Appalachian Trail Conservancy Announces Newly Elected Board of Directors

Date Published: Jul 06, 2011

Emory, VA (July 05, 2011) – On July 03, 2011, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) announced its new Board of Directors. New to the Board are Lenny Bernstein, Rich Daileader, Arthur Foley, Mary Higley, Terry Lierman, and Mike Marziale.  Re-elected members include Robert Almand, Kara Ball, Marcia Fairweather, Brian Fitzgerald, Sandi Marra, Charles Maynard, William Plouffe, Betsy Thompson and Clark Wright Jr.  The Board of Directors is made up of 15 elected volunteers who are elected to serve two-year terms.

“The Board of Directors of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is made up of 15 individuals with a diverse set of skills and expertise,” stated David N. Startzell, Executive Director of the ATC.  “They play a vital role in shaping both the organization and the Appalachian Trail project by adopting policies governing the Trail and by providing oversight of ATC programs, operations, and procedures to aid in achieving our organizational mission.”

Each of the 15 Board Members brings their own unique set of skills and life experiences to the ATC.  Working as a unit, they are key to the success of the ATC.

Lenny is an Appalachian Trail (A.T.) 2000-miler (someone who has hiked the entire A.T.), has been a Trail maintainer for over 20 years, and is a life member of the ATC.  He currently chairs the Stewardship Council’s Land and Resource Protection Committee, which is made up individuals with expertise in trail-management and visitor-use issues that advises the Board of Directors on trail-management policies and programs. He is an active member and past president of the Carolina Mountain Club. Lenny has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and had a 40 year career in the petroleum industry. He was a Convening Lead Author for the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report, and has taught courses on climate change and energy at the University of North Carolina at Asheville’s College for Seniors, a noncredit, life-long learning program.

Rich, of Charlotte, hiked the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in 2009, while on sabbatical from the financial services industry.  Since then, his new life long goal is to give back to the Trail and preserve it for future generations.  Rich is currently a Senior Vice President with Wells Fargo Bank.  He lives in Charlotte and Brevard, NC with his wife, Kate.  They have two college aged children, Chris and Shannon.  Rich is an avid hiker and a former marathoner and ultrarunner.  He is also involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Charlotte and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  His club affiliations include the New York Athletic Club, the Carolina Mountain Club and the Maine Appalachian Trail Club.

An avid hiker, Arthur has been an active ATC volunteer for nearly 40 years.  Currently living in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Arthur’s love for the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) began as a Boy Scout while growing up in Virginia and has continued throughout his adult life while residing in West Virginia, North Carolina, and Colorado.  This past May, Arthur was elected to the board of directors of the Continental Divide Trail Alliance. A life member of the ATC and the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, he was previously an A.T. volunteer with the Kanawha Trail Club and the Carolina Mountain Club.  A retired university chief financial officer, Arthur served several terms on the former Appalachian Trail Conference Board of Managers.  Most recently, he has chaired the Conservancy’s audit committee.

Mary splits her time between Naples, Florida and Plymouth, Massachusetts.  She previously worked as an executive for USG Corporation and its' subsidiary United States Gypsum Company for 26 years in a variety of financial, information technology, strategic planning and project management positions.  Most of that time was spent in Chicago, Illinois.  She began to hike the A.T. in 2008 and hopes to complete a section hike within the next two years.   She is a Life Member of the ATC, a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club, a member of the Appalachian Long Distance Hiker’s Association and a field editor for the A.T. Thru-Hiker’s Companion.  Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration from Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and a Masters of Business Administration from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois.  She is past president of the La Grange Area Historical Society in La Grange, Illinois and is an avid genealogist.  

Terry, in June of 2007 became Chief of Staff for then-House Majority Leader, and now Democratic Whip, Congressman Steny Hoyer.  Terry came to Washington in the early 1970s, after earning a bachelor’s degree from Winona State University in Minnesota and then a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, to work at the National Institutes of Health.  Community service and volunteerism have always been instrumental parts of Terry’s life.  He was a founder of the Children’s Research Institute at Children’s Hospital, the National Coalition for Cancer Research, the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, the Pancreatic Cancer Network, Research America!, and the Partnership for Prevention.  

Mike has over 30 years of experience in large North American paper companies and has served in a number of Senior Leadership roles, in Strategy, General Management, and Marketing.  He currently heads a consulting business focused on operational support for restructuring corporations and private equity acquisitions, along with developmental support for new ventures and startups. Mike and his wife Maggie currently live in Springboro, OH and have two grown sons. Mike’s major hobby interests are woodworking and engraving. Mike is a graduate of Rensselear Polytechnic Institute with a PhD, M.S. and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Mike also serves on the board of Nanostatics Inc., as the Strategic Advisor to the board of Nanostatics Inc., as CTO of Tekasis Inc., and as a Presidential Fellow for Urbana University.

Bob is an avid hiker and long-time A.T. volunteer. While he brings vast experience in Trail maintenance and board leadership as a volunteer with the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club and Len Foote Hike Inn, he also offers vast professional skills as a retired executive from Bank of America. Over the past ten years of service to the ATC as a board member Bob has provided leadership for strategic planning efforts and realignment of the mission from a trail maintenance organization to a conservation organization charged with maintaining and preserving not just the footpath, but the surrounding lands.

