Stuart White, PhD, President
Stuart came to the discipline of geography (University of Wisconsin-Madison, PhD, 1981) for the opportunities it provided to work in natural settings, and to integrate the perspectives of both natural and social sciences. He had been in the Peace Corps in the western Cordillera of Colombia, and did his graduate field work in the southern Peruvian Andes and upper Amazon. A period teaching at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, was truncated in 1983 when he found a remote and largely non-intervened property in the mountains of southern Ecuador, where he has been living ever since. The property is called the Mazar Wildife Reserve, of which 95% is native habitat with an intact wild fauna. On pastures at lower elevations, he raises alpacas with his wife of 20 years, Patricia Espadero, and he is a founding member of Fundación Cordillera Tropical. In recent years, Stuart has taught two field courses for the University of Vermont, in alpaca husbandry and grass páramo ecology.
Beverley Wemple, PhD
Beverley Wemple is a Professor of Geography and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont (UVM) and a faculty fellow of the Gund Institute for Environment. Her research examines the dynamics of water, sediment, and solute fluxes in mountain watersheds. Since 2013, Professor Wemple has served as a scientific advisor to FCT on the Mazar River Project, providing training to Foundation staff and working with students on the project. In 2017, she completed a six-month residency in Cuenca, Ecuador, as a Fulbright Foundation Science and Technology fellow, co-hosted by FCT and the Universidad Politécnica Salesiana. In addition to her work as a UVM faculty member, Professor Wemple serves on the Education and Outreach committee of the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences and as an associate editor for the journal Water Resources Research.
Pierce Gray, MSc, Secretary/Treasurer
Pierce has traveled the wilds of nature and the financial power centers of the world as an international banker, international publisher, high-tech venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, and serendipitous financial consultant and Enrolled Agent (EA). In 2017, on a whim, he discovered the magical cosmopolis of Cuenca, secreted in the southern Ecuadorian Sierras like a modern-day Shangri-La, after living the “good life” for years in the exclusive enclaves of Vermont and Maui. Impressed by FCT’s invaluable grassroots field work in the Andes and Amazon and the new AARI, its cutting-edge scientific research institute, designed to gather top scientists from all over the world to reverse the effects of climate change and environmental degradation on the critical Andean Amazon ecosystems, he decided to contribute to the planet in a worthwhile way by joining with FCT to help save the “center of the earth” before we, as a civilization driven by greed that has lost its connection with Nature, cross the last great tipping point in the Andean Amazon with catastrophic consequences none of us dare contemplate.
Gigi Fein comes to FTC from the nonprofit sector in the United States. As development officer and then President and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation, Northeastern Ohio Chapter, for over 20 years, Ms. Fein was responsible for the implementation of national and local priorities to improve the quality of life for people with arthritis, providing educational programming to the public and medical community at large. She has a proven track record as a fundraiser, having raised significant dollars to support programmatic initiatives and nationally peer-reviewed medical research. After leaving the Foundation, Ms. Fein and her husband formed Smarter Moves, Inc., a consultancy focused on the recruitment of nonprofit professionals for executive leadership positions nationwide. Relocating to Chapel Hill, NC, in the early 2000s, Ms. Fein became active in local nonprofits and most recently focused her work on voter education and registration. A recent arrival in Cuenca, Ecuador, she continues her work in the nonprofit sector as a member of the FCT USA team.
Ron Geizer (PhD, Ohio State University) has held academic appointments at the University of Wyoming and the University of Minnesota. At both institutions, he taught courses in interpersonal and organizational communication as well as quantitative research. At Minnesota, Dr. Geizer also held a joint appointment in the Department of Sociology, where he was the Associate Director of the Minnesota Center for Social Research. After leaving academia, Dr. Geizer held research positions with a Minneapolis-based medical group practice and the Control Data Corporation. All of his professional experiences culminated in Dr. Geizer’s work as General Manager of Technicomp, Inc., a developer and publisher of materials to support Total Quality Management and Continuous Improvement efforts across private and public sector organizations and businesses.