NORTH CAROLINA INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION

Help Line: (800) 688-8349, (919) 807-2501, or infospec@ic.nc.gov
Fraud and Insurance Compliance Hotline: (888) 891-4895 or fraudcomplaints@ic.nc.gov

Deputy Commissioners' Biographies

The Deputy Commissioners serve as judges in hearings for contested cases.

The page was last updated on 9 October 2018.


DEPUTY COMMISSIONER INDEX

Chief Deputy Commissioner: Sumit Gupta. Deputy Commissioners: Mary Claire Brown | Theodore S. "Ted" Danchi | J. Brad Donovan | Lori A. Gaines | James C. Gillen | Melanie Wade Goodwin | Robert J. Harris | Kevin V. Howell | David Mark Hullender | Ashley M. Moore | William W. "Bill" Peaslee | Thomas H. Perlungher | Adrian A. Phillips | Dane R. Scalise | William H. "Bill" Shipley | Michael Silver | Jesse M. "Jay" Tillman | Amanda R. "Mandy" Witzke | Tyler Younts.


Chief Deputy Commissioner's Biography

Sumit Gupta

Chairman Charlton Allen named Sumit Gupta as Chief Deputy Commissioner on October 9, 2018. Gupta was sworn in as Deputy Commissioner of the North Carolina Industrial Commission on October 16, 2014. He previously served as General Counsel of the Commission. Gupta later served as interim Chief Deputy Commissioner from May 12 to May 31, 2016 and from April 15, 2018 to October 8, 2018.

Before joining the Commission, Gupta was a partner at the law firm of Stewart, Schmidlin, Bullock & Gupta in Smithfield, NC. His practice focused in the areas of criminal law and general civil litigation. From 2008 to 2012, he served as an Assistant District Attorney in North Carolina's 11th Prosecutorial District where he prosecuted cases in Johnston County, Harnett County, and Lee County.

Sumit Gupta grew up in Smithfield, NC and graduated from Smithfield-Selma High School in 1997. He received his B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned his Juris Doctor and Master's in Business Administration degrees from Wake Forest University. He lives in Raleigh, NC with his wife and daughter.

E-mail Chief Deputy Commissioner Gupta at Sumit.Gupta@ic.nc.gov or contact his administrative assistant, Cassalyn Sands, at (919) 807-2632 or Cassalyn.Sands@ic.nc.gov.

Deputy Commissioners' Biographies

Mary Claire Brown

On February 16, 2018, Chairman Charlton Allen appointed Mary Claire Brown as a Deputy Commissioner for the Charlotte regional office. Brown was previously in private practice with Hedrick Gardner, practicing in the fields of liability and workers' compensation. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of North Texas, and her Juris Doctor from Campbell University School of Law. During law school, she held internships or externships at the North Carolina Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals of North Carolina, and with the North Carolina Hospital Association. Brown serves her community as a Safe Alliance Pro Bono Attorney, providing legal counsel to victims of domestic violence, and as a member of the Junior League of Charlotte's Training and Development Committee.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Brown at Mary.Claire.Brown@ic.nc.gov or contact her administrative assistant, Crystal Snow, at (980) 523-9988 or Crystal.Snow@ic.nc.gov.

Theodore S. "Ted" Danchi

Theodore S. "Ted" Danchi joined the Industrial Commission in June 2016 as General Counsel. He was then appointed as a Deputy Commissioner on December 29, 2016. Mr. Danchi was formerly a partner with the law firm of Stam and Danchi in Apex, NC. Previously, Mr. Danchi was an associate with Young, Moore, Henderson & Alvis.

He received his Juris Doctorate from Valparaiso University School of Law, where he was Articles Editor of the Valparaiso University Law Review and is a member of the North Carolina and Indiana State Bars. He also received a Master of Science from Purdue University, and a Bachelor of Science from Valparaiso University.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Danchi at Theodore.Danchi@ic.nc.gov or contact his administrative assistant, Patricia A. Hixson, at (919) 807-2675 or Patricia.Hixson@ic.nc.gov.

J. Brad Donovan

J. Brad Donovan came to the Industrial Commission in 1997 as a Special Deputy Commissioner and was appointed as a Deputy Commissioner of the Industrial Commission on 1 October 2003. Prior to that time, he spent two years as a clerk in the Raleigh law firm of Edmisten and Weaver and eight years as a member of Staff Counsel to the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

Mr. Donovan graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary language arts education. He spent four years as a street artist and club musician on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, and another four years as a musician and carpenter in Greenwich Village, New York.

He came to North Carolina in 1983 and worked as a residential carpenter while attending the evening program law school at North Carolina Central University in Durham, where he graduated with honors in 1989. He was the Assistant Editor in Chief of the N.C. Central Law Journal and has published law review articles in the areas of family law (The Seventeen Percent Solution, 18-2 N.C. Cent. L.J. 209 (1989)), and appellate practice (The Substantial Rights Doctrine and Interlocutory Appeals,17-1 Campbell L. Rev. 71 (1995)). He is a member of the Wake County Bar Association and is a DRC Certified Mediator.

Mr. Donovan is married to Melissa Donovan, an appellate paralegal at a Raleigh law firm, and has one child.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Donovan at Brad.Donovan@ic.nc.gov or contact his administrative assistant, Kim Campbell, at (919) 807-2653 or Kim.Campbell@ic.nc.gov.

Lori A. Gaines

Lori A. Gaines joined the Industrial Commission in August 2015 after working in private practice with the Lea Schultz Law Firm in Wilmington. Gaines has more than 15 years of legal experience in workers' compensation, criminal defense, and family law matters. Gaines' previous experience includes handling workers' compensation issues for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, and serving as the Family Court Administrator in Wilmington.

She is a past president of the New Hanover County Bar Association and was appointed to the Commission on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention by former Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake. Gaines is a graduate of both the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Campbell University School of Law.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Gaines at Lori.Gaines@ic.nc.gov or contact her administrative assistant, Becky Tillson, at (910) 862-6011 or Becky.Tillson@ic.nc.gov.

James C. Gillen

James C. Gillen was appointed as a Deputy Commissioner on May 5, 2005. He received his B.A. degree in English from North Carolina State University in 1991 and his J.D. degree from Campbell University in 1994.

Jim Gillen has worked with the Industrial Commission as an Agency Legal Specialist for former Chief Deputy Commissioner William Haigh as well as Commissioners Laura Kranifeld Mavretic, Thomas J. Bolch, and most recently Christopher Scott. Mr. Gillen also worked as a Special Deputy Commissioner under Executive Secretary Tracey Weaver.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Gillen at Jim.Gillen@ic.nc.gov or contact his workers' compensation administrative assistant, Kimberlee Farr, at (919) 807-2559 or Kimberlee.Farr@ic.nc.gov or his tort administrative assistant, Crystal Snow, at (980) 523-9988 or Crystal.Snow@ic.nc.gov.

Melanie Wade Goodwin

Melanie Wade Goodwin was appointed as a Deputy Commissioner on July 8, 2011. In 1992, she earned a B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before returning to law school, she worked with the North Carolina Council for Women as an advocate for women and families.

Ms. Goodwin earned her J.D. from Campbell University School of Law, and she was admitted to the North Carolina State Bar in 2000. She established and maintained a private practice in Richmond County for almost 10 years, focusing primarily in the area of family law.

Between 2004 and 2010, the people of Richmond and Montgomery Counties elected Ms. Goodwin three times to serve them in the North Carolina House of Representatives. Following her legislative service, she relocated to Raleigh with her spouse and their two children.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Goodwin at Melanie.Wade.Goodwin@ic.nc.gov or contact her administrative assistant, Kimberlee Farr, at (919) 807-2559 or Kimberlee.Farr@ic.nc.gov.

Robert J. Harris

Robert J. Harris was born in Cincinnati in 1967 and moved to North Carolina at 20 months of age. He grew up in Raleigh and went to high school there, also attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.

He received his B.A. degree in English and philosophy from Yale University in 1989. Returning to North Carolina, he lived and worked as a newspaper reporter in Johnston County for nearly two years. He then went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law, from which he graduated with his J.D. degree in 1994.

From 1994 through his joining the N.C. Industrial Commission in 2003, he practiced law in Raleigh, concentrating in employment law. With the Industrial Commission, he served as a Special Deputy Commissioner until his appointment as a Deputy Commissioner in 2005.

