Jay Yankey, District Manager
Jay returned to the District in October 2011 after serving as the Education and Conservation Specialist from February 2002 through March 2005. Jay brings his expertise in agriculture production and natural resources conservation to the traditional farmers, small acreage/specialty crop producers, exotic livestock and horse operations.
Jay is a Prince William County native, growing up on the family farm in Nokesville. His family raised cattle, grain, and hay as part-time farmers. Jay graduated from Brentsville District High School and received his B.S. in Agribusiness and Environmental Science from Ferrum College. Jay is an active member of the Virginia Farm Bureau, and currently serves on the Prince William/Fairfax Farm Bureau Board of Directors. Jay has chaired the Virginia Farm Bureau Young Farmers Committee.
Jay, his wife, Sonja and daughters Ali and Beth, and son Carter, own and operate Yankey Farms, a Community Supported Agriculture vegetable farm and market in Nokesville.
Jeannie Heflin, Office Manager
Jeannie joined the staff in June, 2005 as Administrative Assistant. Jeannie is responsible for budget and financial management, overall office management, web site development/maintenance and supports all staff members.
Jeannie has been a northern Virginia resident for most of her life. She and her husband, Carl, live on their 125 acre family farm in Haymarket where they raise beef cattle and operate a small-scale fresh vegetable market garden and have a dozen laying hens to round out their produce.
Jeannie enjoys gardening, the great outdoors, and particularly the ocean. She is the Secretary of the Prince William Environmental Excellence Foundation, a member of the Prince William/Fairfax Farm Bureau, a Certified Master Gardener with Virginia Cooperative Extension. She is a former Girl Scout leader, 4-H leader, Treasurer of her church, Youth Group leader, member of the Haymarket Historical Foundation, and Haymarket Woman's Club.
Nicole Slazinski, Conservation Specialist
Nicole joined the District in September, 2006. Nicole earned her Bachelor of Science in Integrated Science and Technology from James Madison University. Her work with the District includes technical assistance to local farmers and horse owners by providing them with environmentally sensitive, efficient, affordable and practical methods in managing their operations. She also organizes educational seminars on topics such as Rain Barrel Workshops, Healthy Horses and a Healthier Chesapeake Bay, Guide to Setting up a Horse Farm, and other agriculture related seminars for county and area residents.
Nicole lives in Sterling.
Mike Miller, Conservation Planner
Mike joined the District in November 2014. He is a Michigan native with a solid background and knowledge of both natural and agricultural systems. He earned his bachelor's degree from Goshen College with a concentration in Resource Management in 2011. He also holds certifications for herbicide application, wetland delineation, and prescribed burning.
Prior to joining our team Mike worked as a restoration biologist with Blue Heron Ministries, a small restoration company located in Northern Indiana that focuses primarily on early successional ecosystems. Mike worked for the University of Notre Dame as an aquatic research technician focusing on aquatic invasive species in the Midwest.
Prior to earning his degree, he worked for many years in the RV industry, which gave him a vast understanding of construction principles. Mike has volunteered with other conservation districts on multiple projects. In July 2014 he was awarded in special recognition by the St. Joseph County Conservation District, in Centreville, MI, for his efforts as river cleanup coordinator for the county's 150 miles of navigable waterways, along with other programs in which he participated. Mike has received his certification in Nutrient Management Planning, Revised Universal Loss Equation II, and Virginia Conservation Assistance Program. Mike his wife and son live in Sterling.
Veronica Tangiri, Water Quality Monitoring Coordinator
Veronica joined us as a staff member in February 2016. She is a Certified Save Our Streams Program Manager for biological citizen water monitoring in Prince William County.
Born and raised in Cameroon, Veronica has always had a keen interest in the earth's natural beauty. She wrote articles for environmental awareness-raising, and amongst them was "Empower the woman and save the environment". She later received a graduate program admission in Sweden where she pursued environmental sciences, and later on she began exploring the Geographic Information System (GIS) as a vital tool for the environment. When her family immigrated to the United States, Veronica joined them in Virginia in 2009.