Kara is the special assistant to the president of the National Wildlife Federation. She previously was executive director of the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, alongside the A.T. in northern Virginia, and director of sustainable countryside programs at the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Kara has been trained by The Climate Project to present and discuss the slideshow An Inconvenient Truth.  She has also worked with her husband the Reverend Jim Ball, executive director of the Evangelical Environmental Network, assisting with activities that led to the Evangelical Climate Initiative—a groundbreaking statement by evangelical leaders supporting the need to address climate change. She holds a Master of Public Policy with a concentration in Environmental Policy from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Marcia is an adventurer at heart and participates in many outdoor activities.  After visiting the ATC headquarters on a rafting trip to Harpers Ferry in 1993, she got the bug to hike the Trail.  She completed the entire A.T. as a section-hiker in August of 2008 after setting a goal to complete the Trail within 15 years. She has initiated many A.T. hikes for others as part of a mission to get as many people out to hike at least 10 miles of the Trail in every state through her Appalachian Trail in Every State program (ATIES).  As an avid Girl Scout, she was introduced to nature and the outdoors in her youth and has provided continued support as an adult leader and trainer.  She plans outdoor adventure excursions through her Fresco Adventures program for adults and youth to explore nature by land, water, and even air with skydiving and hang-gliding adventures.  She is a member of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and Appalachian Mountain Club, as well as other outdoor related clubs, and is on the board of directors of Washington Women Outdoors.

Brian learned about the A.T. as a youth spending his summers on Mt. Greylock in Massachusetts. Now settled in South Duxbury, Vermont, he served as President of the Green Mountain Club before joining ATC's board in 1991. He served in a variety of roles before being elected chair in 2001, and led the organization during its reorganization which culminated in new strategic direction enacted in 2005. He was awarded an honorary membership to the ATC in 2005. Brian holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in biology and ecology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. He is the stream-flow protection coordinator for the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, where he works to remove dams and protect the natural flow of rivers and streams in his home state. An avid outdoor enthusiast, he and his life partner Brenda Clarkson are aspiring A.T. section hikers, birders and paddlers.

Sandi’s dedication goes unrivaled, she was once thanked by President Bill Clinton for her service as an ATC volunteer. A volunteer to the A.T. for over 25 years, she has served in a variety of positions, including three terms with the former Appalachian Trail Conference Board of Managers, where she played an active role in the ATC’s reorganization process, one term on the Stewardship Council, and currently chairs the Development Committee.  She also served two terms as President of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC).  She is a Life Member of the ATC; an Honorary Life Member of the PATC; member of the Benton MacKaye Society and the Appalachian Trail Legacy Society.  As a board member, Sandi brings professional skills in nonprofit management and human resources to the organization.

Charles is an avid hiker and has covered most of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in his native Tennessee. He is an amateur astronomer, historian, and naturalist. He is the founder and first Executive Director of the Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is Superintendent of the Maryville District of Holston Conference in the United Methodist Church. He has written extensively about national parks, and is the author of 28 books, 21 of which are nonfiction books for children. Recently, he has written articles for Tennessee Conservationist and Smokies Life magazines.

Bill’s been practicing environmental law for 20 years, during which he has represented clients before federal and state natural-resource agencies and been instrumental in drafting and passing many of the state environmental laws in effect in Maine today. He specializes in land-use issues for municipalities, is active in civic affairs, and is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States. He serves as vice president of the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust, has served on the board of the Appalachian Mountain Club, and is a long-standing member of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club. His hiking credentials include membership in the New Hampshire and New England 4,000-Footer clubs.

Betsy is active in state and local politics and government, as a Michigan native who earned an advertising degree from the University of Illinois. She formerly worked in sales and marketing for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan. 

Clark drafted and, with the assistance of many others, including North Carolina Senator Joe Sam Queen, obtained passage of legislation authorizing a new special license plate designed to raise funds for the approximately 300 miles of the A.T. that run through western North Carolina.  On August 25, 2010, he completed his ten year journey to hike the A.T. when he summated Mt. Katahdin.  It was Clark’s hike of over 1,200 miles of Trail, starting March 16, 2001, that served as his inspiration for the NC Special Tag project - now grown to at least three other A.T. states.  Clark enjoys his family, long-distance hiking, mountaineering, the land trust movement, photography, and competitive beach volleyball. As an ATC board member, Clark brings his legal expertise to bear on the organization’s efforts, as he is a partner in the New Bern, North Carolina, law firm of Davis Hartman Wright PLLC.  His areas of practice include litigation and appellate practice, zoning and land-use law, administrative law, and environmental law, where he has been selected by his peers for inclusion in “Best Lawyers in America” for over twelve years.

The Board is responsible for communicating the mission and the purpose of the ATC. They establish and maintain relationships with the stewardship council, clubs, partners, members, and other stakeholders.  While enhancing the public standing of the ATC, they also ensure legal and ethical integrity and maintain accountability.

About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. For more information please visit

Javier Folgar
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 304.535.2200 x117
Fax: 304.535.2667
Email: [email protected]


Leave a comment
  1. Taimi | Sep 23, 2011
    Okay I'm convinced. Let's put it to aitocn.
  2. Tambrey | Jul 31, 2011
    Hey hey hey, take a gnader at what' you've done
  3. Lucas | Jul 06, 2011
    Congrats to all the new and re-elected board members! Thanks for all of your dedicated to the Trail!

    Leave a comment