Laura Walters - Chair and Executive Committee Chair
Laura has lived in Southwest Virginia
all her life, spending summers growing up on Claytor Lake, where she now lives with her husband Jeff and
rescue pets. She received her degrees in Psychology and Business from Radford University. Laura has three
children. Laura founded Career Directions, Consulting and Outplacement firm in 1989, serving as President
until retiring in 2011. Laura believes in giving back, serving on various boards and organizations.
Current volunteer work includes Chair of New River Conservancy, Past President of FOCL
(Friends of Claytor Lake), Financial Officer U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 83, Vice Chair,
Clean Community Council, Friends of Peak Creek Board, Boating Safety Instructor for VDGIF, and Chair,
Claytor Lake Technical Advisory Committee and Virginia Safe Boating Council.
Larry McGee - Treasurer and Financial Oversite Committee Chair
Larry is a North Carolina Board
member and Treasurer of New River Conservancy. He is Chair of the NRC Financial Oversight Committee.
Larry is retired General Counsel at Novant Health. He attended Wake Forest School of Law.
Ellen Darden - Leadership Development Committee Chair
Ellen is a Blacksburg, Virginia resident and
chairs the Leadership Development Committee for the New River Conservancy. Ellen received her PhD from
Virginia Tech University and is currently a Professor at Concord University and active business consultant.
Ellen has been very active in the Stop the Pipeline fight.
Anna Ziegler - Land Protection Committee Chair
Anna is an experienced attorney practicing in
areas of real estate, property law, conservation easements and local government law. Ms. Ziegler received
Juris Doctor with the certification in environmental law from the University of Montana School of Law in
Missoula, Montana. During law school, she focused most of her studies on land use planning.
In 2005, Ms. Ziegler returned to her hometown in Southern WV to join her father in his law practice.
In January 2006, they became the law firm of Ziegler and Ziegler LC. Ms. Ziegler’s primary areas of interest
include conservation easement and local government law. She represents several government, quasi-government
and non-profit land trusts. Ms. Ziegler is an active member of her community. She serves on the board of
directors for the New River Conservancy and is chair of the group’s land protection committee.
She is a member of the Rotary Club and treasurer for her roller derby team.
Pete is from Pulaski, Virginia where he lives with his wife Pat. Pete is recently retired as Pulaski County
Administrator, bringing much government and community expertise to the New River Conservancy. Pete is also an
Adjunct Professor at Virginia Tech. Pete received his Masters in Geography and Education from Appalachian
State University and BS in Land Use Planning from Emory and Henry University.
Debby is from Oak Hill, West Virginia and is currently Southern West Virginia Division President for Premier
Bank Inc. She is a graduate of Mountain State University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational
Leadership Management Development. Debby is active in several community and non-profit organizations,
including board member of Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Southern West Virginia,
Tamarack Foundation for the Arts, Fayette County Planning Commission, New River Conservancy and Rotary Club
Jerimiah is a West Virginia board member and Manager of the Beckley Sanitary Board. He is a graduate of Duke
University with a Masters Environmental Management and Emory and Henry University with a BS in Biology and
brings expertise to New River Conservancy in the areas of wastewater utility management, stormwater management,
water permitting, green infrastructure, watershed management, water quality monitoring and data analysis,
stormwater financing, sediment and erosion control, water policy, and GIS.
Scott is a principal and Chief Financial Officer at Arbor Investment Advisors in Winston-Salem, NC. He earned
a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Flagler College in 1996, a Masters of Business
Administration from Wake Forest University in 2000 and has held the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®)
designation since 2007. Throughout his career, Scott has been an active volunteer and not-for-profit board
member. He and his wife, Mary, have three sons and one daughter and his interests include running, cycling,
fishing, hiking and travel.
Mike and his wife Elizabeth call Blowing Rock, North Carolina home. He had a 24 year career in the U.S.
Navy Civil Engineer Corps retiring as a Captain with assignments around the world including
Commanding Officer of the Presidential Retreat Camp David. He then spent 12 years at Appalachian
State University as the head of campus facilities where he helped the University garner national
recognition as a leader in sustainability. He earned his BS in Mining Engineering from Penn State, an MS
in Environmental Engineering from the University of Maryland, and attended the Duke Fuqua School of
Business Advanced Management Program. He is a registered Professional Engineer in North Carolina
and California. He is currently semi-retired providing facilities related consulting services to a number of
clients. He is an avid outdoor enthusiast and loves skiing, cycling, and hiking.
Melanie is the founding executive director of Active Southern West Virginia providing free physical
activity programs throughout the New River Gorge region led by volunteer community members to
improve the health of the workforce. Melanie grew up in a family owned rafting outfitter becoming a
river guide on the New River at age 18. Now she enjoys introducing the sport of stand up paddle
boarding to the area and has directed the New River Gorge SUP Race for the last 7 years.
Danny is a resident of Radford, VA where he lives with his wife and son. Danny has over 12 years of experience in planning,
zoning, design, and land development. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and an ISA Certified
Arborist. He has worked in South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. Danny is the owner of New Riverside Consulting, LLC,
a firm that specializes in land development, planning, site selection, and executive management consulting for both the
private industry and local government. His educational background includes a BS in Ornamental Horticulture, a MS in
Landscape Architecture, and a Masters Certificate in Local Government Management, all through Virginia Tech. He also
holds a Certificate in Building a Community Oriented Technology Incubation Program from Clemson University.
Zach lives in Fayetteville, WV and is a Commercial Real Estate Development Manager for Paramount Development Corporation.
He is a graduate of West Virginia University, earning a Master's in Business Administration as well as a Bachelor of Science
in Finance. With deep family roots in the outdoor industry, Zach has immersed himself in outdoor recreation, this year
being his 15th season as a whitewater rafting guide on the New and Gauley Rivers. Zach recently served as the Chief
Operations Officer at Adventures on the Gorge where he oversaw all outdoor activities and he retains an ownership stake in
the company. He has participated in and organized numerous river and highway cleanups and spends his free time with family
and friends enjoying Appalachia's vast recreational opportunities.