Chairman E. Cabell Brand:
Chairman - of the Cabell Brand Center, a research and action center that seeks to examine, understand and network for students to study poverty, environmental, and peace issues. Currently the centers emphasis on environmental sustainability with a focus on fresh water preservation. In particular rainwater harvesting and storm water management. Author of the Book: If Not Me, Then Who? How you can help with Poverty, Economic Opportunity, Education, Healthcare, Environment, Racial Justice, and Peace
Cabell Brand returned to his home in Salem in 1949 and took over his father’s small direct selling shoe business, the Ortho-Vent Shoe Company. Using this as a base, he expanded the business, formed The Stuart McGuire Company, Inc., took it public in 1970 and sold it in 1986 to the Home Shopping Network.
He founded Total Action Against Poverty in the Roanoke Valley in 1965 and was its President and Chairman for 30 years. During that 30 year period, he helped start many innovative programs such as – Head Start – the Child Health Investment Project (CHIP) – Virginia CARES – Virginia Water Project, all focused on low income people.
He is married to the former Shirley Hurt and together they have five children and 13 grandchildren.
President Dr. Tamim Younos:
Dr. Tamim Younos joined the Cabell Brand Center as Executive Vice President in July 2010. He
previously served as a faculty member at Virginia Tech for nearly 30 years and was the interim director
of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center from 2002 to 2006. Dr. Younos earned a doctoral
degree in urban and environmental engineering from the University of Tokyo. His research and
educational interests include watershed assessment and management, small-scale decentralized
water infrastructure and rainwater harvesting, urban stormwater management, water-energy nexus
and mitigation of climate change impacts at the local level. Dr. Younos has served on the Board of
Directors for the American Water Resources Association (2005-2007), the Board of Directors for the
National Institutes for Water Resources (2002 – 2006), and the Board of Directors for Renewable Natural
Resources Foundation (2003 – 2008). He is a past president of the Universities Council on Water
Resources. He currently serves on the Editorial Board, International Water Technology Journal.
Dr. Younos has been a principal investigator for more than 40 research/technical projects and has
authored or co-authored more than 150 publications including two edited books: Advances in Water
Monitoring Research (2003) and “Total Maximum Daily Load: Approaches and Challenges” (2005). Dr. Younos has presented invited talks in China, Japan, Hungary, Poland, Spain and Turkey, and conducted water related research in Egypt, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
Executive Director Risa Pesapane:
Risa Pesapane earned Bachelor’s degrees in Wildlife Science (2006) and Biology (2007) from
Virginia Tech as well as a Master’s degree in disease transmission dynamics at the interface of
human and wildlife populations (2011). Risa is passionate about interdisciplinary research and
educational outreach endeavors. She was the President and founding member of the Nation’s first
Interdisciplinary Research Honor Society, striving to promote and facilitate collaborative and
integrative approaches for creative solutions to modern problems. Risa also chaired a novel
mentoring initiative at Virginia Tech and participated in the university’s strategic planning process.
For her graduate research, she partnered with a non-profit organization aimed at sustainable
community development, mitigating wildlife conflict, managing human and wildlife health, and
overall improving the livelihoods of local citizens. As a professional, Risa has several years of
experience in researching human and wildlife health, project management, office administration,
and business. She currently serves as Project Director for Rural System, Inc. in Blacksburg.
Risa’sinterests include dynamics of human and wildlife interaction, ecology, water quality and
health, sustainable development, zoonotic diseases, global health, wildlife conservation, mentoring
and educational outreach, urban agriculture, and non-profit management.
Program Director for Energy Sustainability Angela Conroy:
Ms. Angela Conroy holds a MBA and a MS in Environmental Management (concentration in Energy Resources Management and Policy) from the University of Maryland, a BS in Environmental Science from Ferrum College, and is a Certified Sustainable Development Professional (CSDP) by the Association of Energy Engineer’s. Ms. Conroy has provided senior environmental and management advisory services to the U.S. Environmental Protections Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Veterans Administration, National Security Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, state and local governments, public utilities and private and non-profit organizations. She is nationally recognized for her work supporting EPA’s RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative: Siting Renewables on Potentially Contaminated Lands, Mining Sites and landfills—recognized in 2013 as a “top innovation in government” by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Ms. Conroy is also an accomplished proposal and grant writer, e.g. developed proposals that resulted in $100M+ in new, repeat government contracts, or expanded lines of business, and grant applications (e.g. TEA-21 and Community Development Block Grant) for a local government that resulted in $600k in grant funding for local transportation and housing projects.
