Board of Directors and Staff
Doug Burnell, USVLT’s President, recently retired as Principal at HEB Engineers in North Conway. Doug has deep family connections in Western Maine and the Mount Washington Valley, and he has been active in the community since childhood. He has been on numerous non-profit boards in the area, most notably serving as President of Tin Mountain’s Board when the organization relocated to a new campus and built an outdoor education facility and office space. He has been on the USVLT Board since 2010.
Jim DoucetteVice President
Jim was born and raised in New Hampshire and graduated from UNH with a degree in Biology. He came directly from college to the Conway area to see a girl – and 41 years and four grown children later, he’s still here. Jim has served on many Town Boards and committees, coached little league and hockey and “enjoys it all.” Jim, who lives on property surrounded by conservation lands, says: “Every day, I see firsthand the importance of preserving open space. I became involved with USVLT because of respect for the work they do and an interest in helping that effort. My wife’s family has put hundreds of acres of forest and lake front property into conservation easement for the love of the land. To me it is exciting and satisfying to be involved in helping land owners and the USVLT to preserve valuable assets for future generations.”
Jim is a retired Chief Financial Officer and a former Certified Public Accountant. He and his wife Linda moved to Bartlett full time in 1998 after being weekend visitors since 1985. He joined the Trust as a conservation easement monitor and is currently contributing in that role as well as being a Board member and Treasurer. Jim’s reason for being involved in the Trust is simple: “I think it’s important that we preserve the character of the unique landscape of the upper Saco River valley. One way this can be accomplished is through the work of the USVLT, its supporters and involved landowners.” Jim and Linda have one son, Ryan, who lives with his wife Sinead in Tahoe, California.
Rick Jenkinson resides in Kearsarge with his wife, Vickie, and is an active skier and hiker. In addition to the Upper Saco Valley Trust Board, Rick also serves on the Appalachian Mountain Club Board of Advisors, the Advisory Board of the NH Institute of Politics, and is the deputy chief of the Granite Backcountry Alliance. He also serves on the Kearsarge Lighting Precinct Board of Commissioners.
Ann Bennett came to the Mt. Washington Valley in 1970 to work for the Appalachian Mountain Club. She lives in Jackson and is the property manager for forest and farmland in the East Branch Valley (the Dundee easement). She is also a former editor and longtime contributing writer to the Mountain Ear Newspaper. A two-term member of the Jackson School Board, Ann also chaired the SAU 9 board, and has worked for many years as the administrator of the Jackson Grammar School. Other board affiliations include MWV Dollars for Scholars, the Pequawket Foundation, and the Whitney Foundation, which oversaw the construction of the Whitney Community Center in Jackson in 2008. Ann and her husband Richard have been USVLT members since 2008, and joined the Board in 2012.
Mark Dindorf first hiked Mt Chocorua at the age of 5 and has been an avid outdoorsman ever since. He attended Union College and moved to the White Mountains in 1980 to work for the Appalachian Mountain Club. Mark has been an Innkeeper for 31 years, most recently for Notchland Inn in Hart’s Location. Mark also is a selectman for Hart’s Location (currently in his 5th term), and he and his wife Nancy Ritger live on the Davis Path, where they raised their 3 children. In the late 1990s, Mark spearheaded the Bemis Bridge project – a replacement footbridge across the Saco River providing continued public access to the Davis Path. The collaborative project involved the Forest Service, the AMC, the North Country Council, the National Scenic Byways Program, the Trust for Public Lands and private landowners. Completed in 2000, the bridge project won numerous awards for design and project coordination.
Deborah A. Fauver, Esquire
Deborah is an of counsel attorney at Cooper Cargill Chant in North Conway, and is delighted to begin her semi-retirement from the firm with a seat on the USVLT board. The Mount Washington Valley has been her home since 1985, and she has spent countless hours in the local woods and fields with family and friends. Deborah and her husband, Peter Fauver, are both active in the ownership and operation of Camp Pemigewassett, a boys’ summer camp in Wentworth NH, founded by Fauvers and Reeds in 1908; and still owned and operated by Fauvers and Reeds. Reading the natural landscape for clues of past and present animal and human presence is a particular passion for Deborah. She also enjoys walking, hiking, gardening, and skiing.
Tom Gross and his wife, Maria live in South Conway. They have three children and two grandchildren. Tom is an international management consultant specializing in facilitating organizational change. He is also a trained Gestalt therapist and executive coach. He serves, as well, on the Board of Directors of the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation which supports eco-science research. Maria is a metal smith and jewelry maker and also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Conway Lake Association.
Rebecca first came to the Mount Washington Valley in the summer of 2000 vacationing to escape the desert heat of Tucson, Arizona. In Tucson, she used her extensive financial background at both the Primavera Foundation and the Budget Advisory Committee for the Tucson Unified School District. Rebecca has worked as a freelance business writer for two decades. She has produced original, bylined articles and third-party sponsored content for a variety of national publications and corporations, including: The Wall Street Journal, Morgan Stanley, TD Ameritrade Advisor Solutions, Legacy Navigator and Chazen Institute’s Global Insights at the Columbia School of Business. As a passionate volunteer, she looks to apply her financial and organizational development skills to nonprofits that share her commitment to community and the environment. Her goal is to help strengthen USVLT from within to ensure its long-term sustainability.
