Board of Directors

William J. “Jay” Cude III — Board Chair

Castalian Spring, TN

Jay Cude spent 35 years in the medical device industry where he was involved in the design, manufacture and sale of disposable medical devices for cardiology, radiology, CT, MRI, and general surgery.

Jay was Founder and CEO of Coeur, Inc., a medical device company that manufactures and sells finished medical devices to the global imaging market. The business was sold in 2012.  Prior to this, Jay was Group Vice President of the DeRoyal Plastics Group and CEO of Hospital Disposables, a family business also involved in the U.S. hospital market.  Jay recently retired as Director of Strategic Planning for ITW Medical.

Jay was formerly a Director, Officer, Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Washington DC based Plastics Industry Association. SPI is a non-profit trade association representing over 1,000 businesses involved in the manufacture and sale of plastic manufacturing equipment, raw materials, and products. Jay is also past Chair of SPI’s Healthcare Division and past Chair of the SPI National Certification Program, an industry training program.

At present, Jay serves on the Advisory Board of a private medical device company.

Jay is a graduate of the Emory School of Business Administration, has a wife and two grown children, and resides outside of Nashville, TN.  He enjoys hunting, fly fishing, gardening, traveling, and spends time managing the family farm in west Tennessee.

Betty McDonald Allison, TACF Board of Directors

Betty McDonald Allison — Promotion & Outreach Committee Chair

Lewisville, NC

Betty became interested in the American chestnut tree when chestnut stumps were found on property her family purchased. She has had a lifetime love of biology, and the outdoors.

After earning a BS in Zoology from UNC-CH, she worked as a chemist, and as a System Engineer for IBM. While raising a family she became a volunteer with many organizations including serving as Board Chair of the Ronald McDonald House of Eastern NC, and the Greenfield Academy (Wilson, NC) as well as many years of “PTAs” and “Team Moms”. She was a Girl Scout Leader for 8 years while also serving on the GS Council Board(s) in NC and committee member of the four GS Council Realignment (merger) committee.

Betty and her husband John Allison, have three adult children. They planted their first American Chestnut Foundation seeds and saplings in the 1990s. They also have fruit trees and blueberries.

Rebecca (Becky) Carter — Board Vice-Chair, Governance Committee Chair

Decatur, GA

Throughout her career Becky has maintained focus on human rights, humanitarianism, domestic and world peace with practices in sustainability and stewardship of the planet.

Until her retirement Becky held the position of Chief Development Officer at The Carter Center. TCC a not-for-profit institution founded in 1982 by former President Jimmy Carter and Mrs. Rosalynn Carter to advance human rights and alleviate suffering among the world’s poorest people. As CDO, Becky led and managed a team responsible for cultivating and stewarding individual donors to raise annual financial support for the Center’s global health and peace programs.

Prior to joining The Carter Center, Becky served as Director of Federal Agency and Congressional Government Relations for The Nature Conservancy. While at TNC Becky built, led, and served as spokesperson for the Forests in the Farm Bill Coalition, and was responsible for relationships with multi-state/multi-discipline partnerships to influence resource management in the southeastern US.

Previously Becky worked in government relations roles in the public and private sectors.

Her international service includes election observation missions in countries emerging from conflict and those taking steps toward democratic elections.

Becky also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity International.

Becky holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from West Virginia University.

Becky grew up in West Virginia and moved to Georgia when she and her husband Chip were married.

Martin Cipollini, TACF Board of Directors

Martin Cipollini, Ph.D.

Mount Berry, GA

Dr. Martin L. Cipollini is Dana Professor of Biology at Berry College, Georgia, where he teaches undergraduate courses such as General Ecology, Forest Ecology, Field Botany, and Tropical Ecology (Costa Rica/Cuba). He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD. in Ecology from Rutgers University.

A faculty member at Berry College since 1995, his current research activities revolve around the college’s Longleaf Pine and American Chestnut projects. He annually leads large groups of students in service-learning projects on and off campus, and has helped direct the blight-resistance breeding program for the Georgia chapter of TACF since its inception in 2006. He has helped establish numerous chestnut orchards across Georgia, including the backcross orchard at Berry College, which was the first such orchard to be established in the state. Since 2002, he has directed the Berry College Longleaf Pine Project and works with the Talladega/Mountain Longleaf Pine Conservation Partnership on projects geared toward regional restoration of montane longleaf pine habitats. He has authored over 50 peer-reviewed papers and ~150 professional presentations in addition to giving numerous public talks, field tours, and workshops. His hobbies include bicycling, fishing, guitar, and accordion.  His wife, Kathy Patrick, is a long-time volunteer, past president, and current vice-president of the Georgia chapter of TACF.

