Executive Team

The Executive Team plans, organizes and executes the organization’s operations strategy. The Executive Director and four key officers of each division meet regularly to discuss and confirm operational plans, establish organization priorities, set performance standards, coordinate projects between divisions, review progress toward organization and division goals, approve new procedures and assign project and program responsibilities. 


John Kownack

Executive Director

John Kownack

John Kownack accepted the position of Executive Directorfor the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority in March 2015.

Kownack began work with NRHA in April 2001 as its Program Services Director. He subsequently held interim positions as Rehabilitation Services Director and Assistant Executive Director for Housing Operations.  In 2008, he administered project financing programs and was later named the Authority’s Chief Housing Reinvention Officer. He became the Chief Community Development Officer in 2012, where he directed neighborhood revitalization, property rehabilitation assistance, housing development, home ownership assistance, and other related programs. 

Prior to NRHA, Kownack’s employment included 19 years of service with the City of Norfolk, including positions as Manager (Fiscal Division), responsible for grants and capital project budgeting and management; and Assistant Director of Human Services, responsible for administrative services, operations and financial management. Kownack has also served as the Chief Financial Officer for a private corporation specializing in the provision of therapeutic care for at-risk children.

Kownack is originally from upstate New York and attended the State University of New York at Albany (B.A. Economics) and the College of William and Mary (M.A. Government, Thesis Pending). He is married and has four children.

Contact: Phyllis Everette or 314.1679


Donna Mills

Chief Housing Officer

Donna Mills accepted the position of Chief Housing Officer for the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority in April 2018.

Donna Mills began work with NRHA in January 1994 as Property Manager for Bobbitt Midrise. During her tenure at NRHA she has also managed Hunter Square Midrise, Franklin Arms Midrise, and Moton Circle before being appointed as Asset Manager to assist the Authority meet the HUD requirements to transition to an asset management model of oversight in 2007. She was then appointed Director of Property Management in 2008 were she has served before being named the Chief Housing Officer. 

Prior to NRHA, Donna accumulated 9 years of experienced in property management of conventional, military, and affordable housing of both public housing and low income housing tax credit properties. Mills also serves as the Board Chairperson of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Credit Certified Professional (HCCP) and is Registration Chairperson for the Norfolk Senior Olympics.

Donna is originally from North Carolina but calls Virginia home. She attended Tidewater Community College and Old Dominion University were she graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Business. She is very active and enjoys skiing, running, hiking, dancing, and motorcycle riding.


Contact Melanie Murphy or 757.314.2018.



Virginia Mack

Chief Administrative Officer


As Interim Chief Financial Officer for the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA), Virginia Mack leads professional staff in the areas of financial operations, budget and compliance, purchasing and administrative services. Mack also serves as the Budget and Compliance Director for NRHA. She has been employed at NRHA since December 1987. She began her career as a Rehabilitation Finance Specialist and was promoted to a Senior Budget Analyst. She worked her way up through the ranks of the Budget Office where she currently holds the position of the Budget and Compliance Director. During her tenure at NRHA Mrs. Mack was selected to head up the documentation and automation of business operations for the Development Division, established a land reporting system as well as created and implemented the operating procedures for the rehabilitation finance section.

Prior to NRHA, Mack was employed at Countrywide Funding Corporation and with a local accounting firm.

Mack is a native of the Hampton Roads area. She attended Frank W. Cox High School and received her degree from Old Dominion University (BS in business administration, concentrating in real estate finance). 

Mack has been active in volunteer activities with Boy Scouts of America and served as a volunteer Master Financial Counselor with Virginia Beach Cooperative Extension. 

Mack participates in spin classes weekly and enjoys outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, walking on the beach and spends time in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Mack is married and has one child.


 Contact: Phyllis Everette or 757.314.1679

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NOTICE OF NONDISCRIMINATION - NRHA provides equal housing and employment opportunities for all persons. NRHA does not discriminate against any applicant, resident or employee on the basis of disability, age, race, color, religion, gender, familial status or national origin in the admission, access or operations of programs, services or activities. NRHA complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. An internal grievance procedure is available to resolve complaints. If you feel you have been discriminated against, you have the right to file a complaint of discrimination  by calling toll free (888) 799-2085. Qualified individuals who need communication aids, services or other accommodations to participate in programs and activities are invited to make your needs known to the 504/ADA Coordinator, Kim Thomas (757) 623-1111. Please give NRHA at least seven to ten days advance notice to meet your needs