Board of Directors
Nick Kuttner, ChairManagement & Technology Consultant
Nick Kuttner has been focused on DC-area community and advocacy issues for many years. He provides strategy and technology consulting services to nonprofit organizations and he serves on the Board of Directors for the DC Employment Justice Center. He is also a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate in Fairfax County. Previously, he served for many years on the Board of Directors & Advisory Board for KIPP DC Charter Schools.
Professionally, Nick spent 24 years with the worldwide management and technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, where he was a Partner and Senior Vice President for Information Technology services. He served US Federal, state & local, Fortune 500, and international clients in optimizing their technology infrastructure and business applications, and maximizing organizational and operating efficiencies.
He currently resides on the banks of the Potomac river in Northern Virginia, is an avid fisherman and bird watcher, and eagerly fishes the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Board member since 2013.
John Holmes, Vice-ChairAEMS, LLC.
John Holmes is President of AEMS, LLC, and directs the company’s services in the areas of environmental compliance, air permitting, regulatory advocacy and technology assessments. John has over 40 years of experience in environmental engineering and air emissions regulations and permit compliance. He has a second home on the North fork of the Shenandoah River and has been an active Board member of the Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and chairs their Science Committee. John joined the Board in 2013.
Scott C. Plein, TreasurerEquinox Investments, LLC
Scott C. Plein is the founding principal of Equinox Investments, LLC, a real estate investment, development and management firm specializing in community planning, entitlements and project
development. A lifelong resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Scott began his career in the late 1970’s when he founded KT Enterprises, Inc., a local landscape development firm. Today KT and its affiliate company, Total Development Solutions, provides turn-key site development solutions for some of the most prestigious home builders, developers, and commercial contractors in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Scott owns and operates 650 acres of agricultural land in crops and livestock. Throughout his professional career and personal life, he has maintained a deep-set interest in the environment and ecological systems, particularly as it pertains to finding a balance between human habitat needs and preserving our natural
Scott’s most recently approved project—Villages of Piedmont at Leopold’s Preserve (VOPLP)—which broke ground in late October 2013, has been touted by Prince William County officials as a model for preservation-oriented land planning. VOPLP, which is located in Haymarket, VA, will complete the balance of an existing community with the addition of 393 new homes in a unique cluster design. One of the most compelling aspects of the project is the impressive open-space commitment—the permanent conservation of more than 380 acres—known as Leopold’s Preserve. Named after famous conservationist, Aldo Leopold, Leopold’s Preserve will be preserved through a conservation easement as natural open space and open to the public for passive recreation. Within the open space, there will be over 5 miles of natural surface walking trails, observation areas, wildflower meadows, and interpretive signs that will showcase the environmental and historic features of the property and the surrounding area.
Board member since 2015.
Pat Munoz, Secretary
Pat is currently retired and spends her time volunteering for a number of river groups, traveling with her partner, Dorcas, and playing with her children and grandchildren. From 1994 to 2007, Pat served as Watershed Program Manager for River Network, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to help people understand, protect and restore rivers and watersheds for the past 14 years. In that position, she worked with nonprofit river and watershed groups around the country to help them build sustainable organizations and develop resources. Pat has been involved in nonprofit fundraising for over 30 years.
From 1977 to 1993, Pat worked for another national river organization, American Rivers, as Vice President for Development. At AR, she focused on building that organization’s membership base, major donor program, foundation base, and workplace giving program and worked extensively with the Board. During her tenure at American Rivers, she helped increase the budget from $30,000 to $2,000,000.
Pat has also served on the board of various local nonprofits including the Coalition for the Capitol Crescent Trail, the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, the Cacapon Institute, the Potomac Riverkeeper, the Rock Creek Conservancy and Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah.
Pat holds a B.A. in Latin American History from American University. She served for a number of years as Records Manager/Archivist at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C. before moving into the nonprofit sector. She is fluent in Spanish and is an avid whitewater canoeist and kayaker.
Board member since 2017.
Brent BlackwelderFriends of the Earth
Brent Blackwelder has been an environmental advocate for over 40 years. In 1994 he became president of Friends of the Earth and was the most senior environmental lobbyist in Washington. He has testified in front of Congress on pressing environmental issues more than 100 times.
Board member since 2010.
Peter Bross, MDFDA
Peter has a BA and MD from the University of Virginia and works for the Federal Government (FDA). He grew up next to the Potomac River in McLean, VA and has been a resident of Cabin John, MD since 2010. Peter has served on the Board of Directors of Earth Day Network and Friends of Cabin John Creek as well as the Potomac Riverkeeper Network. He enjoys kayaking on the Potomac and its tributaries as well as other locations, especially West Virginia. Peter also enjoys hiking, biking and walking along the C&O towpath.
Board member since 2016.
