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 Internal Revenue Code.

Douglas W. Chew (2020)

Doug grew up on a dairy farm in Hempfield Township, graduated from Hempfield Area High School, and studied biochemistry, biophysics, and chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh. He served at Pitt as a faculty member teaching molecular biology and biochemistry for 11 years starting in 1992, and then as a faculty and research administrator at Pitt’s School of Medicine starting in 2010.

Doug served as an elected auditor in Hempfield Township for 6 years, and has served as a Westmoreland County Commissioner since January 2020.

Doug and his wife Cyndi live on a farm in Hempfield Township, and have three sons: Joe, Andy, and Luke. In his spare time Doug enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his family.

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.

Alyson Fearon (2019)

Alyson is originally from Oshkosh, Wisconsin but has lived all over the country and world and came to this area in 2013 with her husband to be near extended family. Alyson has a B.S. in Environmental Science with a concentration in Sustainability (2014) and a Master of Sustainability and Master of Business Administration (2018) from Chatham University. She possesses over 20 years of combined work experience in various roles with the military and private sector and joined ALT in 2017. Alyson is now the Senior Director of Community Conservation & Resiliency for the Allegheny Land Trust and the lead on land use research projects; new resiliency efforts like carbon credits; non-traditional conservation efforts such as community garden preservation and urban greening; and develops and presents content on these topics through various forums. She is also an International Society of Sustainability Professionals certified Sustainability Associate and works as an Adjunct Instructor for her Alma mater.

Alyson’s husband, teenaged daughter, two cats and two dogs keep her actively engaged at their new home in Murrysville. She also enjoys exploring new cuisines, working to improve habitat on their property, and generally being outdoors.

Stephanie Jellison (2020)

Stephanie grew up in Blairsville and attended Chatham University receiving a B.A. in Environmental Studies.  Stephanie served as an AmeriCorps Service Member for the Westmoreland Land Trust from October 2019 through August 2020.  The AmeriCorps position provided a positive lasting impact.  At the end of the service period, it was clear that she wanted to devote more time and energy to the Land Trust.  Stephanie currently works at Diamond Run Golf Club on the golf course maintenance crew.
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Stephanie and her wife spend most of their time caring for their pets.  They have two dogs, Cindy and Buddy, and three cats, Assefa, Remus, and Paco. Buddy loves to go hiking and has spent many days on the trails at the Otto and Magdalene Ackermann Nature Preserve.  Cindy has recently started behavior training and hopes to be on trails with Buddy soon.

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.

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.

Andrew L. Mack (2019)

Andy grew up in Lancaster Pa and is a conservation biologist with a Ph.D from the University of Miami. He has worked for Conservation International, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Academy of Natural Sciences and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Andy now works for Penn State University and has taught classes at Chatham University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Penn State. His research has spanned many topics, but with a emphasis on birds and tropical rainforests.   He developed a major conservation program in Papua New Guinea.

Andy now lives near Ligonier with his wife Lydia, who is an artist. In his spare time he enjoys observing birds and nature photography.

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.

Patrick Roberts (2020)

Patrick grew up in the hills and creeks of Home, PA in Northern Indiana County. From an early age he had an interest in all things natural and spent much of his free time exploring, fishing, hunting, camping, and hiking. After graduating from Marion Center High School he received his B.S. in Biology/Secondary Science Education from Grove City College, and later earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from McDaniel College, MD.

Patrick has taught in three districts in Pennsylvania and Maryland, and currently teaches at the Latrobe Junior High School. He has taught horticulture, biology, environmental science, and a general science course covering earth, physical, and life sciences. Patrick has worked on and off for 11 years as a research scientist with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, focusing primarily on Eastern Hellbender research and conservation.

Patrick’s interests still include all things natural, as well as home improvement projects and maintaining a family farm near Indiana, PA. He has two older sisters, five nieces, and his parents still live in Home, PA. He currently lives with his wife Brandy in Greensburg, PA.

Joseph Romano (2019)

Joe was born in Pittsburgh and has lived in Ohio, West Virginia, and Upstate New York. He is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, having earned both a B.S. in Regional Planning and a M.A. in Geography there. Joe is a retired transportation and environmental planner and a past member of the American Planning Association and the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).   He has worked in both the public and private sectors. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, he headed the Westmoreland County Transit Authority as it executive director.

Joe has served as President of the Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival and the Health and Welfare Council. He has also been an active member of the Pennsylvania Planning Association and the West Virginia Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies.

He and his wife, Chris, have lived in Greensburg for over 35 years. They have one daughter.

Jeff Silka (2020)

Jeff grew up in Johnstown, PA and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown with a B.A. in Political Science. He received a M.A. in Public Affairs from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Jeff has served local government and economic development for the past twenty-five years in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. He has previously served as manager of the cities of Johnstown and Shinnston, WV and Robinson Township, and as executive director of the Somerset County Economic Development Council. Currently Jeff is serving as the manager of North Huntingdon Township in Westmoreland County.

Through his career Jeff has served on Main Street boards various service clubs and chambers of commerce. He is currently a member of the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association.

Jeff resides in Monroeville, PA with his wife Carralee and one son. His hobbies include fishing, hiking, kayaking and Civil War battlefields and history.

Brandon Simpson (2020)

Brandon grew up near Clarion, PA and studied at California University of Pennsylvania for a M.S. in Sport and Recreation Management. After graduation Brandon worked as the Program Coordinator for Latrobe-Unity Parks & Recreation organizing, planning and implementing recreation programs. In 2013, Brandon was hired as the Program Coordinator for the Westmoreland County Bureau of Parks and Recreation. In 2018, Brandon became the Assistant Director of Parks & Recreation for the Bureau and in 2020 he became Director of Parks & Recreation, overseeing 10 parks consisting of more than 4,000 acres of parkland.

Brandon serves as President of the Westmoreland County Parks & Recreation Alliance, Treasurer of the Regional Trail Corporation, and as a board member of the Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival. In 2016, Brandon received certification as a parks and recreation professional through the National Recreation & Parks Association.

Brandon and his wife Alicia reside in Unity Township, and have two children. In his free time Brandon coaches baseball and football for local youth leagues. He also enjoys hunting, fishing, recreational sports, and all things outdoors.