Published on June 17, 2015

Scroll down to view the Trustees and Staff of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District for 2017.

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Board of Trustees

Officers (2017):

Mr. Nicholas P. Picerno, Chairman
His second term as Chairman of the SVBF Board of Trustees, Nick is a retired Chief of Police at Bridgewater College. A noted historian, especially on the 1864 Campaign in the Valley, Nick serves on the Federal Advisory Commission at the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historic Park. He also sits on the Boards of the Lee- Jackson Educational Foundation and is a previous trustee of the Museum of the Confederacy.

Col. Hugh Sproul, III, Vice Chairman
Hugh, a native of Augusta County and Staunton, received his undergraduate degree from Washington & Lee University in 1958, and followed with a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee in 1971.

He has served in the Nation Guard and Army for a total of 32 years, and he achieved the rank of Colonel. Hugh served 3 tours in Viet Nam and his awards include the Bronze Star for Valor, Purple Heart, Air Medal, and Viet Nam Cross of Gallantry.

Hugh is a former mayor of the City of Staunton and a former member of Staunton City Council. He is the Vice President of the 116th Infantry Regiment Foundation and Stonewall Brigade Museum, Ruling Elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Staunton, and the Treasurer of the local chapter Sons of the American Revolution.

Mr. Robert T. Mitchell, Jr.Secretary
Bob is an attorney at Hall, Monahan, Engle, Mahan & Mitchell and specializes in land use and preservation issues. He is a Fellow of both the Virginia and American Bar Foundations and a Former President of the Virginia Trail Lawyers Association.

Mr. Craig R. StevensTreasurer
Craig Stevens, CPA is currently a partner at Aronson LLC, a regional accounting firm in Rockville, Maryland where he has been for the last 30 years. He has always had an appreciation for the Shenandoah Valley and the history of Virginia and is a graduate of Virginia Tech. This is his first term on the Board and he is looking forward to working with Keven and the other Board members.

Mr. John P. Ackerly, III, Esq.
John received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in 1957, and followed with a law degree from the University’s Law School in 1960.  After retiring from the Troutman Sanders Law Firm in Richmond, John has kept active serving the Commonwealth in many ways.

Among many things, Ackerly served as the University of Virginia’s 36th Rector from 1998 – 2003, served on the Boards of the Museum of the Confederacy, Historic Richmond Riverfront Foundation and is currently President of the Lee-Jackson Educational Foundation.  In 2007, John received the Ralph Happel award from the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust for his notable contributions to battlefield preservation.  John is married with two grown children.  He and his wife Mary reside in Richmond.

Mr. Childs F. Burden
Childs is a C.F.A. and founder and President of the Mosby Heritage Area Association.  He has served on the board of the Civil War Trust and the Land Trust of Virginia. He currently serves as a trustee of the Virginia Outdoors Foundation.

Mr. Roderick O. Graves
Rod is Vice President of Luray Caverns, as well as Curator of both museums on site, and active in historic preservation and Civil War commemoration.  He is Vice President of the Page County Heritage Association, serves on the Shenandoah Valley Folklife Society and Virginia’s Preservation Board, and is past Chairman of the Page County Sesquicentennial Committee.

Mrs. Julie V. Langan
Governor Terry McAuliffe appointed Julie Langan to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees to serve as his designee ex officio.  Mrs.Langan currently serves as the Executive Director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

Mr. Allen L. Louderback
Allen represented Virginia’s 15th District in the House of Delegates from 2000 to 2005 and is now a private business owner and management consultant specializing in budget streamlining, efficiency, and business productivity.

Mr. Mark D. Perreault
Mark Perreault is a resident of Norfolk and a retired in house counsel with Norfolk Southern Corporation. He has been active in many capacities in historic preservation and land conservation in the Commonwealth. He was formerly president of the Norfolk Preservation Alliance, served on the City of Norfolk’s Historical and Architectural Preservation Commission, and as a founder and president of Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park was instrumental in the establishment of Fort Monroe National Monument in 2011. He serves on the board of Petersburg Battlefields Foundation and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of the National Parks Conservation Association and he and his wife Karen have been long-time supporters of the Civil War Trust. Karen and Mark are currently engaged in restoration of a period house on the Second Deep Bottom Battlefield in Henrico County in partnership with the Richmond Battlefields Association.

