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History of SERC Presidents



In 1934, before a national program to provide public housing for needy families had been implemented, a group of housing officials banded together to form the National Association of Housing Officials (NAHO). They came from different areas, linked by common concern for the nation’s housing needs and the determination to develop programs to address those needs.

Subsequent to the enactment by Congress of the Housing Act of 1937, a number of informal meetings and conferences were held in the southeast. On November 19, 1940, approximately fifty housing officials from the six states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee met in Macon, Georgia. They adopted a Resolution which declared, “Be it Resolved by the Housing Authorities situated within the area comprising Region IV of the United States Housing Authority, assembled in annual session at Macon Georgia, November 19, 1940, that there be organized a regional unit of the National Association of Housing Officials under the following by-laws…,” and thus created the Southeast Council of National Association of Housing Officials. Approximately forty-three housing authorities were in operation in the six states forming the council. During the next several years, Mississippi and Virginia were added to the region followed by Kentucky and West Virginia. Through the years the organizational purpose was expanded to meet new community needs, and in 1953, NAHO changed its name to the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO).

In October 1978, recognizing the needs to reassess NAHRO as to “where it was, where it was headed and to what it should aspire,” then President Joseph Canale called for a conclave of NAHRO leadership. Over eighty representatives from the eight regions met in Pine Isle, Georgia, in December 1978, and were charged with reassessing the direction, priorities, structure and goals of the Association.

What surfaced at Pine Isle, after an intensive three-day schedule, was an agenda of valid concerns for both specific areas and general directions. The conclave group reached a consensus that the Association’s purposes are: advocacy, technical assistance, professional development and training, and information. While the conclave did not result in the resolution of all concerns of the delegates, it provided a needed forum for expression. Further, it developed an on-going process for implementing a number of positive, decisive actions aimed at making the Association more responsive to, and more representative of, the membership. The present NAHRO and Regional organizational structures, terms of office, etc. have evolved from those actions.

Regional Representation

The Regional President and Immediate Past President serve as members of the NAHRO Board of Governors. Two additional regional representatives are selected by their respective regions as at-large members of the NAHRO Board of Governors, serving four year, staggered terms. The Region further represented on various NAHRO Committees and Boards. The Regional President may make regional appointments/recommendations as follows:

  • Standing Committees – three appointments to each Committee, and recommendations for at-large appointments by NAHRO President.
    Member Services
    Community Revitalization and Development
    Professional Development
  • Other Committees and Boards:
    Nominating-two appointments
    International and Budget/Administration – any number of recommendations for appointment by NAHRO President.
    Board of Credentialing Trustees for Rehabilitation – one recommendation for appointment by NAHRO President

Board of Credentialing Trustees for Public Housing Management – two appointments made by Regional Executive Committee; also one nomination for an at-large position.

The Regional President may make other recommendations for appointment by the NAHRO President to various working groups, task forces, etc. All NAHRO Committee terms of two years run concurrently with that of the NAHRO President.

Eight Past Presidents of our council have served with distinction as Presidents of NAHRO, which brings to SERC-NAHRO the honor of having the largest number of national presidents to serve from any one region to date. Those SERC members who have served are:

Joseph A. Fowler, Ray O. Edwards,
Brown Nicholson, Sr.,
Lawrence M. Cox,
Walter B. Mills, Jr.,
Frederick A. Fay,
Jack H. Shiver,
Melvin J. Adams.


NAHRO is now comprised of eight Regional Councils and sixty-four State Chapters and/or Associations. In 1987, NAHROÕs total membership was in excess of 7,600. Of that total, SERC-NAHRO membership represents more than 1,320 active housing and community development agencies and individuals. (Membership in NAHRO constitutes SERC-NAHRO membership.)

A NAHRO regional council is an organization unit, encompassing related geographic areas. It is established by the NAHRO Board of Governors. A NAHRO Chapter organization unit formed by the initiative of people who live in a particular area and sanctioned by its Regional Council and by the NAHRO Board of Governors. A chapter is an integral part of the structure of NAHRO and is incorporated as part of the National Association.

SERC-NAHRO is comprised of ten State Associations and two territories. A state association, unlike a chapter, is an independent body, with by-laws and an organizational structure of its own choosing. State associations function similarly to NAHRO Chapters and evidence the same strong commitment to the national organization; however, sanctioning by NAHRO is not required for a State association to function.


NAHRO members, coming from all walks of life including professional associates and friends, belong to one or more of the following categories of membership.

Individual – active,
Individual – affiliate,
Agency – active, or
Agency – affiliate
Members in each of the categories have all the rights of membership, including the right to vote. Individual affiliate members, however, cannot hold any of the seven national offices.


Board of Governors consists of the National President, Senior Vice-President, five Vice-Presidents with portfolio, the three Immediate Past Presidents of NAHRO who are active in the field, eight Regional Presidents, eight Immediate Past Regional Presidents, and sixteen members-at-large (two from each region), three members appointed at large by the President with emphasis upon Commissioners. The NAHRO Board is required to meet at least four times during the two year term of the officers. Quorum is one-third of all Board members.


Executive Committee

The control, administration and management of the affairs, funds and property of SERC-NAHRO are vested in the Executive Committee consisting of twenty-two voting members, including: the Officers of the Council (President, Senior Vice-President, five Vice-Presidents with portfolio, Secretary and Treasurer), the three Immediate Past Presidents of SERC-NAHRO who hold active membership in NAHRO and who still live in the Council region and one representative from each state and territory comprising SERC-NAHRO (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia). All members of the Executive Committee must be individual members in good standing of SERC-NAHRO when elected and throughout their term of office.

