Our Team

John McFadden, Executive Director John McFadden, PhD – Chief Executive Officer

McFadden took the rein as CEO of the Tennessee Environmental Council on October 1, 2006. He finished his Ph.D. in Health and Human Performance in 2009, while researching riparian greenway ecology. He has 25 years of conservation and aquatic biology and 10 years in watershed restoration experience supported by degrees in secondary education (B.S.) and biology (M.S.). His conservation experience includes watershed monitoring, restoration, modeling and planning, and project management. Additionally, he has trained and led 1,000s of volunteers in environmental restoration including urban reforestation. McFadden is a certified professional in erosion and sediment control (CPESC) and has been recognized by the federal and state court systems as an expert on water quality related matters.  

DC Diane CosteaDirector of Operations

Diane has been with the Tennessee Environmental Council since Feb 2014. She has a B.S. in Education and Biological Sciences.  She worked as a Membership and Marketing Manager for Girl Scouts, CT Trails Council.  There she specialized in Volunteer Engagement and Innovative Program Delivery Systems.  Diane has also worked as a teacher in the inner city of Chicago and in the health care field.




 Jeff Barrie — Director of Sustainable Tennessee

Jeff has been a staunch advocate of sustainability for his entire professional career, which he launched in 1993 after graduating from UCLA with a B.A. in Environmental Studies.  Ever since, Jeff has applied his love of filmmaking towards the cause of environmental solutions and derives great pleasure in making a difference in this field.  Jeff has produced award-winning feature documentaries on the value of Environmental Education (Generation Earth — 1995), the importance of preserving the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (Arctic Quest — 1999), and the benefits of energy efficiency, conservation and renewable power (Kilowatt Ours — 2008), in addition to producing 10 short documentaries on various topics of related to sustainability.  He has leveraged the power of effective documentary storytelling combined with grassroots organizing and public strategies to lead to positive changes in the world.

Silver Johnson


Silver Johnson — Development Director

Suzanne ‘Silver’ Johnson is on her second term working for the Tennessee Environmental Council. Having worked as DD for the Council in the late 90′s,Silver brings forward her dedication to the Mission of the Council and a lifetime of not-for-profit and environmental experience to the team. As a high school junior biology student, Silver founded Shawnee Mission South Outdoor Environmental Biology Lab, which remains a viable resource to students today. Past work positions in Tennessee include Executive Director Friends of Radnor Lake, Steering Committee and Director of Education Cumberland River Compact, and All Taxa Biodiversity Analyst for Tennessee State Parks and TDEC. Silver has held seats on various Boards of Director and in her spare time, assists citizen groups with land protection and rezoning issues. 

 Will Caplenor  –  Watershed Restoration SpecialistIMG_8148

Will has been engaged in mapping and field research as a part of his in Geoscience (B.S.) degree from Middle TN State University. Since beginning with the Council he has been designing and implementing stormwater infiltration and riparian restoration projects. Will is pursuing a Masters of Science in Sustainability from Lipscomb University in order to become a more effective and skilled advocate and practitioner of restoring our environment. He is from Lebanon, TN. 



ellie savagegulf Ellie Wallis — Southeast Regional Program Manager


Ellie Wallis joined the Tennessee Environmental Council in February 2015 as the Southeast Regional Program Manager. Ellie is a Chattanooga native, currently residing in Hixson with her husband and their two Welsh Corgis. She’s actively involved in her community as part of her local Kiwanis club and the Friends of Hixson. Her “glass-half-full” outlook will serve the Council well as she works with communities and groups in Southeast Tennessee area to advocate for and implement projects that improve the state that she’s proud to call home. 

Cynthia Hernandez

 Cynthia Hernandez — Program and Field Intern

My name is Cynthia Hernandez. I am currently studying environmental science at Volstate Community College in Gallatin, TN. I’m excited to intern with the TEC and to be a part of a successful non-profit team of experts with the common goal of improving the environment. I am interested in learning more about solutions to environmental issues. I hope to increase my knowledge of sustainable efforts and techniques dealing with habitat conservation and restoration. I’m also interested in recycling efforts. In the future, I hope to make curbside recycling a reality in my community.

IMG_8878Anna Sanders — Sustainability Policy Intern

Anna holds a B.A. in Art from Auburn University and is currently pursuing a B.A. in Energy & Sustainability Policy from Pennsylvania State University. She is pleased to work with this motivated team on reducing the undesired impacts that built environments and aggregate lifestyle choices can have on finite resources, delicate ecosystems, climate components, and human health. She hopes to assist the Council in identifying and formulating customized approaches to most effectively engage Tennesseans in a transition to a more sustainable future.


IMG_9234 Martin Odoyo — Research Intern for Sustainable Tennessee

Martin is doing extensive research into the state of Tennessee’s environment across a wide range of environmental indicators, including air quality, water quality, recycling rates, transportation, endangered species, farming and food, and more.

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