Board Member Biographies

Board Member (Year joined board)

Fred Bononi (2017)

Fred is a lifelong resident of Greensburg who attended Saint Vincent College and graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh. Fred is retired from work as a Certified Public Accountant and co-owner of an accounting firm which conducted independent audits of civic, non-profit, and religious organizations as well as school districts and privately owned business entities.

Fred is retired from boards of for-profit and non-profit entities, and is a member since 2001 of SCORE Chapter 555 at Saint Vincent College. Fred also serves as chairman and board member of the local cemetery.

Fred and Norine have three children, three grandchildren and one great grandchild. Fred enjoys studying provisions and interpretation of the Interval Revenue Code.

Tammy Colt (2016)

Tammy grew up in Ligonier and studied at Penn State for a B.S. in animal bioscience and Indiana University of Pennsylvania for an M.S. in biology. Tammy is a regional wildlife diversity biologist for the PA Game Commission, serving the 10 counties of PA’s Southwest Region. Tammy previously worked as an environmental educator at Powdermill Nature Reserve, and co-authored Pennsylvania Amphibians and Reptiles: A Curriculum Guide (PA Fish and Boat Commission, 2001).

Tammy is a board member for the Loyalhanna Watershed Association, an active member of The Wildlife Society, and long time leader and volunteer for U.S. Pony Clubs.

Tammy lives in Fairfield Township, and has one daughter. In her spare time Tammy enjoys riding horses, cross county skiing, hiking, and kayaking, and is a musician and songwriter.

William Danchuk (2018)

Bill grew up in the lower East Side of New York City and then Bay Shore on southern Long Island. He studied at Union College for a B.S. in Physics and Math, and at Boston University School of Law for a J.D.

Bill started work as a patent associate and then patent attorney for Polaroid. Subsequently, he worked for U.S. Steel as a patent and licensing attorney, then as assistant manager of compliance. Also in his career, he started safety, health, and environmental firms; became director of environmental compliance for CNG and Dominion Energy; founded a firm to provide oil and gas lease and litigation work to farmers, companies, and non-profits; and started a company for fueling school buses with natural gas in addition to diesel and changing both the diesel engine and transmission to handle both fuels continually for greater efficiency.

Bill worked with the PA Environmental Council educating members of industry regarding renewable energy, and has written legislation for the U.S. and PA governments about chemical regulation and compliance. Bill serves on the board of the Loyalhanna Watershed Association.

Bill and Cynthia live in New Florence, and have two daughters and two grandchildren. In his spare time Bill makes cherry and walnut classical furniture, and is a beekeeper.

Chuck Duritsa (2008)

Chuck grew up in Uniontown, studied for a B.S. in Chemistry from California State University and attended graduate school at Penn State College of Civil Engineering. He is an independent environmental services professional, and previously worked as the Director of the Southwest Regional Office of the PA Department of Environmental Protection, serving the 10 counties of PA’s Southwest Region.

Chuck serves on the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, on the boards of Rivers of Steel, the Westmoreland Conservation District, the Turtle Creek Watershed Association, and the PA Association of Conservation Districts, and on the Steering Committee for the Powdermill Nature Reserve. Previously he served on the boards of the Audubon Society of Western PA and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Chuck and Judy live in Hempfield Township, and have two daughters and one son, and six grandchildren. In his spare time Chuck enjoys woodworking, vegetable gardening, and golf.

Martha Frech (2014)

Martha grew up in West Mifflin, and studied at the University of Pittsburgh for a B.S. in civil engineering. Martha is the president and owner of Streamline Engineering, previously worked for GAI Consultants and at Murray Associates, Inc., and freelanced for several other engineering companies including GeoMechanics, Pederson & Pederson, and Shaw Group.

Martha is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and served as president of Pittsburgh Section of the Engineers’ Society of Western PA in 1996. Martha is also active with the PA Association of Environmental Professionals, and the American Society of Highway Engineers. She has donated her time and professional services to her church, local organizations and schools. Martha taught religious education, served on the finance and pastoral council of her church, and since 1988 has been a judge for the PA Junior Academy of Science Fair. She has coached soccer for the Burrell School District since 2013 and is a soccer referee.

