Board of Directors
Dr. Theresa Burriss
Theresa serves as the immediate past ASD Board Chair and has been involved with ASD for the past four years. Born and raised in Bristol, TN, Theresa has a BA from Emory University in Atlanta, an MS from Radford University, and a Ph.D. from the Union Institute and University in Cincinnati. She serves as the Chair of Appalachian Studies and Director of the Appalachian Regional & Rural Studies Center at Radford University, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate multidisciplinary classes on Appalachia. Along with her husband, Dr. James L. Werth, Jr., two sons, Paul and Campbell, and various domestic and wild animals, Theresa lives in Washington County, VA, on Gwendolyn Ridge, a non-traditional 106-wooded-acre farm and artist retreat.
Jim is the Executive Director of the Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission (CPPDC) in Lebanon, Virginia. Jim has been with the CPPDC since 1972. Jim is a founding member of ASD and also serves on many other Boards of Directors, including The Crooked Road, Coalfield Water Development Fund and the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority. Jim, a native of Honaker, Virginia, graduated from the College of William and Mary in Virginia with a B.A. degree in Government and is married with two grown children and five grandchildren. He and his wife Kathy live near Emory, Virginia.
Steven was born and raised in Wise County, Virginia. As a kid he was always outside running wild, but it wasn’t until his early twenties that he decided to match his hobbies/interests to a career in horticulture. In 2017, Steven moved to Abingdon, VA where he began working at Indoor Farms in Meadowview, VA. He later started working at a golf course as a horticultural assistant where he was responsible for maintaining a one-acre vegetable plot used to provide produce for the restaurant located on the course. At the end of 2020 he enrolled in a horticulture program at Virginia Highlands Community College and landed a job working at Thomas Hollow Nursery where he is being trained as the lead horticulturalist for the company. Stevens future goal is to obtain property of his own and ecologically manage the landscape by implementing various agroforestry techniques and other regenerative practices. He is also very excited to begin working with Appalachian Sustainable Development where he hopes to help contribute to the strengthening of the economic and ecological resilience of the southern Appalachian region.
Make sure you call her by her trail name – Blossom – when she is hiking on the Appalachian Trail (AT). She earned that trail name during her successful completion of the entire AT in 2014. Since then, Kayla has spent most weekends either maintaining her three-mile section of the AT along the Elk River as a Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club member, keeping it rubber side down on some local mountain bike trails or playing cover songs on her ukulele. One of her newest projects is being created alongside her husband Noah and is called Golden Roots Farm. Together, they have plans to grow blackberries for market and aspire to provide CSAs to their neighbors.
She graduated from East Tennessee State University in 2011 with a degree in journalism. From 2012-2015, she worked as a newspaper reporter. She served as Tourism Coordinator for Carter County, TN from 2015-2017. Kayla is currently serving as the Outdoor Development Manager for the Northeast TN Regional Economic Partnership (NeTREP). She is leading a regional effort to encourage more investments in outdoor recreation through the Northeast TN Outdoor Coalition. She is exploring ways to galvanize the region on topics like stewardship, infrastructure, education and the economics of outdoor recreation industry.
A native of Appalachia, Ben grew up in Bristol, VA and spent his youth mostly outdoors. In 2006, Ben took a break from his studies of horticulture …at Virginia Highlands Community College (VHCC) to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. The journey changed his life and he began to further pursue an education in agriculture and adventure. This pursuit caused him to travel to central Arizona where he studied adventure education and agroecology because he figured “if you can grow it in the desert, you can grow it anywhere.” He traveled throughout the western states, but his heart lay in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. After growing organic produce and flowers to sell at the Abingdon Farmer’s Market with his business Appalachian Wildside, everything came full circle. Ben became the first greenhouse manager at VHCC and began teaching horticulture full-time in 2014. In 2017, he finished his Masters in Agriculture and Life Science through Virginia Tech and now serves as the program coordinator for Agriculture and Natural Resources as well as teaching a full load of horticulture courses.
