Ms. Picking mans the SMLA office three times per week, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 am to 5 pm. On Monday and Friday an SMLA volunteer mans the office and can relay messages to Ms. Picking or one of the Board members. Feel free to stop by and ask questions!
Board of Directors
John Rupnik – President: John retired from two separate careers – first from the U.S. Navy and then from the environmental services industry. John served with Oceanographic Unit 2 aboard USNS Dutton charting the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. He transition to Naval aviation and spend a majority of his career flying the P-3 Orion hunting submarines during the Cold War. His final assignment was as Deputy Director, Advanced Technology Demonstrations Program for the Chief of Naval Research. Retiring in 1992, John commenced his second career managing environmental research, development and demonstration programs for the Department of Defense. His degrees in Physics/Environmental Science and Systems Management/R&D supported this transition. John and his wife Patsy purchased their residence in Cedar Key Estates in 1992, vacationing with their two children, and have lived here full-time since 2013. He currently serves as Secretary on the Cedar Key Estates Association Board of Directors. He currently is the Treasurer for SMLA and a member on the SMLA Executive Committee. John is an active volunteer monitor of 3 sites within the water monitoring program, and he also helped launch the SMLA website. John promotes impacting SMLA initiatives within our neighborhoods that contribute to retaining SML’s natural beauty.
Bob Hastings – Vice President: Bob retired from a 38 year career in healthcare in February of 2018. Thirty of those years were spent in the pharmaceutical industry with Allergan and GSK where he worked in varying leadership roles that spanned across sales, managed care, training and marketing. Most recently, he served in the healthcare services side of the pharmaceutical business as a VP of Marketing for TrialCard Inc., a provider of patient access resources for the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, an interesting position as it provided him with the opportunity to become involved in M&A as well as supporting the growth of a privately owned small business. Moving to the lake as a full time resident in 2018, he and his wife Pam enjoy boating, gardening and leisurely dinners with friends. With 3 sons and 3 grandkids (so far), they enjoy their family time but absolutely love the time they have with their grandchildren. Bob is an avid bicyclist and really enjoys hiking our local mountains and swimming in our beautiful lake. As a full time resident of Smith Mountain Lake, he is taken aback every day by the natural beauty that we are fortunate enough to live around. He feels strongly that we all have a responsibility to protect what is obviously a blessing.
Gail Phipps – Corporate Secretary began her career as a certified data systems analyst and crypto-mathematician with the National Security Agency. Her prior experience includes responsibility for engineering, design, integration, and implementation of network-centric architectures and migrating client enterprises to more powerful and open environments as well as profit and loss, business development and operations management. Her clients have been mainly in the Federal Government. Gail started her own consulting firm, RGP 1 LLC, after retiring from CACI in November 2008. She is consulting with major and specialized corporations involved in homeland security, justice & law enforcement, and the intelligence community. She co-founded a strategic planning and corporate development consulting organization named Phipps, Miller, and Associates (PM&A). She also joined White Peak Capital as a senior consultant to support their clients as they go through the M&A process. Gail joined CACI in 1999 as Executive Vice President of the DOJ sector. Ms. Phipps provides more than 35 years of experience and demonstrated success in support of growth strategies, transitions to new lines of business, and providing new technologies to clients.
Kelly Drinkard – Treasurer: Her grandfather built a home on the beautiful shores of SML in 1963. He knew then what we know now; that this stunning lake is not only our most precious resource, but it is also the crown jewel of the Blue Ridge. Enjoying every summer here in her youth, Kelly has fond memories of waking at dawn to meet the best water-skiing conditions and has always held a firm belief that preserving this precious treasure is critical. Following ten years serving a 501 (c)(3) in Lynchburg, Kelly moved to the lake full-time in 2012 wearing many hats in our community. She is a Certified Manager of Community Associations, a Realtor ® with Lake Retreat Properties, manages Waller’s restaurant during the season and plays in a local band. Kelly has 15 years of accounting and bookkeeping experience and has worked with and for multiple boards during this time. She feels we all have a duty to serve our community and looks forward to assisting the SMLA in its mission.
Chris Bechtler: Chris has a strong maritime background, having retired after 23 years of service in the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard. Among his assignments were the aircraft carrier USS America, the Coast Guard Cutter Kennebec, several Multi-Mission Stations performing Search and Rescue, Recreational Boating Safety and Law Enforcement, aids to Navigation teams and the Office of Marine Safety. His final duty assignment was as Chief of Police at the Coast Guard Yard. After retiring he took a job managing two private membership boat club locations before working for an oil spill recovery organization, then as dock master at Old North State Marina, another McConnell Golf Property. When McConnell Vacation Properties purchased Crazy Horse Marina, he was promoted to Director of Marine Operation for McConnell Golf and tasked with making repairs to this once great property. For the past six years he has been restoring Crazy Horse Marina and the old campground property. He is a past member of the board of the Smith Mountain Lake Boating Association and currently serves on the Water Safety Council and the TLAC Navigation Committee.
