RTC Staff Profiles
Human Resources Manager
"Riding a bike, or hiking on a trail, is when I am the happiest camper in the world," says Elton Clark, who keeps RTC's D.C. office running smoothly as its human resources manager.
Before joining RTC, Elton worked in human resources for the Smithsonian Institution and The Close Up Foundation in Alexandria, Va. And though he was born in North Carolina and lived in Germany for a period, Elton has spent much of his life little more than a bike ride from the nation's capital.
He leapt at the chance to work for RTC, attracted by the opportunity to contribute to bike advocacy efforts.
In this dynamic nonprofit, he gets to step from behind his HR desk and roll up his sleeves for a variety of other tasks. In the past few years, Elton rode and documented many miles of trails as part of RTC's trail-mapping initiative, and he assisted the Trails & Greenways Team with the grand opening of the Met Branch Trail.
Elton has a few strings to his bow, including a degree in Commercial Art and Design, and he enjoys painting and drawing. His other love, besides biking?
"Travel," he says. "I have seen some fantastic places."
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Senior Vice President of Federal Relations
Marianne Fowler has been with the organization since 1988, and her pivotal roles in the ISTEA, TEA-21 and SAFETEA-LU reauthorizations have established her reputation as a veritable legend of the rail-trail movement, and one of the true game-changers in the history of American bike/ped policy.
In addition to her role at RTC, Marianne co-chairs the Coalition for Recreational Trails and is 2nd Vice Chair of American Trails.
Marianne co-authored Trails and Trailways for the 21st Century and collaborated with faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health in researching and writing Factors Associated with Federal Transportation Funding for Local Pedestrian and Bicycle Programming and Facilities.
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Trail Development Manager
After nearly 30 years in marketing and marketing research in such diverse industries as advertising, financial services and computer games, Carl found his passion when he joined the York County Rail Trail Authority as a volunteer director in 1998.
Carl has served as chairman of that all-volunteer board since 2000, and he has conducted numerous trail user surveys and economic impact analyses—and presented those findings at national, state and local conferences.
In April 2006 he joined the staff of RTC's Northeast Regional Office in Pennsylvania as manger of trail development. His responsibilities include handling all of the "we-have-a-former-rail-line-in-our-town-we-want-to-turn-into-a-trail" questions across eight states, from Pennsylvania to Maine.
Carl's fantastic work for RTC and rail-trail promotion in general has not gone unnoticed. In 2004, American Trail presented Carl with a State Trail Worker Award, and in 2007 he was honored by the Pennsylvania Planning Association with a Distinguished Leadership Award for a Citizen Planner.
In 2009, Carl was inducted into the Keystone Society for Tourism in recognition of his efforts to promote trails and tourism destinations.
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Tracy Hadden Loh
RTC Research Director and Director of the National Transportation Alternatives Clearinghouse
Tracy Hadden Loh knows firsthand the challenges faced by those people who use wheels or feet as their primary mode of transportation. On her very first day of work here at our national headquarters in Washington, D.C., she was struck by a minivan while riding home. Fortunately, she made a complete recovery. But her experience pressed home the importance of encouraging development that safely accounts for non-motorized travelers and commuters.
Born and raised in D.C., Tracy has long been interested in urban infrastructure and federal policy. Her background in computational math and urban studies gives her a unique set of skills as research manager for RTC, where she helps keep our studies and reports cutting-edge in a complex transportation landscape. Her dual role is as director of the National Transportation Alternatives Clearinghouse (NTAC), a vital resource cataloging federal investment in pedestrian and bicycle facilities, as well as other key improvements to America's transportation system.
Tracy says what she finds most rewarding is collaborating with transportation planners, engineers and local project sponsors to realize meaningful community improvements. In both of her roles, those opportunities abound at RTC.
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Marketing and Media Relations Specialist
With his worldly possessions in the back of an old Subaru, Jake Lynch drove from Seattle to D.C. to join RTC in the spring of 2011.
A newspaper editor by trade, Jake had spent the last 10 years living in and writing about small towns and young cities across his native Australia and, later, in western Washington.
Though the bushland, rivers, bays and national parks were always an important part of his life growing up, it wasn't until Jake moved to Seattle in 2009 that he began to appreciate the vital work being done by land conservation and sustainable planning nonprofits in America. It was work he felt immediately drawn to, and during the past few years, volunteering as a communications consultant for nonprofits began to take over the newspaper work.
Jake first heard about RTC while working with the Mountains to Sound Greenway in Seattle, and is very pleased to join their communications team during an exciting time.
"It feels like a period of great opportunity for rail-trails," he says. "It's RTC's 25th Anniversary, outdoor recreation is more popular than ever, and people are looking for better ways to get from A to B, wherever they live."
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Major Gifts Officer
A defining moment for RTC's Katie McKinney: being assigned to ride the bus for a journalism class project while studying at the University of South Carolina.
