Board of Trustees
We are continually rewarded by the generous gifts of time and skill from members of the CRWC Board. Many of our Trustees have served the Watershed Council for years. All are seasoned experts in fields that run the gamut from the environment and education, to legal, corporate business, and finance. We could fill much space with tales of our Board’s great expertise and assistance. Board Member bios are included below.
Suffice to say that the dedicated folks on our Board offer us the know-how and long-range thinking that helps keep CRWC pointed in the right direction. Their years of work and experience bring with them connections to the greater community that further enables our organizational success. Their efforts and effectiveness improve this great Connecticut River basin to the benefit of all. We cannot thank them enough.
James Okun (Trustee, Board Chair) is a principal at O’Reilly, Talbot & Okun, a full service environmental, safety, health and geotechnical engineering firm. He served in the CERCLA (Superfund) and RCRA division of the Environmental Protection Agency, is a member of the Connecticut Low Level Radioactive Waste Advisory Committee. This is Jim’s second stint as CRWC Board Chair.
Ken Alton (Honorary Trustee) of Strafford, VT, started his professional career in 1970 managing 80,000 acres of New England Power Company land for forestry, wildlife, and recreation. Currently the head of external relations for TransCanada Hydro, he works with all stakeholder groups in Vermont and New Hampshire to foster continual improvement in the river’s health.
Liz Austin (Trustee) of South Hadley, MA, is a retired child psychologist who spent her (first?) career working as a mental health consultant, teacher and administrator. She co-founded Mountain Brook Children’s Center, a nature-based program in South Deerfield, MA, and served as Executive Director of StonyBrook Children’s Center on the campus of Mount Holyoke College. In 2002 her attention turned to the plight of our oceans and their fishes and she began affiliation with the Robert Barrett Fishway in Holyoke, MA as a fishway guide. In 2009 she became coordinator of public programs at the Fishway, obtaining a M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation and Management. She is particularly interested in conservation of diadromous fishes in the Connecticut River.
Rob Costello (Trustee, Board Secretary) lives in Arlington, MA and is an attorney with the Davis Square, Somerville, MA law firm of Costello & Landrigan, practicing primarily in the areas of business transactions and litigation as well banking/real estate. Rob has been involved with the CRWC for a number of years, starting while in law school at W.N.E.C. School of Law when he contributed as a student-intern on land matters and regulatory evaluation tools/methodologies. Since 2006 he has served as a legal resource to the Executive Director with regard to contracts, employment and other day-to-day concerns. Prior to law school Rob received a M.A. in International Relations from the University of Delaware, focusing on rural development and land/empowerment issues. When not in the Boston area, Rob (along with his wife Angeline and their young twins) can usually be found outdoors canoeing or hiking in Western Mass. where he has long-standing familial and business ties.
Raul de Brigard (Honorary Trustee) has lived in Haddam, CT for the past 30 years, and has degrees from Harvard and UCLA in architecture and land planning. Since his arrival in Haddam he has been active in town affairs, including many years as chairman on the Planning & Zoning and Conservation Commissions. He worked at Northeast Utilities in its Hydroelectric and Land Management and Siting departments, overseeing the management of open space, including the Wildlife Management areas cooperatively operated with the CT Department of Environmental Protection, and Candlewood Lake. As a Co-Chair of the CT Rivers Advisory Commission he spearheaded several river protection bills in CT. In addition to his work for CRWC, he is currently a member of the CT River Gateway Commission, the CT River Assembly, and The Trust for Public Land´s CT Advisory Board.
Ed Gray (Trustee, Treasurer), one of a number of Dartmouth graduates on the CRWC board, lives in Lyme, NH with his wife, Rebecca. He and Rebecca founded Gray’s Sporting Journal, and continue to publish game cookery and outdoors books. Ed previously worked as CFO for several companies, but is happiest when he is outdoors or helping a number of non-profit agencies. He has been both interim Executive Director of CRWC and Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Astrid Hanzalek (Honorary Trustee) from Suffield, CT is CRWC’s longest serving board member with a long, distinguished career of public service. After earning her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1949, she worked with a host of organizations, including the Greater Hartford Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Traveller’s Aid Society, and the Greater Hartford Community Council. She’s been an officer in many non-profits from CRWC to the Connecticut Energy Foundation and the Connecticut Humanities Council. Astrid was a member of Connecticut’s General Assembly from 1979-81 where she served both as Assistant Majority and Assistant Minority Leader. She’s currently a consultant and lecturer on public policy and environmental issues, working with regional radio and television stations and occasional op-ed writer for the New York Times and several Connecticut papers.