John GibsonDownriver Canoe Company
John Gibson is the founder and owner of Downriver Canoe Company, a river outfitter on the Shenandoah River founded in 1974. He lives near Luray Virginia on a 220 acre farm which has been placed in conservation easement. He is a founding member and past president of the Friends of the Shenandoah River. He is a founding member and currently active in the Page County Water Quality Advisory Committee.
John also sat on the board of directors of Concern Hotline, a volunteer crisis hotline and information referral service in the Shenandoah Valley. He has been interested in the Riverkeeper organization ever since reading an article in the New Yorker magazine about the Hudson Riverkeeper many years ago. John is looking forward to communicating the views and opinions of Valley residents and the recreational and agricultural communities in particular.
Board member since 2010.
Dr. William KerrBerkeley Research Group
Dr. Kerr is an expert in the economics of intellectual property and the analysis of competitive behavior and markets, and is a founding Managing Director of the Berkeley Research Group. Dr. Kerr has consulted with domestic and international clients in licensing or acquisition of IP assets. He has testified in disputes over the value of IP assets, in international trade disputes, and in matters related to antitrust issues or commercial damages. He has appeared before courts, arbitration panels and government agencies. He has written two books and published a number of articles on these topics in professional and business journals. His book on intellectual property damages (with Richard Troxel) is a leading treatise in the field. The 10th Edition was recently published by Thomson Reuters.
He lives with his wife in Alexandria, Virginia, on the banks of the Potomac River and plays music and golf and goes SCUBA diving whenever he can. He is on the board of the Coral Reef Alliance, an international conservation organization.
Board member since 2016.
Avis Ogilvy MooreFriends of the Earth
Avis grew up close to the Mississippi River levee in New Orleans. She has a BA from Bryn Mawr College and while living in Philadelphia hiked with the Philadelphia Trail Club. Later she lived for many years overlooking the Hudson River where she was active in Sierra Club, on the Boards of Friends of the Earth, Zero Population Growth NY, and the First Unitarian Society of Westchester where she served as Board Chai. She also earned an MA from New York University. In 1993 she moved to Maryland, was named Chair of Friends of the Earth’s Board. She also became an early member of Potomac Riverkeeper Network’s Board and served as chair.
Board member since 2016.
Christina NicholsSenior Workforce Advisor, US Department of Energy
Christina Nichols leads national energy workforce and clean energy economic development for the US Department of Energy’s Jobs Strategy Council. She brings a strong background in Federal cross-agency collaboration and communications to the board of Potomac Riverkeeper Network.
Chris has served within the DOE in the SunShot Initiative (solar energy) since 2011, and prior to that served in the Department of Labor, first as a Green Jobs liaison for the Secretary, and then in DOL’s YouthBuild program where she directed efforts to update construction practices, career training, and project curricula for YouthBuild awardees to include solar, wind, weatherization and advanced materials skills.
Prior to her work for Department of Labor, Chris was the Senior Marketing Manager for SunEdison, where she developed and led the City Tour for Solar campaign (50 cities in 100 days across the West) to promote large-scale municipal solar power development. Chris has also directed national communications for DOE and EPA’s “Energy Star” efficiency program, and managed behavior change marketing programs for the Academy for Educational Development.
Chris earned her M.B.A. in Marketing and Finance from the Robert H. Smith School of Business where she founded Smith Pride Alliance. She earned her B.A. in History and English from Duke University. Chris is a member of the American Marketing Association. She is an avid runner and bicyclist, enjoying the Potomac River from several trail systems paralleling much of its banks.
Board member since 2010.
Mac ThorntonDenton's U.S.
Mac Thornton, an avid kayaker since the 1970’s, started his river conservation avocation by founding the West Virginia Rivers Coalition in 1989, and serving as its Board Chair for eight years. In 1993, he cofounded the Potomac Conservancy and served as Co-Chair, Vice Chair, and Board member for nine years. He also served five years as Vice President of American Whitewater, Inc, and 17 years as Conservation Chair of the Canoe Cruisers Association. Mac currently practices law part time at Dentons U.S., a Washington law firm. He takes his children out in the wild, often on or near the Potomac, almost every weekend. Mac’s wife, Molly Carr, is a former member of the U.S. Whitewater Team. The year 2015 is Mac’s twelfth year on the Board. Having served as Board Chair, 2009-2011, he is now Chair of the Litigation Committee.
Board member since 2003.
Ed Merrifield, President Emeritus
Ed Merrifield served as President & Potomac Riverkeeper from 2003 to 2012. As a sailor on the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac for over 25 years, Ed sought ways to make a real difference and find new approaches to protecting the health of our rivers and streams. This led Ed to come out of retirement in 2003 to work full-time on water quality as the Potomac Riverkeeper. As a forceful and effective leader at the grassroots, regional and state levels, he has advanced environmental policy and enforcement of clean water laws. Ed is an expert on Clean Water Act enforcement, especially on the Total Maximum Daily Load and National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit issues. He served on the Maryland State Water Quality Advisory Committee and the Maryland Tributary Team from 1997 to 2012. Ed is considered one of the most influential environmentalists in the Chesapeake Bay region
During his tenure, Potomac Riverkeeper, Inc. evolved from an idea into a robust and effective organization, which filled a critical unmet need in the Potomac River region, allowing the people who treasure this unique national resource to protect it, primarily by direct action against polluters. Under Ed’s leadership, Potomac Riverkeeper, Inc. fulfilled its mission to stop pollution and restore clean water in the Potomac River and its tributaries.
