Our Board of Directors
President: Elisha Lee
Elisha Lee was born and raised in Central Florida and spent most of her life there. A childhood spent exploring FL’s amazing springs, oceans and trails. She has a deep reverence for nature and the healing energy it shares with us all. She grew up fast, got married, opened and ran 5 businesses and owned two homes before 26, an entrepreneurial spirit for sure!
She graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Clayton College of Natural Health while owning and running her own health food store, Trading Center, for 4 years. She worked within the community of Lake Helen to share the importance of clean food and to teach people how to grow their own. Which is how Community Roots was born! She hosted town meetings, attended local governmental meetings, coordinated landowners who shared their farmlands with a small group of citizens who worked for years to share their message of self sustainability and clean food. With life throwing some major curveballs her way she decided to move to the mountains of Western NC with her mama. Life here has been an adventure in every way since the big move. Here she has found passion in so many places! She has danced professionally with Christine Garvin Dance and Trillium Dance Company since 2012. She managed and helped to recreate Roots and Fruits Market for years. She decided to make NC her new home in 2015 when she purchased her own home in Black Mountain. Since then she has lived her passion of event planning by producing and hosting many events, community dinners and dance shows. While leading Black Mountain’s Farm & Fork she decided to bring Community roots to NC! Here we have taken the organization to the next level. As Founder, Executive Director and President for this recent year, she is excited to co-create with a new BOD and vows to work hard to protect our community from thoughtless profiteering and disregard.
Co-Founder: Tyler J. Garrison 1983-2018
Tyler is a Father, entrepreneur, and environmental activist. He began his first company at 19 in the legal industry and quickly began setting records still unbroken. By 23 years old he had achieved what many may consider the American Dream having both financial and time freedom.
However, he found this to be incomplete as he realized there was much broken and he felt devoid of real purpose. He gave away his company and all worldly things and traveled alone for 3 years on a walking pilgrimage of self discovery with a staff, pack, and faith. After nearly 20k miles of travel and uncountable stories and adventures he decided to settle down and rejoin society in Asheville, NC. He started a very small company with $500 that he scraped together on the road with the ambitious goal of turning unwanted waste into a fun and thrifty shopping experience. He turned a pickup truck and 10×10 storage unit into a multi million dollar a year business now with three divisions. The Regeneration Station, Junk Recyclers, and Garage TRS are now staples in Asheville, keeping things out of landfills and offering customers the most entertaining and thrifty shopping experience in WNC. In addition to his businesses, he is a full time philanthropist and activist being on the ground in Standing Rock, Sabal Trail, and many, many other social and environmental causes. Tyler left his body in 2018. His spirit is still with us.
Co-Founder & Secretary: Kat Houghton Ph.D.
Kat is a psychologist committed to cultural change through facilitating personal transformation. Kat worked for 15 years with families of children with autism dedicated to changing within-family cultures from those of despair, or the drive to “fix” autism, to that of a deep appreciation of different world views and a focus on building bridges with empathy to communication. Kat’s doctoral work offered an alternative framework for autism intervention research grounded in dynamic systems theory and produced a group training program for parents of children with autism in underserved communities. The training program is currently in use in Argentina and Poland.
Since 2009, Kat has been running the software company, ilumivu.com, that provides wearable, mobile and web systems to psychologists and behavioral health researchers. These systems are part of the technological disruption of psychology that is allowing, for the first time, the systematic study of people in their natural environments (rather than the lab), acknowledging the interconnectedness of humans with the rest of the world and the complexity of factors influencing individual behavior. Her current work more closely integrates transformation on the individual, inter-personal and cultural level. Kat was instrumental in founding the Asheville Community Rights Movement which is moving towards local legislation to assert rights for self-governance and the rights of nature; a crucial step in dismantling corporate rule. Kat co-facilitates the Wild Asheville Community Chorus’s Take it to the Streets program which trains social justice activists through the power of music and spent time at the Standing Rock and Sabal Trail Water Protection camps.
Nikki Allen, Tresurer
Nikki Allen was Born in Portland, ME, and moved to Indianapolis where she graduated from The University of Indianapolis with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a minor in communications. She interned in college with Emmis Communications which lead to a job in the promotions department. In 2013, she moved from Indianapolis to Asheville, NC, and started working at The Regeneration Station (TRS). Her responsibilities at TRS include everything involved with managing a small business such as but not limited to: accounting, staffing, vendor and customers relations, inventory management, marketing and everyday operations. She is active in the community and assists in fundraising for Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, ABCCM, and other local and environmental causes.
David Reeves is President of The Alternative Board of Western NC. TAB boards are comprised of business owners and managers that meet in peer-groups to work on mutual problems in a confidential environment. He is working with about 20 companies.
David began his career with EF Hutton. After six years he left the corporate world to begin his career as an entrepreneur with the purchase of Cason Companies in Hendersonville. After operating Cason for 20 years he sold the company to key employees.
David retired for a few years before he became President of the Daniels Group in Asheville. David received a BS from UNC and an MBA from University of Washington. David has been active in many local Civic and Charitable organizations in WNC.
Rodrigo Afanador is a passionate business owner and committed community volunteer. He is the founder of Asheville Cash Buyers, a real estate investment company dedicated to providing fast, easy home buying solutions. With several years of real estate experience and a proven track record, he’s purchased and resold more than 50 properties in the Asheville, NC area and enjoys the challenge that comes with resolving complex financial situations for his clients. He currently serves as President of the Carolina Real Estate Investors Association (CREIA), a non-profit education group for real estate investors. When he’s not working, Rodrigo plays on two different soccer teams. He loves hiking, backpacking and mountain biking. Rodrigo is also a graduate of Prosago, a specialized program which teaches leadership to young people using an experiential model combining adventure and community as primary teaching tools. Now he’s able to combine his love for the outdoors with his desire to mentor future business leaders. He also makes time to volunteer at Asheville’s Woodfin Elementary as a lunch buddy. Rodrigo Afanador was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia and currently resides in Asheville, NC. He is an avid traveler who has visited over twenty countries and 35 states. Throughout his life, he has worked as a tutor, server, raft guide, legal assistant and line cook—all of these positions have helped him gain perspective and hone his business acumen. He is grateful for past opportunities and hopes for more moments to pay them forward in business and through his work with non-profit organizations focused on leadership training and development.