Executive Director Thomas Beckett has for most of his career worked as an attorney serving the needs of small and startup businesses. He has been professionally focused on cooperatives for the past ten year and provides business & legal guidance to cooperatives throughout North Carolina and the South. He has completed and is certified by the CooperationWorks! Cooperative Business Development Training Program. Beckett has presented on the Business Law for Worker Cooperatives at the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives conference in June 2012, and at the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy in July 2011 and 2015. He also provides business & legal education and guidance to cooperatives throughout North Carolina and the South. He has taught Business Law at Warren Wilson College and is certified to present the FastTrac TechVenture program, the Kauffman Foundation’s entrepreneurial training curriculum. He has significant experience working with agriculture enterprises in the region, including cooperatives, quasi-cooperatives, and nonprofits, as well as with working farmers. He is currently on the Board of Directors of Shared Capital Cooperative Development Fund. Beckett previously served on the Boards of CooperationWorks, the Center for Participatory Change and the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP). He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University and earned his law degree and later an MBA at the University of North Carolina.
Teia Evans is the Associate Director for the center. Ms. Evans has been with the organization for 3 years, providing technical assistance and training in developing cooperative economies across the state. She works to advance the cooperative ecosystem in North and South Carolina and also oversees our internship program to train future cooperative developers across the country. Her previous work includes experience in business development and work with nonprofits, particularly in the areas of regulatory compliance, media production, promotions and public relations. Ms. Evans strives to serve her community and offer solutions through economic development. She was selected to be involved in the 2017 Cooperative Leader and Scholar Institute, she has completed the CooperationWorks “The Art and Science of Cooperative Development” training program, serves on the board of nonprofits involved with cooperative development around the country and was a member of the co-design team for United Way’s social innovative initiative. Ms. Evans earned her Juris Doctorate and Master of Business Administration degrees at North Carolina Central University. She has a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Morgan State University.
Kelly Liddington joins CCE bringing nearly 30 years of experience as a Cooperative Extension Agent between Virginia and North Carolina. Working as an Agriculture Agent in Richmond County, Va., Liddington was very influential in the development of 2 very successful community organizations. The Northern Neck Vegetable Growers Association was by far the most financially successful effort with sales topping $250 million and a commitment to education unparalleled with over $200,000 in scholarships for youth to study agriculture and adult member education. Richmond County Fair Association is a volunteer organization that has developed an event that brings the community together to enjoy their commonalities and celebrate their differences.
With degrees from Old Dominion University, The Ohio State University, S.U.N.Y. at Cobleskill, Kelly has a broad cross-section of training and proven experience teaching, training and developing projects that produce and perform beyond expectations. As an educator at heart, Kelly believes that the work we do and the lives we lead are but tools used to provide opportunities to develop our capacity and that of the people we encounter. Leadership, self confidence, tolerance and self determination must be learned in the laboratory of life. He is adept at guiding the tour to develop his clientele.
Kelly is married and his wife Lynn raises Toy Poodles and orchids. Kelly has raised or worked with most all kinds of livestock at one point or another. He currently raises Angus seedstock and is looking forward to getting back to raising dairy goats.