Leadership

Heather Burkhardt, Executive Director 

Heather has over 25 years of experience working behalf of older adults, spanning both the non-profit and state government sectors.  Heather served for eighteen years at the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services. During her tenure, she functioned in a variety of programmatic and administrative positions for which she was responsible for strategic and program evaluation, system evaluation, and policy analysis. She served as the Assistant Director from 2015-2017. Heather draws greatly from her non-profit and direct care experience at both the Pitt County Council on Aging and Resources for Seniors. Heather earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work and Certificate in Gerontology from East Carolina University.

Mary Bethel is the Chair of the NC Coalition on Aging’s Board of Directors.  Mary is retired as Associate State Director for Advocacy with AARP North Carolina in 2015.  Prior to coming to AARP in October of 2005, she worked for almost 30 years with the N.C. Division of Aging and Adult Services in a variety of administrative, supervisory and program capacities.  She is the recipient of numerous awards for her advocacy work in aging including the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the 2019 Elizabeth Welch Award from the N.C. Division of Aging and Adult Services, and the 2012 National AARP Lyn Bodiford Award.  She has graduate and undergraduate degrees from NC State University. Mary served as the first executive director of the Coalition on Aging. 

Adam Sholar is Vice Chair of the NC Coalition on Aging. Adam is the president and CEO of the NC Health Care Facilities Association (NCHCFA), a trade association for more than 90% of the skilled nursing facilities in North Carolina.  He entered this role over 5 years ago, and in it focuses on advancing solutions to the challenges facing those who provide aged and disabled individuals with post-acute or long-term 24-hour medical care, as well as preparing North Carolina to care for its aging population.  In addition to his role at NCHCFA, he is on the Board of Directors of the NC Institute of Medicine, a position to which he was appointed by the NC General Assembly.  He has also previously served in senior leadership positions in the NC Department of Health and Human Services. 

Dick Chady is the Secretary/Treasurer of the NC Coalition on Aging. After a career in journalism and public relations, Dick turned his energies to advocacy for older adults. He publishes the @NCThirdAge Twitter and Facebook sites for news of interest to seniors in North Carolina. As a resident of Carol Woods in Chapel Hill, he is a member of the NC Continuing Care Residents Assn. (NorCCRA). He has presented classes on “aging” topics at Duke’s lifelong learning program (OLLI). And he belongs to several related state and national organizations. Dick earned his B.A. at Grinnell College in Iowa; an M.S. in Journalism at Northwestern and Master’s in Library Science at UAlbany.  

Tracy Colvard is the Director of State Relations at Maxim Healthcare Group. Prior to joining Maxim, he was the Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy with the Association for Home and Hospice Care of North Carolina. He served nearly 10 years with the NC Division of Medical Assistance as a CAP/DA Consultant and then as the state’s PCS, PCS-Plus, CAP/DA, and CAP/Choice Manager. Tracy began his career in home care at Ashe Services for Aging in rural western North Carolina while working as a Social Work case manager and Supervisor for CAP/DA for their large in-home aide program. 

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Kay Paksoy Castillo, BSW works as the Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Legislation for the National Association of Social Workers North Carolina Chapter (NASW-NC). Kay has served for over a decade at NASW-NC where she is a registered lobbyist and spends her time advancing the social work profession through policy development at the NC General Assembly and with various state Departments. Giving social workers a voice at the table, Kay has served in a variety of leadership roles on behalf of NASW-NC. Kay is a Past-Chair of The Coalition, a statewide organization advocating on behalf of Mental Health, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Use Disorder Services; and past Chair for the Mental Health Coalition.

Martha Fowler has been an active member of the State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC) for over 36 years while representing active state employees as well as retirees. From October 2018 to the present she has served as First Vice President of SEANC. As a member of the SEANC Board of Governors, she also serves as Chairperson of the Planning Committee, Vice-Chairperson on the Retiree Council, and Past Chairperson of the Insurance Board of Trustees. She represents SEANC retirees to the Coalition on Aging and reports on activities that directly relate to the aging population. Martha continues to advocate for state employees and retiree’s goals, rights and benefits. During the span of her career, she has received numerous awards for her service, chaired many committees, served on boards, and held positions in her church. Martha retired in 2012 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with 33 years of state service.

Les Geller is the Program Coordinator of SAGE Central North Carolina. Prior to retirement Les had a carrier  as an architectural designer in New Jersey and North Carolina, specializing in new home design, additions and renovations. In 2005, he served on the founding committee of the LGBT Center of Raleigh and served on it’s inaugural Board of Directors. In 2009 he founded, and was the Program Organizer of Gay & Gray, a program of the LGBT Center of Raleigh. Gay & Gray evolved and is now an affiliate of SAGE USA and is known as SAGE Central North Carolina. Les created the SAGE Central North Carolina Senior Housing Initiative dedicated to educating existing housing organizations about the needs of older LGBTQ folks, and to building a new affordable senior housing community that is intended to be welcoming to people who are LGBTQ. Les serves as the Board Chair of Resources for Seniors.

Janice Tyler is the Director of the Orange County Department on Aging. She was Vice-President of the Coalition from 2016-2018. She has served on the Board of the NC Association on Aging since 2011, including serving as President from 2014-2016. She served two terms as the Chair of the NC Senior Center Alliance and remains an ex-officio member of the steering committee. She is also a member of the Southern Gerontological Society, the American Society on Aging, the National Council on Aging and the National Institute of Senior Centers. Prior to being appointed the Director of the Orange County Department on Aging in 2011, she worked for 24 years as the Senior Centers Administrator with the Department. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has completed advanced study in aging and is a graduate of the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services’ Ann Johnson Senior Center Institute.

Chad Walker the Director of Marketing Operations for Alignment Healthcare. Prior to joining Alignment Healthcare, he served in various marketing, strategy, operations/project management, and government affairs roles in the home care industry. Chad received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill focusing on Business and Entrepreneurship. He then received his graduate degree from NC State University focusing on Public Administration and Nonprofit Management. He is a native North Carolinian and is passionate about helping improve the lives of caregivers and older adults in this great state through creative partnerships and innovative initiatives.