Board of Directors
William J. “Jay” Cude III: Castalian Springs, TN - Board Chair
Jay Cude spent 35 years in the medical device industry where he was involved in the design, manufacture and sale of disposable medical devices for cardiology, radiology, CT, MRI, and general surgery.
Jay was Founder and CEO of Coeur, Inc., a medical device company that manufactures and sells finished medical devices to the global imaging market. The business was sold in 2012. Prior to this, Jay was Group Vice President of the DeRoyal Plastics Group and CEO of Hospital Disposables, a family business also involved in the U.S. hospital market. Jay recently retired as Director of Strategic Planning for ITW Medical.
Jay was formerly a Director, Officer, Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Washington DC based Plastics Industry Association. SPI is a non-profit trade association representing over 1,000 businesses involved in the manufacture and sale of plastic manufacturing equipment, raw materials, and products. Jay is also past Chair of SPI’s Healthcare Division and past Chair of the SPI National Certification Program, an industry training program.
At present, Jay serves on the Advisory Board of a private medical device company.
Jay is a graduate of the Emory School of Business Administration, has a wife and two grown children, and resides outside of Nashville, TN. He enjoys hunting, fly fishing, gardening, traveling, and spends time managing the family farm in west Tennessee.
Michael D. Doochin: Nashville, TN - Immediate Past Chair
Michael’s fascination with the American chestnut and its ties to our culture brought him to TACF. Interested in the American chestnut from an early age, he later discovered large American chestnut trees on his property. His general love of trees led him to establish an arboretum outside of Nashville, TN where he has planted chestnut trees.
Michael is an owner and manager of a flexible packaging and label business outside of Nashville. He is the author of two novels: The Tzaddik, based on wisdom from eight years of Kabbalah study with a rabbi, and In Exile in the Promised Land and is presently finishing a nonfiction book, The Mystical Naturalist, which combines environmentalism and spirituality.
Michael has traveled extensively which allows him to pursue his interests in photography and collecting ethnographic art. He is an oil painter of portraits, landscapes, and abstracts and has exhibited in several shows. He enjoys restoring antiquities found on trips, such as Anasazi pots and old Chinese weaving tables. Michael is also a Certified Healing Touch Practitioner and a Certified Tennessee Naturalist.
Betty McDonald Allison: Lewisville, NC - Promotion and Outreach Committee Chair
Betty became interested in the American chestnut tree when chestnut stumps were found on property her family purchased. She has had a lifetime love of biology, and the outdoors.
After earning a BS in Zoology from UNC-CH, she worked as a chemist, and as a System Engineer for IBM. While raising a family she became a volunteer with many organizations including serving as Board Chair of the Ronald McDonald House of Eastern NC, and the Greenfield Academy (Wilson, NC) as well as many years of “PTAs” and “Team Moms”. She was a Girl Scout Leader for 8 years while also serving on the GS Council Board(s) in NC and committee member of the four GS Council Realignment (merger) committee.
Betty and her husband John Allison, have three adult children. They planted their first American Chestnut Foundation seeds and saplings in the 1990s. They also have fruit trees and blueberries.
Rebecca (Becky) Carter: Decatur, GA
Until her recent retirement Becky held the position of Chief Development Officer at The Carter Center (TCC), having joined the staff in 2011. The Carter Center is a not-for-profit institution founded in 1982 by former President Jimmy Carter and Mrs. Rosalynn Carter to advance human rights and alleviate suffering among the world’s poorest people. As CDO, Becky led and managed a team of twelve professional and administrative staff. The Unit is responsible for cultivating and stewarding individual donors to raise annual financial support for the Center’s Health and Peace Programs.
Prior to joining The Carter Center, Becky served as Director of Federal Agency and Congressional Government Relations for the 10 state chapters in the Southeast United States for The Nature Conservancy (TNC). TNC works in 70 countries and the 50 US states conserving the lands and waters on which life depends. While at TNC Becky built, led, and served as spokesperson for some 40 diverse nationwide organizations known as the Forests in the Farm Bill Coalition which resulted in expanded program eligibility for private forest landowners, and established statewide forest assessments and plans in the 2008 Farm Bill. She was also responsible for relationships with Regional offices of US Forest Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Southern Group of State Foresters, along with other multi-state/multi-discipline partnerships to influence resource management.
Previously Becky worked in government relations roles at Columbia Gas Transmission, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and served as director of West Virginia Independence Hall, a National Historic Landmark museum. Her international service includes election observation missions in Guyana, Tunisia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Nepal, Liberia, and Mozambique, and as a US representative of Women for Peace in support of Palestinian Women during a Palestinian election.
