Our Staff

Foothills Conservancy is staffed by a dedicated team of individuals who love North Carolina and believe its natural resources are too precious to see them disappearing.

  • Susie Hamrick Jones

    Susie Hamrick Jones has been Foothills Conservancy’s Executive Director since 1997 and was a founding board member in 1995 when the conservancy began as the South Mountains Coalition with a goal of protecting the 18,000-acre “Rollins Tract” in the heart of the South Mountains as a new state game land. Under her leadership, Foothills Conservancy has worked with a variety of public and private partners to protect more than 49,000 acres.
  • Mary Braun

    Mary has been office manager for Foothills since 2000. A native of Burke County whose family roots go back to its early days, she has a deep and abiding love for this area and a strong desire to see as much of it protected and preserved for its future inhabitants as possible.
  • Tom Kenney

    Tom has been on staff with Foothills Conservancy since March 2000. With a background in conservation planning and years of experience securing agreements with landowners for the purchase or donation of lands and conservation easements, he gladly works with partners to save land, waters, and farmland of the Blue Ridge Mountains and foothills area of value to our communities and rural heritage.
  • Andrew Kota

    Andrew joined Foothills Conservancy in 2005. He directs the conservancy’s stewardship program which involves managing its preserve properties and stewarding its conservation easement lands, negotiates land protection deals including both conservation easement and fee lands donations and acquisitions, and is active in conservation planning.
  • Edward Norvell

    Edward has served as Foothills Conservancy’s legal counsel for many years, assisting with complex land transactions and reviewing conservation agreements. Formerly, he served for many years on the staff of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina.
  • Ryan Sparks

    Ryan has been on staff with Foothills Conservancy since 2016. His love for the Blue Ridge Mountains, coupled with a passion to protect their one-of-a-kind forests and natural features, inspired him to pursue a career in forestry.
  • Beth Willard-Patton

    Since 2014, Beth has focused on volunteer programs and donor support, helping to expand Foothills Conservancy’s base of private support from people and businesses with strong ties to our eight-county region. She also helps to raise awareness for the Conservancy through community outreach, fundraising and events.

Interns & Volunteers

We are frequently assisted by high-caliber volunteers and interns – often through Duke University’s Nicolas School of the Environment Stanback Intern Program and through AmeriCorps Project Conserve.