Last Updated on 6/13/2019

The AHBA Speakers Bureau is a collection of members available and willing to speak at local schools and events on their area of specialty. This resource connects a variety of professionals in the building industry with people in our community. Interested in being considered for the speakers bureau? Complete your Application Here

Top 5 Reasons/Benefits of Being on the AHBA Speakers Bureau

  1. Give Back to the Community
  2. Inspire Future Workforce
  3. Understand and Gain Insight to the Future Workforce
  4. Promote your Company/Industry/Trade
  5. Meet Potential Interns and/or New Hires


Stephanie Chapman of Advance Cabinetry

Stephanie Chapman is a kitchen & bath designer for Advance Cabinetry, a cabinetry design firm that specializes in high quality cabinetry. She has been with Advance Cabinetry for almost 5 years. She meets with clients to design spaces for their homes that give them the most functional spaces while achieving their dreams and meeting their needs. She dedicates her time to understanding how the clients will use each room and the best way to design a space that meets the maximum function and aesthetic appeal for them.

Trade/Skill Area: Kitchen & Bath Design / Cabinetry

Educational Background: BS in Interior Design specializing in Kitchen & Bath from The University of Georgia

On-Site Demos and Tangible Work Examples

For more information contact

Stephanie Chapman • 828-676-3550


Emma Kechter of Brigman Group, Inc.

Emma Kechter is the Design Manager for The Brigman Group, a design-build firm specializing in investment and custom residential home building. Joining the team in 2017 with a background in commercial and residential interior design, Emma is responsible for all aspects of design including the design of the floor plans, exterior and interior finishes, to the landscape design. She carefully oversees every project from start to finish ensuring quality in every detail of design.

Trade/Skill Area: Interior Design / Design Manager

Educational Background: BFA in Interior Design from Savannah College of Art and Design

Tangible Work Examples

For more information contact

Emma Kechter • 678-478-2742


Brandon Bryant of Red Tree Builders

Brandon Bryant is President of Red Tree Builders and a Master Certified Green Builder (MasterCGP). As a builder with more than 12 years experience, Brandon’s serving his first of two years as President of the Asheville Home Builders Association. His homes have been featured on the cover of Green Home Builder magazine along with winning national and regional awards such as NAHB Best in Green Award, Innovative Home Award, Craftsmanship Award, and North Carolina Star Award for Best Energy Efficient Home in the State along with having each of his homes certified green. He was voted the 2015 Asheville Builder of the Year and along with being honored as Builder Magazine Top 40 under 40. This year at International Builders Show Brandon was awarded the Green Professional Designee of the Year.

Trade/Skill Area: Builder

Educational Background: BS degree in Computer Science from Mars Hill College

On-Site Demos and Tangible Work Examples

For more information contact

Brandon Bryant • 828-712-1518


Smith McAulay of WSM Craft

Smith McAulay is owner and president of WSM Craft, a Design-Build company that brings a creative artisan approach to new construction and large scale remodel projects. The WSM Custom Shop manufactures custom cabinetry and specialty trim elements for use in our new and enhanced home projects.

Trade/Skill Area: Builder

Educational Background: After graduating from college with degrees in Art and Comparative Religion, I pursued a variety of creative avenues that included music, luthiery (building guitars and banjos), and home remodel carpentry. Carpentry proved to be a lucrative and versatile skill, yet my passion remained in the wood shop; a creative space to create interesting and unique elements for the home. As I grew a little older, an increased commitment to the trade and the industry gave way to more sophisticated projects and a developing interest in design and in refining an outstanding in-house design-build business model.

On-Site Demos and Tangible Work Examples

For more information contact

Smith McAulay • 828-337-1957


Skip Brewer, AMB, CGP of Walnut Cove Builders, LLC

Skip Brewer has been a longstanding member of the AHBA and is a current Board Member and Past President of the AHBA. He has also chaired various AHBA Committees. He has a degree in Industrial Management and has held a North Carolina and South Carolina Building License for over 20 years. He teaches various AHBA Advanced Contractor Education (ACE) Classes.  He has been awarded the AHBA Builder of the Year Award and is also an AHBA Parade of Homes Silver Winner. Most of his building career has been spending building large custom homes in the Asheville Area.

