WPC Board of Directors

Nominees for Re-election to the Class of 2024

David E. Barensfeld

David Barensfeld is board chair of Ellwood Group, Inc., a privately-held manufacturer of specialty metal ingots, forgings and castings for capital equipment. His education includes an M.S.I.A. from the Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Carnegie Mellon University, J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a M.A. and B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.

David is a director of the following organizations: the Allegheny Institute, Commonwealth Partners, Heinz History Center and Wild Waterways Conservancy.

David and his wife Wendy live on a farm in Marion Township in Beaver County. They have three daughters, three grandchildren and one Labrador retriever. David joined the board of the Conservancy in 2000 and serves on the Executive and Fallingwater Advisory committees.

 

Geoffrey P. Dunn

Geoffrey P. Dunn, M.D., FACS, a native of Erie, received his M.D. from the Thomas Jefferson Medical University and his surgical training with the Harvard Surgical Service, New England Deaconess Hospital. He is certified by the American Board of Surgery in Surgery and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He was chairman of the Department of Surgery at Hamot Medical Center, Erie, before he began working full-time in the field of palliative and hospice care as medical director of the Palliative Care Consultation Service and Great Lakes Hospice at Hamot.

He is chair of the Surgical Palliative Care Task Force of the American College of Surgeons and was the editor for the monthly Palliative Care Series in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. He currently is community editor for the Pain and Palliative Care Community for the ACS’s web portal. From 2002 to 2008, he served on the board of governors of the American College of Surgeons and is the representative of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine to the ACS’s Commission on Cancer.

Geoff recently retired from the Department of Surgery and Medical Director of the Palliative Care Consultation Service at Hamot Medical Center. Geoff is married to Dr. Ellen Dailey. They have a son, Harrison. Geoff joined the board of the Conservancy in 2009.

 

Beverlynn Elliott

Bev is a native of Houston, Texas. She moved with her husband Steve to Pittsburgh in 1987. Prior to that, they lived in Dallas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, San Francisco and Chicago. Bev earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Houston and also attended Texas Tech University. She worked for Arthur Andersen and Northern Trust Bank in the years prior to moving to Pittsburgh.

Bev transferred her membership in The Junior League, where she began to learn about the Pittsburgh community. Since moving here she has focused her energies in the community and has worked with Family House, Big Brothers Big Sisters, River City Brass, Pittsburgh Ballet and Robert Morris University. Bev currently serves on the boards Heinz History Center, The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium and Pittsburgh Botanic Garden.

Bev is a passionate gardener and member of the Garden Club of Allegheny County. She enjoys golf and hiking in national parks, and other parks and beautiful places. She loves to travel and explore new places and especially enjoys history. Bev joined the Conservancy board in 2015 and serves on the Finance Committee and the Community Gardens and Greenspace Advisory Committee.

James Finley

Jim Finley, Ph.D., is a recently retired professor of forest resources, and conducted research and extension education programs on sustainable forest resource management focusing private forestland. In this position, he led Pennsylvania’s Forest Stewardship Program, coordinated the Pennsylvania Forest Stewards 450 volunteers program, and served as the Penn State School of Forest Resources extension program coordinator. Major research efforts include oak regeneration, human dimensions of natural resources, and sustainable forestry.

He is currently the co-chair of the U.S. Forest Service National Roundtable on Sustainable Forestry, Penn State director for the Sustainable Forest Partnership, co-chair of Penn State’s Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment Graduate Degree Program, co-founder of the Center for Private Forests at Penn State and current council chair, and senior research fellow for the Pinchot Institute for Conservation. Jim has served on the board of the Conservancy since 2006. Jim and his wife Linda live in Port Matilda, PA.

 

Felix G. Fukui

Felix Fukui, AIA, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of California at San Diego and a master’s degree in Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University.

Felix has owned and managed Fukui Architects since 1991. His design work has been accessioned in the permanent collection of the Heinz Architectural Center at the Carnegie Museum of Art and his firm has won numerous design awards. He previously worked at local and national Architectural firms as well as Golden State Helicopters and Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

Felix’s professional and community affiliations include the American Institute of Architects Pennsylvania State Board of Architects; the American Institute of Architects Pittsburgh Board of Architects; Jury Chairman for AIA Potomac Valley 2005 Awards; Chairman of the University of Pittsburgh Japanese Nationality Room Scholarship Committee; Japan-America Development Committee; National Association of Industrial and Office Properties; US Green Building Council; and Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

Felix has served on the board of the Conservancy since 2012. He serves on the Board of the Fox Chapel Golf Club and as Co-Chair of the House Committee. Felix resides in Pittsburgh. He has two college-age children, Alex and Olivia.

 

Carolyn Hendricks

Carolyn Hendricks., M.D., is a breast cancer medical oncologist in private practice in Bethesda, Maryland. She trained at Johns Hopkins and maintains close ties to the Suburban Cancer Program/Johns Hopkins Medicine, including serving on the hospital board for nine years. She is a former member of the Maryland Commission on Cancer and former chair of the FDA’s National Mammography Quality Assurance Advisory Committee.

Carolyn is deeply interested in conservation. She developed a love of hawks and owls after attending a raptor workshop in Missoula, Montana in 2005. She is a former member of the board of the American Bird Conservancy and its nominating and audit committees, and a director for NatureServe. She has travelled to Barrow, Alaska for nesting snowy owl monitoring and participated in barn owl box monitoring with Southern Maryland Audubon.

