2020-2021 YPA Board

Meet your current Young Professionals of Asheville board members!

Zeno Lancaster

Zeno Lancaster

President

A native to western North Carolina, Zeno was born in Asheville and raised in nearby Canton.  He attended Pisgah High, before obtaining a BA in Political Science from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, class of 2004.  As planned since he was fifteen or so, Zeno went on to become an attorney, obtaining his Juris Doctor from Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, FL, in 2007.  Zeno is a member of the North Carolina State Bar, the American Bar Association, The North Carolina Bar Association, the 28th District Bar, the Buncombe County Chamber of Commerce, sits on the Board of REACH (Real Estate Agents Combating Homelessness) – a branch of Homeward Bound of WNC, and is the current President of the Young Professionals of Asheville.

Zeno currently lives in downtown Asheville, with his sweet mutt, Daisy.  He and his girlfriend, Venus, enjoy the many festivals, restaurants, musicians, artists, and people that make up this jewel in the mountains.  He is very close with his family and enjoys spending time with his nieces and nephews and nearby family members. You might find Zeno around town at various restaurants and breweries. He is somewhat of a nerd – loving Star Wars, 80’s music, and all things James Bond. He’s also a sports fan, supporting his UNC Tar Heels and other teams.

Nebula Lungren

Nebula Lungren

President Elect

Nebula found home in Asheville, fresh out of college at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, where he obtained both his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting with a collateral in information management/database programming and his Master of Accountancy in Taxation. He worked at local public accounting firm; Dixon Hughes Goodman, where he served multiple roles including tax preparation for both the estate/trust planning team and the complex c-corp. team – before moving into a Credit Analyst role at the downtown Wells Fargo Bank. He spent 6 years there working with local clients, most recently as a Portfolio Manager, managing a real estate focused portfolio of customers in the middle market banking segment. He now serves as Assistant Vice President of First National Bank in Biltmore Park, as a Business Banker where he works to develop new business opportunities throughout the Greater Asheville area and also assists in managing the team’s portfolio of existing client relationships.

Nebula lives in Weaverville and enjoys maximizing his time taking in all of the “soul” that Western NC has to offer: including frequenting each and every restaurant and brewery in the area, playing numerous sports with the Asheville Sports and Social league, catching live music as often as possible, risking his life enjoying his new passion of mountain biking, and spending time with his white German Shephard: Vice.

Nebula is excited and honored to be part of the YPA board and will work to represent all members in continuing to build and further strengthen the organization into one that they not only find well worth participating in, but are also proud to be part of.

Justine Wickerham

Justine Wickerham

Past President

As a dedicated Young Professional since 2013, Justine is delighted to lean further into leadership as President of YPA’s Board of Directors on behalf of, and in service to our members. Justine owns a local organic-based landscaping firm, RootWise Landscape Solutions, LLC, alongside her husband Jake.  She holds a bachelor’s in mass communication concentrated in journalism from UNC Asheville.  Justine’s educational background coupled with her business management experience lends her the skill set necessary to ensure YPA is striving for excellence through all its practices and offerings.  Justine believes that YPA members each have a unique story to tell, expertise to relate, and motivation to share.  Her primary goal is to foster this cumulative energy in order to create more measurable, meaningful experiences to draw from.  Justine intends to work hand-in-hand with both the board and greater membership to elevate YPA, taking our ‘Connect, Lead, Serve’ mission to the next level.  Justine has two daughters, Veronica and Abigail, and enjoys playing music, baking, spending time with her family, and getting away to the NC coast whenever possible.

Christy Winer

Christy Winer

Communications Co-Chair

Christy was born and raised in Atlanta before getting her Bachelors of Science in Biosystems Engineering at Clemson University. She earned a minor in sustainability while studying abroad in Sweden as well as her Engineer-In-Training certification. After graduating, she moved to Asheville to be a Project Manager for a utility-scale solar energy company. Almost 5 years later, she has furthered her life and passions here in WNC including hiking, camping, participating in local groups such as YPA, adopting her cat Buffy, traveling, and hosting visiting friends and family to show them everything WNC has to offer.

