Board of Directors
Bob Freeman, Chairman of the Board
Bob Freeman has 12 years of experience in construction, spanning project management to development. Bob began his career in construction with Pulte Homes in the early 2000s as a land acquisitions manager. Seeing a need in the market for more sustainable construction, he transitioned to commercial construction specializing in green building. He has a Bachelor of Science in Construction from MTSU and a Master’s of Science in Green Building from Lipscomb University.
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. She worked with a mostly pro bono environmental practice, with a focus on clean water and coal mining issues. 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.
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.
Don Safer, Board Member
Don Safer is former Chairman of the Board for the Tennessee Environmental Council. His 25 years in the natural foods business built his awareness of the causal relationship of environmental contamination and human disease. He is 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. Don is also an avid paddler and a board member of Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association.
Don has a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University in Sociology and Anthropology.
Sandy Kurtz, Board Member
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. 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 a Tennessee field representative for the 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. 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.
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 Master’s Degree from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in Education Administration and Supervision. Learn more about Sandra at www.enviroedu.net or www.urbancentury.org
Joseph Prochaska, Board Member
Joseph 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 in federal district courts in Alabama, Delaware, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.
Erika Godwin-Saad, Board Member
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 ecotoxicology 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, Board Member
John Fenderson is currently the 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.
He is the Environmental Affairs/Public Outreach Coordinator for the Tennessee Division of Forestry. He has also coauthored papers on: Carbon Sequestration Principles for the Southeast; Valuing a Forested Viewshed. In the late Eighties, he worked for Greenpeace, while in the mid Nineties he worked with the Nature Conservancy, and the US Forest Service in California and Alaska. John is an Avid Sailor, having worked at a boat yard in Maine, an avid hiker/backpacker, waterfowl hunter, flyfisher, and wooden boat builder. His most memorable experience is during a Field study in Ecuador while documenting Indigenous use of Plant medicines in the Amazon watershed. He is married to his wife Brandy and they have a beautiful daughter Ella Claire, that he shares his experiences with on a daily basis.
He graduated from Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Natural Sciences. From the University of Tennessee, he obtained his Masters of Science in Forest Economics and Policy. He also attended Northwestern University with primary interests in Environmental and Natural resource policy; Land Use Planning; and market based payments for Ecosystem Services.
Linda K. Breggin, Board Member
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 convening 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.
Dr. William L. Phillips, Board Member
Dr. William L. Phillips has more than 45 years of experience conducting a variety of ecological projects. His experience includes a long history of conducting environmental impact assessments, endangered and threatened species surveys, wetland delineations, small impoundment management, environmental site assessments, stream restoration, and wetland restoration and mitigation. He interacts on a regular basis with regulatory agencies throughout the Southeast, including the EPA, US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Fish & Wildlife Services, and various city, state, and county officials. In 2014, he and Larry Carter founded the new Envision Ecology, LLC, a Tennessee Limited Liability Company. Dr. Phillips has designed and installed more than 45,000 feet of restored stream channels and more than 750 acres of wetlands, virtually all of the projects involved threatened and endangered species studies. He is currently working with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the US Fish & Wildlife Service to provide field data concerning primary burrowing crayfish in TN and Georgia.
Dr. Phillips has a Bachelor of Arts in Biology, Chemistry, and Geology from the University of Chattanooga. He also obtained a Bachelor of Science in Photojournalism, a Master of Science in Zoology, Botany, and Ecology, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Fishery Management, Ichthyology, and Aquatic Ecology from Auburn University. From North Carolina State University, he obtained his Stream and Restoration Certification.
Pat Van Ryckeghem, Board Member
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 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.
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.
Vicki Turner, Board Member
Vicki Turner is a graduate of Harpeth Hall and SMU. She is Owner and President of her own wine brokerage company, Victoria Pierce Turner Ventures. Vicki is also the Board Director of the Nashville Tree Foundation, Land Trust of Tennessee, and the Tennessee Urban Forest Council. She is President of the Tennessee Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, as well. Lastly, she is a member of the Master Gardeners, Class of 2008.