Staff | Board of Directors | Interns
Tom Cormons, J.D. — Executive Director
Tom was hired to open Appalachian Voices’ first Virginia office in 2007, and he took the reins as Executive Director in early 2013. The organization has expanded under his leadership to include new programs advancing energy and economic solutions for the region, new offices in Southwest Virginia, Knoxville, Tenn., and Durham, N.C., and new initiatives to address the harmful impacts of fossil fuels. In February 2021, Tom was appointed by President Biden to serve on the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council.
Tom received his J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles and a B.A. in political and social thought from the University of Virginia. He is a member of the Virginia State Bar, and his experience prior to joining Appalachian Voices includes clerkships with Environmental Defense Fund, Piedmont Environmental Council, Southern Environmental Law Center, and the U.S. Department of Justice. Tom also worked with endangered migratory terns in South America for six seasons, overseeing aerial radio-tracking of the birds. He lives in Charlottesville, Va., 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.
tom.cormons [at] appvoices.org
Kate Boyle — Deputy Executive Director
Originally from the small town of Cashiers in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Kate has more than fourteen years of experience campaigning on energy issues at the national and regional level. Kate joined Appalachian Voices in 2010 and became Deputy Executive Director in 2017. Prior to Appalachian Voices, Kate worked in Washington, D.C. with Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network.
kate [at] appvoices.org
Matt 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
Adam Wagner — Director of Individual Giving
Adam is a Virginia transplant with roots in Northwest Ohio. Prior to joining the Advancement Team at Appalachian Voices, Adam held various positions across the nonprofit sector. Most recently, Adam provided fundraising leadership as Associate Director of Development for Hospice of the Piedmont, the second-largest not-for-profit hospice care provider in Virginia. Adam is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where he met his wife Caroline. Adam and Caroline live in Charlottesville and love getting outside to enjoy the natural beauty surrounding them.
wagner [at] appvoices.org
Leigh Harrison — Director of Strategic Advancement
Raised on a former tobacco farm in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, Leigh received a B.A. from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University. Prior to joining Appalachian Voices in 2022, Leigh worked more than 10 years in advancement and communications — most recently in Charlottesville as director of development for one of the University of Virginia’s support foundations. He lived in Washington, D.C., for more than a decade before that, where he secured resources for the arts, capital projects, environmental sustainability and anti-racism initiatives at Washington National Cathedral and George Mason University. He serves on the governing board of The Daily Poetry Association and lives with his wife, Carrie, and two children, Damien and Raiya, in a heavily wooded section of eastern Albemarle County.
harrison [at] appvoices.org
Katie Bailey — Advancement Manager
Growing up across the U.S, South Korea and Japan, Katie did not find home until she set foot on Virginia Tech’s campus in Blacksburg and became completely enamored with the mountains of Southwest Virginia. After graduation, Katie worked in public affairs and education with Planned Parenthood in Roanoke and the New River Valley. With a passion for addressing the social determinants of health, she moved to work in HIV research at a large LGBTQ community health center in Boston. Katie is thrilled to be back south with her husband, daughter, and cat (Asparagus) and to work as a steward for the place she loves most. On any given day, you can find her trying to keep her houseplants alive, cheering for the Hokies and spending time with her family.
katie [at] appvoices.org
Autumn Stover-Bailey — Advancement Operations & Data Specialist
Born and raised in Southwest Virginia, Autumn grew up on a farm in Bland County. After living in Wise County for four years to complete her B.A. in English at UVA Wise, she decided to plant her roots in the vibrant little town of St. Paul, Va., where she now lives with her husband, their four dogs and their two cats. Autumn joined the Advancement Team at Appalachian Voices in 2023 in the hopes of contributing to a lasting change in the region she calls home. Her passion for Appalachia and its people has influenced her academic research over the years, as well as her poetry, while continuously driving her fight for economic and social justice in rural communities. When she isn’t writing about Appalachia, you can find her crocheting, trying to recreate her mawmaw’s biscuit recipe or finding more dogs to rescue.
autumn [at] appvoices.org
Genevieve Silverman — Director of Finance and Operations
Genevieve joined Appalachian Voices in June 2022 as Director of Finance & Operations after a 25-year career in banking, finance and executive leadership roles. She most recently served as CEO of Nexus Louisiana, a quasi-governmental organization, where for over 14 years she provided coaching, capital and connections to high-potential, technology-focused companies, in addition to designing and launching several inclusive programs to advance high-technology and entrepreneurship in the state of Louisiana.
