The Tennessee Housing Conference is proud to welcome housing industry experts for our 2019 event.

2019 Speakers:

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West Beibers
President
The Commonwealth Group

West Beibers is a 32 year veteran of the mortgage banking industry. During that time, he has worked and managed in a variety of areas including production, underwriting, quality control, risk management, servicing, and regulatory compliance. West is both an FHA Direct Endorsement and VA Automatic Underwriter and has underwritten for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for over 25 years. West holds the Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB) designation from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and is active with the MBA at the National and State Levels. West serves as an instructor for the MBA School of Mortgage Banking teaching courses on Regulatory Compliance, Quality Control, and Portfolio Administration. In addition, West is in demand at colleges and universities where he speaks on the topics of mortgage lending and the mortgage markets. West is currently President of The Commonwealth Group, a consulting firm to the mortgage banking industry that specializes in quality control, regulatory compliance, fair lending, internal audit, and litigation services.


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Emily Baron Bernstein
Vice President of Project Management
McCormack Baron Salazar
As a Vice President of Project Management, Ms. Bernstein leads the implementation of mixed-income and mixed-use projects, leveraging and securing project financing, and coordinating public and private partners. Her role includes client relationship management with local partners, city and agency staff and elected officials, contract negotiation, oversight of project conceptualization and master planning, design and construction review, and managing schedules and deadlines to ensure timely and efficient delivery. Ms. Bernstein’s experience extends beyond managing development and construction into the financial structuring of both 9% and 4% low-income housing tax credit deals, as well as mixed-finance transactions. Ms. Bernstein holds a Master of Arts in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a board member of St. Louis Artworks.

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Russell Catron
HUD Housing Counselor Coordinator
TN Housing Development Agency
Russell has been passionate about helping people since his early 20s. He has a background in real estate, real estate appraisals and new construction sales. Russell started his non-profit housing career in 2007 at HOPE, Inc., a CHDO in Virginia. He has almost 9 years of housing counseling and affordable housing development/rehab experience. Russell has served as pastor for several churches, including him and his wife starting a church in their home for special needs families. His background includes experience in loan origination and processing, training new loan officers and CRA loan origination. Russell, his wife (Iva), as well as his 3 boys (Logan, Hunter & Seth), recently moved to Cookeville and getting settled in their new space. Russell enjoys reading, music, soccer and other sports, podcasts and spending time with his wife and kids.

Alicia Cone
Dr. Alicia Cone, Ph.D.
Director, Grant Program
Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities
Alicia has worked in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities for over twenty-five years, in TN., VA., and MS. Her primary work experience has been in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities, with a focus on program evaluation, grants management, leadership development, and customized employment. Additional work experience has included direct support professional work in day and residential services, and independent support coordination. Alicia has also taught classes at the University of Mississippi in the area of Educational Psychology, and conducted research into disability policy and practice at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rehabilitation
Research and Training Center on Disability (formerly RRTC on Supported Employment). Before coming to the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities, Alicia’s previous position was the Director of Independent Support Coordination for the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

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Melanie Cordell
Chief Executive Officer
Tennessee Valley Coalition for the Homeless

Ms. Cordell joined the Tennessee Valley Coalition for the Homeless (TVCH) as a board member in 2005, then was hired as the Administrator in Nov 2010 and became the Chief Executive Officer in August 2012. Under her senior leadership, the organization has permanently housed more than 1500 households. Cordell is the founder of the Rural Homeless Institute, established in 2018, for generating best practices to reduce the frequency and duration of homelessness in rural communities. Melanie advocates for individuals who are homeless or at risk of being homeless as well as building the capacity of nonprofit organizations who work with the homeless. She holds a B.S. in Organizational Leadership from East TN State University, graduated from the Consortium of Social Enterprise Effectiveness from UT, and has a 2-year Certificate of Theology from World Changers Bible Institute. Cordell currently resides in Campbell County, TN with her husband, Chad and their two daughters, Madeline and Kate.


