United States Team
Stuart White, PhD, President
Stuart White is a geographer by training (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison) who has lived in highland Ecuador since 1982, and previously in the mountains of Colombia and
southern Peru. He raises alpacas on a ranch in the Cordillera Real of southern Ecuador. His passion is conservation and in particular the protection of wild habitats, coupled with the restoration of degraded ones. He confesses to having a favorite wild habitat: páramo, the herbaceous vegetation found above tree line in the northern Andes. As a lecturer in the Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at the University of Vermont, Dr. White gives a field course in Ecuador titled Bootcamp in Alpaca Husbandry. And as a lecturer in the Department of Geography at UVM, he teaches a biogeography course, Reading Grass Páramo.
Beverley Wemple, PhD
Beverley Wemple (PhD, Oregon State University) 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
Douglas Pierce Gray (MSc) has had multiple careers as an international banker, publisher, venture capitalist, financial consultant, and Enrolled Agent (EA), always accompanied by an
appetite for hiking the wild areas wherever he happened to be. In 2017, he discovered the magical city of Cuenca, Ecuador, secreted in the southern Ecuadorian Sierra. To Pierce, Cuenca was a modern-day Shangri-La, even after he’d lived in the endowed enclaves of Vermont and Maui. After learning of FCT’s conservation field work and its research initiatives in the Andes and upper Amazon, he joined FCT as an administrative consultant and advocate for FCT’s incorporation in the United States, with recognition by the IRS of its nonprofit status.
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, provide educational programming to the public and medical community at large. She has a proven track record as a fundraiser, having raised millions of 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, Ron 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, Ron held research positions with a Minneapolis-based medical group practice and the Control
Data Corporation. All of his professional experiences culminated in Ron’s position as the General Manager of Technicomp, Inc., a developer and publisher of video and print materials to support Total Quality Management and Continuous Improvement efforts across private and public sector organizations and businesses.