Rick Gaskins is Catawba Riverkeeper and the Executive Director of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation. Prior to becoming the Executive Director of CRF, he worked as an environmental attorney in private practice handling toxic tort litigation, as well as air, water, antitrust and zoning disputes. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America for Environmental Law. In addition, Charlotte Magazine identified him as one of the “The Best Lawyers in Charlotte” and Business North Carolina magazine” named him as a member of the “North Carolina Legal Elite.” Rick is a past Chair of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association and he is a Vice Chair of the American Bar Association Toxic Torts and Environmental Litigation Committee. He was formerly an appointee to the Legislative and Legal Issues Subcommittee of the Governor’s Waste Management Board for the State of North Carolina. He has published papers and has spoken at seminars and conferences in the United States and Canada on environmental topics.
Monica Embrey is the North Carolina Field Organizer with Greenpeace USA (greenpeace.org), based in Charlotte, North Carolina. A Chicago native, she has a degree in Environmental Justice from California’s Pomona College and focuses on drawing connections between issues of social, economic and environmental injustices. Currently, she works to empower local communities who are impacted by coal-fired power plants. She has worked with local communities fighting coal plants in Indiana, Michigan and Illinois.
June Blotnick is the Executive Director of Clean Air Carolina. She has over 30 years of experience working with nonprofit and community based organizations in North Carolina. As the first paid staff member of Clean Air Carolina, June manages a wide range of educational and advocacy initiatives aimed at ensuring healthy air for the Charlotte region. She served as one of 12 Energy Efficiency Partners asked by the City of Charlotte to provide advice on strategies for spending the $6.8 million Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant the city received from the US Department of Energy. June holds a Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s in Education from Appalachian University. She is the mother of two and has lived in the Charlotte area with her husband for over 25 years.
Sandra Diaz is the North Carolina Campaign Coordinator for Appalachian Voices, a non-profit organizations working to protect the land, air and water of the central and southern Appalachian region. Sandra started her career in environmental advocacy as a grassroots organizer over a decade ago. She has played many roles since she joined Appalachian Voices 5 years ago, including National Field Coordinator for their End Mountaintop Removal Campaign and Development and Communications Director. Sandra assumed her current position in 2011.
Sam Perkins is Director of Technical Programs at the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation. He has a Master of Science degree in Marine Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to graduate school, Sam completed two B.A. degrees at UNC-Chapel Hill – one from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the other from the Institute for the Environment. Since 2005, he has been engaged in hydrological (oceanic, estuarine and riverine) research projects, as well as with various Triangle-area news publications. Born and raised in Charlotte, Sam has extensive family ties in the North Carolina mountains. Sam has also spent extensive time hiking and enjoying the outdoors with family in the Asheville, Marion and Spruce Pine areas.