Robin Jones, Board Chair
Robin Jones is a Richmond, Virginia area native who specializes in efforts to promote energy efficiency and energy education such as high performance buildings, energy analyst training and biomass to energy initiatives.with over thirty years of experience in project management. Currently employed with Virginia’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and a strong business management background, Ms. Jones brings over thirty years of experience in federal grant management and oversight to Sustainable Chesapeake.
Ms. Jones also brings experience with stakeholder collaboration, including serving as a founding member of the Virginia Waste Solutions Forum. Founded in 2002, the Virginia Waste Solutions Forum brought together stakeholders from agriculture and environmental organizations along with researchers and federal, state and local government agencies to focus on identifying solutions for water quality in the Shenandoah Valley that also supported the long-term viability of animal agriculture in the region.
Ms. Jones graduated with a Bachelor in Economics from Southern Methodist University, and was subsequently awarded a Master of Urban Planning at University of Virginia and an MBA from the College of William and Mary.
Bob Monley, Treasurer
Bob Monley is a technical consultant with extensive engineering and management expertise in applying nutrient management technologies to animal feed operations. He joined Sustainable Chesapeake’s Board of Directors in May of 2016. Prior to his retirement in May 2013, Bob Monley served for nine years as the General Manager for Farm Pilot Project Coordination, Inc. (FPPC), where he was responsible for managing a federal grant program aimed at evaluating alternative nutrient management methods appropriate for the farm. During his tenure, Mr. Monley oversaw the implementation of 45 innovative, farm-scale projects located in critical watersheds across 20 different states. He also helped to guide collaborative efforts of various stakeholders in critical watersheds and provide oversight and field performance evaluation of farm-scale demonstrations sites across 26 states.
During his career, Mr. Monley built his extensive technical and management expertise by serving heavily regulated businesses in the mining, defense and nuclear utility industries. Prior to joining FPPC in 2004, he was plant manager response for operation of the nation’s largest commercial fuel fabrication facilitation for Westinghouse in Columbia, SC. He has a B.S. and Masters in Engineering.
Now retired, Bob continues to work closely with leaders in the Chesapeake Bay region to evaluate merits of various technologies being considered for more effective deployment of nutrients emanating from horse, dairy and poultry farms.
Kristen Saacke-Blunk, Secretary
Kristen Saacke-Blunk joined Sustainable Chesapeake’s Board of Directors in April of 2017. She is the Principal of Headwaters LLC and focuses on project development, assessment and support for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship and Delaware River Restoration funds through support to prospective and existing grantees working on targeted watersheds strategies. Her areas of expertise include water and air resources, agriculture and pollution prevention, watershed management, stream condition/watershed- and Best Management Practice (BMP) monitoring, environmental markets, Chesapeake Bay initiatives, ecosystems services, environmental priorities and policy development.
Prior to founding Headwaters LLC, Ms. Saacke Blunk served at the Director, Senior Extension Associate for the Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center, Cooperative Extension. She fostered outreach and partnerships with state-regional-federal agencies-, university researchers and educators, nongovernmental organizations, local government and citizens to increase science delivery to policy decision makers and others relevant to environmental problems stemming from working lands. She also developed university-wide initiatives for improving air and water quality outreach and integration of research and best practices, delivering tools to conservation practitioners, producers, and other land managers.
Her past experience also includes leadership positions in environmental non-profits focused on conservation and natural resources. As a program manager for the division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Awareness Department of Conservation and Environment in Tennessee, she managed the start-up of Tennessee’s first pollution prevention initiatives targeting businesses and industries in source control.
Ms. Saacke Blunk holds a B.S. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Biology, and a M.F.R from Pennsylvania State University in Forest Resources- Fisheries & Wildlife Sciences.
