The Deputy Commissioners serve as judges in hearings for contested cases. Deputy Commissioners must be attorneys and have a background in workers' compensation cases. The page was last updated on 5 December 2014.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER INDEX
Chief Deputy Commissioner: Christopher C. Loutit. Deputy Commissioners: Philip A. Baddour III | J. Brad Donovan | Stephen T. Gheen | James C. Gillen | George T. Glenn II | Melanie Wade Goodwin | Myra L. Griffin | Sumit Gupta | George R. Hall III | Robert J. Harris | Phillip A. Holmes | Victoria M. Homick | Bradley W. Houser | Kim Ledford | Keischa M. Lovelace | Adrian A. Phillips | Chrystal Redding Stanback | Theresa B. Stephenson | Wanda Blanche Taylor | Mary C. Vilas.
Chief Deputy Commissioner's Biography
Christopher C. Loutit was sworn in as Chief Deputy Commissioner of the North Carolina Industrial Commission on January 3, 2014. He previously served as Administrator of the Commission.
Before joining the Commission, he was a Partner at the Wilmington law firm Johnson, Lambeth & Brown, where he joined as an Associate Attorney in 2006. His practice focused in the areas of criminal law and general civil litigation, representing both Plaintiffs and Defendants. From 2006 to 2013, he represented New Hanover County as a Child Support (Title IV-D) Enforcement Attorney. Prior to attending law school, he began his career as an Analyst in Corporate Finance in the Investment Banking Division of UBS in New York.
Mr. Loutit grew up in Wilmington. He graduated from The Lawrenceville School, received his B.A. in History from Trinity College, and earned his law degree from American University Washington College of Law. He lives in Raleigh with his wife, Lauren, a Senior Vice President at U.S. Trust, and their daughter, Amelia.
E-mail Chief Deputy Commissioner Loutit at Christopher.Loutit@ic.nc.gov or contact Chief Deputy Commissioner Loutit's trial court administrator, Sandra Cortes, at (919) 807-2559 or Sandra.Cortes@ic.nc.gov, or his administrative assistant, Patricia A. Hixson, at (919) 807-2675 or Patricia.Hixson@ic.nc.gov.
Deputy Commissioners' Biographies
Philip A. Baddour III joined the Industrial Commission as a Deputy Commissioner on November 1, 2000. He received his B.A. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1992. Before entering law school, he served as a Legislative Assistant to Congressman Martin Lancaster. He earned his law degree from Campbell University and was admitted to the North Carolina Bar in 1996.
From 1996 to 1999, Mr. Baddour practiced law in Goldsboro, N.C., primarily in the areas of personal injury and workers' compensation. In 1999, he joined the North Carolina Attorney General's Office as an Assistant Attorney General in the Tort Claims Section. As an Assistant Attorney General, he represented state agencies in workers' compensation and tort claim actions. Mr. Baddour also serves as a First Lieutenant in the North Carolina National Guard.
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.
Stephen T. Gheen joined the N.C. Industrial Commission as a Deputy Commissioner on August 1, 2000. He served as Chief Deputy Commissioner from December 20, 2005 to January 31, 2009.
Steve Gheen graduated from Western Carolina University with a B.A. degree in 1972 and an M.A. degree in History in 1974. He received his J.D. from North Carolina Central University in 1985.
He has served as a Deputy Commissioner of Insurance; Clerk to the Honorable Hugh A. Wells (deceased), Judge of the North Carolina Court of Appeals; Assistant District Attorney for Judicial District 27-A; in the private practice of law in Gaston County for 13 years; and Assistant Attorney General of the N.C. Department of Justice, assigned to the Industrial Commission as agency counsel.
Mr. Gheen is a native of Cleveland County, is the father of two children, and is married to Cathy Moore, an attorney for the County of Durham.
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.
George T. Glenn II earned a B.S. Degree from North Carolina A&T State University in 1975 and a J.D. Degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law in 1982. Prior to his becoming a Deputy Commissioner with the N.C. Industrial Commission on January 1, 1995, he was a partner in the law firm of Barbee & Glenn.