What drove Ed: “When the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, they wrote into it the goal that we’d be putting zero of our pollution into the water by 1985. We haven’t come close to that. That’s what drives me — getting to 1985.”
Highlights of enforcement actions:
- Stopped several sewage treatment plants from illegal discharges in West Virginia and Maryland.
- Stopped 60,000 pounds per year of illegal nutrient pollution from a Virginia sewage treatment plant.
- Forced Maryland to cleanup massive amounts of lead in Seneca Creek.
- Forced improvements at the watershed’s largest coal fly ash dump to stop toxic pollutants from leaching into local waters.
- Forced long overdue permits to be drafted for three major polluters in Maryland.
- Legally challenged the proposed general permits in Maryland and Virginia for construction stormwater, industrial stormwater, and municipal separate storm sewer systems for lack of enforceability and to call for increased public participation.
- Forced several federal agencies and the District of Columbia to start clean up of toxic pollution on land near the mouth of the Anacostia River.
- Forced the Maryland Department of Agriculture to allow public access to nutrient management plans for poultry farms.
- Convinced Virginia to apply the poultry waste land application rules to all using the waste.
- Petitioned the EPA regarding Maryland’s failure to properly administer and enforce the Clean Water Act.
- Decreased allowable limits of pollution by 25% in a Maryland sewage treatment plant
- Forced EPA to follow the TMDL (total maximum daily load) rules in DC resulting in daily testing for bacteria starting in 2013.
- Corrected illegal sediment pollution in many developments in Virginia, including one of the largest construction sites, the 495 HOT lanes.
- Stopped excessive pollution from a paper mill in West Virginia.
- Challenged permits for a proposed quarry in West Virginia that will threaten local drinking water supplies.
- Filed a lawsuit to clean up septic sewage discharges using an innovative approach under the Clean Water Act.
- Opposed attempts to include pollution trading in TMDLs, which was not intended under the Clean Water Act.
The Washingtonian named Ed Merrifield one of the most influential environmentalists, April 2008.
Ed is featured in Blue Legacy International’s 2010 film: Our Nation’s River a System on the Edge.
Ed provided background and hosted the film crew for Hedrick Smith’s 2009 Frontline documentary, Poisoned Waters.
In October 2012, Ed was honored in the U.S. House of Representatives for his service to the region as President of Potomac Riverkeeper.
Katherine EdwardsEnergy Attorney
Kathie is an energy law attorney and has been in private practice for over thirty years specializing in natural gas and oil regulation before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and federal appellate courts. She is currently the managing partner of Edwards & Floom, LLP, a boutique energy law firm that she founded in 2012.
Kathie grew up on the Potomac River in Virginia, and has watched the decline of the water quality in the river over the years with great concern. As a life long swimmer and boater, her dream is that one day soon, the quality of the river will improve to allow swimming in the river with no health risks.
Kathie received a BA degree with honors in mathematics and philosophy from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, and a JD degree from the University of Texas in Austin, where she was a member of the Texas Law Review.
Kathie and her husband John Ronveaux live on the river south of Old Town Alexandria. When they are not playing on the water, she enjoys gardening near the water.
Board member since 2017.
Thomas P. Ehrhard, Ph.D.Vice President, Defense Strategy
Tom just returned to the private sector after over seven years as a strategy advisor to the most senior executives in the Department of Defense. Most recently, he served as the Deputy Chief of Staff and Special Assistant to Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work. As a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES-2), Dr. Ehrhard managed a broad portfolio of the Department of Defense’s highest priority strategic issues and processes.
Prior to working for the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Tom served as the Senior Strategy Advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Dr. Jim Miller. As a leading expert on matters related to China, Russia, and North Korea, he worked those issues on behalf of Dr. Miller with the Services, the Joint Staff and the White House National Security Council Staff. Prior to that assignment, Tom worked for the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Norton Schwartz as his Special Assistant for strategy and policy, where he led the Chief’s elite Strategic Studies Group, played a key role in the design and program approval of the Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B), led an internal group with the Navy in development of the Air-Sea Battle Concept, and refocused the USAF’s remotely piloted aircraft future plan.
Tom retired from the Air Force as a colonel in 2006 after serving as the Military Assistant to the Director of Net Assessment, the legendary Andy Marshall, and having earned a Ph.D. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins SAIS. He currently lives on the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg, VA with Karen, his wife of over thirty years.
Board member since 2017.