Guest Speakers

Thomas M. Colclough, Deputy District Director
Charlotte District Office of the U.S. Employment Opportunity Commission

Thomas M. Colclough began his career with EEOC in 1988. He has held various positions such as Investigator, Enforcement Supervisor, Local Office Director of Greensboro, NC, Local Director of the Richmond, Va. Office and Area Director of the Raleigh Area Office.  On August 10, 2014, he assumed the position of Deputy District Director of the Charlotte District Office.

 As the Deputy District Director of the Charlotte Office, he provides guidance and direction to support the EEOC's national and local enforcement plans. His office model ensures that employees focus on the Commission's top priorities and he works to motivate all employees to work together on common goals.  He works closely with the District Director and other management employees within the Charlotte District.

Mr. Colclough graduated from Saint Augustine's College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and received his Master of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro ("UNCG"). He also earned a Certificate in Global Studies from UNCG. 

Mr. Colclough served in the military for 23 years (active and reserve). In 2005, Colclough retired from the North Carolina National Guard at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  He is also a graduate of the Army's Command and General Staff College.

Lynn Gordon, J.D., General Counsel
New Hanover Regional Medical Center

Lynn Gordon serves as General Counsel for New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

Lynn joined NHRMC in 2017. Prior to this, she was a Partner and Chair of the Healthcare Department in the Chicago office of Nixon Peabody, LLP, a highly ranked national firm for Health Care Law.  Lynn holds a number of honors and awards for her work, including a long-standing ranking by Chambers USA as one of America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, focusing in health care law and she publishes and presents frequently in this area of law. 

Lynn has worked with and represented hospitals and health care systems for over 20 years, including non-profit, for-profit, County and District hospitals, and regional and national systems. She has also represented physician groups in larger joint ventures and other complex transactions with health systems.  Her experience includes significant network development, merger, acquisition, and other transactional work, as well as regulatory compliance. She has also handled a number of medical staff privileges and credentialing matters, physician integration initiatives, licensing, accreditation, and reimbursement matters.

Lynn holds a Juris Doctorate, with a Health Law Concentration, from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, a MA in English, from North Carolina State University, and a BA in English, from Michigan State University. Lynn will be licensed in North Carolina and Illinois.

Paula Kohut
Kohut & Adams, P.A.

Paula A. Kohut is a shareholder in Kohut & Adams, PA, in Wilmington, North Carolina where she focuses her practice on trust and estate planning and administration, non-profits and business law. She is a Fellow in and member of the Diversity and Inclusivity and Elder Law Committees of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, council member of the Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Associations.  She serves as Co-Chair of the Board of Equality NC and is a board member of St. Jude’s Wilmington Foundation, Inc. and Coastal Women Attorneys.

Ward and Smith Speakers

Wes Camden
White Collar Defense Attorney

Wes helps businesses and professionals respond to government investigations or criminal prosecutions. A former federal prosecutor, Wes uses his insight to frame his client’s situation, while attempting to mitigate the damage these investigations frequently bring. The earlier he is involved, the more likely he can alter the direction of the case. Wes also draws on his experience when conducting internal investigations of potential wrongdoing and advising private clients on appropriate responsive actions.

Wes tells his clients, "Where you begin your response to a government investigation often dictates where you end. Generally, the most critical moments in responding to a government investigation are the first ones. Successfully navigating the initial interactions with government agents, or initial request for documents by a government agency, can significantly impact the outcome of the investigation." Wes' clients benefit from his perspective on how a government investigation develops and the tactics that prosecutors and investigators will likely use to build their case. Wes' counsel aids clients in avoiding criminal charges and achieving other non-public outcomes.

Wes has spent his entire career litigating cases in the federal courts of North Carolina, both for and against the United States Department of Justice. His experience includes high-stakes matters involving health care fraud, Clean Water Act, violations, mail and wire fraud, racketeering and public corruption, computer hacking, customs violations, money laundering, False Claims Act violations, immigration law violations, and federal firearms violations. Despite the wide range of these subjects, Wes approaches each case with a common philosophy—a commitment to creative and innovative strategic thinking, hard work, and relentless attention to detail.

