Candidate Statements
2018 PATC Elections


PATC 2018 Election Committee

Pete Brown
Deborah Coleman
Jim Fetig
Katherine Rindt
Alex Sanders, Chair

This page contains information about the PATC Elections, how to obtain and cast an absentee ballot, and brief statements by the candidates as provided by the PATC Bylaws.
Eligible members may vote at the Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet or by absentee ballot if they will not be present at the Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet.  Requests for absentee ballots will be taken starting September 15. Members eligible to vote may contact the Staff Director via email, phone or mail to obtain an absentee ballot.

To cast an absentee ballot, complete the selection of officers and seal the ballot in an envelope with the member’s name and signature on the outside. Sealed envelopes may be hand delivered to the Staff Director or mailed in another envelope to the Club at 118 Park St. SE, Vienna, VA 22180 (Attn: Staff Director).

Ballots must be received no later than the close of business (5:00pm) on November 28, 2018.

Once received, the eligibility to vote of the member casting the absentee ballot will be verified and the sealed envelopes will be placed in a container held by the Staff Director. This container will be taken to the site of the general membership meeting. At the Annual Meeting on November 28, the Staff Director or other members of the paid Club staff will take absentee ballots out of the sealed envelopes and put the ballots in the ballot box for the election. This is to provide for secret voting when ballots are counted.  Members of the Election Committee will count the ballots, confirm the results, and announce the results to the membership.

Constitutional Amendment
In its June 2018 meeting, the club's Council approved a motion to propose an amendment to the Constitution for the purpose of clarifying the issue of vacant offices.  The amendment makes clear that the remaining officers can choose to fill a vacancy with a majority vote.  Furthermore, the officers can choose to fill a vacancy created for any reason, not just a resignation or removal.  As per PATC's Constitution, amendments must be approved by the membership.

The amendment to the Constitution reads:

Section 3:  Officers shall execute their duties fully.  In the event an officer does not fulfill the obligations of the position, the officer may be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of the officers.  If an elected office is vacant for any reason, a replacement officer may be chosen by a majority vote of the remaining officers.  The replacement shall serve until the expiration of the term of that office provided in Section 2 and this period will not apply to the term limit stated in Section 2.


To request an absentee ballot, contact:
Robert Christianson, Staff Director, PATC
118 Park St, SE
Vienna, VA 22180
703/242-0315, ext 105

Candidate Statements -- arranged by office

Sample Ballots:
Officer Election / Constitutional Amendment - pdf (cannot be used to vote)



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Joe Lombardo

I respectfully ask for your support in the election for PATC President. After 4½ years as your Treasurer, I become President in January to fill out the remainder of the current presidential term. As Treasurer, I worked to improve the Club's financial management policies, systems and processes. As a result, the Club has strong financial position with over $10 million in assets and a reserve fund of about $3.5 million, as well as the staff to manage these resources. Since becoming President, I have worked closely with EXCOM and Council to initiate a process to improve the Club's governance and management. We restructured reporting relationships to improve senior staff management accountability and have undertaken a review to improve the relationships among staff, volunteers, officers, and committees. We strengthened our Club's management by hiring an superbly qualified Staff Director who possess the strategic, management, and business acumen we need to run the Club. If elected, I will work to ensure PATC continues operating on sound business management principles while preserving the Club's culture and character as a volunteer-led and managed organization; and diversify and expand membership to foster the next generation of leaders. Thank you for your support and vote!


Brewster Thackeray

I'm proud of my contributions as PATC Staff Director, including turning the Annual Meeting into a profitable endeavor; raising $60,000+ through the Blackburn21 and PATC90 campaigns; and hiring outstanding new staffers who joined dedicated continuing employees in a tight-knit, cross-supporting team.
Since the last election, a President and his successor abruptly resigned, as did a Vice President. Only six of 12 people we elected in 2016 remain in office. We can do better. PATC's members deserve stability and productivity, not politics or personal agendas. Let's work toward a leadership culture of transparency, and end the Club's reputation for alienating good people.
I bring relatable experience, having worked in the leadership of regional and national nonprofit organizations. I've served on boards of directors, including of a Club that twice elected me their national president. Raised in a family that prioritized volunteer service and the outdoors, I've hiked and camped extensively, led volunteer park cleanups, and participated in historic renovations and interpretation.
As the Potomac Appalachian's volunteer layout editor, I'm constantly reminded: PATC has amazing human and financial resources. In the final decade of our first century, let's build on the legacy Myron Avery inspired.
Learn more: Please request a ballot!