Trade/Skill Area: Custom Residential Building

Educational Background: Industrial Management Engineer, NC and SC General Contractors License, NC Builder Institute Accredited Master Builder; National Association of Home Builders Certified Green Professional

On-Site Demos and Tangible Work Examples

For more information contact

Skip Brewer • 828-777-1969


Jim Robertson of Builders FirstSource

Jim began selling building materials in 1985 with Lowe’s and has since held positions including General Manager and Sales Manager with building material suppliers in Western NC. He has extensive leadership experience, inventory management knowledge and understands the residential construction supply industry. Jim started at the bottom working hard and long hours moving into management positions with Lowe’s, The Contractor Yard, ProBuild and Builders FirstSource. He has been involved with affordable housing issues on a volunteer basis in Hendersonville and surrounding community since the mid 1990’s and has extensive knowledge of the issues surrounding safe and affordable housing in Western NC.

Trade/Skill Area: Sales/Retail Management

Educational Background: I was educated in Northern NJ graduating from Ramapo HS in 1979. I took a few business and accounting classes at a local college but ended up in the workforce soon after high school. Experience and asking lots of questions have been my education (that and paying attention to some great teachers in school). I feel blessed to have had some excellent leaders and role models that took time to help educate me and further my career.

On-Site Demos 

For more information contact

Jim Robertson • 828-707-6815


Ashley Kepley-Steward of Red Tree Builders

Ashley KepleySteward is a project manager for Red Tree Builders, a green building firm specializing in custom residential homes. She is responsible for planning, scheduling, troubleshooting, vendor/trade meetings, and obtaining city/county permits. Ashley oversees every aspect of the build from ground breaking to handing the keys over to the new owners. Her love of construction began as a young child helping her grandmother update a mill house. Today, Ashley enjoys creating, organizing and building not only with Red Tree Builders but also working on her own home.

Trade/Skill Area: Construction Management

Educational Background: Prior to obtaining a Construction Management A.A.S. & Construction Management Certificate from Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Ashley was a personal trainer and co-owner of a painting company. When she found the Construction Management program at A-B Tech she decided to combine her management skills and love of construction to create a career that she could be passionate about.

On-Site Demos and Tangible Work Examples

For more information contact

Ashley Kepley-Steward • 704-668-4346

Murphy Funkhouser Capps of Kudzu Brands

Murphy Funkhouser Capps is the founder and brand strategist of the successful brand and marketing agency Kudzu Brands, which has helped hundreds of businesses tell their stories and make an impact in the market. Known for her enthusiasm and passion for helping leaders develop and businesses grow, Murphy is also a business coach, speaker, educator, and mentor. She has taught at UNC-Asheville, AB Tech and Blue Ridge Community College, guiding entrepreneurs, marketers, and other small business owners. She is on the board of the UNC-Asheville Management and Accountancy Department Advisory Board. Kudzu Brands has won two Sky High Growth Awards from the Asheville Chamber, was designated as a high potential growth business by the Advantage West ScaleUp program and was chosen for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at Babson College. In 2018, Murphy was awarded the Woman Up Best in Business Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Asheville Chamber of Commerce.

Trade/Skill Area: Branding & Marketing

Educational Background:  Murphy studied theatre in a college and went on to work in food and beverage, retail, radio and as the operations manager of a large staffing agency in the mountains of Colorado. Her diverse business experience combined with her passion and abilities as a storyteller and performer came together when she started her branding and marketing agency 9 years ago. Her company has since helped put hundreds of businesses “on stage” and tell their stories with impact.

On-Site Demos and Tangible Work Examples

For more information contact
Murphy Funkhouser Capps • 828-357-8350