Staff Members

Betty M. Mitchell, Executive Director bettymitchell@htcnet.org

Betty Mitchell has served as Executive Director of The Highland Center since it was established in 1998.  Betty has extensive background in non-profit management, having worked for Saint Paul’s College and the Mental Health Association of Virginia before moving to Highland, as well as experience in business planning, marketing and community development.  Betty’s community involvement includes current and past board positions with the Highland County Economic Development Authority, Shenandoah Valley Partnership, Highland County Sheep and Wool Producers Association, and the Alleghany Highlands Agricultural Center Steering Committee.  She is a founding member and past president of the Virginia Business Incubation Association.  Betty is also the founder of the Blue Grass Book Bank in Blue Grass, Virginia, where she and her husband Brian live and operate a small sheep farm.


Lorraine McCune, Farmers’ Market Coordinator lorrainemccune@htcnet.org

DSCN1298Lorraine was raised in a small town in Oklahoma, and then went on to high school in Chicago. As a child, she always found a way to be outside, from playing in the tall grass prairies near her house in Oklahoma, to hiking or bike riding in the forest preserves around Chicago.  Her love of the outdoors led to a degree in Forestry from Southern Illinois University and a 32-year career with the USDA Forest Service in Illinois, Colorado, and Alaska.  She worked in a variety of positions including forester, special-use permit administrator, environmental document writer, and recreation planner. Her final posting in 2004 was as a recreation program manager on the George Washington National Forest in Hot Springs, Virginia, from which she retired in 2013.

In Virginia, an overabundance of pumpkins and later on other vegetables, led Lorraine to become a vendor at the Bath County Farmers’ Market. She enjoys sharing her healthy produce, telling people about veggies that are new and unique, and the camaraderie of the market.  In 2014, Lorraine joined the volunteer management team for the Bath County Farmers’ Market and continues to assist with that market.

Lorraine lives in Millboro, Virginia, with husband, Cleveland, and has a daughter in Montana, a son in Seattle, and a step-daughter and step-son in Bath County.


Zach Beard, Local Foods Coordinator  zach.d.beard@gmail.com

Zach grew up on a dairy and poultry farm a few mountains over in Broadway, Virginia, and is responsible for the Center’s programs involving local food promotion. This includes supporting the growth of local food initiatives in the Alleghany Highlands region, assisting farmers in product promotion and reaching broader markets, and developing a cohesive regional brand for local meat products. Before coming to Highland County, Zach worked for seven years as an analyst for the Department of Defense and also operated a barbecue chicken food truck in the Shenandoah Valley.

Zach has a degree in English from James Madison University and a Masters in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia. He is excited to have the opportunity to become involved in a great community and find a good fishing spot.


 Joshua Umar, Youth and Community Outreach Coordinator joshuaumar@htcnet.org

Josh_UmarOriginally from Oklahoma, Josh came to Highland County after 8 years in the Washington, D.C. metro area. In addition to his focus on resource development, he manages the Center’s Youth Employment Program, business incubation efforts, and attracting new entrepreneurial residents project. He has previously worked in grassroots organizing, health policy research, and wildlife habitat improvement.

Josh earned his degree in philosophy from the University of Central Oklahoma, and went on to study philosophy and economics at Syracuse University. He and his wife have purchased land in the county, where in addition to his work for the Center they will run a small livestock farm.


Ed McArdle, Events Coordinator

Originally from Greensburg, Pennsylvania, Ed has settled in Warm Springs with his wife, Jaime Letourneau. Known locally by many as “Chef Ed”, he studied at The Culinary Institute of America and has worked in restaurants and also taught culinary skills.

Ed brings the warmth of his special brand of hospitality skills and experience to both the Highland Center and the Highland Inn.


Gregg Morse, Administrative Assistant


Cornelia Granbery, Agricultural Projects Coordinator  farmersmarket@htcnet.org

 


 

 

 

 

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