Ellis Hankins

Ellis Hankins, Senior Vice President


Ellis Hankins is a Senior Vice President with The Mercer Group, Inc., which provides executive search and consulting services to local governments and other entities nationwide. He also is an adjunct faculty member in the Master of Public Administration program at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government.

He served from 1997 until his retirement in early 2014 as Executive Director of the North Carolina League of Municipalities, the statewide municipal association.

The League represents and assists 540 municipalities and related entities on state legislative and regulatory issues, on federal issues in partnership with the National League of Cities, and on a broad range of intergovernmental issues, often working with other local government associations, private sector trade associations, and state and federal agencies. The League provides legal, policy research, communications and consulting services, and management advice on operations, public finance and personnel issues, to municipalities and associate members and professional affiliate organizations. It has a staff of 80, an operating budget of $13.5 million, and professional services contracts with several firms. The League also operates three local government insurance and risk management programs with assets of $250 million—property and liability, health benefits and workers compensation.

Ellis has moved between private law practice and the League staff during his career. He served previously as the League’s General Counsel and chief state legislative lobbyist, and was ranked consistently among the most influential lobbyists in biennial surveys by the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research. He has represented municipalities and other public and private sector entities and associations in state and federal trial and appellate courts and before congressional committees. He is a former member of the National League of Cities Board of Directors; the NLC Mutual Insurance Company Board of Directors and executive committee (reinsurance company with assets of $300 million); the NCLM Risk Management Services Board of Trustees (oversees the three public risk pools sponsored and administered by the League); the UNC School of Government Foundation Board of Directors; the Wake County Parks and Recreation Commission; and has served on numerous other non-profit, public and private sector boards, commissions and committees. He is a member of the Wake County Board of Education Advisory Committee and an active member of the PTA at his children’s school.

He is a native of North Carolina, attended UNC-Wilmington, and earned B.A., Master of Regional Planning and Law degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill. He is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and in federal courts, and completed the Fundamentals of Municipal Bond Law Seminar offered by the National Association of Bond Lawyers, and the Municipal Administration course at the UNC School of Government.

Ellis is married to Leanne Winner, who serves as Director of Governmental Relations with the North Carolina School Boards Association. Their family lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Contact Information:




1201 Little Lake Hill
Raleigh NC 27607

Mercer Group, Inc. 2019