Our Team.

We have three, part-time employees who work together and with our board and our many community partners to keep our organization moving forward.   The strategy, the sweat, the time by the creek, all contribute to the success of the Piney Creek Watershed Association.  

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Meet The Employees

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Jim Fedders

Executive Director 

Project Management & Key Decision Maker

Strategic Planning & Executive Board Member

Jim and his wife Barbara are originally from northern Kentucky and have lived in Beckley for over 30 years. Jim worked as an ecologist at the USDA-ARS research center in Beaver before retiring in 2012. Since then, Jim has worked in higher education at New River Community and Technical College, Concord University, and WVU Tech. Jim has served Piney Creek Watershed Association as a board member, Associate Director, and currently Executive Director. Jim has managed  a variety of remediation projects ranging from wetland restoration at Woodrow Wilson High School and revegetation of barren areas along New River Drive to wetland restoration at the Shady Spring Library.  Jim has always enjoyed the outdoors and loves the streams and woodlands of West Virginia. He continues to be amazed at the scenic beauty our area has to offer. He hopes that more people will take advantage of the growing local trail systems to experience, appreciate, and be moved to preserve and protect the natural treasure of the Piney Creek Watershed.

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Kate Sopher

Community Relations Director

Social Media, Website & Email Communication

Community Outreach & Event Planning

A native of Beckley, Kate found her way back 6 years ago to shift to a more entrepreneurial path. Kate graduated from Marshall, with a degree in Advertising.  Where she led the Women’s Rugby Team and completed an internship at the Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority. After relocation to Blacksburg, VA she worked her way up through DISH Network into Human Resources, where she leapt at the opportunity to transfer to the corporate headquarters in Denver, CO on Marketing team.  There she led a multitude of high-profile projects for all departments, becoming a master in translating complex ideas into simple, exciting communication and creative that appealed to the masses. 

Being passionate about the preservation of the environment comes naturally to Kate, she was raised by an advocating mother and spent countless hours watching Captain Planet and picking up litter along roadways

As a lifetime and All-Star 4-Her, helping the community, learning from her mistakes and channeling her energy for good is big part of who she is as a person.  It’s not often you won't see her hanging with a dog or coming from a yoga class. She’s got a passion for animals and she’s a trained yoga instructor! Namaste!

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Dane Gaiser

Monitoring Research Assistant

Monitoring support for Upper Piney Creek

Hands-On Projects - Pet Waste & Rain Barrels

Dane is originally from Tyler County and served in the US Air Force under Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC).  During that time, he participated in extensive environmental and meteorological training and gained real-world experience in some of the most remote parts of the world, while also receiving his associates in meteorology through the Community College of the Air Force. He later found his way to this area to attend WVU Tech for a BS in Biology.  

He first became involved with PCWA in 2017 as a volunteer, assisting with the installation of many of our early pet waste stations. Dane continued to stay involved with PCWA as a volunteer, as the summer intern for the Beckley Sanitary Board, and helped develop the methodology for early stream sampling efforts.  He then went on to work as the Veterans to Agriculture Program Coordinator for the WV Department of Agriculture, finding success in expanding benefits, increasing membership, improving access to agricultural education, and developing relationships with partner agencies.

Dane took a step back to reassess life and invest time in his family and homestead, he again found PCWA and is now back as our "jack of all trades", helping us in the field.