Senior Staff

Ronald J. Tipton
Executive Director/CEO
Ron has spent most of the past 30+ years as an advocate for public land preservation and national park protection. He has a degree in American Studies from George Washington University and a law degree from GW’s National Law Center, Ron first worked as a program officer at the National Academy of Sciences and on the oversight/investigative staff of the House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee. 

Since 1978 he has been a part of the advocacy and/or management team of four non-profit national conservation organizations: The Wilderness Society, National Audubon Society, World Wildlife Fund, and National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). At NPCA he was the Senior Vice President for Programs and then Senior VP for Policy, and had a major role in National Park funding and new park campaigns. Ron has been a member of the board or governing council of numerous recreation and trails organizations, including the ATC, the Benton MacKaye Trail Association, and the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. He also helped found the Appalachian Long Distance Hiker’s Association. In 1978 he walked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail.
Laura Belleville 
Director of Conservation
Laura grew up hiking trails in the Hudson Valley area. Among her first summer jobs in this area was the opportunity to lead youth trail crews in Harriman State Park. This fun and inspiring position sealed Laura’s interest to work towards conservation of our special places and natural heritage. She went on to receive her Master’s Degree in biology with a focus on tropical forest ecology. Early in her career she gained an appreciation about innovative conservation strategies related to ecotourism while in the Peruvian Amazon, and learned about the complexities of conservation working in the Florida Keys. Laura returned to her northern roots in 2000. Today she is a senior conservation manager with over 22 years of experience including field research, resource management, and conservation program development. Her work has been largely focused in the non-profit sector, including employment with the National Audubon Society and The Nature Conservancy, where she grew into a management role as the Associate State Director.

Laura joined The Appalachian Trail Conservancy staff in 2005 as the Southwest and Central Virginia Regional Director, assuming the Conservation Director role in 2007.  Laura has a passion for engaging local communities and volunteers in conservation projects. She contributed to several community planning efforts in Ohio, Florida, and now Virginia. She’s proud to work for an organization that aspires to implement the community building vision of Benton MacKaye, while protecting and promoting a premier hiking destination. When she is not working for the Trail Laura is spending time with her husband and two daughters, exploring the mountains and rivers of southwest Virginia and beyond.

Royce Gibson 
Director of Development
Royce has been with ATC since 2005 when he started as the membership manager. He was promoted to his current position in 2006.  His career in the non-profit industry began at the American Institute for Cancer Research. He went on to gain extensive non-profit experience at Zero Population Growth, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Public Interest Data (a service bureau for 50 leading social and environmental non-profits). Since joining the ATC staff, Royce has won awards for his fundraising work including a Direct Marketing Association MAXI award and two Gold Awards from Fundraising Success magazine.

Royce is a native of Mississippi and graduated high school in Arkansas before moving to Washington, D.C. where he earned a BA in Political Science from The American University.  He currently lives within sight of the Appalachian Trail outside Harpers Ferry, WV.

Stacey Marshall
Director of Finance and Administration
Stacey is a 1995 graduate of West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia, with a BSBA degree in Accounting. Her career in the non-profit industry began in 1997 at the American Farmland Trust in Washington, D.C. She went on to work for other respected nonprofit organizations, such as the World Wildlife Fund and Project Hope, gaining invaluable experience before accepting the position of Controller at Appalachian Trail Conservancy in 2004. She was promoted to Director of Finance and Administration in 2008.

Growing up in rural West Virginia, Stacey was always captivated by the lore and legend of the Appalachian Trail.  She considers it a dream fulfilled to be a part of the organization whose mission is to protect it for future generations.

Javier Folgar
Director of Marketing and Communications 
Javier received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Rutgers University (Newark, NJ) in 2007, where he majored in Marketing. Upon graduation, Javier worked in the Pharmaceutical/Biotech industry working for a Contract Research Organization as the Marketing and Communications Manager. During that time he also volunteered with local nonprofits such as NJ Community Water Watch, NJ Public Interest Research Group, and Global Environmental Projects. He also served as a Catechist at Our Lady of the Valley Parish. In 2010 he joined the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) as the Marketing and Communications Manager. In January 2013, he was promoted to Director of Marketing and Communications. He is also working towards his MBA in Business Administration and Marketing. Javier developed a strong passion for hiking after completing a missionary trip to Tohatchie, New Mexico. Since then, he has been hiking the trails almost every weekend. 
Brian B. King
After eight years of helping with the Appalachian Trailway News and three on the board’s public-relations committee, King joined the staff in June 1987 as director of public affairs, responsible for public-information, media-relations, publications, membership, and direct-mail programs and the archives. Following a number of reorganizations that spun other programs off into separate departments, he assumed this title in December 2006, with responsibility for sales activities, the books and maps published for them, and the archives.A native of Washington, D.C., King was a 1968 graduate of Georgetown University with an A.B. degree in government and previously attended the University of the South and Northwestern University’s National Journalism Institute. During college, he worked for the Charleston (S.C.) Evening Post. King worked for The Associated Press from June 1968 until January 1980, in Albany, N.Y., and Washington, there covering food and agricultural policy from the Capitol. (While in the Army in an award-winning information office, he also worked for the AP in Denver, Colo., and as assistant city editor of the Colorado Springs Sun.) He served as the editor for the agriculture secretary’s policy projects for the last year of the Carter administration, worked as director of public affairs for the Agriculture Council of America from 1981 to 1987, and then was a contract writer for a Ford Foundation-funded Michigan State project promoting multidisciplinary approaches to rural development.
Bob Proudman 
Director of Conservation Operations 
Bob’s involvement in the A.T. dates back to his first year on AMC’s New Hampshire Trail Crew in 1965. He rose through the ranks becoming the first fulltime, club-wide Supervisor of Trails in 1972.  On the former ATC Board of Mangers from 1975 to 1978, Bob joined the National Park Service A.T. Park Office in 1979-80 after which he joined the staff of ATC in 1981.  Bob is author of ATC’s Appalachian Trail Design, Construction and Maintenance (1st and 2nd editions, with Bill Birchard and others), as well as AMC’s Trail Building and Maintenance, 1977 and ’88 editions.  Bob also helped found ATC’s corridor monitoring program, trail crew programs, ridgerunner and caretaker programs, as well as major government-funded procurement programs for removing structures and dams along the Trail, maintaining the exterior corridor boundary, and other federal and state-funded initiatives. He supervised those and other conservation programs until ATC’s restructuring in 2003-05. Bob has worked nationally and internationally as a consultant, trail designer and recreational safety expert and has extensive outdoor experience as a mountaineer and adventurer. Today, he acts as operations director for the ATC conservation department on advocacy issues such as external threats (power lines, highways, etc.), on specialized trail problems and issues, policy and plan development for the ANST, safety management with our programs, with interagency relations and agreements, and mentoring staff and volunteers.
Hawk Metheny
New England Regional Director, NERO
Hawk serves as the New England Regional Director for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and oversees the management and protection of 734 miles of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in New England.  Prior to his current position, Hawk worked on the A.T. as the Backcountry Management Specialist with the Appalachian Mountain Club on the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.  He also worked with AMC as a Field Coordinator, Backcountry Caretaker, Trail Crew member, and worked five memorable winters as the Caretaker at Carter Notch Hut. Before becoming an employee with ATC, he served several consecutive terms on ATC’s Board of Directors and chaired the Stewardship Council. He thru-hiked the A.T. in 1993 (Hawk-Who-Walks GA—>ME), and has hiked many other sections of the A.T. since thru-hiking.

