Jul 22, 2016

July 22, 2016 – Governor’s Conservation Achievement Award Winners Announced

July 22, 2016 The North Carolina Wildlife Federation has announced the winners of the 53rd Annual Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards.

This year’s winners are exceedingly notable Conservation devotees who work for species ranging from elk, amphibians, fish and bear and from water quality experts, land stewardship advocates, and those helping to preserve unique ecosystems. The award winners include agency professionals, elected officials, academia, non-profit leaders and organizations rising to the challenge.

The North Carolina Wildlife Federation first presented its conservation awards in 1958. “Each year we are amazed at the commitment and creativity of North Carolina citizens in protecting wildlife and wild places,” stated T. Edward Nickens, NCWF Awards Committee Chair. “Many of our award winners tell us their Governor’s Conservation Achievement Award represents the high point of their career—whether they are full-time scientists or full-time volunteer conservationists.”

These prestigious awards are a long-standing effort to honor individuals, governmental bodies, organizations, and others who have exhibited an unwavering commitment to conservation in North Carolina. These are the highest natural resource honors given in the state. By recognizing, publicizing, and honoring these conservation leaders—young and old, professional and volunteer—the North Carolina Wildlife Federation hopes to inspire all North Carolinians to take a more active role in protecting the natural resources of our state.

Awards winners are nominated by the citizens of North Carolina and decided upon by a committee of scientists, environmental educators, and conservation activists. “This awards program brings together a remarkably diverse group of conservationists to highlight the `good news’ about wildlife conservation in North Carolina,” said Nickens, “Our primary focus is to applaud and honor these people who work so hard for wildlife and the air, water, land that they and all of us depend upon”.

Here are the winners and categories:

Marine Fisheries Enforcement Officer of the Year
Gene Maready

From patrolling heavily fished coastal waters to keeping an eye out for anglers in distress, Gene Maready made a huge impact on northeastern North Carolina’s sounds and rivers. He made a number of significant cases involving the illegal use of commercial gear, violations of size and creel limits for fish and crabs, recreational and commercial license violations, the illegal sale of seafood, and larceny of gear. In addition, he participated in undercover operations and saved a capsized fisherman from dying of hypothermia in the winter cold.

Wildlife Enforcement Officer of the Year
Isaac R. Hannah

Isaac Hannah demonstrates a professional and personal demeanor dealing with the public he serves and engages with the local community to educate them on hunter safety, boating safety, and assistance with wildlife related issues. He was instrumental in establishing the largest public shooting complex in the Southeast, and led poaching cases and search and rescue operations. All along, he leads efforts to increase boating safety and community engagement with youth, disabled individuals, and other law enforcement agencies.

Business Conservationist of the Year
ReVenture Park

This innovative “brownfield” restoration site is transforming more than 600 acres of Superfund-designated land into a hub for renewable energy, recycling and wildlife habitat restoration. The ReVenture Park includes vast wildlife meadows, riparian buffers, a conservation easement protecting land, prescribed burns for management, and public use of nature trails.

Conservation Organization of the Year
Save Blounts Creek

Coastal Beaufort County is the site of a proposed 50-year open marine limestone pit mine that would send 12 million gallons of groundwater and stormwater pumped out of the mine and discharged each day into pristine, brackish marsh and waters that support river herring, flounder, and red drum. The community-based Save Blounts Creek group has been working diligently to protect this aquatic treasure.

Natural Resources Scientist of the Year
Christopher S. DePerno, Ph.D.

A research scientist and educator in North Carolina State University’s program in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, DePerno is dedicated to sound science, student mentoring, and the conservation and management of North Carolina’s natural resources. DePerno has conducted research on numerous species including white-tailed deer, black bears, coyotes, Canada geese, river otters, raccoons, woodcock, feral hogs, wild horses, and elk while preparing many graduate and undergraduate students for careers in wildlife and conservation biology.

NCWF Affiliate of the Year
Cabarrus Soil and Water Conservation District

A leader in farmland preservation and a model for a natural resources conservation district, the Cabarrus Soil and Water Conservation District contributed a prairie tract to North Carolina’s nature preserve system, championed amphibian and reptile sustainability, and has served as a leader in youth conservation education.

