The Center’s staff collaborates with others to achieve a shared vision for the region based on three essential ingredients: thriving communities, healthy forests and innovative and resilient local economies.

The Center’s staff brings years of experience in regional strategy development, economic development, forestry, communications, conservation and organizing to their work.

Maura Adams, Program Director

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Maura leads our modern wood heat programs at the Center. Whether it’s building local wealth in Northern Forest communities through our Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative or advising on public policy to encourage the adoption of sustainable wood heat, Maura is quick to jump into assessing challenges and finding pragmatic solutions.

She is no stranger to environmental and community outreach. Most recently, she worked as Environmental Stewardship Manager at St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH, building a comprehensive sustainability program. She has also worked as a green building consultant and managed a municipal natural resource protection program for the Jordan Institute, and she coordinated a campus energy reduction program at Harvard University. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master of environmental management degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. It’s work hard, play hard for Maura: she loves trail running, mountain biking, hiking, cooking local foods, and reading books of all kinds. She lives in Penacook, NH with her husband Brian and little white dog, Miles, a frequent visitor to the Center office. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Maryellen Burke, Director of Development

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Maryellen is passionate about connecting people to great causes. She draws on her experience as a program officer and philanthropic advisor for the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to help donors achieve their charitable goals and advance the Center’s mission. She has extensive experience rallying resources for social ventures, ranging from historic and cultural institutions in Portsmouth, NH to a new hospital for Nantucket.

Maryellen joined the Center’s staff because she loves the idea revitalizing communities and believes that sustainable forests and sustainable communities go hand-in-glove and mutually support each other.

She has over twenty years of experience in the nonprofit sector, primarily in New Hampshire. Her non-profit work started at the Center for Book Arts in New York, continued at The National Geographic Society before coming to New Hampshire. Maryellen’s volunteer work has included president of the board for the Portsmouth Athenaeum and as a Steward of Smuttynose Island at the Isles of Shoals. She helps guide future nonprofit leaders by teaching a graduate course in nonprofit management at the University of New Hampshire. In 2003, the New Hampshire Union Leader named Maryellen as one of its “Forty Outstanding Leaders Under 40,” and she has earned a number of other leadership awards. She earned a doctorate in literature from the University of Florida.

Her favorite way to spend time is to walk with her dog Caswell, a corgi, on trails and beaches. When not traveling around the Northern Forest, Maryellen lives in Portsmouth where she can usually be found knitting, rug hooking, and card making. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Courtney Delaney, Administrative Assistant

Julie Renaud Evans, Program Director

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Julie has helped establish more than 11,000 acres of Community Forests across the Northern Forest. Her passion for developing local leadership in communities is reflected in the way she prepares them to establish and steward Community Forests. Julie also serves as a knowledgeable resource to the Center and partner organizations that require assistance with their forestry initiatives. She brings more than 25 years’ experience in both forestry and community development in northern New England.

Previously, Julie worked in community planning during a time when the region’s forested landscape and community’s dependence on the paper industry were beginning to change dramatically. She also taught environmental and forestry courses at White Mountains Community College. With her own business, Julie consulted for the White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and many landowner clients, including the Town of Errol as it established its 5,300-acre Community Forest. Julie earned both her M.A. in Environmental Education and B.S. in Forest Management from the University of New Hampshire. Julie lives with her family in Lyndonville, Vermont. Forestry is a family affair for Julie and her husband Kevin, who have been professional foresters in the North Country for 30 years. Julie serves on the Board of Trustees of The Riverside School in Lyndon, Vermont, and likes to read, cook, and take care of her busy teenagers! Her favorite sound in the whole world is spring peepers. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Carrie French, Director of Operations

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Carrie brings a determined focus for continuously improving efficiencies and operations of the Center. She oversees the operations and financial reporting of the organization, aggressively seeks out cost controls and ensures our good standing. She brings a wealth of experience in program management and financial oversight, after spending nearly 13 years with the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. She began as Assistant Director of the MicroCredit-NH Program, followed by many years as the Executive Coordinator for the entire organization. Carrie served the State of New Hampshire as the Assistant Director of Economic Development in the State’s Department of Resources and Economic Development.

Passionate hardly describes Carrie’s dedication to community development. She sat on the NH Main Street Program Board where she was awarded Board member of the year in 2000, and served on the Community Development Finance Authority Board on behalf of the State of New Hampshire. Also, she was the program manager for the State Tourism Joint Promotional Program. She is a graduate of Becker College and Plymouth State University and holds degrees in Retail Management and Business Administration. Carrie lives in Concord, NH and enjoys spending time with her son Kevin, their dog Cody and engaging in the many outdoor activities of the New England seasons. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Leslie Karasin, Project Manager

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Leslie manages our Adirondack Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative. She serves as your go-to, based in Saranac Lake, if you have questions on how to apply to the program. She coordinates program delivery and ensures a smooth and high quality wood pellet boiler installation for program participants.

