The Friends » Board Members
When Josh and his family relocated to Richmond from Los Angeles in 2017, they quickly became fans of the James River Park System. A long-time director of nonprofits, we were excited to welcome him in July of 2021 as our first-ever Executive Director! The Stutz family can often be found pedaling the trails at Belle Isle and Pony Pasture, or hopping the rocks near the 42nd Street Tower.
Mary K. Martin
As a life-long Richmond native, Mary Kay Martin has been a Park user since she was 5 years old. These days you can frequently find her whitewater kayaking on the James River, shaking off the stress of a busy criminal defense practice. Mary Kay and her husband, Scott, also like to wander around the James River Park with their dogs, Axl and Slash.
Friends of the James River Park needs you!
The FOJRP Board of Directors works to address the Park’s critical needs through advocating for support, providing financial assistance, promoting Park activities and developing opportunities for citizen participation to name a few of our Board’s goals. Please consider serving your Park by joining our Board.
Attend a board meeting!
email: [email protected]
G. Jacob (Jake) Savage, III
Jake is an avid mountain biker and uses the JRPS 3-4 times a week, falling as much as he jumps rocks. The first time I did the “loop” (home in the Fan to Texas Beach entrance to Belle Isle to Buttermilk West to Dogwood Dell loop trail to Byrd Park to home) on a mountain bike, I was truly amazed at the solitude, the beauty, and the difficulty of the trails. This wonder of such nature in the City is what motivated me to learn more about and ultimately join the Friends of James River Park. Being involved in the Friends’ Group has been incredibly rewarding and I urge anyone who uses the Park to get involved in any of the many programs we support. Thanks also to the James River Park System’s staff for all the good work they do to keep the trails in great shape, building new trails, and protecting and growing the Park in the future with anticipated increased usage.
As a member of Richmond’s Urban Design Committee and the Historic Falls of the James Scenic River Advisory Committee, Justin promotes conservation and stewardship, both personally and professionally. A resident of Richmond’s East End, he and his family frequently visit Great Shiplock Park.
G. Dean Brunson
Biography coming soon.
Superintendent of the James River Park System
From growing up in the shadow of Forest Hill Park and digging for treasure at Reedy Creek to devoting her professional career to the preservation of our natural and historic assets, Giles brings a love of the Park and an impressive skill set to her role. As an Executive Director for both Groundwork RVA and Storefront for Community Design, Giles also displayed a passion for accessibility and inclusivity.
Shawna is drawn to the James River Park System for its variety of adventure options. She and her dogs walk the trails, she bikes the woods, and she takes advantage of our boat landings to launch her kayak.
Catherine (Cat) Anthony
As the Executive Director of the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation, Cat enjoys exploring the James River Park System by bicycle. She’s worked with Sportable, a sports club that provides experiences for people with disabilities, and has welcomed the transformation of Central Virginia over the past few decades and the Park’s commitment to improving accessibility.
An architect by trade, Madge is a key member of our Invasive Plant Task Force in addition to being a Board Member. The Task Force works with the incredible volunteers for the James River Park System to reduce the negative impact of invasive plants and restore native plant communities. You can usually find her somewhere in the Park wrestling with an invasive vine.
David C. Broocke
David uses the James River Park System to explore nature from the saddle of his mountain bike. He enjoys getting out on the James River to chase the occasional fish, and seems to discover something new in the Park with every visit.
An avid snow-skier, Byron, along with wife Nancy and daughter Charlotte, spends frequent time in the Park, walking the trails of North Bank, exploring Pump House Park, and venturing to Pony Pasture. A mountain biker and kayaker, when he can get away from managing investment properties you can find him somewhere on the James River.
A self-professed “technology geek” and collector of guitars, Scott is an avid booster of all things “Richmond”. As someone who relies on a wheelchair, he’s a vocal advocate for our Master Plan and efforts to improve accessibility in the James River Park System.
