Staff

Tom CormonsTom Cormons, J.D. — Executive Director

Tom joined Appalachian Voices in 2007 to open our Virginia office, which under his direction became a major player in energy and environmental issues in the state. In 2010, he became Deputy Programs Director, helping to develop our programmatic strategy and supervise our program teams. In 2013, he assumed the role of Executive Director. Tom received his B.A. from the University of Virginia, where he majored in Political and Social Thought and minored in Philosophy, and his J.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles, with a concentration in Public Interest Law and Policy. He is a member of the Virginia State Bar. His previous experience includes working as a law clerk with the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Piedmont Environmental Council, the U. S. Department of Justice, and Environmental Defense. He also worked with endangered and threatened migratory terns in South America for six seasons, overseeing radio-tracking of the birds. Tom lives in Charlottesville with his wife, Heather, whom he met while working as a whitewater and climbing guide in southern West Virginia, and their children, Brooke, Kai, and Cassie.
email tom.cormons [at] appvoices.org

Matt WassonMatt Wasson, Ph.D. — Director of Programs

Matt has worked at Appalachian Voices since 2001 and has served in various capacities ranging from Executive Director to the editor of The Appalachian Voice. As Director of Programs, Matt provides the long-range vision for the direction of our program work. He received his B.S. in Zoology from the University of Washington, and Ph.D. in Ecology from Cornell University. Since his time doing research at Cornell on the impacts of acid rain on birds, Matt has worked on all aspects of the “coal cycle” — from mining, transportation and combustion of coal to the disposal of power plant waste. Matt designs and builds web-based databases with sophisticated search functions for use by professionals and citizens working on coal-related issues. Matt also oversees the award-winning online campaign to stop mountaintop removal coal mining, iLoveMountains.org. A nationally recognized authority on mountaintop removal coal mining and coal economics, Matt has testified before Congress, appears frequently on expert panels, and is a contributor to high-profile media outlets including Huffington Post, Grist, and Daily Kos.
matt [at] appvoices.org

Cat McCueCat McCue — Director of Communications

Cat brings more than two decades of experience in environmental communications and policy. After receiving her B.A. from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and M.J. in Journalism from the University of California at Berkeley, she went on to become an award-winning environmental journalist in Virginia. She was also Senior Communications Manager at the Southern Environmental Law Center where she supervised media relations and communications campaigns at the national, state and local level. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and outlets throughout the South. She was a Scripps Fellow for Environmental Journalism and completed the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute in 2010. A Yankee transplant to Appalachia, Cat was smitten the moment she saw the Smoky Mountains, and is honored to be a part of the Appalachian Voices team protecting this magnificent region.
cat [at] appvoices.org

Jonathan HarveyJonathan Harvey — Director of Development

Jonathan joined Appalachian Voices in 2013, bringing with him a keen passion for conservation and the environment. He has an extensive background in philanthropy and communications, including 10 years at The Nature Conservancy, and works closely with staff and volunteers in advancing the organization’s fundraising efforts. Jonathan is a native West Virginian and developed a lifelong love for the outdoors while growing up in the New River Valley in the south-central portion of the state. He obtained a bachelors in English from the University of Charleston (WV), and has been a volunteer to many nonprofit organizations from a young age. Jonathan and his wife, Laura, live in Charlottesville, Va., and enjoy music, the arts, traveling to new places and spending time outside, especially on whitewater.
jonathan [at] appvoices.org

Kate RoothKate Rooth — Campaign Director

Kate is from Cashiers, a small North Carolina town set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southern Appalachia. Kate received her B.A. in Political and Environmental Science from Lehigh University. Prior to joining Appalachian Voices, Kate worked at Greenpeace as a Research Specialist, where she contributed to several climate, coal and clean energy campaigns, and at Rainforest Action Network where she was the Mountaintop Removal Campaigner. In 2010, Kate joined our Washington, D.C.team as National Field Coordinator to support our national grassroots organizing efforts. Often wearing many hats, she is now based in our Charlottesville office as the Campaign Director.
email kate [at] appvoices.org

OPERATIONS & DEVELOPMENT

Susan CongelosiSusan Congelosi — Controller

Susan has been with Appalachian Voices since 2000. She has always been a passionate and active defender of the environment, and knew that Appalachian Voices was the perfect place to share her skills. Susan is responsible for maintaining the financial operations for the organization, as well as providing support in many areas. Susan earned her B.F.A. from the California College of the Arts in Oakland. After moving to Boone to build a glassblowing studio in 1976, she was immediately captivated by the Appalachian Mountains. She worked in accounting and real estate for many years before joining Appalachian Voices.
email susan [at] appvoices.org

Shay BoydShay Boyd — Operations Manager

Shay has a B.S. in Psychology and a M.A. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Human Resource Management from Appalachian State University in Boone. After graduating, she could not bring herself to leave the high country and has lived in the area for over 20 years. She worked for several local companies and operated her own business before joining Appalachian Voices in 2008. Shay is pictured at center.
email shay [at] appvoices.org