Deborah Delmer, TACF Board of Directors

Deborah Delmer, Ph.D. — Science & Technology Committee Chair

Dr. Deborah Delmer is Professor Emeritus of Plant Biology at UC Davis. She has held faculty positions at Michigan State University, The Hebrew University, and UC Davis. In 2004 she received from the American Chemical Society’s The Anselme Payen Award in recognition of excellence in the science and chemical technology of cellulose.

Professor Delmer also served as President of the American Society of Plant Biologists and in 2004 she was elected to membership in the US National Academy of Sciences. From 2002-2007, she served as Associate Director for Food Security for the Rockefeller Foundation where she was involved with grant making and policy relating to the role of biotechnology in developing world agriculture. Now retired, Delmer serves on a number of advisory boards and as a consultant to foundations, academia, industry, and governments on developing world agriculture issues surrounding biomass production.

Deborah was also Program Director for Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development, BREAD (2009-2010), jointly funded by the US NSF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Deborah has been involved with TACF since 2017.

Elizabeth Kramer, TACF Board of Directors

Elizabeth Kramer, Ph.D.

Washington DC

As a member of the faculty of the University of Georgia, Dr. Kramer was the founding director of the Natural Resources Spatial Analysis Laboratory. For 30 years Dr. Kramer managed interdisciplinary teams to accomplish conservation and environmental programs in watershed management, sustainable forestry and land conservation. Her diverse clients included federal, state and local governments, as well as NGO and private companies. One significant program was the development of the first and the only long-term land use change trends analysis for the state of Georgia (Georgia Land Use Trends- GLUT). Other research programs focused on the development and adoption of many geospatial tools and databases for natural resource management and environmental planning. Examples of these programs include biodiversity management, wetland and watershed protection, greenspace protection, electric transmission line sighting, and forest management.

Dr. Kramer received her PhD from the University of Georgia, a Master of Forest Science from Yale School of the Environment, and a bachelor’s degree in Forest Resources from Michigan State University. Now retired, she resides in Washington DC and enjoys traveling across North America with her spouse and two elderly dogs in their small motor home.

Bruce Levine — Chapters Committee Chair

Takoma, MD

Bruce Levine is a PhD student in Plant Science at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he studies the host-pathogen interaction between chestnut blight fungus and chestnut.  After 20+ years of membership and volunteer work with TACF, Bruce chose to retire from a 26-year diplomatic career in the U.S. Foreign Service and devote his efforts to chestnut restoration.

Dennis Liu, TACF Board of Directors

Dennis WC. Liu, Ph.D.

Potomac, MD

A nationally recognized expert in science education, Dennis Liu is currently Vice President of Education for the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and the Half-Earth Project. Previously, he directed the production of educational media at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, working with scientists, educators, graphic designers, animators, and filmmakers to produce an array of educational products that have had a lasting impact on science education. Dennis has managed teams devoted to assessing and assuring the educational impact of media, including building professional learning programs and peer communities.

In his role as Executive Director of HHMI’s Tangled Bank Studios he was executive producer and editorial advisor on over a dozen film projects for theatre, broadcast television, Large Screen, and digital science programs aimed at the general public. Dennis trained in neuroscience and genetics, earning a PhD in biology from the University of Oregon. Following postdoctoral studies at the University of Washington, he held a faculty position in the Department of Genetics.

Catherine Novelli

Ambassador Catherine Novelli — Government Relations Committee Chair

Dunn Loring, VA

Ambassador Catherine A. Novelli is a Senior Advisor at Shearwater Global, a strategic consulting firm.  She also serves as President of Listening for America, a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to forging a new vision of U.S. international trade engagement. She is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, where she served as a Centennial Fellow (2018-2019).

Cathy previously served as Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment (2014-2017) where she promoted economic reform and open markets for U.S. products and services. As Under Secretary, Ambassador Novelli spearheaded the first-of- its-kind Our Ocean movement, which, during her tenure, resulted in $10 billion for Ocean conservation and has become a continuing global effort. She also launched the Global Connect Initiative, an innovative partnership with governments, multilateral development banks and the private sector to connect 1.5 billion people to the Internet.

Novelli spent seven years as Vice President, Worldwide Government Affairs at Apple Inc where she headed a multinational international team responsible for Apple’s government relations and public policy. Prior to her position at Apple, she was a partner in the law firm of Mayer Brown International. She had a long career at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, rising to Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Europe & the Mediterranean, where she coordinated U.S. trade and investment policy for Europe, Russia, Central Asia, the Middle East and Northern Africa. She took a leading role in many of the most important U.S. trade negotiations in those regions, including free trade agreements with Jordan, Morocco and Bahrain, and Oman.  As the Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia, she negotiated most of the bilateral trade and investment agreements that underpin our economic relationship in that region.

Cathy currently serves on the Board of the National Wildlife Federation and the Advisory Board of the Pristine Seas Initiative of the National Geographic Society. She was also named an Ocean Elder, and has received numerous honors and awards, including the State Department Distinguished Service Award and the International Trade Woman of the Year Award.  She is a graduate of Tufts University, holds a law degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Laws from University of London.

