Doug Baughman | Board Chair – Retired environmental scientist and Associate Vice President at Hazen and Sawyer.
Doug recently retired as environmental scientist and Associate Vice President with Hazen and Sawyer in Atlanta after 35 years working across the country on water resource planning and permitting, watershed and stormwater management, and environmental assessment and permitting, and ecosystem restoration projects. Based on his experience, it was RiverLink’s focus on the restoration of the French Broad River watershed that drew him to the organization. His daughter has lived in the Asheville area for over 10 years and he and his wife, Wendy, have been coming to the Asheville area to visit and enjoy the outdoors ever since. He hopes that his previous work on riverine corridor restoration on the Chattahoochee River near Columbus, Georgia and the Arkansas River near Tulsa, Oklahoma will help the Riverlink team with future projects on the French Broad River. He also volunteers for the Environmental Quality Institute’s (EQI) Volunteer Water Information Network (VWIN) and Stream Monitoring Information Exchange (SWIE) programs which support water quality and macro benthic invertebrate sampling on a routine basis. Doug and Wendy are avid hikers and spend much of their free time exploring the western North Carolina mountain trails. He is working on his fly-fishing technique and transitioning from a flat water (coastal) paddler to a more proficient white-water paddler.
Ken Brame | Vice Chair
Ken is a strong environmental advocate with deep connections to local, regional, and national political communities. A retired corporate executive, he holds a BA and MBA from Texas Tech University. Since moving to Asheville in 2008, Ken has served local nonprofits in key positions including as chair of the board (and chair of the finance committee) for BPR Public Radio, and as chair of the finance committee for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville. Ken is the current political chair of Sierra Club of WNC and past chair of NC Sierra Club Chapter board. He is on the steering committee for the Solarize Asheville/Buncombe Campaign and member of the Neighbor-to-Neighbor subcommittee to fund solar on low-and-moderate-income homes. Ken is a member of the French Broad Water Quality Task Force and chair of the subcommittee to ban single use plastics and Styrofoam.
Anne E. Keller Ph.D., Former Board Chairperson – Retired Biologist, Environmental Protection Agency
Anne retired five years ago after nearly 20 years’ working at the U.S. EPA in Atlanta. During her career at the EPA, she served as the St. Johns River Navigator helping river communities in 12 Florida counties under the American Heritage Rivers Initiative. As the regional lead for the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities (2010-2016), she participated with the City of Asheville, Land of Sky Regional Council, non-profits and other federal agencies on projects to improve transportation options in the RAD, enhance energy efficiency and associated budget savings in City and County schools, and develop a regional plan for housing, environment, and economic development. She has a doctorate in aquatic toxicology and master’s degrees in both animal physiology and limnology. She is the author of 19 published papers and book chapters. During her career, Dr. Keller also taught high school and junior college, worked for the St. Johns River Water Management District in Florida, and as a scientist/researcher for TVA and USFWS/USGS. Her interests include improving water quality in our rivers, enhancing community resilience, and looking for cost-effective solutions to other environmental challenges. She enjoys birdwatching, scuba diving, Labrador retrievers and golden doodles.
Jenny Ostendorf | Secretary
Jenny is a former corporate executive with a wealth of business and human resources management expertise. Holding a BS in business administration from The Ohio State University, she spent 25 years with Procter and Gamble Company in Cincinnati, OH. There she held a variety of increasingly responsible positions, culminating in being named department director of global executive compensation in 2015. In this capacity, she supervised the delivery of executive compensation payments to 14,000 executives in 80 countries. While at Procter and Gamble, Jenny presented extensive training on a variety of matters including leadership and diversity/inclusion. Her board experience includes serving as president of the Walnut Hills High School Alumni board of trustees, and on the compensation & benefits advisory committee to the board of directors of the Cincinnati Boys Hope Girls Hope.
Eric Michael, Treasurer — Principal at Gould Killian CPA Group
Eric and his family have lived in Asheville since 2007. He graduated from Appalachian State University in 1994 with a B.S. in Business Administration. Eric and his wife Mary began their careers in Charlotte after graduation but were eventually drawn back to the mountains. Eric is a principal at Gould Killian CPA Group here in Asheville. Eric is active in the community with the Rotary Club of Asheville as well as The United Way, and serves on the advisory board for the UNCA Department of Management and Accounting. Eric enjoys being in the outdoors, whether it is hiking or out watching his son play baseball and soccer.