Katyi WingfieldKayti Wingfield — Director of Leadership Gifts

Kayti hails from Waynesboro, a small town set in Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She received a B.S. in Political Science and International Relations from Christopher Newport University and received a certificate of non-profit management from the University of Virginia. She served three years as the coordinator for the Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition (of which Appalachian Voices is a member) managing inter-organizational communications, coalition building, lobbying, rabble-rousing, event planning and extensive community organizing. Kayti is based in the Charlottesville office as a member of our dynamic development team focusing her many talents on securing major gifts to support all the work of Appalachian Voices.
email kayti [at] appvoices.org

Lauren EssickLauren Essick — Operations and Outreach Associate
Distribution Manager, The Appalachian Voice

Originally from Asheboro, N.C., Lauren moved to western N.C. in 2006 to attend the University of North Carolina-Asheville. Her love of Watauga County drew her to Boone where she graduated from Appalachian State University with a B.A. in interdisciplinary studies, with concentrations in community development, city planning, sustainable development, appropriate technology and anthropology. Growing up in Asheboro, Lauren worked as an educator at the North Carolina Zoological Park and became interested in ecology and environmental conservation. While in Boone, she has followed her passion to help promote quality of life for communities in various ways, including previously working in an operations capacity for Destination by Design, a local planning and design firm, and distributing copies of The Appalachian Voice.
email lauren [at] appvoices.org

PROGRAMS

Rory McIlmoilRory McIlmoil — Energy Policy Director

Raised all across the Southeast, Rory graduated with a B.S. in Earth and Environmental Science from Furman University and spent the next few years traveling in Europe and South America, part of that time working as a volunteer in the Andes of Ecuador. Following a stint as a research intern with Appalachian Voices in 2007, Rory went on to earn his Master’s degree in Global Environmental Politics from American University. He became Campaign Coordinator for the Coal River Wind campaign, serving under the late Appalachian hero, Judy Bonds. In 2009, Rory joined Downstream Strategies, a West Virginia-based environmental consulting company, where he managed the Energy Program and conducted research and policy analysis related to coal, renewable energy and energy efficiency with a particular focus on Appalachia. Now living in Deep Gap, NC, Rory joined the Appalachian Voices team to lead the Energy Savings for Appalachia program.
rory [at] appvoices.org

Amy KellyAmy Kelly — Tennessee Energy Savings Outreach Coordinator

With familial ties in Tennessee since the 18th century and a renowned moonshiner as her great-grandfather, Amy’s roots in Appalachia run deep. She believes that the people of Appalachia can become leaders in energy innovation by harnessing their historic self-reliance and ingenuity. Spending five years as a community organizer with Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment in Tennessee, and recently in pursuit of community economic development models that raise people’s voices to direct their own future, Amy has dedicated her career to aiding the region’s people in discovering their own power. She received a B.A. in Sociology from Maryville College and is completing an M.S. degree in Community Development from an award-winning, multi-state, human science program, GPIDEA. Amy also enjoys exploring the world with her beloved daughter and husband.
email amy.kelly [at] appvoices.org

Thom KayThom Kay – Raleigh, N.C. Legislative Associate

Thom is from Spartanburg, where he graduated from Wofford College with a B.A. in Philosophy. He worked at Greenpeace on chemical security legislation and climate change legislation, and later at the League of Conservation Voters on issues including coal ash disposal rules and mountaintop removal mining. Located in our Raleigh, N.C. office, Thom is working to pass a bill in Congress outlawing the destruction of our mountains and streams, as well as on issues related to coal ash and clean energy.
email thom.kay [at] appvoices.org

Amy AdamsAmy Adams — North Carolina Campaign Coordinator

Raised on the Pamlico River in Washington, N.C., Amy has spent her career in public service for environmental protection. She earned a B.S. in biology and M.A. in environmental science education at East Carolina University, and spent three summers researching sharks in the Bahamas. She served as an outreach specialist for the Center of Applied Aquatic Ecology before joining the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources in 2004. Over the next decade, Amy rose steadily in the ranks to become the regional office supervisor for DENR’s Washington region encompassing the coastal plains of North Carolina. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband, Tony and their two children, hiking, boating, camping and playing music together. Amy brings a wealth of expertise in clean water protection to the helm of Appalachian Voices’ North Carolina program.
amy [at] appvoices.org

Hannah WiegardHannah Wiegard — Virginia Campaign Coordinator

A lifelong Virginian, Hannah received her B.A. in English from the College of William and Mary, where she also minored in environmental science and policy. Hannah’s first experience with environmental advocacy came when she was a student and did community outreach to help fight the massive proposed coal-fired power plant in Surry County, Va. In 2010, she contributed to the national campaign for clean energy reform as a Repower America organizer, and later worked with Chesapeake Climate Action Network to promote offshore wind power, fight offshore gas and oil drilling, and raise awareness about sea level rise and flooding in eastern Virginia. Outside of organizing, Hannah loves board games, watching both good and very bad movies, and traveling abroad when she gets the chance.
hannah [at] appvoices.org

