Board | Senior Management



William B. Rogers  | President and Chief Executive Officer  

Will Rogers is president and CEO of The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, playgrounds, community gardens, farms, historic places, and wilderness. Whether recycling brownfields for new urban parks or playgrounds or conserving remote and inspirational wildlands, TPL brings a market-based approach to its mission of protecting the places that inspire us and where people can connect with the natural world and with each other.  Will is a nationally recognized advocate for land conservation and has given major addresses or interviews to the Urban Land Institute, the National Smart Growth Conference, the National Brownfields Conference, and Talk of the Nation, among others

Page Knudsen Cowles | Chair, Board of Directors 

Page Knudsen Cowles was an investment professional in the financial services industry during the 1980s. She has been an active volunteer in the Twin Cities for many years and has served on the boards of the Children’s Theater Company, Planned Parenthood Minnesota/South Dakota, and Graywolf Press, a nationally acclaimed literary publisher. She currently is a trustee of St. Paul Academy and Summit School; serves on the board of Unity Avenue Foundation, a family foundation; and is a director of Lawrence Creek, LLC, a private investment company.

Stephen W. Baird

Stephen W. Baird is the president and chief executive officer of Baird & Warner.

Brian M. Beitner

Brian is the Chief Investment Officer of the start up investment management firm Chautauqua Capital Management.

George Bell

George Bell is Managing Director of General Catalyst Partners, focusing on investment opportunities in new media, interactive marketing and digital-driven disruptions of traditional consumer behavior. 

William J. Cronon

William J. Cronon is a historian of American environmental history and of the American west. 

Douglas Durst

Douglas Durst is a member of the third generation to run The Durst Organization, one of New York City’s most respected real estate developers, owners and management companies. 

Whitney Hatch

Whitney currently serves as Senior Strategist at United Republic and Director of Program Initiatives at The John Merck Fund. 

Caroline Niemczyk

Caroline Niemczyk currently serves as Vice Chair of The Conservation Campaign, Vice Chair of the Open Space Institute, and sits on the board of the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Michael E. Patterson

Michael E. Patterson worked for JPMorgan from 1987-2009, serving as general counsel, chief administrative officer, a member of the board and vice chairman. 

Thomas S. Reeve

Thomas Reeve is active in land conservation across Washington State. 

Laura Richards

Founder in 2011 and current Chair of the Friends of Carrollton GreenBelt, a non-profit created to construct a 16-mile concrete, recreational, circular trail within the City of Carrollton, Georgia. Manager of Lakeview Farms LLC, 79 acres in Carrollton. Previously worked for A.D.A.M. Software in Atlanta, for McMahon Publishing as a Managing Editor in New York City, and for Vermont Bicycle Touring as a European Guide in Holland, Italy, France, and Spain. Graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1994. Currently serving as a board member for the PATH Foundation in Atlanta and for the Tanner Medical Foundation in Carrollton. Previously served for 5 years on the board of the Georgia Land Trust/Alabama Land Trust.

Roy Richards, Jr.

Roy Richards, Jr. is the Chairman of Southwire Company, one of North America’s largest producers of electrical power cable.

Lex Sant

Lex Sant is co-founder and managing director of Persimmon Tree Capital, a private equity firm focused on investments in renewable electricity and energy efficiency. Prior to founding Persimmon Tree Capital in 2008, Mr. Sant worked for five years at the AES Corporation, a leading global power company with electrical generation and distribution businesses in more than 20 countries. At AES, Mr. Sant was most recently a director in the Alternative Energy group, for which he was responsible for the origination and execution of transactions related to biofuels, wind and other forms of renewable energy. Prior to that position, Mr. Sant had responsibility for large-scale mergers and acquisitions and corporate strategy.

Sheryl Crockett Tishman

Sheryl Crockett Tishman is an active philanthropist and environmentalist.

F. Jerome Tone

F. Jerome (Jerry) Tone is the principal in a Marin County-based real estate investment company. 

Susan D. Whiting

Susan D. Whiting is Vice Chair of Nielsen. She was appointed to this role in November 2008. She was also named Chief Diversity Officer in October 2010

More information can be found at:



Adrian Benepe | Senior Vice President and Director of City Park Development

Serving as New York City Park Commissioner for the last ten and a half years, Adrian Benepe oversaw a major expansion of New York City’s parks system.

Raymond Christman | Senior Vice President, Mid South Division Director

Raymond Christman spent 13 years with the Federal Home Loan Bank system, serving as Chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, Pa, and President and CEO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta. 

Sean Connolly  | Chief Marketing Officer

With over 20 years of experience in marketing and advertising, Sean joined The Trust for Public Land in May 2012 as the Chief Marketing Officer. Prior to joining TPL, he oversaw marketing for Best Buy’s $14 billion computing business unit as the Senior Director of Marketing. 

Ernest Cook | Senior Vice President, Conservation Director

Since joining TPL in 1980, Ernest has significantly expanded TPL’s geographic and program scope. He laid the groundwork for TPL’s land conservation programs in New England and the Midwest and served as the first Regional Director for both regions.

Jeff Danter | Senior Vice President, Atlantic Seaboard Division Director

Dr. Danter comes to The Trust for Public Land most recently from The Nature Conservancy, where he was the Florida State Director from 2007 to 2011, leading one of the biggest offices in one of the world’s largest conservation organizations.

Kathy DeCoster | Vice President and Director of Federal Affairs

Kathy became the Director of Federal Affairs for the Trust for Public Land in January, 2003. Prior to assuming that position, she served as Director of Federal Programs, Associate Director of Federal Affairs and as a legislative representative for TPL.

M. Holly Haugh | Senior Vice President and General Counsel

Holly Haugh joined The Trust for Public Land as a project attorney in 1986, served as Assistant General Counsel for many years, and became General Counsel in 2011.

Roger Hoesterey | Senior Vice President and Division Director West

As Senior Vice President and Division Director West, Roger oversees the Trust for Public Land’s conservation programs in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Utah, Hawaii and Alaska. During Roger’s time at TPL, the states he directs have conserved over a half million acres of land.

Margie Kim Bermeo | Senior Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer

With 25 years of experience in the nonprofit arena, including twenty years in philanthropy, Margie joined TPL in January 2010 as the Chief Development Officer. 

Cindy Scherer | Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Cindy joined the finance department of TPL in 2003 and as CFO oversees the finance, accounting and information technology departments. 

Brenda Schick | Vice President and Director of Conservation Transactions

Brenda joined TPL as a project manager in 2001 doing conservation real estate work in Oregon & Idaho.

Barbara Smith | Vice President and Senior Director of Human Resources

Ms. Smith has been TPL’s Director of Human Resources since October 1994. She has over 30 years of management experience, including the position of Vice President of Human Resources at Young and Rubicam, an advertising agency.


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