She and her husband purchased their property in Bedford County, PA from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in 2012 and built a sustainable home on the property. The property is protected by a conservation easement. Carolyn blogs about their green home at hufhausinus.blogspot.com. Carolyn joined the Conservancy board in 2015.

 

Carolyn Rizza

Carolyn C. Rizza, Ph.D., ACSW, retired from Slippery Rock University in 1999 as professor and chair of the Department of Sociology/Anthropology/Social Work and was granted professor emerita status. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Ph.D. in Sociology from Duke University (1966 and 1978) and her master’s in Social Work from the University of North Carolina (1968).

Carolyn has been active in a number of professional organizations related to aging including the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (past president), the Southwestern Pennsylvania Partnership for Aging (past president) and the Visiting Nurses Association of Western Pennsylvania. She chairs the board of advisors of the Storm Harbor Equestrian Center at Slippery Rock University. She also sings in the choir at North Liberty Presbyterian Church and in the Bach Society of Grove City where she is a board member. She and her husband Paul serve on the President’s Leadership Council of the National Wildlife Federation. They support the Young Fellow for Sustainable Energy and the Environment at the Friends Committee on National Legislation and two Rotary Peace Fellows.

Carolyn and Paul live on the edge of a state game land in a home regularly visited by bears. She has served on the board of the Conservancy since 2009 and is a member of the Diversity and the Executive Committees.

 

Samuel H. Smith

Former Speaker Sam Smith served 28 years in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives having been first elected in 1986. He was elected Majority Whip in 2000 and subsequently served as both Majority Leader and Minority Leader before being elected Speaker in 2011. Sam represented all of Jefferson and Northern Indiana counties along with parts of Armstrong and Clearfield counties during his tenure in the House.

As a legislator, Sam was a leader in promoting the cleanup of Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) and mine reclamation. He was the prime sponsor of the original Growing Greener Program, which provided major funding for reclaiming abandoned mine lands, treating AMD and improving local water and sewage treatment services with a new focus on the water quality of the entire watershed. He also served on the Mining and Reclamation Advisory Board for 20 years.

Sam is currently Chairman of the Council of Trustees at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the State System of Higher Education and is a board member of the Punxsutawney College Trust. He is Vice Chairman of the Jefferson County Development Council and Chairman of the Redbank Creek Watershed Trust Advisory Board while also serving other local organizations in the Punxsutawney Area where he and his wife Donna live. They have two grown children who live in the Pittsburgh area. Sam has served on the board of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy since 2000.

 

Timothy R. Thyreen

Timothy Thyreen is now chancellor and was formerly president of Waynesburg University since 1990. He founded the Center for Research and Economic Development and the Murtha Center for Sustainable Economic Development at Waynesburg University, partnered with Waynesburg Prosperous and Beautiful to spearhead town revitalization; established the A.J. & Rita Morris International Endowed Scholarship Fund; host of the SuperComputing Science Consortium (SC)2 2006 Seminar; and established the Bonner Scholars Program at Waynesburg University.

Tim currently serves on the Greene County Industrial Development Board, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency Board and its executive committee and is a former member of the Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security. He has served as chair or member on multiple other boards, including Pennsylvania Association of Colleges & Universities, Association of Independent Colleges & Universities of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Campus Compact – Community Service Emphasis, the National Wildlife Federation, and many others. Tim has served on the board of the Conservancy since 2003.

Nominees for Election to the Class of 2024

Ta Enos

Ta Enos is founder and CEO of the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship. Ta has a rural entrepreneurship background and 20 years of experience in journalism and public communications in Alaska and Pennsylvania. As CEO of the PA Wilds Center, Ta has scaled the nonprofit to $1M in operations in less than five years and built a team that is developing models for asset-based rural development that are recognized nationally. Prior to founding that nonprofit in 2013, Ta served as the PA Wilds Small Business Ombudsman for five years, working with entrepreneurs across the 13-county PA Wilds region. Prior to moving home to rural PA, Ta spent 10 years as a news reporter and editor in Alaska. She lives in Warren County. She serves on the Conservancy’s Ridgway Advisory Committee.

 

Candace Hillyard

Candace Hillyard serves as the Executive Director of the PA Route 6 Alliance, an organization that manages the PA Route 6 Heritage Corridor. She’s been with the PA Route 6 Alliance since 2017 and was appointed executive director in 2020. Candace is a member of the PA Wilds Planning Team. Candace is from Galeton, in Potter County.

 

Donna Fisher

Donna Fisher is the District Manager at Blair County Conservation District. Her role includes extensive work on ag conservation, erosion control and permitting, stormwater management and green infrastructure. Most recently she has guided the District’s efforts in the design and construction of NatureWorksPark (natureworkspark.org), a 15-acre property in Hollidaysburg Borough transformed from a fill site into a conservation education and recreation area. She also coordinates the Blair County Agricultural Land Preservation Program, one of the most successful farmland preservation programs in Central Pennsylvania, with over 8,000 acres preserved to date. She is a member of Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s Hollidaysburg Regional Advisory Committee. Donna is actively engaged in the operation of her family’s crop and beef farm in Williamsburg, Blair County.