April Spotlight: Passing the Torch

No one can fully replace Eric Weis. His experience and knowledge about the East Coast Greenway (ECG) and our organization’s history is boundless.

Still, I couldn’t be more thrilled for Niles Barnes to step into the leadership role of Director of Greenway Programs for the ECGA on May 1, 2016

I’ve known Niles for ten years and have always been impressed with his dedication to making a positive difference in the world as a leading public servant.

Dennis, Niles, and Trustee Dave Read on the 2015 WAY Tour.

Dennis, Niles, and Trustee Dave Read on the 2015 WAY Tour.

He has strong experience making a national impact through nonprofit efforts – especially in working toward environmental sustainability.

Niles has the skills, attitude, and values this organization needs to keep developing well in the years ahead.

I look forward to continuing to grow and develop this organization with Niles and the entire ECG team of outstanding staff and volunteers.

Please join me in thanking Eric for his exemplary service, and in congratulating Niles on this new position of leadership at the East Coast Greenway Alliance.

To Continued Greenway Progress,

– Dennis Markatos-Soriano, ECGA Executive Director


2015 Week a Year Tour. Eric Weis and Niles Barnes.

Eric Weis and Niles Barnes on the 2015 Week a Year Tour. 

When Niles joined our team at the ECGA, he hit the ground running.

It wasn’t long before he impressed us all with his dedication, intellectual curiosity, and willingness to go the extra mile. Since then, he has only continued to grow as a teammate and leader.

Niles is dedicated, extremely well organized, creative, able to absorb vast amounts of information, and – as many of you know – tremendously personable.

The ECGA will demand more of him than ever, and he has the tools and skills to do it all and more. I’m eager to see the great places the ECGA’s greenway program will go under Niles leadership.

– Eric Weis, ECGA Director of Greenway Development


Niles picNiles Barnes joined the ECGA team in September 2013 as our South Atlantic Coordinator. He holds a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University and a BA in Political Science from the University of Kentucky.

Niles is also a LEED Accredited Professional and holds a Certificate in Business Administration from the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics.

Since joining the ECGA, Niles has been focused on building momentum to create and link trails throughout SC, NC, and VA, from the Savannah River near Bluffton, SC, to the Potomac River and our nation’s capital. 

As South Atlantic Coordinator, Niles has grown and strengthened the region’s state committees, helped coordinate two national State of the Greenway Summits, moved signage forward, developed new regional partnerships, and achieved ECG designations for over 80 miles of greenway in VA, NC, and SC.

Niles is excited to step into his new role as Director of Greenway Programs. In this position, he will implement strategies for the ECGA’s advocacy and public policy initiatives, while also contributing his knowledge and skills to organizational operations, program delivery, finance, and technology.  

Please join us in welcoming Niles to his new role! 

This blog post appeared in our April 2016 E-Newsletter – click this link to read the newsletter in full.