Adam WellsAdam Wells — Economic Diversification Campaign Coordinator

Adam first walked through the doors of Appalachian Voices as a volunteer while an undergraduate at Appalachian State University. After earning his B.A., he moved to Wise County, Va., to live on the land his family has inhabited for five generations. As Outreach Coordinator for Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, and later as a field organizer for the Sierra Club, Adam dug deep into the movement to end mountaintop removal coal mining in Southwest Virginia. He worked for a time as a Wilderness Therapy Field Guide, and in 2013 joined the Upper Tennessee River Roundtable, focusing on the Guest River in Wise County. Adam returned to Appalachian Voices in 2015 to build our Economic Development campaign in Southwest Virginia. Adam is committed to bringing clean energy and other economic diversification opportunities to the Virginia coalfields. He still lives on his family farm in Wise County with his wife and their dog, where they enjoy spending time in the beautiful mountains of Southwest Virginia, especially on rivers.
adam [at] appvoices.org

Erin SavageErin Savage — Senior Central Appalachian Campaign Coordinator

Originally from Pullman, Erin earned a B.S. in Biology from the University of Washington, where she also minored in Philosophy. After college, she traveled through South America and Africa to research strategies in protected-area management. She completed an M.E.Sc. at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she researched the ecological and social aspects of mountain lion depredation of livestock. She joined Appalachian Voices in 2011 as part of our Appalachian Water Watch program, and focuses on Clean Water Act enforcement and citizen water monitoring in coal-impacted communities throughout Central Appalachia.
email erin [at] appvoices.org

Tarence RayTarence Ray — Central Appalachian Field Coordinator

Tarence was born in Lubbock, Texas, and was raised in the rural oilfields of southeastern New Mexico. He received a bachelors degree in history from the University of Texas at Austin. Tarence’s interest in the socio-economic parallels between his home region and the coalfields of central Appalachia brought him to eastern Kentucky in 2012. Since then, he has served two terms as an Americorps VISTA in Letcher County, Ky., focusing on water quality, economic development, mine safety and environmental justice. Tarence is also a programmer and occasional radio producer at Appalshop’s WMMT-FM in Whitesburg, Ky.
email tarence [at] appvoices.org

Sarah KelloggSarah Kellogg — North Carolina Field Organizer

Sarah is a sunny North Carolinian whose heart lies somewhere between the streams of the Blue Ridge mountains and the dunes of the Outer Banks. She has a BA in English from UNC Chapel Hill, where she also minored in anthropological environmental studies and art history. She’s a violist, ceramicist, poet, and passionate hiker. She spent a year working for AmeriCorps Project POWER as an environmental educator, tutor, and classroom assistant and spent a year as an AmeriCorps member with App Voices. She has always combined her love of education and the environment, interning with an environmentally focused independent school in college and volunteering as an environmental educator in Asheville, NC. Sarah is excited to explore and expand her skills as the North Carolina field organizer with Appalachian Voices.
emailsarah [at] appvoices.org

Jaimie McGirtJaimie McGirt — Americorps Education Outreach Associate

Jaimie, raised around Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, spent her youth clamming with her toes, managing her school’s recycling and serving as a marine educator — effectively became an environmental advocate at an early age. She attended Appalachian State University from 2009 to 2013, earning a bachelor’s degree in sustainable development with minors in Appalachian studies and community and regional planning. While living in the mountains, she discovered her love of backpacking, ceramics, wildflowers and “slow food,” and developed a poignant sense of rootedness in the High Country. Following graduation, she spent a year traveling, but returned to Boone to serve as a member of Appalachian Voices’ team for the 2014-15 service year, where she hopes to continue her work building community resilience in the face of adversity.
emailjmcgirt [at] appvoices.org

Eliza LaubachEliza Laubach — Americorps Education Outreach Associate

Eliza Laubach hails from the Midwest after spending her childhood in Washington state, and her heart has now been captured by the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her early years in the lush, mountainous Pacific Northwest created a foundation for environmental stewardship, an unrelenting curiosity in the natural world, and a deep honor for water bodies. From working on farms learning permaculture and herbalism to writing for a nature magazine and a newspaper, her passions are diversely channeled. At University of Missouri-Columbia, she earned a Bachelor’s of Journalism, Environmental Studies Certificate and a German minor. Eliza joins Appalachian Voices as an AmeriCorps outreach and communications associate for the 2014-2015 year, and she will focus on communicating to communities in North Carolina about energy efficiency and climate change empowerment.
emaileliza [at] appvoices.org

COMMUNICATIONS

Jamie GoodmanJamie Goodman — Senior Communications Coordinator
Editor, The Appalachian Voice

