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Laurel Tinsley

Operating Officer

Laurel serves as the Managing Director of the Strategic Financing Services team at Cherry Bekaert Advisory. With 20 years of experience, Laurel brings expertise in complex financial transactions for the economic development of communities through her knowledge of federal and state New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC), Historic Tax Credits, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, Renewable Energy Tax Credits, bond financing and other types of incentives. Laurel provides clients with technical guidance through transactions beginning at inception and assists in compliance through the entirety of the loans until unwind. Before joining Cherry Bekaert, Laurel was the Chief Executive Officer of MBS Urban Initiatives, a Community Development Entity (CDE), and Deputy General Counsel of Development at McCormack Baron Salazar. During her tenure, Laurel deployed over $297 million of the CDE’s NMTC allocation into 42 investments resulting in over $1.16 billion in investment in Low-Income Communities (LICs) across the country.


Emma Wyatt

Program Manager

As Program Manager of The Innovate Fund, Emma oversees the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) funding that helps to revitalize low-income communities in TIF’s service area. Emma supports, supervises, and implements The Innovate Fund’s strategic plan that includes community engagement, pipeline development, and marketing throughout the service area. 

Emma has successfully closed $144,900,000 of NMTC transactions in her roles at TIF and a previous role at People Incorporated Financial Services, an Appalachian based CDE. 


David Barnett

Chairman of the Innovate Fund Board

David Barnett currently serves as the Chairman of the Board for The Innovate Fund. David also serves as Board President for the Greenville Local Development Corporation. David retired from banking in 2020 (former President and CEO of Pinnacle Bank of SC) and now serves on the Division Board of Directors of Park National Bank. David has been instrumental in helping The Innovate Fund and the Greenville Local Development Corporation invest dollars into low income communities in the Upstate and throughout South Carolina.

Advisory Board

  • Andrew Crosson, Invest Appalachia, Chief Executive Officer
  • Bill Pollard, BrightBridge Capital, COO
  • Brendan Buttimer, The Reinvestment Fund, Senior Director, Equitable Food Systems
  • Brian Oxford, CAHEC, Manager, Acquisitions & New Markets
  • Carl Rees, Electricities of NC, Senior Economic Developer
  • Duncan Cheney, Metanoia CDC, Director of Physical Asset Development
  • LaTorri Geer, Community Works, Chief Executive Officer
  • Merle Johnson, Orangeburg County Development Commission, Executive Director
  • William Turner, Wells Fargo Corporate & Investment Banking, Senior Vice President

Operating Board

  • David Barnett, Board Chair – Carolina Alliance Bank, President SC Western Region
  • Laurel Tinsley, Operating Officer – Tax Advantage Group by Cherry Bekaert, Managing Director
  • Tammy Propst – Tax Advantage Group by Cherry Bekaert, Founder and Former Managing Director
  • Michael Panasko – City of Greenville, Business Development Manager
  • Mark Cooter – Cherry Bekaert, Managing Partner SC Upstate
  • Andrew Kurtz – Kopis, LLC, CEO & Vigilix, LLC, CEO
  • Charlie Mickel – RSI Holdings, President