RiverLink Board Members
Susan Puryear — Professional Banking & Investment Services Director, HomeTrust Bank
Susan has enjoyed a 27-year career in the banking/financial industry working with HomeTrust Bank currently as the Director of Professional Banking & Investment Services. She held several key positions during her tenure with Wachovia Bank & BB&T, serving as a Wealth Advisor, and Commercial & Business Banking Relationship Manager as well as working in Retail Banking. Susan is a graduate of Georgia Southern University with a BBA degree in Finance. In addition to the RiverLink Board of Directors, Susan has served on the Finance Committee for Communities in Schools. Susan volunteers with Women for Women, United Way, Asheville Chamber and is an active member of Biltmore Church. She is originally from Dalton, Georgia and worked in the Atlanta area for 14 years of her career before relocating to Asheville, North Carolina with her family. Susan is active and enjoys the beautiful mountains here in Western North Carolina along with her husband Dan, two boys, Zach and Alex and her friendly dog Herschel.
John Ross — Principal, RossWrites, LLC
John Ross is an author of books on natural ecology and leader of nonprofit organizations engaged in natural resource-based economic development, environmental education, and coldwater conservation. Ross currently serves on the boards of RiverLink in western North Carolina and the Goose Creek Association in northern Virginia. Formerly, he chaired the Virginia Council of Trout Unlimited for which he raised more than $250,000 and established commonwealth-wide Trout-in-the-Classroom in preK-12 schools. He was founding co-chair of, and continues to advise, The Center for Coldwaters Restoration (CCR), the Waynesboro, Va. nonprofit which has secured commitment from the Commonwealth of Virginia to construct a $20 million branch of the Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH) in the city’s downtown as the anchor for its economic revitalization. As co-chair of CCR, he also served on the board of the VMNH Foundation. The author of more than a dozen books, his latest Through the Mountains: The French Broad River and Time (University of Tennessee Press , 2021) was a finalist for the 2022 Reed Environmental Writing Award from the Southern Environmental Law Center.
Roy Harris — Retired engineer; Deacon at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church
Roy R. Harris roams the Southside Neighborhood (Asheville, NC) on a daily basis as “The Unofficial Lion of The Southside Neighborhood.” He has lived in this neighborhood for 35 of the 38 years he has been in Asheville. Roy grew up in the small hamlet of Sladesville, NC. He is a retired engineer having spent 40 years working for Fortune 500 companies up and down the East Coast. He graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, NC, in 1972 earning a BS, Industrial Technology- Manufacturing degree. Roy is very active in the city having served on numerous boards and commissions from religious to civic. He currently serves as a Deacon at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, is a life member of The NAACP, member of the National Association of Black Storytellers as well as Black Men Monday, and is a graduate of Leadership Asheville, class #10. He is the father of three grown children and the grandfather of three. He spends his time telling stories to all that would listen and serves his community.
An avid kayaker and avowed river lover, Liz lives in Marshall, NC. For over 30 years, she and her spouse designed pre-engineered hazardous material storage buildings to provide secondary containment of chemicals, and prevent groundwater contamination. Liz hosts a weekly radio program that provides a forum for local community and nonprofit leaders to share their work. She is a founding board member of both Sustainable Madison (a nonprofit that encourages governmental and citizen responsibility in protecting our natural resources) and Madison has Heart (a nonprofit providing heating assistance for the needy in Madison County). Liz is also a board member of Empowering Madison Youth to Succeed, an organization providing tutoring and mentoring in Madison County public schools.
Renee Mazurek – Resilient Communities Manager, River Network
Renee is a geologist, educator, researcher, and writer. Holding both BA (University of Pittsburg-Johnstown) and MS (East Carolina University) degrees in geology, Renée has taught college-level geology and environmental science courses at several colleges and universities, including AB Tech and UNC-Asheville. Renee served three years on the City of Asheville’s Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment (SACEE), the committee responsible for developing and recommending policy to support topics such as sustainable energy, waste reduction, sustainable economic development and land use planning. She currently is the Resilient Communities Manager for River Network and a team member of the Urban Waters Learning Network, a nationwide peer-to-peer network of people and organizations working to conserve, restore, and revitalize America’s urban waterways.
