Kent Leonhardt is a longtime farmer who began his passion for farming at a very young age, but got his start in the industry by reviving a farm that had sat abandoned for over 40 years located near Blacksville, West Virginia. The farm, that he still lives on today, was purchased in 1982 and started cultivating crops and raising livestock in 1997. As of 2017, the farm has grown from the original 205 acres to 380 contiguous acres. With the help of his wife, Shirley, Kent raises sheep, cattle and goats and sells hay when there is a surplus available.
Kent received his formal education in the science of agriculture by earning his Bachelors Degree in Wildlife Management from the University of Missouri. While earning his degree he took a variety of courses covering issues pertinent to the Department of Agriculture as well as the Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. Kent furthered his education by earning a Masters in Business Management from Central Michigan University.
Besides earning post-secondary degrees, Kent served in the United States Marine Corps for 20 years and retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1996. During that time, he served on multiple joint service assignments leading men and women in war and peace. Throughout his service, Kent received a variety of decorations including: Legion of Merit, Combat Action Ribbon and 8 other personal decorations.
In 2014, Kent was elected to the West Virginia State Senate to serve the people of the 2nd Senatorial District. The district he was chosen to represent in Charleston is one of the largest and most rural in West Virginia containing parts of or all of the following counties: Marshall, Wetzel, Gilmer, Marion, Monongalia, Tyler, Doddridge, Calhoun, and Ritchie. In 2016, he was elected as the West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture.
Kent and his wife Shirley still live on their farm in Western Monongalia County. Together, they have three sons and five grandchildren. Kent is a member of the Monongalia County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and is a member of the Monongalia County Livestock Association.
Daniel J. Robison
Daniel J. Robison has served as dean of the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design at West Virginia University since May 31, 2012.
Robison previously led the research enterprise of the North Carolina State University College of Natural Resources, where he held leadership roles since 2004. In his work as an administrator and professor there, since 1997, he won recognition for teaching, directed several large-integrated research programs and international initiatives, was engaged with Extension and outreach activities, and during 2007-2008 he was a Leadership Fellow with the American Council on Education, serving with the chancellors of University of Alaska-Fairbanks and East Carolina University.
He has published extensively in the forest science literature, secured millions-of-dollars of research funding, mentored graduate students and worked overseas in a number of locations, from South Africa to Israel to Myanmar.
Robison′ss own disciplinary expertise is in the areas of natural resource management and sustainable development, silviculture and forest pest management, and clonal forestry and biomass-energy. Prior to his work at N.C. State University he worked at State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry-Syracuse (SUNY ESF), and lived for two years in West Africa working for a variety of organizations, including with the West African Rice Development Association.
Robison earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in forestry from SUNY ESF, and a Ph.D. in entomology from University of Wisconsin-Madison
Steven C. Bonanno
Steven C. Bonanno is the Director of the West Virginia University (WVU) Extension Service, serving in that capacity since July 2011. Before taking on the task of leading WVU Extension′s 450 faculty and staff members across the state, Bonanno served as the director of the Community, Economic Workforce Development unit.
After earning his bachelor′s and master′s degrees in agriculture education, Bonanno began his life-long career with the organization as the Pleasants County WVU Extension agent. The New York-native found a place for himself creating and implementing programming in community development, 4-H, health and nutrition and agriculture for West Virginians in that county and region. While there, Bonanno also spent 18 years as director and deputy director of Pleasants County′s Emergency Services. That background helps him lead programming and develop resources for WVU Extension projects – like the West Virginia State Fire Academy and Junior Fire Fighter Camp.
In his current role as the leader of WVU Extension Service, Steve serves on the WVU Deans’ Council and represents WVU Extension on the Economic Opportunity and Policy Development roundtable for the University′s 2020 Strategic Plan.
Randy C. Huffman
Randy C. Huffman, Cabinet Secretary for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), brings a wide variety of experience to the top regulatory post.
After having served over three years as the DEP′s Deputy Cabinet Secretary and Mining Director, former Governor Joe Manchin III appointed Huffman as Cabinet Secretary May 1, 2008.
Huffman brings more than 20 years of experience with the agency to the job. He has worked in the Abandoned Mine Lands Program, the Division of Water and Waste Management, the Office of Administration and the Mining Division. For most of the past 13 years, he has also served in various capacities on the Executive Staff.
Huffman graduated from West Virginia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mining Engineering Technology and received a Master of Business Administration degree from West Virginia Graduate College.
He is a Colonel and serves as the Support Group Commander in the 130th Airlift Wing, Charleston, West Virginia.
Randy Dye, director /state forester of the West Virginia Division of Forestry, is a native of Parkersburg, West Virginia. He graduated from West Virginia University in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree in forest management.
He started his forestry career in Lumberton, North Carolina, with Federal Paper Board. He joined Georgia-Pacific Corporation in 1978 and worked in every state throughout the southeastern United States in a number of management positions before returning to his home state of West Virginia. In 1999, former Governor Cecil Underwood appointed him as West Virginia′s State Forester. He has continued in this position under former Governors Bob Wise, Joe Manchin III and current Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.
