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Thava Mahadevan, Founder and Director

Thava MahadevanDirector of Operations, UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health
Executive Director of XDS, Inc.

Thava Mahadevan, MS, LCAS, is a member of the clinical faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), and serves as the Director of Operations for the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health. The Center, based in the UNC-CH School of Medicine, provides community-based services to approximately 2,000 individuals in the Triangle area with serious mental health conditions, addictive disorders, or intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Mahadevan is also the Founding Executive Director of XDS, Inc., a North Carolina nonprofit organization based in Chatham County that assists individuals with multiple disabilities. With more than 25 years of public mental health experience working with individuals with multiple disabilities, he has extensive expertise in designing and implementing innovative community-based treatment programs. He received a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and psychology from UNC-CH and is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist.

Mahadevan is the founder of the Farm at Penny Lane, a health-wellness-recovery initiative for people with serious mental illness, which not only focuses on promoting and maximizing individuals’ social, cognitive, physical, and psychological functioning but also facilitates entrepreneurship. Mahadevan is also the founder of the UNC PAWS program, a peer-assisted wellness service that trains rescue dogs as support dogs for people with disabilities. Currently, he is spearheading a Tiny Homes initiative in Chatham County as a demonstration project to provide sustainable permanent and affordable supportive housing for people affected by serious mental illness.

Amy Blank Wilson, Co-director

Amy Blank Wilson, PhD, MSW, is an associate professor in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After earning her doctorate in social welfare from the University of Pennsylvania, she accepted a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) postdoctoral fellowship at the Rutgers University Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research. She also has extensive experience as social worker in the public mental health system, which informs her research and adds critical real-world perspective. She has been the principal investigator or co-investigator on more than 11 studies examining the mental health and criminal justice systems. Her research has been funded by federal and state agencies as well as major foundations. Soon after Dr. Blank Wilson became involved with the Tiny Homes Village at the Farm at Penny Lane, she was selected from the entire UNC-CH faculty to receive a C. Felix Harvey Award, which honors faculty whose work directly and positively impacts constituencies outside the University. The award enabled her to lead an interdisciplinary team of researchers and service providers in a mixed-methods process evaluation that aimed to determine the best approach for the design and development of the Tiny Homes and surrounding community. Notably, a core design element of the project was eliciting feedback from a variety of community stakeholders, including persons with the lived experience of mental illnesses, thus ensuring their voices would inform a design to facilitate recovery and community integration. Dr. Wilson’s work on this project led to her appointment as the Co-director of the Tiny Homes Village. Her current project responsibilities focus on developing and integrating scholarship into the design, development, and funding of the Tiny Homes Village.

Lee Bowman, Project manager, XDS Inc.

Lee BowmanLee Bowman serves as director of project and corporate development for Envirolink, a full-service utility company that focuses on improving the sustainability of our footprint through water resource infrastructure management in the Southeast. Mr. Bowman has more than 20 years of experience in project management, corporate development, design, construction and operations management. Much of his experience has been gained as senior manager for the Triangle Division of Newland Real Estate Group, a national real estate development and advisory firm specializing in large-scale, mixed-use master planned communities.

Mr. Bowman oversaw all aspects of residential and commercial development at Briar Chapel and Wendell Falls focusing on planning, engineering, construction, entitlements, regulatory compliance and community relations. Prior to his role at Newland, Mr. Bowman was director of operations at Pinehurst Resort, where he managed national golf championships, including the 1999 and 2005 U.S. Open Championships. Currently, Mr. Bowman serves on the Chatham YMCA Board, the Advisory Board for the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health, and Executive Committee for the Durham/Orange/Chatham HBA. A UNC-Chapel Hill graduate, Mr. Bowman lives in Chapel Hill with his wife and two daughters.

Taylor Hobbs, Project Architect

Taylor Hobbs

Taylor Hobbs established Hobbs Architects, PA in Pittsboro, N.C. in 2005 and has since developed a wide ranging scope of project types.  While possessing a statewide portfolio of work, the firm maintains its primary focus on local community-based projects for both public and private institutions.  These projects have allowed Taylor’s firm to become an integral part of the Pittsboro community and culture of Chatham County, helping shape the debate on current and future development.

As evidence of his commitment to the local community, Taylor serves as a board member of The Chatham County Economic Development Corporation, The Pittsboro Main Street Design Committee, and is a past board member of the AIA Triangle. He is also currently the board president of the Chatham Arts Council.

Taylor received a BA from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Masters in Architecture from N.C. State University.  He lives with his wife and two children in rural Chatham County.

Michael Fiocco, Civil Engineer

Michael Fiocco

Michael Fiocco has over 25 years’ experience in land planning, site design, and design management. He is a partner in Civil Consultants, Inc., and serves as Land Development Manager.

He provides project management and design leadership for select projects; specializing in projects that are large or unusually complex and those with intensive regulatory requirements. He is always focused on optimizing project outcomes and is adept at finding creative design solutions or innovative regulatory strategies to meet project goals or simply to increase project value.

He presently serves the community as a Town of Pittsboro Commissioner, a Main Street Pittsboro Board member and Design Committee Chair, a member of the Pittsboro Affordable Housing Task Force, a TARPO Rural Transportation Advisory Committee member and ex-offico member of the Chatham County Economic Development Corporation.

Melissa Villodas, Doctoral Student

Melissa Villodas

Melissa Villodas, LMSW, is a third-year doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the School of Social Work. She received her MSW in 2015 from New York University and her BA in English writing from Nyack College in 2012. Much of her clinical work and training have been in trauma informed evidence-based practices for children, youth, and young adults with mental health challenges. Before arriving at UNC, Melissa worked as a Clinical Therapist for a treatment family foster care program and as the Project Director for the Youth and Young Adult Mental Health Group at New York University. Her research interests are on healthy neighborhoods and positive youth development through community connections.

Jamie Swaine, Project Coordinator

Jamie Swaine, MSW, received her MSW from the UNC School of Social Work in 2005. Jamie’s background is in developmental disability health and policy. She previously worked at the School of Social Work as a Clinical Instructor where she had the opportunity to serve as project manager on a number of research studies. Jamie lives in Chatham County with her family.

Ehren Dohler, Doctoral Student

Ehren Dohler, MSW, is a first-year doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work. He received his MSW from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. He has worked in the field of affordable housing and homelessness since 2012, most recently at the North Carolina Coalition to End Homeless. His research interests are in homelessness, supportive housing, affordable housing, anti-poverty programs and policy, and economic opportunity.