Mr. Glenn taught school in Greensboro before entering the field of law. He is presently the President of the Gate City Chapter of North Carolina A&T State University Alumni Association, and he has served as a member and chair of the Greensboro Board of Adjustments, and a member of the State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors and the Executive Council of the General Greene chapter of the Boy Scouts of America. He is married and has three children.
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 Wayne Goodwin, who serves as the elected N.C. Insurance Commissioner, and their two children.
Myra L. Griffin was appointed as a Deputy Commissioner on February 18, 2005. She received her B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1994 and her J.D. degree, cum laude, from North Carolina Central University School of Law in 1997.
She has worked with the Industrial Commission as an Agency Legal Specialist for former Commissioner Reneé C. Riggsbee and as a Special Deputy Commissioner. Before her appointment as a Deputy Commissioner, Ms. Griffin worked as an Assistant Attorney General with the Tort Claims Section of the N.C. Department of Justice. In this capacity, she served as Agency Counsel to the Industrial Commission and Prosecutor with the Workers' Compensation Fraud Investigations Unit.
Sumit 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.
Before joining the Commission, he 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.
Mr. 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.
The appointment of George R. Hall III as Deputy Commissioner was announced on May 9, 2002. He received his B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1988. Before entering law school, he worked as a commercial fisherman along the North Carolina coast. Mr. Hall received his J.D. degree from Thomas M. Cooley School of Law in Lansing, Michigan in 1995.
Mr. Hall joined the Industrial Commission in April 1999 as a Law Clerk to Commissioner Thomas J. Bolch and was named as a Deputy Commissioner in November 2000.
Mr. Hall is a native of Wake County, having been born and raised in Raleigh, NC.
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.
Phillip A. Holmes of Hillsborough received his A.B. degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1972. He also obtained a Master's Degree in Sports Administration from Ohio University in 1975 and obtained his J.D. Degree from Campbell University School of Law in 1980.
Mr. Holmes has practiced criminal law for 14 years as both a prosecutor and as a criminal defense attorney. He comes to the N.C. Industrial Commission from the District Attorney's Office in Durham. He has also been an Assistant District Attorney in Greensboro and Asheboro.
Mr. Holmes was sworn in as a Deputy Commissioner on July 7, 1995.
Victoria M. Homick was appointed Deputy Commissioner of the North Carolina Industrial Commission on September 1, 2008. Previously, she served the Commission as law clerk to former Chair Pamela T. Young and as a Special Deputy Commissioner, hearing erroneous conviction cases. She also has workers' compensation experience with the States of Georgia and Ohio, where she was a hearing officer.
Ms. Homick earned her undergraduate degree from Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York, her master's degree in Russian History from Columbia University in New York City and her juris doctorate degree from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. Before coming to the Commission in 2005, she served as an attorney with the North Carolina Human Relations Commission, where her civil litigation experience involved the enforcement of the State Fair Housing Act. Ms. Homick also has insurance defense experience in directors and officers liability and life insurance with two private Milwaukee-based carriers.
She is a member of the North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Ohio State Bars, the North Carolina Bar Association and its Workers' Compensation Section. Victoria Homick and her husband, Daniel, a corporate real estate attorney, are the parents of four children.
Bradley W. Houser was promoted to the position of Deputy Commissioner on December 21, 2000. He joined the N.C. Industrial Commission in January 1994, and previously worked as an Agency Legal Specialist. In that capacity, Mr. Houser initially worked for Commissioners Dianne C. Sellers and Thomas J. Bolch. From 1997 until his appointment as a Deputy Commissioner, he worked for Commissioner Christopher Scott.
In 1989, Mr. Houser received a B.A. degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also received his Juris Doctor degree in 1993.
Mr. Houser's father is retired from the Jefferson-Pilot Insurance Company, and his late mother worked for the Guilford County School System.
