Get to know the people behind the scenes
Rob founded EcoForesters in 2015 out of a desire to increase the large scale restoration of degraded Appalachian forests through the use of positive impact forestry. As co-founder and Executive Director of Forest Stewards at Western Carolina University from 2006 to 2014, Rob worked on thousands of acres and with hundreds of landowners, seeing the urgent need to restore ecological resilience to our forests first hand. Rob is currently the president for EcoForesters while also working in Vermont to expand EcoForesters work and mission to the northern Appalachian region. In addition to the Appalachian region, he has also worked for forestry and conservation organizations in Ecuador, Colorado, and New England. When he doesn’t have his head in the trees professionally, Rob enjoys getting out in the woods with his three kids and playing music with friends. Rob’s love for forests goes back to a childhood with a lot of time spent escaping the urban confines of Atlanta and backpacking in the southern Appalachians, culminating in his 2001 thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.
Alex is Chief Forester at The Forestland Group, a timberland investment management organization (TIMO) based in Chapel Hill, NC that specializes in naturally-regenerating hardwood forests. Prior to The Forestland Group, Alex was an Assistant Professor of Forest Management at Northern Arizona University’s School of Forestry and before that, he was the manager of the Yale Forests at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Currently, Alex is also an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Tech and serves on the USDA Forestry Research Advisory Council. As vice president, Alex brings a wealth of forestry knowledge and strong leadership skills to help guide EcoForesters’ future. In his spare time he takes pride in managing a modest wood pile and attempts to heat his home with wood as much as possible.
Dr. Haley Gottfried Mann was born and raised in West Asheville, NC and is excited to be part of EcoForesters and support their mission to educate, respect and protect the land we are all so lucky to be surrounded by and have the opportunity to enjoy. Dr. Mann attended Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, graduated in 2006 with her Doctorate in Dental Surgery and in 2008 she decided to move home to Asheville and join her father’s dental practice. Dr. Mann is an avid trail runner, mountain biker, rock climber and outdoor enthusiast. She enjoys going on adventures and camping trips in her 1979 Scamp travel trailer with her family and two German Shorthaired Pointers. Dr. Mann also has some personal interests in forestry planning including some international forest investments and future land projects she is working on in Buncombe County.
Rebekah grew up in Alabama and earned a BA in Anthropology from Auburn University and a JD from Tulane Law School with a certificate in Environmental Law. She first fell in love with the mountains of western North Carolina at a summer camp in the Asheville area. As a law student she interned with the Southeast’s leading non-profit environmental law firm and represented community organizations as part of Tulane's Environmental Law Clinic. After briefly practicing law in Raleigh, Rebekah returned to the non-profit world when she joined CMLC in 2009 with AmeriCorps Project Conserve. She now fulfills roles of grant administration and land protection, particularly projects with public recreation access. Rebekah enjoys exploring the mountains and rivers of North Carolina and beyond, kickball, reading, and cooking.
Jay is an account executive with Interface, the world’s largest carpet tile manufacturer and a globally- recognized pioneer in the eld of industrial sustainability. He serves as the membership chair of the Western NC Green Building Council, president of the NextGen committee of the Ray C. Anderson foundation and on the Southern Environmental Law Center's Next30 committee. Jay is passionate about continuing the legacy of his grandfather, Ray Anderson, the founder of Interface, who dedicated his career to demonstrating the business logic of sustainability. Originally from Atlanta, Jay graduated from Wake Forest University in 2005 with a BA in English and is an avid fly angler and quail hunter.
Calvin holds a B.S. degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California at Berkeley. Before founding Koonce Securities, he worked as a theoretical physicist at the National Bureau of Standards where he contributed numerous articles to professional journals. Currently Chairman, an Account Executive, and sole shareholder of Koonce Securities, Inc., he also is an 85% shareholder of Montgomery. As President of Montgomery, Dr. Koonce is also a Managing Director and participates in formulating investment policies and rendering of investment advice to clients. He serves on the board of VSE Corporation.
Josh was born in Madison County, N.C., and went to school at UNC Asheville, earning a degree in biology. He then worked for the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition, where he focused on identifying remnant old-growth forests on public land, and at WildLaw, where he worked to promote ecological restoration as the new paradigm of National Forest management. Josh has also helped the Forest Service conduct rare plant surveys and save hemlocks from hemlock woolly adelgid. At MountainTrue, Josh monitors logging and development issues on public land and provide site-specific, scientific information to promote ecological restoration and oppose ecologically damaging management. “We live in a time when the human footprint on the planet is bigger than ever and our need to come together to solve environmental problems is urgent. Public lands comprise the largest and highest quality natural areas in this great country and are truly priceless. The most rewarding work I have done has involved helping to steer Forest Service management towards a paradigm where we as a society give back to the land, rather than just take”, says Josh.
Tom grew up in the populated North East where his first ecosystem was an intensely human one, but worked hard to be in the woods, and eventually the wilderness, whenever he could. With a background in civics and politics, this is Tom's first experience with non profit leadership beyond temporary advisory boards, but he's been involved with every level of politics and civic life. Tom has a BA in Political Science from a liberal arts college, but also studied earth sciences at every opportunity. Extensively traveled, and now working as a small businessman in the private sector, Tom got to know the Appalachian Forests on a successful through-hike in the mid 1990's. He has seen many corners of the Southeastern United States whose richness of culture and nature he loves - from its swampy estuaries to the top of the Black Mountains. He writes about ecological problems and solutions all over the world, and so tries to bring his global solutions of best practices, whether in field work, or in administration and strategy, to his duty as a board member at Ecoforesters.