Mr. Brian K. Plum
Brian is a C.P.A. and Chief Financial Officer of Blue Ridge Bank. Brian’s ancestors have been in The Shenandoah Valley for over 200 years, and two of his ancestors fought for the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.

Mr. Harry E. Ridgeway, Jr.
Harry E Ridgeway is a retired CPA and chemical industry executive.  His interest in the Civil War began at an early age.  He dug relics in the 1960’s in the  Shenandoah Valley; many of these  sites have since become preserved battlefields under the direction of the  Foundation.  He and his wife, Trish, opened the Old Court House Civil War Museum in 2003.  Recently, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation took over operation of the Museum and the Ridgeways donated their extensive collection of artifacts to the SVBF.

Mr. David R. Ruth
David Ruth currently serves as Chief Superintendent at Richmond National Battlefield Park, where he currently manages a collection of 13 sites that comprise the Park along with the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site. Mr. Ruth received his B.A. in history from Virginia Tech.  His National Park Service career began at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Park in 1973.  Dave’s career since then has included stops at Manassas, Philadelphia and Fort Sumter, where he served as chief historian for ten years. as well as the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site.  Ruth also serves as the National Park Service representative on the Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation Board. He has written several articles, essays and book reviews and served as an on-camera commentator for the Fort Sumter segment of the Arts and Entertainment network’s “Civil War Journal” television series.  His first major publication on the 1864 Overland Campaign, which was written together with two other colleagues, will be published in time for the 150th anniversary of that important episode.

Dr. Kenneth R. Rutherford
Dr. Rutherford the Director of the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR) and Professor of Political Science at James Madison University.  He has worked for international aid agencies in Bosnia, Kenya, Mauritania, Senegal, and Somalia, and served as Fulbright Professor in Jordan.  After losing his legs to a landmine in 1993, Rutherford co-founded the Landmine Survivors Network, and is a renowned leader in the Nobel Peace Prize-winning coalition that spearheaded the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and the global movement that led to the 2008 Cluster Munitions Ban Treaty.

His story has been profiled in Reader’s Digest and on television, including the BBC, The View, and Oprah. In August 1997, he escorted Diana, Princess of Wales on her last humanitarian mission, to Bosnia. Rutherford is the solo author of Disarming States: The International Movement to Ban Landmines and Humanitarianism Under Fire: The US and UN Intervention in Somalia, and co-editor of Reframing the Agenda: The Impact of NGO and Middle Power Cooperation in International Security Policy and Landmines and Human Security: The International Movement to Ban Landmines. He has testified before Congress and published articles in numerous academic and policy journals. He is the recipient of the United Nations Association-USA humanitarian award by Sir Paul and Heather Mills McCartney, the Leadership in International Rehabilitation Award by Northwestern University, the Survivor’s Award by the Marshal Legacy Institute and the Human Security Award by the Center for Unconventional Security Affairs at the University of California, Irvine. In 2013 Rutherford was included among the “one hundred most influential people in armed violence reduction” by the London-based organization Action on Armed Violence. Rutherford holds a Ph.D. from Georgetown University, and B.A. and MBA degrees from the University of Colorado, where he was inducted into it Hall of Fame for distinguished alumni.  He serves on the board of Legacies of War, Friendship Industries, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.

Mr. C.J. Steuart Thomas, III, Esq.
Steuart lives in Staunton and is a partner with the law firm of Timberlake, Smith, Thomas & Moses, P.C. He specializes in litigation, specifically medical malpractice defense. Steuart is also an Adjunct Faculty Member at Washington & Lee School of Law, a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, and on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys and the Virginia Bar Association.  Steuart is a member of the St. Francis Church Parish Counsel.

