Meet the Officers and Board Members

Friends of Gorges State Park, Inc.

Bob Andrews

Retired Deloitte Consulting Principal

Bob retired from Deloitte in 2009 after spending almost all of his 30+ year career in client service. He tackled complex, large-scale, integration programs where the most pressing challenges were often human, not technical, in nature. For a time, Bob served in the human resource function of Deloitte serving its partners, principals, and directors, both domestically and internationally.  Bob and his wife, Micki, live near the Park in Sapphire, North Carolina. Bob is serving as President of the Friends of Gorges State Park.

Dr. Larry Ragsdale

Retired Educator

Larry is a retired professor from Emory University and Brevard College. At Emory he created the first undergraduate program in Human and Natural Ecology. While at Brevard College, he initiated and built an interdisciplinary major in environmental studies, as well as chairing the division of science and mathematics. During his career he was an active researcher concerned with ionizing radiation, air pollution, and trace elements in a variety of natural ecosystems. As a complement to his research and teaching interests, Larry served as an environmental consultant to private industry, public utilities, and government laboratories. Larry is the founding and past president of the Friends of Gorges State Park Board. He now continues to serve on the board, and resides in Brevard, North Carolina. Larry also serves as a board member of the Friends of NC State Parks.

Micki Andrews

Retired Executive

Micki is a retired executive with an eclectic management career that includes public sector, small business, not-for-profit and Fortune 500 companies. Micki served as the managing director of an international relocation company and has significant experience managing across cultures and serving clients in international settings.  She has lived in North Carolina for 13 years with her husband Bob. The last four years, Micki and Bob have lived as neighbors to the park in Sapphire. She serves as the treasurer of the Friends of Gorges State Park Board, is active in her community’s property owners association and also volunteers with the Guardian ad Litum program. When not volunteering, Micki can usually be found traveling to visit family, friends, and places unknown.

Park Baker

Journalist

Park is a Brevard, NC, transplant. He was attracted by the area’s beauty and the close proximity of hiking and biking trails. After years of working construction, owning his own business, and working his way through his second attempt at college, Park now works at the local newspaper, the Transylvania Times. He keeps the community informed about local happenings. After ten years in the area, he still loves to get outside for mountain biking, writing, fishing, canyoning, and quiet.

Sherman Runions

Member, American Society of Landscape Architects

Sherman is a graduate of the University of Tampa and has practiced landscape architecture in Western North Carolina for over 30 years. Sherman is a full member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the North Carolina Chapter of ASLA and is a former columnist and writer for local newspapers in Jackson County.  Additionally, he is a former commentator on National Public Radio. Sherman maintains professional relations with the Clemson University School of Architecture and Louisiana State University College of Art and Design.

Dr. Bill Thomas

Retired, DuPont Company

Bill has a PhD in Chemical Engineering and has been an active Sierra Club environmentalist since 1982. He served as chair of the NC Chapter of the Sierra Club, led the effort to put the Horsepasture River into the National Wild & Scenic River System, was involved in the state acquisition of DuPont State Forest, and was instrumental in the formation of Gorges State Park. He has been awarded North Carolina’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Bill also serves on the Gorges Park Advisory Committee, as he has since the Park’s inception.  He describes himself as an ardent outdoorsman, birder, and photographer.

Linda Ives

Retired Teacher

Linda is a retired teacher of the blind and visually impaired. After retirement, she volunteered at a National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. This experience gave her insight into the demands of a gift shop and the need for educational information at the park. She was also involved in developing and implementing an accessible trail at the refuge. She is pleased to share the information she learned from this project with Gorges State Park. Linda has been coming to the Cashiers area since she was a teen enjoying all the nature beauty and activities available.

Marianne Vines

Retired Business Owner

Marianne is Jackson County resident originally from Highland Park, Il. She is a retired youth director and a former owner of Adventure Depot which operated in Highlands, NC.  She remains active with the Highlands Chamber of Commerce. Marianne is also a Director of Faith Formation at St Jude’s Church and Our Lady of the Mountains.  An accomplished author of two outdoor books on hiking and mountain biking, she has lived full time in Western North Carolina for 27 years.

Steve Pagano

Park Superintendent and Ex Officio member of the Board

Steve received an  A.A.S in Forest from Paul Smiths College in NY in 1983 and a B.S in Parks and Recreation Management from Slippery Rock University in PA in 1984.  He started with North Carolina State Parks in 1990 as a Park Ranger and became the Park Superintendent of Gorges State Park in 1999.  He and his wife Renee live near the Frozen Creek Entrance of the park,  outside of Rosman.  Steve and Renee love to spend time with family & friends and travel.  During summer of 2013 they spent several weeks hiking the El Camino trail in  Spain.   Steve has been a Foothills Trail Conference board member since October 2002 and is currently serving as its Chairman.  Steve is very active in the community promoting Gorges, he has served on numerous Transylvania County Boards including: TDA, Chamber and Parks & Recreation.

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