He is married and has two children.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Harris at Robert.Harris@ic.nc.gov or contact his administrative assistant, Kim Campbell, at (919) 807-2653 or Kim.Campbell@ic.nc.gov.

Kevin V. Howell

Kevin V. Howell was appointed as a Deputy Commissioner in December 2016. Mr. Howell comes to the Industrial Commission from the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, where he has served as General Counsel. Previously, Mr. Howell served as Legal Communications Coordinator for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, where he also served as Acting Assistant Communications Director and then Acting Communications Director. Mr. Howell has prior experience in private practice.

Mr. Howell is a summa cum laude graduate of North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and a B.S. in Political Science. He was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies, and the President of the Student Wolfpack Club. He received his Juris Doctor with a Trial and Advocacy Concentration from the Campbell University School of Law, where he was a Trial Team Member and a staff writer for the Campbell Law Observer.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Howell at Kevin.Howell@ic.nc.gov or contact his administrative assistant, Kyle Jones, at (252) 364-9021 or Kyle.Jones@ic.nc.gov.

David Mark Hullender

David Mark Hullender joined the Industrial Commission on April 20, 2015, after winding down his private practice with the firm of David M. Hullender, P.A. in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. Prior to starting his own firm, Hullender was an associate with George B. Thomasson, P.A. from 1990 until 2001. Hullender serves on the North Carolina Indigent Defense Services Commission and is the former chairman of the Kings Mountain ABC Board. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, North Carolina Central University Law School, magna cum laude, and earned an LL.M in Taxation from the University of Florida School of Law.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Hullender at Mark.Hullender@ic.nc.gov or contact his administrative assistant, Fonda Brittain, at (980) 523-9987 or Fonda.Brittain@ic.nc.gov.

Ashley M. Moore

On July 3, 2018, Chairman Charlton L. Allen appointed Ashley M. Moore as a Deputy Commissioner in the Raleigh office. Moore has served most recently as Law Clerk to Chairman Allen. Previously, she served as Law Clerk to former Commissioner Linda Cheatham and as Law Clerk to Vice-Chairman Yolanda K. Stith.

In addition to her work at the Commission, Moore has practiced law in Wake County. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and earned her J.D. from North Carolina Central University School of Law.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Moore at Ashley.Moore@ic.nc.gov or contact her administrative assistant for workers' compensation claims, Kim Campbell, at (919) 807-2653 or Kim.Campbell@ic.nc.gov.

William W. "Bill" Peaslee

On May 18, 2016, Chairman Charlton L. Allen appointed William W. "Bill" Peaslee to serve as a Deputy Commissioner of the North Carolina Industrial Commission. He served as Chief Deputy Commissioner from June 1, 2016 until April 4, 2018.

Mr. Peaslee came to the Industrial Commission from the North Carolina Department of Administration, where he served as General Counsel. Prior to serving the State, Mr. Peaslee was in private practice in Cary, North Carolina. Mr. Peaslee earned a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a JD from Campbell University Law School. He is a Member of the N.C. Property Tax Commission, a former Chairman of the Constitutional Rights & Responsibilities Section of the N.C. Bar Association, and a former member of the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Peaslee at Bill.Peaslee@ic.nc.gov or contact his administrative assistant, Patricia A. Hixson, at (919) 807-2675 or Patricia.Hixson@ic.nc.gov.

Thomas H. Perlungher

Thomas H. Perlungher was appointed as a Deputy Commissioner on April 23, 2015. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Vermont and earned his J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law in 2002. He had previously served as Law Clerk at the Industrial Commission since 2010 for Commissioner Danny Lee McDonald and, most recently, for Chairman Andrew T. Heath.

Before joining the Commission, Mr. Perlungher was a Hearing Officer at the Division of Employment Security; and from 2004 to 2008, he served as an Assistant District Attorney in North Carolina's 8th District, where he prosecuted cases in Wayne, Lenoir, and Greene counties. Prior to his work as an Assistant District Attorney in North Carolina, he practiced Real Estate law in Massachusetts from 2002 to 2004.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Perlungher at Thomas.Perlungher@ic.nc.gov or contact his administrative assistant, Kyle Jones, at (252) 364-9021 or Kyle.Jones@ic.nc.gov.