Vice President for Operations

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John Hedrick

I am a candidate for the position of Vice President of Operations and respectively request your support. This position requires detailed knowledge of the Club’s internal operations as well as the ability to coordinate closely with many of the Club’s elected officers. Having been your President, VP of Operations for a term and Supervisor of Trails I feel I have some understanding of the Club’s functions and responsibilities. In addition to consulting, advising, and assisting the President in carrying out his/her duties, the Vice President is responsible for insuring that policies and programs concerning trails, lands, and facilities are properly carried out. In addition there are a number of specific goals that I would like to address. It is important to visit all our Government partners to understand their expectations for the club and to reiterate our support for their work. A review, updating and joint concurrence of our various partner agreements is closely aligned with this goal. In addition, our Chapters need to be visited on a regular basis to insure a closer coordination between the Club and the Chapter members. There are numerous other goals but this is a good start.

Vice President for Volunteerism

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Kirsten Elowsky

What can PATC do to make your volunteering worthwhile?  What are your concerns? If elected as Vice President for Volunteerism, I will listen, reflect, organize, and strive for recognition and fair treatment of your volunteer efforts to maintain access to our region's outdoor experience.

My outspoken advocacy for volunteer rights before Council is a matter of record. I strongly urge you to review them. From the main PATC webpage, log-in to your PATC membership account, then click on the “Library” link at the top of the PATC webpage, click on the left side  “PATC-Club Documents” link, click on the center “COUNCIL MINUTES (Members Only)” link, and click separately on the “February 2018 Letter to Council,” “March 2018 Member Recommendations to Council,” and  “May 2018 Report from Kirsten Elowsky” links. Volunteer should not have to deal with this culture of obstructions.

My experiences within PATC include the Cadillac Crew trail maintenance team (ten year member, two year leader, two Hawksbill awards), the Highacre Cabin (four year co-overseer), Lincoln Loggers (Old Rag Cabin) (five year member) and Club Secretary (one year). If you have any questions about my qualifications or my hopes for reviving PATC's volunteer community, please contact me at


Rush Williamson

Volunteers are the heart and soul of PATC – they are the ones who give of their time to ensure PATC’s trails kept in world class shape and who devote many hours to the governance and running of our Club. It will be my job to ensure they get support they need and recognition they deserve. We need to provide increased opportunities for volunteering, not just on the trails but at outreach events, education, and in our headquarters. While Supervisor of Outreach, PATC Youth Liaison, and a Trail Patrol instructor for numerous courses I implemented and been a part of very successful programs to foster, recruit, and educate new volunteers. As VP-Operations I have worked to implements some of the goals in the 2015 Strategic Plan. Chief among them, I have am a part of the ongoing effort to realign Council and staff responsibilities to work more effectively to achieve the club's goal of leading our diverse outdoor community. I am Co-Chair of the working group whose task is to make Council more effective and next year will be revising the Officer Roles and Responsibilities Guide to reflect the realities of today. Thank you for your support and your vote!



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Michael Filchock

I have been a PATC member since 2011. I have volunteered at the cabins desk for the past 7 years and have been on the Finance Committee since early 2018.

Professionally, I have worked in banking for over 20 years, most recently in Global Trade Finance; including positions at SouthTrust Bank, SunTrust bank and currently HSBC. I have an MBA and am a Certified Treasury Professional (CTP). I feel that my background in Finance, blended with my involvement at PATC gives me the confidence to be PATC ‘s Treasurer.

As Treasurer, I look forward to working with EXCOM, Council, the Finance Committee and paid Staff to build on the accomplishments of the past several years. I want to continue the pattern of clean audits, compliance with IRS Non-Profit regulations for 501(c)3 organizations, Charity/Donation visibility, and develop strong financial policies and procedures to bolster the Strategic Plan in the four key areas: Funding, Leadership, Communications and Partnerships.

I appreciate your vote and your support during the next term. Thank you!



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Kirsten Elowsky

Yes, I am running for two different offices. Why? I want to provide the membership a choice, to provide more opportunity for initiatives improving our volunteers' efforts and to support revitalization of the languished 2015 Strategic Plan (web link To reiterate my qualifications and viewpoints, please read my Council presentations listed under the VP-Volunteerism contest.

