Andrew Kota Promoted to Associate Director of Foothills Conservancy

Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina is pleased to announce the promotion of Andrew Kota to associate director.

As associate director, Kota is now second in charge at the conservancy, reporting to Executive Director Susie Hamrick Jones.

In this role, he will oversee the organization’s administrative and financial functions as well as its conservation program, comprised of land protection, conservation easement and preserve stewardship, and conservation planning.

A valued member of Foothills Conservancy’s conservation program staff since 2005, Kota joined the land trust as a Project Conserve AmeriCorps intern, assuming the position of protection and stewardship associate in 2006.

Since 2012, he has served as stewardship director. In this role, he was responsible for monitoring and stewarding more than 7,500 acres protected by private conservation easements and in conservancy preserves. Working with public and private partners, he also prepared watershed conservation plans and current condition reports for conservation lands.

For the past 10 years, Kota has also led a variety of complex conservation easement and land acquisition projects, including Foothills Conservancy’s acquisition of its 1,500-acre South Mountains Headwaters Preserve; protection of 856 acres along National Wild & Scenic Wilson Creek as a new state game land and with a private conservation easement; and protection of the former Whippoorwill Dairy Farm in partnership with Fonta Flora Brewery and Lake James State Park.

While taking on new operational responsibilities, Kota will remain an integral member of the conservation program team, working with Land Protection Director Tom Kenney and Conservation Associate Ryan Sparks to develop and achieve strategic land protection and stewardship conservation goals.

Kota’s former direct stewardship responsibilities are being assumed by Sparks. Both Sparks and the conservancy’s office manager will report to Kota.

“I’m excited to announce Andrew’s promotion to associate director,” says Executive Director Susie Hamrick Jones. “His enthusiasm for and dedication to our land and water conservation mission is evident every day. In this new position, he will help our land trust meet growing demands for our services as our work becomes ever more complex. Andrew is uniquely suited to step into this role, given his stewardship and land protection experience and professional business and nonprofit training.”

Born in Abingdon, Virginia, and raised in Wheeling, West Virginia, Kota lives in Morganton with his wife Shannon and children, Jake and Luke. A graduate of Guilford College with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, he holds a Master of Forestry from Utah State University, and a Master of Business Administration from Appalachian State University. He has also earned a Duke University Nonprofit Management certificate and has a N.C. Real Estate Broker License.

“The promotion to associate director of Foothills Conservancy is an honor,” Kota said. “I am committed to resource conservation and look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that the conservancy is among the best land trusts in the country. Foothills Conservancy has given me the opportunity to do a job I thoroughly enjoy, allowing me to expand on my academic background in ecology and resource management and to develop new skills in partnership building, leadership, planning, complex project execution and many other areas. The achievements of Foothills Conservancy are meaningful to me personally, but the best part about this job is the people—including our staff and board members, peers in the conservation industry, and landowners who I have been fortunate enough to meet, offer conservation services to, and develop relationships with.”