2022 Election Candidates

Secretary

Responsible for providing reports on ANPR activities as the Board requires. He/she shall maintain a close working relationship with the Business Manager and shall retain the duties of maintaining meeting minutes, formal correspondence, and of conducting and recording all elections. He/she shall work with the Business Manager to maintain all historical records, files, and the library of the ANPR.
Candidates

Christina Burton

Bio: My name is Christina Burton, and I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in Criminal Justice at the University of Central Florida. It has been my pleasure working with Paul Anderson and Bill Wade (and now, others on the board!) this past year on a research project focused on understanding ranger attitudes and experiences within of ANPR as well as the challenges and benefits of the ranger profession. Going to my first Rendezvous was a memorable experience, and I recognize the importance of ANPR as an advocate for both employee concerns and environmental initiatives. To be nominated for the position of secretary on the board of directors is an immense honor, something I didn’t imagine to be an option for myself when coming to the Rendezvous.

Candidate Statement: That aside, the important concern for you all in this election is what can I do for you in this position and what my goals would be if elected. Simply put, I’d strive for an efficient method of maintaining records within ANPR, to improve upon the already existing system of the organization of the minutes in the meetings and extensive notetaking. I already have the skills in such notetaking because of my experience as a social scientist – observing, jotting down notes, and recording as much information as possible are already key things that I do – and I would want to take those same skills to be of service to ANPR. Thank you for this opportunity, and I hope to do well in this position.


Demmy Vigil

Bio: Demmy Vigil retired in December 2020 as training manager of four general work groups: Visitor and Resource Protection (VRP), Office of Communications, Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs, and International Affairs. VRP was by far the largest group of disciplines ranging from law enforcement, wilderness and firefighters to public health, risk management and Special Park Uses for which she helped fund training and arrange training and employee development. Prior to being a training manager, she served as an instructor in the NPS Fundamentals program for many years. She worked at both Mather Training Center and Albright Training Center. Over her 35-year career she served as deputy chief of interpretation at Grand Canyon, chief of interpretation at San Juan National Historic Park, park ranger at Bandelier and VIP at Chiricahua. Prior to her NPS career she worked with the U.S. Forest Service in Recreation, Park Uses, Telecommunications, FMO, and Wilderness.

Candidate Statement: Although Demmy enjoys contributing to committees like the training committee with Tom Banks, she wishes to take on a simpler role as secretary on the board. Demmy has been an annual member of ANPR for more than 10 years.


Board Member for Professional Issues

Responsible for coordinating the efforts of the association with respect to the major professional occupations with the Service and other professional occupations which are considered critical because of their importance to the well-being of the National Park System.
Candidates

Max Farley

Bio: My name is Max Farley, and I’m interested in communicating and amplifying National Park
Service professional issues with the ANPR board. I am a Tennessean. I currently serve in my first
permanent NPS role as an interpreter at Lincoln Home National Historic Site. Previously, I
completed NPS internships at Freedom Riders National Monument and in the Midwest Regional
Office. I’ve earned degrees in public history, and I’ve worked in local museums, libraries, national nonprofits, and a cultural resource consulting firm. Outside of the field, I’ve been an educator, camp counselor, referee, waiter, editor, project archivist, maintenance laborer, and volunteer – all experiences that have benefited me as I begin to “ranger” for the NPS.

Candidate Statement: If selected to serve, I hope to contribute an early-career perspective to ANPR as I focus on community building and outreach to ANPR’s next generation. My commitments:
1. I will build cross-divisional connections with NPS employees from all backgrounds and
career levels, learn what they care about, and work toward solutions as I communicate these
needs to ANPR.
2. I will communicate with the changing partnership ecosystem that feeds candidates into
seasonal and permanent hiring with the NPS to make the case for ANPR engagement with
younger workers.
3. As I learn from NPS employees and make ANPR’s case for younger workers, I will
endeavor to create community within the NPS employee ranks, with the goal of bringing
new folks into dialog and engagement with our organization to support ANPR’s future.


Emily Johnson

Bio: My name is Emily Johnson, and I am running for the Professional Issues position on the ANPR Board. I have been with NPS for 11 years, working closely with management, visitor resource protection, maintenance, resource, and administration divisions as a superintendent’s executive assistant, park planner, and regional environmental compliance team member. I’ve additionally held multiple collateral duties in incident response, including family liaison, peer support, communications, and incident commander.