A native of western North Carolina, Jamie holds a B.A. in English Literature from Appalachian State University and has over 17 years of experience in print and online media. She helped to establish and win two national awards for Mountaintimes.com, co-founded the High Country Press newspaper and Shout! magazine, and served as University webmaster and co-chair of the Web Advisory Council at ASU. Jamie found her home in environmental work at Appalachian Voices in 2008. She also sits on the Town of Boone Parks and Greenways Committee and is acting secretary of the Downtown Boone Development Association. An accomplished photographer and self-taught design geek, Jamie has a serious soft spot for all creatures great and small, and enjoys using her skills to help save the mountains she loves.
email jamie [at] appvoices.org

Brian Sewell — Program and Development Communications Coordinator

A North Carolina native, Brian received his B.A. in Communications from the College of Charleston. After working as a freelance writer for weekly publications and national magazines in Charleston, he served two years with AmeriCorps Project Conserve at the Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina and Appalachian Voices. After a year as the managing editor of The Appalachian Voice, Brian joined our staff full-time in 2012. He composes fundraising materials, serves as a contributing editor to The Voice, and manages our Front Porch blog, activist outreach and social media platforms. He enjoys music, art and journalism — especially reading and writing stories about the relationship between energy and the environment, politics and media criticism.
email brian [at] appvoices.org

Molly MooreMolly Moore — Communications Coordinator
Managing Editor, The Appalachian Voice

Molly is from the Midwest, where she earned journalism and religious studies degrees from the University of Missouri and wrote for several newspapers and magazines. She entered nonprofit communications by co-hosting a mid-Missouri community radio program that explored the connections between health, environment and agriculture, and then provided public relations support at Canyonlands Field Institute in Moab, Utah. Molly served two years with AmeriCorps Project Conserve at Appalachian Voices, assisting with print and online communications, before joining the staff as editorial communications coordinator.
email molly [at] appvoices.org

Kimber RayKimber Ray — AmeriCorps Communications Associate
Associate Editor, The Appalachian Voice

Raised in New Jersey, Kimber is looking forward to exploring the sweeping mountains of Appalachia. She received a B.S. in Environmental Policy from Rutgers University, where her academic pursuits included programs in health, politics, and geomatics. Gathering these interests together through environmental health led her to internships with Edison Wetlands Association and the Collegiate Leaders in Environmental Health program at the Centers for Disease Control. She worked as a writing tutor, and as a writer and editor for her departmental newsletter at Rutgers. As an AmeriCorps member with Appalachian Voices, Kimber is delighted to be joining a dedicated team of writers and environmentalists.
email kimber [at] appvoices.org

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Jeff Deal — IT Consultant

Jeff DealJeff holds a bachelor’s in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics and has completed graduate courses in computer science and appropriate technology. During his 16 year Information Technology career in non-profits, academia and at one Fortune 50 company, Jeff has worked as a computer programmer (C/C++, JAVA, PHP, UNIX shell scripting), Relational Database administrator (Sybase, Oracle, MySQL, and DB2), and UNIX Systems Engineer (AIX, Solaris, and Linux). His renewable energy interests include community renewable energy development, distributed solar electric and thermal design, renewable energy metering and producer-consumer feedback systems, energy efficiency and sustainable transportation – most especially solar fueled electric vehicles.
email jeff [at] appvoices.org


Board of Directors — Officers

Kim GilliamKim Gilliam, Chair — James “Kim” Gilliam has been involved in the creation and direction of dynamic fundraising programs for over 25 years. Since 2003, Kim has managed a full-time consulting practice, working with boards and staffs across the U.S. and Canada in developing fundraising plans and major gift and capital campaigns. He is a senior fundraising associate for the Santa Fe-based Training Resources for the Environmental Community, which serves grantees working throughout the Rocky Mountains. Kim is also is a lead fundraising consultant for San Francisco’s RoadMap, a non-profit group supporting organizations working on root causes of poverty and social injustice in the U.S. Kim worked for several years as a VISTA volunteer in North Dakota after graduating from the University of North Carolina. From 1988 to 2002, he was the chief development officer for the Southern Environmental Law Center in Charlottesville, Va., where he currently resides.

Landra Lewis, Vice Chair – A native of eastern Kentucky, Landra has a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of Kentucky and a certificate in meditation from Duke University. She is involved in a variety of professional associations and environmental organizations. She is dedicated to ending mountaintop removal coal mining and bringing about positive change in her home state of Kentucky.

Dot GriffithDot Griffith, Secretary — Dot Griffith earned her BFA in Photography from the University of Georgia and is the founder of the Banner Elk Advocates for Responsible Expansion (BEARE). She is the mother of two and loves to cycle, hike, camp, cook, dance, and now spread awareness about mountaintop removal coal mining.