Kristen Hughes Evans, Executive Director
Kristen Hughes Evans founded Sustainable Chesapeake to serve as a bridge between farmers and the environmental community – and to bring innovative solutions to water quality that are grounded in practicality to the region. She works with stakeholders throughout the Chesapeake Bay region to bring new technologies to farms, such as manure-to-energy systems with the potential to provide new sources of revenue for excess nutrients, and manure application technologies that reduce loss of nitrogen and phosphorus to surface waters. She also works in support of collaborative efforts focused on addressing farm-scale and regional nutrient balance, such as the Virginia Nutrient Management Leadership Team, the Virginia Waste Solutions Forum, and the Delmarva Land and Litter Change Team.
Prior to working with Sustainable Chesapeake, Ms. Evans served as a Virginia Staff Scientist for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation where she worked with partners throughout the Commonwealth to bring resources to innovative agricultural projects and cost share programs. Prior to her work with the Bay Foundation, Ms. Evans worked as a project manager with Sustainable Conservation where she collaborated with San Joaquin Valley dairy farmers, Cooperative Extension, and other regional partners to expand the use of conservation tillage for dairy forage crop production.
Ms. Evans is a certified nutrient management planner in both Maryland and Virginia and holds an M.Eng.Sc. in Agricultural Engineering from the National University of Ireland, as well as an M.S. in Marine and Estuarine Environmental Science, a B.S. in Biological Resources Engineering, and a B.S. in Natural Resources Management from the University of Maryland.
Ann Jennings, Director
Ann Jennings joined Sustainable Chesapeake’s Board of Directors in the spring of 2017. In the winter of 2018, she was appointed by Governor Northam to serve as Virginia’s Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources. Prior to this appointment, she served as the Virginia Director for the Chesapeake Bay Commission, a tri-state legislative commission created in 1980 to advise the members of the General Assemblies of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania on matters of Bay-wide concern.
Before joining the Commission, Ms. Jennings served as the Virginia Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for 11 years. In that capacity, Ann oversaw the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s environmental and legislative policy, advocacy, and resource protection programs in the Commonwealth. She also provided leadership for approximately twenty staff primarily located in CBF’s Richmond and Hampton Roads offices and an oyster restoration center. She facilitated collaborative solutions to agricultural non-point source pollution and was a founding member and co-chair of the Virginia Waste Solutions Forum, a multi-stakeholder group founded to support the long-term viability of animal agriculture and water quality goals in the Shenandoah Valley. Ms. Jennings is also an active member of Virginia Forever, a membership-based organization supported by business and conservation groups that advocates for funding conservation and land preservation in Virginia.
Ms. Jennings has also previously worked as a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as serving on the following Boards: the Virginia Association of Wetland Professionals, the Virginia Board for Professional Soil Scientists and Professional Wetland Delineators, Governor Kaine’s Commission on Climate Change and Governor McAuliffe’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission. Ms. Jennings earned a B.S. in science from Virginia Tech and an M.S. from Texas A&M University.
Dr. Ingo May, Director
Dr. May is a founding Director of Sustainable Chesapeake and served on the Board since the organization’s inception. He has 33 years of leadership experience in the U.S. Army, as both a Captain and as a member of the Senior Executive Service. He served as the head of the Army Research Laboratory’s Weapons and Materials Research Directorate at Aberdeen Proving Grounds (APG) in Maryland. In this position, he directed over 400 scientists and engineers. In this position Dr. May was actively supporting environmental stewardship programs at APG.
Dr. May has also served in numerous leadership positions associated with data exchange agreements, technical committees, special review groups such as the DoD/DoE Joint Munitions programs, OSD panels, and executive committees for University Research Initiatives. Dr. May has authored or co-authored over 70 reports and publications and has presented over 100 technical papers to national and international scientific organizations.
Dr. May has served as a consultant employee at SAIC for the last 10 years after his retirement from the Army. He has also served as consultant to the Office of the DDR&E (OSD), the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition and Logistics, Army R&D organizations, the Institute for Defense Analysis, as well as other defense industries. He also served as Vice-President of Hicks and Associates, Inc., an SAIC subsidiary.
Dr. May is an accomplished racing and blue water cruising sailor, who with his crew, won the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association’s Northern Bay High-Point Award six times, the Governors Cup, Atlantic City Race Week Overall, and Annapolis Race Week. He has sailed and raced several times to Maine, Nova Scotia, St. Pierre et Miquelon, Bermuda, the Caribbean and spent two winters in the Bahamas with his family.