Mr. James R. Wilkins, Jr.
Mr. James R. Wilkins, Jr., serves as Vice President of Silver Lake Properties, Inc. and JRW Properties and Rentals, Inc., and served as the President of Wilkins ShoeCenter, Inc., until May 2005.  He is heavily involved in community service and serves on numerous boards, including the Board of Trustees of Shenandoah University, the Bank of Clarke County, the Winchester Equipment Corporation, and the Frederick County-Winchester Law Enforcement Foundation; he also previously served on the Winchester Medical Center Board of Trustees, the Winchester City Council, and the Winchester-Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, among many others.  He has received numerous awards, including Citizen of the Year (from the Top of Virginia Chamber of Commerce), Virginia Retailer of the Year, and Tree Farmer of the Year.  Jim is married to the former Veronica “Roni” Flett, with whom he has two children and six grandchildren.

 

SVBF Staff

Keven M. Walker, Chief Executive Officer (kwalker@svbf.net) ext. 102
Keven is the Chief Executive Officer of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation (SVBF) and came to the Foundation from Antietam National Battlefield, where he served for 11 years as a Ranger, a Cultural Resources Specialist, and the Acting Cultural Resource Program Manager.

During that time, Walker served as a member of the National Park Service’s national advisory team on cultural resources and historic preservation and was selected for the GOAL academy, the National Park Service’s highly competitive leadership program. Says Edwin C. Bearss, Chief Historian Emeritus of the National Park Service, “Keven Walker’s work has been exemplary; ranking him with the best historic preservation professionals I have known since I began my career.”

Walker was formerly the Executive Director of The Walker Foundation for Historic Preservation in Charles Town, West Virginia. He has appeared on several Maryland Public Television documentaries focusing on the Antietam battlefield as well as historic homes in Washington County, Maryland. He is the author of “Antietam: A Guide to the Landscape and Farmsteads.” Published in 2010.

Walker came to the Foundation in June of 2014. Since then, under Walker’s leadership, the Battlefields Foundation has tackled some of the largest preservation projects in its history; preserved over 600 acres of battlefield land; opened two visitor centers and a 600 acre full service battlefield park; more than tripled its youth development involvement; assumed management of the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum; started an annual National Conference; launched new initiatives such as the Shenandoah At War magazine; and strengthened the SVBF’s partnerships both in the Valley and nationwide.

John D. Hutchinson VAICP, Director of Conservation (jhutch@svbf.net) ext. 104
Mr. Hutchinson has been engaged in fundraising, development, and policy research related to land conservation and battlefield preservation in Virginia and nationally for more than 32 years. A land use planner, he has directed land acquisition and conservation programs at the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, the lead managing partner for the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District (SVBNHD), since 2001.

In his private practice, Jennings Gap Inc., Mr. Hutchinson has conducted planning and land conservation projects in Fauquier, Frederick, Orange, Page, Prince William, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Spotsylvania counties in Virginia and Allegheny County, Maryland.

Before joining the Battlefields Foundation, Hutchinson, a Staunton native, worked with numerous regional and statewide non-profit organizations and corporations in Virginia. He was Director of Strategic Planning and Development for the Western Virginia Land Trust and a consultant to the Preservation Alliance of Virginia. He also worked with the Highland Center and the Highland Historical Society. He was Special Projects Coordinator for the Valley Conservation Council, where he oversaw McDowell Battlefield/Staunton and Parkersburg Pike Project for the VCC and the Highland County Chamber of Commerce.

Hutchinson began his career working in non-profit development for seven years in Washington, D.C. with a focus on serving conservation and historic preservation groups including the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Parks Conservation Association, The Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, and The Wilderness Society.

Hutchinson is a board member and the Treasurer of the Virginia Conservation Network, a coalition of over 120 conservation groups across the Commonwealth that is committed to building a powerful, diverse, and highly-coordinated conservation movement focused on protecting our Commonwealth’s natural resources today and for tomorrow. He is also Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Virginia Wilderness Committee, aa statewide group whose mission is to permanently protect the best of Virginia’s wild places for future generations; foster understanding and appreciation of Wilderness; and promote enjoyment and stewardship of our last remaining wildlands.

