Executive Committee Bios

Robert Hayne
Bob retired as the President/CEO of a regional non-profit in upstate New York. During his 14 year leadership tenure, the organization underwent major improvement
and expansion in its mission driven services, business operations, facilities, financial position and community standing. Prior to that, Bob provided support, training and technical assistance for a network of non-profit and state related organizations across the country. During his career he held numerous national, state and local leadership positions. Much of his work involved advocacy, public policy and government relations. He served as an elected member of a school board, chaired the Board of an organization that provided housing for low income and disabled persons, received numerous recognitions and awards, and was the Vice-President of Public Policy for a national membership organization of non-profits. Bob is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and has a MS from Hofstra University. He is married to Susan, has two adult children and 4 grandchildren.
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Ashley Maynard
1st Vice Chair
Ashley is the Choral Assistant and Fine Arts Recruiter at Maryville college. She is a leader in Indivisible East TN. She is active in a number of local organizations
including the Boys & Girls Club of Blount County and the Women's March Coalition. As a college student, Ashley was honored to participate in the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature in which she served in the TN House of Representatives to create legislation while educating young people about the congressional process.
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Nathan Higdon
2nd Vice Chair
Nathan was born and raised in Maryville, TN. He is the Chairman and CFO of L'Espace Motorcoach, Inc. and principal for their consulting division. He holds a B.A. in Spanish
from Maryville College, M.B.A. from Penn State, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Oklahoma State. He actively volunteers time locally and serves on the Maryville College Alumni board. Nathan is Governor-elect and will serve as Governor for 2017-2018 of the Appalachian District of Civitan International. He loves world travel, yoga, and his dog, a black lab mix, Sam.
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Justin Gillespie
District 8 Representative
Justin was born and raised in Blount County, and continues to call Townsend his home today. Raised on a strong belief in helping others, he began organizing as a sophomore in high school, founding Heritage High School's STAND Coalition.
Today he serves as representative for the 8th District to the Blount County Democratic Party, as well as President of the young Democrats. Justin worked extensively on the campaigns of Barack Obama in 2012, Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton in 2016, and worked as an advance on the joint Democratic Campaign in 2016 on behalf of NC governor Roy Cooper. Today he is training with the DCCC and working to prepare a bench of Democrats for 2018 and 2020.
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BC Young Dems
Jeff Barbra
District 4 Representative
Jeff Barbra is a life long Blount County native. He has been in the Music Industry for 25 years. An award winning singer-songwriter, a political and social activist, and an organizer of numerous fundraisers over the years. Jeff is also a volunteer and strong supporter of the Special Needs and Vocational classes in Blount County.