Dr. Heather Champney
Heather serves as ASD’s Board Chair and is a Johnson City, TN native, who returned to the area after college to attend medical school at ETSU Quillen College of Medicine. She met her husband in medical school and decided to make the area their home. Heather is a pediatrician in the Niswonger Pediatric Emergency Room and also works in an outpatient clinic doing general pediatrics. Heather has a passion for teaching children and their families about healthy lifestyle choices and is involved in a number of schools and community-based initiatives that promote fitness, gardening, and healthy eating. She and her husband stay busy with their four children, two cats, one dog and four fish and they enjoy spending time on the lake, biking, traveling and simply being together.
John is ASD’s Board Secretary and was born in Louisville, Kentucky and grew up in Morganton, North Carolina. He graduated from Duke University and earned his law degree at Washington and Lee University. He came to Southwest Virginia in 1982 to work with the Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society, representing low-income clients with issues involving public benefits and consumer law. In 1997, John began his practice with Browning, Lamie, and Gifford in Abingdon, Virginia, representing clients in workers’ compensation, Social Security, and bankruptcy matters and has recently retired. John also serves on the Board of Directors of the Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society. He is an avid runner and bicyclist who enjoys an annual week-long cycling trek through the mountains of Appalachia.
Earl joined the ASD board in 2019 and has 45 years of experience in state, local and Federal governments as both an elected and appointed official, serving three Governors, a Mayor, State Senator two, Federal Labor Secretaries and two Presidents. He was an elected member of the Harrisburg City Council for 7 years; he was appointed by President Obama and confirmed unanimously by the US Senate to serve Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission a position he held for eight years. As Federal Co Chair he initiated a 3 state tour to highlight the important role that local foods can play in local economies and he implemented the local foods local places program to support local efforts that were featuring local foods as part of a communities economy.
Antoinette graduated from the University of Georgia. Most of her professional career has been with non-profits, primarily the Coastal Heritage Society in Savannah, Georgia where she was Assistant Director and later Editor. She has served as Co-founder and President of the Waldorf Children’s Garden in Evansville, IN, and as National Trainer with Camp Noah during Katrina outreach for MN Lutheran Social Services as well as assorted local organizations including Evergreen Soil and Water Conservation District Associate Director from 1999 to 2011. Antoinette’s vision for her farm, Laughing Water, includes wildlife preservation of the endangered Gray Bat as well as offering it as a green space and retreat center. She seeks to grow sustainably for the health of the land, river, animals and people the farm feeds. Her farm raises Grass-fed Lamb, Classically-aged Angus Beef, Rose Veal and Ossabaw Island Pigs as well as a market vegetable garden.
Jake is Market President of Tri-Cities BB&T with responsibilities including commercial banking, business development and account management. Jake earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance while attending King College and the University of South Florida where he graduated with Cum Laude honors. He has 14 years of experience in the financial services industry including 10 years focused on commercial banking in the Tri-Cities region. Jake’s commercial banking experience includes structuring and managing all sizes of real estate, construction and asset-based credit facilities as well as providing overall management to large corporate, municipal and small business relationships. He has been inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society. He lives in Kingsport, TN with his wife, Amy and two children, Camden and Paislee. In his spare time, Jake enjoys spending time with his family, practicing a healthy lifestyle, outdoor recreation, gardening and playing guitar.
Lindsay joined the ASD board of directors in 2019 and is a Corporate Events and Public Affairs Representative at Eastman in Kingsport, TN. Employed at Eastman since 2015, she collaborates with internal and external stakeholders to accomplish organizational goals through events, projects and initiatives. She leads the team’s efforts in the development and implementation of sustainable meeting practices in all company events. Lindsay earned Bachelor of Science Degrees in both Hospitality and Tourism Management at Virginia Tech and also earned a degree in Marketing Management from the Pamplin College of Business. She is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Natural Resources from Virginia Tech’s Center of Leadership in Global Sustainability.
Edd was born in eastern Kentucky in a coal mining community. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Western Kentucky University. After working in Kentucky and Florida, he moved to Bristol in 1977 and served as Project Engineer on a project to build six floors on Bristol Memorial Hospital. A few years and projects later, in 1986, he founded HVAC, Inc., a mechanical and electrical contracting company. HVAC, Inc. has grown to over 130 employees and is licensed in seven states. Edd has two wonderful daughters. He lost his wife of over 38 years to cancer in 2011. His passions are music, fly fishing and buildings. He is also very involved in the community and non-profit work and has served on the boards of ASD, the Birthplace of Country Music, the Crooked Road, and the YMCA.