NCWF Chapter of the Year
Pamlico Albemarle Wildlife Conservationists

Building community for conservation is the hallmark of this wildlife chapter. Over the last year the group has built a handicapped hunting blind, overseen pollinator plant sales, advocated for watershed protection, incorporated beekeeping and organic gardening into the curriculum of a local community college, fought industrialized pollution from degrading area waters and wildlife refuges, and raised awareness about the value of endangered species on the landscape.

Hunter Safety Educator of the Year
Link Grass

Link Grass has educated thousands of new hunters about hunting safety and conservation. Grass has instructed tirelessly through the years and introduced hunter education into the Lincoln County school system. He has evolved web-oriented teaching in an evolving technological landscape while incorporating elaborate visuals and displays for in-person trainings. And importantly, Grass is a highly sought mentor for newly certified hunter education instructors.

Wildlife Volunteer of the Year
Kayne Darrell

One of the year’s great conservation successes came when Titan Cement announced it was abandoning plans to construct the fourth-largest cement kiln in the country on the northeast Cape Fear River in New Hanover County. This plant would have required a massive open pit mining operation in lowlands and wetlands in New Hanover and Pender counties. Darrell was a tireless, dedicated leader of Citizens Against Titan.

Municipal Conservationist of the Year
City of Rockingham

Rockingham is a city with a vision and a serious commitment to natural resources. Highlights over the last few years include the first Urban Wildlife Conservation Area in North Carolina, featuring walking trails, boating, fishing and wildlife viewing. The Hitchcock Creek Blue Trail is another city-planned gem of 14 miles of designated paddling trail along the Pee Dee River.
Forest Conservationist of the Year
Dan Ryan

Ryan is the longleaf pine program manager with The Nature Conservancy, and through his work, thousands of acres of longleaf pine habitat has been restored, preserved, and protected. Ryan has successfully collaborated with private timber managers to put acreage into conservation, to convert acreage into longleaf, and to manage lands in a sustainable fashion.

Legislator of the Year
Jay Adams

Representative Adams is a leader for public trust resources, wildlife, and sporting issues. Adams is a staunch and valiant voice for proper deer management, ethical hunting, keeping wild deer wild and bringing to bear the serious issues of importation, exportation of wild animals and the diseases associated with these activities.

Conservation Communicator of the Year
Lisa Rider
Sneads Ferry

An expert in all forms of recycling, Rider created the Onslow County Earth and Surf Fest and the annual North Carolina Marine Debris Symposium. Whether leading presentations in elementary schools and national conferences, or training volunteers to create new programs in their communities, her articulate voice and her daily commitment have convinced thousands of North Carolinians to act with conservation in mind.

Environmental Educator of the Year
Whitney Greene
Laurel Springs

This County Extension Agent is transforming the 4-H Youth Development program in Wilkes County and beyond. From bee pollination and worm composting to the effects of beaver dams, Greene’s solid science background fuels her passion for inspiring kids to get involved with hands-on stewardship projects that make a difference.

Water Conservationist of the Year
Grady McCallie

An expert in policy evaluation and analysis, McCallie provides the data and interpretation of water quality and quantity issues to the conservation community, tracks state and federal legislation regarding water issues, educates decision makers on pending legislation and serves as the hub for all who advocate for water quality in North Carolina.

Land Conservationist of the Year
Tom Berry

A pioneer in conservation easements, Berry’s 400-acre farm in Caswell County is protected and managed for wildlife. Berry’s leadership as the Chair of the Land Use Committee for the Wildlife Resources Commission has bolstered elk habitat expansion and waterfowl impoundments in North Carolina. Under his tenure since appointment in 2013, more than 12,000 acres valued at over $60 million have been protected by fee purchase or landowner cooperative agreements.

Sportsman of the Year
Robin Hayes

A lifelong hunter and angler, Hayes is a champion for sportsmen and conservation. As a Congressman, he chaired the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and was a leading advocate for federal wildlife funding programs. From working his own land for wildlife and sporting opportunities to leading efforts for marine resources and wild deer protection, Hayes is the epitome of a sportsman-conservationist.

Wildlife Conservationist of the Year
John D. Groves

The first curator of amphibians and reptiles for the NC Zoo, Groves is a leading researcher in many wildlife fields including alligator, eastern box turtle, and Cape Fear shiners. He established the eastern hellbender conservation program as well as the hellbender captive breeding program.