Anne Pillion has 30 years of professional experience in the field of environmental site assessment & compliance. She has investigated contamination at Superfund sites and developed successful pollution prevention and sustainability programs. Beginning in 1965, Anne grew up with her family at their home in Jackson, swimming in the rivers, and hiking and skiing the mountains. Most recently, Anne received an EPA lifetime achievement award for “Exceptional Commitment to Excellence” in recognition for her tireless advocacy on behalf of our environment. She joined the Land Trust board in 2016, and is grateful every day for the gift to live in the Mount Washington Valley. As an avid birder, Anne also volunteers for Tin Mountain Conservation Center, leading their kestrel nesting box project. She lives in Intervale with her wife, recently retired Bartlett Police Chief Hadley Champlin.
Dr. Burgess Smith is an historian and retired college executive, currently a Senior Lecturer and Faculty Fellow at Granite State College, with a specialty in teaching online. After graduate work at Johns Hopkins and Nova Southeastern Universities his career has focused on teaching and developing degree programs for adult learners. He is Vice President and Director of the Properties Commission for the Greater Lovell Land Trust, and also coordinator for the Upland Headwaters Alliance of land trusts that protect the upper regions of the Saco and Crooked River watersheds in Maine. He joined the USVLT Board in 2010 and lives in Brownfield.
Dan Stepanauskas has been a consulting forester in New Hampshire for thirty-five years. He works on the sustainable management of private and municipal forest lands using light-touch management techniques. Simply put, the goal is to achieve the desired results by imitating nature’s design. He has worn out four pairs of Limmer boots, and two pairs of Trefle Bolduc’s snowshoes. He is devoted to wilderness canoe tripping, has played the guitar for fifty-five years, and treasures visits from his two grown sons, whom he and his wife Stephanie raised here in the Valley.
William AbbottExecutive Director
William Abbott joined USVLT in 2012 after working for the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County, near his hometown. In California, William worked on wetland restoration efforts, helped to re-establish historic trail access to the “back country”, and led the trust’s stewardship program. William has also worked in the green energy sector, for environmental consultants, and in environmental education, notably the Chewonki Foundation in Maine. William and his husband, David Paige, live in Conway on West Side Road in David’s family’s historic homestead – a ca. 1800 farmhouse across the street from the Kennett easement. William holds a BA from Wesleyan University and an MS from the Field Naturalist Program at the University of Vermont. William also sits on the Board of the New Hampshire Land Trust Coalition and the Pequawket Foundation, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He is an avid gardener and plant lover.
Trisha BeringerOutreach & Office Manager
Growing up on the New Hampshire seacoast, Trisha Beringer developed a love of the outdoors at an early age. During the summers, she and her family would travel to their camp in Brownfield, ME, where she would spend hours in the woods and swimming in Burnt Meadow Pond. While in college, Trisha began questioning her choice of career path and realized that she wanted to tailor her education to incorporate her love of the land. In 2015 she graduated from Keene State College with a BA in Communications and a BS in Environmental Studies, with the hopes that she could use her communication skills to engage community members in local conservation efforts. Three years and two kids later, Trisha joined USVLT as the Outreach and Office Manager where she can merge her prior skills, education and passion to make a difference.
Linda ComeauLand Protection Specialist
Linda Comeau was a founding Board member of USVLT in December of 2000 and stepped off the Board to become the land trust’s first paid staff. Linda’s hard work as Land Protection Specialist has brought in over $1M in grant revenue in the past decade, securing USVLT’s economic and land conservation success. At the end of 2017, Linda officially retired from her position with USVLT, and is now working for the Land Trust on a contract basis in order to finish up several ongoing land protection projects. A passionate outdoorswoman with a love of the White Mountains, Linda completed the AT in 2015. She also completed the “grid” – summiting all 4,000 footers in all months of the year, for a total of 576 summits – in September 2016. Linda has a Master’s in Resource Management from Antioch New England.
Erika RowlandConservation Lands Manager
Erika moved to Maine in the 1970s and has family roots in the state extending back to the early 1900s. Over the decades, she has lived in many regions of Maine, from the western mountains to the coast. For several years, she was a conservation scientist working for the Wildlife Conservation Society based in Bozeman, MT. Her work focused on climate change adaptation across North America. She has applied vulnerability assessment and other climate science to real-world decision-making, resulting in prioritization of conservation efforts. Related to these efforts, Erika has been involved in developing adaptation-oriented guidance and trainings with the many Federal and non-profit partners.. Erika has a background in forest resources, palaeoecology, and applied conservation. She earned degrees from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (MS in Quaternary Studies/Botany) and University of Maine (PhD in Forest Resources).
Jesse WrightLocal Food Systems Advocate
Jesse joined the Land Trust staff in 2015. After spending time working in, traveling around, and experiencing Europe, she returned to her New Hampshire roots in 2013. She has her BS in Business Administration from Babson College and Master’s in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School. Jesse is an avid rugby enthusiast with a passion for understanding all things agriculture, and she serves up a mean cocktail at the local favorite: May Kelly’s Cottage. She has a deep love for the Mount Washington Valley and is excited to be working on farm viability in the greater MWV.