About ’Round the Mountain

Who We Are

Staff

Melissa Mullins

Program Manager, Cultural Heritage Initiatives


Melissa Mullins is the newest addition to Friends of Southwest Virginia and ‘Round the Mountain. Originally from Bristol, TN, she has spent the last 3 years in Washington, DC with the National Archives and more recently with the United States Navy. Melissa has worked primarily in community outreach and is joining us as our Program Manager of Cultural Heritage Initiatives. Melissa studied History and Spanish at Centre College in Kentucky and later earned her Master of Arts in Museum Studies at Johns Hopkins University. She helped develop the education and outreach programs at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY before moving to Washington. In her free time, she enjoys independent movies, playing videogames, and exploring the outdoors with her dog, Dolly Parton. She is thrilled be back home and to help promote the beautiful region of Southwest Virginia.

Contact Information

(276) 492-2410

Board of Directors

Board Officers
Content

Ellen Reynolds

President


Ellen Reynolds owns Beagle Ridge Herb Farm and Environmental Education Center south of Wytheville Va. Beagle Ridge is a 160 acre retreat, display gardens, 4 miles of trails, a tea room, a shop where she sells her herbal products and Flying Flowers; Southwest VA’s only walk through Butterfly house. As a juried artisan at Heartwood, Ellen has been involved with the Wythe Artisan Trail and RTM since their inception. As a Master Gardener since 1991 and a Master Naturalist since 2006, Ellen provides a wide variety of programs for all ages in various artistic topics and all facets of the natural world. Her passion has led her to create Kids Grow in the Garden, a curriculum which is correlated to the VA SOLs. Working through a grant, Ellen provides bi monthly visits to 3-5 graders in Wythe and Bland counties implementing school gardens and nature trails.

Organization

Beagle Ridge Herb Farm

Term

3 Year term; expires 2018

Contact Information

P.O. Box 419
Wytheville, VA 24382
(276) 621-4500

Sarah Romeo

Secretary


Sarah Romeo is the founding director of Appalachian Arts Center, which was established in 2006 with the idea of creating a space where the unique mountain culture of the region, as manifested in its arts: (craft, fine art, music, dance, storytelling & writing) is celebrated, preserved and promoted. The Arts Center serves as a cultural hub where members of the community can routinely gather for rotating exhibitions, presentations, workshops and performances- and in so doing- gain insight into the creative process, connect with one another, share and carry forward traditions, and discover opportunity through education. The retail gallery provides handcrafted, locally made goods (created by over 230 artisans) for those seeking a shopping experience with soul. Sarah has worked as a Trails Development Coordinator with ‘Round the Mountain, has taught art and photography classes through Upward Bound (a program that encourages high school students to pursue higher education) and through Southwest Virginia Community College. A creative person herself, she enjoys working with others who believe that the Arts can have a transformative effect on individuals, communities and local economies.

Organization

Appalachian Arts Center

Term

3 Year term; expires 2019

Contact Information

P. O. Box SVCC
Richlands, VA 24641
(276) 596-9188
Board Members

Diane Akers

Treasurer


Diane Akers is the President of The Blacksburg Partnership, a non-profit, independent economic development organization serving the Town of Blacksburg. The organization’s purpose is to bolster the vitality of Blacksburg through projects that attract visitors and retail prospects. Diane received her B.A. in Business Management from Mary Baldwin College and her M.A.L.S. in Economics from Hollins University. In her free time, she loves being outdoors – gardening, biking and hiking.

Organization

The Blacksburg Partnership

Term

3 Year term; expires 2018

Contact Information

506 S. Main Street
Blacksburg, VA 24060
(540) 443-2008

Austin Bradley

Vice President


Austin Bradley is Superintendent of the Breaks Interstate Park, sections of which are located in Buchanan and Dickenson County, Virginia as well as Pike County, Kentucky. He and his wife Angela, live with their two children on park property in Dickenson County. Austin is an avid outdoorsman, and when not on duty at the park can often be found bow hunting or taking his son and daughter fishing. Working at the Breaks has provided him with the opportunity to engage with many individuals and organizations involved in efforts to diversify the regional economy, and he is excited to see the focus shifting toward promotion of the rich cultural and natural resources which make our area so unique.

Organization

Breaks Interstate Park

Term

3 Year term; expires 2018

Contact Information

627 Commission Circle
Breaks, VA 24607
(276) 210-4655

Terry Clark


Terry A. Clark lives in Troutdale and is a retired mail carrier who spent 35 years creating custom furniture and now is an accomplished woodturner. As owner and operator of Three Peaks Crafts, Terry takes great pride in the fact that he takes his work “from the stump to the finished product” as he harvests all the wood he uses in his shop in Grayson County. In addition to his seat on the RTM board, Terry is a board member of the Holston Mountain Artisans in Abingdon and founding member of the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts in Galax.Terry is also a juried member of Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway in Abingdon, a trail site along the Artisan Trails of Southwest Virginia, and a founding member of Grayson Artisans in Grayson County.