Candidate Statement: I am especially interested in addressing the well-being of all NPS employees through understanding occupational functions, needs, and challenges and then using the ANPR board position to apply steady pressure to any identified NPS cultural norms that keep us from becoming a healthier and more satisfying place to work. This includes current hot topics addressing basic needs, such as housing and providing appropriate training. It also includes continuing productive conversations around implementing a healthy work/life balance, acknowledging and allowing for the healing of stress injuries, getting management and staff buy-in that working for sunsets is no longer sufficient, and holding both ourselves and our leaders accountable to our NPS core values.


Lawson Nwakudo

Bio: Hello, my name is Lawson Nwakudo, and I would like to thank everyone on the board of ANPR for considering me for a position within the organization. My educational background is in microbiology, but I soon learned that my personal interests greatly diverge from my formal teaching. I started my park service career as a volunteer, state park ranger, and finally a GS-5 Park Guide at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park, which is a collaborative state and national park site. Over the years, I also had an opportunity to serve as a GS-7 Visual Information Specialist (VIS) detail at Gettysburg National Military Park for four months. All these unique experiences helped prepare me to assist with Ranger Rendezvous 45 as a Supernaugh Scholar.

Candidate Statement: I am infinitely grateful for the people I met and lessons I learned during Ranger Rendezvous, and I hope to provide even more value to ANPR moving forward. Given my age and the current trajectory of my career, I believe that I can provide some valuable insight as to how we can apply ANPR’s considerable appeal to a broader audience of young, diverse, and inspired individuals who share our outlook as public servants. I’m interested in utilizing social media, web-based content and the various NPS connections that our members already have to forge a greater partnership between ANPR and our NPS cohorts.


Board Member for Seasonal Perspectives

Responsible for ensuring that the actions of the Board reflect the concerns of seasonal and field employees. Gathers data and information related to those issues and provides recommendations to the Board.
Candidates

Troy Hunt

Bio: My name is Troy Hunt. I spend most of my life as a college professor, currently at Missouri Valley College, teaching students to effectively research, develop, and present information to audiences both face-to-face and in the media. During the summers, I have practiced what I preach by working as a seasonal interp ranger with the National Park Service since 1997. I have worked at Cedar Breaks National Monument, Badlands National Park, and Curecanti National Recreation Area. I plan to continue my seasonal rangering as long as possible.

Candidate Statement: I wish to represent the interests of seasonal employees as a member of the board of ANPR. In my experience as a ranger, I see the following regular challenges: affordable housing, internet access in the more remote locations where we are blessed to work, and limited access to career-advancing training opportunities. As a member of the ANPR board, I will work to push forward improvements in these three areas of significant interest to seasonal employees of the NPS and other federal and state organizations which hire seasonal employees. My experience as a leader in small nonprofit organizations (Cody Community Theatre), large national organizations (Broadcast Education Association), and state offices (Wyoming Film Office) has effectively prepared me to be a strong voice on the board, and as representative to my constituency of seasonal employees. It will be my honor to represent and serve your interests in this position.


Bill Nash

Bio: In accepting the nomination for the position of seasonal perspectives, I have a lot to contribute from my life experiences in the private sector and in pursuing my dream of becoming a permanent park ranger with the National Park Service. Having completed my 24 months under the LMWFA, I know what it means to pursue that goal as a seasonal, along with encountering roadblock after roadblock to finding answers to what I thought were simple questions. Not only can I empathize with what seasonals go through, I know how to persist in finding solutions. As an ANPR board member, I can put my intentions into action. I have used what I learned and applied under LMWWFA to accept my first permanent position in April 2020.

