The American Chestnut Foundation National Office
160 Zillicoa Street, Suite D
Asheville, NC 28801
Phone: (828) 281-0047
Fax: (828) 253-5373
Bryan Burhans, President & CEO
(828) 281-0047 x304
Bryan joined TACF as President and CEO in 2009 following a twelve-year position as Director of Land Management Programs for the National Wild Turkey Federation in Edgefield, SC. He is based out of the TACF home office in Asheville, NC. In his position with NWTF, he was responsible for work throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. His experience working with a very large chapter-based organization, developing extensive partnerships with corporations and state and federal agencies, has positioned him well to lead TACF. Bryan is a certified wildlife biologist through The Wildlife Society and holds an M.S. degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from Frostburg State University working out of the University of Maryland’s Appalachian Environmental Laboratory in Frostburg, MD. Bryan received his AS in Wildlife Technology and BS in Wildlife Science from The Pennsylvania State University. He has held positions with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as a Wildlife Biologist, and with The Pennsylvania State University as an instructor in Wildlife Technology.
Betsy Gamber, Vice President of Operations
(828) 281-0047 x301
Before joining the Asheville, NC home office of TACF in September 2009, Betsy worked for the Punta Gorda-Port Charlotte-North Port Realtor’s Association as Director of Professional Development where she designed and established a professional educational program for the organization’s 1200+ members in addition to implementing all fundraising and public relations activities. Prior to her position there, Betsy served as Executive Director for the Bon Secours-St. Joseph Hospital Foundation in Port Charlotte, FL where she developed and implemented a comprehensive development program, including fundraising campaigns, special events, planned giving seminars, a grantsmanship program, and a volunteer program for over 400 hospital volunteers. Betsy received her BA in Business Management from Eckerd College in Florida.
Lisa Sousa, Director of Grants & Agreements
(828) 281-0047 x307
Lisa joined the staff of TACF in March 2011 as Director of Grants & Agreements. Lisa is a successful grant writer with more than 13 years of experience working for nonprofit organizations from coast to coast. Before joining TACF, Lisa honed her grant writing skills as Development Director for Young Chicago Authors and as a grant writer for Girls on the Run of Western North Carolina, and Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. In addition to her expertise in nonprofit administration, Lisa brings to her position a background in community media including video production and freelance writing. She is a native of Cape Cod, MA, but has spent most of her life in San Francisco, CA with a brief stint in Chicago, IL. Lisa now lives in Asheville, NC next door to a small American chestnut planting of the Carolinas Chapter of TACF.
Judy Antaramian, Membership Coordinator
(828) 281-0047 x306
Before Judy joined TACF in May 2010, she worked for the Collier County Tax Collectors in Marco Island, FL. Originally from Massachusetts, Judy earned her Associates degree in Liberal Arts at Middlesex Community College in Bedford, MA. She and her family spent 20 years in Florida before moving to Asheville.
Michael French, Forester
Satellite Forestry Office, Hope, IN
Michael joined TACF in 2011 as Forester under a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG), prior to which he was a reclamation specialist for Williams Forestry and Associates, supervising plantings on mined lands across Appalachia. While studying as an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky, Michael was hired by the Kentucky Chapter of TACF as an intern to help accelerate its breeding program and expand its public outreach. He held that position from 2004 to 2006 after which he was elected to serve as Vice President of the Kentucky Chapter from 2006 through 2010. In 2005, Michael helped spearhead the "father tree" breeding program by harvesting pollen from American chestnuts across the state and applying them to backcross chestnuts at TACF’s Meadowview Research Farms, a practice that was quickly adopted by many of the southern chapters. He continues to sit on the board as the Kentucky Chapter Secretary. Michael holds a BS in Biology from the University of Kentucky and is currently pursuing an MS in Forestry there.
Dennis Kimball, Staff Accountant
(828) 281-0047 x303
Dennis joined TACF in April 2008 as Staff Accountant, bringing over 30 years of varied accounting and systems experience to the position. Dennis holds a BS in Business, majoring in accounting, from Columbia College and an MBA from Le Moyne College.
Mila Kirkland, Director of Communications
(828) 281-0047 x302
Mila transferred to TACF’s national office in January 2011 following a position as research technician for TACF’s Meadowview Research Farm. She worked for 2 years as Communications Specialist and in June 2013, became TACF's Director of Communications. In addition to her formal roles with TACF, she participated in the formation of the organization’s Southwest Virginia Restoration Branch. Mila graduated from Erskine College with a BS in Biology in 2006. Following graduation she served in the Peace Corps as an Agroforesty professional in the northwestern Paraguayan community of Ka’aguy Kupe before joining TACF in 2009.
Tom Saielli, Southeast Regional Science Coordinator
(828) 450-9100 x311
Tom is based in TACF’s national office in Asheville, NC, overseeing the organization’s Southeast region which includes the TACF state chapters of KY, TN, NC/SC (Carolina’s), AL and GA. He received his MS in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont in Burlington after earning his BS in Biology and Environmental Science there in 2007. Tom comes to TACF with significant hands-on experience with the TACF breeding program, having worked with New England Regional Science Coordinator, Kendra Gurney, as a research technician investigating chestnut cold-tolerance at the University of Vermont.
Laura Schnitzlein, Development Coordinator
(828) 281-0047 x308
Laura supports the varied development activities of the organization and is based at the National Office in Asheville, NC. Laura brings a breadth of experience to TACF, including a
position with Sims & Steele Consulting, one of the leading nonprofit consulting firms in Asheville, NC. Laura was previously Development Assistant at All Souls Counseling Center. She holds a Non-Profit Management Certificate from Duke University, is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and is a board member of Meals on Wheels of Asheville and Buncombe County. Laura received her BA in Anthropology and Art History from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Tina Wayne, Database Coordinator
Tina comes to TACF with expertise in donor databases and an extensive knowledge of the non-profit sector. She earned a BA in Sociology from Bradley University in Illinois, and then pursued a certificate as a paralegal and licensed real estate broker. She has worked in municipal government, has been an advocate for Friends of the Chicago River, and is a Guardian ad litem volunteer advocating for abused and neglected children. In 2011 she received the Guardian ad litem volunteer of the year in Buncombe County, NC.