Martha and Kerry live in Leechburg, and have two daughters and a son. In her spare time Martha coaches soccer, and enjoys cross country skiing, biking, ping pong and golf.

Ted Harhai (2008)

Ted grew up in Monessen, and studied at Carnegie Mellon University for a B.S. in political science. Ted worked as an investment banker in New York City and Chicago, and served in the PA House of Representatives for 10 terms, from 1998 through 2016.

Ted has served in local government in Monessen, both on Council and as Mayor. Ted served on the board of the Private Industry Council for 17 years, and on the board for Westmoreland Community Action for 15 years. He is currently active in Lions Club International and Rotary International, and is a lifetime member of the Keystone Elk County Alliance based in Benezette PA.

Ted lives in Monessen. In his spare time Ted enjoys reading history and biographies, and helping young people seeking higher education or employment.

Karen Jurkovic (2008)

Karen grew up in Latrobe, and studied at Indiana University of PA for a B.A. in journalism and at the University of Pittsburgh for post-graduate communications study. Karen worked as a communications professional for Kennametal Inc., Seton Hill University, and Duquesne Light Company, focusing on executive, strategic, and communications of a sensitive and/or confidential corporate nature. Since 2001 she has operated hew own communications business specializing in environmental communications.

Karen currently serves as an associate director of the Westmoreland Conservation District. She is a former long-time member of the Citizens Advisory Board of Westmoreland County Parks and Recreation and the Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way of Southwestern PA. She is currently a member of the Westmoreland Bird and Nature Club, the Westmoreland Botanical Society, and many area watershed groups. She is also a Penn State Master Gardener.

Karen lives in Greensburg, and in her spare time enjoys boxing, painting, and the challenge of growing figs.

Ted Kopas (2008)

Ted grew up in Westmoreland City (North Huntingdon), and studied at Allegheny College for a B.A. in Political Science. Ted has served as a Westmoreland County commissioner since 2010, and previously worked as a public information specialist for the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Policy and Communications in Harrisburg, as a news writer for WPXI-Channel 11 in Pittsburgh, and as chief of staff for the chairman of the Westmoreland County Board of Commissioners.

Ted serves on the boards of the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation, the Human Services Committee of the County Commissioners Association of PA, the Westmoreland Drug Overdose Task Force, the Westmoreland Conservation District, Westmoreland Community Action, and the county’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program. Ted serves as a volunteer coach for Youngwood Recreation and Hempfield Recreation. Ted is also actively involved with Friends of Clelian Heights School for Exceptional Children and Southwest Greensburg Adaptive Baseball. Ted is a member of the Slickville Lions Club and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Jeannette.

Ted and April live in Hempfield Township and have one daughter and four sons. In his spare time Ted enjoys coaching youth sports – football, baseball, and basketball.

Brian Lawrence (2014)

Brian grew up in Hempfield Township, and studied at Indiana University of Pennsylvania for a B.A. in political science and an M.S. in geography with a regional planning concentration. Brian has worked at the Indiana County Office of Planning and Development, the Smart Growth Partnership of Westmoreland County, and as a legislative aide for the PA House of Representatives. Brian is currently the deputy director of the Westmoreland County Department of Planning and Development, where he directs the department’s GIS mapping, graphic and data analysis, the Technical Resources & Municipal Services Program, and serves as the HOME Program coordinator.

Brian is a member of the American Planning Association, and serves on the board of the Regional Trail Corporation.

Brian and Julie live in Greensburg and have three daughters. Brian’s hobbies or interests include ice hockey, home renovation and live music.

John Lohr (2008)

John grew up in Mount Pleasant Township, and studied at the University of Pittsburgh for a B.S. in mathematics and an M.A. in education. John taught math at the Derry Area High School and the Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center, then worked for the United States Department of Agriculture as the executive director of the Westmoreland/Fayette Farm Service Agency (FSA) office for 37 years until his retirement in 2013.