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Patrick Curry
Project Manager – SmartMH program
Next Step


Patrick Curry serves as the project manager for the SmartMH program, where his responsibilities include developing the key lender partnerships and affordable financing programs homebuyers need for manufactured housing. Patrick has 17 years mortgage bank experience, including sales and operations management. His background in residential lending began in 1992 as an originator of manufactured home loans. He went on to open his own correspondent lending company, funding loans secured to site-built and manufactured homes throughout a 23-state footprint. He holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Hanover College.

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Martina Guilfoil
President and CEO
Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise

Martina Guilfoil is the president and chief executive officer of Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise (CNE). Martina provides inspirational leadership for complex organizations resulting in heightened prosperity and overall community impact. Martina has focused on building and supporting thriving neighborhoods for over 30 years through community development programs that generate millions of dollars in private and public investments to spur new real estate development, create equal access to capital and promote community engagement. Martina sails a sailboat, loves salsa music, and has never broken 100 in golf. She earned a BA from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA and completed the Achieving Excellence in CommunityDevelopment program at Harvard University.


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Nat Kendall-Taylor
Chief Executive Officer
FrameWorks Institute

Nat is chief executive officer at the FrameWorks Institute. Nat oversees the organization’s pioneering, research-based approach to strategic communications, which uses methods from the social and behavioral sciences to measure how people understand complex socio-political issues and tests ways to reframe them to drive social change. As CEO, he leads a multi-disciplinary team of social scientists and communications practitioners who investigate ways to apply innovative framing research methods to social issues and train nonprofit organizations to put the findings into practice. Click here to read a recent article Nat co-authored with Tiffany Manuel, Creating Affordable Housing Opportunities Means Talking Equity.


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John Krenson
Chief Executive Officer
Operation Stand Down Tennessee

John Krenson is Chief Executive Officer of Operation Stand Down Tennessee. He served 30 years in the Tennessee Army National Guard completing his career as a Colonel and Brigade Commander. John has an extensive civilian professional career as well. Colonel Krenson commanded the 2 Squadron, 278th ACR in support of response operations in Louisiana following Hurricane Gustav in 2008, and during the unit’s deployment to Iraq in 2010 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also served in Afghanistan in 2003 -2004 and in Mississippi in support of response operations following Hurricane Katrina. His military awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal with Star, Meritorious Service Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters among other Federal and State awards. John is a graduate of the US Army War College class of 2012. His final military assignment was as Brigade Commander of the 30th Troop Command Tennessee Army National Guard. He also launched his own independent consulting practice in 2004. Most recently, John worked as the vice president of consulting for the Rainmaker Companies. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in the Catholic Church in 1999 and served the Cathedral of the Incarnation and Christ the King parishes. He is a native Nashvillian and the son of Gilbert and Ann Krenson. He and his wife Carrie have two beautiful children.


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Eddie Latimer

Chief Executive Officer
Affordable Housing Resources

Mr. Latimer is the founder of Nashville’s oldest non-profit housing development corporation, Affordable Housing Resources, Inc.(AHR) and he created and or helped develop all of AHR’s lines of business. For over 25 years AHR’s HUD homebuyer education classes have helped over 16,000 people buy their first home. AHR developed a full cycle lending continuum offering various 1st mortgage loans and downpayment and closing cost loans to first time, lower income and minority homebuyers. AHR has been Nashville’s largest non-profit housing development corporation constructing and rehabbing over 1400 quality, affordable homes and townhomes. Mr. Latimer is the Chair of the Housing Councilors and Educators of Tennessee board, Chair of the National NeighborWorks Associations Lending Committee, on NeighborWorks Changing Markets Task Force and HomeOwnership Steering Committee,  founding member of the Association of Non-profit Executive Directors, 2002 Leadership Team of Leadership Nashville, and board member of the Mayors Homestead Corp. He currently sits on several housing and community related boards and committees at the local and state levels. Mr. Latimer holds a Bachelors degree in Business Administration from Auburn University, studied theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia and a graduate of the Kennedy School of Government Achieving Excellence Program 2106. He is the proud parent of three adult children.