Calling on dedicated people throughout the basin, CRF has assembled a Board of Directors with a diverse background and reach. We are proud to have these volunteers set organizational policy, make strategic decisions and facilitate community outreach and fundraising. They bring CRF talent, energy and expertise, and we are fortunate to have them on our team!
2017-2018 Board Members
Chairman of the Board
Ron is the Chairman of the Board for the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation Board of Directors. He lives on Lake Norman in Mooresville and is graduate of the University of Connecticut (B.A. Biology), University of Hartford (MBA), and Central CT State University (M. Ed, Educational Technology). Early in his career he was Executive Director of the Farmington River Watershed Association. He moved on to a series of corporate headquarters positions at Northeast Utilities over 18 years. More recently, he was a High School science teacher and an eLearning Instructional Designer.
Vice Chairman of the Board
Peter Bell is a Certified Public Accountant and a dedicated conservationist. He is the founder, manager and member of Peter Bell, PLLC. A graduate from the University of Florida, Peter has been on the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation Board of Directors since 2012 and currently serves as Vice President.
Gregory Johns has been on the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation Board of Directors since 2009 and currently serves as the Board Treasurer. Greg retired from CliftonLarsonAllen LLP in 2013 and is an avid paddler, cyclist and outdoorsman. He enjoys traveling and spending time with his family. Greg knows that environmental protection is a key component to securing vibrant communities and healthy people.
Martha Whitfield, a Charlotte native, grew up swimming in Lake Wylie and playing in Sugar Creek in the 1960s. Environmental protection is her passion with board membership and advocacy for the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation since 2013 and Foothills Land Conservancy since 2011. She is on the executive committees of both organizations. Martha worked at The Charlotte Observer prior to opening a teaching and production art studio in NoDa. Over the years, Martha has volunteered in CMS public schools. Her lifelong passion is creating community among various groups to achieve common goals.
Bill White, Esq.
Bill White has practiced environmental law for 40 years. He has represented EPA as well as private companies of all kinds. He joined the Catawba Riverkeeer Foundation Board because he believes everyone needs to work to protect our waterways and is the chair of the Stormwater subcommittee for CRF’s Technical Program Committee.
Tyler Richardson is the Associate Director of retail fund operations at Barings and a Lake Norman native. He spent his summers boating, kayaking, swimming and enjoying all aspects of the Catawba River Basin. Tyler graduated a McKissick’s Scholar at the University of South Carolina in Columbia where he studied Finance and Public Relations. After college, Tyler worked for one of the largest mutual fund companies in several roles that took him to Philadelphia before accepting his current position with Barings back in his home state. Tyler has been on the Board of CRF since September of 2016 and sits on the Fund Development Committee. Along with the Riverkeeper, Tyler is a Heart Math Tutor at Sedgefield Elementary and a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in Charlotte. In his free time loves to golf, visit Charlotte’s many breweries, and watch the Panthers play.
Katie Forster graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a degree in meteorology, which fostered her interest in the environment. She was born and raised in the Lake Norman region and knows first-hand the importance of protecting the Catawba River. She has been a member of the CRF Board of Directors since 2015 and is an avid runner – completing the New York Marathon in 2016.
Ellen O. Goff
As a long-time CRF volunteer and community philanthropist, Ellen Goff brings invaluable experience, connections and knowledge to the Board. Ellen Goff served for many years as the Lakekeeper for Lake Wylie. In that capacity, Ellen managed the Lake Wylie Covekeepers, organized Lake Wylie Riversweep (which is one of the largest and most successful cleanup events in the Carolinas), and various other events to raise money and promote awareness of issues affecting the River.
Shirley earned an undergraduate degree in Economics from Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, NC, and a master’s degree in elementary education from Temple University, Philadelphia. In 2004, she retired from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, Georgia, as National Director of Cancer Control Training and Development. Shirley has been on the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation board of directors since 2014 and enjoys being a mother, grandmother and disciple of Christ active in various church ministries.
June Lambla is on the Catawba River several times a week, rowing competitively and coaching high school rowers from surrounding counties. As an arts curator, she has developed exhibitions documenting the Catawba River and highlighting the importance of this region’s water and natural resources. On the board since 2011, she has witnessed the importance of citizen advocacy on issues that affect our waterways and values the knowledgeable “watchdog” role of CRF.
Michael and his wife Nancy have lived on Lake Norman with their three sons for 27 years. The Catawba River is their home and they are proud of what the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation has done to protect the River and to ensure clean, plentiful water for today and for the future. Michael has served three terms on CRF’s Board of Directors and is a former Chairman of the Board. He is an avid river recreationalist – Paddle on!
An avid fisherman since youth, Randy has traveled between Venezuela and Alaska to fish and is committed to protecting the rivers and waterways that provide the source of his favorite pastime. A Mountain Island Lake Covekeeper, Randy has been an active member of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation since 2008. In 2010, Randy was the recipient of the Mountain Island Lake Marine Commission’s Blue Fin Award “in recognition of [his] contribution to the betterment of Mountain Island Lake.” In 2015, Randy was elected to the CRF Board where he also serves on the IT Committee.
Philip Otienoburu, PhD
Dr. Otienoburu is the Director of the Center for Renewable Energy & Sustainability at Johnson C. Smith University. He is also the faculty lead for sustainability and Assistant Professor of Biology in the Department of Natural Science and Mathematics. Since joining the university, Dr. Otienoburu has developed a university-wide sustainability program that has been recognized both regionally and nationally for its student-centric innovative approach in providing local solutions for global challenges. Dr. Otienoburu has a BS from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya, an MPH (ABD) in Epidemiology, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya, and a PhD in Chemical Ecology/Medical Entomology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. He has been on the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation Board since 2014.
Susan O. Tompkins
Susan Oast Tompkins grew up in and on the water in Tidewater, Virginia, before moving inland in the late sixties. She lives in the floodplain on Briar Creek with appreciation for water. She was instrumental in getting her neighborhood association to ask the owners of the land fronting Randolph Rd. and Briar Creek to donate 22 acres to the Catawba Lands Conservancy – now the Catawba Urban Preserve. Susan went as a photographer to the BP oil spill off the coast of Alabama in 2010 and continued her service in water on the Mecklenburg Storm Water Advisory Committee for 6 years and one as its Chair in addition to the Charlotte Tree Advisory Committee, the Charlotte Public Arts Commission and the NC Climate Change Commission in Raleigh. Currently she is an art consultant at the Foundation For The Carolinas. She is interested in how to create dialogue with diverse groups about the importance of water.
Volunteer Documentary Photographer
Documentary still photographer Nancy Pierce’s work often reflects her personal interests in land, air and water protection, active transportation and recreation, equality and the common good. A Minnesota native and U of M Journalism School graduate, she has covered the Carolinas for various publications since moving to Charlotte in 1979 as a Charlotte Observer staff photographer. Since then she has worked in most of the 50 states photographing conferences for non-profit organizations, which she enjoys because she can listen in on interesting proceedings without having to sit still.
Volunteer Documentary Photographer
After decades of film photography, Tom entered the digital era in 2007 and has since been making a wide variety of imagery including travel, landscape, macro, flower, wildlife, and, during several bouts of cerebral hemorrhage, wedding photography. His primary equipment includes Canon 5D3, 7D2, Fujifilm X-T1, and X-T2 cameras. He has given presentations to numerous photography groups on a variety of topics including the principles of visual design, travel, wildlife, and street photography. His images have been published in national photography magazines, used by BBC-TV, hung in local art galleries, and earned awards in national and international competitions. After 30 years in Minneapolis, he now resides in Davidson, North Carolina.