Communications Manager Melissa W. Stephens:
Ms. Stephens’ background in nonprofit management includes: YMCA, American Lung Association (San Diego),
Sierra Club (Virginia), and SERCAP. She holds a BS from Virginia Tech in Health Promotion (1999) and a MS in
Organizational Leadership and Management from Springfield College (2009). She is an adjunct instructor with
Boston Architectural College’s School of Design for Human Health. Ms. Stephens assisted many groups with
fundraising, grant writing and volunteerism including: Salem-Glenvar Rotary, Virginia Tech Monogram Club and
La Jolla Town Council. She and her husband own a Roanoke-based video production company, which
serves a seven state region.
The Cabell Brand Center Advisory Board
David Crawford, President
Rainwater Management Solutions
In 2000, David Crawford put his 22 years experience in healthcare consulting,
marketing, sales, and residential/commercial construction into a new company
he named Rain Water System, Inc. His vision was to form a company that would
address rain water conservation and management, and sustainable water applications
and practices. Today that company, now known as Rainwater Management Solutions -
provides design, consulting, and engineering solutions for rain water and storm water
management to commercial and residential developers, engineering , architectural firms,
and professionals in the agricultural field. To date, the Salem, Virginia-based company
has designed and/or installed over 2,000 rain water systems across the country.
A strong advocate of water conservation and management, in 2001 Dave and his brother
Ed lobbied the Virginia House and Senate for passage of the first rain water harvesting
legislation in the United States. The following year Dave worked with the Virginia Sate
Health Department to rewrite Gray water laws.
Dave received his BS in Economics and Accounting from Mars Hill College in 1976. He has
since published numerous articles on water conservation and water sustainability issues and
practices in local and national publications as Laundry Today, Consulting-Specifying Engineer,
Mother Earth News, Virginia Business Journal, The Roanoke Times, Farm Bureau Monthly,
and Southern Farmer.
Considered an expert in the field of rainwater harvesting, David is a frequent speaker at seminars and conferences and most recently spoke at the American Society of Plumbing Engineers nation conference in California. To date, David has presented at over 100 conferences and worked to train hundreds of individuals to design and install rainwater systems.
David has also worked to revise state and municipal plumbing codes for rainwater harvesting. Recently, David worked with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to develop credits for nitrate and phosphate reduction when utilizing rainwater harvesting systems through the Senate Bill 386.
As President of the Cabell Brand Center for International Poverty, David assisted in developing the Virginia Rainwater Harvesting Manual, which has assisted localities throughout the US to develop rainwater harvesting codes. The Manual is now utilized by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers as a study guide for certification in High-Performance Building Design.
Steve Sunderman, President
Steve Sunderman is President of Terrazia PC, a high performance building consultancy located in
Roanoke, VA. He is a licensed architect, LEED Accredited Professional with Building Design +
Construction Specialty and Building Performance Institute Analyst. He is a 1974 graduate of the
University of Oklahoma with Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Environmental
Design degrees. His many years of diversified architectural experience include extensive design,
project management and energy/utility audit consulting for a wide variety of building types
throughout the United States and the Middle East. He has promoted alternative energy,
conservation measures and equitable environmental design since the early 1970's.
Steve is committed to helping create a healthier planet by implementing a strategy of
change for our built environment to achieve the triple bottom line that saves money, improves
people’s lives and ensures a sustainable future.
Steve’s passion for promoting sustainable environments led him to become deeply involved in the US Green Building Council Southwest Virginia chapter where he has served on the board of directors since 2008 in roles as 2008 Vice Chair, 2009 Chair, 2010-2011 Southeast Regional Committee (SERC) Representative and 2009-2011 Green Schools Committee Chair. In 2011 he was elected to the first national USGBC Center for Green Schools Committee Cabinet.