Organization

Three Peaks Crafts

Term

3 Year term; expires 2019

Contact Information

9399 Troutdale Hwy.
Troutdale, VA 24378
(276) 579-6061

Jean Condon


Jean Condon lives in Washington County. She moved to Southwest Virginia a few years ago from Illinois and where she pursues her passions as an artist – quilter, seamstress, gardener, and herbalist. She’s a juried member of ‘Round the Mountain, and her quilted textiles are sold in the Heartwood galleries. Quite different from her current pursuits, Jean’s formal training equipped her for careers as a social worker, paralegal, teacher, and developmental therapist.

Organization

RTM Artisan Member

Term

3 Year term; expires 2017

Contact Information

19011 Sterling Drive
Abingdon, VA 24210
(276) 628-1413

Deborah Cooney


Deborah Cooney graduated from Old Dominion University with a B.A. in advertising. Her work in the hospitality industry includes the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce and she has been Director of Tourism with the City of Radford since 2008. In addition to ‘Round the Mountain, she is also a board member of the The Crooked Road. Deborah enjoys photography, music and relaxing with her family

Organization

Radford Visitor's Center

Term

3 Year term; expires 2017

Contact Information

600 Unruh Drive
Radford, VA 24141
(540) 267-3153

Rachel Fowlkes


Founding Executive Director of the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center (retired)

Term

3 Year term; expires 2019

Contact Information

131 East Main Street
Abingdon, VA 24210
(276) 628-6087

Paul Harris


Paul Harris is a native Arkansan who came to Virginia in 1990 and simply never left. He is a stained glass artisan and a Juried Member of `Round the Mountain. In 2006 Paul retired from Radford University after a thirty -six year career in higher education. He holds a doctoral degree from Texas A & M University-Commerce and, over the years, has served Radford Community in a variety of capacities. He is an active Rotarian and is Past Assistant Governor of District 7570 of Rotary International. With his wife, Hilda, Paul lives and works at “5 Points,” their home on Claytor Lake in Pulaski County.

Organization

5 Points Studio

Term

3 Year term; expires 2018

Contact Information

Post Office Box 368
Radford, VA 24143
(540) 633-1505

Amanda Parris


Amanda Parris is Tourism Relations Manager for Carroll County, Virginia as well as an equine dentist and an avid horsewoman. In addition to her passion for promoting the many historical, cultural, and recreational treasures Carroll County has to offer, Amanda is involved in a number of organizations including Devils Den Nature Preserve, Virginia Horse Council, Carroll County Agricultural Fair Commission. Amanda also enjoys the outdoors and especially anything to do with horses.

Organization

Carroll County

Term

3 Year term; expires 2018

Contact Information

235 Farmers Market Drive
Hillsville, VA 24343
(276) 730-3100

Catherine Poole


Catherine Poole is the first executive director of The Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts (“The Henderson”). The mission of The Henderson is to preserve, promote and share the culture and heritage of our Southern Appalachian Mountains. Educated as a graphic designer, Catherine Poole, taught color theory and graphic design for more that fifteen years, including nine years at the University of Notre Dame. Catherine became a distinguished pioneer in color theory and the integral role color plays in our emotions and behavior. This research led to Catherine being dubbed, “The Queen of Color” and she remains well respected in the medical, corporate, and educational communities throughout the United States and Europe. Catherine serves on the grants review panel for The Virginia Commission for the Arts, is a member of The Appalachian Spirit Gallery, The Art League of Marion, Virginia, and serves on the steering committee for Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. She is a “Community Sparkplug” in conjunction with the Rensselaerville Institute of New York and Emory & Henry College.

Organization

The Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts

Term

3 Year term; expires 2018

Contact Information

203 North Church Street
Marion, VA 24354
(276) 378-5028

Shaun Rai


Shaun is a Vice President and Loan Officer at Virginia Community Capital (VCC), a statewide community development financial institution (CDFI) in Virginia. With over 20 years of banking experience, Shaun joined VCC in 2009. His experience includes retail banking, commercial lending, financial management and reporting, and more recently, community and economic development finance. As a loan officer, Shaun works with developers, municipalities, economic development professionals, small business owners, and banking partners to bring capital to projects that support job growth, affordable housing and mixed-use development. Shaun is a graduate of the University of Durban-Westville in South Africa and a Certified Banking Professional graduate from the Institute of Bankers in South Africa. He also holds a Diploma in Financial Management from the Durban Institute of Technology. He currently serves on the boards of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Habitat for Humanity of the NRV and the Montgomery Regional Economic Development Commission. He currently resides in Blacksburg.

