At Friend’s first board meeting of 2019, five new members joined the slate: Dr. Bill Blackley of Elkin, Lynne Bresler of Chapel Hill, Heather Cotton of Marion/Black Mountain, Carl DeAndrade of White Lake and Mark Rostan of Valdese.  We said farewell to Tiffiny Consoli of Raleigh, J. Coward of Sylva, Howard Lee of Chapel Hill and B Townes of Boomer.  Steve Metcalf, our past president, through a by-laws change, stays on the board for another year as immediate past-president.

Bill Blackley is a retired MD, Family Physician. Bill has been an active scout leader, hiker, sailor and paddler, and environmental activist. He has visited over 20 countries and 5 continents and hitch-hiked across Europe and N. Africa. He is a US Army Veteran Artillery Officer with two tours in Vietnam. He co-founded and was the Chairman of the Tri-County Soccer League, the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series and now the Elkin Valley Trails Association for the last seven years where he has so enjoyed the vibrant community of fellow trail workers as they have added bridges, trails, mountain bike and horseback riding trails along the MST for the common good of all citizens. Bill lives in Elkin with his wife Sandie. He has two kids and five grandkids, and likely very many more harmonicas. He has been a member of Friends of the MST since 2011.

Lynne Bresler is a native of Maryland and for 32 years has resided in Chapel Hill with her husband, Mike Vaught. She retired from SAS Institute in early 2016 after 25 years as a technical writer and data analyst supporting the acquisition, management, and validation of educational assessment data used to analyze student gain. She continues to manage the daily operations for her husband’s geological consulting and water well contracting firm. Lynne earned a bachelor’s in Biological Science from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in Biostatistics from the University of North Carolina and completed her MBA from the University of Maryland in April 2018. For over a decade, she has tutored at-risk students at a SAS sponsored community-based learning center. Her free time is spent reading, participating in various outdoor activities that may involve short distance triathlons, enjoying the abundance of her well-established garden, and keeping pace with her two adult children who reside in Maryland and Illinois. Lynne has been a Friends member since 2008.

Heather Cotton has a long career in the public sector, advocating and guiding the effective use of land and preservation of cultural and natural resources. Beginning her career as a field archaeologist, she worked in Fort Drum, New York, and Belfast, Northern Ireland, and then parlayed that experience into a research assistantship at the University of Tennessee studying climate change and land use in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After receiving her Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning, she went on to work as a city planner in Florida for both Monroe County Planning and Environmental Services and Islamorada, Village of Islands. For the past 13 years, Heather has served as the planning and development director for the City of Marion, North Carolina. She currently serves on the Council of Advisors for the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and the Marion Community Development Corporation. In 2016 and 2017, Heather completed all but 60 miles of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Fires and flooding have delayed her completion of the trail, which she hopes to accomplish in 2019.  She lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina, with her husband, Nate, who serves as a Planning Director for Buncombe County.

Carl deAndrade is CEO of Bladen Marine which owns and operates White Lake Marine Boat Dealership and and of White Lake Marine Properties which owns the marina at White Lake. Carl serves on the Bladen County Health and Human Services Advisory Board and as Finance Committee chair of Trinity United Methodist Church. He is a lifetime, honorary member of the Elizabethtown-White Lake Chamber of Commerce. Carl has a degree in Chemical Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston and previously worked for Union Carbide.  He is married to Dianne deAndrade and has one son and two grandsons.  Carl and Dianne have been Friends of MST members since 2015 when they first saw an MST thru-hiker passing by White Lake Marine. They have been trail angels since, and Carl serves as Task Force Leader for Segment 13.

Mark Rostan is owner of Campfire Homes, LLC which constructs traditional site-built homes, RVIA park model cabins, and soon, modular tiny-houses. Mark received a BA in Business Management from NCSU and an MBA from Wake Forest. Currently Mark serves as treasurer for Burke United Christian Ministries, as a board member of the Blue Ridge Healthcare Foundation, Friends of the Valdese Rec, and the Community Foundation of Burke County, and as the Session for Waldensian Presbyterian Church. ​From 2014 to 2016, he was co-race director of Table Rock Ultras, long-distance trail races that benefit Friends of the MST. He also served as the MST in a Day volunteer leader for Segment 4. Mark lives in Valdese with my wife, Leslie, and two beagles.

We are thrilled with the varied and wealth of experience and backgrounds that Bill, Lynne, Heather, Carl and Mark bring to the Friends.  We thank our outgoing members, Tiffiny, J., Howard and B, as they have brought their energies and passions to further our mission.  Read more about the outgoing members.