Born and raised in South Louisiana, Genevieve received a B.A. in history and political science from Louisiana State University, a M.A. in international finance and banking from Columbia University, and a pre-CPA certificate from University of New Orleans. She is very excited to be trading Mardi Gras for mountains, moving with her husband Philip and two children to the beautiful Appalachian region to pursue her dream of working full-time to help protect the earth’s environmental assets.
gen [at] appvoices.org
Kelsi Butler — Human Resources Generalist
Upon completion of her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Appalachian State University, specializing in industrial-organizational psychology and human resources management, Kelsi entered the nonprofit sector in Boone, N.C. During a four-year tenure with a local organization, Kelsi served in various advocacy and leadership capacities and led the initiative to implement HR best practices for the agency. Kelsi then served as Executive Team Lead of Human Resources for Target, where she created and executed multiple successful culture efforts to promote a vibrant, inclusive employee experience.
Professionally, Kelsi thrives when spending her time and energy on meaningful, impactful endeavors, and she is passionate about creating exceptional work environments that empower employees and the organizations they work for. As a former long-term resident of Appalachia, Kelsi is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the ecology of the region and is honored to be part of the Appalachian Voices team.
kelsi [at] appvoices.org
Meredith Shelton — Operations and Outreach Coordinator
Meredith “Mayzie” grew up in the intentional community known as The Farm outside Nashville, Tenn, a community that works to help insure that all people have access to clean water, sanitation, nutrition and “right” livelihood. The philosophy from The Farm has been at the core of her life’s work ever since. Meredith received a nursing certificate from Caldwell Community College and is also a certified community herbalist. She co-owned an eco-friendly fair trade store in Boone, N.C. More recently, she worked with the non-profit, Go Conscious Earth, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to document and facilitate the installation of seventeen clean water wells that now serve 34,000 people. Meredith lives on a portion of 165 acres she helped preserve along the Blue Ridge Parkway, where she has raised her three children.
meredith [at] appvoices.org
Katharine Yager — Senior Accountant
Katharine joined Appalachian Voices in November 2022. She holds a B.S. in accountancy from Northern Illinois University and is a licensed CPA in Illinois and North Carolina. She has a diverse background in public and corporate accounting and has been fortunate to be able to focus in recent years on what she cares most about, nonprofit work. She is a farm girl from Indiana who loves travel, gardening and swing dancing. Having lived in small and large towns from the suburbs of Chicago to the coast of North Carolina, planting trees at every house along the way, she settled in the Raleigh-Durham area, close enough to visit both the mountains and the sea.
katharine [at] appvoices.org
North Carolina / Tennessee program staff
Ridge Graham — North Carolina Program Manager
Ridge studied environmental biology and toxicology at Appalachian State University. Ridge joined Appalachian Voices in 2015 and has worked on the “Cleaning up Coal Ash” campaign which facilitated the statewide coalition group “ACT Against Coal Ash” and resulted in a settlement to remove 80 million tons from unlined dumps in communities and waterways across the state — the largest clean up of coal ash in the country. Ridge now works with communities across the region on stopping unnecessary interstate pipelines, like the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the now-canceled Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and on changing our energy industry to better protect our air, water and health.
ridge [at] appvoices.org
Maddy Koch — North Carolina Field Coordinator, Energy Democracy Program
Maddy grew up in Boone, N.C. She has a B.A. in media and communications and is an M.A. candidate in political science from Appalachian State University. Her academic concentration is in environmental policy where her research interests cover the conceptions of nature and environmentalism and the valuation of the non-human world. She is excited to be a part of the Energy Democracy Program and have the opportunity to stay in Appalachia while working towards making it a more equitable place to live. Maddy loves hiking, running and spending time with her partner, Mike and their two dogs and adventurous cat.
maddy [at] appvoices.org
Brianna Knisley — Tennessee Campaign Manager
Born to a family of eight in a small village in southern Ohio, Bri’s passion for rural solutions was formed through her upbringing in a community struggling with economic, social and environmental issues faced by many rural places across the U.S. She obtained her B.A. in sustainable development from Wilmington College of Ohio, where she spent three years as an assistant to the Curator of a Quaker Heritage Center. Through engaging in multiple service-learning projects, interning and working for local nonprofits, and serving on an environmental conservation corps, Bri has cultivated her approach to intersectional problem solving. She is excited to be working with Appalachian Voices and the people of East Tennessee to address their energy efficiency needs.