Hutchinson received a Master’s in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia with a Certificate in Historic Preservation in 2000. He is a 1984 honors graduate of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, with majors in American History and American Literature. He graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in Staunton and attended Mary Baldwin College in Staunton and Saint John’s College in Oxford, England.

Terry Heder, Director of Interpretation, Education & History (theder@svbf.net) ext. 106
Terry, who joined the SVBF in July 2008, coordinates the Battlefields Foundation’s interpretive, education, Sesquicentennial, visitor services, and communications programs. He oversees the SVBF’s historical work and works closely with partners throughout the region and the state to help visitors explore the Valley’s Civil War story and promote the region as a premier Civil War visitor destination.

Tammy PresgravesComptroller (tpresgraves@svbf.net) ext. 109
Tammy started at SVBF part-time in 2010 to assist with bookkeeping.  In 2012 she was asked to become the full-time Operations Assistant and to manager SVBF’s grant programs.  Tammy is great at helping to keep the SVBF staff organized and working efficiently and enjoys working with all the staff at SVBF.

Dan ReinhartDirector of Operations and Resource Management (dreinhart@svbf.net) ext. 113
Dan joined the National Historic District in 2014 to assist with the protection and management of the over 4,600 acres of battlefield land the Foundation has preserved. Since then, Dan has overseen the restoration and development of the Third Winchester Battlefield Park, including the addition of historic fencing, cannons, and new trails. He’s also responsible for the care and upkeep of the the Foundation’s other battlefields and sites which include Fisher’s Hill, Cedar Creek, Tom’s Brook, the Bell House, and the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum in Winchester.

Dan grew up in the small town of Ringtown, Pennsylvania where he was a 2004 graduate of the North Schuylkill Jr/Sr High School. He attended Penn State University Schuylkill Campus for 2 years, where he studied History, before leaving school to join the Foundation. Dan has been a Civil War re-enactor for almost 20 years and has toured numerous battlefields throughout the country. It was his visits to the Gettysburg and Antietam Battlefields that sparked his interest in battlefield restoration and preservation.

Justin Eckard, Technology & Media Coordinator (jeckard@svbf.net) ext. 112
Justin joined the SVBF in August 2015 to manage the website as well as any IT issues within the office. In August 2016, Justin became a full-time employee of the Foundation and his role increased to include event registration as well as helping out with the bookkeeping.

Justin grew up in Staunton, VA where he graduated from Robert E. Lee High School. He attended Bridgewater College for 4 years and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science.

Eric Petitta, Facilities Associate (epetitta@svbf.net)
Eric Petitta has fourteen years of preservation experience. Prior to joining the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation (SVBF), Eric worked for the National Park Service at Monocacy and Antietam National Battlefields. Eric’s responsibilities include the operation of the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum in downtown Winchester, stewardship of Star Fort, the historic Bell House, and the Third Winchester (Opequon) Battlefield, among other properties in the northern Shenandoah Valley. In addition to his work for SVBF, Eric works as a wildland firefighter for the National Park Service during the summer months.

Kirsten KaulingDevelopment Associate (kkauling@svbf.net) ext. 109
Although an Army brat who grew up in the West, Kirsten has lived in the South since she was 11 and considers herself a Southerner who came home. She graduated high school in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and in 2006 she earned an AA in History at Durham Technical Community College.  Since then she has engaged in numerous ventures that centered around service to people. Besides building relationships, Kirsten aspires to be an author; among her ideas is the story of the First Battle of Manassas in 1861 as told by the gentlemen and ladies who traveled to witness what they thought would be the deciding battle of the Civil War. Her other hobbies include cycling and Civil War reenacting.

Dara GreenConservation Associate (dgreen@svbf.net)
Dara Green joined SVBF in February 2017. Dara’s primary role at SVBF is to assist with land acquisition projects within the historic district through grant writing and GIS mapping. She received her BA in History from Virginia Tech, where she studied 19th century Virginia. Dara has a lifelong love of the Shenandoah Valley, its people, and its history. Dara lives in Winchester, Virginia, where she is renovating her first home.