Having served as PATC Secretary, I am familiar with the office's requirements and will commit to ensuring my duties are fulfilled informing the membership of leadership decisions affecting the Club through improved and timely distribution of meeting minutes. I am a team member that supports and encourages individuals to do their best and strive to improve on any assigned function. When chosen by my fellow Cadillac Crew members to lead the group, I encouraged suggestions on best practices that were then applied, ensuring successful trail maintenance work trips as noted in many PA newsletter articles.

If you cannot attend the November 28 Annual meeting, please consider casting a mail-in vote as it makes a difference. Historically, only 2% of membership i.e., 150 votes, decides the winning candidate for contested offices. Please contact me at if you have any questions about my candidacy.


Steve McLaughlin

I am running for the position of Secretary because I understand the importance of timely and accurate records and the need to document PATC proceedings.  I have served as the Supervisor of Membership since 2015.  During my first term, I chaired the Strategic Planning Committee.

I am a Life Member of PATC. I have worked at the sales and information desk and the cabin desk since the 1990s. For the last 8 years or, I have served as the cabin desk coordinator.

In my professional life, I am an attorney and the Chief Administrative Officer for the US International Trade Commission. Over the course of my career I have also served as the Chief Information Officer and Chief Financial Officer.
As a volunteer, I have served for over 20 years in a number of leadership positions for the Fairfax County Athletic Council, where I am currently Chairman. In 2016 I was awarded the Lord Fairfax Award for community service by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.  I have also served on the federal Small Agency Council for over 20 years.

I am a graduate of the College of William & Mary and received my JD from the University of Miami.


Supervisor of Facilities

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Glen Tsaparas

I am running for re-election as Supervisor of Facilities.  I have been a member of PATC for 35 years and have volunteered in many capacities including trails, huts and cabins overseer, District Manager and certified chain sawyer.

Our cabins are special places. Some cabins are rustic, some modern, many are historical. I want to use social media to inform and educate our renters on how to have an enjoyable cabin experience while protecting the cabins from wear and damage.

We have a new agreement with Shenandoah National Park under which PATC operates the backcountry cabins there. Part of the agreement will be educating the public of those cabins historical significance. This will be achieved through in cabin media and on social media. The agreement defines PATC's responsibilities and the parks support of our efforts.

At Headquarters this year the parking lot and the back stairs were repaired.  We will continue to make improvements to HQ.

Lastly, I believe we are collaborative in our duties.  We work in a cooperative way to support the clubs goals and mission.  We cross lines of responsibilities working together to achieve success.


Jeff “JT” Tucker

PATC facilities comprise millions of dollars of fixed assets available to members and the hiking public. I enjoy working alongside crew members, being a steward of the club's assets. My background includes 25 years on trail crews, architecture degree, 30 years certified general contractor, project manager, scheduler, Realtor, appraiser, historical building survey contributor, Old Rag Cabin/Lincoln Logger crew and safety monitor, repairer-maintainer for Blackburn, Dunlodge, and others.  We are lucky to have these facilities and must be vigilant in maintaining them for future generations through long term maintenance planning.

Unquestionably the organization's greatest asset is the volunteer base. Members, our human assets, will be supported, respected, and recognized to evince our commitment and appreciation of members' sweat equity building and maintaining our trail lands and facilities. I pledge to listen and give voice to members and provide volunteer opportunities at the cabins, shelters, and facilities managed by PATC. I want to promote mentoring members for supervisor and overseer positions. Participation in maintenance crews develops member affinity between the volunteers and a cabin or shelter. Expanding the number of members working on a cabin or shelter will provide the next generation of leaders to expand and protect our facilities.


Supervisor of Trails

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John Stacy

I’m pleased to offer my service as Supervisor of Trails for the next 2 year term. If elected, I will work with staff and Council to ensure an effective trails budget and resources. I will recruit District Managers (DM’s) as needed and support our DM’s in their work with overseers, in their interactions with public land managers and private property owners and in response to major events like windstorms and floods. I will encourage our continued outreach efforts to individuals and groups to do trail work. As a PATC member since 2013, I have been an overseer and crew participant in Prince William Forest, Bull Run Occoquan, Shenandoah National Park, and the GWJ National Forest. I have served as DM for Tuscarora South since 2015. Recently, I am proud of our progress to reroute the Tuscarora Trail near route 11 including a new bridge designed and built by GMU students. I also led an effort to reroof Gerhard Shelter. I have good relationships with our USFS land managers and have established contacts with several private landowners. I would appreciate your vote and support. My efforts will focus on maintaining the incredible resources of our mid-Atlantic trails. 