Dr. Steven Hopp
Steven is broadly trained in the life sciences and received his Ph.D. in Animal Behavior from Indiana University. He moved to SWVA in 1984 to teach at Emory and Henry College and has been tied to this region ever since. He taught Ornithology courses at the University of Arizona from 1994 to 2004 and then moved back to Virginia full time. Steven now teaches courses in sustainable agriculture and wildlife management in the Environmental Studies program at Emory and Henry. Steven has studied different species of Vireos for over 25 years and focusses his main interest in their vocal behavior. He has broadly also studied their life history strategies, breeding ecology and behavior on their wintering grounds. More recently, Steven has become interested in sustainable agriculture and is a co-author of the national best-selling book, Animal Vegetable Miracle, with his wife, Barbara Kingsolver. The book is about local food systems and sustainable agriculture. He is founder and director of The Meadowview Farmers’ Guild, a community development project devoted to promoting local products, with an emphasis on agriculture. Part of this project is the Harvest Table Restaurant, a nationally recognized farm-to-table restaurant that is one of the most dedicated to local food sourcing in the eastern United States. He has served on the board of ASD since 2005 and lives in Meadowview, VA on a mostly wooded farm with Icelandic Sheep and Dexter Cattle.
Dirk has worked at Emory & Henry for more than 27 years, beginning as a member of the faculty in the Mass Communications Department before joining the College administration’s Executive Council as director of public relations and later becoming executive director of the McGlothlin Center for the Arts. His work has been recognized with numerous awards from the Tri-Cities Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, and he was awarded the prestigious 2015 Silver Award by the American Advertising Federation of Southwest Virginia. Active in the community, Moore is the founder and past president of Project Glade, a nonprofit development organization in Glade Spring, Virginia, and co-founder and former assistant director of the Glade Spring Farmers Market. He has served on the Glade Spring Town Council and the Glade Spring Planning Commission. In 2013, he was named Glade Spring’s Citizen of the Year. Moore is also the owner of Blue Hills Market, a health food store located in Abingdon Virginia.
In 2015, he was honored by the United Way of Southwest Virginia with the Volunteer of the Year Award. In that same year, he was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. At Emory & Henry, he has received The Hope Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to the College and his community and the Maiden Award for achievement and distinctive contributions to the College. Moore holds a master of arts degree from the University of Florida and bachelor of arts degrees in journalism and governmental affairs from Augustana College.
John serves as the ASD Board Treasurer. John was born in Florida and has lived in southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee for most of his life. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. He has since worked at Strongwell as a cost accountant for Virginia operations and staff accountant for the corporate office. John lives near King College in Bristol, TN with his partner, Katie and dog, Sophie. They all enjoy hiking some of the most beautiful trails this area has to offer.
Margie is the Research and Development Coordinator for the Black Lung Program at Stone Mountain Health Services and is based at the St. Charles Respiratory Care Center. Before joining SMHS, Margie spent 5 years at UVa-Wise where she started the Minor in Public Health and continues to teach undergraduate courses in public health, global health, and health policy. Originally from Garrison, New York, Margie completed her undergraduate degree at Villanova University and her Masters of Science in Public Health at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She is currently working towards a graduate certificate in Appalachian Studies through Radford University.
“Having grown up in a dusty farm town in the Texas panhandle,” Janet Woolwine knows first-hand the many trials and tribulations farmers face. “Whether the crop is multiple sections of cotton/soybeans or a small acreage of vegetables, eggs or pastured meats, the risks are many and the certainties, few.” Janet was raised in Plainview, TX where she graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. She has two children and currently resides in Abingdon, VA. Janet’s farm experience is “just rural enough to count” and consists of ten years on the North Folk of the Holston River where she raised dairy goats, hogs, meat rabbits, two children and maintained a vast garden. She is an entrepreneur that has done everything from teaching 9th grade English to serving on the Washington County Chamber of Commerce. She owns several rental properties and a yarn shop called ‘A Likely Yarn’ on Pecan St. in Abingdon. Janet currently resides on several boards in the art realm including Barter Theatre, Symphony of the Mountains and Holston Mountain Artisans. She is involved in civic groups such as the Town of Abingdon (Infrastructure and Tourism Committee), Washington County Library, and The County Chamber.
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