Hawk has over 20 years experience in Wilderness, backcountry, and long-distance hiking trail management; including field work, program management, and serving on several non-profit boards and committees, and he currently serves on the board with the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.  He also served on the Educational Review Committee with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and has instructed 15 LNT Master Educator courses. He has also instructed 14 “Planning an A.T. Thru-hike” workshops. Hawk has a B.S. in Environmental Science/Natural Resource Management from the University of Massachusetts. He’s also logged a few miles on other trails including the 2650 mile Pacific Crest Trail, the 221 mile John Muir Trail (2X), and a section hike of the 270 mile Long Trail in Vermont. He lives on an 11 acre homestead in Vermont just 2 miles from the A.T. with his thru-hiker wife Zaz, their daughter Lyla, and black lab Lily.

Karen Lutz
Regional Director, MARO
Karen completed an end-to end hike of the A.T. in 1978 and immediately thereafter became involved with Trail management.  She was a charter member of what was to become the Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club.  Lutz earned a masters degree in Recreation and Parks from Penn State and a Bachelors in Health Physical Education and Recreation from Lock Haven University (PA).  She spent numerous summers working at various camps as the director of the tripping program in Maine and directing a Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) camp in Pennsylvania.

Karen joined the ATC team in 1988 as the regional representative of the mid-Atlantic region serving NY, NJ, PA, MD, WV and NOVA, and currently is the director of that region working closely with 12 separate trail clubs and dozens of state and federal agencies.  She has a reputation for finding satisfaction engaging the partners in big complex trail construction projects in the mid-Atlantic region.  Examples include the Pochuck boardwalk (NJ), Bear Mt re-design and construction, and numerous highway crossings that have involved construction of major bridges and in one case an underpass to provide safe passage for A.T. visitors. 
Andrew Downs
Southwest and Central Virginia Regional Director, VARO
Andrew joined the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in 2007 as Trail Resource Manager for the Deep South Region before moving to Virginia to serve as Regional Director for Central and Southwest Virginia in 2013.  After graduating from Appalachian State University with a degree in Archeology and thru-hiking the A.T. in 2002, Andrew worked as an Archeologist around the Southeast US. Returning to school to study under A.T. researcher Roger Moore, Andrew earned a Masters in Natural Resource Management from North Carolina State while working on North Carolina's Haw River and Mountains-to-Sea trail.

Andrew has been successful at marketing the S.W.E.A.T. Crew program to young people and has earned a Primitive Skills Award for his work establishing the  'Wilderness Skills Institute'. Trained "old school" by Morgan Sommerville, Andrew is dedicated to the traditions of A.T. management and takes a volunteers-first approach when working to protect the Trail and the A.T. experience. 
Morgan Sommerville
Southern Regional Director, SORO
Morgan (Captain A.T.) Sommerville, ATC Southern Regional Director

Morgan began work with ATC in 1983 following work with the Blue Ridge Parkway (BLRI) and Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) as a backcountry ranger.  Between the BLRI and GRSM, in 1977, Morgan hiked about 1850 miles of the A.T.  Blocked from climbing Katahdin that year by the great Baxter State Park spruce blowdown fire, Morgan finally got to the summit in 1991, and section hiking, became a 2000-miler in 2000.  Morgan has been pleased to put his NC State Univ. degree in natural resource management to use by helping to design, build, conserve and protect a national park (the A.T.) from the ground up while overseeing the evolution of the SORO office from a one man operation to four full-time, one half-time and ten seasonal employees.  A couple of career highlights:  Receiving the National Primitive Tools and Skills Award from the Chief of the US Forest Service in 1992 (for construction of the no-hardware Coonford bridge in the Pond Mountain Wilderness) and being named Blue Ridge Outdoors Outdoor Person of the Year in 2003.  In addition to his work with ATC Morgan is on the advisory board of the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards and is a board member of the Partnership For The National Trails System, representing all the national scenic and historic trails.  Morgan has a wife, Avi, and three grown and gone children – Megan, Joseph and Hannah.