John Scrivani, TACF Board of Directors

John Scrivani, Ph.D. — Restoration Committee Chair, Virginia State Chapter President

Charlottesville, VA

John is an adjunct professor who has taught Advanced Spatial Analysis every Spring Semester since 2010. For most of those years John was a practicing GIS professional, managing geospatial projects for the Virginia Geographic Information Network.

Since retiring  in 2017 John keeps busy by teaching part-time, traveling and volunteering for non-profits interested in forest conservation, applying his knowledge and experience from his Forestry PhD studies and 20+ years of applied forestry research.

Jim Searing, TACF Board of Directors

Jim Searing

New Hope, PA

Jim is a retired Partner of the global professional services firm Ernst & Young (EY), having served as a CPA, Director of R&D, and as the Americas Director of Strategy and Corporate Development.

After 32 years with EY, Jim returned to college to study landscape architecture.  That experience fueled interest in working with others to restore some balance to nature. Chestnut was once a major component of our forests, and he’s fascinated with this project to bring it back.

Jim has served as President of TACF’s Pennsylvania/New Jersey chapter.  He has also served as a Township Supervisor in Pennsylvania, where he led programs on fiscal responsibility, community relations and environmental protection.

On TACF’s national board, Jim’s primary focus is on special and complex projects requiring multi-disciplinary expertise. Jim and his wife Gayle Goodman live just north of Philadelphia in Bucks County Pennsylvania. 

Anna Sproul-Latimer

Arlington, VA

Anna is founding partner and president of Neon Literary, a literary agency with offices in New York and DC. Over the course of her many years in book publishing, she has sold multiple New York Times bestsellers, major book-to-film deals, and foreign translations in more than 50 languages.

Anna believes that there’s no more powerful tool for social change than a good story. It’s why she works in publishing; it’s also why she dedicates most of her TACF volunteer work to promotion and outreach, spreading the story of the American chestnut across the country and world. An active member of TACF’s Virginia chapter, she manages the chapter’s social media and has spent lots of time in the state’s many germplasm conservation and breeding orchards.

Prior to founding Neon Literary, Anna spent nearly 15 years as an agent, foreign rights manager, and developmental editor at DC’s Ross Yoon Agency. A graduate of Columbia University (B.A., English) and Oxford (Master’s, English), she lives with her husband and three children in Arlington, VA.

Barbara Tormoehlen — Board Secretary/Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair

West Lafayette, IN

Barb enjoyed a 37-year career in the US Forest Service (USFS). She spent the first two decades with the National Forest System, Region 9, on the Hoosier and Ottawa National Forests (NF), serving on the Hoosier NF at the district level and the Supervisor’s office as the Planning and Information Management Staff Officer, and on the Ottawa NF as the Kenton District Ranger.

Transferred to the Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry (NA) in 1998 – served Area-wide for the Area Director (resource analyst), the Forest Stewardship Program, and eventually as Group Leader, Office of Information Management, finishing at the St. Paul Field Office for NA as the Director’s Field Representative, with oversight of S&PF programs for seven Midwestern state forestry agencies and their partners, including tribes in Urban Forestry and Forest Stewardship, and Forest Health Protection for all forest lands in the seven state area. Barb served as a collateral-duty trained federal mediator (and later resolving official) for US Department of Agriculture agencies east of the Mississippi River. She received the USFS Chief’s Award in 2005 and 2013.

In retirement, Barb serves on the Board of the National Museum of Forest Service History, as well as TACF.  She and her husband, Mike recently moved to West Lafayette, Indiana from Powell, Ohio where she served as an adult volunteer at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Board Emeritus

Essie Burnworth, Secretary Emeritus (posthumously)

Dr. Gary P. Carver, Director Emeritus

Dr. Hill Craddock, Director Emeritus

Herbert F. Darling, Jr., Chairman Emeritus

Michael Doochin, Chairman Emeritus

Hugh Irwin, Director Emeritus

Dr. William G. Lord, Board Emeritus (d)

Dr. William L. MacDonald, Treasurer Emeritus

Rex Mann, Director Emeritus

Glen Rea, Chairman Emeritus

Dr. Kim Steiner, Chairman Emeritus

Rufin Van Bossuyt, Director Emeritus

Richard Will, Chairman Emeritus (d)

Donald C. Willeke, Esq., Director Emeritus

Advisors to the Board

Dr. Brian C. McCarthy, Immediate Past Chair

Charles G. Meyer, III, Legal Counsel to the Board

Dr. Kim Steiner, Science Advisor to the Board


Honorary Directors

Norman Borlaug (d)

President Jimmy Carter

Dr. Richard A. Jaynes

Peter H. Raven

Phillip A. Rutter, Founding TACF President

Mrs. Mary Belle Price (d)

Dr. Edward O. Wilson (d)