Victor Clarke: Victor is the Owner of Clarke, Inc., a marketing firm and provides support to all SMLA marketing efforts. He currently is a High School Football Official 1984 to present, and he has been member of the Printing Industries of Virginia, Board of Directors 2001 to 2008; High School Lacrosse Official 1989 to 2015; Forest Youth Athletic Association Board of Directors, 2004 to 2010; President, Forest Youth Athletic Association, 2006 to 2010; and Forest Lacrosse Club Board of Directors 2010-2012. He is a graduate of The College of William and Mary with a BA Industrial Relations.
Gale Easter: Gale and her husband Sam built a log home in Franklin County in 2003. They retired there, and became full time lake residents in 2012. They own Roanoke River Valley Log Homes and have been SML Chamber of Commerce members since 2005. They have a son who lives in High Point with his wife and their two grandchildren. Taking advantage of 26 years experience in the printing industry, Gale has served as editor of the SMLA newsletter since 2013. She is also an office volunteer, helping man the office when the secretary is not in. Along with Sam, she has previously volunteered with Take Pride/Lake Clean-up, manning the 4-H site, cooking, and serving hot dogs to the volunteers. Gale is interested in learning more about shoreline management, property owners’ rights, buffer landscaping, and whatever else will most benefit SMLA and the lake community.
Tom Hardy: He and his wife moved to Smith Mountain Lake in 2005. After working as an actuary in the insurance industry for 41 years, he retired in 2017. During his career, he managed business units responsible for developing and selling investment products utilized by large pension plan fund managers and money market investment fund managers, both in the US and overseas. More recently, as VP and Chief Risk Officer for the insurance division, he managed the enterprise risk management team which was responsible for building complex mathematical models designed to evaluate capital sufficiency for the spectrum of risks faced by a multi-line international insurance business as well as setting risk guidelines for the various business units. Since retiring, Tom has spent much of his time sailing on the lake, hiking, gardening, and playing tennis. Out of a strong desire to protect this beautiful lake that we are fortunate to be able to enjoy every day, Tom joined the Water Quality Monitoring program in 2017, and he looks forward to becoming more actively involved in the SMLA.
Tom Hofelich: Tom and his wife have been coming to the Lake since 1987. They built a home on the lake in 1991 and used it as a vacation home until retirement in 1995. Tom was controller of the R & D Division of the Westinghouse Electric Corp for five years and was involved in financial planning for the division and the Technologies Group for 15 years. He has an MBA degree as well as an accounting equivalency from major universities. He worked part time for several local businesses as accounting supervisor or office manager, and was the receiving treasurer of Trinity Ecumenical Parish during the first building construction and has served on financial committees as well as doing annual audits. He has also audited the books for several local organizations. He served as the Treasurer of the SML Association for five years and has served as Assistant Treasurer for the past three years. He also volunteers to do taxes for several nonprofit organizations and has a separate tax business which has been in existence for several years. Tom believes in the very important services of this organization.
Brian Key: Brian grew up in the Roanoke Valley and spent most of his weekends at the Lake with a friend in his home in Indian Ridge. He worked for AEP for the summer of 1992, between junior and senior year of college, working on the skimmer boat to remove debris from the Lake. He is a registered professional engineer who graduated from Old Dominion University in 1993 and worked for Anderson & Associates as an engineering consultant from 1993 until 2000. He went to work for the Bedford County Public Service Authority in 2000 and worked there until they consolidated into the Bedford Regional Water Authority (BRWA) in July 2013. He currently serves at the BRWA’s Executive Director. In his spare time, Brian enjoys home improvement projects, landscaping, woodworking, residential farming, and spending time with his wife and 3 children.
Patrick Massa: Pat is a current SMLA Board Member; Chair SML Water Safety Council; Retired College Professor (41 years); Chair, Education Department; College Athletic Coach (26 years); Water Safety Instructor Trainer; Lifeguard Training Instructor; Aquatics Director (41 years); Certified Pool Operator Instructor, Aquatic Facility Operator Instructor, Hunter Education Instructor, NRA Firearms Instructor, Open Water Lifeguard, Certified SCUBA Diver; He has owned a home at the lake for 10 years and has been here full-time since June, 2012 (Montego Bay). Pat is married to Donna, and they have three children and six grandchildren.
Michael McCord: Mike retired from IBM in 2010 after a highly successful 32 year career in multiple technical, international, executive management and customer facing roles. Mike and his wife Gail moved to Smith Mountain Lake in 2011. Mike has stayed extremely active as the Windtree HOA President, supporting the Children’s Assistive Technology Service (CATS) charity, the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop and as a SMLA water quality monitor for six years. Mike took over as the Director of Water Quality Monitoring (WQM) in 2018. In his free time, Mike enjoys woodworking, hiking, boating, sitting on the dock socializing with neighbors and visiting his 2 grown daughters Jennifer and Kelly.
George Morrison retired from UPS after 37 years of service, beginning part-time and progressing through the ranks as a part-time supervisor, full-time supervisor, manager, and staff-level manager. Experience and reassignments included inside operations, personnel, industrial engineering, hub operations, delivery operations, and numerous special projects, later promoted to district HR manager Philadelphia Air District, where he doubled the facility workforce, becoming region workforce planning, training, and development manager of the East Central region. He is a past-president and current board member of the Rotary Club of SML foundation. He is an active TPSML Lake-Cleanup and other club projects. He joined the board of the Charity Home Tour 2012, serving as a traffic chair four years and becoming board chair in 2016. He is a member of the Outlaw Cruisers Car Club in Rocky Mount and Lake Pipes Club of SML allowing him to enjoy his passion for antique and collectible automobiles. Their existing home was completed in 2006 and they became full-time residents in 2011. He enjoys time with his wife, anything automotive, helping in the community and giving back to those who have not had the same luck nor opportunities that came his way. He enjoys living at the lake and thinks it’s a blast having a 22,000-acre pond in his back yard!
Doug Pafford: Doug and his wife moved to Smith Mountain Lake upon his retirement from the Central Intelligence Agency in 1994 and immediately became involved in numerous community activities including: SML Charity Home Tour, Franklin County Master Gardeners – class of 1996, Smith Mountain Lions Club, Franklin County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), Trinity Ecumenical Parish, Katrina Relief, Tri-County Lake Administrative Committee (TLAC) Environmental Subcommittee, and SMLA Aquatic Weed Monitoring Program. Currently, he is very much involved in the SMLA/TLAC activities. He has been involved in the invasive aquatic weed monitoring activities since its inception as the co-chairman and chairman. As chairman, he is a member of the TLAC Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Committee that makes recommendations to the TLAC Board of Directors on the identification and control of invasive aquatic vegetation in Smith Mountain Lake.
Tara Poelzing: She works as an Outreach Educator and Public Relations Specialist for the Western Virginia Water Authority (WVWA), a water and wastewater utility serving 180,000 customers in the Roanoke region and Botetourt and Franklin Counties. She enjoys recreating at SML with her family and friends and learning about the work that is done for Lake health both at her work and as a representative WVWA attendee at the SMLA Annual Meetings. She serves as the secretary for Blue Ridge Environmental Educators, a regional team of the Virginia Association for Environmental Educators (VAEE). She also serves on the Certifying Advisory Board for the development of a statewide Environmental Education Certification program. With a BS in Education from Wright State University and an MS in Parks, Recreation & Tourism with an emphasis in Environmental Interpretation from the University of Utah, she has worked and served in a number of capacities in Ohio, Utah, and now Virginia including riparian restoration and community building projects in Salt Lake City and an education program with WVWA that serves every 6th grader in Franklin County. Tara lives in Roanoke with her husband and two sons, and she is passionate about connecting people with their natural world.
Charles Sinex: Prior to retiring and moving to Smith Mountain Lake in 2010, Chuck worked at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory on a wide variety of projects for the US Navy and other US Government agencies, spanning from 1970 to 2010. Projects involved data collection and analysis, development and use of physical models, and the use of decision analysis. He also worked in the area of oceanography from 1980 to 1996, with a focus on describing the oceanographic characteristics of US Navy operating areas. He led an environmental group of 17 scientists and technicians whose activities included the design, conduct and analysis of environmental data from US Navy experiments. Chuck was also responsible for the design of open ocean survey requirements for the US Naval Oceanographic Office and analysis of the resulting data. Chuck has a BS in Physics and a PhD in Nuclear Physics both from Rice University. Chuck has served on the Smith Mountain Lake Association Board of Directors since 2015. During that time, he served on the Water Management Committee and assisted in the analysis that showed the major factors controlling lake level in the summer/fall were summer rainfall and winter groundwater recharge. He co-authored the report that was submitted to AEP containing several recommendations from the Association that could help alleviate future low lake levels.
Lorie Smith: Lorie and her family have lived at SML for three years and consider it to be a privilege to live here. She has been married for 34 years and have two children. Currently, she is the President of SMLA and the SMLA POC for Lake Cleanup. She had been Vice-President and worked on the Partners’ Program that encourages business participation in the mission of SMLA. Lorie is also President of Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Inc., a non-profit that provides services to individuals ages 60 and older enabling them to stay in their homes as long as is practical. She has served on the 2015 Board of Directors for the SML Charity Home Tour, working on strategic planning and the Advisory Committee and is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of Valley Program for Aging Services in the Shenandoah Valley. She is a member of Trinity Ecumenical Parish. Prior to moving to the lake, she was in elected capacities on Waynesboro City Council and Waynesboro School Board. Lorie considers it to be an honor to serve my community. Her work on the SMLA Board of Directors has given her opportunities to learn a great deal about the health and welfare of the lake. It is her desire to continue her service and advocacy for the protection of one of our most valuable resources!
David Smitherman: David has more than 20 years of experience working in the local government industry as both an in-service manager and as a consultant. David previously served as County Manager in Lee, Onslow and Hyde Counties (NC) and Town Manager of Elizabethtown (NC). David’s approach to management and leadership is inclusive, dynamic and forward-looking. He holds a BS in Political Science from Appalachian State University and graduate degrees from UNC-Wilmington (MPA) and Wake Forest University (MBA). He also received a certificate in Executive Leadership from UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Government (Public Executive Leadership Academy). David’s professional interests include organizational and employee development, improving government service delivery and
creating positive citizen/government interactions. An entrepreneur, he founded a management consulting firm that provides strategic planning, business development and executive staffing services to a diverse set of professional organizations. David also founded a software services company to improve public sector transparency and efficiency. He is currently, or has participated in, Boy Scouts, Rotary International, the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership, The Shalom Project, Creative Corridors Coalition, and many others. David and his wife Amy live in Winston-Salem, NC and have four children. The family enjoys traveling and playing golf together.
Randy Stow: Randy earned a BS in Engineering Science from Florida State University and deployed in the US Navy as a Line Officer. He retired from Caterpillar in 2008 and moved full time to Smith Mountain Lake. Randy joined the United States Power Squadron in 2007 with the intent of focusing on Boater Safety. He became a certified boating instructor for both the USPS and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. He has served as the Commander of the Smith Mountain Lake Sail & Power Squadron and the District Commander over 31 squadrons in 5 states. He earned a Masters license from the USCG to increase credentials for boating instruction and to gain increased flexibility in on-the-water training opportunities, and is also a towing and salvage captain for SeaTow on SML. Randy was Chairman of the Smith Mountain Lake Water Safety Council from 2010 to 2013, SMLA President from 2013 to 2014 and has remained on the Board of Directors. Additionally he serves on the boards of the Upper Roanoke River Roundtable, Tri-County Lakes Administrative Commission, and the Roanoke River Basin Advisory Committee.
Edgar Tuck: Edgar is a lifelong resident of the Smith Mountain Lake Community and the 4th generation operating family farm in Moneta. He served as a Mortgage Loan Specialist for Suntrust Bank having 30 years of banking experience. He now serves in his 1st term on the Bedford County Board of Supervisors, representing District 2, which covers a majority of the Bedford side of lake. Edgar is married to Alison Tuck, who is a pharmacist with Roanoke Memorial Hospital. They have three children: Aaron, who works at Interstate Batteries in Salem; Davis, who is currently serving in US Army; and Laura Lee, a freshman at Staunton River High School. Their family attends Eastlake Community Church. Edgard received his BBA from James Madison University with a major in business management, concentration in human resources.
Committee Chairs and Contact Information:
Lake Cleanup: John Rupnik; (703) 201-9088; email@example.com
Lake Council: vacant
Marketing: Victor Clarke; 434-847-5561; Victor@bebetterdomore.com
Membership: Gale Easter; 540-420-0338; firstname.lastname@example.org
Save Our Streams: Geoff Orth; email@example.com
Vessel Pumpout: Randy Stow; 540-588-0270; Stowbase@gmail.com
Water Level Monitoring: Chuck Sinex; 540-719-2125; firstname.lastname@example.org
Water Quality Monitoring: Michael McCord; 540-488-2646; email@example.com
Water Safety Council: Pat Massa; 717-870-1276; firstname.lastname@example.org
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