The ECGA Board of Trustees has overall responsibility for governance, fiscal oversight, and financial development for the Alliance. It is the decision-making body that guides the activities and actions of the Alliance. It is responsible for setting policy, hiring the Executive Director, and ensuring the financial health and viability of the ECGA. (See the ECGA’s Bylaws here.)
The Board of Trustees meets via conference call at 8AM on the last Friday of each month (unless that falls close to a holiday), and twice a year in person during our Spring and Fall State of the Greenway weekends. Members can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for the call-in information to listen to the Board conference calls.
David Read, Chair, Massachusetts, 2015
David Read has had a rewarding career managing complex health care organizations. He has served as the Administrative Director for Cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, Chief Operating Officer for the Department of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Health System and is currently Chief Administrator of Medical Oncology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. He views trails, and the exercise they can provide, as a wonderful way to help prevent and combat heart disease, diabetes, child obesity and certain types of cancer. He has an MBA from BostonCollege and a Masters in Public Health from Harvard University where he studied epidemiology and health policy. He is also Chairman of the Border to Boston Trail Coalition in Essex County, MA. He lives in Topsfield with his wife Susie and two children.
Jacob Dolan, Vice Chair, North Carolina, 2015
Jacob enjoys a lifelong passion for the outdoors which he now shares with his wife and daughter in Durham, NC. His adventuring has led him backpacking across the US, Northwest Canada and traveling to Costa Rica, Mexico and Italy. An avid cyclist, he has toured across North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway and 2,600 miles from the East Coast to the high country of Colorado. For the past 10 years, Jacob has worked as a manager in the outdoor retail industry. His love of the outdoors and passion for sharing it with his daughter have led him to nurture outdoor stewardship and share this ethos — trail building, trail cleaning and volunteering with non-profits. He holds a BA from UVA, a MA in Teaching from UNC-Chapel Hill and is earning his certification in Non-Profit Management from Duke University.
Al Nierenberg, Vice-Chair, Massachusetts, 2016
Al is a catalyst for organizational change and guide on the path to sustainability. He led stakeholder teams to green McDonald’s, Sunoco, General Mills, and many other companies. He is recognized for his innovative, collaborative operating style and alignment of all key stakeholders in critical situations. As President of his own consulting firm, Evergreen Consulting & Training, he develops manager’s engagement, skills, and knowledge through facilitation and leadership training across many industries including healthcare, biotech, finance, technology, and non-profit.
Al is and always has been an outdoor enthusiast. In an earlier life, he was an Outward Bound graduate and instructor. He also founded New Haven Inner City Outings, a Sierra Club community outreach program to provide wilderness adventure for inner city youth. The organization served over 50 children through four agencies by running four trips each month. As an ICO leader, he taught self-reliance, teamwork, and outdoor skills to eighth graders from South Bronx and alternative high school students from Brooklyn.
Al is a 1985 graduate of Haverford College where he served as President of the Outing Club, rallying the college community around outdoor adventures. He is also a 1990 graduate of the Harvard Business School where he started HBS’s recycling program and Green Business Alumni Association in Boston. He lives in Boxford and regularly bikes with his two kids.
Elizabeth Brody, Secretary, New York, 2016
Beth Brody, a retired lawyer and long-time civic volunteer, began her activities with the East Coast Greenway Alliance in 1999, and has served as trustee since 2004. With husband Warren Brody, whom she married upon graduation from Radcliffe College. she moved a few years later to New Jersey where she lived and worked for 51 years. Widowed in 2005, she moved in 2006 to Manhattan. She has two daughters and two grandchildren.
Beth assumed leadership of the New Jersey Committee for the East Coast Greenway in January 2003, and during her three-year term built it into the premier ECGA state committee. During this period she remained active with such groups as the Central Jersey Bicycle Club, the Union County Hiking Club, and the Union County Open Space Advisory Committee.
After graduating from Rutgers-Newark Law School in 1975, Beth remained for nine years as an assistant dean and dean of students. In 1986, she started a private law practice in New Jersey, which she maintained for 20 years.
Since moving to New York City, Beth has worked to make the New York Committee for the ECG a player in local, regional, and state greenway- and bicycle-advocacy circles. She now prefers riding her bicycle off-road, through Central Park and along New York City greenways, but she does ride in bike-club and ECG promotional rides and ECGA’s donor rides, most recently in North Carolina.