Becky also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity International, with work in Haiti, the Mekong Delta, New York City, Washington, D.C., Annapolis, MD, and Dallas, TX, Edmonton, Alberta, Memphis and Nashville, TN. Becky further served as a volunteer with CARE International, and on the Board of Directors, West Virginia affiliate of Friendship Force International, directing the Russian leaders program and groups in Germany, Peru, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, Egypt, Ghana, Togo, and Benin.
Becky holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from West Virginia University. She learned early in life the cultural and environmental significance of the American chestnut and her interest in forestry and environmental conservation has been a constant throughout her career and in her personal interests.
Becky grew up in West Virginia and moved to Georgia when she and her husband Chip were married.
Hill Craddock, Ph.D.: Chatanooga, TN - Awards Sub-Committee Chair ; Tennessee Chapter President
Dr. Craddock teaches courses in general biology, economic botany, dendrology and mycology. His current research is focused on the restoration of the American chestnut (Castanea dentata) to the Southern Appalachian hardwood forest.
Hill is also working on establishment of a commercial chestnut industry in Tennessee. Project areas include: breeding for blight resistance (resistance to Cryphonectria parasitica), breeding for Phytophthora-root-rot resistance (caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi), investigations of Hypovirulence for biological control of chestnut blight, Castanea germplasm collection and characterization, and chestnut cultivar evaluation.
Amanda "Mandy" Cromwell, Ph.D.: Groton, Massachusetts
Dr. Mandy Cromwell is a director of preclinical at Vertex Cell and Genetic Therapies, a Boston area biotechnology company working to develop a cure for type 1 diabetes. She holds an undergraduate degree in biology from Stetson University and a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and has over 25 year of experience working in R and D in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.
Mandy is a longtime resident of Groton, MA and a member of the Nashua River Watershed Association, a local conservation organization. Avid cyclists, she and her husband Duane are also active volunteers with the Friends of the Nashua River Rail Trail.
Deborah Delmer, Ph.D.: Brevard, NC - Science and Technology Committee Chair
Dr. Deborah Delmer, is Professor Emeritus of Plant Biology at UC Davis. She has held faculty positions at Michigan State University, The Hebrew University, and UC Davis. In 2004, she received from the American Chemical Society the Anselme Payen Award in recognition of excellence in the science and chemical technology of cellulose.
Professor Delmer also served as President of the American Society of Plant Biologists and in 2004 she was elected to membership in the US National Academy of Sciences. From 2002-2007, she served as Associate Director for Food Security for the Rockefeller Foundation where she was involved with grant making and policy relating to the role of biotechnology in developing world agriculture. Now retired, Delmer now serves on a number of advisory boards and consultant to foundations, academia, industry, and governments on developing world agriculture issues surrounding biomass production.
Deborah was also Program Director for Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development, BREAD (2009-2010), jointly funded by the US NSF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Deborah has been involved with TACF since 2017.
Bruce Levine: Takoma, MD - Chapters Committee Chair ; Maryland Chapter President
Bruce Levine is a PhD student in Plant Science at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he studies the host-pathogen interaction between chestnut blight fungus and chestnut. After 20+ years of membership and volunteer work with TACF, Bruce chose to retire from a 26-year diplomatic career in the U.S. Foreign Service and devote his efforts to chestnut restoration.
Dennis WC. Liu, Ph.D.: Potomac, MD
A nationally recognized expert in science education, Dennis Liu is currently Vice President of Education for the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and the Half-Earth Project. Previously, he directed the production of educational media at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, working with scientists, educators, graphic designers, animators, and filmmakers to produce an array of educational products that have had a lasting impact on science education. Dennis has managed teams devoted to assessing and assuring the educational impact of media, including building professional learning programs and peer communities.
In his role as Executive Director of HHMI’s Tangled Bank Studios he was executive producer and editorial advisor on over a dozen film projects for theatre, broadcast television, Large Screen, and digital science programs aimed at the general public. Dennis trained in neuroscience and genetics, earning a PhD in biology from the University of Oregon. Following postdoctoral studies at the University of Washington, he held a faculty position in the Department of Genetics.
Lewis Lobdell: Youngstown, PA - Governance Committee Chair
Lewis is an avid chestnut restoration enthusiast and has several plantings on their property. He has been a TACF member for more than 20 years.
