Haden headshotHaden Polseno-Hensley – President Writer, builder and coffee roaster

A founding member of SustainFloyd’s Board of Directors, Haden was instrumental in organizing the SplitRail Eco-Fair and the 350.org event in SustainFloyd’s nascent years. He began serving as Secretary starting in 2009 and also serves on the organization’s Development Committee.

Haden & his wife, Rose McCutchan, own and operate Red Rooster Coffee Roaster, a business dedicated to producing high quality organic coffee through sustainable practices in downtown Floyd. Haden’s passion for the community and his desire to create economic development through sustainable practices has driven him to become an advocate for small business, farms and artists in Floyd. He has past served on the board at the Jacksonville Center and is currently a board member and the Treasurer of Blue Cow Arts, the non-profit affiliate of Across the Way Productions (Floyd Fest.)

A native of Floyd, Haden and his wife now live in the house he was raised in, where his parents, Donna Polseno and Rick Hensley, still maintain their pottery studio & galleries as members of Floyd’s 16 Hands art collective.

Luke Staengl – Vice President Alternative fuels and recycling expert

Luke is the world-wide president & CEO of PESCO-BEAM Pvt. Ltd. (India) and PESCO-BEAM Environmental Solutions Inc., an international Virginia-based company in the field of skid-mounted solvent recovery systems. PESCO systems are recycling everything from acetone to xylene to motor oil, in locations ranging from Virginia to Australia. He also co-founded the Bio-based Materials Center at Virginia Polytechnic Institute with Dr. Wolfgang Glasser. And he helped found and served as president of the Virginia Ethanol Association for eight years.

Andrew J. Morikawa – Treasurer Community activist and nonprofit leader

Andy served as executive director of the Community Foundation of the New River Valley, from 1997-2010, leaving a legacy focused on building the capacity of NRV nonprofits to respond to increasing and evolving needs. Upon his retirement from the CFNRV in 2010, he was awarded the designation of Executive Director Emeritus by the Board of Directors. He is a founding board member of the New Mountain Climbers Giving Circle, the NRV Change Network Giving Circle, Community Group, Free Clinic of the New River Valley, New River Valley Habitat for Humanity, Community Sentencing Program of the NRV, and World SHARE (Self Help And Resource Exchange), a self-funding nonprofit. He also served as CEO of New River Community Action and World SHARE.

Fred First – Secretary Author, photographer and biologist

Fred gives voice to the beauty of Floyd. His two books, A Slow Road Home and What We Hold in Our Hands have received acclaim. He has aired more than 30 NPR radio essays and written regular columns for two local papers. His photographs appear widely in such publications as Blue Ridge Country, Appalachian Voice and his photo-blog, Fragments from Floyd. He is a past board member of the Jacksonville Center for the Arts and participates in a number of committees related to tourism and natural resource use in Floyd. He has also served as associate professor of biology at Wytheville Community College, then as a physical therapist before turning to a writing career.

Jayn AveryJayn Avery Artisan, educator, volunteer

Jayn Avery lives in Floyd, Virginia, as a part of Zephyr, an intentional community located a mile off the Blue Ridge Parkway. She has been making pottery for over 35 years, initially selling at craft shows and now markets her work online through Blue Heron Pottery and Etsy, at several craft stores and the Taubman Museum, and has a weekly booth at the Roanoke Farmer’s Market. Her lace-impressed slabwork pottery has an individual appeal that is both distinctly Appalachian craft and creatively unique.

Jayn was one of the early volunteers and a board member of the Jacksonville Center for the Arts, helping clean up the old barn that became the Center and developing the exhibit space to honor the work of local artisans. She has also worked a few nights a week as an Adult Education instructor in Floyd, helping students with ages ranging from 18-67 get their GED.

William BellWilliam Bell Photographer

Bill has lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains most of his life, and has made his living photographing the ridge and valley country of Virginia and North Carolina for 25 years. His work is a celebration of the beauty of our area, and documents the changes it is experiencing. He and his wife, Joanne, own the Bell Gallery, just steps from the Floyd stoplight, showcasing their own work as well as many other local artists.