Kathy SelvageKathy Selvage, Treasurer — Kathy is a Wise County, Va., resident and daughter of a coal miner who has brought local, regional and national exposure to the destruction that mountaintop removal coal mining is wreaking on her native land and its people. Kathy was instrumental in the fight against Dominion’s Wise County $1.8 billion coal-fired plant and the mile long petition delivered to Virginia’s top government officials. She is the recipient of the St. Francis Ecological Award of the Ecological Network of Sowers of Justice, and has appeared in the nationally distributed Evans/Gellar documentary “Coal Country” to focus the nation on the struggle of mountaintop removal as well as the “Electricity Fairy”, an Appalshop/Tom Hansell film that follows the long controversy over the Wise county coal-fired plant in light of national energy policy. She participates in numerous community groups and organizations to promote the public and a sustainable future for Appalachia.

Read Kathy’s op-ed published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 2014: From Southwest Virginia, a path for less pollution

Board Members-At-Large

Clara BinghamClara Bingham — Clara is an award winning journalist, author and former Newsweek White House correspondent. She co-wrote Class Action: The Landmark Case that Changed Sexual Harassment Law (Doubleday 2002), which won the Los Angeles Times book of the year and the AAUW Speaking out for Justice Award, and was adapted into the 2005 Oscar-nominated film, “North Country,” starring Charlize Theron and Frances McDormand. Bingham is also the author of Women on the Hill: Challenging the Culture of Congress, and has written for many publications including Vanity Fair, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Talk, The Washington Monthly, and United Press International. A Kentucky native, Clara first witnessed the destructive effects of mountaintop removal coal mining while reporting on a story in West Virginia. This experience ultimately lead her to produce “The Last Mountain” documentary, a finalist in the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

Pat HolmesPat Holmes — Pat Holmes, MD, DVM, has been a diagnostic and interventional radiologist in Boone, N.C., since 1999. He attended the University of Tennessee Knoxville (DVM, 1983), East Tennessee State University (MD, 1994) and Wake Forest University/North Carolina Baptist Hospital (residency and fellowship, 1998 and 1999). He has had a lifetime interest in environmental issues and was active in opposing Champion Paper Products’ pollution of the Pigeon River while residing in Newport, Tenn., in the 1980′s. He and wife Jill live in Valle Crucis, N.C.

Silas HouseSilas House — Silas is an award-winning playwright, journalist and environmental activist. He serves as the NEH Chair in Appalachian Studies at Berea College and on the fiction faculty at Spalding University’s MFA in Creative Writing Program. Nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and named the 2010 Appalachian Writer of the Year by Shepherd University, Silas’ work has appeared in dozens of publications including The New York Times, Oxford American, The Louisville Review, and “New Stories from the South.” His national bestsellers include “Clay’s Quilt,” “A Parchment of Leaves,” “The Coal Tattoo,” and “Eli the Good.” Silas has been involved in the fight against mountaintop removal coal mining since 2005, and in 2009 released “Something’s Rising,” a series of Appalachian activist profiles co-produced with Jason Howard. Silas is a native of Kentucky and currently calls Berea home.

Listen to Silas talk about his coming up in coal country: Appalachian Writer Silas House on the Double-edged Sword of Coal, W.Va. Public Broadcasting, April 2015

Rick PhelpsRick Phelps — Rick is a retired consulting environmental chemist experienced in air and water quality analysis, combustion source assessments, and industrial waste treatment technologies. He is a founder of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy in Asheville, N.C., focusing on endangered land and watershed protection. Rick has also served on several Environmental Protection Agency advisory and regulatory development groups, and also on numerous environmental and outdoor recreation organizations. A resident of Tennessee, Rick received a degree in chemistry and has over 40 years of experience in environmental chemistry.

Pallavi PodapatiPallavi Podapati — Pallavi was raised in Hazard, Ky., by Indian immigrants who instilled in her a love of history and of place. She left Kentucky in 2009 to attend the University of Pennsylvania, where she has researched American policies to protect coal miners from pneumoconiosis (black lung) and mining accidents and the effectiveness of these policies. At Penn she was a member of the Civic Scholars program and very active at the Penn Women’s Center and Civic House. She earned a degree in Health and Societies in 2013, and is currently completing a master’s in Social Policy from Penn. After graduating, Pallavi plans to spend a year in Wales to study policies developed to protect coal miners in the British coalfields. Her long-term goal is to enroll in a doctoral program in the History of Medicine with a focus on occupational illness in 20th century Appalachian coalfields. Her lifelong dream is to return home to Kentucky and work as an academic/activist to prepare for the coming economic, environmental, social and political changes.

lauren_waterworthLauren Waterworth — A native of Boone, N.C., Lauren has an Masters of Science in Geology from Texas A&M and earned her J.D. with a certificate in Environmental Law from Tulane University Law School. In 2007, she returned to Boone to practice law and established Waterworth Law Office in 2009. In January 2011, Lauren joined the faculty of Appalachian State University’s Department of Geology where she teaches introductory geology labs and environmental regulation and enforcement. Lauren is a member of the legal team representing Appalachian Voices and its partner organizations in Clean Water Act litigation in Kentucky. When not teaching or hassling polluters, she enjoys walking her dogs with her wonderful husband, Alex, gardening, painting and baking pies.

