Board of Directors
Tina Wilson, President. Tina is a lifelong resident of Charles County. She grew up on a small farm along Neale Sound near Cobb Island, where she nurtured her love of the water. After attending college on the eastern shore, she pursued a career in the Army, retiring in 2005. She served as a logistics officer on a variety of assignments, including at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, and in Stuttgart, Germany, and Skopje, Macedonia. She is a veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Several of Tina’s assignments involved providing water to villagers as part of humanitarian support, and this work brought home to her the importance of clean water and how so many take it for granted. Upon retiring from the service, she renewed her love of boating and moved to Port Tobacco. While on a boating trip to Chapel Point, she learned of the dangers of a high bacteria count in the river from fellow boaters, which led her to join PTRC. It is Tina’s hope that many more people will become members of PTRC and learn to better appreciate the Port Tobacco River.
Tom Roland, Vice President. Tom studied Estuarine Science at the College of Southern Maryland before graduating from the University of Maryland with an Outdoor Recreation degree. He recently retired from a 38-year career with Charles County Government. Serving many of those years as the Chief of Parks, Tom was responsible for strategic planning, park design and parkland acquisition. During his tenure, the park system experienced significant expansion, with a key emphasis on preserving natural resource/open space areas. Some of the more notable acquisition projects include the Indian Head Rail Trail, Friendship Farm Park, Maxwell Hall, Mallows Bay, Popes Creek Rail Trail and most recently the Port Tobacco River Park. Tom and his wife Joanne have resided in the Welcome community for over 30 years.
Heather Zdobysz, Secretary. Heather is a life-long resident of Southern Maryland. Growing up in the region and participating in a myriad of outdoor activities has instilled in her a love of the natural world and a passion for environmental education and outreach, with an emphasis on local marine and freshwater ecosystems. These interests motivated her to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and a Master of Science in Environmental Management. She is currently the education program manager for the Alice Ferguson Foundation, overseeing programs for elementary, middle and high school students at Hard Bargain Farm and national parks in the DC metro area.
Heather has worked with a variety of organizations to help further environmental education and awareness among a wide range of audiences. A few of her favorite examples include organizing and taking area students on three-day trips to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s education centers, working with high school students as an aquatics instructor to help prepare them for the Charles County Envirothon competitions, and helping to run the U.S. Navy’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Robotics Program. Through this program, which is based out of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indian Head, Heather had the opportunity to teach STEM concepts to elementary and middle school students in classrooms across a wide variety of schools in Southern Maryland.
Julie Simpson, Treasurer. Julie is a long-time resident of Charles County and a graduate of the University of Illinois and Georgetown University Law Center. She servd as a federal attorney, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency. She has been an active volunteer and was a member of the Leadership Southern Maryland Class of 2015. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Southern Maryland Audubon Society.
Dr. Jerry Forbes, Past President.
Jerry is a resident of Port Tobacco and Senior Scientist at The Energetics Technology Center, Inc. (ETC) in St. Charles, MD, as well as Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. The American Physical Society (APS) selected Jerry for the 2015 George E. Duvall Shock Compression Science Award, the most distinguished award in the field of shock compression physics. Jerry became active in PTRC in 2004 and has managed some of PTRC’s major grant-funded projects, including building rain gardens in McDonough High School, assisting a farmer to put in a well and fence his cattle out of a tributary of the Port Tobacco Creek, and constructing a swale that filters water draining off the Hawthorne golf course before it reaches the Port Tobacco Creek.In addition to serving as President of the PTRC, Jerry has served on the advisory boards of the College of Southern Maryland Nonprofit Institute and the Horticulture Committee of the Stethem Educational Center. He received a Ph.D. in Shockwave Physics from Washington State University, a M.S. in physics from the University of Maryland, and a B.S. from Western Illinois University.
Kathy Babiak, Director. Kathy is retired from NBC, where she worked for 35 years as an audio mixer and video editor on such shows as the Late Show with David Letterman, Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. While there, happy circumstances allowed her to be able to take leaves of absence to go off on research expeditions under the auspices of Earthwatch. She has been fortunate to travel to a wide variety of places around the world, collecting data on the Southern Right Whales of South Africa; the maneless lions of Tsavo, Kenya; the Meerkats of the Kalahari; the coral reefs of Tonga; and the Orcas of Puget sound, where she was fortunate to sign on as a staff volunteer on the project for over 20 years. Most recently, she was thrilled to join a project examining the possible conflicts of crop predation by the chimpanzees of the Budongo Forest in Uganda. Kathy believes that the environment and the relationship of all of its parts are of the utmost importance. “Being familiar with the Port Tobacco River is a huge motivation for doing all we can to protect and improve a healthy ecosystem.”
John Frey, Director. John is married to Tamara Pandolfo and is the proud father of two young chiildren. He has been a La Plata resident since 2014, and is acutely aware that his property drains to the Port Tobacco River. He is a US Navy Petty Officer First Class stationed at NSWC IHEODTD and an emerging leader and expedition participant with Upstream Alliance since 2003, a non-profit whose mission fits perfectly with PTRC, to provide outdoor environmental education experiences to prepare the next generation to be leaders and stewards of a sustainable environment. His avid interests are water related activities and public service.
