I grew up in Garrett County, Maryland, the western-most county of the state. However, my extended family is from West Virginia, and my parents moved there after I started college, so I really considered West Virginia my home state, growing up. I first came to Southwest Virginia in the summer of 1996 to begin graduate school at Virginia Tech, and the region has since become my home. I earned both my M.S. and Ph.D. in Wildlife Science from VA Tech, and I now coordinate a 12-state conservation partnership called the Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture. I met my wife Stephanie while she also was in graduate school at Tech where she earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology. We’ve been married 18 years and have four children: Libby (14), Kaitlyn (12), and twins Grayson and Chloe (9). We are members of Belmont Christian Church, where Stephanie teaches Sunday School and I’m a member of the church’s safety team. Kaitlyn and Chloe enjoy gymnastics, and all of us take karate at Mike Petersen’s Kempo Karate School in Christiansburg.
As you might guess from my career, I have a great love for the outdoors. I spend many hours hiking, hunting, and camping in Jefferson National Forest, fishing on the New River and Claytor Lake, and most importantly, sharing these experiences with my children.