Patricia S. Wells, MPA, CME
Patricia Wells brings over 26 years of public administration and nonprofit executive management experience to her role as Executive Director of the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA). She joined OHA in 1998, following appointments as the Associate Director for Habitat for Humanity International – West Region and Senior Policy Coordinator as a Mayoral appointee with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs in Washington, D.C. During her current tenure with OHA, Patricia has held key roles in several key initiatives including the reorganization of OHA to a property based property management operation, disposition of 1,610 apartment units and single family homes, a multitude of Moving to Work (MTW) demonstration programs and partnerships, as well as several innovative private/public partnership endeavors. Patricia brings to the OHA leadership team excellent communication skills, stellar inter-governmental and community building expertise, a strong acumen for organization operations and administrative leadership, significant experience as an agent of effective organization change as well as a passion for supporting community led solutions.
In addition to her national leadership role as a member of the National Association of Housing Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), she is an Soroptimist International of the East Bay Fellow and an active member of the East Bay Regional Parks Foundation, Monterey Bay Aquarium, SF Opera and volunteer of Glide Memorial Homeless Services. Patricia holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, a B.A in English/Journalism, and several professional certifications.
Director of Legislative Affairs, NAHRO
For over a decade, I have worked as a government relations professional, grassroots advocacy expert, and effective lobbyist to help communities across the country access federal funding and legislative solutions.
Through my role with national organizations that focus on housing, planning, and sustainability, I help advance the conversation in Washington, DC on the important role the federal government plays in creating and preserving affordable housing. I have achieved significant legislative success, increasing funding for housing and community development programs by 10 percent during an era of austerity, removing unnecessary regulatory barriers, and preserving critical programs at risk of elimination. I have also led my organization through the COVID-19 crisis, securing an additional $12 billion in emergency funding for programs administered by our members.
My grassroots expertise has grown national organizations’ nascent grassroots advocacy efforts into elite programs rivaling competitors with significantly more resources. In just over one year, I increased individual participation in advocacy campaigns by 70 percent and increased advocacy letters sent from 3,000 to over 60,000 per year. I have trained thousands of housing and planning professionals on how to effective advocate for their communities.
Bobby R. Collins has more than 25 years of experience in the housing industry and is the current Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the City of Bossier City (HABC). Before joining HABC he was the Executive Director of Alexandria Housing. In two years he helped the Housing Authority go from “troubled” status to a “Standard performer”.
Collins is the President of the Louisiana Housing Council (LHC) which is the Louisiana Chapter of The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO). He also serves as the Vice President of the Southwest NAHRO Housing Committee and is a member of the Southwest NAHRO Executive, Steering and Budget and Finance Committees. He also serves on the National NAHRO Housing, Leg-Net Committees and the NAHRO Board of Ethics & Credentialing Trustees. Collins is a National NAHRO Faculty Member and teaches Commissioner’s Fundamentals, Ethics for Commissioners, Executive Management and Leadership, Executive Management and Board Relations, Fair Housing and Capital Fund Program professional development courses.
Collins has earned many certifications which include Accredited Residential Manager and Certified Property Manager from The Institute of Real Estate Management (Division of the Board of Realtors); Certified Commissioner Trainer, Certified Management Executive, Certified Public Housing Manager and Certified Manager of Property Operations, all awarded by the NAHRO.
Collins holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and a Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and Organizational Management. He is married to Carolyn Collins and they have four wonderful children, BJ, Brittany, Brianna and Brandon
Mark Thiele, CS-PHM, CME, CMVO, NCC
Mark Thiele is a houser who stands in awe of his colleagues. “Safe, stable, affordable housing is the foundation on which we build healthy, happy and productive lives,” he says. “Despite significant headwinds, housers nationwide continue to provide the most vulnerable Americans with shelter and supportive services in sustainable communities. We need them to succeed. We need to invest in their success.”
Before joining NAHRO, Thiele was the Interim President and CEO of the Houston Housing Authority (HHA). During his tenure, HHA focused on safety, increasing affordable housing, and innovation. The agency hosted numerous COVID-19 testing and vaccination events with local partners. It also added thousands of units of affordable housing through acquisition and development and earning the coveted Moving to Work (MTW) designation.