John is a past president of the National Association of FSA County Office Employees, and received the FSA Administrator’s Award for Service to Agriculture for his work in establishing the Westmoreland County Agricultural Land Preservation Program. John currently serves as an associate director of the Westmoreland Conservation District and works part time helping to provide retirement and benefit training, products, and services to members of the National Association of FSA County Office Employees.

John and Carol live in Norvelt, and have three children and three grandchildren.

William Mihalco (2018)

Bill grew up in North Versailles and studied at the University of Pittsburgh for a B.S. in biology, an M.S. in water pollution control (at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health) and an M.S. in civil/environmental engineering. Bill has worked for the Allegheny County Health Department, Ackenheil Engineers, and as the manager of environmental engineering for Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory.

Bill serves as an associate director of the Westmoreland Conservation District, a board member of the Turtle Creek Watershed Association and the Penn Township Zoning Hearing Board, and is a member of the Allegheny County Local Emergency Planning Committee.

Bill and Kathy live in Harrison City, and have two daughters, four grandchildren and one great niece. In his spare time Bill enjoys spending time with the family, hunting, and training his Brittany for bird hunting.

Greg Phillips (2014)

Greg grew up in Youngwood, and studied at Slippery Rock University for a B.S. in geography and rural/urban Planning. Since 1984 Greg has served as the District Manager/CEO of the Westmoreland Conservation District, an organization dedicated to the conservation, restoration, and wise use of our natural resources.

Greg is a founding member of Sewickley Creek Watershed Association, Penn’s Corner Charitable Trust, Westmoreland Cleanways, the Western PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, the Westmoreland County Agricultural Land Preservation Program, and Overly’s Charitable Trust. Greg also served on the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission and the board of the Smart Growth Partnership of Westmoreland County, and presently serves on the board of the Regional Trail Corporation.

Greg and Leanne live in Youngwood, and have one son. In his free time Greg enjoys stream fishing for trout, gardening, landscaping, cooking, traveling, and discovering/exploring the unbeaten paths.

Tony Quadro (2008)

Tony grew up in West Wyoming, PA (near Wilkes-Barre/Scranton), and studied at Penn State University for a B.S. in forest science and at the State University of New York College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry for an M.S. in silviculture.

Tony has worked for the Westmoreland Conservation District since 1985, and is currently the assistant district manager/technical programs director/forester. Tony also works as a consulting forester and is a Qualified Tree Farm inspector. Tony serves on the board of the Westmoreland Woodlands Improvement Association, and is a member of the Society of American Foresters and the PA Forestry Association.

Tony and Lorrie live in Stahlstown and have 3 children and 1 grandchild. In his spare time Tony enjoys martial arts, hiking, and reading, and travel. Tony and Lorrie’s favorite place to visit is Bar Harbor, ME. 

Malcolm Sias (2008)

Malcolm grew up in Greensburg, and studied at Penn State University for a B.S in recreation and parks. Malcolm’s first professional job was as the recreation for the Red Lion Borough Recreation Commission. Since 1982 he has worked for the Westmoreland County Bureau of Parks and Recreation – first as program coordinator, then planning coordinator, then director of parks and recreation.

Malcolm is a founding member of the Regional Trail Corporation, and serves on the boards of the Labor United Celebration and the Five Star and Coal & Coke Trail Chapters of the RTC. Malcolm has also served on the boards of the Allegheny Trail Alliance, the Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival, and the Westmoreland Heritage Trail Chapter of the RTC, and is active at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Greensburg.

Malcolm and Patty live in Unity Township, and have three daughters and two grandchildren. In his spare time Malcolm enjoys gardening and yard work, hunting and trapping, and traveling.

Loree Speedy (2011)

Loree grew up in Avonmore. She studied at Chatham College for a B.A. in mathematics and at Indiana University of Pennsylvania for an M.S. in geography and regional planning.  Loree is a botanist and cartographer, and has performed environmental services for Carnegie Museum, the PA Natural Heritage Program, and for transportation, gas and mining related projects. She has also conducted botanical research to examine climate change effects and conservation statuses, and has co-authored checklists of the flora of Westmoreland, Washington, Indiana and Fayette counties.

