Leadership

Heather Burkhardt is the Executive Director of the Coalition on Aging. She 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.

Tracy Colvard is Chair of the Coalition’s Board of Directors. He 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. 

Charmaine Fuller Cooper is Chair-Elect of the Coalition’s Board of Directors. She is the Campaign Field Manager for AARP’s South Region. Prior to assuming this position in 2019, she was Associate State Director for Advocacy with AARP North Carolina. With nearly two decades of advocacy and civic engagement experience, Charmaine is a committed aging advocate who has served in leadership roles with the American Heart Association, the North Carolina Department of Administration as the Director of the state’s Justice for Sterilization Victims eugenics compensation effort, and the Carolina Justice Policy Center. A graduate of North Carolina Central University and North Carolina State University, this Durham resident and Vance County native is a tenacious leader and relationship builder committed to elevating aging issues and improving the health and financial security of all North Carolinians as they gracefully age.

Chad Walker is Treasurer of the Coalition’s Board of Directors. He is 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.

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Mary Bethel (Secretary of the Board) serves on the Executive Committee in her role as Past President/Executive Director (2015-2019) of the Coalition.  She 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.

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.

Ray Riordan is an outcome driven government relations professional with broad experience in community relations, volunteer management, public policy, and grants management. With an emphasis on advocacy, collaboration, and education, Ray works to connect all organizations interested in improving public health in North Carolina.  Most recently, Ray has served as the Manager of the NC Rural Health Leadership Alliance (NCRHLA). Prior to joining NCRHLA, he served as the Vice President of Operations at The Carolinas Center (TCC). He came to TCC from the American Cancer Society, where he was the North Carolina Director of Grassroots Lobbying and Advocacy. Before joining the American Cancer Society, Ray served in the North Carolina Office of the Governor where he worked with non-profits, faith-based, and local government organizations across the state to develop and implement community volunteer programs that helped meet unmet community needs.

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.