Dr. May graduated with honors from Gannon University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry. He received a Master’s Degree from Western Reserve University, and in 1967 he received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Case Western Reserve University.
Stephen Versen, Director
Stephen Versen is a founding director of Sustainable Chesapeake having served on the board since 2013. Mr. Versen currently serves as a Project Manager with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) where he provides business development assistance to the agriculture and forestry industries. Mr. Versen connects prospective new businesses with financial resources, business planning tools and logistical resources that help establish new businesses that grow markets for Virginia agricultural and forestry products, and that create jobs and new revenue sources for farms and communities in Virginia. He serves as the agency’s primary contact for bio-energy projects and is the point person for the new Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development fund.
Mr. Versen’s former work experience includes the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, where he assisted communities with their downtown revitalization efforts as an administrator of the Virginia Main Street program. Prior to that he worked for the City of Staunton’s Department of Economic Development.
Mr. Versen graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelors of Business Administration and received his Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Former Board Members:
Sustainable Chesapeake would also like to acknowledge and thank our founding Board Members for their service:
Roy A. Hoagland, Esq., Founding Board Chair
Roy A. Hoagland served as Sustainable Chesapeake’s founding Board Chair from 2013 through March of 2018. He brought extensive experience in nonprofit advocacy including his work with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation that ranged from directing the legal and litigation efforts of the Virginia office to serving as the Foundation’s Vice President for its multi-state and federal advocacy programs. Through his career, Mr. Hoagland has partnered with non-profits, foundations, and governmental agencies on complex issues facing Chesapeake Bay restoration. He has served as a visiting professor of practice and director of the William & Mary Law School’s Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic, and more recently, as a Senior Program Officer for the Virginia Environmental Endowment.
Jane Corson-Lassiter, Founding Treasurer
Jane Corson-Lassiter was a founding member of Sustainable Chesapeake’s Board, and served as the organization’s Treasurer from 2013 to 2016. She currently works as the District Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in the Virginia Eastern Shore office. Prior to her role as District Conservationist, she worked on detail from USDA with Farm Pilot Project Coordination, Inc. to identify, demonstrate, and evaluate the performance of farm-scale thermal manure-to-energy systems. Ms. Corson-Lassiter also previously served as Coordinator for the Eastern Shore Resource Conservation and Development Council. Her 20 years’ experience also includes promotion of conservation practices in agriculture with the Eastern Shore, VA Soil and Water Conservation District and wetlands protection and outdoor facility site planning and design with the Army Corps of Engineers in Florida and Pennsylvania. Ms. Corson-Lassiter has been recognized for her conservation efforts in agriculture by the Association of Virginia Potato and Vegetable Growers, and for environmental education programs by the Eastern Shore Ground Water Committee and the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Society. Ms. Corson-Lassiter holds a B.S. in biology from Brandeis University, an M.L.A in landscape architecture from the University of Virginia, and an M.S. in agriculture and life sciences from Virginia Tech.
Dale Gardener, Founding Director
Dale Gardner served as a founding member of Sustainable Chesapeake’s Board of Directors from 2013 to 2016. Professionally, he served as the Chesapeake Agricultural Program Coordinator for Water Stewardship Inc. where he worked with farmers develop individualized continuous environmental improvement plans that make sense for the farm and improve water quality.Prior to joining Water Stewardship Inc. in March 2009, Mr. Gardner was the Executive Secretary of the Virginia State Dairymen’s Association. During his tenure as Executive Secretary, Mr. Gardner was actively engaged in environmental issues. He helped to found the Virginia Waste Solutions Forum, a collaborative group of producer, state agency representatives and environmental groups all working to reduce the nutrient impact on the Chesapeake Bay. He also served on the advisory group for the Mid-Atlantic Water Program. Mr. Gardner is a graduate of Virginia Tech. He was a partner in his family’s purebred Holstein farm in Bridgewater, Virginia for 25 years.