Kim Granata

Kim Granata

Social Co-Chair

Kim is a proud Buckeye who moved to the Asheville area in 2019. She obtained her Communications degree from The Ohio State University in 2017 although she had stints at both Kent State University and the University of North Dakota to further her athletic career in softball. She still enjoys playing a variety of sports through the Asheville Sport and Social Club, keeping her busy throughout the year. Additionally, she loves board games, exploring breweries, trying new restaurants, and enjoying the outdoors as much as possible. On the professional side, Kim has been in the Human Resources industry for 5 years and works for Broad River Rehab, a Physical and Occupational Therapy company, in the Recruiting department. 

Gabe Offermann

Gabe Offermann

Communications Co-Chair

Gabe Offermann grew up in the Chicago area, went to school in Greenville, SC (Accounting 10′ and M.B.A. 12′ degrees), and has now worked in Asheville for nearly 9 years (as of 2021). Starting as an Assistant Controller with Jim Barkley Toyota (2012) his role grew to add functions including I.T. Management, Marketing, and Branding in addition to his Accounting management duties. After ownership transitioned to the Anderson Automotive Group in 2017 he moved into Sales Management and Merchandising. One enjoyable rabbit trail was writing most of the initial marketing copy and designing the e-Commerce operations for an Appalachian grown, gluten-free, and non-GMO-certified foodie brand: Barkley’s Mill Stone-ground Grits as a consulting gig. Outside of work you can usually find him serving at Church, reading / listening to a non-fiction book, lifting weights, enjoying a good movie or series (especially detective or sci-fi ones), exploring the start-up community here, or trying something new at a restaurant. Gabe brings a wide set of skills to the YPA board as a Co-Chair in Marketing and Communications looking to encourage a love of life-long learning, creating true connections – not just networking, and helping others define and achieve their goals.

Joshua Wilson Bio

Joshua Wilson

Membership Co-Chair

After growing up here in Asheville, Josh had always wanted to come back home to lay down roots and build a wonderful life.  After moving back, Josh was introduced to YPA and immediately enjoyed being a part of this small community.  He graduated from Clemson University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and is now a Manufacturing Manager at a small company in the large-diesel engine industry called Aprotech Powertrain.  Josh has always been a “people person,” with the gift of gab, ever since he was a little boy, pushing a pallet jack around the warehouse in his grandfather’s company and talking to customers as they shopped in the stores.  When Josh is not at his day job, he is working on building his own design services company as well as starting in real estate (Licensed NC Broker) and investing.

Maddie Culbertson

Maddie Culbertson

Community Service Co-Chair

Maddie Culbertson grew up in St. Charles IL, a western suburb of Chicago and earned her Bachelor’s in Food, Nutrition and Dietetics with a minor in Community Health Education from Illinois State University in May 2018. Shortly after graduation, Maddie moved to Asheville, NC after being matched to Lenoir-Rhyne University’s 9-month Dual Master’s Degree-Dietetic Internship program. Maddie completed her dietetic internship with rotations at WIC, MANNA Food Bank, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP), Haywood Regional Medical Center, Charles George VA Medical Center, and Mission Children’s Specialists. Maddie found a growing passion for Public Health, and then continued to complete her Master of Public Health in May of 2021. She conducted her thesis research around diversity, equity, and inclusion evaluation tool validity and reliability. Maddie is now working at AmeriHealth Caritas as a Community Educator where she connects Medicaid beneficiaries to resources and education around Medicaid Managed Care in the state of North Carolina. She has now lived in the Asheville area for 3 years and has well-established connections with local non-profits, food banks, community agencies, and farmers markets. Maddie has a passion for community engagement and contributing to advancing health and social equity in the WNC area. Maddie sees lots of great opportunities for YPA to lend a helping hand to well-intentioned institutions and perform humbling work that will better connect YPA with the community.

