18-year-old son Jonny, and 15-year-old twins, James and Megan. Receiving her BA in Psychology from UC Boulder, and her MBA from UC Colorado Springs, Jennifer discovered that her passion for philanthropy fit neatly with her background in marketing and sales. Using her marketing prowess to better the lives of those in her community, she explains, has been a tremendous blessing. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys playing tennis, as well as watching her children play sports.