Conservationist of the Year
Tom Harrison

A life-long wildlife enthusiast and steward of the land, Harrison’s passion for black bears, educating the public, and giving back to his community led him to create the highly successful North Carolina Black Bear Festival. He chairs the board of the outdoor Christian ministry group Cross Trail Outfitters, and participates in implementing a Wetland Reserve Program in eastern North Carolina, a species recovery program, and many other conservation projects.

*Detailed award winner information and images will be provided after the September 10 banquet at which award winners will receive their certificate and handsome trophy. Registration info for the reception/banquet can be found here. www.ncwf.org

Adam Rickel

Vice President of Origination

Adam is currently the Vice President of Origination for Forsite Renewables. Adam joined Forsite in February 2024 after serving as Vice President, Strategic Accounts for FTC Solar, a global solar tracker and software provider. While at FTC he focused on engaging developers and asset owners across North America to form supply partnerships via volume supply agreements. Prior to FTC, Adam spent 15 years at NextEra Energy Resources, largely concentrating on renewable energy development and contract origination.

While at NextEra, Adam carried out early and late-stage wind development tasks, leading or directly participating in over 700 MW of wind energy development and construction in Texas and Ontario as well as advancing wind project development at sites across the Midwest US and Atlantic Canada. In his Origination function, Adam originated over 3,600 MW of renewables and/or battery storage Power Purchase and Build Transfer Agreements representing approximately $4.5B of capital deployed. He was also responsible for building out a greenfield transmission development team focused on high-voltage, cross-state transmission projects to unlock broad access to renewable energy nationwide.

 Adam graduated from the University of Florida with a BA in Economics and minors in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship.

Gary Greene

Project Manager

Gary, joined the Forsite team in 2021 as Project Manager after 35 years of industrial construction and manufacturing experience. During his manufacturing career, Gary had a multitude of roles–starting in production and quality control, moving onto plant site utilities and finishing in maintenance.
As the plant maintenance manager, Gary coordinated maintenance and electrical teams to ensure that all plant operations and goals were achieved. Gary is responsible for Site and Project Management at one of Forsite’s largest industrial properties.

Bill Abraczinskas

Director of Environmental

Prior to joining Forsite, Bill spent 30 years in global environmental engineering firms prior to creating his own business to provide environmental consulting and engineering services to the industrial and commercial markets.
His background is in large-scale civil remediation projects involving design/build, earthwork, in-situ remediation, pump and treatment systems, demolition, thermal incineration, facility rehabilitation, and wetlands restoration. Bill’s strengths include guiding clients through compliance with regulatory agencies. Bill is currently shepparding one of Forsite’s largest Risk Transfer projects through demolition and remediation in order to be repurposed to Forsite’s needs.

Gerald Stroner

Facilities Manager

Gerry joined the Forsite team in 2017 as Facilities Manager at ReVenture Park in Charlotte, NC. Gerry supervises repair and upkeep of all buildings, equipment and vehicles, grounds maintenance and heavy equipment operations.
He also provides facilities management at our Edge Water Treating waste water treatment facility in Salisbury, NC.

Gerry is currently pursuing waste water operator credentials, and is developing drone photography services for Forsite.

A native of Big Bear Lake, California, Gerry is an army veteran with 11 years construction experience in earthquake country. He now lives in Huntersville NC.

Greg Coleman


Greg represents the perfect blend of mechanical practical ability and theoretical engineering acumen. A native of Northern Australia, Greg was compelled to hone his mechanical skills keeping farm equipment operational in harsh conditions.
Additionally, this mechanical ingenuity led Greg to study Engineering and pursue a career in the consulting business with companies such as URS and Geosyntec. Greg is the Technical Director for all of Forsite’s endeavors including power, wastewater, construction, decommissioning, demolition and environmental liability projects.

Bobby Glidewell

Staff Landman

Bobby Glidewell is a senior member of our land team responsible for the land acquisition of our projects. Bobby has over 30 years of experience in land management.
Prior to Forsite, Bobby worked for a Fortune 200 energy company as a Lead Land Services Representative. Bobby has also held senior land roles with numerous energy companies where he was able to manage the land efforts of natural gas projects. Bobby holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management from John Brown University. Bobby resides in Northwest Arkansas.

Drew Connors

Development Manager

Drew Connors is a member of our development team responsible for the research of new sites along with assisting with solar and battery storage development and engineering. Drew comes from a commercial construction background, where he was managing new build and renovation projects for clients in the financial services industry.
Drew studied at The University of Alabama in the pursuit of a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He then stayed at Alabama to pursue further studies in business and energy systems and received a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering as well.