Prior to that Thiele served as HHA’s Senior Vice President (SVP), overseeing Program Operations, Real Estate, Investment and Development, Policy as well as all of the agency’s support functions, including Finance, Legal, Procurement, Human Resources and Information Technology. During his time as SVP, Thiele worked with the agency’s more than 200 staff members to be the premier provider of quality, affordable housing in Houston.
For the previous eight years of his lengthy year career in affordable housing, Thiele served as the Vice President of the award-winning Housing Choice Voucher Program at HHA, which provides more than $155 million in housing subsidies each year, and is one of the largest voucher programs in the country. In that role he supervised more than 120 staff dedicated to providing quality, affordable housing options for more than 18,000 Houston households via the regular Housing Choice Voucher, VASH, Mainstream, NED and Mod Rehab programs, as well as a plethora of initiatives funded by the City, County and other entities. The HCVP department played a significant role in Houston’s award-winning efforts to end homelessness. Thiele also worked in the affordable housing sector as a consultant at Quadel Consulting Corporation.
Thiele has been a devoted NAHRO member for years, taking on a variety of leadership roles at the state, regional and national levels. At national NAHRO, he served on the Board of Governors, as the Chair of the Board of Ethics and Credentialling Trustees, and as the Vice President of the Community Revitalization and Development Committee. Thiele also served as the Senior Vice President of the NAHRO Southwest Regional Council, and as the President of Texas NAHRO. He is a proud member of the Board of the National Public Housing Museum (NPHM).
Thiele holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Anthropology from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Chicago.
C. Sean Gilbert, PHM, SPHM
Executive Director, Morristown Housing Authority
Gilbert began his housing career as a community revitalization coordinator almost three decades ago helping distressed communities revitalize their neighborhoods and create the first “mini” City Hall to encourage civic participation. He’s since held several leadership positions in various housing agencies and continued his commitment to providing safe, decent, affordable housing for residents. Additionally, he has held many leadership roles within NAHRO at the national, regional and chapter levels. He is also a key advocacy representative for the Tennessee Chapter, and he serves on the Tennessee Housing Authority Risk Management Trust board.
Texas NAHRO Legislative Consultant
Eric Woomer is a governmental affairs consultant and lobbyist with extensive senior leadership experience advising legislators at the state and national level as well as business interests ranging from Fortune 100 companies to trade associations to family-owned businesses. He is well-regarded for his ability to research, analyze and synthesize issues quickly to design innovative public policy, and he offers his clients tactical political counsel as well as pragmatic solutions to achieve their policy goals.
Eric has served as Chief of Staff and Legislative Director to three Texas state senators, both Republicans and Democrats, representing areas as diverse as the Texas Panhandle and the Houston Ship Channel. Eric successfully coordinated the legislative agendas, community activities, and media strategies for the senators, as well as directing personnel activities for staffs as large as twenty-one. Additionally, Eric served as Press Secretary for U.S. Congressman J.J. “Jake” Pickle, and as a Senior Policy Advisor to U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Armed with a proven track record of accomplishment, in 2010, Eric opened Policy Solutions, a full service public affairs consulting practice, based in Austin, Texas. Eric offers his clients legislative tactical guidance and policy expertise on matters related to energy & water, natural resources, health care, economic development policy, and the state budget. These abilities are complimented with media management skills and compelling collateral writing – speeches, legislative hearing testimony, press conferences & communications materials, briefings, newsletters and white papers.
As a lobbyist, Eric has provided political and legislative guidance to Texas electricity companies, trade association, advocacy organizations, manufacturing interests, and physician groups, among others. He has managed teams of contract lobbyists, overseen Political Action Committee activities, and coordinated grassroots efforts. Eric is consistently ranked among the state’s most influential lobbyists in Capitol Inside magazine’s annual Lobby Power Rankings.