Ken Gray
Labor and Employment Attorney

Ken leads the firm's Labor and Employment practice. His practice experience encompasses various areas of employment-related litigation.  He advises clients and litigates cases involving all forms of employment discrimination, wrongful discharge, and breach of employment contracts from small start-up companies to Fortune 500 corporations.  Ken is a frequent lecturer on employment discrimination, workplace retaliation, workers' compensation, and wage and hour law issues.  He has been rated by his peers as being "preeminent" in his fields of law and serves in leadership roles with various legal and civic organizations.  Ken is a former president of the Craven County Bar Association, a former two-term president of the Board of Directors for the United Way of Coastal Carolina, and Chairman of the Deacons of First Baptist Church of New Bern.

Steve Long
Tax and Employee Benefits Attorney

Steve Long leads the firm's Tax and Employee Benefits practice. He has extensive experience working with employers in banking, retail, and technology to establish and maintain retirement plans, executive compensation agreements, stock incentive plans and other employee benefits. 

Steve also advises charities and other tax-exempt organizations regarding their IRC 403(b) and IRC 457 retirement plans, as well as issues related to compliance with Internal Revenue Service and state regulations concerning executive compensation, fundraising and lobbying activities. Additionally, he counsels business owners and individuals in retirement and estate planning.

Emily Massey
Labor and Employment Attorney

Emily's practice focuses on a wide range of labor and employment law issues, including personnel policies and handbooks, background checks, employment discrimination and harassment, employee discipline and termination, drug and alcohol testing, and various wage and hour matters.  


Will Oden
Labor and Employment Attorney

Will leads the firm's Workplace Safety and Health practice. His practice experience encompasses various areas of employment and workplace-related counseling and civil litigation in both the federal and state courts at the trial and appellate levels.  Will also regularly represents employers and employees before the United States Department of Labor (USDOL), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL), the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC), the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Employment Security (DES), and federal and state wage and hour divisions. He is a frequent lecturer and advises clients on a wide range of personnel issues, including Title VII, Family and Medical Leave Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act and Fair Labor Standards Act.

Will has been certified by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) as a Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) since that designation first was available, and by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) since 2008. The American Staffing Association has certified him as a Certified Staffing Professional (CSP).  Will also is certified by the National Association of Personnel Services (NAPS) as a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC).  The Safety and Health Council of North Carolina and North Carolina Department of Labor have certified him as the first North Carolina attorney to be a Manager of Environmental Safety and Health Programs (MESH).  Will is OSHA 30 trained.  He also serves as a mediator and is certified by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission.  He is one of the first employment attorneys in North Carolina to receive Civil Collaborative Practice training, and employs this interest based negotiation model where appropriate.

Jerry Sayre
Employment Law Counselor and Litigator

Jerry's practice experience encompasses all aspects of federal and state employment law, including Title VII, Family and Medical Leave Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, and various state law provisions. He has litigated employment matters in federal and state courts at both trial and appellate levels.  He regularly defends claims of discrimination (including sex, race, age, national origin, and disability), retaliation, sexual and racial harassment, breach of contract, wrongful discharge, and other work-related tort claims.

Jerry also is an experienced employment counselor. He regularly advises employers on ways to avoid litigation and improve employee relations.  He advises clients on all aspects of federal and state employment law, including hiring and termination practices, pay policies and practices, employee discipline, employee handbooks, drug testing, background checks, and employee safety.  He is a frequent author and speaker, addressing topics related to employment law and litigation.

Hayley Wells
Employment Law Attorney

Hayley's practice primarily focuses on labor and employment law and civil litigation. She regularly advises individual and corporate clients in matters of covenants not to compete, employment discrimination, discipline and termination, harassment, wrongful discharge, wage and hour matters, personnel policies and procedures, and preparation of employee handbooks and employment agreements. Additionally, she represents both corporate and individual clients in all aspects related to litigation including hearings, depositions, discovery, mediation, arbitration, and trial. Her experience ranges from commercial litigation to personal injury matters. Hayley also advises brewery and craft alcoholic beverage clients in various aspects of the law, including permitting, negotiation and preparation of distribution agreements, enforcement actions, interpretative guidance, music licensing, and personnel matters.

Devon Williams
Labor and Employment Attorney

Devon's experience focuses on a wide range of labor and employment issues, including wage and hour matters, federal contractor compliance, employment discrimination and harassment, employee discipline and termination, personnel policies, and background checks. In matters relating to employee benefits, she concentrates on issues confronting welfare benefit plans (such as medical, dental, and other plans) and their sponsors, including the provisions and impact of the Affordable Care Act.