During his 14 years as West Virginia′s State Forester, he has been a member of the National Association of State Foresters (NASF); served as president of the Northeastern Area Association of State Foresters; was NASF′s liaison to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture; the National Plant Board; and the Association of Consulting Foresters. He has been vice-chairman of NASF′s Forest Science and Health Committee. He is presently President of the NASF and is chairman of the Executive Committee. He is currently a member of the NASF Foundation; a member of the West Virginia State Conservation Committee and chairman of Budget and Finance; a member of the Society of American Foresters; a member of the West Virginia Forestry Association; chairman of the Southeastern Forest Fire Compact; and past president of the West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame.
Rocky Adkins, a native West Virginian, serves as the County Administrator for Logan County as well as the Executive Director of the Logan County Development Authority (LCDA).
Rocky started his career in 1973, working for a family-owned construction company. In 1990, joined the management team at a local lumber home center. In 2002, was named to his current position as Executive Director of the LCDA. In 2004, Rocky became the County Administrator for Logan County.
Rocky also serves on the Guyan Conservation District, Logan County Airport Authority, Logan County Solid Waste Authority, Hatfield-McCoy Trail Authority, Logan County Chamber of Commerce, Chief Logan Recreational Center, Inc., Chief Logan Recreational Center Foundation and on the Advisory Committee at Christ Temple Church to help create long-term addiction recovery facilities in Huntington.
Timothy VanReenen is co-owner and manager of Hillcrest Farm and a beef cattle and row crop operation in Hillsboro, WV.
After graduating from Pocahontas County High School Timothy continued his education at Virginia Tech with a BS in agricultural economics and a MS in career and technical education.
In addition Timothy is an independent insurance agent. Timothy has served as a district supervisor since 2008 and was district chair before becoming WVACD President.
Eli McCoy received his Bachelor of Science degree in zoology and Master of Science degree in biological sciences from Marshall University before completing doctoral studies in aquatic ecology at the University of Louisville. He began a career in state government as a biologist with the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources where, by 1985, he rose to the position of Deputy Chief of the Office of Water Resources. He eventually became the state′s chief environmental regulator as Director of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. In 1997, he left state government to become Environmental Vice President with Potesta & Associates, Inc., a Charleston, West Virginia engineering and environmental consulting firm. His areas of specialization include permit negotiations, enforcement negotiations, environmental compliance, state and federal regulatory operations and aquatic ecology.
Dr. McCoy has served as president of the West Virginia Water Pollution Control Association; as chairman of the Ohio River Basin Commission; as a board member for the National Institute for Chemical Studies; on the West Virginia Infrastructure Council; as a member of the United States Environmental Protection Agency Common Sense Initiative, Iron and Steel Sector; and as commissioner of the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission.
Dr. McCoy was appointed to the West Virginia State Conservation Committee by former Governor Joe Manchin III in 2009.
Tom Warner is a native West Virginian, and his family has owned and operated farms in WV since it became a state.
After serving in the United States Army Reserve, Tom began his career with Elkins Distributing in 1965. He was hired as a driver/salesman and worked his way up to sales manager before buying the business in 1976. Tom was elected to the West Virginia Beer Wholesalers Association Board of Directors in 1988 and served on that board until 2007.
Tom was elected to the Tygarts Valley Conservation District Board in 2009, and he continues to serve in that position. He was recently appointed to the West Virginia State Conservation Committee by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.
Angie Rosser is the Executive Director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and restoration of West Virginia's exceptional rivers and streams. Angie has worked in West Virginia in the non-profit sector since 1995, developing a background in statewide policy, community organizing, coalition building and program administration.
She lives along the banks of the Elk River in Clay County. Her motivation for clean water advocacy is rooted in the belief that the conservation of our water resources is central to a shared prosperity.
Angie holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MA in Organizational Communication from West Virginia University.
Louis Aspey is the State Conservationist in West Virginia. In this role, he leads the implementation of programs that protect the environment, preserve natural resources and improve agricultural sustainability through voluntary, private-lands conservation.
Prior to this position, Louis served as the Chief of Staff for the Regional Conservationists in NRCS National Headquarters where he provided leadership on a wide array of policy and program issues.
Before coming to Washington, DC, Louis served in multiple leadership positions with NRCS and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The majority of his 24-year career has been devoted to addressing complex natural resource challenges throughout West Virginia and Appalachia.
Louis is a native of southwestern Pennsylvania. He earned an undergraduate degree from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, and a graduate degree in public administration from American University. Louis and his wife, Karen, live in Morgantown with their beloved dog Oatie.
Richard "Rick" V. Snuffer II has 35 years of service with USDA. Rick's career in West Virginia began with ASCS as a County Operations Trainee in 1980. Since that time, he has served as County Executive Director in two counties, and then served as Automation Coordinator for 20 years. His most recent service was as the State Outreach and Communications Coordinator. He has received numerous awards during his career including the FSA Administrator's Award for his outstanding service as Automation Coordinator
Rick was born, raised and educated in Raleigh County. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from West Virginia University in 1977 with a B.S. in Animal Science. In 1978, he acted as a Teaching Assistant for the Department of Animal Science while working on his Masters in Vocational Agriculture. In 1978, Rick was hired as the first teacher of Vocational Agriculture in Fayette County, where he taught for two years and developed the new program.
He is also well known for his farming enterprise Snuffer and Sons Angus Farms. He has served as a member of the Raleigh County Board of Education since 2003. He is married to Peggy Livengood and is the father of three children and three step children: Mandy, Ericka, Vinson, Amanda, Jonathan and Justin. He also has six grandchildren: Zadie, Janie, Becca Anne, Tristan, Mallory and Asher.