Marijon Owens

Project Developer

MariJon (“MJ”) recently moved over to Forsite Renewables from Forsite’s risk transfer division. MJ is supporting the development of later-stage projects as they progress toward the start of construction. She brings a keen attention to detail and project management expertise to these projects, overseeing some critical path processes to ensure the projects are completed on time and under budget.
Prior roles at Forsite include Risk Transfer Project Manager responsible for supervising the demolition and remediation of a chemical facility site and operations manager of Forsite’s Clean Energy renewable natural gas facility at ReVenture Park. Additionally, MJ has served as project manager, logistics coordinator, risk manager, safety officer and quality proponent at various Forsite locations. MJ was raised on a farm in eastern North Carolina and studied in NC, TX and the UK, graduating with a BA in 1991.

Ann Haney

Director of Real Estate

Ann oversees the title and survey process and manages all land contracts. Prior to joining Forsite, she worked as a Real Estate Manager for solar development projects and a title analyst for wind development.
Prior to her energy career, she has 20 years of experience as a practicing attorney. Ann has a JD from Boston College.

Mark Albert

Senior Director of Development

Mark Albert is a senior member of our development team responsible for battery storage, engineering, and business development. Mark has more than 25 years of renewable energy sales and development experience.
Prior to Forsite, Mark was Vice President of Business Development for an international battery company where he was responsible for all sales and marketing, technical assessments, system modelling, and preliminary project designs for the company’s utility scale battery storage business. Prior to that, Mark served as Vice President of Development for a geothermal energy development firm where he was instrumental in the company’s growth over his 17 years there, negotiating and executing PPAs totalling $2 billion in revenues. Mark earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Washington University.

Scott Donaubauer

Director of Solar + Storage Development

Scott has over 15 years of experience in the power and industrial sectors and is responsible for solar and battery storage as well as business development.
Prior to Forsite, Scott was a mechanical design & field engineer, and project manager. Most recently he founded an energy services company specializing in field services and startup & commissioning. Scott has a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Iowa.

Kenny Gunter

Director of Land Acquisition

With his prior experience as a Solar Project Developer, Kenny is mainly involved in early site assessment, and develops land acquisition strategies. He oversees all land acquisitions, and manages our landmen.
Prior to joining Forsite, he not only worked as a Solar Project Developer, but also managed landmen in both solar, and oil & gas spaces, and worked as a landman in the oil and gas development field.
Kenny has a BS in Finance from Penn State University, is a Registered Professional Landman, has a GIS Certificate from North Texas and is a Texas Notary.

Maegan Bean

Senior Director of Project Finance

Maegan Bean is a senior member of our finance team. Prior to Forsite, Maegan worked for a Fortune 200 energy company as a Director of Finance leading the team responsible for the financing of new ventures and as a Manager of Project Valuation leading a team responsible for the pricing and valuation of utility-scale wind, solar, and battery energy storage projects.
Maegan has also held roles with a focus on financial and statistical analysis in the aerospace/defense and actuarial consulting industries. Maegan holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Financial Economics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a Master of Engineering in Project Management from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Keith Kurtz

Vice President of Development

Keith Kurtz is a senior member of our development team responsible for solar and battery storage development. Keith has over 15 years of renewable energy development experience.
Prior to Forsite, Keith held senior-level development positions with numerous renewable energy development and manufacturing companies, where he was able to lead the development of multiple gigawatts worth of utility-scale renewable energy projects. Keith holds a Bachelor of Science in environmental science from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Science in Applied Science from the University of Nebraska.

Kevin Day

President - Solar Development

Kevin has twenty years of experience developing and financing power generation facilities, including natural gas, wind and solar projects. Prior to Forsite, Kevin worked for First Solar as Director of Project and Business Development for the Eastern U.S.

Prior to First Solar, Kevin developed and financed wind projects at BP Wind Energy. Prior to BP Wind Energy, Kevin also developed wind projects for SilverPoint Energy, a company he founded, and was a Director of Project Finance for Panda Energy, a developer of combined cycle natural gas projects.

Kevin holds his BBA in finance, MBA and JD from the University of Oklahoma.

Michelle Skinner

Executive Administrative Assistant

Michelle Skinner is the Executive Administrative Assistant for the Forsite team. She serves as administrative support for the CEO, along with support for the COO and Director of Business Operations. Michelle is also responsible for Accounts Payable & Accounts Receivable.

