Our Board

Our Board is Dedicated

The Board of Directors is comprised of professionals from across the watershed who are committed to clean water.

Riverkeeper is grateful to the Board for their service and dedication in helping us achieve our mission.

Get to know our board members below.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. — John Quincy Adams

Become a Board Member
If you are interested in serving on the board, please email us at info@tennesseeriver.org.

Karen Thomas, MPH

President

Karen Thomas completed her master’s degree in Public Health from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health in 2005. While at Emory, her interests included research on the built environment and health, specifically the health benefits of nature contact. She later worked in Atlanta with the Sierra Club to help build public interest and support for the Atlanta Beltline, which is now a leading transportation and economic development effort in the region that offers many public health and environmental benefits. In 2008, she moved home to Decatur, AL. She continues to pursue her passion for public health, the environment, the arts and community through volunteerism and service with various organizations in the North Alabama region. In addition to Tennessee Riverkeeper, she currently sits on the board of the Historic Princess Theatre, Old Decatur Historic Society, and the Historic Decatur Village. In 2013, she canoed across the state of Alabama from Chattanooga, TN to Eastport, MS to raise awareness for water quality issues facing the watershed. Karen enjoys meaningful conversations, collaboration, time with family and friends, reading books and newspapers, travel and distance running.

Charles Rose
Vice President

Since 1971, Charles Rose has worked as a professional trombonist, keyboardist and arranger in Muscle Shoals, AL. He was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 2016. Rose has played with Elvis, John Lennon, Bob Dylan and Phish. He is credited on many platinum and gold albums. He is a founder and the President of Shoals Environmental Alliance and he leads nature outings for Fresh Air Family. In 2006 he discovered the only known population of Collinsia verna (Blue-eyed Mary), a native wildflower, in the state of Alabama. He is currently trombonist and horn arranger for Lyle Lovett and His Large Band.

Mark Martin
Treasurer

Mark Martin is the prosecuting attorney for Tennessee Riverkeeper. He was born in Alabama and began practicing law in 1981 after graduating from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham. Over the course of his legal career Mark has worked on a diverse array of legal issues, ranging from criminal defense to protecting Alabama’s rivers and creeks. In his off-time, one can find him paddling the rivers and creeks of the Black Warrior and Tennessee River watersheds. An Eagle Scout and an avid kayaker, Mark feels very strongly about preserving the quality and integrity of the South’s waterways.

Mark Martin also has prior experience enforcing environmental laws in the Tennessee River watershed. Mark was named “Legal Hero” by the Sierra Club in 2006 for his work in using citizen gathered water monitoring data as evidence of discharge violations from a large hog farm. Over-application of waste on hard pan fields caused runoff into Crow Creek, a tributary of Town Creek, a prominent Tennessee River tributary. Mark represented the Sierra Club and two citizen plaintiffs in a Clean Water Act citizen suit against Whitaker Farms. The resulting consent decree required the owners to pay property damages and significantly improve their operation. An un-lined waste holding pond was closed and replaced with an above-ground tank. More efficient waste application methods were adopted and a nutrient management plan was developed and implemented.

Mark Martin continues his acclaimed environmental litigation in this watershed via his work with Tennessee Riverkeeper.

David Whiteside
Secretary

David Whiteside became involved with Waterkeeper Alliance during the Summer of 1998, when he accepted a job from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., his godfather and the current President of Waterkeeper Alliance. David attended The Altamont School in Birmingham and graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in Environmental Studies. His senior thesis at UVM involved the creation of several autonomous Alabama programs, including Black Warrior Riverkeeper, Choctawhatchee Riverkeeper, and Hurricane Creekkeeper. David founded Black Warrior Riverkeeper in September 2001.

Today, David serves on Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s Board of Directors. He was elected Vice President of the Board for 2009. Since joining the board in 2007, David has contributed thousands of volunteer hours towards fundraising, outreach, website updates, and event planning. In 2009, David founded Tennessee Riverkeeper with environmental attorney Mark Martin. Tennessee Riverkeeper has an office near the Tennessee River in Decatur, Alabama, where David is Executive Director and Riverkeeper.

Whiteside’s maternal family has fought for civil rights in Alabama for over 150 years. David’s great-uncle, Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr., made a number of landmark civil rights rulings that helped end segregation in the South. In the words of journalist and historian Bill Moyers, Judge Frank Johnson “altered forever the face of the South.” David Whiteside served as a political correspondent for MTV Choose or Lose 2008 – an Emmy Award-winning project wherein 51 state-based citizen journalists covered the 2008 presidential elections from a youth perspective, across all media platforms: broadcast television, web, mobile, and virtual.

Robert F. Kennedy, III
Board Member

Bobby first became interested in environmental justice at a young age, while traveling the country with his father Robert Kennedy, Jr, a senior attorney for the National Resources Defense Council. In high school, his summers were split between working for the Waterkeeper Alliance and on oyster boats in Long Island Sound. He earned his Bachelor in International Environmental Politics from Brown University; where he focused on Climate Change and the automobile industry in China, the US, and the EU. After college Mr. Kennedy spend two years as Director of Client Services for, ERFS, where he specialized in working with municipalities and community action boards on RCRA and CERCLA sites. He left ERFS in 2010 to shoot a feature film in Bologna, Italy, though he continued to work as a special consultant. In 2015, his concern with the scope of America’s contamination problem; and his hands-on experience working with communities who lack the resources, knowledge, and money to force polluters to pay for cleanups inspired him to co-found CleanLand.

Ricky Martini
Board Member

Ricky Martini is from central Tennessee. His favorite part of the Tennessee River watershed are the Buffalo River and Duck River tributaries. When not in Tennessee, Martini tours with Lyle Lovett as his Production Manager.

Doug Martinson, II
Board Member

Doug Martinson II was born and raised in Huntsville and is a third generation Huntsville High School graduate. Since 1990 when he joined Martinson & Beason, P.C., Doug has been a leader in the Huntsville community. His practice focuses on estate planning and probate, wills and trust, guardianship and elder law as well as corporate and business planning and disputes.

Doug graduated from the University of Alabama in 1986 with a degree in Finance. In college he was involved with student government, serving as President of the College of Commerce & Business Administration. When the C&BA Dean retired, Doug was selected for the Dean search committee. He was a member of the prestigious Jason’s society, Anderson’s society, and Omega Delta Kappa. Additionally, he was an officer and was selected as best active for his fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta.

At Washington & Lee University School of Law, Doug served as President of the Student Bar Association and Chairman of the Legal Research Association. In 1989, he was selected to receive the Am.Jur. Award for Legal Research.

Doug is a leader in the Huntsville community: past president of the Huntsville School Board, past president of Rotary Club of Huntsville and past president of Huntsville Young Lawyers. While serving on the Huntsville City School Board, Martinson worked with other elected officials to bring home over 82 million dollars for school construction for his district including new buildings for Huntsville High, Lee High, Goldsmith Schiffman Elementary and Blossomwood Elementary as well as renovations and additions to numerous schools. As Rotary president, Doug spearheaded a project which provided $75,000 for the purchase of medical equipment for a pediatric oncology hospital in Guatemala to treat indigent children there with cancer. He has also served on the Library Foundation Board.

In his spare time, Doug referees ice hockey and enjoys reading, snowing skiing and playing golf and tennis. Although today he mostly referees youth league games, he refereed the Division II championship in 1994 and still referees NCAA Division I College Hockey. He and his wife Lauren have two sons, Clay and Reed. Both are active with baseball, football, basketball, tennis and soccer. They attend First United Methodist Church in Huntsville.

Steven Glicken
Board Member

Stephen Glicken started at Songkick (CrowdSurge) in 2011 as one of the first US employees.  In 2012 he moved from New York City to open Songkick’s Nashville office where he currently leads the Business Development team.  He began his career in 2000 as an audio engineer at Circle House Studios in Miami, working with artists such as P. Diddy, Toni Braxton, Nas, Whitney Houston, No Doubt, and more. After Circle House he connected with Ghostface Killah and the Wu Tang Clan, becoming Ghostface Killah’s exclusive engineer on The Pretty Toney Album and Fishscales. In 2004 he moved to Puerto Rico where he co-managed Zion and Lennox, a popular Reggaeton duo during the height of the genre’s popularity. At the same time, he co-managed a venue called The Hacienda outside of San Juan and built two recording studios in the area. In 2006 he moved to New York City and started Green Owl, the first “sustainably-minded” record label through Warner Music Group with Ben Bronfman.  One of their notable releases was Al Gore’s Live Earth DVD/CD in 2007. 

James R. Lowery

Board Member

James Lowery is retired from an administrative position at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and considers himself an “Amateur Scientist.” 

He is involved in environmental education and is a member of seven environmental and science-related Boards of Directors as well as the Board of Directors of an historical railroad organization.  He serves as an officer on four of the Boards. 

He gives presentations concerning constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment, creeks and streams he has walked, the Historic Birmingham Mineral Railroad, the Wetumpka (Alabama) Impact Crater, the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, Antarctica, and the Netherlands. He conducts guided tours of the Wetumpka (Alabama) Impact Crater (Astrobleme).

He enjoys paddling whitewater rivers as a member of the Birmingham Canoe Club. 

James has traveled to Antarctica four times and states that it is his most favorite place on Earth.

Rita Goyal

Board Member

Dr. Rita Bishnoi Goyal is passionate about doing what she’s trained to do: help others. She saw a barrier to access in healthcare and decided to do something about it when she founded VirtualMDvisit in 2017. Rita is a second generation American and first-generation Alabama native, born in Huntsville and growing up near the Tennessee River. She is a graduate of the University Of Alabama at Birmingham where she served in the student government association for 3 years and on several leadership boards, moving up the street to the School Of Medicine (UASOM), in Birmingham, where she served as the Class Officer for one year, representing many contentions on her classmates behalf. During Medical School, she was an active officer in The American Medical Student Association, an organization advocating for every patient’s rights. Naturally, she continued her passion for all Americans’ constitutionally protected personal liberties into her later adulthood, serving on the State Board of the American Civil Liberties Union in Alabama, her home state.

Dr. Rita has more than twenty years of experience practicing in Alabama as a board certified physician and has served in several lead roles. She is a Fellow of the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM). Her enthusiasm and passion for social justice and access to health literacy and healthcare inspired her join the American Heart Association in the education and awareness campaign for Women’s heart disease and stroke in 2014 to 2019. Also, she is a multi-award winner and is the recipient of the Birmingham Metro’s Best Docs Award, 2015 & 2016 and the B-Metro’s Best Women Doctors award in 2017 and 2018. She joined the Birmingham based global software company, ConcertCare, as Chief Medical Officer in 2018.

As someone who loves giving back to her local community, she currently serves on the Board of Trustees of The Altamont School, motivated by their mission to graduate caring, compassionate individuals who will improve the fabric of society. She was a member of The Junior League of Birmingham. She has deep-seated community values with multiple years’ commitments to The Birmingham Museum of Art and philanthropic commitments to The Birmingham Zoo. She also actively serves at the executive level on the Board of Directors for YouthServe, a Birmingham based nonprofit organization to promote youth volunteerism and leadership which gives young people the training and opportunities to make their communities and city a better place to live by promoting civic engagement, leadership, and community service.

Dr. Rita believes in projecting the best in everything she does. She is a Trustee member of the Board of The Tennessee Riverkeepers, where she advocates in support of the American ideal and right to expect toxin-free waters for our edible and indigenous fish, fowl, and wildlife to drink from as well as non- carcinogenic waters for our children and grandchildren to drink from being an American value and an American right, a safety net of health and food resources in this country. She and her family enjoy all outdoor water activities: “fresh water, frozen water, or salt water”.

She is happily married to her husband, Munish K. Goyal, M.D and together they have two wonderful children. The Drs Goyal have instilled a love and respect for the outdoors in their children with a lifelong skills and passions for enjoying and respecting our great American ecosystems and environments through snow-skiing, boarding, hiking, camping, and fly-fishing. Together, they believe strongly that protections for this land, “America the Beautiful” for the people to enjoy for generations, should be the work of Americans in every generation.

Nancy Muse

Board Member

Nancy Muse was born on February 4, 1955 into a military family in Mineral Wells, Texas, spent her early childhood in Europe, and grew up in Florence, Alabama. In 1977, Nancy received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, and in 1988 obtained N-12 Visual Art Education certification from The University of North Alabama in Florence. Beginning in 1990 until her retirement in June of 2018, Nancy served as a K-12 Visual Arts Specialist in the Lauderdale County school system.

Nancy has spent much time as a community environmental advocate beginning in 1979 as a member of the Alabama Conservancy, as a charter member of the Safe Energy Alliance—a North Alabama anti-nuclear group and also as a charter member and past vice president/programs chair for the Shoals Environmental Alliance (2002-2014). She is a founder/charter member and current President of Shoals Earth Month, Inc., 501 C3, (2006-present), and serves as the organizer of the Annual Shoals Earth Day Fest (2007-present). She has also served as 3-term secretary, past Chair, and past VC, on the City of Florence Tree Commission (2007-present). Nancy also serves on the Sierra Club Alabama Chapter, Executive Committee (2016-present), is the Education and Natural Resources Chair for the League of Women Voters, Shoals MAL Unit, and is currently coordinating the LWV Shoals Renewable Energy Symposium 2019. In February of 2019, Nancy was added to the Tennessee Riverkeeper Board of Directors, currently serving as Secretary.

Nancy organized public rallies against local Tar Sand Mining (2012-2015), participated for four decades in TVA and NRC public scoping meetings on public land use, coal ash, and nuclear power facilities, organized symposia on renewable energy and Smart Growth and frequently speaks at city and county meetings on various local environmental issues. In 2014, Nancy was the recipient of the Roosevelt-Ashe Conservation Award for Outstanding Educator in Conservation.

Childhood trips to the Bankhead with her grandfather and camping trips with her children to the great National Parks, served to heighten her awareness of the need to protect our wild, scenic, public lands. Fighting to preserve NEPA, the EPA, and hard- earned, environmental protection legislation that ensures a healthy planet and a rich, biodiverse future for all creatures, is Nancy’s passion.

Charles Rose Ricky Martini David Whiteside Hyannis Melody

Photo: L to R: Charles Rose, Ricky Martini, and David Whiteside

Copyright, 2019. All Rights Reserved by Tennessee Riverkeeper.