Since attending his first Earth Day in 1970, Bill has continued to study issues related to sustainability, economy, ecology, and societal change. He has lived in Floyd since 1974, when he moved here to help found an alternative community, growing organic produce and high-bush blueberries, and living in an off-the-grid cabin in the woods. Bill and Joanne continue to grow much of their own food, and live close to the earth.

Rick BrownRicardo Brown Outdoor enthusiast and environmentalist

Ricardo’s passions run the gamut from cycling to organic gardening to climbing trees to playing his Spanish-built guitar. A former designer of electronic circuits/systems, he now focuses his attention on renewable energy as the owner of SolShine Energy Alternatives, designing and building portable photovoltaic generators, and installing small-scale solar electric systems for home and business.

He and his wife, Christy Pugh, live in a 300 sq foot PV-powered home that they designed and built. One of the many reasons Rick and Christy moved to Floyd was to pursue living a radically simplified, rural life by developing a small footprint homestead. Rick’s larger goal is to promote, as author/educator Jim Merkel states, “Small footprints on a finite Earth.”

Jackie Crenshaw Environmentalist and entrepreneur

Jackie is co-owner, with her husband, Woody, of Crenshaw Lighting Company and The Floyd Country Store. She has been a long-time advocate of environmental stewardship, teaching environmental studies and serving with conservation organizations. Currently Jackie is a board member of The Community Foundation of the New River Valley and The Floyd Fund.

She lives with Woody in a passive solar cabin near the Blue Ridge Parkway where she delights in tending her flower garden.

Woody Crenshaw Craftsman and entrepreneur

Woody is the owner of Crenshaw Lighting, a nationally-known custom chandelier studio; owner of the Floyd Country Store; and a restorer of historic buildings. For many years, he has been an advocate for the creative economy of Southwest Virginia. He is the current and founding president of ‘Round the Mountain, Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network; vice-president of The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail; and vice-chairman of the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Commission.

A 24-year resident of Floyd County, he lives with his wife, Jackie, in a passive solar cabin he built near the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Jerry Moles Natural resource management and watershed specialist

Jerry has forty years of experience in community-based natural resources management. He introduced Landcare to the U.S. and to Virginia’s New River Valley to improve farm incomes, protect water resources, and conserve native biodiversity. He is a founding board member of New River Land Trust, Blue Ridge Forest Cooperative, and the New River Roundtable. Jerry holds a doctorate in anthropology (Cultural Ecology) from Stanford University and taught at the Davis and Berkeley campuses of the University of California, Stanford University, and Pomona College.

Becky Bailey PomponioCommunicator, Journalist, Activist

As an award-winning news correspondent for the Mutual Broadcasting System, the NBC Radio Network and Voice of America, Becky was heard nationally for more than 20 years as a radio anchor, reporter and talk show host. She then took her media skills to Capitol Hill in Washington D.C, serving as Press Secretary to Congresswoman Louise Slaughter of New York and as Communications Director for Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland. Later, as Director of Public Affairs for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and then the United States Mint, Becky was responsible for the high media and public profile of these large Federal agencies. Retired now, Becky Bailey Pomponio has helped SustainFloyd develop its media outreach.  She also is an activist for Project Coyote, a national organization that educates communities on coexistence with America’s native “song dog.”

Gibby headshot Gibby Waitzkin Artist, papermaker and photographer

Gibby works with natural fibers and botanical objects in a recently built “green gallery and studio,” creating pieces that express a deep commitment to the land and community. She is a board member of ‘Round the Mountain and Clean Air Cool Planet, an organization delivering solutions for climate change. She is also founder and president of Gibson Creative, an award-winning design and communications studio in Washington, D.C. Her work included campaigns for environmental, women, health care and arts organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund’s Climate Campaign; Gore for President 2000 identity; Pew Center on Climate Change; and AT&T Technology Center. She also has served as a consultant on housing, energy, food and health care with the White House Office of Consumer Affairs and served as Deputy Director for Consumer Affairs with USDA.

Billy Weitzenfeld – Green construction and energy conservation expert

Billy is the executive director of the Association of Energy Conservation Professionals (AECP), a non-profit energy education and advocacy organization. He served as weatherization director for New River Community Action for 10 years, with extensive experience in weatherization, energy education, training, legislative advocacy, fundraising, non-profit management and program and policy development. Billy is also a certified home energy rater, and licensed as a master in heating, ventilation, and air -conditioning (HVAC).