W. Frank Newton (1941-2015)
Founder and late Chairman

A legend in the Community Development field, his company has managed U.S. Housing & Urban Development (HUD) grant portfolios in Georgia for Cobb and Gwinnett Counties since the 1980s. Frank was instrumental in forming public-private partnerships and strengthening social service infrastructures in both counties. On the nation level, he frequently lobbied on behalf of his county clients on Capitol Hill to secure additional grant funding. His encyclopedic knowledge of how Congress worked was simply without peer. Frank was a visionary who saw the need for Community Development practitioners across the country to form an organization to give them a voice in Washington. This resulted in the formation of the National Association of County Community and Economic Development (NACCED) which today represents the interests of those working with HUD at the County level.


Nick Autorina
President and CEO

Nick Autorina, President and Chief Executive Officer, has broad experience in the management and administration of various federal grant entitlement programs. His experience includes service as managing director for Cobb County’s Georgia Community Development Block Grant program and coordinator of HUD activities for the consolidated governments of Augusta-Richmond County. He joined WFN in 1998.

Mr. Autorina has created multiple Community Development tools, including the Community Asset Gap Analysis™, the Housing Opportunity Zone Matrix, and the Investment-Based Efficiency Model for HUD’s Federal Block Grant Programs and various professional papers. He is a principal trainer and featured speaker at local and national workshops and conferences on emerging programmatic and regulatory issues relevant to the Community Development practitioner.

He has been called on to prepare materials or serve as an expert witness in court cases involving complex HUD regulations on eligible uses, administrative costs and compliance with Fair Housing and other cross-cutting requirements.

Mr. Autorina’s experience with federal and HUD-specific entitlement grant programs, paired with his leadership of WFN’s Business Development team, gives the company the ability to deliver in-depth reporting products and consulting services widely regarded as the industry’s standard.

In addition to his MBA, Mr. Autorina earned a Juris Doctor degree from Taft University Law School in Santa Ana, CA.