Meet New Board Member Doug Greenwell

Doug Greenwell joined our board in early 2023. Get to know Doug and his vision for our organization:

My background with Rebuild Upstate

About 4 years ago while looking for a project for my community group at church, I  found the Rebuild Upstate website. Rebuild Upstate helped our group organize a ramp  construction for a retired couple in Taylors. It was a very rewarding experience for our  group of 15 volunteers and the homeowners were very appreciative.  

Seeing firsthand the impact that our small unskilled group could have on a homeowner,  I was hooked. With the age and mobility of the homeowners, they could not safely  enter and exit their home without assistance. This ramp project would afford them the  independence to stay safely where they wanted to be, in their home.  

I continued to volunteer on several other projects and engaged my men’s group from  church. The Rebuild Upstate volunteer coordinator at that time contacted about  joining the Advisory Council. This afforded me the opportunity to learn more about the  organization and its extensive impact on our local community. 

Being an engineer with some practical hands-on skills it was easy for me to learn the  Rebuild construction work. I decided to volunteer as a team leader for Saturday builds  with other teams. I also worked with Rebuild to organize some “Just Serve” volunteer  days with my church (Grace Downtown). 

A couple of years ago, I pursued the idea of an ongoing weekly commitment and joined  the Handyman Club. It has been very rewarding to see how the Handyman groups,  after one week, can go into a home and “fix” a major issue for a homeowner who  needs some help. In many cases it is the difference between the homeowner’s ability  to stay at home or seek some other type of assisted housing. This is key! 

Part of a Vision – GVL2040  

As a board member I would like to see Rebuild become an even larger part of  managing the homelessness and gentrification issues of Greenville. This will require a  multi-faceted approach which is spelled out in the GVL2040 Comprehensive Plan.  

  • Building of affordable housing strategically located in these at risk communities  (Nicholtown, Pleasant Valley, Judson…). GVL2040 Comprehensive Plan refers to  them as Nodes of development.  
  • Building new affordable homes in existing communities – organizations like Homes  of Hope, Habitat for Humanity…  
  • Transitional housing and support services where residents are allowed to recover  from difficult situations and return to society with wellness and the ability to  contribute again. Another program that focuses on this segment is Front Porch  housing (a mission of Grace Church).
  • Repair, update and fix existing homes to allow homeowners stay safely in their  homes. Of course this is where Rebuild Upstate is a valuable contributor and fits into  this complex picture. 

In addition long range community planning needs to support the infrastructure needed  to integrate these communities into thriving and contributing to the city at large. 

  • Public transportation systems that allow these residents access to other parts of  the city where they can find meaningful and good paying employment. The  transportation is aligned to meet the needs of these Nodes of development. 
  • Local schools and organizations with training, skills, and job placements to  continue to raise the level of education and earning potential in many of these low  income areas. 
  • And churches willing to engage and minister to the people of these  communities. Not only on the physical and spiritual needs of the community, but  churches willing to commit to the financial and resource needs of their communities. 

All of this infrastructure planning centers around these housing Nodes of Development. Rebuild Upstate Moving Forward  

In 2023, Rebuild Upstate has the opportunity to not only continue its very good work  for the community (over 100 homes repaired annually), but to become a more integral  part of Greenville’s strategic plan for responsible growth of our community. 

One of the focal points of the GVL 2040 Comprehensive Plan is affordable housing  opportunities. Reference page #52 of this plan passed by city council in February  2021. 

  • Greenville City projects the need of an additional 20,000 new housing units by 2040. 
  • The GVL2040 objective is to make 10% (2000 units) affordable housing. This is on  average an additional 100 units per year. 
  • This would require direct public subsidy of approximately $2.5 million per year over  the next 20 years. See Page #52 of report for details. The report goes on to say that for each additional 1% increment in affordable housing it is estimated to cost the city an additional $5 million per year over 20 years. This is due to the limited supply of  land and infrastructure for new housing. 

Our Opportunity  

What if Rebuild Upstate commits to providing this additional 1% low income housing?  That is 10 homes that are brought up to the standards in these new residential Nodes. 

A typical project could be more extensive than normal for Rebuild Upstate – structural  repair, new bathroom, exterior doors, roof, siding…. 

Rebuild Upstate has the know-how, tools, staffing, and expertise to fill this gap. I am  not proposing Rebuild Upstate get into the business of building new homes, but by  rebuilding homes that may be abandoned. That is our core business now! 

Rebuild Upstate continues its mission to make homes safe, healthy, and livable. What  happens if we don’t “fix” these existing homes? Eventually the homeowners are going  to have to go somewhere – move in with relatives, assisted living, government housing,  

or homelessness? In any event by keeping families in their existing homes, we are  essentially providing one more affordable housing unit.  

As part of the GVL2040 plan, we focus on improving housing in these target Node  areas. Rebuild Upstate would coordinate with the city and community leaders to  identify which homes we can rebuild to make safer or viable part of community.  

We align with the mission of GVL2040 “Traditional neighborhoods are protected and  maintained”. For the city’s input in this part of our mission, we would expect funding  and communication of the critical part we are taking in the plan.  

Let’s take this opportunity to partner with the city and take a visible and active role in  building these Community Nodes. This should not take away from our mission, but be  another avenue for Rebuild Upstate to invest in the life of our community. 


A mechanical engineer by training I have worked for Michelin for 40 years in various  engineering management roles. Retired two years ago and now have more time to give  back to the community. 

Besides volunteering for Rebuild Upstate, I am also active in my Church – Grace  Pelham. I have led various men’s groups and enjoy always learning and developing  relationships with other Christian men. 

At retirement I bought a small recreational farm in Laurens county. It has keep me very  busy these last two years, clearing timbers, preparing fields, and wildlife planning. I  enjoy working on the farm, gardening, and hunting on the land (deer, turkey, dove). Also, when I have time I enjoy the solitude of fly fishing in the North Carolina  mountains.  

Last but not least are my two sons, their wives, and six grandchildren (3 boys, 3 girls).  My wife and I support the grands in football, basketball, soccer, piano, dance,  gymnastics……with cheering and chauffeur services. 


Thank you for your volunteerism, Doug! Let’s get to work!