Vernon, Brian

Vernon, Brian


Describe your background, interests, and vocation.

Over the past year I have had the pleasure to work with various groups and individuals inside and out of the Conservancy.

Late in 2020, I purchased a copy of the Rachel Carson Trail guide which spurred a weeklong vacation discovering the trail. It was my first long-distance hike and I fell in love with the views and terrain, while taking advantage of finding geocaches along the way. While submitting my cache hints and giving a word of thanks to the organizers, I included some suggestions that I journaled along the trail. It only took a few email exchanges with Kathleen before we started an outreach program with community libraries to promote the trail. From this, we created a video and brochure to introduce families on the ease of getting started in geocaching and discovering the Rachel in the North Park region. To date, we have distributed over two thousand brochures across Allegheny County, including 21 libraries. We were also fortunate to record an interview with local radio station WISR to promote geocaching and other Conservancy events.

Over the past year, I have been privileged to work with the amazing group on the Planning & Promotion Committee. It was fun to help plan, execute and participate in my first Rachel Carson Trail Challenge. This committee not only plans both the Rachel and the Baker challenges, but also training hikes, promotional material, and general improvements to our great regional resources.

Personally, I used the weeks leading up to my first Challenge to raise $820 from friends and family to support the Conservancy’s mission. My family and I have volunteered on multiple trail improvement days and currently, I’m helping to enhance signage across the Rachel Carson. While establishing connections with state and local agencies can be challenging, these relationships should allow us to build on our future initiatives.

My effort in these accomplishments is a small fraction of the enjoyment I get out of using the trail. I treasure taking both my children on the trail, watching them overcome their challenges gives them the confidence to take life’s other obstacles. Taking long walks with my father over the course gives us both hours of conversation that we may not have had.

Finally, the joy of each first step of every new hike releases the stress of everyday life and gives me another new adventure to look forward to. It would be my pleasure to serve on the board of directors for the Conservancy to help improve, promote and protect our region's amazing natural treasure for years to come.

Why would you like to be on the RCTC Board?

From my first hike on the Rachel, I gained an appreciation for our region’s amazing asset. I used that initial experience to help others discover the wonder of our trail system. In my current volunteer capacity, I have been fortunate to implement outreach and enhancements, specifically benefiting families with younger children. It would be an honor to join the board to understand the organization’s larger needs and help steward the growth of the Conservancy decades to come.

What makes you a good addition to the RCTC Board?

As a product manager, I have a diverse background developing experiences and shepherding them across the entire product lifecycle. I evaluate situations from many angles to identify source problems and potential areas of improvement. I work cross functionally to collect diverse views while respecting those with different backgrounds and motivations. I know how to manage large budgets, use communication to drive projects through the execution phase, and act decisively when confronted with hard decisions. Most of all I appreciate learning what makes people give their time. Matching individuals with projects they are passionate about will allow us to retain and expand our all-volunteer base to best support our mission today and in the future.


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