Leslie draws on a variety of community outreach experiences. She worked to engage local government officials on collaborative sustainable development projects at the Wildlife Conservation Society Adirondack Program. Her ability to translate complex problems into understandable terms and her extensive land use experience positioned her to effectively manage stakeholder input processes such as Community Values Mapping and Waterfront Revitalization Efforts.

Leslie is a math whiz, has taught at a community college, and has traveled around the world examining environmental issues through a Susan Rappaport Knafel Travelling Fellowship from Wellesley College, her Alma Mater. Leslie wears many hats, which include chairing the Saranac Lake Planning Board and serving on the board of a number of community organizations. When she’s not working or serving her community, she loves to explore the Adirondacks on skis, on foot or by canoe, especially with her young son as company.

Jessica O'Hare, Program Manager

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Jessica takes on strategic projects to bring more capacity to the Center. Her work touches on almost every part of the organization: tracking the impact of our Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative, supporting the president, managing outreach through new media, and more. She helps coordinate a coalition of economic development organizations to improve career prospects for Maine tourism employees and develop quality recreation destinations.

Jess brings experience as an energy and community outreach professional. While working for Environment New Hampshire, Jess led successful efforts to secure protections for the region’s natural resources in local, state and national arenas, including defending an important New Hampshire energy program from repeal and protecting New Hampshire’s White Mountains. She has directed election campaign offices to help successfully bring pro-environment and strong advocates for the Northeast to the U.S. Congress and the Presidency. Jessica graduated from Smith College in 2009 with a degree in Government. Off the clock, Jess fulfills her love of the arts as co-chair of the Membership Committee of the Capitol Center for the Arts and makes occasional appearances at open mic nights. Jess stays active biking, swimming and skiing. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rob Riley, President

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Rob is a recognized nonprofit leader who has successfully led the Center in its transition through the 2008 economic downturn to produce tangible results for Northern Forest communities. Rob is quick to find opportunities for innovative approaches to generating local wealth and conserving working forestland. He keeps constant vigil over delivering on the Center’s mission and careful resource allocation to get the job done. Rob joined the Center in 2007 as director of programs, leading development of new programs emerging from the Center’s Sustainable Economy Initiative.

Prior to joining the Center, Rob served as director of MicroCredit-NH, an award-winning statewide community economic development program. Previously, Rob founded and served as executive director of Main Street Plymouth, Inc., which received New Hampshire’s “Main Street Program of the Year Award” in 2000. His other professional experience is wide-ranging in scope and geography: he’s been director of Youth Programs at Sagebrush Arena in Hailey, Idaho, and a farmer and logger in Andover, Vermont. Rob lives in Canterbury, NH with his wife Tabitha and their two children Alice and William. When he’s not off running or skiing in the woods, he enjoys watching his two kids take to the field in their busy schedules of sporting events. The New Hampshire Union Leader included Rob in its 2003 list of “Forty Outstanding Leaders Under 40 in New Hampshire.” This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Steve Rohde, Vice President for Innovation & Financing

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Steve Rohde has a vision to bring transformative changes to the region in partnership with the forest products industry. He leads the Center’s efforts in procuring New Markets Tax Credit financing for forest-based initiatives, and he is the strategic heart behind our wood products and Community Forest initiatives.

Steve brings more than 45 years’ experience working on policy formulation and program development and implementation relating to economic and community development. He has specialized expertise in the workings of private markets and the financing of small- and medium-sized businesses, real estate and sustainable forestry. His past positions include deputy director and chief of policy and programs for the federal Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, director of Private Institutions Programs for the Michigan Strategic Fund, deputy director of the Governor’s Cabinet Council on Jobs and Economic Development (in Michigan), director of Real Estate Finance for the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (in rural Eastern Kentucky), and staff member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. Steve has lived in New Hampshire since 2000. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

David Redmond, Director of Wood Products Initiatives

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Dave brings his deep experience in commercial banking and manufacturing management to the Center to lead our efforts to support the secondary wood products manufacturing industry. Dave works with companies to help position them for success in a globalized market. Dave has stood where many general managers have before, holding that position for Classic Designs by Matthew Burak, Inc. – he can relate to the challenges of company leadership and offer the right package of services.

Dave has learned over the years to ask the right questions and listen. He helped farms develop business plans with the Northeast Kingdom Dairy Viability and the Vermont Farm and Forest Viability Program. He lives in St. Johnsbury, Vermont with his wife Marie. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rhonda Shippee, Project Manager

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Rhonda manages our Northeast Kingdom Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative. She is your point person for information about our efforts to install clean-burning, modern wood pellet boilers in “the Kingdom.” For the past 37 years, Rhonda worked at USDA Rural Development as Program Director of both the Community and Business Programs for Vermont and New Hampshire. She is a graduate of Champlain College and the Snelling Center Leadership Program. Rhonda has put her passion for rural communities and farms to work, making them her home her entire life.