Tracey WrightTracey Wright — Tracey is a native of Dickson, Tenn., who currently calls Cleveland, Tenn., home. She spent twelve years in Boone, N.C., where she became more interested in sustainability efforts. As an educator, Wright strives to assist college students in developing into engaged citizens who care about their community and their environment. Tracy, a wife and mother of two daughters, describes herself as an average citizen who is seeking meaningful ways to have a positive impact on our environment. She also seeks better ways to help motivate others to do the same. Wright graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s degree in Science in Mathematics and master’s degree in Educational Leadership.

Tom CormonsTom Cormons, Ex Officio — Tom joined Appalachian Voices in 2007 to open our Virginia office. He became our deputy director in 2010 to help develop Appalachian Voices’ programmatic strategy and supervise our program teams,and stepped into the role of executive director in 2013. Tom received his B.A. from the University of Virginia and his J.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles. He is a member of the Virginia State Bar. His previous experience includes working as a law clerk with the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Piedmont Environmental Council, the U.S. Department of Justice, and Environmental Defense. He also oversaw radio-tracking of endangered and threatened migratory terns in South America for six seasons.

Advisory Councils

Chair’s Advisory Council

Jonathan AllenJonathan C. Allen, CPA CFP, CLU — Jonathan is a financial advisor in Boone, N.C. He began his career at Ernst & Young, LLP in Manhattan where he worked as a tax consultant. He currently holds three professional certifications – Certified Public Accountant, Certified Financial Planner®, and Chartered Life Underwriter. In addition to working at Allen Wealth Management, Jonathan has taught Financial Planning at Appalachian State University and Accounting at Wake Forest University. An avid outdoorsman, Jonathan enjoys hiking, golf, and fly-fishing the local trout streams. He is married to Stephanie and the couple resides in Boone with their dog, Deacon.

jessica barba brownJessica Barba Brown — Jessica is currently the Vice President for Program Development at Faith in Public Life, a strategy center advancing faith in the public square. She spent three years serving as communications director and senior aide for former Rep. Tom Perriello, assisting in his rise from long-shot congressional hopeful to one of the highest-profile and widely watched political stories in 2010. Prior to her political career, Jessica worked in the nonprofit sector as communications director for City Year New York and communications and marketing manager for CancerCare. During the 2004 elections, she was one of the founding board members of the Catholic Voting Project, which went on to become Catholics United. A native of the Washington, D.C., region, Jessica holds a bachelor’s degree in Gender and Sexuality Studies from New York University.

Alfred GloverAlfred Glover — A native of Charlotte, N.C., community leader and businessman Alfred Glover has served as president and owner of Boone Ford Lincoln Mercury Dealership in Boone, N.C. since 2003. Following four hears in the U.S. Navy, Alfred obtained a bachelor’s degree in automotive dealership management from Michigan’s Northwood University and completed special training through Ford Motor Company’s Dealer Development Program. Alfred lives in Ashe County, N.C., with his wife and two children.

Randy Hayes — Rainforest Action Network founder Randy Hayes has been described in the Wall Street Journal as an “environmental pit bull.” He currently serves as executive director for Foundation Earth, an organization focused on bringing an earth-centered economy into reality through a major rethinking of society implemented via outreach campaigns. As a former filmmaker, he is a veteran of many high-visibility corporate accountability campaigns and has advocated for the rights of indigenous peoples. He has served as president of San Francisco’s Commission on the Environment, and director of sustainability in the office of former Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown. As a wilderness lover, Hayes has explored the High Sierras, the Canadian Rockies and the rainforests of the Amazon, Central America, Congo, Southeast Asia and Boreno.

Christina HoweChristina Howe — Christina resides in Valle Crucis where the Watauga River forms the western boundary of her property. She came to Boone after living and working in Miami, Fla., where with her late husband she founded two real estate companies that managed, built and sold offices and airport hangers, including the 350,000 sq.ft. Orlando-Sanford International Airport. Christina is a commercially rated single and multi-engine pilot, a sailor and an avid tennis player, and enjoys golf. She served as the president of the High Country Conservancy for four years and fills the role of president for Shull’s Farm. She is currently a partner and the assistant director of Boone Healing Arts Center, a holistic health facility with 14 alternative medicine practitioners. Christina is a passionate environmentalist whose favorite color has always been green.