Dr. M. Rupert Cutler:
Rupert Cutler of Roanoke is a native of Detroit, Michigan. He has an undergraduate degree in wildlife
management from the University of Michigan and a doctor of philosophy degree from the Department
of Resource Development of Michigan State University. He has been the editor of Virginia Wildlife,
managing editor of National Wildlife, assistant executive director of The Wilderness Society, senior
vice president of the National Audubon Society, and president of Defenders of Wildlife. After obtaining
his Ph.D. degree he joined the Michigan State University faculty as assistant professor of resource
development and extension specialist in natural resources policy. In 1977, President Carter appointed
him assistant secretary of agriculture for conservation, research, and education. From 1977 through
1980 he provided policy direction to the U.S. Forest Service and Soil Conservation Service.
Since 1991, Rupert has resided in Roanoke where he served as founding executive director of Virginia's
Explore Park and the Western Virginia Land Trust. Since retiring in 1999 he has served on several
nonprofit boards and advisory committees and as president of the Kiwanis Club of Roanoke. He was
a member of the board of directors of the Western Virginia Water Authority for five years. He was appointed by Governors Warner and Kaine to two terms on the board of trustees of the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. He was elected to a four-year term on Roanoke City Council in 2002 and was appointed to Roanoke City Council in 2009 to complete a term ending in June 2010.
Dr. Robert Sandel, President
Virginia Western Community College:
As President of Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke, Virginia, Dr. Robert H. Sandel
oversees the single largest campus in the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) with an annual
enrollment of over 12,000. Dr. Sandel began his career with Virginia Western in 2001 having previously
served as President of Mountain Empire Community College in Big Stone Gap, VA. where he implemented
a total quality management program, acquired funding for major construction projects, and formulated the
nation’s first ever electronics and manufacturing technology programs articulation agreement with the U.S.
Navy. Bringing that same sense of leadership and dedication to the Roanoke Valley, Dr. Sandel has
overseen $20 million in renovations and upgrades to the Virginia Western campus all while dealing with
ever increasing student enrollments and dwindling state support. As a proven leader in education,
Dr. Sandel has served on numerous local, regional and state boards and recently served as Chair for the
VCCS Achieve 2015 Strategic Planning process charged with outlining priorities for the entire Virginia
Community College System. Dr. Sandel was also instrumental in launching the College’s first
comprehensive fundraising campaign raising in excess of four million dollars to support student success
at Virginia Western.
Active nationally and locally, Dr. Sandel counts among his numerous community roles, past Chair of the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Pre-K Committee for Smart Beginnings, and President of the Board of Trustees for Lewis-Gale Medical Center. A native South Carolinian, but now a true Roanoker at heart, Dr. Sandel received his bachelors from The Citadel, his masters from South Carolina State University and his doctorate from the University of South Carolina.
Wayne Strickland, Executive Director
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission:
Wayne Strickland was appointed Executive Director of the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional
Commission in February 1988. He has been with the Commission since 1979. His academic background
includes: a BA degree in Political Science from Georgia State University, an MA degree in Geography
from Georgia State University, and a Masters degree in City Planning from the Georgia Institute of
Mr. Strickland has assumed leadership roles in various professional organizations. He is currently the
Chair of the Southeast Regional Directors Institute and also serves as a member of the Board of Directors
of the National Association of Development Organizations and the Development District Association of
Appalachia. His former leadership positions include: President of the Development District Association of
Appalachia; President of the Southwest Virginia Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration;
President of the Rural Planning Caucus of Virginia; and Second Vice President of the Virginia Association
of Planning District Commissions.
Mr. Strickland participates in numerous civic activities including serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the following organizations: Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce, Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce, United Way of the Roanoke Valley, Council of Community Services, and Arts Council of the Blue Ridge. He also is a member of the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum Advisory Board (at Hollins University), the Region 6 Career & Technical Education Taskforce and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee for the City of Roanoke School System.