Lewis was raised in Charlotte and earned degrees in architecture, regional planning and law at NC State and UNC Chapel Hill. He served in the US Army with the Airborne Engineers from 1972-1974. He moved to Pittsburgh after law school in 1983 to practice at a firm centered on large-scale public/private law. He then joined PNC Bank in 1991, in increasingly senior roles where he retired in 2010 as manager of a commercial loan division. Lewis has served on the Western Penn Conservancy (WPC) board and chaired the fundraising subcommittee where he helped lead a $50 million campaign. This campaign raised money for WPC’s 4 programs, including the architectural and conservation projects at the Falling Waters complex outside Pittsburgh. In addition to the WPC, he serves on the Westmoreland Land Trust board.
Lewis and his wife Kate have four children and eleven grandchildren and enjoy skiing, tennis, golf, and wilderness hiking.
Brian C. McCarthy, Ph.D.: Albany, OH
As an academic forest ecologist, Brian has been studying eastern hardwood forests since the mid-1980s. Thus, his draw to American chestnut and TACF was a rather seamless and natural process.
Brian currently serves as the Associate Dean of Faculty, Research, and Graduate Studies for the College of Arts & Sciences and Professor of Forest Ecology in the Department of Environmental and Plant Biology at Ohio University. His area of research is broadly defined as forest ecology, with a focus on eastern hardwood forest ecosystems. Specifically, he has worked in the areas of tree reproductive ecology, forest stand dynamics, disturbance history reconstruction, fire ecology, understory community dynamics, invasive species ecology, mine land reclamation, and restoration ecology.
In his spare time, Brian wants simply to be outdoors. He is an avid bicyclist (road, mountain, bike-packing) and pursuer of a long-list of outdoor activities, most of which occur in and around the eastern hardwood forest: fly-fishing, upland hunting, canoeing, hiking, and backpacking.
Ambassador Catherine Novelli: Dunn Loring, VA
Ambassador Catherine A. Novelli is a Senior Advisor at Shearwater Global, a strategic consulting firm. She also serves as President of Listening for America, a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to forging a new vision of U.S. international trade engagement. She is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, where she served as a Centennial Fellow (2018-2019).
Cathy previously served as Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment (2014-2017) where she promoted economic reform and open markets for U.S. products and services. As Under Secretary, Ambassador Novelli spearheaded the first-of- its-kind Our Ocean movement, which, during her tenure, resulted in $10 billion for Ocean conservation and has become a continuing global effort. She also launched the Global Connect Initiative, an innovative partnership with governments, multilateral development banks and the private sector to connect 1.5 billion people to the Internet.
Novelli spent seven years as Vice President, Worldwide Government Affairs at Apple Inc where she headed a multinational international team responsible for Apple’s government relations and public policy. Prior to her position at Apple, she was a partner in the law firm of Mayer Brown International. She had a long career at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, rising to Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Europe & the Mediterranean, where she coordinated U.S. trade and investment policy for Europe, Russia, Central Asia, the Middle East and Northern Africa. She took a leading role in many of the most important U.S. trade negotiations in those regions, including free trade agreements with Jordan, Morocco and Bahrain, and Oman. As the Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia, she negotiated most of the bilateral trade and investment agreements that underpin our economic relationship in that region.
Cathy currently serves on the Board of the National Wildlife Federation and the Advisory Board of the Pristine Seas Initiative of the National Geographic Society. She was also named an Ocean Elder, and has received numerous honors and awards, including the State Department Distinguished Service Award and the International Trade Woman of the Year Award. She is a graduate of Tufts University, holds a law degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Laws from University of London.
Jeanne Romero-Severson, Ph.D.: Notre Dame, IN
Jeanne Romero-Severson is a Professor of Quantitative Genetics and Genomics in the Biological Sciences department at the University of Notre Dame. After obtaining her Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1984, she served as a postdoctoral associate in the Entomology Department. Fourteen years and three companies later, she moved to West Lafayette to accept an appointment as an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Forestry and Agronomy at Purdue University. In 2003 she moved to the University of Notre Dame. Currently, she is a member of the Eck Institute for Global Health, Director of the Tree Genetics Core Facility, and President of the Faculty Senate.
“Seed orchard DNA fingerprinting: The double-edged sword of the open access gene pool”
John Scrivani, Ph.D.: Charlottesville, VA - Restoration Committee Chair
John is an adjunct professor who has taught Advanced Spatial Analysis every Spring Semester since 2010. For most of those years John was a practicing GIS professional, managing geospatial projects for the Virginia Geographic Information Network.