Prior to joining Forsite, Michelle spent 24 years with the Kraft Heinz Company in Massillon, Ohio, where she was responsible for payroll and administrative support to the Production Manager.  She also worked in the Administration and Human Resources departments.

Andrew Archer


Andrew Archer is the Financial Controller for Forsite. In this role, Andrew has oversight of the Accounting department, with responsibilities for the entire end-to-end accounting cycle of Forsite. This includes month-end close, financial reporting, budgeting/forecasting, cash flow projection, and developing internal control policies and procedures.

Prior to joining Forsite, Andrew spent 16 years in Real Estate Accounting with two Charlotte-based CRE firms, both as Director of Accounting. Andrew earned his B.A. in Economics and History before earning his MBA from FIU and an MBA+ Certificate with emphasis in Advanced Financial Reporting/Accounting from UNC Charlotte.

Andrew and his wife are originally from Jamaica. They moved to the US in 2003 and live in Gastonia, NC with their two sons and daughter.

Jenny Wesley


Jenny Wesley is a paralegal for Forsite’s legal department. She supports General Counsel and the Land Team with real estate transactions, titles, surveys, and more.

Prior to joining Forsite, Jenny worked for a law firm in Canton, Ohio for over 23 years where she provided real estate paralegal support. Jenny earned an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science for Legal Assisting from Stark State College. Jenny resides in North Carolina with her husband, daughter, and son. She enjoys spending time with her family, going to the beach, and hiking through the woods.

Joshua Smith

General Counsel

As General Counsel, Josh manages Forsite’s legal department. Prior to joining Forsite, Josh was the chief legal officer for a utility-scale solar developer.

Before that, he worked as a corporate attorney for Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, a leading U.S. law firm, and served as an attorney in the Enforcement Division of the Federal Election Commission. Josh holds an LL.M from American University Washington College of Law, a J.D. from Nova Southeastern University and a B.S. from Florida State University.

Shannon Doster

Director of Business Operations

Forsite Development day-to-day operations are managed by Shannon Doster. Her responsibilities include financial reporting, executive support, human resources, marketing, and property management administration.


Offering over 20 years of experience in business management, accounting, sales and marketing along with her previous job for an international corporation, has gained Shannon experience in many business sectors. This coupled with her versatility has contributed much to Forsite ’s ongoing success.

Shannon studied Business Management at York Technical College. She has special training in Six Sigma quality and has earned a Green Belt Certification. Shannon is also a licensed Real Estate Broker and is a Notary Public for North and South Carolina.

Ryan Ford

Chief Operating Officer

Ryan is responsible for the operations, strategy and project management of Forsite’s risk transfer, renewables and clean energy business lines. Prior to joining Forsite in 2018, Ryan’s background was in Engineering and Project Management; specifically, large-scale engineering, procurement, fabrication and construction (EPFC) projects.

Ryan has spent significant time on major construction sites, supervising installation of the design of new construction including coal, combined cycle and nuclear power plants.

Additionally, Ryan has worked in various engineering management roles within the power industry focusing on all fuel types for major base load plants, including the newer Allam Cycle technology.

Tom McKittrick

Chief Executive Officer / Founder

Tom is the Chief Executive Officer / Founder of Forsite Development, Inc. and manages all aspects of the company’s operations. Tom started Forsite in December 2004 with the idea that there was a significant supply of vacant corporate surplus industrial facilities throughout the Southeast that could be acquired aggressively and then repositioned. Since starting Forsite, Tom has purchased over 7 million SF of space throughout the Carolinas.

Forsite’s most ambitious project to date is “ReVenture Park”, a 667 acre re-development of a shuttered chemical plant, currently listed as a Federal Superfund site into a “Renewable Energy Industrial Park”. The property, located along the shores of the Catawba River in Charlotte, NC has over 1.4 miles of river frontage and is the largest piece of underutilized heavy industrial property in the region. Once complete, this project is projected to create over 1,100 “green collar” jobs and over $900 million in new investment.

Prior to starting Forsite, Tom was a ten year veteran and Senior Vice President of Development for Indianapolis based Lauth Property Group. In July of 2001, Tom moved to Charlotte to open Lauth’s second regional office where he managed all build-to-suit, land development and construction activities that he and his team created in the Southeast.

Tom has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing and Finance from Ball State University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Holy Angels (www.holyangelsnc.org).