Ray Gibbs, President

Ray GibbsRay Gibbs has over 37 years of professional experience from all sides of the development table, including 26 years serving as the key executive of downtown and community development organizations in North Carolina and Virginia. He was the initial Main Street Manager for Smithfield, NC, serving in that historic town for twelve years. Later, Ray became the second President of Downtown Greensboro Inc., where, in his eight years, he grew both the organization and the city’s downtown.  From a nine-to-five professional office-dominated downtown, Ray helped ignite the near 24-7 downtown the city maintains today, with hundreds of housing units, dozens of restaurants and entertainment venues, theatres, a professional baseball stadium and a world-class center city park complex. The Master Plan he coordinated and helped draft remains to be the blueprint for continued Greensboro center city progress.

Ray is also a professional Landscape Architecture with a degree from North Carolina State University and its prestigious College of Design. He is licensed to practice in four states, including North Carolina. Ray began his professional career as a City Planner/Landscape Architect for his hometown in New Jersey before moving to Smithfield, NC. Other professional stops include several years as a Senior Associate for a major national development company, shepherding a series of multi-family developments in North Carolina. Ray’s experience also includes the private side of design practice, as a Senior Landscape Architect for one of the world’s largest engineering firms and through his own consulting firms.

For additional information, please contact Ray Gibbs at: or call 336.883.9891

Melissa Bocci, Destination Website Manager

Melissa BoccciBorn in Syracuse, NY, Melissa and her family moved to Greensboro, North Carolina over 27 years ago. Since then she has worked as an office administrator with several non-profits and other establishments, including working with Ray Gibbs initially as an office manager for over 7 years for the Downtown Greensboro Incorporated (DGI). She brings to her current position over 38 years of experience in office management and over 16 years experience as an event planner. Melissa has also spent many years in downtown revitalization efforts beyond DGI and Forward High Point. During her tenure in other positions, she volunteered as the event chair for the Stokesdale Business Association, where she served on their Board of Directors in the capacity of Vice Chair for over 2 years. She then co-founded the Four-Corners Chamber of Commerce which is still in existence to this day. During that time, she also served as the Treasurer and Secretary for the board of ROADS (Revitalizing Our Ancestors Dreams in Stokesdale). The mission of all three of these volunteer organizations has been on building upon the hope and dream of making a vibrant downtown in Stokesdale. Since her son and his family reside in High Point, she feels an intense need to make sure that they reap the benefits of what a strong and prosperous downtown feels like. She believes that based on the leadership of Forward High Point, downtown High Point will be a place where the community will want to live, work and play!

For additional information, please contact Melissa Bocci at:


Michael Wallace, Creative Branding Designs

Michael grew up in the High Point area and has called North Carolina home for 29 years of his life, including receiving a degree from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. As a social media and marketing consultant Michael has been integral to the expansion of Forward High Point's social reach and web presence over the past 4 years. Michael's long history of partnering with non-profits to tell compelling stories and engage with targeted audiences has helped to craft an intentional path forward as our downtown area has continued to grow and develop. In addition to supporting Forward High Point, Michael is an adjunct professor in the School of Communication at High Point University and his company, Creative Branding Designs, manages social media platforms, websites, email marketing, brand development and more for companies both locally and beyond the High Point area. As a High Point resident he is thrilled with the continued advances that our downtown has the privilege of enjoying. 

For additional information, please contact Michael Wallace at:



Katie Brownlee, FHP Intern

Katie Brownlee is a recent grad (2021) from High Point University who majored in Strategic Communication and Marketing. She is from Raleigh, NC and has two younger sisters who are twins. Throughout her years at High Point University, Katie was a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma, Theta Alpha chapter and served in many different leadership positions such as Public Relations Chairman, Goals Coordinator on the standards board and Ritual Chairman. She also become team captain for the High Point University Club Gymnastics team. Having graduating from HPU in May 2021, Katie is now attending graduate school at High Point University to further her studies in the Communication and Business Leadership Master’s Program."  Working for FHP, her focus will be on "Katie's Blog" and informative articles on Downtown's Movers and Shakers. 

For additional information, please contact Katie Brownlee at: