Our Board

Become involved in KWA’s organization development and strategic direction.

KWA Officers

Gordon Garner, President

Gordon is a registered Professional Engineer in Kentucky and Arizona. Gordon received both bachelors and masters degrees in civil engineering from the University of Kentucky. He was formerly Executive Director of the Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District. He is an advocate for the watershed approach to clean water, and believes KWA is the most effective voice for protecting and improving our streams, lakes and rivers in Kentucky. He believes that climate change and natural resource exploitation are the greatest threats we currently face to protect and preserve our water resources.

Pamla Wood, Treasurer

Pam has been a member with KWA since its infancy, serving intermittently as a board member and occasional contractor. She moved to Kentucky after two years at Boston University, graduating from UK with a BS in Agronomy. Pamla has worked with nonprofits since 1974, alongside her career in federal and state government. Although natural resource management has been her primary focus, with water in particular, she also has decades of nonprofit planning and management experience. She is best known for her group facilitation skills, but provides services in all aspects of organizational development, program management, and accounting. In “retirement,” she continues her consulting activities, intensively studies modern and classical dance, and raises sheep and goats on a farm in Mercer County.

Hugh Archer, Secretary

Hugh has served as board Secretary since 2006. He helped establish the Kentucky River Watershed Watch, serves on the board for the Kentucky Conservation Committee, the Kentucky Woodland Owners Association, the Pine Mountain Settlement School, the Kentucky Heritage Fund Board and serves as Executive Director of the Kentucky Natural Lands Trust. Hugh is an attorney who began his natural resources career as Director of The Nature Conservancy, and has worked in both the public and private sector. Some of his positions include Commissioner of Kentucky’s Department for Natural Resources, Executive Director of the Kentucky River Authority, Commissioner of the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, and General Counsel/Executive Consultant at PlanGraphics.

Bev Juett, Immediate Past-President

Bev has worked at Midway College as an Assistant Professor of Biology for over 25 years. Her graduate degrees are from Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky.  Her love of water and nature came early from growing up on a farm in Clark County, Kentucky.  She served KWA as a Basin Delegate for the Kentucky River for several years and as Treasurer before being elected as President in 2008.  She currently serves on the Executive Committee as the Immediate Past President. Bev is passionate about the power of education and teaching people of all ages about the issues concerning water in Kentucky and our global environment.

Board Members

John Niland, Licking River Basin

John is a retired attorney. He moved to Kentucky in 1984 and served as Director of the Clean Hart County Commission and Chairman of the county’s Solid Waste Management District. He collected, analyzed and reported on water samples from Hart County’s streams, creeks and rivers. In 1998, he began serving Kentucky’s Department of Public Advocacy as manager of its western region. In 2000 he returned to Texas and became Director of the Capital Trial Project for Texas Defender Service (TDS).  He returned to Kentucky in 2011 and became a member of KWA. His professional awards include the Robert Louis Cohen Award from the New York Criminal Defense Lawyers, Atticus Finch Award from the Center for American and International Law and Texas Monthly’s Super Lawyer (2005).

Scott VanderPloeg, Lower Green River (below Woodbury Dam)

Scott is a professor of English at Madisonville Community College, where he is the English Department Coordinator, and Coordinator for Global Studies and International Awareness.  He received the Acorn Award for top teaching at the collegiate level in the state in 2009.  He became engaged in water issues in the late ‘80s when Hopkins Co. sought to open a 100-acre municipal landfill.  He volunteered with KFTC for several years, and then became Chair of the Steering Committee of the Tradewater/Lower Green Rivers Watershed Watch.  He has served on the Interbasin Coordinating Committee, and is involved in several Sierra Club and ‘green’ activities.  He is an advisor to the XH Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year schools, which also encourages an “Operation Green” initiative.  He is currently teaching a course in Peace Studies and a writing/research course that focuses on sustainability issues.

Tom Vierheller, Big Sandy River (includes Little Sandy and Tygarts Creek)

Tom has served as KWA President, on the Executive Committee as Immediate Past President, and as the Big Sandy River Basin Representative in recent years. Tom teaches biology at Big Sandy Community and Technical College. Tom  serves on the advisory board of the East Kentucky Science Center.  In addition, he has offered numerous water quality programs to both youth and adults in the Big Sandy region.  For recreation, Tom enjoys time in his kayak on Dewy Lake and the Big Sandy River.

Bob Johnson, Jackson Purchase

Bob has served as either a basin representative or the Governing Council Treasurer for a number of years. He has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and a minor in Political Science from Murray State University. Currently, Bob serves as the grant specialist for NonProfit Dynamics, Inc., providing technical assistance in project development, grant writing, and grant management.

Kay Harker

Kay worked in the Department for Environmental Protection from January of 1985 until her retirement in 2007.  She worked in the Division of Waste Management, Division of Water and Commissioner’s office.  Prior to working in the Department for environmental protection, she taught high school in Kentucky, Florida, and Michigan, worked on a dude ranch in Arizona.  She received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in biology from Austin Peay State University and did post graduate work in ecology at the University of Kentucky.  She grew up on a large family farm in Tennessee and in retirement lives on a small farm in Franklin County.

Her retirement activities include birding, reading, rescuing standard poodles, spoiling her three grandchildren and working on environmental issues.

Emeritus Board Member

Frank Elsen