Adrian A. Phillips

The appointment of Adrian A. Phillips as Deputy Commissioner was announced on May 9, 2002. She holds a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Bennett College and earned a J.D. degree from North Carolina Central University in 1993. Before her appointment as Deputy Commissioner, she worked as an Assistant Attorney General in the Tort Claims Section of the Department of Justice and she was assigned to the Industrial Commission as Agency Counsel for the Industrial Commission and Fraud Prosecutor for the Commission's Fraud Investigations Section. Ms. Phillips formerly prosecuted Medicaid fraud cases for the Department of Justice. While working in the Medicaid Fraud Division during 1998-2000, she served as Supervisor and Prosecutor of white-collar crime. Ms. Phillips also has served as an Assistant District Attorney in District 9A (Caswell and Person Counties) from 1994 through 1998.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Phillips at Adrian.Phillips@ic.nc.gov.

Dane R. Scalise

Dane R. Scalise was appointed to the North Carolina Industrial Commission in 2016. Prior to public service, Scalise practiced law in Wilmington, where he represented a wide variety of people, businesses, and institutions.

Scalise grew up in Morganton and graduated from Freedom High School. He is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and was awarded UNCG's highest academic honor: the "Student Excellence Award." He earned his law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law, where he was selected to The Order of Barristers.

Dane Scalise is committed to serving North Carolina as both a judicial officer and as a citizen. He believes in the importance of pro bono service and has volunteered with Legal Aid of North Carolina, the Community Legal Project, and Compass Center for Women and Families (formerly The Women's Center), among others. He has also served on numerous nonprofit boards and committees, including Wilmington Downtown, Inc., Old Wilmington Riverfront Celebration, Inc., dba Wilmington's Riverfest, and WDI's PLAY Committee.

Scalise lives on Oak Island with his wife, sons, and Plott Hound.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Scalise at Dane.Scalise@ic.nc.gov or contact his administrative assistant, Becky Tillson, at (910) 862-6011 or Becky.Tillson@ic.nc.gov.

John C. Schafer

John C. Schafer joined the N.C. Industrial Commission as its Dispute Resolution Coordinator in April of 1997. Since June of 1999, he has also been Deputy Commissioner in Charge of Mediation.

Mr. Schafer is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, and received a J.D. degree from the Wake Forest University School of Law in 1984. At Wake Forest, Mr. Schafer was the Chief Justice of the Moot Court Board, finished in first place and received the best brief award in the southeast region of the National Moot Court Competition, finished in first place in the southeast region of the National Trial Competition, and received the Order of the Barristers Award.

After receiving his law degree, Mr. Schafer served as law clerk to Honorable W. Earl Britt, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, from 1984 through 1986. From 1986 through 1997, Mr. Schafer practiced law in the Triangle area. His primary practice area was civil litigation in state and federal courts, and he also served as a mediator and arbitrator in cases pending before the Industrial Commission, Office of Administrative Hearings, American Arbitration Association, as well as in state and federal courts.

Mr. Schafer has served as the Co-Chair of the ADR Book Committee, a joint committee of the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission (DRC) and the Dispute Resolution Section of the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA), which wrote and published the book titled "Alternative Dispute Resolution in North Carolina: A New Civil Procedure" (2003). Mr. Schafer has also served as the Chair (1999-2000), Vice-Chair (1998-99), and Secretary (1997-98) of the NCBA's Dispute Resolution Section, and is currently an ex-officio member of the ADR Committee of the State Judicial Council and the DRC. He is the 2011 recipient of the NCBA's Peace Award.

He is married to attorney Allison B. Schafer, legal counsel and director of policy for the N.C. School Boards Association, and has two children.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Schafer at John.Schafer@ic.nc.gov or contact his administrative assistant, Mary Roussel, at (919) 807-2586 or Mary.Roussel@ic.nc.gov.

William H. "Bill" Shipley

William H. "Bill" Shipley was sworn in as a Deputy Commissioner in February of 2015. Previously, he practiced workers' compensation law with the firm of Willson Jones Carter & Baxley, PA in Columbia, South Carolina. From 2008 to 2012, he was a prosecutor for the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Solicitor's Office in South Carolina. After graduating from law school, Shipley clerked for United States District Court Judges N. Carlton Tilley, Jr. and James A. Beaty, Jr.

