UNCSA Board of Trustees elects new officers

The Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) has elected new officers. Michael Tiemann of Chapel Hill was elected chair. Ralph Womble of Winston-Salem was elected vice chair, and Erna Womble of Winston-Salem was re-elected secretary/treasurer. The election took place during a conference call meeting on July 13.

Tiemann, who served as vice chair since 2013, succeeds Robert L. “Rob” King III, who will remain on the board.

Tiemann joined the board in 2012. He is an open source software pioneer, and became Red Hat’s first vice president of open source affairs in 2004.

Ralph Womble rejoined the board in 2015, having previously served from 2004-2010. Retired since 2006, he was president and CEO of Hanes Companies, Inc., and president of Hanes Dye and Finishing Co.

Erna Womble joined the board in 2013 and was elected secretary in 2014. She is a partner in the Winston-Salem office of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice.

King became a member of the Board of Trustees in 2010 and was elected chair in January 2013. He is CEO of Bob King Automotive Group, a franchised automobile dealer holding Hyundai, Kia, Mazda and Mitsubishi franchises. 

Michael Tiemann
Tiemann is a true open source software pioneer. He made his first major open source contribution nearly 30 years ago by writing the GNU C++ compiler and debugger. His early work led to the creation of leading open source technologies and the first open source business model. He continues to extend and apply the principles of open source to new disciplines, ranging from agriculture to music to sustainable energy production.

Born into a musical family, Tiemann attended the Saint Thomas Church Choir School (1974-1978) and sang with the Saint Thomas Church Choir of Men and Boys, conducted by Gerre Hancock. That experience, which included learning a repertoire more than 400 works of choral music, helped tune his ear for all the music he would encounter later in life. Tiemann has also studied classical and jazz guitar, studying most recently with John Heitzenrater.

In 1989, Tiemann's technical expertise and entrepreneurial spirit led him to co-found Cygnus Solutions, the first company to provide commercial support for open source software. During his 10 years at Cygnus, Tiemann contributed in a number of roles from president to hacker, helping lead the company from fledgling start-up to an admired open source leader. When Cygnus was acquired by Red Hat in 2000, Tiemann became Red Hat's chief technical officer before becoming its first vice president of open source affairs. In that role Tiemann provides technology, strategy, and policy advice to executives in the public and private sectors.

Tiemann is also president of Manifold Recording, a high-end, carbon-neutral recording studio, and The Miraverse, a music performance and production company, which he runs with his wife, Amy Tiemann. He practices and coaches To-Shin Do Ninjutsu as a Shōdan (black belt).

Tiemann graduated from the Moore School at the University of Pennsylvania (86) with a bachelor’s degree in computer science engineering, and later did research at Inria, the French national institute for computer science and applied mathematics, in 1988 and at Stanford University in 1988-1989.  

He is a member of the International Advisory Board of Carolina Performing Arts (2012-present), and a founding member of the Board of Advisors for the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (2006-present). He is also an advocate and friend of the Beat Making Lab and KidzNotes.

Tiemann has served on a number of boards crucial to the success of open source, including the Open Source Initiative (where he retired as president in April 2012). Tiemann also provides financial support to organizations that further the goals of software and programmer freedom, including the Free Software Foundation and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

As part of his interdisciplinary approach to furthering the understanding and practice of open source, he accepted an appointment as a visiting scholar at the School of Information and Library Science at UNC Chapel Hill (2004-2005). He has also lectured for UNC’s Department of Music (2011) on the philosophy of music recording and experience. Tiemann remains active in the Creative Commons community, as both a sponsor of projects and promoter of the cause.

Ralph Hanes Womble
Ralph Hanes Womble is a longtime friend of the UNC School of the Arts, currently serving on the Board of Visitors in addition to the Board of Trustees. He is a member of the Giannini Society and a former member of the Foundation Board. 

Womble was president of Hanes Companies, Inc., in Winston-Salem, and served on its Board of Directors. He was also vice president of Leggett & Platt, Inc. and was president of Hanes Dye & Finishing Co.

Womble was president of the Winston-Salem Millennium Fund and on the Board of Directors of the Winston-Salem Alliance, Winston-Salem Business Inc., the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership, the Winston-Salem Good Government PAC, the Twin City Club, the Roaring Gap Club, the Young Presidents’ Organization, and LeBleu Co. of Advance. He also served on the boards of Woodberry Forest School, Summit School and Reynolda House Museum of American Art.

He served on the Triad Regional Board of Trustees for Novant Health and is a trustee for the John Wesley and Anna Hodgin Hanes Foundation. He received his B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his M.B.A. from the Babcock School of Management at Wake Forest University.

Erna A.P. Womble
Erna Womble is president of Clearly Bespoke Strategies, Inc., providing executives, professionals, political, and other leaders in the private and public sectors with confidential, bespoke, decision-making and problem solving strategies including communication and leadership presence training. Her methodology is founded on research, writing and a niche developed during a litigation practice in the U.S. and Canada for more than 26 years, including partnership in Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP. 

She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a master’s in education at the College of Charleston, where she also taught music appreciation and music theory lab (ear training) part-time at the college level to help finance her undergraduate and graduate education. Womble earned a J.D. degree at the University of South Carolina, and served a federal judicial clerkship to the Hon. U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Perry, Jr., prior to entering private practice with Womble Carlyle.

The national Product Liability Advisory Council honored her with its Distinguished Service Award in 2007, and she is a permanent member of the U. S. Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference. She serves as an elected Vice President of the North Carolina Bar Association since June 2016 and has served as past chair of the Professionalism Committee of which she is currently a member.

Womble has an abiding interest in the arts and the humanities. She and her husband, Bill Womble Jr., are active participants and supporters of several arts, community and professional organizations. They delight in receiving continuing education from their children, Sara and David, who are currently pursuing professional careers in opera performance and English literary criticism, respectively.

by Lauren Whitaker

July 25, 2016