Robert Russo, Treasurer, New Jersey, 2015
Robert is a Certified Public Accountant and managing member of the accounting firm Koenig, Russo & Associates, LLC, where he has worked since 1982. He received his Bachelor of Science in accounting from Seton Hall University in 1981 and his MBA in Finance in 1986. He has extensive experience in non-profit accounting, tax, estate, business, financial and income tax planning. He is an avid day-hiker and has hiked throughout the State of New Jersey. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants and the National Association of Tax Preparers.
W. Dale Allen, Florida, 2015
A native of Florida, Dale Allen served for almost 30 years with The Trust for Public Land (a national non-for-profit land conservation organization) until he retired in 2009. He was involved with many significant conservation projects in the Big Bend region of North Florida during his tenure at TPL. In addition, Dale was also instrumental in the purchase by the Florida Department of Transportation of the abandoned Tallahassee-St. Marks railroad corridor from CSX corporation, and its development as Florida first ever “rail-trail” project. He subsequently advocated for the program that became the known as the Florida Greenways and Trails Program. Many hundreds of miles of abandoned railroad right-of-ways have been purchased through this program and used by hundreds of thousands of citizens and visitors annually.
Dale currently serves as the President of the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation. The FGT Foundation is Florida’s leading advocacy organization for a statewide system of connected off-road and shared use paved and hardened-surface trails. On behalf of the Foundation, he spearheaded a campaign to “Close the Gaps” among existing trail segments in central Florida, and secured a $50 million appropriation from the Florida Legislature to construct the “Coast-to-Coast Connector,” a unique project that would link the Atlantic Ocean at the Canaveral National Seashore to St. Petersburg and the Gulf of Mexico via a non-motorized trail.
In his spare time Dale enthusiastically leads walking tours to significant natural and cultural areas of Florida’s Big Bend Coast.
Brandon is a corporate finance attorney who works for Covenant Review LLC, a financial research firm. Outside of work, Brandon spends a lot of time participating in fitness-oriented challenges such as Spartan races, the Urbanatholon, half marathons, and Savage runs as he enjoy pushing his body as hard as his mind. It is this pursuit of health and his active lifestyle that has led to his desire to join the ECGA’s Board of Trustees. Brandon truly believes that by providing an outlet such as the East Coast Greenway, we can begin to address and combat the obesity crisis that is prevalent in American society today, especially in our youth.
Paul Haydt, Florida, 2016
Paul Haydt is Program Manager for the St. Johns River Water Management District in Palatka, Florida. He is responsible for assessing, developing and implementing water management plans for watersheds along 100 miles of northern Florida’s Atlantic coastline. An avid bicyclist, Paul also serves on the Flagler County Long Range Planning and Zoning Committee and has been Chair of the Florida Committee for the ECG since 2001.
Ellen Johnson, Pennsylvania, 2017
Ellen is a 30 year bicycle industry veteran and cycling advocate. During her career, rather than focusing on high end models for enthusiasts, it has always been her main goal to get more people on bikes by making affordable quality bikes for everyone. Ellen is very excited about the opportunity to join the board of the East Coast Greenway. More and safer places to ride are a huge incentive to growing cycling participation. She looks forward to spreading the ECG message to bicycle dealers, the bicycle industry and their customers and hopes that her business experience, accessibility and ability to identify with consumers will be a valuable asset.
Tom is the Chief Operating Officer of the Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association (ACVA). Tom is a bike commuter, mediocre recreational cyclist and reformed ex-runner. He is particularly interested in serving on the Board having seen first-hand the transformative economic impact of trails in Vermont (Stowe Recreation Path) and now Virginia (Mount Vernon Trail). He looks forward to bringing his non-profit management and advocacy experience to support ECGA’s mission.
Gail Kirkland, Georgia, 2015
Gail is a 23 year veteran of REI and is responsible for the Co-op’s fleet of stores in the Southeastern United States. She has been instrumental in REI’s growth in the South including expansion in VA,NC, SC, GA, and FL. She is passionate about staff development, mentoring, and stewardship. Gail has served on cross divisional teams to enhance diversity and inclusion at REI and to increase brand awareness. Gail has an active family who enjoy cycling, camping, hiking and paddling. As a Georgia native, Gail is excited to be part of an organization committed to linking and promoting local routes that provide more access throughout the Southeast corridor.
Anne recently retired as the Recreational Equipment, Inc (REI) Retail Director for the North East region. Anne has a strong track record of creating and implementing strategic plans, proven success in reaching and exceeding financial objectives, and a unique ability to identify, develop, and promote talented leaders. She is a leader with tested success in building dynamic productive teams and a demonstrated willingness to accept risk and challenge. Anne chairs the board of the American Canoe Association and cycled long-distance in Europe and in the southern United States.