Dr. Edward “Woody” Orris
Woody is a gastroenterology specialist, who currently practices part time at the Asheville VA Medical Center. He received his BS from Tufts University and his MD from the State University of New York Downstate Medical School. Before relocating to the Asheville area, he managed a large, single specialty medical office and ambulatory surgical center practice in Albany, NY. Woody has been recognized as Physician of the Year by the Capital District Chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and was a member of their Scientific Advisory Board for many years. His past positions include serving as Chief of Gastroenterology for St. Peter’s Hospital (Albany, NY) and as Chief of the Medical Staff at Albany Gastroenterology. He has been a frequent lecturer and speaker for medical associations and has served on a variety of medical and health insurer committees.
Amita Peltz – Attorney at the law firm of Worley and Peltz
Amita is an attorney with the Asheville law firm of Worley and Peltz. She received her BA (cum laude) from the University of Tennessee and her law degree from Wake Forest University. Amita is an active member and past president of the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys, and participates in the Mountain Area Volunteer Lawyers program with Pisgah Legal Services. She was a founding member of the Highlands Circle group of the United Way of Asheville, and served on the boards of directors for Junior Achievement of Western North Carolina and Girls on The Run. She is currently a committee member for OpenDoors of Asheville, and has been a member of Riverlink’s Watershed Resources Committee since 2017.
David is the recently retired CEO and General Manager of Blue Ridge Public Radio. He has been very involved in a variety of local organizations and activities including AVL Arts where he served on the board. He’s also an advisor for Asheville Watchdog and is a founding member of the Leadership Asheville Executive Director Roundtable. He holds a master’s degree in communications from Central Missouri State and has worked in both domestic and international journalism for his entire career including major roles at CNN, Reuters, and Nebraska Public media.
Linda has been doing urban, rural, and regional planning work for 27 years, with most of her experience in the Asheville region. An advocate for safe and connected pedestrian/bike/transit transportation infrastructure, she is passionate about creating more livable, walkable, and sustainable communities. She is a strong advocate for creating affordable housing options for people of all ages and income levels, and supporting the local economy. She worked in local government and at Land of Sky Regional Council for 20 years and is now providing community planning, planning for aging in place, project management, facilitation, and community engagement consulting services. Linda enjoys learning and staying current on planning and related issues and policies. She is certified by the American Institute for Certified Planners (AICP) and a member of the American Planning Association. She has a M.A. degree in Geography from UNC Charlotte and a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Duke University.
Eric is a former Town of Woodfin City Manager and key player today for Woodfin Greenway and Blueway as special projects. Eric’s background includes having been the Buncombe County Finance Director and he currently serves as the Town of Woodfin Special Projects Manager. He is instrumental in Woodfin Greenway Blueway and knows the project as well and is Tim Love’s (Buncombe County Director of Governmental Affairs) partner on all things WGB (financially, contractually, funding, TDA/TPDF presentation, etc.).He has an MBA from UNC-CH and a graduate of Leadership Asheville and former Board member of the Franklin School of Innovation.
Antanette has deep roots in the Asheville area, where her family has resided for more than five generations. A practicing lawyer for more than 20 years, Antanette is currently associated with the law firm of Alston and Bird. Antanette graduated from the Asheville School, earned her undergraduate degree at UNC Chapel Hill, and her law degree from Georgia State University. From 2016-2019, she served as Director of Resource Development for Mountain Housing Opportunities, Inc. In 2020, she was appointed to the Asheville City Council. She is active in many local organizations including serving on the City of Asheville’s African American Heritage Commission and as a Board Member of the Verner Center
Bob practiced dentistry in Pennsylvania for 28 years prior to retiring in 2015. He’s a graduate of Dickinson College and the Temple University Dental School. Following graduation, Bob spent four years in the U.S. Navy Dental Corps. He is a lifelong fly fisherman and an avid outdoor enthusiast. He served on the Parks and Recreation Board in Pennsylvania and has been actively involved in land/water protection and open usage issues. He also served on the Upper Uwchlan Township Park & Recreation Board for over 20 years, was co-chair of the township Trail Committee, and served on the township Planning Commission for several years before moving to North Carolina in 2019.
John is a board-certified pediatrician, practicing in Woodfin. He received his undergraduate degree in economics from Washington and Lee University, his medical degree from Tulane University, and served his residency at Wake Forest University’s Children’s Hospital. An all-around outdoorsman, John describes himself as torn between the sea and mountains, an avid mountain biker and backpacker, he also loves to sail, fly fish, and explore coastal waters with his family. A former Scout Master, John is devoted to providing outdoor experiences to children (including those with special needs) to enrich their lives.