Our People

Ward Wilson, Executive Director  ward@kwalliance.org

Ward Wilson became Executive Director of Kentucky Waterways Alliance in February 2017. Ward previously served as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and has been an active member of KWA for over 20 years. Ward is a Kentucky native, who grew  up in Shelbyville and earned his B.S. in Biology from the University of Kentucky and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Virginia Tech. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in four states and Board Certified by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. Ward has always been fascinated with water and wildlife, enjoying waterways for recreation, serving on nonprofit boards such as the Soil & Water Conservation District, and as an engineer specializing in water quality improvement.

Judy Petersen, Executive Director Emeritus  judy@kwalliance.org


Judith Petersen served as executive director for Kentucky Waterways Alliance from 1997 to 2017 and is still an invaluable resource for the organization as a consultant. Judy is a national leader in clean water policy and respected voice for Kentucky waterways. She holds a B.S in aerospace engineering from Pennsylvania State University


Bijaya Shrestha,  Water Policy Director  bijaya@kwalliance.org

Bijaya Shrestha serves as Water Policy Director for KWA, joining the team in June 2016.  Her passion for environmental protection began as a child growing up in Kathmandu, Nepal, and has continued since immigrating to Kentucky in 1999.  Bijaya received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Louisville and a J.D. from NKU Salmon P. Chase College of Law.  She is licensed to practice law in Kentucky.   


Aaron Sole, Communications Director aaron@kwalliance.org

Aaron Sole joined our team as Communications Director in February of 2016. Originally from Frankfort, Kentucky, Aaron graduated with a B.A from Eastern Kentucky University in Broadcast & Electronic Communications. Aaron has provided graphics arts, communications, and social outreach services for organizations in both the for profit and NPO worlds and will be taking on KWA’s visual design and public outreach needs.


Jessica Kane, Community Engagement Director jessica@kwalliance.org

Jessica jesskaneKane serves as Community Engagement Director, joining the KWA team in September 2012.  Born and raised in Kentucky, she has spent most of her life on Kentucky’s waterways and has a true love and passion for the water.  She comes to KWA after being a stay at home mom of 3 children for 13 years.  Jessica holds a B.S. in Environmental Studies from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL and spearheads community outreach endeavors including river cleanups, membership campaigns and special events for KWA.

Doris Holland, Book Keeper doris@kwalliance.org

Doris SquareDoris serves as Bookkeeper for KWA, joining the team in August 2016. Doris was born and raised in Louisville and has worked with, and volunteered for non-profits businesses for several years. She is committed to keeping the environment clean for future generations and is excited to be a part of Kentucky Waterways Alliance efforts to protect our waterways. Doris attended Bellarmine University and has 25 years of experience in the field of accounting and finance.

Laura Gregory, Red River Watershed Coordinator laura@kwalliance.org

Laura Gregory joined the KWA team as the Red River Watershed Coordinator in May 2017. Born and raised in Denton, TX, Laura attended The University of Texas at Austin, receiving a B.A. in Geography. Since then she has rock climbed, backpacked, biked, worked migrant farm jobs, and played music across the country. She moved to Kentucky in 2009 after falling in love with the people, the place, the music, and the perfect climate for gardening. Laura is also the Coordinator for the Wolfe County, KY Grow Appalachia Program- a non-profit, grant funded, science and education based organic gardening program.

 Mark Howell, Bacon Creek Agricultural Coordinator mark.howell416@gmail.com

mark howell picMark Howell began working with KWA in 2011 as the Agricultural Coordinator for the Bacon Creek project.  In this role, he talks to farmers about Best Management Practices that can benefit their farms as well as Bacon Creek.

A Kentucky farmer since 1979, Mark has spent his career learning about the land.  He has grown tobacco, raised cattle, and now mostly concentrates on alfalfa hay.  He is an elected Supervisor of the LaRue County Conservation District, and he has implemented several agricultural best management practices on his own farm through the years.  He and his wife and their two dogs live near Hodgenville, KY.