Eric was born in Malawi, Africa, while his parents served in the Peace Corps. A 1988 National Merit Scholar, Eric received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from the University of Texas in 1993. In 2002, he obtained his Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Texas’ Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs. He also received the LBJ Award for Academic Excellence, presented annually by former First Lady “Lady Bird” Johnson to the school’s top graduates.
Eric resides in Austin, Texas with his son, Jackson.
Sr. Vice President, NAHRO
George Guy is a proven housing leader. As CEO and Executive Director of the Fort Wayne (IN) Housing Authority, George knows the difference housing and community development programs make to low-income families. He knows it because he’s lived it — growing up in public housing. He has a proven track record within the affordable housing industry having spent the past 25 years developing solutions to improve the quality of life for families in underserved communities.
George’s commitment to servant leadership has helped Fort Wayne Housing Authority, positioning the organization as one of the top performing housing authorities in the nation. Under his leadership, the organization oversees a portfolio of over 4000 public housing, vouchers, and affordable housing units. This includes a small housing agency, Decatur Housing Authority. George has remained steadfast in his commitment to build programs that will lift all families from poverty.
He has been able to expand the conversation about housing equity while serving as the president of the Indiana Chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) and regional president of the North Central Regional Council of NAHRO (NCRC). He also elevated the ethical standards within the housing industry serving as a trustee member of the Board of Ethics by leading the effort in developing the NAHRO Code of Conduct. He also is the co-founder of the Housing and Education Task Force and serves as a Public Housing Authorities Directors Association (PHADA) trustee. Additionally, George is Vice Chair of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis (FHLBI) Affordable Housing Advisory Council.
Understanding the link between civil rights, human rights, and combating systemic inequities, George has adopted this philosophy to guide his work within the affordable housing industry and has assisted in the development of numerous affordable housing projects within the states of Indiana and Illinois, totaling over $200 million dollars. These developments include mixed-finance and permanent supportive housing developments that provide critical support for families dealing with unique needs such as AIDS, aging out of foster care, homelessness and victims of domestic violence. Additionally, he has created innovative partnerships with local and national agencies with the goal of expanding affordable housing choices and wrap-around services for homeless veterans, youth, and other vulnerable members of the community.
Born and raised in Granite City, Illinois. She attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and received her bachelors of science in business administration, emphasis management and entrepreneurship, in 2005. She has been involved with the mental health field her entire life through various nonprofits in the Metro East area. She struggled with substance use disorder since the age of 13 and found recovery at the age of 32. Through the help of an intensive outpatient program, a counselor, and her faith, Michelle embarked on the road of recovery. She is a leader in the recovery ministry at Metro Community Church in Edwardsville, IL. She desired to help more people affected by substance use disorder and got involved with Monetwork in the spring of 2017. She enjoys facilitating support groups, talking at schools, and working one-on-one with people affected by substance use disorder. Michelle completed the MRSS(P) training and mental health first aid through Missouri Recovery Network. She is also currently involved with the Partnership for a Drug-Free Communities in Madison and St. Clair counties.
Housing Authority of Kansas City, MO
A self-defined “book nerd” with a master’s degree in law and government who once spent time studying abroad at Oxford, Lauren Allen surprises no one by having an Instagram page called TheDopeLibrarian.
But Allen is more than just her impressive array of academic credentials: Her on-the-ground work helping others at the Housing Authority of Kansas City truly defines her.
After graduating from the University of Georgia School of Law in 2013, Allen represented victims of domestic violence at the House of Ruth in Maryland. She moved on to become a staff attorney advising pro se litigants with the Maryland Legal Aid District Court Self-Help Center, where she developed extensive knowledge of issues ranging from landlord-tenant disputes to consumer-protection rules.
By 2016, the Kansas City native was back home working as a consultant for UnitedLex Corp. In 2020, she became general counsel for the city housing authority, handling everything from employment matters to evictions.
To Allen, the most important thing is that she knows that she is making a difference in her community. Mundane matters often cross her desk, but whether her work involves a new software contract or documentation to purchase a tract of real estate, it comes down to helping people. She loves being a vital part of the city where she grew up.
Texas NAHRO Service Office
Graham, TX 76450