Supervisor of Lands

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Chris Mangold

I have been a member of PATC since 1990 and served as Supervisor of Lands for 2 terms in the early 2000s. If elected in the 2018 cycle I will be focusing on the following goals:

1. Recruiting Tract Managers to fill existing vacancies,
2. Documenting and legally recording, where possible, Trail Easements,
3. Managing existing lands and acquisitions following PATC's Constitution, Bylaws and Policies,
4. Firming up lands annual budgeting process,
5. Work to move property data into GIS infrastructure,
6. Remember we are all volunteers working toward the same goals.

I am married with three grown children.  I have 30+ years in the Software Industry (Public and Private domains) where I have served in number of managerial and technical lead positions. Education includes BS/MS in Computer Science, MS in Geographic Information Systems and PMI/Agile certifications.


Supervisor of Membership

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Michael Brown

I joined PATC due to my interest in conservation and desire to help manage the trail system that I’ve used for much of my adult life.  For the past two years, I’ve server as the PATC Secretary and a member of the Executive Committee.   As the club secretary, I’ve focused on a modest amount of automation, standardized formats and encouraging consistent reporting. As a member of the Executive Committee I am a strong supporter of promoting opportunities to meet our future financial needs and to continue the process of adding more structure to our governing council.  I’ve also worked with the GPS rangers for the past four year, which has be a fun and productive experience.

If I’m elected as the Supervisor of Membership, I plan to continue Steve McLaughlin’s effort to increase the number and diversity of the PATC membership.  I would also like to focus on membership needs, improving volunteer experiences and supporting efforts to get necessary resources and changes for the club.


Supervisor of Outreach

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Samuel Foltz

Since having my two daughters, being outdoors has become even more of a priority to myself and my family. It has also made me realize that many people, not just parents, have both perceived and actual barriers to participating in the outdoors. I have always been a part of the outdoor community and want to give back to that community, for this, I am running for Supervisor of Outreach.

My overall goal as Supervisor of Outreach would be to expand and diversify PATC's membership community by reaching out to new and underserved potential members while retaining PATC's commitment to its current members and overall goals.

From my background in project management, I come willing and able to organize multifaceted projects, communicate with multiple people and groups, and follow up on responsibilities and goals. With years of experience in construction, I bring a willingness to "get my hands dirty", attention to detail, and a step-by-step problem-solving approach. On a personal level, I look for connections with people, I am encouraging, supportive and provide a positive outlook.


Supervisor of Marketing

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Katherine Day

I began volunteering for PATC shortly after I completed my studies in marketing communications. I was fortunate to be able to assist Supervisor of Marketing Emeline Otey with the product catalog and other projects. I subsequently worked on the Potomac Appalachian, partnering with Brewster Thackeray on its reformatting, design and production. I have also volunteered at the sales desk at Headquarters, getting to know members as I responded to their inquiries.
Marketing is a key element in ensuring PATC's future success, and I look forward to building on the great work that Emeline has done. PATC has world-class publications, maps and gear. A focused marketing effort ensures that people and businesses know about what we offer so they will purchase it. Marketing also promotes awareness of and interest in the Club as a whole. The more outdoor enthusiasts know about PATC's legacy and activities, the better!
I look forward to working with fellow volunteers and the talented and dedicated staff of PATC to advance the Club's marketing efforts. I appreciate your vote, either at the meeting, or if you will not be there, if you would kindly request an absentee ballot from the Staff Director.


Supervisor of Communications

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Anstr Davidson

I am running for reelection as Supervisor of Communications (SoC).

The SoC oversees three club activities—the Potomac Appalachian newsletter, the website, and the Facebook presence.  Great volunteers and skilled headquarters employees have worked to improve these.  The PA is now in color and more concise. Our Facebook presence is vibrant.  The website better highlights news.  In all cases, more needs to be done.

The SoC also has oversight of the IT Committee. Information technology is costly and needs review.

What I said two years ago remains my goal: “I [will] promote member understanding of the PATC—what the club does and what it believes. Members should know their rights, responsibilities, and how to volunteer.”  

That goal is easier said than done.  The club is scattered and diverse. Members do many wonderful things independently of each other.  Communication initiatives, like any the club implements, must recognize the breadth of the club and be devised carefully.
The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club is a wonderful institution. It does great work.  But its management structure needs improvement.  I would support significant change that leads to fewer elected officers with broader responsibility.