David Hewitt (Trustee)
Timothy Keeney (Trustee) Tim is a 5th-generation resident of Somers, CT, and has a long record of public service both in New England and nationally. He has served as a Navy SEAL officer for 35 years; as staff to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee; in numerous positions with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, including General Counsel and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce; as State Environmental Commissioner in both Connecticut and Rhode Island; and as Environmental Services Director for Northeast Utilities. Currently he serves as Probate Judge for the North Central Connecticut region. He was a Trustee of the Council from 1998 to 2004.
Christine LeBel (Trustee, Chair of Membership and Fundraising Committee), was born in Manchester, NH and lives in Florence, MA. After graduating from Smith College with a bachelor’s in English and a minor in geology, she took her law degree at the Vermont Law School concurrently with her Masters degree in environmental law. She currently works as counsel for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and is active in the American Bar Association’s environmental section. What little time is left to her after heading up CRWC’s membership and fundraising committee, she spends on the finer points of swing dancing.
Sue Merrow (Trustee), who served 12 years as First Selectman of East Haddam, CT from 1991-2003, has spent much of her life working with conservation organizations, much of it with the Sierra Club where she was President of the National Board in 1990-1991. She wrote about that period in her life in One for the Earth: Journal of a Sierra Club President. Most recently, Sue helped lead the recent effort to win Wild and Scenic River status for Connecticut’s Eightmile River and is a member of the Middlesex County Community Foundation. A graduate of Tufts University, she lives in East Haddam with her husband of 39 years and three retired horses.
Robert Moore (Trustee, Vice-Chair CT), was until his retirement this year Chief Administrative Officer for the Metropolitan District in Hartford, Connecticut. With degrees in both Civil and Sanitary Engineering, Bob was Chief Operating Officer of Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection and an Independent Environmental Consultant for Malcolm Pirnie, Inc., before moving to the MDC in 2000. He lives in Durham, CT.
Caprice Shaw (Trustee), comes to the Council's board with a wealth of experience working on water and environmental waste issues in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Caprice works as an environmental analyst for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. She has also been watershed protection director for the Housatonic Valley Association in Connecticut, as well as a digital mapping technician, an environmental research analyst, and an assistant foreman for the US Forest Service. Caprice received her B.A. in Environmental Science from SUNY Plattsburg. She lives in Barkhamsted, CT.
John Sinton (Trustee, Vice-Chair MA, and Chair of Strategic Planning Committee), a retired professor of environmental studies and land-use planning, has spent his professional life writing about and helping to manage environmental problems in the US and Europe. He currently contributes to a number of land preservation projects, edits CRWC publications, and recently co-authored The Connecticut River Boating Guide: Source to Sea with his wife Wendy Sinton and Elizabeth Farnsworth. He lives in Florence (Northampton), MA and is a confirmed river rat and fly fisherman, as well as skier, hiker and biker.
Brewster Sturtevant (Trustee), a Longmeadow, MA resident, has given more than 30 years of unstinting service to CRWC. Before he retired, he worked in the insurance industry and has led a distinguished career volunteering for local and regional non-profits, including the Child & Family Service Assoc., Bay State Hospital, and historical commissions and societies. Brewster graduated from Dartmouth, as did several other trustees, and loves fishing for striped bass in the salt and trout in fresh water.
Hooker Talcott (Trustee, Vice-Chair VT/NH) lives in Brookline, MA, but his vacation home in Waterford, VT brought him in direct contact with the river. Since he retired from his investment management and financial consulting work in Boston, he has been able to spend more time indulging his love of the outdoors and is enjoying his service on CRWC’s Board of Trustees.
Lora Wondolowski (Trustee) is Director of Leadership Pioneer Valley. Her nearly 20 years of experience with grassroots organizing and community outreach includes being the founding Executive Director of the Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters (MLEV), running the New England Programs for the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund , and working at the National Audubon Society in DC. She was one of the founders of the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center in Turner's Falls. Lora holds a BS from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and a MS in Environmental Studies from Bard College. Lora lives in Greenfield with her spouse and two young daughters.
Image (Above) Ron Bouley www.ronbouleyphoto.com
Image Credits at Right - Illustrations: Bill Singleton; Photos: Elizabeth Leong, Megan Hearne, Ron Bouley www.ronbouleyphoto.com, Nancy Rich, Boating Guide cover photo © McConnell/McNamara, CRWC Archive.