brianna [at] appvoices.org
Gabi Lichtenstein — Tennessee Energy Democracy Field Coordinator
Gabi’s passion for energy democracy has guided her work since 2015. Gabi received her B.A. from Syracuse University and M.A. from the University of Georgia. In her graduate research, she studied the uneven harm caused by PG&E’s “public safety” power shutoffs and how organizers envision using microgrids for utility justice. Gabi also has experience with energy governance research, labor organizing in the South and working for a public electricity agency in California. She is committed to transformative change led by impacted communities. Gabi was raised in Upstate New York, where she developed her love for mountains and dramatic autumns. She is thrilled to now call Tennessee home and to support communities in their pursuit of just energy systems.
gabi [at] appvoices.org
Angie Mummaw — Middle Tennessee Organizer
Angie was raised overlooking the Cumberland River in north-central Tennessee, and still resides on her family farm from which you can see the Cumberland City smokestacks. Her love of nature began as a child raising farm animals and crops and playing in the woods. This love of the outdoors grew into a life-long passion. Angie most recently taught Biology at Austin Peay State University for 10 years. She currently represents Appalachian Voices in Tennessee as community organizer, supporting the community members affected by the Cumberland City plant closure. She also advocates for TVA to make sustainable, long-lasting changes that are better for the environment, economy and health of the people.
angela [at] appvoices.org
Virginia program staff
Peter Anderson — Virginia Policy Director
A native of northern Virginia, Peter developed an appreciation for mountains and mountain music while earning his B.A. in philosophy at James Madison University. He began pursuing his interest in environmental policy while earning his J.D. at George Mason University. While there, Peter served legal internships at Resources for the Future and at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. After graduating, he worked on climate change adaptation issues for Environmental Defense Fund and for the Society for Conservation Biology. He is a member of the Virginia State Bar. Peter joined Appalachian Voices’ Virginia program to work on opposing new fossil fuel investments and promoting a clean energy economy.
peter [at] appvoices.org
Emily Piontek — Virginia Energy Democracy Field Coordinator
Emily joined Appalachian Voices as a transplant to Virginia from Missouri, where she has been engaged in environmental advocacy for several years. In 2020, she earned her M.S. in Natural Resource Management from the University of Missouri. In her graduate research, Emily explored the benefits of urban green spaces and their intersection with environmental justice concerns. During this time, she also gained experience in the energy sector as a policy researcher with Renew Missouri. Emily is passionate about finding collaborative solutions to environmental issues with the people most impacted by them and is excited to be working with communities across Virginia to reform our energy system. She herself is powered by coffee, long bike rides with friends and the many outdoor opportunities provided by the Blue Ridge Mountains.
emily [at] appvoices.org
Jessica Sims — Virginia Field Coordinator
Born and raised in Central Virginia, Jessica holds a lifelong passion for protecting Virginia’s waterways. Fine art degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University and UNC – Greensboro led her to the nonprofit world, where she volunteered extensively with Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the James River Association and as President of artspace, a gallery in South Richmond, before working at the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter on their pipelines campaign. Jessica enjoys singing in a klezmer band, creating artwork and canoeing on the James River with friends and family. She is thrilled to join Appalachian Voices and to help fight against fracked-gas pipelines.
jessica [at] appvoices.org
Central Appalachian program staff
Adam Wells — Regional Director of Community and Economic Development
Adam first worked with Appalachian Voices as a volunteer while earning his B.A. at Appalachian State University. He happily rejoined the team in 2015 when he was hired to open our office in Norton, Va., and launch the New Economy program. Under Adam’s leadership, the program has made a deep impact in Southwest Virginia and across the state by building successful broad-based coalitions and connecting resources to fulfill economic and community development needs. Adam has over a decade of experience working with Appalachian-based nonprofits. He lives with his family in Wise, Virginia, where his roots go back many generations.
adam [at] appvoices.org
Erin Savage — Central Appalachian Senior Program Manager
Originally from Pullman, Wa., 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.