Also entitled to serve as ex-officio members of the Executive Committee, without vote, are:

Past Presidents who are active members of the Council (except the three Immediate Past Presidents mentioned above);

Regional Members who serve as officers and representatives to the NAHRO Board of Governors

The Executive Committee is required to meet at least once each quarter of each calendar year, and special meetings may be called by the President and/or the Secretary. At such meetings, an officer must be present to vote; however, written proxies of State Representative are permitted in the event of their absence. Quorum for the Executive Committee is a majority of its voting members.



In 1984, it was determined desirable and appropriate to bestow a Life Membership Award upon a number of active members of NAHRO who have “given meritorious and unselfish service ” to SERC. Recipients of such award are elected by the Executive Committee of SERC-NAHRO, pursuant to nomination by the SERC Policy Advisory Committee.

Those individuals having received the Life Membership Award are:

  • Gerald Gimre, formerly of Nashville, TN
  • Orelle L. Ledbetter, Memphis, TN
  • Frederick A. Fay, Richmond, VA
  • Harold M. Booth, Jr. Louisville, KY
  • Jack D. Leeth, Louisville, KY
  • John E. Acuff, Jr. Nashville, TN
  • M.B. Satterfield, Atlanta, GA
  • Jack H. Shiver, Hampton, VA
  • James Haley, Winston-Salem, NC
  • Lawrence M. Cox, Suffolk, VA
  • Dorothy Forbes, Wilmington, NC
  • Franklyn Lambert, Columbus, GA
  • A.E.(Gene) Arrington, Charlottesville, VA
  • Ray Wheeling, Charlotte, NC
  • Arthur Meginley, Chesapeake, VA
  • Karl T. Tyree, Jr., Florence, AL
  • Virginia West, Sylacaugua, AL
  • Marvin W. Lee, Sr., Norfolk, VA
  • Madden Reid, Augusta, GA
  • Betty Smith, Knoxville, TN
  • John Van Ness, Louisville, KY
  • A.W.”Gus” Kuhn, Bessemer, AL
  • David Smotherman, Decatur, GA
  • Herbert McBride, Roanoke, VA
  • William Andrews, Winston-Salem, NC
  • Dean S. Robinson, Clearwater, FL
  • Robert Haneline, Nashville, TN
  • Elaine Ostrowski, Greensboro, NC
  • William L Hawkins, Jr., Newport News, VA
  • David Jones, Jr., Asheville, NC
  • Dan Tiller, Knoxville, TN
  • Frank Lofurno, Hampton, VA
  • John Nolen, Alexander City, AL
  • Paul Pierce, Decatur, GA
  • Mary Davis, Picayune, MS

In addition to receiving a proper plaque commemoration the award, they along with their spouse, receive a complimentary registration and hotel room for all annual conferences of SERC-NAHRO, and are invited to the Executive Committee dinner preceding the conference.


While we are a region of strong support of our national organization, we conduct certain activities and provide additional services, independent of NAHRO. Thus SERC, Inc. was created as a companion organization for tax purposes and to enable the organization to carry out those additional activities and services with its own funds. The primary source of those funds is from agency membership dues which are paid to SERC, Inc. by organizations at all levels of government located within our territorial boundaries; therefore, when we pay agency dues at the regional level, we are paying for membership in SERC, Inc.

SERC, Inc. was incorporated under the Alabama “Non-Profit Corporation Act” on August 31, 1971, as a professional, education corporation. The stated objectives for which the corporation was formed are basically the same as those of SERC-NAHRO, and the territorial boundaries are the same.

Incorporators of SERC, Inc. were Virginia West, Jack Shiver and Russell Lawson, and the first Executive Committee consisted of eighteen persons as follows:

  • Virginia West, Sylacauga, AL
  • Jack Shiver, Norfolk, VA
  • Russell Lawson, Louisville, KY
  • Charles Parker, Decatur, GA
  • Brown Nicholson, Jr., Columbus, GA
  • Ray Wheeling, Asheville, NC*
  • Catherine Clark, Columbiana, AL
  • S.E. Lorimier, Jacksonville, FL
  • David Sotherman, Decatur, GA
  • G.W. Hoffman, Somerset, KY
  • Howard Long, Tupelo, MS
  • James Haley, Winston-Salem, NC
  • J. Allen Thompson, Jr., Laurens, SC
  • Randall A.P. Johnson, Memphis, TN
  • A.E. Arrington, Charlottsville, VA
  • John E. Acuff, Jr., Nashville, TN
  • Jack D. Leeth, Louisville, KY
  • Franklyn Lambert, Columbus, GA

The first officers of SERC, Inc. were:

  • Virginia West, President
  • Jack Shiver, Vice President
  • Russell Lawson, Secretary/Treasurer
  • Charles Parker, Vice President-Housing Division
  • Brown Nicholson, Jr., Vice President-Renewal Division
  • Ray Wheeling, Vice President-Code Division

The affairs and business of SERC, Inc. are vested in a twenty-two member Executive Committee, which is of the same composition as SERC-NAHRO. Officers for SERC, Inc. (President, Senior Vice President, five Vice Presidents, Secretary, Treasurer) are elected by the Executive Committee of SERC, Inc. for a term of two years, beginning October 1.