Candidate Statement: I can help ANPR serve as a means to communicate information that is easy to find. Viewing seasonal questions on Facebook indicates how common this problem is. This summer, I helped a seasonal at my park navigate the path of going from seasonal to permanent. I gave him some advice along with areas where to get the answers, and happy to say he just accepted a permanent job an EODs in just a few weeks. To hear his excitement brought back many emotions about my journey, which made me think I want to help others in their quest to achieve their goals and not make it as hard as it was for me and others. It made me reflect on when I was in his shoes and the frustration that journey brings. I believe I am the person to serve the ANPR board best to address seasonal concerns and issues and that I have great perspective and understanding to represent ANPR members. Most of you have not met me, as I only joined ANPR briefly ago. I expected to be in Tucson for Rendezvous but work and life had different plans for me. I was accepted to go to Night Sky training this year, and while there, powers out of my control planned a Star Party at my park for that weekend. To make matters worse, I discovered that I was accepted for the Supernaugh Scholarship that I had to turn down. While everyone was enjoying the Rendezvous that I so much wanted to attend, I planned events at the park, thinking of all the good people I would meet and wishing all of you a great Rendezvous. I hope to meet you all at the upcoming RR in Jacksonville, Fla. Thank you for this opportunity; I will do my best if you allow me the chance.


Margie Steigerwald

Bio: I retired after 38 years in NPS, 10 of those years as a seasonal. I loved both my seasonal career (ARCH, CASA, JOMU, GRSM, EVER, YELL, DENA, HAVO, JOTR, KATM) and my career as a permanent ranger (EVER, YOSE, GLAC, SAMO, WRST) and want to help others to have that experience. The majority of my experience was in Interpretation, Education, and as a PIO. I also had a seasonal LE commission and worked in RM and as an Outdoor Recreation Planner.

Candidate Statement: As a board member, I will follow up on seasonal issues that arise, using my network to gather data and make recommendations to the board. I look forward to giving back and paying it forward to a new generation of seasonal rangers who are the front line of the NPS in support of our important mission to protect and tell the stories of these amazing places known as parks.


Board Member for Government Affairs

Responsible for coordinating ANPR activities relative to legislative and policy actions. Coordinate the preparation of Congressional testimony and correspondence with the Administration and Congress.
Candidates

Mike Pflaum

Bio: : I am originally from southeastern Minnesota and after graduating from Mankato State University with a degree in Recreation and Park Administration, I went on to work for over 41 years for the National Park Service. I held NPS positions from grades GS-3 to GS-15 and served as park superintendent at three parks and acting superintendent at an additional three parks. I retired from the NPS at the end of 2021 and have since volunteered as an advisor for the Badlands National Park Conservancy and as a group leader for Educational Travel Institute of America. My wife, Barbara, (a former seasonal park ranger) and I currently split time between residences in Rapid City, S.D., at the edge of the Black Hills and on the Keweenaw Peninsula near Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We have two adult daughters (who both love parks!). My personal pursuits include traveling with Barbara to explore and experience parks and other public lands throughout the U.S. and North America, as well as hiking, cross-country skiing, family gatherings and activities, and photography. My perceived glory days in amateur sports seem to be behind me now. My abiding interest in the protection, value, and importance of our national parks remains strong.

Candidate Statement: I believe the combination of my educational background, depth and breadth of work experience and training, diplomatic skills, and long association with ANPR make me a good candidate for the position of Government Affairs board member. I recently retired after working for the NPS for over 41 years in a variety of positions, parks, and a Regional Office. I worked at grade levels from GS-3 to GS-15. Some of the positions which I held include: park naturalist / interpretation; park technician; telecommunications operator (dispatcher); park ranger; supervisory park panger; chief park ranger; acting park superintendent; regional partnership coordinator; and park superintendent. I have worked extensively in interpretation and education, telecommunications, law enforcement and emergency services, natural resources protection and management, cultural resources protection and management, partnerships, overall park management, and more. I spent over five years as a seasonal employee early in my career. I know what it is like to be on the ground in many disciplines and at many levels of the service. My association with ANPR dates back 35 years to 1987 when I attended my first Rendezvous. I have been a Life Member (now “Third Century” of ANPR since the early 1990s. I have attended more than 10 Rendezvous', exact number unknown. I know our president elect well and am certain that I will work effectively with him. If elected, I will work hard to be an effective voice and representative for ANPR and to contribute to making progress on our priorities.


Tom Schaff

Bio: I am a current National Park Service employee, working in Alaska as the deputy superintendent of Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve. I have been a member of ANPR since the early 1990s and am currently a life member. Following graduation from high school, I worked as a wildland firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service on the Sequoia and Stanislaus national forests in California. I continued in fire with the NPS on the Alpine Hotshot Crew (then at GRCA and SAMO) and on the helitack/fire crew at GRCA. After graduation from San Jose State University with a degree in political science and government administration, and a few years in the private sector, I volunteered at PINN. Eventually I made the jump back into the NPS full time as a VUA and seasonal wildland firefighter also at PINN. I graduated from the seasonal LE program at Santa Rosa Junior College in 1998 and got my first seasonal LE ranger position at OLYM. Meanwhile, I was hired into my first permanent NPS position as a dispatcher at MORA. I moved to southern New Mexico in 2000 and began seasonal work once again at CAVE as a supervisory wildland firefighter, eventually using my reinstatement eligibility to compete for a permanent position with CAVE as an LE ranger. I graduated from FLETC in 2002 and over the years worked as an LE ranger at REDW, LABE, and VIIS. In 2010, I returned home to Southern California as a district ranger at SAMO. Following my partner’s professional growth in Public Health, I moved to the MWR as the chief ranger at SCBL and also graduated from the NPS Goal Academy. When my spouse completed her DVM at Colorado State, we moved to West Texas where I was the chief ranger at GUMO. In 2018 I was selected as a Bevinetto Fellow and moved to WASO where I served on the staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the committee with oversight over the NPS.

Candidate Statement: My proudest accomplishment was working on and witnessing the passage of the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. During the second half of my Bevinetto Fellow appointment I was the legislative affairs specialist assigned to the IMR, and congressional liaison on Border issues, Wilderness, Visitor and Resource Protection, USPP, and the NRSS Directorate. I wrote testimony, provided bill drafting assistance to Members of Congress, briefed the Director and other members of the NLC, and DOI officials, for legislative and nomination hearings. With your support, I look forward to helping the Board of Directors craft a legislative agenda that represents ALL members of ANPR.


Board Member for Fund Raising Activities (two years remainder of term)

Responsible for developing fund-raising strategies and for coordinating efforts to obtain financial support from sources external to the organization.
Candidates

Wendy Lauritzen

Bio: Directly out of high school in 1975, I began my career by volunteering with the Student Conservation Association as part of a trail crew at Rocky Mountain NP and as an SCA visitor center assistant at Badlands NP followed by becoming a seasonal for NPS. In January 2019, I retired from my second superintendency following a 39 year career that spanned working in 16 locations for three land management agencies within DOI. I was employed in natural, cultural, historical, city, urban, and wilderness areas. NPS units ranged in size from 33 acres to over 10 million. I helped plan for the building of two visitor centers. I’ve worked in most disciplines including intepretation, law enforcement, as a range conservationist (second hired in NPS), resources manager, and park management/ administrator/ superintendent. I’ve worked closely with five Native American tribes and in consultation with 13 with a wide range of traditional practices and tribal sovereignty. I attribute ANPR for helping to guide my career, first joining ANPR as a seasonal ranger in 1979.

Candidate Statement: I am a multi-lifetime level ANPR member because I see the value and importance of ANPR in providing opportunity to its members. Insights and skills are gained separate from what may be done through NPS hierarchy and process. Yes, a seasonal or employee at any grade level or division can learn a lot by attending Ranger Rendezvous and having equal opportunity to communicate and learn from each other whether at the beginning, during or after the career. In my career, I obtained training on my own with ANPR when my employing park did not have sufficient funds, or it wasn’t a priority. I want to provide more opportunities for members.
I’m also tired of ANPR needing to rely on the generosity of its members to fund the basics of the organization. Even though great strides have occurred in recent years, we need more supporters. ANPR is still restrained by what it can accomplish based on available funds. ANPR needs more funds to do all the things its members want to provide and accomplish in addressing issues, training, supporting the Ranger Museum in Yellowstone NP, and recognizing the needs of its members with disaster assistance financial support. I recognize that fundraising function is particularly difficult to do and can easily raise ethical barriers for board members who are still employed within the NPS or DOI agencies. I believe that this board position is central to the long-term viability of ANPR. I feel it needs to be filled by a retiree to avoid barriers. I hope that you support me to volunteer for ANPR’s fundraising needs.