Today, Chesapeake Conservancy announced that Chief G. Anne Richardson Thad Bench, and John J. Reynolds have been elected to the organization’s Board of Directors. Additionally, five members recently finished their terms—Jane Danowitz, Holly A. Evans, Stephen F. Harper, Turney McKnight, and outgoing Board Chair Douglas. P Wheeler. The Board has elected Anne W. Scott to serve as the new Chair. She previously served as Vice Chair. Treasurer Robert Gensler and Secretary Robert G. Stanton were elected to second terms.
“The Board is pleased to welcome three new members, each of whom brings tremendous experience, as well as deeply rooted connections to the Chesapeake Bay watershed that will strengthen the Chesapeake Conservancy in the pursuit our mission,” said Chair Scott. “On behalf of the entire Board, I would like to thank outgoing Chair Douglas Wheeler for his excellent leadership. During his time as Chair, Chesapeake Conservancy grew to become a leader in innovation for the Chesapeake watershed and a strong partner for the National Park Service. Our sincere gratitude is also extended to our outgoing members Jane Danowitz, Holly A. Evans, Stephen Harper, and Turney McKnight, for sharing their time and energy to help lead Chesapeake Conservancy through so many achievements,” Scott continued.
“Thanks to Doug’s leadership, our small but mighty nonprofit is changing how conservation and restoration are approached in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We have created groundbreaking technology, conserved thousands of acres of land, enhanced public access, and cultivated the epic collaboration necessary to address the challenges the Chesapeake faces,” said Chesapeake Conservancy President and CEO Joel Dunn.
Welcoming New Members
Chief G. Anne Richardson of the Rappahannock Tribe was elected the first woman Chief to lead a tribe in Virginia since the 18th century in 1998. She is a fourth generation chief in her family. Under her tenure as Chief, in 1998, the Tribe purchased 140 acres to establish a land trust, cultural center, and housing development. In 2017, Chief Anne accepted a donation of a 1-acre parcel facilitated by Chesapeake Conservancy to return her tribe to their ancestral lands along Fones Cliffs.
Under her leadership, the Rappahannocks are currently engaged in a number of projects ranging from cultural and educational to social and economic development programs including their Return to the River Project which is a youth leadership program. She has been an engaged partner in Chesapeake Conservancy’s campaign to protect our natural resources from unsustainable development.
In 1989, Chief Anne helped to organize the United Indians of Virginia, which was established as an intertribal organization represented by all Virginia Chiefs. In 1991, Richardson became executive director of Mattaponi-Pamunkey-Monacan, Inc., which provides training and employment services for Virginia Indians. In her work with the Department of Labor, she was appointed by the Secretary to serve on the Native American Advisory Council. She was also elected as Chairman of that Council while working with the Secretary to further the goals of Indian Country through Labor Programs.
Thad Bench serves as the chief executive officer of Benchworks, Inc., a family of companies that specializes in the health care and pharmaceutical industry. Headquartered in Chestertown and Cambridge, MD, it also has offices in Boston, Philadelphia, and Miami. Under his leadership, Benchworks has been named to Inc.’s. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies for the last four years and has grown sixfold since 2014.
Thad has extensive experience in marketing, brand positioning, and product launch management. He was named one of the 2016 ELITE 100 in the entrepreneur category by PM360 magazine, an honor given to the 100 most influential people in the health care industry. He has managed hundreds of large-scale marketing initiatives for Fortune 500 companies with a particular emphasis in the pharmaceutical industry, including 9 product launches.
Thad owns a number of businesses, including manufacturing and distribution operations and commercial real estate holdings. Formerly, he held senior corporate marketing positions with St. Louis-based Huttig Building Products and with Jeld-Wen Inc, one of the country’s largest forest product companies.
John J. Reynolds is also a returning Board member. During his nearly 40-year-career with the National Park Service he served as park planner for Cape Cod, Yosemite and Alaska; park manager at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, CA and North Cascades National Park, WA; manager Denver Service Center, regional director of Mid-Atlantic and Pacific West Regions and deputy director.
He championed international conservation at NPS, advised on park issues in 12 countries, and was U.S. Delegate to the World Heritage Committee.
He has worked for the National Park Foundation as senior fellow and as executive vice president, and at the Student Conservation Association as government relations manager. He served on the boards of nonprofits including the Student Conservation Association, Landscape Architecture Foundation, George Wright Society, Partners for Public Lands, Shenandoah National Park Trust and as a founding member of the Friends of the John Smith Trail/Chesapeake Conservancy, Global Parks and the Friends of Flight 93.
He represented the Secretary of the Interior on the board of the Presidio Trust. He chaired federal advisory groups for Flight 93 National Memorial, John Smith Trail and Fort Hancock 21st Century. He was Virginia Citizens Representative to the Chesapeake Bay Commission and a member of the California State Parks Commission. He currently serves on the board of the Fort Monroe Authority and the steering committee for the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Chesapeake Conservancy’s mission is to conserve and restore the natural and cultural resources of the Chesapeake Bay watershed for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. We empower the conservation community with access to the latest data and technology. As principal partner for the National Park Service on the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, we helped create 153 new public access sites and permanently protect some of the Bay’s special places like Werowocomoco, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park, and Fort Monroe National Monument.