Kim Ledford received a B.A. degree in Political Science and Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1978. Prior to entering law school, she worked as a paralegal for Jones Key Melvin and Patton in Franklin, N.C. and as a staff assistant to Congressman Lamar Gudger. Ms. Ledford received her J.D. degree from Wake Forest University School of Law in 1983, and upon graduation she was awarded the Order of the Barristers.
She was admitted to practice in North Carolina in 1983 and has worked as a Law Clerk at the N.C. Industrial Commission (1983-84), as an Agency Legal Specialist at the N.C. Department of Correction (1984-85), as an Assistant Attorney General in the Tort Claims Section of the N.C. Department of Justice (1986-91), and as a Claims Counsel at Lawyers Mutual Liability Insurance Company (1991-94). Ms. Ledford was sworn in as a Deputy Commissioner in October 1994.
Keischa M. Lovelace was sworn in as a Deputy Commissioner of the N.C. Industrial Commission on February 14, 2011. She joined the NCIC in September 2006 as a Special Deputy Commissioner, and subsequently served as the Commission's Director of Claims Administration from June 2008 until February 2011.
In 1996, Ms. Lovelace graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina State University, with a B.A. in History, Social Studies Teacher Option, with minors in Political Science and African-American Studies. She received her Juris Doctor degree with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law in 2002. Keisha Lovelace was admitted to the North Carolina State Bar in August 2002.
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.
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.
Deputy Commissioner Chrystal Redding Stanback received her undergraduate degree in International Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1988 and her law school degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1991. She then entered the private practice of law in Greensboro and Henderson, N.C., before coming to the N.C. Industrial Commission in January 1995. Ms. Stanback served as an agency legal specialist and assistant to the Mediation Coordinator until being named as a Deputy Commissioner in June 1995.
Theresa B. Stephenson joined the N.C. Industrial Commission as a Deputy Commissioner in May 1996. She previously served as personnel director for Caswell Center in Kinston, N.C., a Department of Human Resources institution with approximately 1,800 employees. As personnel director, she oversaw the workers' compensation, safety and health, and other personnel programs. She formerly engaged in the private practice of law and also served as an Assistant District Attorney for the Eighth Judicial District.
Ms. Stephenson received an A.A. degree from Peace College in Raleigh, received a B.A. degree and graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina State University, and received a J.D. degree from Campbell University School of Law. While at Campbell, she was named to Who's Who Among American Law Students. She is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and is also a Certified Mediator.
Ms. Stephenson is married to James B. Stephenson, II, a principal in the law firm of Stephenson & Stephenson in Cary. The Stephensons have two daughters.
Wanda Blanche Taylor has been a Deputy Commissioner with the N.C. Industrial Commission since 1996. She served as Chief Deputy Commissioner from February 1, 2009 to December 31, 2013.
Ms. Taylor received her B.A. degree from Duke University in 1984 and received her law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Law School in 1987. Ms. Taylor spent eight years in private practice civil litigation involved primarily in medical malpractice, toxic tort, personal injury, and employment litigation.
She is licensed to practice in North Carolina and admitted to practice before all North Carolina State and Federal Courts as well as the United States Supreme Court. Ms. Taylor was most recently with the law firms of McNair & Sanford and The Sanford Law Firm. She became a Deputy Commissioner with the Industrial Commission in February 1996.
Mary Coker Vilas joined the Industrial Commission as a Deputy Commissioner on March 15, 2010. She earned a B.A. in psychology from Gordon College in 1978 and an M.Ed. in counseling and student development from UNC-Greensboro in 1981. She earned her law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was admitted to the North Carolina Bar in 1988.
Mary Vilas was a partner in the law firm of Donovan & Vilas in Durham from 1989 until 1994. She was a solo practitioner in Wake County from 1994 until 2003, when she became Special Counsel representing patients in psychiatric facilities in Wake County. Her law practice has focused primarily in the areas of civil commitment, criminal defense, domestic law, guardianship matters, personal injury and juvenile law. Ms. Vilas has mediation training and has served as an Arbitrator for the Wake County Mandatory Arbitration Program.