Gary Piazzon is a practicing physical therapist who moved to Whidbey in 1991. Innovative in his career, he has developed a number of treatment programs across a spectrum of needs while at Whidbey General Hospital and prior to coming to Whidbey from Michigan. He is president of the Whidbey Environmental Action Network, which since 1989 has been committed to restoring and preserving the region’s biodiversity. He has been a strong contributor to SWC since its inception. He was a primary motivating factor in the development of Whidbey General Hospital’s “Green Team”.
Fred McCarthy was the elected mayor of the City of Langley, Washington. Previously he had a career in education and many successful leadership experiences in the communities that he has served. Some of the areas of specialization and experience include curriculum and instruction, finance and operations, human resources, grants management, morale assessment and improvement, work motivation research, negotiations, and school construction. His background includes fundraising, and foundation management, internet course design, and instruction in grant writing for Heritage/Antioch University.
As an experienced presenter in employee recognition and author of materials in this area, he has presented to regional, state, local and national audiences. In 1995 the Washington Association of Educational Office Personnel named him the Administrator of the Year and in the same year he received the Association of School Business Officials International’s Eagle Service Award as an Outstanding School Business Administrator. Fred McCarthy served in leadership roles on numerous community-based commissions and task forces and in civic clubs. In June 2011, he retired as the Superintendent of Schools in the South Whidbey School District #206 where in 2007 the school board was named a “Board of the Year” by the Washington State School Directors Association.
Nancy Conard has resided in Coupeville for more than 50 years and was serving 20 years as Mayor of Coupeville. She has put her 30 years of experience in budgeting, financial management, collective bargaining, personnel, and technology management to work as Coupeville’s Mayor through balancing the budget, building a reserve, working with diverse groups to build consensus and building and maintaining excellent working relationships with elected officials and state agencies. Mayor Conard takes a proactive stance on current issues and continuously looks for ways to make government more efficient and effective.
In 2008, Nancy Conard, as Chair of Island County Council of Governments, spearheaded the adoption of a Resolution on Sustainability setting the stage for further Island-wide action and heightened involvement from tax supported entities and private organizations. She continues to encourage partnerships between public entities and private organizations that increase the advancement of sustainable practices on Whidbey Island.
Walt Blackford moved to Whidbey Island in 1996 to continue his commitment to living lightly on the planet while working within the Island community to support these values and intentions. Inspired by a high school physics teacher who was an advocate for ecological thinking, Walt went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree from UC Davis that combined communication and environmental studies. He subsequently earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. His graduate school research focused on the role of business in society, especially activities that generally fall under the concept of corporate social responsibility.
Cheryn Weiser is a life-long recycler, gardner, and advocate for sustainable practices. Cheryn became one of the first 1000 speakers trained in the United States to deliver Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. After nearly a year of speaking to groups in Western Washington, Cheryn decided to bring sustainability home to Whidbey. Along with friend and colleague, Gary Piazzon, Cheryn convened a meeting for those interested in forging a group of organizations and individuals concerned about climate change and action toward sustainability on Whidbey. Seven people came to the inaugural meeting, three of whom were elected officials. Out of that initial meeting came the Sustainable Whidbey Coalition which Cheryn mostly volunteered to carry out project design, coordination and management during the Coalition’s first three years.
Kelly Keilwitz is the founder and principal of Whidbey Sun & Wind, LLC, one of the most experienced renewable energy companies in the Northwest. Kelly, a registered professional civil engineer, began his formal training in renewable energy in 1999, through Solar Energy International. He and has completed courses on Photovoltaic Design & Installation, Advanced PV, Wind Power, Microhydro Power, Solar Hot Water, Build Your Own Wind Generator, and Solar Home Design.
Kelly is certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) as a Certified Solar PV Installer, and is a certified Electrical Administrator. Kelly has lived in Coupeville since 1991 and is passionate about living sustainably and promoting sustainability on Whidbey and throughout northern Puget Sound. He enjoys just about any kind of outdoor, self, gravity, or wind-propelled locomotion.
Martha M. Rose has been the Executive Director of Island Transit since 1991. She began her career in public transit in 1985 as a Transit Operator in Washington State’s Clallam County, before moving to Whidbey Island as Operations Manager for the start-up of Island Transit in 1987. As the Executive Director of Island Transit, her passion for public transit has been instrumental in building the system into the dynamic, community-based organization it is today. She is nationally recognized and acknowledged for her innovative and progressive management style, with proven success in human relations, employee motivation, and organizational effectiveness.
One of Martha’s philosophies for effective and efficient public service delivery and coordination is, “Let the Endorphins Roll!” which has contributed to the dedication of the entire staff, and their passion for the continuing success of the transit system. Martha is excited about the challenges facing public transportation, and firmly supports a more coordinated, regional, multi-modal approach, with an emphasis on grass roots involvement and quality service that will effectively serve the unique needs of each local community.