Van JonesVan JonesVan Jones is a globally recognized, award-winning pioneer in human rights and the clean-energy economy. He co-founded three successful non-profit organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change and Green For All, and is the best-selling author of the definitive book on green jobs: The Green-Collar Economy. He served as the green jobs advisor in the Obama White House in 2009. Van is currently a senior fellow at the Center For American Progress. Additionally, he is a senior policy advisor at Green For All. Van also holds a joint appointment at Princeton University as a distinguished visiting fellow in both the Center for African American Studies and in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

haskell murrayJ. Haskell Murray, J.D. — Haskell was raised on the rural, Georgia-side of Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga, Tenn., and has enjoyed the outdoors his entire life. At Rhodes College, he majored in Business Administration, concentrating in International Business and Finance, while also competing as a member of the varsity football and club rugby teams. While at Georgia State University College of Law, Haskell was elected to the editorial board of the school’s main law review, graduated second in his class, and received high honors for his pro bono work. Haskell served as a judicial clerk in Wilmington, Del., and practiced corporate law at two global law firms: King & Spalding LLP (Atlanta) and Weil, Gotshal, & Manges LLP (New York City). Currently, he teaches corporate law and alternative dispute resolution courses as a tenure-track professor at Belmont University’s business school in Nashville, Tenn. His research is focused on corporate governance and social enterprise related legal issues, including business practices aimed at preserving the environment.

Brenda HugginsBrenda Sigmon — Brenda is a retired school teacher and former member of the North Carolina Textbook Commission. She helped co-found the Catawba County Litter Task Force in Newton, N.C, and currently teaches part-time at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, N.C. She is a long-standing volunteer for Appalachian Voices, including delivering The Appalachian Voice newspaper to two counties in western North Carolina. Brenda is an avid hiker and an active member of Catawba Valley Outing Club, and enjoys helping to maintain hiking trails in the area.

Bunk SpannBunk Spann — Milton G. “Bunk” Spann is the founder of the National Center for Developmental Education at Appalachian State University. As a former member of the Boone, N.C., Town Council, Bunk was instrumental in establishing the Boone Water Committee and for several years chaired the town’s Water Conservation Committee that developed several water conservation programs. Following his tenure on the Town Council, Bunk was appointed to the Planning Commission and shortly thereafter was elected chair. During his 36 years in Boone, Bunk led the effort to establish the town as a “Smart Growth” community. He and his wife Nancy now live in Asheville, N.C., at the Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community where he is working to help make Deerfield and Asheville an even more environmentally friendly and sustainable community.


Interns

Cody_BurchettCody Burchett- Editorial Assistant

Nomadically calling several places home for a number of years, Cody grew up in Lindsay, Ontario and Wilmington, North Carolina. He is graduating from Appalachian State University in August 2015 with a B.A. in English-professional writing and a minor in history. Cody has a deeply rooted family heritage in the Appalachian Mountains and aims to protect the awe-inspiring beauty of its wilderness and fascinating culture through his work at Appalachian Voices. In his free time, Cody likes to fish, play music and enjoy a variety of board sports.



Linda Chen
Linda Chen – Virginia Grassroots Assistant

Linda Chen is a senior at the University of Virginia, an environmental science major and urban and environmental planning minor. Originally from Shenzhen, China, she studied at Charterhouse, England for 2 years before coming to Virginia. Linda first became involved with environmental issues during a rafting trip with scientists and members of The Nature Conservancy on the JinSha River in China. There she experienced the conflict between energy sources and environmental health: dam construction had disrupted the hydrology of JinSha River, leading to species loss while displacing thousands of villagers who had lived there for generations. Linda is looking to make positive change through her work with Appalachian Voices.


Nicole Duimstra
Nicole Duimstra – Virginia Grassroots Assistant

Nicole studies environments and sustainability at the University of Virginia and will be going into her third year this fall. She grew up in Richmond, VA and spent most of her free time exploring the James River, which created her passion for improving sustainable relationships with the environment. After being involved in multiple environmental organizations at school, Nicole is excited to intern with Appalachian Voices in order to become involved in environmental progress in the local community. In her spare time, she likes to run, try new foods, spend time with her dogs and be by the water.


Chloe_GreenChloe Green- Energy Savings Outreach Assistant

Chloe currently attends the University of North Carolina where she is pursuing degrees in environmental studies and business. She has previously worked with North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light and has a deep connection to the environment and environmental issues, as well as helping those in need. Chloe lives in Lenoir, NC and loves living in her native foothills as well as traveling up the mountain to enjoy the rich ecotourism. She will be interning with the Energy Savings team to satisfy her call to help people and environment.

Ellison_HeilEllison Heil- Virginia Grassroots Assistant

Growing up in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, Ellison was enveloped by the scenic peaks and valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Camping trips along the revered Appalachian Trail have defined his youth and have helped to sculpt his down-to-earth outlook on life. With a degree in environmental science, Ellison hopes to use the natural world in advocating for conservation and sustainable development. His goal is to dedicate his studies to conserving what is left of the outdoors for our children’s children to adore.