It was a mode of transportation, she says, that was "so foreign to me, I might as well have been told to jump in a clown car and head for the circus."
A native of Columbia, S.C., a town dependent on driving, the experience was an eye-opening one.
Since moving to D.C. back in 2008, she has grown a great appreciation not only for public transportation, but for the impact that a trail and bike system can have on a community and the health of its inhabitants.
Since graduating from USC, Katie is proud to say that now, "even little old Columbia has jumped on the rail-trail bandwagon." In July 2012, the city opened its Vista Greenway, a converted railbed that connects several parts of downtown for walkers and bicyclists.
An avid Gamecock fan and runner, Katie got her feet wet and D.C.-ready as a press secretary on Capitol Hill. She comes to RTC from a consulting firm where she fundraised for a variety of organizations ranging from a land conservation trust to a sailing hall of fame.
"I'm excited to join the RTC team and help more communities, like Columbia, to have the opportunity to ditch those car keys and hit the trail!"
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Vice President of Policy and Trail Development
Kevin Mills shapes and oversees RTC's policy agenda, including federal and state legislation and rulemaking, grassroots movement building, program initiatives and research. With an expert knowledge of the political relationships and maneuvering that influences the outcomes of Capitol Hill, Kevin is a national leader in the effort to ensure trails, biking and walking remain key elements of America's transportation policy.
RTC is constantly pursuing new initiatives to increase investment in active transportation—biking and walking for everyday travel—and to make trail systems accessible to nearly all Americans by 2020. These initiatives are built at both the grassroots and the grasstops, and it is here that the coalition-building strengths of Kevin and the policy and program team are able to influence the direction of transportation agencies.
Prior to joining RTC in spring 2006, Kevin spent more than 15 years at Environmental Defense, directing programs to reduce the climate and health impacts of automobiles, reduce the use and waste of toxic chemicals, and promote sustainable transportation and communities.
He founded or played a key role in launching many innovative collaborative ventures, including the Clean Car Campaign, the Partnership for Mercury Free Vehicles, the Partnership for Regulatory Innovation and Sustainable Manufacturing, the Great Printers Project, the Great Lakes Pollution Prevention Alliance, and the Clean Production Network.
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Trail Development Director
Kelly Pack still remembers her first ever rail-trail experience—as a young child she and her family completed the long bicycle ride along the Cranberry Rail-Trail in her home state of West Virginia.
It was an experience that would inspire her as an adult, as Kelly is now director of trail development for RTC, helping bring to fruition the trail aspirations of community groups across the country.
After earning a Master of Science degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Resources from West Virginia University, Kelly became very active as a community organizer and project coordinator, working with local watershed organizations, trail and greenway planning initiatives, pedestrian and bicycle advocacy groups, and a regional brownfield redevelopment program.
Lately, Kelly has been the driving force behind some of RTC's most innovative and successful work, including fostering a local community of ownership around the Metropolitan Branch Trail in Washington, D.C., promoting urban rail-trails as critical public health amenities, and helping the people of New Orleans stay connected to plans to redevelop the Lafitte Corridor.
And she still enjoys riding her bike, in the city and the country; Kelly recently completed the 330-plus mile journey from Pittsburgh, Pa., to D.C. on the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal towpath.
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Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, RTC staff can do their thing from almost anywhere. Our graphic designer Barbara Richey keeps RTC looking stylish all the way from her home on the shores of Puget Sound, in lovely West Seattle.
Barbara is one of the mainstays of the communications team—she began working for RTC back in the late 1990s. For her, it was the perfect amalgamation of interests. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, outdoor recreation was a big part of life. Dad was a forester, and the large family made the most of the wonderful camping and hiking the region is famous for. However, it was only after college and art schools in England and the United States that Barbara found herself in the field of graphic design.
"After a number of years designing book covers and doing freelance work for nonprofits, my husband and I ended up in Washington, D.C.," Barbara recalls. "There I found Rail-to-Trails Conservancy, which I immediately realized could combine my love of the outdoors with my design skills, and put it all to a good cause."
Barbara says she was greatly impressed by the organization's grand vision, and 15 years later she is still enthused by the positive impact that RTC and rail-trails have made across the country.
In 2010, Barbara and her husband returned to Seattle "in order to enjoy our first grandson." She works remotely with RTC staff across the country, designing materials and making sure anything RTC produces looks super fresh.
"When I'm away from my desk I enjoy painting, checking out the local bike trails, and cheering for our soccer team, the Seattle Sounders," she says.
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In order to help bicyclists and pedestrians all over the country find and use the rail-trails in their community, we rely on a fast developing technology called Geographic Information Systems, or GIS.
