Joe joined NCI in February 2023 as Executive Director. Upon exiting the United States Army, he entered into the manufacturing workforce as an industrial maintenance technician, specializing in highly automated industrial technologies. After several years in manufacturing, Joe became an instructor at the technical college from which he had graduated.
Joe arrived at NCI after serving in Program Development, which led to accepting a role as the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, and eventually, the Associate Vice President of Economic Development. He also owns and operates a small industrial training company, providing customized training for niche and proprietary manufacturing technologies to manufacturers and educators.
His education began with a technical certificate in electrical troubleshooting, which led to a variety of other technical certificates related to manufacturing and automation technology, a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering, and a Master’s of Science in Engineering Management. He holds various industry certifications as well, and has earned a variety of post-graduate certificates in Executive Leadership disciplines.
Joe is happily married and has one son. His wife and son are his absolute two best friends in the world, and they are the motivation and driving force behind everything he does as a professional, and as an individual.
In his free time he enjoys volunteering with local competitive STEM events, such as Lego Robotics, SkillsUSA, First Robotics, Vex Robotics, and other organizations that support the growth and encouragement of STEM education for all ages. Additionally, he loves gardening and the outdoors, and on most weekend nights, can be found gathered around the dining room table playing board games with the family.
Christina Reed focuses on needs surrounding accounting and finances, but she also brings experience in various areas of operations. She is a first-generation college graduate who earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Averett University. In addition, she has completed several continuing education courses and various other training classes and leadership training. She joined New College Institute in 2011 after working for The Harvest Foundation for seven years.
Dr. Ken Russell
Chief Innovation Officer
A technology investor and pioneer, Dr. Ken Russell developed early Intranet systems for large banks which led to his participation in developing one of the first successful Internet-based training platforms. As the CIO leading technology development for the Murdock Research Institute, he was involved in the development of the North Carolina Research Campus (which focuses on human health, agriculture, and nutrition). He has held executive roles at Duke Energy, Bank of America, Cisco, and Curran Biotech and additional academic/executive/board roles at Wichita State University, Pfeiffer University, and the University of Houston.
Susheela Shanta, PhD
Chief Academic Officer
Dr. Susheela Shanta has been engaged in community planning and development in Pennsylvania and later, in community development in Virginia through designing, financing and managing construction of adaptive re-use of historic and/or underutilized properties to create affordable housing for families and seniors. Over the last 13 years she has directed and taught in the engineering program at the Governor’s STEM Academy of Roanoke County. In 2021 she was appointed by Gov. Ralph Northam to the Governor’s STEM Education Advisory Board. She earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in India in 1984, a master’s degree in urban planning SUNY Buffalo in 1989, and a doctoral degree in Integrative STEM Education from Virginia Tech in 2017.
Director of Institutional Advancement
Director of Technical & Industrial Programs
Clifford House is a certified instructor for NCI’s Global Wind Organisation training and other classes. He has worked in the industrial field since 2005 as a welder, metal fabricator, and CNC operator, setter, and programmer. House brings over ten years of experience in the North Carolina Community College system as an instructor for industrial, manufacturing, and machining.
Director of Technology Integration
As Director of Technology Integration, Teh-Way Lee oversees NCI’s IT Department, assists staff in technical issues, and updates NCI’s technology. Previously, he was a systems administrator, director of IT and IT supervisor for Henry County Public Schools. He has an associate degree in information systems from Mackenzie Presbyterian University and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Radford University. He is fluent in English and Portuguese and proficient in Chinese.
Director of Safety
After retiring from the Martinsville City Police Department as Captain over the patrol division with 33 years of service, Marshall Thomas is now the security supervisor at NCI. He is a graduate of Patrick & Henry Community College with a degree in administration of justice. He enjoys coaching baseball, football, and basketball.
Workforce Development Instructor
Part-time technology instructor Janet Copenhaver joined NCI in 2019. She earned her associate degree in education at Patrick & Henry Community College, then transferred to Radford University to complete her bachelor’s degree in library science. She continued her education with a master’s degree in educational leadership at Radford University. She has been a board member of Patrick & Henry Community College and Virginia Society for Technology Education. She is an Apple Distinguished Educator.
Director of Finance and Human Resources
JoAnn Shellhammer-Fox provides operational support with the fiscal, human resources, grant management, and procurement areas to ensure continued and effective operations for NCI. JoAnn participated in the NCI intern program and is a first-generation college student who graduated from Patrick & Henry Community College with an associate degree in accounting. She volunteers with the local United Way and the Virginia Museum of Natural History, and fundraises for the Mycocarditis Foundation. She joined NCI in 2018.
Finance & Operations Support Specialist
As Finance & Operations Support Specialist, Pace handles NCI’s human resources and personnel matters and assists the finance department. She came to NCI in August 2023 after roles as director of HR for Piedmont Community Services and HR manager for Danville Community College, as well as in other HR capacities in fields such as government and manufacturing. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology (2015) and a master’s degree in human service counseling and life coaching (2018) from Liberty University. She and her husband, Adam Pace, and their three children live in Ridgeway.
Registrar & Data Specialist
With a diverse career spanning human resources, marketing, and small business ownership, Phillips joined NCI in 2021 as a marketing specialist. Her present role involves overseeing registrations and LMS systems. She enjoys sports and finds creative expression through acrylic- and oil-painting.
Public Relations Manager
Erica McDaniel is the point of contact for reserving and scheduling all classrooms and Lecture Hall spaces at each of NCI’s buildings. She also serves as coordinator and facilitator for all NCI events, as well as assists with and supports marketing efforts. She coordinates the LIFE Learning is ForEver Program and supervises the customer service receptionists. McDaniel is a 2013 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a bachelor’s degree in communications/public relations and minor in journalism. She came to NCI in 2000 with experience in event planning, communications, and supervision.
Jeaneen Eastland is a graduate of Bassett High School and Patrick & Henry Community College. Her career has been in customer service and inside sales for companies such as Eastman (previously Courtaulds Performance Films), Atlas Molded Products, Invista Precision Concepts, Martinsville, Low & Bonar and BGF Industries. She is the wife of Jeff Eastland and mother of William Merriman of Conway, S.C., and Katelyn Merriman of New York City and stepmother of Jules Eastland and Jordan Eastland. She enjoys reading, gardening, walks and workouts, and her two poodles, Tucker and Ginger.
King Hall & Testing Center Coordinator
Stationed at the King Hall Testing Center, Stacey Davis joined the NCI Staff in July 2018. Stacey’s responsibilities include providing exceptional customer service to visitors, clients, and students at King Hall. She has been an administrative assistant for Patrick & Henry Community College’s Early Childhood Program and served in many roles supporting P&HCC’s Patriot Players. She has associate degrees in general education and small business management with a major in entrepreneurship/small business specialization.
Customer Service Receptionist
Rocky Mount resident Christina Lee Easley has worked in customer service over 20 years and reception about five years. She has certificates through Fast Track in phlebotomy, E.K.G., med aide, and C.N.A. She has taken classes in sign language and Spanish at Patrick & Henry Community College.
Frederico “Rico” Hairston
Rico Hairston joined the NCI staff in 2023. As a member of NCI’s Security Staff, Rico provides safety and security operations for NCI. He is responsible for maintaining security of NCI, and he routinely assists staff, students, and visitors.
As a member of NCI’s Security Staff, Sherine Wilson provides safety and security operations for NCI. She is responsible for maintaining security of NCI, and she routinely assists staff, students, and visitors. She joined the NCI staff in January 2023.