Steve Mitchell, Connecticut, 2015
Steve comes to the Board with cycling and marketing experience…. and Passion! At 20 years of age, he rode his bicycle across America, from New London, CT to Tillamook, OR. However, twelve years later he was hit from behind by a car, and went backwards into the windshield. During the early 1990’s, when his kids were young, he and his wife (Kathy) would load the kids and bikes into the Caravan and go visit the “Rails to Trails” in Cheshire, CT.
Steve attended Northeastern University (1976 -1981) and was captain of the ski racing team. He is a 3rd generation Auto Dealer in The Farmington Valley, Connecticut. Every Father’s Day one of his favorite things to do is to ride with his three children (Justin, Heather, and Ashley) – now in their 20’s.
He was recruited by Connecticut State Committee Chairperson, William O’Neill to be an ECG Ambassador in 2007. This program was made possible by a grant from REI Outfitters. He has spoken at many community activities and events that support Rails to Trails, and Greenways. His Public Access television show and various video clips that highlight the Rails to Trails activities earned him a 2008 award from the Connecticut Greenways Council.
Marketing and public awareness of the East Coast Greenway Alliance is his focus. His passion and persistence will likely be helpful to bring major corporations to the ECG organization. He truly recognizes that the East Coast Greenway is a network of hundreds of local organizations, involving thousands of volunteers and professionals that will have an impact on millions of people, for generations to come.
Stephen Rees, Maine/Florida, 2015
Living in both Maine and Florida, Stephen Rees cares about the whole ECG route. He has more than 40 years of experience as a land use attorney in Florida with ICARDMERRILL, and he is President of the Sunrise Trail Coalition in Maine as well as a Community Spokesman for the Maine Bike Coalition. As Sunrise Trail Coalition president, Stephen leads the longest continuous greenway on our route, the 85-mile Down East Sunrise Trail. With his extensive career and volunteer experience in land conservation, he especially cares about bringing economic development to East Coast Greenway communities through eco-tourism.
Larry Silver is a partner at Langsam, Stevens & Silver LLP in Philadelphia, representing both corporate and individual clients on a wide-range of environmental, zoning and land use topics. Larry also represents clients in historic preservation cases, and has litigated constitutional questions before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Larry is a 1984 graduate, Order of the Coif, of the University of California – Berkeley (Boalt Hall) School of Law and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Chicago. Prior to law school, Larry served as an environmental consultant for EDAW Inc. in San Francisco.
A cycling enthusiast, Larry embarked on his first 2,500 mile trip in Europe as a freshman in college. He later completed two more trips to England and France. Larry is a dedicated member of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, and partakes in the PEC Environment Ride and Bike Philly each year. He is committed to improving bike access in Philadelphia; he personally takes advantage of existing bike paths in his 20-mile daily, year-round commute to work. One of his favorite vacation spots is Acadia National Park on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, where he enjoys hiking, biking and camping with his wife and two children.
Larry is thrilled to be joining the board and has long been an ardent supporter of the ECGA’s mission, having partnered with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Ark Interval to organize the 2009 Mayor’s Bike Ride along the proposed ECG Trail across Philadelphia.
The Board meets in person twice per year, in the spring and in the fall. Frequent Board Committee conference calls further business throughout the year. Currently, the Board Committees are as follows:
Committee of the Whole: The chief policy making body of the organization that reviews reports from the other committees and from the Executive Director, conducts strategic planning, provides fiscal oversight, and carries a substantial responsibility for fundraising.
Executive Committee: The chief coordinating committee for the board, mapping out how the board’s business should be conducted, setting agendas, and organizing the activities of the other committees. The Executive Director often presents the committee with problems needing rapid resolution.
Finance, Personnel, and Budget Committee: Monitors the fiscal health of the ECGA, prepares the annual operating budget, recommends financial policies, reviews job descriptions and recommends salary ranges for all staff to the board, evaluates the Executive Director.
Governance, Nominations, and Planning Committee: Identifies, screens and recommends the best candidates to fill vacancies on the Board of Trustees, develops a recruitment and orientation program and materials for new directors and officers, makes recommendations for membership on the Trail Council and the Advisory Board, responsible for by-law changes through a by-law subcommittee, holds primary responsibility for strategic planning.
Development Committee: Ensures that the Alliance is adequately funded to carry out its mission, oversees planning and coordination of fund-raising efforts.
Membership Subcommittee: Provide guidance on membership policies including dues levels, member benefits and fund sharing with state committees.
Trail Council: Oversight for trail development to ensure good progress on annual Blueprint for Action goals, resolution of trail policy and routing issues, and administration of trail designations.
Marketing Committee: Guides the development of an ECG marketing plan.