After retiring from USDA in 2015, Rhonda relocated from Calais to Morgan, VT where she enjoys kayaking, biking and hiking the rural roads, mountains and lakes in the Kingdom. In Calais, she served on the local and regional planning commissions for many years and is now working on the water quality committee of the Seymour Lake Association in Morgan. In the winter, she volunteers with AARP assisting elders with their income taxes. Rhonda and her husband Matt enjoy time with their family which includes three grown children and three young grandchildren.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Joe Short, Vice President

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Joe brings his insightful nonprofit management to the Center while also directing our public policy, wood energy and ecosystem services initiatives. He oversees core operational aspects of the Center including finance and budget, organizational planning, management issues and board support.  That would keep anyone busy, but Joe is also driving our effort to update a regional economic strategy to guide the Northern Border Regional Commission’s next several years of regional investment.

Now our VP of everything, Joe first came to the Center in 2003 as a Doris Duke Conservation Fellow, and joined the staff full-time in 2004. He helped coordinate the initial work of the Center’s policy program, developing consensus strategies for public policies focused on community, economic, and conservation needs in the Northern Forest. He led to the Center’s Sustainable Economy Initiative, helping a 4-state steering committee create a sustainable economic development strategy for the Northern Forest based on economic revitalization tied to continuing land conservation.

Joe has an M.S. in Resource Ecology and Management from the University of Michigan and a BA in Biology from Carleton College. Earlier in his career he worked for The Nature Conservancy, first in Nebraska and then in northern California. Joe lives in Concord, NH with his wife Liz and two daughters, and sings bass in the Suncook Valley Chorale. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Kelly Short, Communications Director

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Kelly brings her writing, graphic design, and media relations acumen to the Center with nearly 30 years in nonprofit communications. She is responsible for crafting the outward brand of the Center, and directs our messaging across the Center’s marketing and communications efforts, including print and online publications, and constituent and media outreach. Two of Kelly’s favorite challenges are showcasing the Center’s impact across 4 states every year in our annual report, and ensuring that our website is engaging and informative for new audiences as well as long-time donors and partners.

Kelly has worked for the Center since it was founded, first as a consultant while also serving other regional and national nonprofits. Prior to opening her business, Kelly was communications director for the Appalachian Mountain Club. Outside of work, Kelly is dedicated to conservation. She chairs the Canterbury Conservation Commission and has served on the Board of the NH Rivers Council and the NH Advisory Committee for the Trust for Public Land. She was co-named New Hampshire Conservationist of the Year in 2005 by the Forest Society for her work on the Merrimack River Initiative. She earned a BA in communications from Boston College and lives in Canterbury, NH with her husband Steve. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mike Wilson, Senior Program Director

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Mike serves as the backbone for program development at the Center. His wealth of experience connecting and engaging with the traditions of the Northern Forest has led him to spearheading an effort to develop quality recreation tourism destinations in the Maine Woods and the region. He also offers his expertise in guiding the Center’s strategic planning and organizational development.

Mike was the lead coordinator of a 325-mile canoe expedition through the Maine Woods to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the publishing of Thoreau’s The Maine Woods. Previously at the Center, Mike served as principal researcher and author of the Northern Forest Wealth Index: Exploring a Deeper Meaning of Wealth. He led development of the Center’s National Endowment for the Humanities-funded mobile museum, Ways of the Woods: People and the Land in the Northern Forest, as well as several publications.

Mike worked as a grassroots organizer for the Northern Forest Alliance and the Maine People’s Alliance. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from James Madison University and a master’s in Resource Management and Administration from Antioch New England Graduate School. He was awarded a Switzer Environmental Fellowship in 1998, and a Switzer Leadership Award in 2000. Mike lives in South Portland, Maine with his wife Carolyn and his kids Tom and Yenenesh. You’ll catch him enjoying the solitude of the forest camping and paddling with his family. He is also secretly known to cruise on his motorcycle from time to time, and to play guitar for the underground band Mancaave. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Laurel Will, Staff Accountant

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Laurel is the secret to keeping our financial house in order. She produces financial statements, administers staff payroll, and keeps track of where our resources are moving. Laurel has been instrumental in achieving efficiencies in tracking and reporting grant expenditures and improving the security of the organization.

Laurel has dedicated her career to bettering her community. Her experience varies from an associate at an economic research and management counsel firm in Washington, DC. to the database manager for a prominent gubernatorial campaign in New Hampshire. She has served on many different boards, notably as board president at The Children’s Place and Parent Education Center and as an advisory board member to the St. John Regional School. Laurel graduated from the University of Pennsylvania from the Wharton School with a B.S. in Economics. When she isn’t working, Laurel spends time with her husband Dan and her beautiful girls Samantha and Emma. She is the Bishop Brady High School unofficial basketball cheerleader! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.