erin [at] appvoices.org
Chelsea Barnes — Director of Government Affairs and Strategy
Originally from Ohio, Chelsea holds a B.A. in Biology from the College of Wooster and a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University. Chelsea remained in North Carolina for more than 10 years after graduation, where she worked on clean energy policy, education and outreach at NC State University, eventually launching a policy consulting business with her colleagues in order to advance strong renewable energy policies across the country. Chelsea joined Appalachian Voices in 2019 and is based in the Norton, Va., office. She enjoys baking, gardening and hiking in the mountains with her husband any chance she gets.
chelsea [at] appvoices.org
Willie Dodson — Central Appalachian Field Coordinator
Willie grew up in the piedmont and the mountains of Virginia. He graduated from Berea College with a degree in Appalachian Studies. Since 2004, Willie has been organizing for environmental and social justice in Appalachia with such groups as the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, the Southern Energy Network and the Mission and Service Board of Union Church in Berea, Ky. He lives in Wise County, Va., and is an old-time and not-so-old-time musician, a forager of wild foods and medicines, and a sucker for any grey-haired person who wants to tell a story. He genuinely likes people, even ones with whom he disagrees about everything.
willie [at] appvoices.org
Matt Hepler — Central Appalachian Environmental Scientist
Originally from Bath County, Va., Matt received his B.A. in geography from Virginia Tech with a concentration in Geographic Information Systems and environmental resources. After working in the GIS field for five years, he spent two years in the master’s program at Appalachian State University, focusing on hydrology. Matt returned to Virginia to work for the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards in Wise County, leading the group’s water program and helping develop litigation strategies against coal companies. He joined Appalachian Voices in 2017, and is based in our Norton, Va., office. Matt is a hiker and square dance caller, and he loves spending time on the rivers of Central Appalachia.
matt.hepler [at] appvoices.org
Robert Kell — New Economy Program Manager
Robert Kell joins Appalachian Voices after interning and volunteering with the New Economy Network. He is a native of Southwest Virginia and a trained community organizer with experience building issue and policy campaigns at the local, state and federal levels. Robert has a master’s from Vanderbilt Divinity School, where he studied social and economic ethics and wrote his thesis on social and environmental justice in Appalachia. Robert has served on the board of several social-impact nonprofits and is passionately working with those most directly affected to make sustainable change in the region.
robert [at] appvoices.org
Emma Kelly — New Economy Field Coordinator
Originally from Bell County, Kentucky, Emma has spent the last few years bouncing between Southwest Virginia and the University of Tennessee, where she completed her B.A. and M.A. in cultural anthropology. Her research focuses on human rights and environmental justice in Appalachia and has been centered around equitable collaboration with local communities. She has worked on various community outreach projects as a research and teaching assistant for the University of Tennessee, a seasonal interpretive ranger at Natural Tunnel State Park and an outreach intern for the Register of Professional Archaeologists. She is passionate about bringing in as many voices as possible to help build a sustainable and just future for Appalachian communities from the ground up. Emma currently lives in Lee County and loves hiking, gaming and spending time with her husband and cat.
emma [at] appvoices.org
Amanda Killen — New Economy Program Coordinator
Amanda comes to Appalachian Voices after many years of working on economic and community development projects throughout Central Appalachia. A native of Southwest Virginia, Amanda is keenly passionate about advancing Appalachia and has done freelance fundraising and grant-writing work for numerous nonprofit entities and municipalities throughout the region. Amanda has considerable experience in downtown revitalization and served as the Executive Director of Tazewell Today for many transformational years. She believes that the road to economic development and diversification in coal-impacted communities begins at a local level, and works to actively engage community members, stakeholders and business leaders to help see impactful projects through to fruition. Amanda lives in Tazewell, Virginia, with her four amazing children, Kayleigh, McKynzie, Kyndall and Asher.
amanda [at] appvoices.org
Jamie Goodman — Director of Digital Innovation and Technology
A western North Carolinian with Appalachian roots stemming back to the early 1700s, Jamie holds a B.A. in English literature and minor in technical photography from Appalachian State University, and has over 20 years of experience in print and online media and digital communications technology. She earned two National Newspaper Association awards with Mountaintimes.com, co-founded High Country Press newspaper and Shout! magazine, and helped establish Appalachian State University’s Web Advisory Council to the Provost in 2005. She found her home in environmental work at Appalachian Voices in 2008, originally filling the role as editor for The Appalachian Voice in addition to working on web and print communications for the organization. Jamie has a serious soft spot for all creatures great and small, and is passionate about using her skills to help save the mountains she loves.
