Michael Sullivan, Vice-President
Mike works part time as a consultant with a DC-based environmental engineering firm. He and his wife, Susan Hirsch, live outside Shepherdstown in the Steamboat Run Community. As a hydrologist and water resources specialist, Mike has worked extensively on watershed and water quality projects in the mid-Atlantic area including the Potomac River. During his career he held positions with EPA, the National Weather Service, and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Mike has also held leadership positions on the boards of DC Greenworks and the Federal Water Quality Association. His interest in birding and conservation date back to his twenties when he joined the environmental movement following Earth Day.
Diana Gaviria, Secretary
Diana Gaviria is a public health physician with board certification in Family Medicine. She has served as Health Officer with the Berkeley County Health Department since 2003 and is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the WVU School of Medicine. Prior to 2003 she was a physician in private practice in Martinsburg, WV and Kernersville, NC. She attended Brown University undergraduate, obtained her medical degree from Case Western Reserve University and completed a residency in Family Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. She received a Masters degree in Public Health from the University of North Carolina. Her interests in the field of public health include prevention of chronic disease, healthcare-associated infections and environmental health. Outside of work she enjoys volunteer work with the Potomac Valley Audubon Society, running, skiing, travel and spending time with her husband Jon Pike, and their two sons Sean and Daniel.
Lex Miller, Treasurer
Lex has been a Shepherdstown resident since 2004 and joined PVAS in 2008. Before retiring in 2002 he was the Research Actuary for Watson Wyatt and Company, an employee benefits consulting firm, for whom he worked for 22 years. Prior to his actuarial career, he was a mathematics teacher in the public schools of Montgomery County, Maryland. Since retiring, he has been active in the AARP Tax-Aide program, serving as District Coordinator for the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia from 2005 to 2008. He is also active in the Shepherdstown Film Society and Good Shepherd Caregivers. He earned a B.A. in Mathematics from Lehigh University and an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland. He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries.
Diana Mullis, Immediate Past President
Diana Mullis moved to WV from MD in 1979 and is a founding member of PVAS. She is retired from a 37 year career with the USFWS and USGS where she worked in administrative services. Diana has served many terms of office on the PVAS board including Membership, Education, Secretary, Vice President and President. She is also the PVAS wildlife rehabilitation coordinator, bird seed sale coordinator, event committee member, and an honorary Master Naturalist. Diana enjoys birding, botany, gardening, cooking, quilting, and knitting.
Clark Dixon, At-large Board Member
Clark A. Dixon, Jr. is retired from the National Park Service (NPS) with 34 years of supervisory and management experience as Supervisory Park Ranger, Nature Center Director, Park Manager (superintendent), and Regional Program Manager. As a Park Manager and Superintendent he oversaw four National Parks during his career. Since retirement in 2003, Clark has taken up other pursuits including substitute teaching in Jefferson County WV schools. Clark has served over 45 years (youth and adult) in leadership roles with the Boy Scouts of America and has served other youth organizations in varied adult leadership postions.
Kara Klein Gibson, At-large Board Member
Kara is avid about spending time outdoors and enjoys educating children of all ages about the wonders of nature. Kara, a native of West Virginia, grew up in historic Shepherdstown, then attended The College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. After graduation, Kara moved to Colorado and enjoyed a career as a real estate broker in Breckenridge. Appreciating and protecting nature while hiking in the mountains, floating rivers and skiing were part of everyday existence. Kara is a local small business owner. Kara and her husband immensely enjoy all seasons in their bird-filled backyard on Whiting’s Neck and kayaking the local waterways.
Tanner Haid, At-large Board Member
Tanner resides in Harper’s Ferry and is a recent Shepherd University graduate who majored in Environmental Studies. Tanner is employed by the Cacapon Institute as their Urban Forestry Coordinator. Tanner’s background also includes two field seasons with the USGS Aquatic Ecology Lab, employment as Land Steward at CraftWorks at Cool Spring, and six years experience as a whitewater river guide.
Joe Hankins, At-large Board Member
Director of The Conservation Fund’s (TCF) Freshwater Institute in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and a TCF Vice President, Joe Hankins brings a biologist’s eye and an entrepreneur’s passion to key conservation issues of food security and water availability. Joe joined the Fund in 1992 to develop aquaculture, sustainable rural economic development and technology outreach in Appalachia. Today he leads an internationally recognized research and consulting program focused on water reuse technology in food production. In addition to his work at the Freshwater Institute, Joe serves as an Officer of the Natural Capital Investment Fund. He is active in local and regional work-groups focused on the strategic importance of water, community water infrastructure planning, and life cycle assessment. He holds a B.S. in General Science from Purdue University and a Masters in Environmental Biology from Hood College. He is married to Virginia (Ginger) Hankins, the Special Education Coordinator at Washington High School. They moved to Jefferson County in 1993 and to their current home on Rockymarsh Run in 1998.
