Board of Directors

Don Safer

Board Member

Don Safer is Chairman of the Board for the Tennessee Environmental Council. Don has a BA from Vanderbilt University in Sociology and Anthropology. His 25 years in the natural foods business built his awareness of the causal relationship of environmental contamination and human disease. Don is an avid paddler and a board member of Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association. He is also a member of “Know Nuclear in the TN Valley” a group that educates community leaders, environmental advocates, public officials, and concerned citizens about nuclear waste, the nuclear industry, and the need to stop generating nuclear wastes in Tennessee and to manage the wastes we already have responsibly. Don has provided expert testimony for the Tennessee state legislature concerning nuclear waste issues and he is a frequent contributor to the Tennessean.

Mary Mastin

Board Secretary

Mary Mastin is Board Secretary for the Tennessee Environmental Council. She is a lawyer who retired after twenty five years of legal aid practice in Tennessee and California to a mostly pro bono environmental practice with a focus on clean water and coal mining issues. Mary and her husband and law partner Brian Paddock live on forty acres in Jackson County in a passive solar house to which they added photovoltaic panels a few years ago. Mary is also active with the Sierra Club, having served for ten years on the Tennessee Chapter Executive Committee. She has been Tennessee Chapter Treasurer and Chapter Legal Chair. She currently is Chair of the Upper Cumberland Group of the Sierra Club and as such worked most of 2009 organizing Cookeville’s Rain Barrel Festival.

Sandra Kurtz

Sandy Kurtz has long been active in the environmental education field while dealing with environmental issues at local, state, and Federal levels. She was one of the founders of the Tennessee Environmental Education Association in 1974, and went on to establish the first educational programs at the Chattanooga Nature Center and at the TVA Energy Center Museum. She has trained countless volunteers and teachers, written environmental education curriculum for schools, and planned and facilitated numerous environmental conferences and meetings including TEC’s Regional Opportunity Forum in Chattanooga in 2008. Presently she works as co-director of Urban Century Institute, a non-profit organization seeking integrated solutions for long-term sustainability. The organization also serves as fiscal agent for groups with compatible missions such as Tennessee Forests Council and Model Forest Policy Program.

As an environmental education consultant Sandy Kurtz established the Chattanooga Sustainable Lifestyle Campaign endorsed by the President's Council for Sustainable Development. During the Campaign, 45 EcoTeams were created empowering citizens to establish habits for more sustainable living in their homes and neighborhoods. She has worked at the grassroots level as Tennessee field representative for National Environmental Trust and Clear the Air to support Federal legislation for clean air issues and slowing of global warming. She is chair of the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway Alliance, an award winning citizen's advocacy group. She sits on the board of Tennessee Environmental Council, is a member of the Tennessee Commissioner’s Council on Greenways & Trails, TVA Green Power Steering Committee. She is also facilitator for Chattanooga Chapter of TN Interfaith Power & Light and founding member of Bellefonte Efficiency & Sustainability Team. In 2002 she was presented with the Tennessee Environmental Education Association Distinguished Service Award for service to environmental education. That same year she also received the Enviro- Hero award from Chattanooga's Environmental City Task Force.

Ms. Kurtz holds an undergraduate degree from Berea College, Berea, Kentucky, and a Masters Degree from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in Education Administration and Supervision.

Joseph Prochaska

Mr. Prochaska is certified by the American Bankruptcy Board of Certification as a specialist in business bankruptcy. Mr. Prochaska regularly appears in state, bankruptcy and federal district courts throughout Tennessee. He has also appeared pro hac vice in bankruptcy or federal district courts in Alabama, Delaware, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.

Erika Godwin-Saad

Erika Godwin-Saad is currently the environmental manager for Mars Petcare US, Inc. at the corporate office located in Franklin, Tennessee. Erika provides environmental regulatory support and technical assistance for twenty pet food manufacturing facilities with operations in the United States. Her primary duties include oversight of company environmental compliance, environmental permitting and support of facility engineering projects.

Prior to her work with Mars Petcare, Erika worked for six years with the Big Bear Municipal Water District in Southern California managing lake water quality and nutrient remediation studies funded by Proposition 13 grants. Earlier in her career, she worked for a Tennessee-based environmental consulting firm, where she served as a project scientist, health & safety officer, and eco-toxicology laboratory manager.