jamie [at] appvoices.org
Molly Moore — Director of Program Communications
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 also holds an executive education certificate in Environmental Communication through Duke University. Molly served two years with AmeriCorps Project Conserve at Appalachian Voices, assisting with print and online communications, before joining the staff in 2013 as editorial communications coordinator. Since 2016, she has also served as editor of Appalachian Voices’ wide-reaching publication The Appalachian Voice.
molly [at] appvoices.org
Dan Radmacher — Media Specialist
Dan, who grew up in rural Missouri, worked as an opinion journalist for 20 years in Illinois, West Virginia, Florida and Virginia. As editorial page editor of the Charleston Gazette, he fought hard against mountaintop removal mining and other abuses of the coal industry. Before coming to Appalachian Voices, Dan worked as a media consultant for a number of environmental nonprofit organizations, including Earthjustice, National Resources Defense Council, Southern Environmental Law Center and Appalachian Mountain Advocates. He lives in Roanoke with his wife, teenaged son and two cats.
dan [at] appvoices.org
Jimmy Davidson — Graphics and Digital Communications Coordinator
Jimmy has over 25 years of experience in graphic design, photography, illustration and web design. Hailing from the Atlanta area, Jimmy lived in Michigan, Texas, Montana, Pennsylvania and New Zealand before finally settling in the mountains of North Carolina. He earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Georgia and makes photographs, infographics, maps and illustrations. He spends a good bit of his free time hiking and mountain biking with his daughter, as well as playing music. He maintains an interest in native Appalachian flora, fauna and fungi and their preservation. jimmy [at] appvoices.org
Jen Lawhorne — Communications Coordinator
Jen Lawhorne is a multilingual former Fulbright scholar and seasoned activist. Virginia has always been her home, but Jen has ventured abroad to live in California, Mexico, Spain and Italy. Richmond, however, is the community closest to her heart and where she attended undergrad and graduate school at Virginia Commonwealth University. She currently lives there with her son and dog. Jen believes in the power of using media to drive social change and dabbles in photography and videography. She loves whipping up recipes she learned from her travels, crafting with fabric and textiles, and kicking it with her little family.
jen [at] appvoices.org
Clover Forbes — IT Specialist
Clover has been working in the tech industry as an engineer for 6 years, and is excited to work for a nonprofit organization that has a mission so close to her home. Clover is from Boone’s Mill, a small town in Virginia’s Southern Blue Ridge, and her family has been in the county since before its founding. She finds happiness in family and local traditions. Whether it’s breaking beans, cooking with her Granny or learning a traditional tune, she believes that the way forward is to sometimes look backwards.
clover [at] appvoices.org
Lorelei Goff — Contributing Editor
Lorelei holds a B.S. from East Tennessee State University in interdisciplinary studies with concentrations in journalism and environmental science. Her journalism experience includes editorial positions in lifestyle and education, as well as news reporting and feature writing. She is an alumna of the Marine Biological Laboratory Logan Science Journalism Fellowship.
She served as an intern with The Appalachian Voice while earning her degree and continued writing for the publication as a freelancer until joining the team in January 2023. Lorelei has lived in the Appalachian region for nearly three decades. When not writing, she enjoys hiking, hand drumming and volunteering at city and state parks. She holds certifications as a yoga instructor, a drum circle facilitator and a Tennessee naturalist.
lorelei [at] appvoices.org
Rance Garrison — Communications Coordinator
Rance Garrison is a lifelong resident of Southwest Virginia, having spent most of his childhood and teenage years in Pennington Gap. He holds an MBA with a concentration in organizational leadership from Milligan University, along with a M.A. in ministry from Milligan’s Emmanuel Seminary. Rance has held several communications, public relations, marketing and data analysis positions in private tech and start-up industries and proudly comes from a blue collar background, having worked as a bartender, delivery driver and warehouse worker while pursuing his education.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise in 2014, Rance served two terms as an AmeriCorps VISTA at WMMT-FM, the community radio station owned and operated by Appalshop, Inc. in Whitesburg, Kentucky, where he was also the host of a weekly music program. Rance is also a songwriter and producer who has independently released several albums of original music since 2012. He currently lives and works in Norton, Virginia.
rance [at] appvoices.org