Jay Townsend was born and raised in Albemarle County. Jay graduated from Virginia Tech with a BS in Accounting, worked for CPA firm for 4 years before starting his own business, J. W. Townsend Landscapes. Jay has been actively involved in the Charlottesville Community, including being a Boy Scout leader for 12 years, a CIC (a local small business nonprofit) mentor, teacher and loan committee member and a Building Goodness supporter and board director.
Jay served on the Garden’s finance committee prior to being invited to join the board of directors. Jay is now retired from his successful business, and enjoys sailing, farming and fishing.
Ann Alleva Taylor is a new addition to the the Garden staff and represents a significant commitment of the Board to marketing, fundraising and capital development. Taylor brings more than three decades experience driving revenue for brands and non-profit organizations and has supported several multi-million dollar campaigns.
As Director of Marketing & Philanthropy, Taylor is responsible for conceptualizing the outward face of the organization, leading the charge for the Garden to raise philanthropic support for the Garden. She will be a strong partner with Jill Trischman-Marks, the Executive Director, in defining priorities, managing annual giving and other fundraising efforts.
Kristin Davis grew up in the wild, beautiful mountains of West Virginia. Now an environmental lawyer with the Southern Environmental Law Center in Charlottesville, Kristin focuses her work on protecting important resources in the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests, including old growth forest, water quality of headwater streams, wildlife habitat, and remote roadless areas. Before law school, Kristin was a gardener on the island of Nantucket. Serving on this Board makes the most of this background, allowing Kristin to tap into many of her skills and passions.
Brion Friedman is a native of Virginia having lived his first five years over Afton Mountain in Waynesboro. He came back to this area when he went to school at UVa in the late 70s where he met his wife, Deirdre.
Brion graduated from UVa with a degree in Environmental Science and then went to Emory University in Atlanta to get his MBA. When he finished his graduate program, he began working in the investment business as a portfolio manager and research analyst. He earned his CFA in the late 80s and worked with three different firms in Atlanta over the course of his professional career; finally starting his own investment consulting business focused on helping small to mid-sized non-profits manage their funds. Deirdre and he had always wanted to move back to the Charlottesville area and after their second child went off to college they did.
Brion has always been more comfortable working outdoors than being behind a desk. Assisting the Garden as it begins to grow brings together his professional and personal passions in a unique and satisfying way.
Susan Randall Murphy moved to Charlottesville in 1989 to pursue a master’s degree in Environmental Science at the University of Virginia. After working as an environmental scientist managing environmental investigations and remediations for seven years, she took time off to raise a family and become a full time volunteer. She is an active scouter and serves on the Boy Scouts of America Virginia Headwaters Council. Susan is an officer in the Jack Jouett Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and loves untangling genealogical mysteries. Gardening runs in her veins and she comes from a long line of enthusiastic gardeners. She loves working in her garden and visiting gardens wherever she travels. Just this spring, she completed training as a Piedmont Master Gardener. Susan and her husband Ed live in Albemarle County and are the proud parents of 2 Eagle Scouts.
Laura Peet’s earliest memory of gardening was weeding the family garden in RI, considered a chore until she discovered the wonders of a sun-warmed home-grown tomato. While her career in marketing communications confined her to city life in Boston and later New York for 25 years, it was her purchase of a home in Southeastern Connecticut which reminded her how much she loved getting her hands dirty. Laura founded her own marketing communications business in 2009 and continued to represent consumer brands, foreign governments and corporate clients. She moved to Charlottesville in 2018 and was thrilled to find an opportunity to volunteer for the Garden as the Chairperson of the Marketing Committee. She proudly maintains her avidly amateur gardener standing and enjoys the area’s many golf courses and walking her English Setter Twig.
Jude Garzolini grew up on a dairy and grain farm in the Midwest which included extensive vegetable gardens – a remnant from the time her family raised tomatoes for Campbell’s soup. She pursued her interest in chemistry and textile materials to become a Chemical/materials engineer and worked in the auto, aerospace, and electronics industries and holds 5 patents. She served on the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) board of directors for several years and was national president in 2006-07.
She took the opportunity to give back by managing a National Science Foundation grant supporting STEM education at Boise State University to encourage the next generation of engineers. In 2018 she assisted with the STEAM Academy‘s Girls do Engineering in Albemarle County. She is an Idaho Master Gardener and enjoys cycling, travel, gardening, reading, challenging herself with new software, and cooking international cuisines.
Over the past 40 years of living, working, volunteering and raising a family, Consi Palmer has made Charlottesville and Albemarle County her home. Holding both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the UVA School of Nursing, she has worked in the field in various capacities for over 25 years, most recently teaching Community Health at the University. Always an advocate for the health of children, the needs of the elderly, nursing care for the homeless and those in public housing, Consi has continuously believed in the idea that the vibrancy of a population and its environment can play a major role in the health of an individual. She deeply values the beauty of Charlottesville and the surrounding area as well as the variety of incredible outdoor spaces available to its residents. In addition to the obvious benefits of being outside and surrounded by nature, Consi considers a public garden to be such a place for many levels of healing, both physical and spiritual. She looks forward to bringing her knowledge and passion for plants and the health of people to the Botanical Garden of the Piedmont.
Since retiring from a career in the Navy & Coast Guard, Ted has headed four non-profits as Executive Director. He has served on numerous Boards and Committees not only for non-profits, but for government agencies, homeowners associations, schools, as well as private clubs. He established a non-profit dedicated to historic preservation, and obtained 501c3 approval from the IRS. He has consulted with numerous non-profits, and teaches a course called “Doing Good by Serving Well” for those serving on non-profit Boards.
Julia has many passions in life including children and gardening. She moved to Charlottesville in 1974 to attend graduate school at UVA earning her Ph.D. in 1980. For 35 years Julia worked as a Child Psychologist at Oakland School providing therapy to children with learning differences. She served on the Piedmont CASA Board of Directors for six years helping their volunteers learn strategies to talk with children and adolescents. Julia’s love of gardening developed at an early age through summers spent with her grandmother at the family farm in central Pennsylvania. She later volunteered with her father, Bob Hammond, for the Piedmont Master Gardeners teaching gardening classes and developing gardens in local schools as well as contributing to his Bluebird Trail throughout the region. Julia was the recipient of the “Whole Village Award” from the Virginia Education Association for volunteer service when her sons attended local public schools. Over the years her family joined her in creating their home garden which was open to the public for the 2010 Charlottesville Albemarle Historic Garden Week. It is a real joy for Julia to share her love of education and gardening by serving on the Board of Directors of the Botanical Garden of the Piedmont.
Rodney Shirley is a lifelong Virginian having been born and raised in Fairfax County where he and his wife Alexandra raised their three children. Rodney and Alexandra now reside in the Blue Ridge foothills of Albemarle County. A graduate of The Catholic University of America, School of Architecture, Rodney is the founding and managing principal of RJS & Associates, Architecture LLC, a national design firm with an office in McLean, Virginia and a studio at his home near Free Union. Rodney’s practice of architecture has included large scale commercial hotels and resorts, office buildings, industrial and warehouse and interior projects in addition to master planning and site development.
Rodney is also a lifelong gardener and landscape designer. Presently, Rodney and Alexandra are embarking on their third extensive residential garden/landscape project for themselves and are also members of several local garden and horticultural venues dealing with environmental and native habitat issues. Rodney and Alexandra have also visited many gardens and botanical gardens in both the US and Europe and are very enthusiastic about being involved in the advent of the McIntyre Botanical Garden.
Other interests and activities of Rodney’s have included:
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