Erika attended Texas A & M University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1988 and also Master of Science degree in Oceanography in 1991.

John Fenderson


Currently: Southeastern Regional Coordinator for the National Network of Forest Practitioners a 501c3 organization whose mission is: To promote the mutual well being of workers, rural communities, and forests by supporting individuals and groups that build sustainable relationships between forest and people.

Environmental Affairs/Public Outreach Coordinator for the Tennessee Division of Forestry - Coauthored papers on: Carbon Sequestration Principles for the Southeast; Valuing a Forested Viewshed; Worked for Greenpeace in the late Eighties, the Nature Conservancy, and The U.S. Forest Service in California and Alaska in the mid Nineties; Avid Sailor (worked at a boat yard in Maine), hiker/backpacker, waterfowl hunter, flyfisher, wooden boat builder, Graduate of: Tennessee State University – B.Sci. Natural Sciences University of Tennessee – M.Sci. Forest Economics and Policy Attended: Northwestern University Primary interests: Environmental and Natural resource policy; Land Use Planning; market based payments for Ecosystem Services;

Memorable experience: Field study in Ecuador documenting Indigenous use of Plant medicines in the Amazon watershed

Wife Brandy and Daughter Ella Claire

Pat VanRyckeghem

Pat Van Ryckeghem serves in the Environment and Sustainability group with General Motors in Spring Hill, TN, where he is responsible for environmental compliance, community outreach and sustainability initiatives. He is a Certified Hazardous Material Manager (CHMM) and current president of the Nashville Chapter of AHMP (Alliance of Hazardous Material Professionals). He has been actively involved with the TN Green Star Partnership (formerly TN Pollution Prevention Program) and the Suppliers Partnership for the Environment. Pat attended the University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri S&T), earning a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and also a M.S. in Engineering Management. Pat and his wife Dawn have six children and live in Franklin, TN, where he is active in his church and community. When not working, Pat enjoys getting outdoors and hiking with Marty, his retriever, working on old cars, coffee with friends, and reading books that challenge his thinking.

Linda Breggin

Linda K. Breggin is a Senior Attorney and Director of Southeast Environmental Programs for the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), an international research and education center based in Washington, DC. Ms. Breggin works on a wide range of environmental law and policy issues, including research and convenings on programs under several of the major federal environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act. She also directs the Institute’s Nanotechnology Program. Ms. Breggin is located in Nashville where, in collaboration with Vanderbilt University Law School, she leads the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review, a project that identifies innovative environmental law and policy ideas from the academic literature and presents them to policymakers and practitioners. She also writes the “Around the States” column for The Environmental Forum, ELI’s award-winning policy journal. Prior to joining ELI in 1997, Breggin served as an Associate Director in the White House Office on Environmental Policy and as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Administrator for Enforcement at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She also served as Counsel to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Transportation and Hazardous Materials of the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition, Breggin was in private practice in Washington, DC.

Gray Palmer

Gray is a Nashville native, attending High School at Montgomery Bell Academy. He went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from the University of Mississippi. Gray is currently the General Manager for Achiever Development Corporation, a multi-faceted Real Estate Development company focusing on residential single family and multi-family developments in the Middle Tennessee area. Gray is responsible for all new developments from the conceptual phase through build out. In this capacity he is also in charge of all day to day operations of the Property Management Company. Gray is an avid outdoorsman and conservationist. He is an active committee member for the Nashville, Tennessee chapter of Delta Waterfowl. Gray enjoys everything from fly fishing to duck hunting. On the weekends you would be hard pressed to find him anywhere but in the woods.

Keven Routon

Keven, his wife Susan and their two sons reside on 15 acres north of Memphis. He served in the US Navy for more than 22 years, and has continued to work for the Navy as an analyst since retiring from active duty in 2006. He has been active in the Sierra Club since 2009 and in addition to serving on the TN Chapter Executive Committee since 2010 has served as the Chickasaw Group Conservation Chair in 2010 and Group Chair in 2011. He is currently serving as Vice Chair of the TN Chapter. Keven received a BS from the University of New York; and earned an MA in Human Resource Mgmt., an MBA, and an MS in Environmental Mgmt. from Webster University.

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