An avid photographer, Bill grew up near the Pony Pasture and spent his youth hopping rocks, fishing, swimming and canoeing on the James River. After retiring from over forty years in healthcare sales and marketing, he spends much of his time running trails, biking and kayaking on the James. Without exception, always having a camera or two to capture and share the sights of the river and James River Park.
Karen is a recent transplant to Richmond, but has been an outspoken supporter of the outdoors since her youth. Raised by a Parks and Recreation director, Karen earned a B.S. from UNCGreensboro in Leisure Services and Tourism Management. After moves to follow her husband with the USAF, the family settled in Virginia and soon after Karen became a voice for Alzheimer’s families, speaking across the country to raise awareness and funds. She is currently the Maryland, DC and Virginia Advocacy Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association and Mom to a 21 year old daughter and 18 year old son.
Jean grew up swimming and kayaking in the James. Although she enjoys the solitude she feels while hiking the trails, she thinks of the park system as a place of community and the focal point of the city. She currently serves as the Associate Director of the Pace Center at VCU.
Kendra Norrell is a Program Officer at the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC). She works with people of color-led non-profits to support climate-resilient project design and implementation. At ISC, she also supports regional government collaboration and project management around energy efficiency and resident support. Before ISC, Kendra worked in education and engagement with Richmond’s Office of Sustainability, Virginia Commonwealth University, G.R.T.C., and Groundwork RVA. She has a B.S. from Haverford College and a M.U.R.P. from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Matt loves the outdoors; and, is in and around the park most days walking, biking, paddle-boarding, and enjoying the beauty of this green oasis running through our city. His professional background includes growing companies, investing, and consulting.
Biography coming soon.
Mel Smith Jr. serves as Director or Diversity and Inclusion at Genworth. As Genworth’s chief diversity officer, Mel leads and coordinates efforts to create and sustain a diverse, inclusive, equitable and welcoming environment for all Genworth colleagues including consultants, suppliers, and of customers. Mel’s goal is making diversity, equity & inclusion Genworth’s way of doing business. His vision is to advance Genworth’s culture of belonging where open hearts and minds combine to unleash the potential of the brilliant mix of people, in every corner of Genworth. From the time a job seeker clicks on our website to when an employee retires.
After receiving a degree in mechanical engineering that he had no intention of using, Kevin moved to Richmond and never left. A founder and owner of the indoor climbing gym Peak Experiences, the Summer of 2021 marks his 22nd year in the James River Park System as the Director of Passages Adventure Camp, introducing children to the joys of the Park.
When they held a ribbon cutting to open Pony Pasture in the early 1980’s, Greg inadvertently found himself standing amongst the dignitaries. Little did he know that then-Governor Mark Warner would appoint him to the Falls of the James Advisory Committee – an organization he now chairs. His passion is sharing with and educating Park users, and he strives to understand what Park users want. When we need him, we can find him kayaking, biking, teaching, or picking up trash in the Park.
Krista Weatherford has been in environmental education for 18 years. In addition to her tenure as Maymont’s Director of Programming and Community Engagement, she taught environmental education, and managed several programs in Virginia State Parks and at Georgia Southern University’s Center for Wildlife Education. In addition, Ms. Weatherford has animal care experience with non-releasable river otters, birds of prey, native reptiles, amphibians and mammals. She is a Virginia Master Naturalist with the Pocahontas Chapter. Ms. Weatherford is very passionate about wildlife and natural resources, and shares her passion through a variety of presentations, and digital stories. True to that passion she enjoys kayaking, hiking and wildlife viewing as she strives to share her passion with everyone around her.
While Brooks is a lifelong Richmond resident, she didn’t really ‘discover’ the James River Park System until she attended VCU. Her entire family utilizes what the Park has to offer, biking, kayaking, running and rafting as often as possible. She enjoys photographing the Park to memorialize her visits.
Bryce Wilk, Ex Officio
Biography coming soon.
FOJRP committees are open to all members and include: