THE BOARD OF NCC
Bob Simmons Biography
Bob has served on the Board of Trustees for several years and has served as Nominating Committee chairman. Bob is has served multiple stints as Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer since joining Central Connecticut Grotto in the mid-1970s. Bob has also been a member of the Cascade Grotto (WA) and Parkersburg Area Grotto (WV) while serving in the Army in the late 1970s and while in Grad School in the mid 1980s. Bob serves as the NCC's agent in Connecticut and also chairs the ad hoc committee on the management of Surprise (Mystery) Cave. Bob, a Fellow of the NSS, is also co-Chair of the James Gage Karst Preserve in Schoharie, Bob's early exposure to caves and caving resulted in his studying Geology and Hydrogeology in college, resulting in a career of over twenty-five years in environmental consulting; investigating and remediating contaminated industrial properties across the globe..
Thom Engel Biography
I started caving in October 1969. My first wild cave was Clarksville though I had "dabbled" in some of the Thacher Park caves earily. I was co-editor of the Northeastern Caver with Doug Hauser for a few years starting in 1976 and then editor on my own in the late 1980s. I am preserve manager for Onesquethaw and for the NSS at Barton Hill. I am co-manager of Clarksville. I am past manager of McFails Cave. I have written many of the management plans for the NSS and NCC preserves in New York.
I worked for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation for over 30 years and retired in 2009.
My caving interests include management, surveying and cartography, and geology.
Treasurer for the Northeastern Cave Conservancy since 2006, Vice President from 2000-2006, Chairman of Met Grotto from 1998-1999, Treasurer of Met Grotto from 1996-1997, Organizer of the Spring 1998, 2003 and 2010 NROs. Bill is actively engaged in digging, exploration and conservation of caves and karst in the Northeast such that current and future generations can appreciate the unique beauty of the natural resources that lie hidden underground. Above ground, Bill can frequently be found in front of a computer, having worked in multiple capacities in book, magazine, online and videogame publishing. Currently he works at the Museum of American Finance, where he teaches financial history and personal finance classes. Full bio click here. )
Mitch Berger Biography
Mitch started caving in 2005, when he first visited Clarksville with the MIT Caving Club. He spent several years leading trips for that club, training new leaders, and occasionally serving as Secretary. He became involved with the NCC in 2012 shortly after being disappointed when his group was denied permission to visit a cave - this sparked his interest in landowner relationships and what's involved in caring for and maintaining a cave preserve for the community to enjoy (the NCC now owns this cave). He's currently manager of the Knox Cave Preserve. A life member of the NSS, he's active in the Boston Grotto, a member of the Helderberg-Hudson Grotto, and has served as Vice Chair and then Chair of the NRO. He caves and digs in the northeast, and occasionally West Virginia.
Jacob Morris-Siegel Biography
Jacob has been caving since 2011. He is currently the Vice-President of the Vermont Cavers Association, and is actively digging, exploring, and surveying caves with the Berkshire Area Diggers Association. He has his B.S in Biology from Umass Amherst. For the past 9 years he has worked for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and is currently the Stewardship Biologist for their Western District Office.
Christine Young Biography
Christine Young is the Executive Director of the Rensselaer Land Trust and has been working with the organization since 2008, beginning as a volunteer, providing pro bono legal services. She also has her own law practice focusing on estate planning, estate administration, real estate including conservation easements and judicial appointments. Prior to working with the land trust and launching her own practice, Christine worked for the law firms Tabner, Ryan and Keniry, and Crane, Greene and Parente in Albany, volunteered for the Saratoga County District Attorney’s office and interned at the NYS Public Service Commission and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. She has also worked as a Judicial Hearing Officer for disputed tax assessment cases.
Before beginning her law career, Christine worked for Lufthansa German Airlines as the Key Account Marketing Manager for the USA and was the recipient of two company-wide awards: Quality Improvement Rewards and Recognition Program and Quality Improvement Environmental Best Practice Award.
She has also worked as a free lance business consultant where she supervised a market research team and conducted study interviews, developed the strategic and tactical goals with a supporting marketing plan for the international expansion of a European company in the US market, projected cost and revenue budgets, and the staffing requirements for a company’s domestic expansion, and coordinated a start-up’s lead generation, new business prospecting programs, and developed a database.