Chuck Jackson, Director. Chuck is an electrical engineer who currently works as an independent consultant. Representative clients include Intel, Verizon, Qualcomm, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the World Bank. He has also taught part-time at Duke University and George Washington University. His prior experience on boards of directors includes serving on the Executive Committee of the University of Florida’s Public Utilities Research Center and on the boards of the Fairfax Resource Center for the Hearing Impaired (now known as the Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Persons), the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference, and two small consulting firms. Chuck is an avid photographer, and his pictures of scenes along the river appear on the PTRC web site and the PTRC newsletter, and are often for sale at PTRC fundraising events. Chuck, along with his wife, Paige, values the contributions that PTRC makes to protecting and enhancing the environment—specifically the watershed of the Port Tobacco River—and would like to see those contributions continue and grow.
Rhya Marohn, Director. Rhya is a small business owner in Charles County, operating a house call veterinary practice, At Home Animal Care, for the past twelve years. She is a community activist with several different areas of focus, including public education, gun control, racial justice, veterans’ issues, women’s rights and the environment. She currently serves as an executive board member for the North Point PTSO, and is the Legislative Lead for the Southern Maryland Chapter of Moms Demand Action, a volunteer for the Historic McConchie Schoolhouse, a committee chair for the Veterans Democratic Club and a regular volunteer for the Women’s March DC actions. In every group with which she is involved she enjoys doing the work itself as well as community outreach and lobbying.
Rebecca Turner, Director. Rebecca has lived in La Plata for almost 16 years. She has taught science, including chemistry, earth science, and Advanced Placement Environmental Science in California, Egypt, Tennessee, and Maryland. Rebecca grew up in Southern California and taught for 16 years in the Mojave Desert. She has one son who lives in Boulder and who has a PhD in engineering. Rebecca retired from Charles County Public Schools in 2018, where she taught biology at McDonough High School.
Lynne Wheeler, Director. Lynne was born and raised in Indian Head, Charles County, and is a graduate of the University of Maryland, with a B.S. in Medical Technology. Her career entailed working as a Technical Supervisor in hospital clinical laboratories in La Plata, MD and Boca Raton, Florida, a Territory Manager for Fisher Scientific, and final years with Grainger Industrial Supply. She has held multiple officer positions with the Southern Maryland Audubon Society and currently is the President. Her hobbies are gardening with perennials and native plants, birding, reading, dogs, nature, and good wine. She resides in Chicamuxen with her husband, John Wheeler, an Indian Head business owner.
Dr. William Wilson, Director. Bill is a resident of La Plata and lives in the Port Tobacco River Watershed. He is a Senior Mechanical Engineer at The Energetics Technology Center, Inc. (ETC) in St. Charles, MD, as well as Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is retired from NSWC-Indian Head where he spent his last twelve years on assignment as a program manager for energetics at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Bill became active in PTRC in 2004 and has volunteered for several tree planting tasks. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Maryland.
Dave Gardiner was born and raised in Charles County. He has resided in Potobac Shores, Port Tobacco, since 1972. He graduated from Archbishop Neale School in La Plata, MD, and received a Bachelor of Arts from Belmont Abbey College, a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from NC State University, and a Master of Engineering Administration from George Washington University. Dave has had very diverse and exciting careers in federal government, private industry and community services. His 31 year career as a civil servant in the Department of Navy included senior management positions in engineering, information systems and financial management. In Dave’s 10 year career in private industry, he advised federal government senior executives in areas of strategic planning, program management and business process improvements.
Dave is a founding member of the Port Tobacco River Conservancy. Since 2001, Dave has helped establish and lead PTRC to identify environmental problems and implement restoration and protection initiatives. He was elected by his peers as the first Executive Director. His first initiative was to establish a water quality monitoring and Stream Waders program to establish a baseline on watershed conditions that would require restoring and protecting. During his first 3 one-year terms, Dave introduced an organizational structure to build PTRC consisting of an Executive Director, Technical Director, Financial Director and Records and Communications Director. During this time, PTRC prepared its first Strategic Plan, Annual Plan and Budget. Dave created partnerships with several State and local government and funding/foundation organizations including the Chesapeake Bay Trust, United Way and Combined Federal Campaign. With the assistance from State Secretary and PTRC founding member Tim Hutchins, Dave established the first PTRC Board of Directors. During the next 4 years, Dave served as Technical Director and principal grant writer to obtain a budget to fund organizational operations and initial restoration projects. Dave was selected as Executive Director and Technical Director in 2008 thru 2013, after which he served as committee chair to conduct a nationwide search to hire our current Executive Director in April 2014. As Technical Adviser, Dave is a resource to the Executive Director and Board on operational, restoration and advocacy issues.
IT and Videograpy
Jason Forbes contributes to PTRC’s web design and development, photos and videos, and email marketing expertise, as well as acting as emcee and DJ for many PTRC fundraisers and events. Jason has over 20 years of media experience, including nine years as a professional radio broadcaster. He earned a BA with honors in Anthropology from the University of Maryland.