Since retiring in 2017 John keeps busy by teaching part-time, traveling and volunteering for non-profits interested in forest conservation, applying his knowledge and experience from his Forestry PhD studies and 20+ years of applied forestry research.
Jim Searing: New Hope, PA - Pennsylvania / New Jersey Chapter President
Jim studied landscape architecture and horticulture at Temple University’s Ambler campus after a 32 year career as a partner and CPA at Ernst & Young. His interest in trees evolved into a focus on restoring the American chestnut to southeastern PA, where he has planted TACF B3F3 trees in local nature preserves and is working on expanding the program to a local university.
He most recently retired as a township Supervisor in Solebury PA after six years of public service, and was a founding director of the Aquetong Watershed Association.
Jim is known as @TreeStrategist on Twitter with 5,000 people following his posts on trees, conservation and urban forestry.
He brings a strong interest in ecological restoration, tree planting, finance, social media, community engagement and strategy to the TACF Board and the Pennsylvania/New Jersey Chapter where he has been a member since 2018, and currently serves as Vice President.
Brad Stanback: Canton, NC
Learning the important role the American chestnut played in the Appalachian ecosystem and the need to bring it back led Brad to TACF.
Brad owns and manages a near 1,400 acre research farm in the North Carolina mountains just west of Asheville. He is involved as a funder and advisor to many local environmental groups, particularly local land trusts involved in protecting land through purchase or Conservation Easement.
Brad’s hobby is Ecological Restoration, but done on a scale that most would consider well beyond a hobby.
Kim Steiner, Ph.D.: University Park - Senior Science Advisor
Kim’s background as a forest geneticist and an interest in the chestnut tree provided a natural link to TACF. He wrote a breeding plan for a blight-resistant chestnut as a term paper in his first graduate genetics class in 1970.
After a stint of active service in the Army, Kim moved to the East where he took a faculty position at Penn State University.
At home, Kim enjoys reading, puttering in his shop, fiddling with his many rifles and their cartridges to get them to shoot accurately, and touring America on his motorcycle.
Barbara Tormoehlen: West Lafayette, IN - Board Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair
Barb enjoyed a 37-year career in the US Forest Service (USFS). She spent the first two decades with the National Forest System, Region 9, on the Hoosier and Ottawa National Forests (NF), serving on the Hoosier NF at the district level and the Supervisor’s office as the Planning and Information Management Staff Officer, and on the Ottawa NF as the Kenton District Ranger.
Transferred to the Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry (NA) in 1998 – served Area-wide for the Area Director (resource analyst), the Forest Stewardship Program, and eventually as Group Leader, Office of Information Management, finishing at the St. Paul Field Office for NA as the Director’s Field Representative, with oversight of S&PF programs for seven Midwestern state forestry agencies and their partners, including tribes in Urban Forestry and Forest Stewardship, and Forest Health Protection for all forest lands in the seven state area. Barb served as a collateral-duty trained federal mediator (and later resolving official) for US Department of Agriculture agencies east of the Mississippi River. She received the USFS Chief’s Award in 2005 and 2013.
In retirement, Barb serves on the Board of the National Museum of Forest Service History, as well as TACF. She and her husband, Mike recently moved to West Lafayette, Indiana from Powell, Ohio where she served as an adult volunteer at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
Donald C. Willeke, Esq.: Minneapolis, MN - Board General Counsel
Don is a founding director of TACF and has served as its Vice Chair for Science, Secretary, and General Counsel.
Don was an Independent Trustee of the Wells Fargo Mutual Funds, a $240 billion mutual fund family, and he served as chair of the Minnesota and National Urban Forest Councils for a combined total of 22 years. He is also a co-founder of the Tree Trust, a youth employment and conservation non-profit that has employed about 1,000 young people each year since 1976. Don also served as President and Director of American Forests, the nation’s oldest conservation organization.
Dr. Gary Carver, Board Emeritus
Herbert F. Darling, Jr., Chairman Emeritus
Hugh Irwin, Board Emeritus
Dr. William G. Lord, Board Emeritus (posthumously)
Dr. William L. MacDonald, Treasurer
Rex Mann, Honorary Board Emeritus
Glen Rea, Chairman Emeritus
Rufin Van Bossuyt, Board Emeritus
Richard Will, Chairman Emeritus
Essie Burnworth, Secretary Emerita (posthumously)
President Jimmy Carter
Dr. Richard A. Jaynes
Mrs. Mary Belle Price (d)
Peter H. Raven
Phillip A. Rutter, Founding TACF President
Dr. Edward O. Wilson (d)