Julia_LindsayJulia Lindsay- Editorial Assistant

Drawn to the mountains after working several stints with Appalachian Service Project, Julia moved from Cary, North Carolina to Boone in 2012. She currently attends Appalachian State University and is pursuing a B.A. in English literature. Often frequenting popular hiking and swimming spots like Hebron Rock Colony, Julia hopes to help conserve the numerous playgrounds the mountains provide. In her free time, Julia likes to write poetry and is excited to broaden her writing horizons with the spirited crew at Appalachian Voices.

Laura_MarionLaura Marion- Editorial Assistant

Laura has called Boone home since 2011. A senior at Appalachian State University, she is majoring in journalism. She is excited to write for The Appalachian Voice and have a hand in all that is being done to sustain these mountains. When she isn’t exploring the Appalachian region and observing the wildlife, she enjoys listening to music, painting, gardening, and hanging out with her 23 lb cat, Buddy.

Elena_NansenElena Nansen- Energy Savings Outreach Assistant

Elena Nansen was raised in Charlotte, NC and was drawn to the beautiful mountains to attend Appalachian State University. She is currently a senior, pursuing a degree in appropriate technology with minors in sustainable development and community and regional planning. This summer she will help Appalachian Voices with research and outreach pertaining to their Energy Efficiency campaign. She hopes to have a career in the wind power industry and be a part of a more sustainable energy future.

Francis_OggerriFrancis Oggerri- Stanback Internship, Appalachian Water Watch Assistant

Francis was born in New York and grew up in Connecticut and always had a passion for the outdoors. He attended the University of Vermont, graduating in 2012 with a B.S. in Environmental Science. A year after graduating from the University of Vermont, Francis started work on his master’s degree at Duke University, earning a dual degree in water resource management and forestry. Francis’s master’s research focused on water quality and availability in rural central Uganda. He spent 3 months in Uganda during the summer of 2014 conducting fieldwork. He finished and presented his master’s project in April of 2015. Francis joined the Appalachian Voices team as a Stanback intern for the summer of 2015 and will be working with the Appalachian Water Watch program on water quality issues and community outreach surrounding mountaintop removal.

Michael ShraderMichael Shrader- Economic Diversification Outreach Assistant

Michael is a sophomore environmental studies major at Middlebury College. There, he chairs the student government Environmental Affairs Committee and is active in many grassroots environmental campaigns and organizations, both on campus and locally. His family has lived in and around the Appalachian coalfields for many generations. Currently living in Bristol, Virginia, he is committed to helping cultivate economic opportunity and support the regional economy’s transition beyond dependence on extractive institutions. Above all, he loves to spend time outdoors hiking, gardening, or capturing the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains through his camera lens. Michael is grateful to be a part of the Appalachian Voices team and have the opportunity to forge meaningful connections with local communities.


Julia Simcoe
Julia Simcoe – NC and Energy Savings Outreach Assistant

Hailing from Norwich, NY, Julia is a rising senior at Vassar College (Poughkeepsie, NY) as a sociology major. She spent this past spring semester “studying abroad” at Appalachian State University, where she immersed herself in Appalachian studies courses, old-time music, and southern accents. Previously, she has been a foreign exchange student to northern France, a camp counselor in southern France, a solo backpacker in Italy, a collegiate rower, a violinist and a waitress. She looks forward to working with both the North Carolina and Energy Savings teams this summer.



Terrell Taylor
Terrell Taylor – NC Outreach Assistant

Terrell Taylor was born and raised in Winston Salem, NC and was drawn to the city of Greensboro to attend North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. He currently is a senior, pursuing a degree in political science with a concentration in environmental law. This summer he will be helping Appalachian Voices with the North Carolina Outreach Campaign in the Belews Creek and Belmont communities. Terrell has always had the passion and drive to advocate for social justice and social change.


Katie White
Katie White – Virginia Grassroots Assistant

Katie is a senior at Virginia Tech studying environmental policy and planning. Born near the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico and having spent most of her life living in the Blue Ridge Mountains, she has always had a special appreciation for the beauty and culture that the mountains hold. Living in Blacksburg has recently spiked an interest and gratitude for the Appalachian region. Katie enjoys spending as much time as she can outdoors and with her Staffie mix Fritz, as well as eating good food with family and friends. She realized how powerful grassroots movements can be after marching in NYC with 300,000 others at the 2014 People’s Climate March. She is so excited to be a part of the Appalachian Voices team to help make positive change as Virginia moves toward a cleaner, more secure future.


Brian Yudkin
Brian Yudkin – Virginia Grassroots Assistant

Brian is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia majoring in environmental science. He was born and raised in Fairfax, Virginia and has lived in the state his whole life. His hobbies include hiking, running and other outdoors activities, and he values the natural beauty of the outdoors, especially the Appalachian region right in Charlottesville’s backyard. He would love to see Virginia’s sustainability improve and alternative energy market grow, and he hopes to use his time at Appalachian Voices to help advance these initiatives for a more stable future.


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