Loree is an active member of the Botanical Society of Western Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Rare Plant Forum, and has served on the board of directors of Downtown West Newton, Inc. and Rachel Carson Homestead.

Loree and her husband Mark Bowers live in West Newton. Her interests include hiking, botany, natural history and geography.

Virginia McCracken Stump (2008)

Virginia is a lifelong resident of Westmoreland County, growing up on a small orchard in Penn Township. She attended Westmoreland County Community College, Seton Hill University, and Saint Francis University to study busienss, information management, home economics, and renesable energy. Most of Virginia’s career was with the United States Department of Agriculture, as a manager, commercial/residential loan officer, grant scorer, lead-paint risk assessor, and commercial real estate appraiser. Virginia also worked for LSI ServiceLink, overseeing 12,000 contract appraisers. She currently is a self-employed appraiser and real estate agent for RE/MAX, and is a REDFIN representative for southwestern PA.

Virginia serves on the North Huntingdon Township Planning Commission and Smart Growth Partnership of Westmoreland County Board. Hobbies include weight lifting, kick boxing, dance, nature photography, and Pittsburgh sports.

Virginia lives in North Huntingdon and has one daughter, twin grandchildren, and two shelter cats.

Joseph “Jay” Tarara (2014)

Jay grew up in Greensburg, and studied at Point Park College for a B.A in psychology, and the University of Pittsburgh for graduate studies in biology, ecology, and environmental health and protection. Jay served in the U.S. Army as a medical corpsman during the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1970, and is retired from the PA Department of Environmental Protection as environmental protection program manager, Drinking Water Division, where he directed agency activities for all surface and ground water drinking systems in the 10 counties of PA’s Southwest Region

Jay is currently a member of the National Environmental Health Association, the Western PA Conservancy, Waterworks Operators Association of PA, PA Rural Water Association, and PA

Cleanways. He volunteers and serves on the Executive Committee of the Christian Laymen Corps in Greensburg.

Jay and Mary Lou live in Hempfield Township and have two daughters and two grandsons. In his spare time Jay enjoys vegetable gardening, golf, bowling, bocce, sports cars, puzzles, cooking, and playing with his grandsons.

Theo van de Venne (2015)

Theo grew up in the Netherlands and studied at the Delft Technological University for an M.S. in mechanical engineering. He worked at Fokker Aircraft, then emigrated to the U.S. to work at Boeing and study at the University of Washington for an M.S. in aeronautics and astronautics.  Theo then worked in the nuclear division of Westinghouse where he held various engineering and project management positions until his retirement in 1996.

Theo has served on the Murrysville Planning Commission and Murrysville Council, and on the boards of the Westmoreland Conservancy, the Murrysville Community Library and its Foundation, the Murrysville Economic and Development Council, and Friends of Murrysville Parks.

Theo and Pia live in Murrysville, and have three sons and two grandchildren. In his spare time, Theo enjoys woodworking and nature photography.

John Ward (2008)

John grew up in Oakmont, and studied at Washington & Jefferson College for a B.A. in political science and at Duquesne University School of Law for a J.D. During school, John’s summer employment included work at Edgewater Steel Company, and teaching English Conversation in South Korea. John served on active duty in the U.S. Army as legal assistance officer, trial counsel and Instructor at the John F. Kennedy Center for Military Assistance and Military Institute. John has practiced law as an associate at O’Connell, Silvis & Godlewski, as associate and then partner at Costello & Berk, and presently as partner at Ward & Christner, P.C.

John has been active on many boards, including United Way of Westmoreland County, Washington & Jefferson College, Westmoreland County Parks & Recreation Citizens Advisory Board, the Greater Greensburg Jaycees, Special Summer Olympics, and Mountain View Rotary. John has also helped the Regional Trail Corporation, the Westmoreland County Literacy Council, and the Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival.

John and Pat live in Unity Township and have four sons, two daughters, and seven grandchildren. In his spare time John enjoys traveling and reading history.