John Stevens

John Stevens

Professional Development Co-Chair

John’s roots are in Asheville, growing up and currently living in the nearby Candler area. He is blessed with 7+ years of marriage to his beautiful wife, Courtney. Together they have a “mini farm” of two small children, Dawson and Isabella, a rescue pup named Nellie, five chickens, and a bunny named Petah. As a 15-year small town entrepreneur, John has developed the skills to push through intense obstacles while becoming dedicated to helping others shift their mindset to achieve their goals and grow into the person they are called to be. John has always been passionate about the real estate field and became a licensed Realtor in 2016. Since then, he’s become a yearly multi-million dollar producer and recently formed Revive Real Estate Group, LLC. He is also a Certified Mentor with eXp Realty. In his limited free time, John is an avid outdoorsman and loves restoring old furniture. John is excited to be a part of this YPA board and honored to have the opportunity to serve alongside the members who make this organization great! 

Rosa Loftis Bio

Rosa Loftis

Community Service Co-Chair

Although born in Savannah, Georgia, Rosa Loftis was raised here in the beautiful WNC. After graduating, she left for 2 years to experience Alaska and work in tourism. While there, she also started working for an insurance brokerage office in Fairbanks, AK. Shortly after, she was drawn back home, to the mountains of North Carolina. Ever since, she has been excelling in her career as an independent insurance agent. Aside from being in the office, she is also a member of Junior League of Asheville and a big sister to her little, with Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC. When she’s not volunteering in the community, all other free time is spent on continuing education, enjoying the outdoors with her pup, Farrah and spending time with friends and family!

Lakievia Johnson Bio

Lakievia "Lucky" Johnson

Professional Development Co-Chair

As a child, I traveled to Arden, NC, several years in a row to attend summer camp. I loved it so much that, at that young age, I decided I would move here one day, and retire.  In February 2019, after completing a post-graduate certification program in project management through Brenau University and becoming certified as a PMI Associate Project Manager, I finally made that move. I moved to Asheville from Augusta, Georgia, my birthplace. In addition to being an MBA graduate and an active member of the Augusta-Aiken PMI Project Management Chapter, I relocated to Asheville with extensive experience working in customer service, education, and volunteering as a community advocate. My passion for business, customer service, education, personal development, and community involvement made me an excellent fit for YPA, and I was thrilled to be welcomed in as a new member. I am currently a Master Tutor for Tutor.com, a service offered by the Princeton Review, and occasionally serve and bartend for weddings at a local wedding venue. I am also, now, an active member of the Metrolina PMI Chapter and have obtained the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. Furthermore, I am pursuing a Doctorate in Strategic Leadership, at Liberty University, and juggling additional responsibilities as a new entrepreneur and the Founder and Lead Education Advisor for my company, STEPS Academic Advising & Education. Through academic advising, academic coaching, college admissions counseling, and tutoring, STEPS provides long-term and consistent academic relationships to promote student success for 7th through 12th grade, undergraduate, and graduate-level college students. In my “spare time,” which is rare, I enjoy watching movies, playing pool, playing cards, writing, and listening to music.

Ryan Appleton Bio

Ryan Appleton

Social Co-Chair

Originally from the Atlanta area, Ryan graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Software Engineering. After working for more than 7 years in corporate America, he took a leave of absence and traveled through South America for 9 months, in search of his next career. Not long after returning stateside, Ryan moved to Asheville with plans of opening a traveler’s hostel, The Lazy Tiger. While those plans develop, Ryan is working at Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast in Montford. In his spare time, Ryan enjoys raising his 6 year-old mutt Chloe, exploring the WNC mountains and rehydrating with post-hike beers.

Alex Black

Alex Black

Membership Co-Chair

Alex is a child of WNC born and raised in the Asheville Hendersonville area. He attended school locally graduating from North Henderson High School. He has lived in various areas but the mountains have always called him back home. As a Sales Consultant for Hunter Auto Group he helps guide people to the vehicle that will fit their lifestyle and needs. He has been a Sales Consultant with Hunter Auto Group for 3 years and in sales and customer service for a total of 8 years. Alex enjoys spending time with friends and family, checking out local attractions and breweries, hiking and appreciating all of the beauty that Western North Carolina has to offer.