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Meet the Board

Want to Join the Board?

Josh Stutz

Executive Director

Mary K. Martin

President

G. Jacob (Jake) Savage, III

Vice President

Josh Stutz

Executive Director

Mary K. Martin

President

Justin Doyle

Vice President

G. Jacob (Jake) Savage, III

Secretary

G. Dean Brunson

Treasurer

Giles Garrison

Superintendent, James River Park System

Shawna Shade

Office Administrator

Catherine (Cat) Anthony

Madge Bemiss

David C. Broocke

Justin Doyle

Secretary

G. Dean Brunson

Treasurer

Giles Garrison

Superintendent, James River Park System

Shawna Shade

Office Administrator

Catherine (Cat) Anthony

Madge Bemiss

David C. Broocke

Byron Chafin

Scott Dickens

Byron Chafin

Scott Dickens

Bill Draper

Karen Garner

Jean Linnell

Kendra Norrell

Matt Rigby

Scott Silvester

Mel Smith

Kevin Tobin

Bill Draper

Karen Garner

Jean Linnell

Kendra Norrell

Matt Rigby

Scott Silvester

Mel Smith

Kevin Tobin

Greg Velzy

Krista Weatherford

Greg Velzy

Brooks Whitten

Bryce Wilk, Ex Officio

Krista Weatherford

Brooks Whitten

Bryce Wilk, Ex Officio

Committees

FOJRP committees are open to all members and include:

Membership

Ensures there are sufficient members on the Board, plans for election of officers, coordinates the annual board retreat, and provides for or coordinates board education annually. A separate ad hoc Nominating Committee may be selected as needed. The Committee seeks members with knowledge of board development, strategic planning, and non-profit management.

Finance

Develops the annual budget and meets periodically to address financial issues. May overlap with fundraising committee to ensure that the fundraising goals are in harmony with the needs of the organization. Any changes to the budget are made only with the recommendation of this committee. The committee seeks members with bookkeeping experience, knowledge of financial software and experience with non-profit budgets.

Events

Plans and coordinates events with park staff, members and volunteers that promote awareness of Friends’ and the James River Park System, including tables at regional events and annual Friends events, such as the Winter Solstice on Belle Isle. The Committee supports the work of the fundraising committee and also coordinates the annual River Heroes event that honors those individuals who are strong advocates, supporters, and friends of the JRPS. The Committee seeks members who enjoy interacting with the public, who have organizational/planning skills and who have a talent for rallying people together.

Communications

Coordinates external communications with our Membership and the general public to promote FOJRP and its initiatives via our website, Constant Contact, our monthly e-Newsletter, and social media. The Committee is responsible for the Friends’ website content and development, coordinating and writing copy for our monthly e-newsletter, preparing promotional material for Friends events and projects, and keeping our members up to date via Constant Contact and social media. The Committee seeks members with strong writing, editing, graphic design, advertising and/or marketing skills as well as an interest in, and familiarity with, the goings on of the James River Park System. This Committee offers a unique opportunity to exercise your writing skills to the benefit or our membership and the Park!

Advocacy

Coordinate activities of the Board and membership for the purpose of promoting the James River Park System and influencing decisions made by local and state government and/or any other political, environmental or economic organizations. The Committee seeks members with a passion for the James River Park, connections to other environmental organizations and with an interest in state and local politics.

Josh Stutz

Executive Director, Friends of the James River Park System
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

President
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.

G. Jacob (Jake) Savage, III

Vice President
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.

Justin Doyle

Secretary
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.

Giles Garrison

Superintendent, 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 Shade

Office Administrator
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.

Madge Bemiss

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.

Byron Chafin

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.

Scott Dickens

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.

Bill Draper

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 Garner

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 Linnell

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

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 Rigby

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.

Mel Smith

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.

Kevin Tobin

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.

Greg Velzy

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

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.

Brooks Whitten

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.

Report an Issue Form

To report an emergency please call 911 immediately. Please use this form to report an issue in the Park such as maintenance or trail issues. Thank you.

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