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Hembree leaving regional planning agency for Fayetteville-based role

Justin Hembree, executive director of the Land of Sky Regional Council, is leaving that position to become the top executive for the Mid-Carolina Council of Government in Fayetteville, the Land of Sky Chair Larry B. Harris announced.

"It has been an honor to be a member of the Land of Sky team and serve the Land of Sky Region for the past eight years," Hembree said. "Sometimes opportunities come along when least expected, and that time has come for me. It is with mixed emotions that I let you know I will be moving on and taking over as Mid-Carolina Council of Government's executive director in early December. I wish Land of Sky all the best and know it will continue to be a top-notch organization. I sincerely thank you for letting me serve."

A native of Mitchell County, Hembree has 15 years experience in municipal, county and regional government management, including service as Mitchell County manager and assistant Henderson County manager. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Appalachian State University, and served in the U.S. Army. Asheville-based Land of Sky Regional Council is a local government planning and economic/community development organization that serves Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, and Transylvania counties.

Hembree is an active member of the North Carolina Association of Regional Councils, the N.C. City and County Management Association, the Southern Economic Development Council and serves a member of the National Association of Development Organization’s Board of Directors. He is also active with his alma mater, having served as president and currently serving as treasurer of the Appalachian State University Local Government Alumni Association, a member of the Yosef Club, a member of the Chancellor’s Society and a past member of the Alumni Council. He occasionally competes on the professional barbecue circuit and is one of the founding members of the Carolina BBQ League.

"On behalf of the Executive Committee and the Board of Delegates, I want to offer my gratitude to Justin for his service to our region and his dedication to Land of Sky Regional Council," said Harris, a Black Mountain alderman. "The Mid-Carolina Council offers Justin a great opportunity and he will look forward to being closer to his family who live at the coast for a good part of the year."

Nathan Ramsey, a former state House member and currently director of the Mountain Area Workforce Development Board, has been appointed interim Land of Sky director.

"We have every confidence that Nathan will build on Justin’s good work and move us forward during our search for the next executive director of our council," Harris said.

The LOSRC Executive Committee will conduct a thorough search process starting immediately. Past Chair George Goosmann will lead the search committee.

"We hope to present our recommendation to the Board of Delegates at our March 2020 stated meeting," Harris said. "That said, we do not want to rush the process and will take the time needed to identify and engage the best candidate possible for this important leadership role in our region."