Susan Jones, At-large Board Member
Susan retired after a 29-year career with Lockheed Martin where she worked as a Test Architect on programs upgrading the air traffic control system for the FAA. Susan now lives in Berkeley Springs where she built her retirement home in 2007. Since retiring in 2010, Susan has completed the Master Gardener and Master Naturalist programs. She currently serves as Secretary for the Morgan County Master Gardeners, Secretary for the Warm Springs Watershed Association, and At-Large Board member for the Sleepy Creek Watershed Association. Susan received her BA and MSS from Ole Miss in History and Political Science and a MA from University of Southern California in International Relations. Her interests include birding, gardening, traveling, and being involved with water quality issues within Morgan County. Susan has been a member of PVAS since the early days and was a board member in the early 1990s.
Matt Patterson, At-large Board Member
Matthew was born in Flint, Michigan but spent most of his formative years along the Ohio River in Eastern Kentucky. He was introduced to fish and mussel surveys back in 1995 as an intern with the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission in Frankfort, KY. He has been hooked on all things freshwater ever since. After finishing up a Biology degree at Eastern Kentucky University, Matthew went on earn a Master’s Degree in Biology (studying freshwater mussel biology and feeding physiology) from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. After his stint as a Hokie, he returned to Kentucky to attempt to make his fortune as a rock star. Because emerging rock star does not pay as well as an actual rock star, he kept his day job as a Research Scientist at Kentucky State University working on the impacts of agricultural pesticides on ground and surface waters. When the band finally fell apart (artistic differences), he joined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a Fisheries Biologist at the White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery in White Sulphur Springs, WV. Matthew spent his time at the hatchery raising federally endangered freshwater mussels and spawning rainbow trout. After 5 years at the hatchery, Matthew took his current job as Course Leader at NCTC. Matthew is now Course Leader for a wide array of Fisheries related courses including Fisheries Academy, Introduction to Fish Health, Fish Identification, Coldwater Fish Culture, Conservation Biology of Freshwater Mussels and Freshwater Mussel Propagation for Restoration. When he is not working, Matthew enjoys spending time in the outdoors (camping, hiking, photography) with his wife Diana and five-year-old son Mazi.
Lainie Weber, At-large Board Member
Lainie worked at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (PWRC) from 1989-2003 in budget and administration. She moved to West Virginia from Elkridge, Maryland in 2003. She has an 18 yr old son, a 19 yr old daughter, 1 dog and 3 cats (one with only 3 legs). She is currently the Budget Analyst for the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC). Her passions are gardening and wildlife. She has never served on a non-profit board of directors, so she is looking forward to a new experience and adventure.Lou Scavnicky, At-large Board Member
Lou retired in 2009 from a recent six-year position as a construction project manager in the healthcare field. Previously he retired from a 25-year career with AT&T. In 1996 Lou and his wife, Jackie, bought their retirement property along the Opequon, built a home there in 2006, and moved from Maryland to Berkeley County in 2007. Lou has had conservation in his blood since he was a young adult growing up in rural, western Pennsylvania. At 21 he bought a 100-acre farm in northwestern Pennsylvania and with help planted about 5,000 trees; that started it all. He and Jackie are both Berkeley/Jefferson County Master Gardeners. Lou is a PVAS Master Naturalist, successfully completing the program in 2011 and is currently in his second term as President of the Eastern Panhandle based Opequon Creek Project Team. Lou completed his undergraduate degree in Business at the University of Pittsburgh and secured a Masters in Project Management from George Washington University in Washington. He is a finish carpenter, building many one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture. He and Jackie are now enjoying their retirement along the Opequon with activities which include canoeing and kayaking, fishing, bicycling and gardening.
Retired after a career in the U.S. Navy, Jean and her late husband moved to Shepherdstown in 1979. She was the founding president of PVAS in 1982 and has remained active in the chapter, holding a variety of offices. She is an avid birder, and has travelled to many areas of the western hemisphere in pursuit of her hobby. Jean is concerned about the alarming decline of many species of birds, and supports programs such as habitat preservation and pollution abatement aimed at protecting those birds we have left. She has been an emeritus member of the board since 2006. She received the Spirit of the Panhandle Award from the Eastern WV Community Foundation in 2005, and was named a Woman of Distinction in 2013 by the Girl Scouts.