Meet the Board
The Sewickley Creek Watershed Association's Board of Directors is comprised of several individuals with diverse educational and professional backgrounds. These individuals are in charge of planning projects, applying for grants, coordinating outreach efforts, and much more.
Rob Cronauer, President
My name is Rob Cronauer and I am employed at the Westmoreland Conservation District. I have been with the Westmoreland Conservation District for 16 years and have been blessed in that my passion is also my career. This passion likely began developing at a young age. Growing up near Johnstown, PA my childhood pursuits often found me outdoors doing things mother’s generally dread like hunting, fishing and playing in the mud! It is through these youthful experiences that I began thinking about a career field that involved nature and the environment. Specifically I wanted to help preserve the natural environment.
I enrolled at Penn State University. There I obtained an Associate of Science degree in Wildlife Technology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science.
While attending college, I was introduced to Conservation Districts through an internship with Cambria County Conservation District. After participating in two summer internships in Cambria County and obtaining my degrees, I obtained full time employment with the Franklin County Conservation District. There I was introduced to conservation heavily focused on the agricultural industry. I was able to work with large scale dairy farmers and even work with farmers growing the famous Chambersburg peaches! After 3 years on the level plains of Southcentral PA, the hills of Southwestern PA were calling to me and I was blessed to pursue a career with the Westmoreland Conservation District.
At the Westmoreland Conservation District I have transitioned through several job titles and functions. All the work performed has centered on improving water quality by promoting, educating, and implementing conservation principals through examples and programs. I truly enjoy my work as every day is something different, and it is true, “variety is the spice of life”. While my work varies in task, the core effort is always to improve the environmental health of Westmoreland County. This work is very rewarding as I see the benefits it has had on both the natural environment and the populous of Westmoreland County. My work has allowed me to explore the fervor that was awakened in me at an early age and I am truly grateful for the opportunities of today and the promise that tomorrow brings.
Tom Keller, Executive Director
I have always hunted and fished and have considered myself a conservationist. I always wanted to give something back for all that I received. My work history consists of employment with four different common carriers, Waste Management for 20 years, and the Sewickley Creek Watershed Association. My Bachelor Degree in Transportation is from Robert Morris College (now a university) and Masters of Science Degree in Journalism and Communication is from Point Park College. My outdoor articles and photos have been published in newspapers and magazines, and I am an active member in the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association.
Approximately 30 years ago, I received a phone call from Greg Philips, District Manager for the Westmoreland Conservation District, telling me about an important meeting that I should attend--a meeting that lead to the creation of the Sewickley Creek Watershed Association.
I was an SCWA member before becoming the SCWA secretary, and now I serve as the executive director. Being executive director is my way of giving back to this beautiful watershed and country.
James W. Pillsbury, Secretary
Jim Pillsbury, a SCWA director for over 20 years, is the Hydraulic Engineer for the Westmoreland Conservation District, a position he has held since 1988. With a BSCE from Penn State and a MSCE from Villanova, Jim is experienced in the areas of streams, stormwater, ponds, wetlands, flooding, and other water-related issues. A registered Professional Engineer in Pennsylvania since 1997, Jim is a resident of Southwest Greensburg and enjoys baking pies in his spare time.
Dr. Sarah Pillsbury, Treasurer
Dr. Sarah-Jane Pillsbury joined the Sewickley Creek Watershed Association Board of Directors as Treasurer at the end of 2017. She has been an SCWA member since about 2009. She is an Adjunct Professor in the Chemistry Department at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe PA. She has a B. S. Chemistry and Mathematics from Geneva College and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Penn State. She enjoys walking, reading, cooking and eating Jim’s pies.
Ted Curnow, Vice President
As a child, I can remember fishing for carp behind the Post Office in the Village of Armbrust. There were only carp, as I was told, because they were the only fish that could live in the “sulfur creek.” I was told stories by my Great Grandmother of how the tributaries to the Sewickley Creek used to be a well-kept secret for prize trout fishing, but the remnants of the mining industry had left nothing but an orange stain. As an Eagle Scout (Troop 457, New Stanton) I was instilled with an appreciation for nature, and for not only conserving, but improving our natural resources. I spent five years with Youngwood Borough’s Department of Public works, ending my time there as Public Works Supervisor. It was during my time with Youngwood that I was approached by Tom Keller, who at that point was simply one of my old Assistant Scoutmasters from my days as a Boy Scout. Tom extended an invitation to a board meeting to see if serving would interest me. I must say, the first meeting was overwhelming; though I was aware of a few of the treatment sites (having done Eagle Scout projects at two of them) I didn’t know the full scope of what the SCWA did. I’ve since taken the position of Deputy Director of Public Works for Hempfield Township, a position that sees me responsible for an even larger portion of the Sewickley’s watershed. During my time on the Board, I have tried to use my experience in public works to improve the facilities of the SCWA, and I take pride in getting my hands dirty in an effort to improve a watershed that directly impacts the public I serve in my day to day job.
Dr. Mark Stauffer
I received a BS (1979) and PhD (1998) in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh. Between my undergraduate and graduate studies, I worked for the Ethyl Corporation (Baton Rouge, LA) as an analytical chemist in their R&D lab. Part of my work at Ethyl Corp. included a number of
environmental analyses, including the EPA Extraction Method for toxic metals. I am currently an associate professor of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh – Greensburg, teaching courses in general and analytical chemistry, instrumental analysis, and chemometrics. My analytical chemistry lab course is centered around analyses of abandoned mine drainage (AMD) for alkalinity, sulfate, and iron as well as other water quality parameters. I also conduct various research projects involving undergraduates, one of which is to obtain data on water quality parameters in AMD for historical (archival) purposes as well as studying relationships among, for example, levels of iron, dissolved oxygen, and alkalinity in AMD.
Dr. Tim Savisky
Dr. Timothy Savisky teaches biology at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. He focuses on stream pollution studies with his students, and teaches a variety of courses in environmental sciences.
Mr. Bleehash serves as the Director of Facilities and Security and an adjunct instructor at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. He is a practicing registered architect in Pennsylvania and 15 other states and earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Kent State University with an emphasis on architectural typology, preservation and sustainability. He holds a Master of Public Policy and Management from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public & International Affairs as well as LEED BD+C sustainability credentials through the United States Green Building Council. He also serves as a board member for the Smart Growth Partnership of Westmoreland County.
Mark has worked closely with grassroots watershed organizations throughout Western Pennsylvania for over 25 years, previously serving as Regional Coordinator for the Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (WPCAMR) and as a Watershed Manager for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, where he assisted in watershed restoration projects of many kinds.
Mark is a graduate of California University of Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor Degree in Education and a Masters Degree in Geography and Regional Planning. His diverse background includes a working knowledge of biologic and earth sciences, wetlands, watershed and stream assessment and restoration, conservation planning, abandoned mine drainage treatment systems and designs, mapping and geographic information systems (GIS), technical drawing and design, manufacturing processes and construction trades, quality assurance and quality control, and nonpoint source pollution prevention techniques. Mark has been involved with Sewickley Creek Watershed Association almost since its inception and works with other local watershed organizations. He enjoys many outdoor activities, including hunting, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, camping, and travel.