We also rely on GIS experts like Timothy Rosner, who has been working with GIS professionally since 2005. His experience includes data collection, processing and analysis within the GIS context, and he has worked on projects for both government and private industry clients.
Timothy came to RTC in 2008 with a strong background in using GIS in public/private partnerships, working with private developers, civil engineers, professional surveyors, environmental scientists, cultural resource specialists and community representatives. These days, his expertise in GIS, digital mapping and gathering accurate trail data is one of the keys behind the enormous success of TrailLink.com, RTC's free trail-finder website.
Though Timothy keeps very busy verifying and adding new, accurate maps to TrailLink.com for our members, he somehow managed to find time this year to complete a Master of Science degree in Geographic and Cartographic Sciences.
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Senior Director of TrailLink.com & Technology Marketing
Originally from Den Haag, Holland, Frederick Schaedtler has worked for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy for more than a decade, managing our growing technology platform. Frederick plays an instrumental role in RTC's Geographic Information Systems trail mapping initiatives, and recently launched RTC's Google Biking Directions and Garmin partnerships.
Keeping RTC on the cutting edge, Frederick steers our popular trail-finder site, TrailLink.com, and is constantly creating new ways to promote trail use and active transportation to the general public.
Out of the office, Frederick loves riding his 50-pound all-steel Dutch Batavus bicycle around Washington, DC and commutes to the office by bike every day - rain or shine.
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Northeast Regional Director
If Pennsylvania had its own Environmental Hall of Fame, Tom Sexton would surely be in it. His resume of conservation and alternative transportation initiatives reads like an awards introduction, and RTC is very pleased to have Tom heading up our Northeast Regional Office in Camp Hill, Pa.
Having studied the environment, planning and geography in college, Tom's early career included working as a recreation planner for the National Park Service, and as a naturalist in New York City. His passion for preservation soon led him toward the political arena, as a congressional staffer for the 1st District of Maryland. He then established the Pennsylvania office of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, where he served as executive director.
Tom joined RTC in 1991, the same year he founded the Environmental Fund for Pennsylvania. In the early 90s he was the lead advocate for Transportation Enhancements (TE) to be allocated to local projects, and he led the effort to protect unused rail bridges and tunnels, which resulted in an 18-month demolition moratorium by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
Since then, Tom has been instrumental in leading RTC's policy, promotion and trail-assistance efforts across 10 states in the Northeast.
Tom is the author of several regional guidebooks, and he served as co-chair of the 1997 Pennsylvania's Governor's Conference on Greenways and Trails. He was also co-chair of the 1999 International Trails and Greenways Conference in Pittsburgh.
Tom founded, and now directs, RTC's Greenway Sojourn, a trail-building program and multi-day bicycle tour that since 2002 has led more than 3,000 bicyclists on rail-trail excursions in the Northeast.
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TrailLink.com Audit Coordinator
Sarah Snyder has a photo album that would be the envy of most travelers. Beginning her career as a field biologist for the U.S. Forest Service in Montana, Sarah soon realized she had a passion, and talent for, writing about the unique landscapes she was seeing, and educating the general public about the great outdoors.
After adding a Masters degree in journalism to her two science degrees, Sarah embarked on a second career that most of us can only dream about: leading wildlife tours in Australia, Micronesia and Botswana, managing forests and unique habitats in Scotland and Senegal, and writing and editing guidebooks on some of America's most stunning locations.
This last role made her the perfect person to tackle the difficult job of auditing our new TrailLink.com database. Sorting through descriptions of the tens of thousands of existing rail-trails across America, Sarah's job is to make sure TrailLink.com is accurate and up-to-date, to help users get the most from their rail-trail adventures.
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TrailLink.com Coordinator and Contributing Writer
Laura Stark is what you would call an RTC all-rounder. Half of her time here in the Washington, D.C. office is spent keeping our growing TrailLink.com database up-to-date and fresh with the newest trail openings, extensions and projects on the horizon, and helping new users with any problems they have logging in or using the site.
The other role she fills here is rail-trail reporter, writing stories for Rails to Trails magazine and railstotrails.org highlighting some of the wonderful rail-trails, and the people working hard in support of them, across America.
It's a little different from her last gig as a communications specialist for the American Society of Hematology, a professional association of blood specialists. But the native Minnesotan had a chance to switch careers after a lovely interruption of motherhood, and finds trail writing and research a welcome change of pace.
"Even when it's cloudy and gloomy outside, I have the opportunity to get away mentally by writing about trails along the California coast, the rugged foothills of Denver, and in sunny Florida," says the wonderfully effervescent Laura. "How cool is that?"
Laura enjoys biking around her Alexandria neighborhood and is looking forward to sharing her love of two-wheeled transportation with her new daughter.
(A side note: Laura's seemingly endless energy for baking delicious cakes and pies has endeared her enormously to all her co-workers. The chocolate cheesecake is something else. Seriously.)
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