ERICH CHATHAM, CHARLESTON, SC - founding partner

Erich has 9 years of professional experience in the field and, as Project Manager, will serve as the primary contact for Horry County staff. He will attend all required meetings and oversee the completion of any as-needed tasks. Recently, Erich worked on economic and community development projects with local governments, for-profits, and non-profits throughout South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Utah, Georgia, and Texas, to name a few. He serves as a national technical assistance provider for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and is a HOME Certified Specialist. In his role as a HUD TA Provider, Erich provides technical assistance to HUD grantees related to CDBG, CDBG-DR, HOME, and ESG program management. He has also conducted numerous IDIS and DRGR training workshops throughout the country.

Erich serves on numerous non-profit boards of directors including the Palmetto Community Land Trust, Grand Strand Housing and Community Development, the South Carolina Interagency Council on Homelessness and the Lowcountry Continuum of Care where he serves as the Chairman of the Governing Council. Erich received a Bachelor of Arts in History and Secondary Education Certification from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia. He then taught high school economics and government and coached several sports for four years. He also holds a Masters of Public Administration from the College of Charleston, with a focus on Economic Development and Urban Planning.



JIMMY ARDIS, Columbia, SC - Founding partner

Jimmy has 9 years of professional experience as a housing consultant, project manager, and policy researcher working with local governments big and small across the United States. He has extensive experience across the community development field, including: grant management, public-private partnerships, regulatory compliance, and financial reconciliation. Jimmy is a national technical assistance provider for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and is a HOME Certified Specialist. Jimmy specializes in HUD program management – CDBG, HOME, NSP, ESG, CDBG-DR – and is a nationally sought-after expert in the HUD Environmental Review process. Jimmy has a particular interest in sustainable, human-scaled urbanism and brings a passion for creating healthy living environments to all projects.

Prior to working as a community development consultant, Jimmy worked as a policy analyst at The Riley Center for Livable Communities at the College of Charleston. He began his career in the United States Air Force, working in the aviation and emergency management fields. Jimmy studied Business as an undergraduate at UMUC while living in Turkey and went on to earn a Masters of Public Administration at the College of Charleston.



Vern xiong, St. Paul, MN - Data collection and visualization

Vern has worked with Civitas for 4 years as a research assistant and data collection expert. His experience spans housing studies across the country including, but not limited to, Columbia, SC ConPlan and AAP; Horry County, SC ConPlan and AAP; and St. George, UT ConPlan and AAP. In addition to his work with Civitas, he has worked on research and evaluation for non-profits in Minnesota and Colorado, as well as international development projects in Southeast Asia and Central America. Coming from a refugee family, Vern has a special interest in helping displaced people and secondary migrants adapt, make healthy living choices, and grow with their new communities.

Before working at Civitas, Vern managed Lao Family’s Youth and Family program for seven years. He also helped lead many community development programs, including CDBG, in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Vern earned a Bachelor of Art from Greenville College, Illinois and a Certificate of Grant Proposal Writing from Fort Hayes State University.



Peter neiger, wilmington, nc - Data analyst

Peter has 7 years of professional experience in economic analysis, with 4 years specializing in housing policy issues. He will serve as the lead researcher and analyst on any as-needed projects, a role he has excelled at on many similar projects. Some of these previous projects include assisting with  CDBG-DR Technical Assistance for Jacksonville, Florida; Charleston, South Carolina Consolidated Plans, and IDIS Technical Assistance support for Greenville, North Carolina.

Peter has a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the College of Charleston. Before college, he joined the US Army where he served as an infantry paratrooper. Prior to working with Civitas, Peter was a data analyst in Washington DC where he focused on higher education reform. Peter currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Cape Fear Community Land Trust and is passionate about helping communities adapt to the changing economy by creating communities that are accessible to all residents.