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.

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. Marianne serves as Vice President of our Friends group.

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.

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.

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.

Steve Pagano

Former Gorges State Park Superintendent

Steve Pagano returns to the park that he loves in a new capacity. Retiring as Park Superintendent in mid-2018, Steve and his wife, Renee, took a well-deserved and long vacation traveling to Alaska and back. He now joins the Friends of Gorges State Park board to give back to the place he helped establish. 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.  Steve has been a Foothills Trail Conference board member since October 2002.  Steve remains very active in the community promoting Gorges, he has served on numerous Transylvania County Boards including: TDA, Chamber of Commerce and Parks & Recreation.

Tom Rickard

Broker/Realtor, NC Mountain Life

With a varied background in construction, developing customer relationships with three startup companies, and creating coaching and training experiences professionally and as a volunteer, Tom and his wife Karen first became park neighbors in 2016 with the purchase of nearby property and then the purchase of their home at nearby Whisper Lake. Tom grew up working in his family’s construction business in the Midwest, learning the basics of structural design and business operations, as well as the masonry trade. His love of the outdoors began with the Boy Scouts, based on a love of camping and hiking specifically. When he was 17, he camped in the Smoky Mountains for the first time and set a goal to end up in that area one day.  In 2002, he set a more specific goal to end up in Western North Carolina and in 2016 it became reality.

After 27 years of living in Houston, TX and armed with a shared love of the our area, Tom and Karen “retired” and moved here full-time, where they both earned their real estate broker licenses. One of the primary reasons for entering this new career was to feed a desire to develop a strong knowledge of the entire plateau.  His love for the outdoors (hiking, paddling, photographing) brought him to Gorges State Park and the FOG organization He will combine his knowledge of projects management, real estate, construction, contracts, training, marketing and customer service — along with his love for the outdoors — to be a valuable asset to the board.

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