Organization

Virginia Community Capital

Term

3 Year term; expires 2019

Contact Information

110 Peppers Ferry Road, NW
Christiansburg, VA 24073
(270) 260-3507

Lou Wallace


Lou Wallace is a native of Russell County and is the owner of Design Printers, an advertising and design company in St Paul, Virginia. Lou served on the St Paul Town Council and was a founding member and chair of St Paul Tomorrow, Inc. Through her leadership the organization established a community vision and has successfully set strategic goals and actions steps to meet that vision. Lou has served on the Clinch Valley Soil and Water Conservation District Board; the Virginia State Water Control board and is currently serving on the Russell County Board of Supervisors. Additionally Lou serves on the Steering Committee for the Clinch River Valley Initiative (CRVI), a pioneering effort to build local economies in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia.

Organization

Design Printers

Term

3 Year term; expires 2019

Contact Information

16625 Russell Street
St. Paul, VA 24283
(276) 608-0642
Ex Officio Board Members

Jim Baldwin


Jim Baldwin is Executive Director of the Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission based in Lebanon and serving Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell and Tazewell counties. Jim is a native of Honaker, where, nearly thirty years ago, he and his father founded the Honaker Redbud Festival. In addition to being the a past vice-president and current board member of ‘Round the Mountain, Jim is a past president of The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, immediate past president of Appalachian Sustainable Development, President of the Coalfield Water Development Fund, and a commissioner of the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority

Contact Information

Post Office Box 548
Lebanon, VA 24266
(276) 889-1778

Kevin Byrd


Kevin Byrd is Executive Director for the New River Valley Regional Commission, based in Radford and serving Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, and Pulaski counties and the city of Radford. He lives in Montgomery County but grew up in Cary, NC. His wife, Lindsey, grew up on a cattle farm in Russell County; a connection to Southwest Virginia that Kevin thinks will keep him and his family here for many years. Kevin is an avid fly fisherman and is Treasurer of the New River Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited. He believes communities should look holistically at their assets when planning for their future and thinks ‘RTM’s focus on artisans and agritourism is an exciting approach to community vitality.

Organization

New River Valley Regional Commission

Term

Ex-Officio term; expires 2017

Contact Information

6580 Valley Center Drive
Radford, VA
(540) 639-9313

Todd Christensen


Todd Christensen has worked in the field of community development for his entire professional career. He was recently appointed as the first Executive Director of the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation and has taken a leadership role in the development Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway. Todd was the Deputy Director for the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) in Richmond and he has worked extensively in the communities of Southwest Virginia to transform their downtowns into cultural centers and to restructure their economies through entrepreneurial development and a focus on their quality of life.

Contact Information

One Heartwood Circle
Abingdon, VA 24210
(276) 492-2424

Randall Rose


Randall Rose works as Partnership Alliance Marketing - Senior Development Specialist for the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC). Randall assists tourism entrepreneurs, businesses, organizations, and localities with planning and development. He serves as a liaison to the tourism industry and various local, state, and federal agencies. He was a tourism relations manager and supervisor of a Virginia Welcome Center for VTC. He worked at Historic Crab Orchard Museum & Pioneer Park for nearly 16 years, serving as executive director before his departure. Randall is a graduate of Southwest Virginia Community College and Bluefield College. He received certification through the Virginia Travel & Tourism Institute of Virginia Tech and is a certified Travel Marketing Professional (TMP) by the Southeast Tourism Society.

Organization

Virginia Tourism Corporation

Term

Ex-Officio term; expires 2017

Contact Information

305 Canterbury Road
Bluefield, VA 24605-0009
(276) 322-2044

Betsy White


Betsy White is the founding director of William King Museum, retiring in 2008. She served on the formative committees for ‘Round the Mountain and Heartwood and is on the executive committee for the Cultural Heritage Foundation. Active in the museum and cultural community, she is a peer reviewer for the American Association of Museums, a past vice-president of the Virginia Association of Museums and grant reviewer for the Virginia Commission for the Arts. She is the author of Great Road Style: the Decorative Arts Legacy of Southwest Virginia & Northeast Tennessee, published in 2006 by the University of Virginia Press, and Backcountry Makers: An Artisan History of Southwest Virginia & Northeast Tennessee, published in 2013 by the University of Tennessee Press.

Contact Information

125 W. Valley Street
Abingdon, VA 24210
(276) 628-5556