A Winston-Salem native, he graduated from R.J. Reynolds High School, Wofford College, and the University of South Carolina Law School. Shipley is admitted to practice law in North Carolina and South Carolina.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Shipley at Bill.Shipley@ic.nc.gov or contact his administrative assistant, Kimberlee Farr, at (919) 807-2559 or Kimberlee.Farr@ic.nc.gov.

Michael Silver

Michael Silver began his term as a Deputy Commissioner in August 2015. He previously served as an Assistant District Attorney at the Forsyth County District Attorney's Office, where he prosecuted over 45 felony trials including a capital murder trial where the defendant received the death penalty. He also has successfully litigated a range of cases leading to over 750 felony convictions.

Mr. Silver earned his B.S. in elementary education from North Carolina A&T State University and taught 5th grade at an elementary school in High Point, North Carolina. He later earned his law degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law and a master's degree in public administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Mike Silver is an active big brother with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and a Governor McCrory appointee to the North Carolina Domestic Violence Commission. He serves on the board of directors for the Riverrun International Film Festival. He is also serves as an adjunct professor in the justice studies program at Forsyth Technical Community College. Mr. Silver frequently lectures at Wake Forest School of law and has been named most likely to "Leave Major Footprints in the City" by the Winston-Salem Journal.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Silver at Michael.Silver@ic.nc.gov or contact his administrative assistant, Crystal Layne, at (336) 293-9242 or Crystal.Layne@ic.nc.gov.

Jesse M. "Jay" Tillman

Jesse M. "Jay" Tillman was appointed as a Deputy Commissioner of the North Carolina Industrial Commission in August of 2015. Before joining the Commission, he practiced with The Bond Helfing Law Group in Charlotte, NC and spent eight years in both the Raleigh and Charlotte offices of Cranfill, Sumner, and Hartzog, LLP, concentrating in the areas of personal injury, products liability, and real property liability. He is admitted to practice law in both North Carolina and South Carolina.

Mr. Tillman is also a Captain in the United States Navy (reserve component) and recently served as the Occupational Safety and Operations Risk Management Officer to the Commander of Fifth Fleet in Bahrain. He has been active in Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and Inherent Resolve.

Jay Tillman grew up in Durham, North Carolina. He received his B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina and earned his law degree from the Campbell University School of Law. He lives in Charlotte with his wife, Carolyn, and his two sons, James and Joshua.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Tillman at Jesse.Tillman@ic.nc.gov or contact his administrative assistant, Crystal Snow at (980) 523-9988 or Crystal.Snow@ic.nc.gov.

Amanda R. "Mandy" Witzke

Amanda R. "Mandy" Witzke was appointed as a Deputy Commissioner of the North Carolina Industrial Commission in February of 2018. Prior to joining the Commission, she was in private practice with the law firm of Willson Jones Carter & Baxley, P.A. in Charlotte, North Carolina, focusing primarily in the area of workers' compensation law.

Witzke grew up in Apex, North Carolina. She earned her B.A. degree in Communication Studies and Management and Society from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before returning to law school, she worked for Martin & Jones, PLLC in Raleigh, North Carolina. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law. During law school, Witzke was a member of the First Amendment Law Review, served as a case manager for the UNC Law Innocence Project, and held externships with the North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center and the Office of Staff Counsel at the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Witzke at Mandy.Witzke@ic.nc.gov or contact her administrative assistant, Fonda Brittain, at (980) 523-9987 or Fonda.Brittain@ic.nc.gov.

Tyler Younts

Tyler Younts was appointed as a Deputy Commissioner on February 2, 2016. He joined the Industrial Commission in 2014 as a law clerk to Commissioner Charlton L. Allen.

Younts was born and raised in Randolph County, North Carolina. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in political science. Subsequently, Younts graduated from Campbell University's Norman Adrian Wiggans School of Law, where he earned top honors in State and Local Government Law and First Amendment Law. As an attorney, Younts has worked in the non-profit sector, advocated before the North Carolina Court of Appeals and North Carolina Supreme Court, and written a published law review article.

E-mail Deputy Commissioner Younts at Tyler.Younts@ic.nc.gov or contact his administrative assistant, Crystal Layne, at (336) 293-9242 or Crystal.Layne@ic.nc.gov.


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