Christine is a Cum Laude graduate of Albany Law School, holds a MBA from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh Scotland, and a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
She is an avid outdoors woman who hikes, swims, kayaks, snowshoes and skis. Christine is a cellist and is fluent in German.
Alan Traino Biography
Alan has been a member of the NSS since 2002 and has served as a pass chairman of the NRO for many years . An active caver He has also served as pass NCC fundraising chair. A member of the “Rockeaters”, Alan is active in exploration, digging, and conservation of caves and karst. A fulltime optician by trade. He also is very active in the astronomy world. Co-owning a solar telescope company. Alan has hosted some of the largest astronomy shows in the world. Winner of the 2009 Astronomical League Award, and honored in 2015 by the International Astronomical Union with the naming of asteroid “30097 Traino”
Paul has been caving in the northeast since 1973, is a Fellow of the NSS, and is familiar with many of the caves in the region from an exploration, historic and scientific standpoint. This has involved pushing the limits of McFail’s, Skull, Howe Caverns and other caves and in-cave data collection with subsequent scientific analysis, publications and presentations - including documenting the first bats impacted by white-nose syndrome. Through his research on the geomorphic history of the region, he seeks to further protection and preservation of karst resources through science and education.
His professional work as a geologist and hydrogeologist entails interaction with major environmental groups (i.e., Sierra Club, Open Space Institute), law firms and Towns to protect and preserve water resources and the environment. This entails familiarity with broad watershed areas, often far beyond limited project and cave boundaries. A current example involves working with the Town of Mamakating to protect groundwater and surface water quality of its natural resources, inclusive of the Surprise Cave area.
Morgan Ingalls Biography
Morgan has been caving since 2008 and has been an NCC board member since 2011, where she is also the Merlins Preserve Manager. Morgan’s life revolves around caves, bats, and conservation, and can frequently be found caving, digging, and surveying in Massachusetts and Vermont. She holds a B.S. Biochemistry from Marlboro College, and an M.Sci. in Environmental Studies with a focus on Conservation Biology from Antioch University New England. She currently lives in southern Vermont and works as a bat biologist through out the northeast.
Wayne Russell Biography
Wayne has been caving for over 25 years in the Northeast primarily with a strong emphasis on conservation. He has served as the Conservation Chair for the Northern New Jersey Grotto and as Vice Chair for the Tri-State Speleological Society. For five years he was very involved with the Tri-State Speleological Society’s Cave Day fundraiser that focused on education, conservation and safety in caving to the general public. Due to his proximity to the New York border Wayne has participated in the New York DEC’s bat survey since 2010. For many years he was a key holder for Surprise Cave in New York when there was still access maintaining good communications and adherence to the rules imposed by the NY DEC for access to the cave. His full time job entails managing a housing complex with 300 residents. In that capacity Wayne also manages the laboratory for the drinking water and waste water treatment process for the complex. The complex also has 77 rural acres of which Wayne manages the infrastructure which includes a wetlands trust area within that acreage. In the over 20 years his duties at the complex he has developed strong working relationships with the New Jersey DEP, county, state and federal officials as well as local landowners.
Michael Chu Biography
Mike has been an NCC Trustee since 2005, Chair of the Rensselaer Outing Club Grotto from 2004-2008, and a fellow of the NSS. He is active in cave exploration and conservation of karst. Mike works as a design engineer for specialized machinery and enjoys welding, fabrication, engine rebuilding and other "hands on" tasks while not caving.
Devon Hedges Biography
I'm from Albany County, NY and spent the best of my youth in nature. Around 1990 at Heldeberg Workshop, I first see minor Thacher Park caves, Clarksville Cave, Schoharie Caverns and others. I cave a good bit for a teenager. A decade later, I'm back underground. Another decade goes by with many great trips, digs, meetings, and new friendships and I'm happy to serve as an NCC Trustee. Working digs & trails, ridgewalking, building skills, showing newcomers their first caves, reading cave lore, and serving the community energize me. I am the manager of Bentleys Karst Preserve and the Director of the Community Library in Cobleskill, NY.
Ramon Armen Biography
Ramon started caving and digging in the northeast in 2012. He served as Trip Chair for Boston Grotto from 2013-2016, is active with the Berkshire Area Digger's Association, and has helped discover, explore, and survey several of the longest caves in New England. He enjoys project caving, exploration, cave photography, and introducing new people to the world of caving.