Veronica believes the environment is a web and looks forward to learning even more about the connections through physical/data analyses and tools like the GIS. She has a certificate in Disasters and Ecosystems: Resilience in a Changing Climate by the United Nation Environmental Program and Python Programming certificate from George Mason University. She is working on her master's research in GIS Ecosystem Analysis at the Lund University. She has a Master's Degree in Environmental Sciences from the Mid-Sweden University, GIS Certificate from Umea University, and a Bachelor of Science in Geology (major) and a minor in Biology from the University of Buea in Cameroon.
Veronica worked as a team leader intern in natural resources management for the National Park Service at Prince William Forest Park. She also worked as a volunteer for the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Environmental Services of Arlington County, and the Natural Resources Management of Fairfax County Parks Authority. As a certified stream monitor she helps with the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District. She is a certified Virginia Master Naturalist, a board member of the Prince William Wildflower Society. She is also a member of the Student Conservation Association/AmeriCorps, Society for Conservation GIS and the Ecological Society of America (ESA). She received a certificate for Community Stream Stewardship from Prince William Conservation Alliance (PWCA) and holds a Stadia Board Society honors from the National Map Corps of the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
Alice Markiewicz, Education Specialist
Alice joined us in February 2016 to administer our Environmental Science and Natural Resources Conservation Capsule Program. Alice volunteered in our Education Department from October 2015 to February 2016.
Growing up on Long Island, Alice always had a great love for animals and nature. She was the president of her high school ecology club. Her strong interest in nature, science, and animals led Alice to receive her associates' degree in agriculture. She worked in a duck hatchery for a few years before starting a family. Later she worked in the commercial textile industry for twenty plus years, leaving a few years ago to work from home and support her husband in his career. Accepting the opportunity to work with the District has brought her full circle.
Alice has been a resident of Prince William County since 2002. She is an avid wool spinner and a sometimes weaver, spending a good deal of her free time with local fiber groups. She lives in Manassas with her husband and son.
John B. Price, Chairman
John was elected Director in 2015. He has been a resident of Prince William County for over 30 years and has seen the rapid development of the county and its impacts on the farming community as well as the environment. He is interested in supporting the conservation and preservation of our waterways, farmlands, forests and open spaces by working with owners and overseers of these resources. John has worked for the Federal government for over 39 years in the areas of technology research and development, emergency management and government policy development. He has a BA in Finance from the University of South Florida, a MBA in Business, Government and Public Policy from George Mason University, and a MS in Information Systems from George Mason Unviersity. John volunteered with the Prince William County Department of Fire/Rescue, Buckhall Fire Department as a Firefighter/Paramedic, serving the last two as the President of Buckhall. He also has been a member of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club for over 30 years where he worked on trails and cabins and served with the Shenandoah Mountain Rescue Group and other local K9 search and rescue teams performing wilderness searches. Currently he is a member of the Interpretive staff at the Manassas National Battlefield Park and works with visitors to gain an understanding of the civil war and the battles fought in the County. Training has always been a particular interest of John's and he served as a CPR/First Aid and Wilderness First Aid with the Prince William Chapter of the American Red Cross and also was a basic and advanced backpaking instructor with the Sierra Club. John was appointed Chairman in December 2016, and serves on our Education, Technical Review and Finance Committees.
Jim Gehlsen, Vice Chairman
Jim was appointed to the District Board in February 2012. Jim was awarded his Bachelor of Science from Clemson University. In 1983 Jim bought 100 acres of raw land in Nokesville and named it "Evergreen Acres". He began Christmas tree farming and sold his first trees in 1991. He operated a pick your own pumpkin patch for five years, then branched out to vegetables, blackberries, and blueberries and began preparing his soil for organic certification in 2010. He is the only grower to be Certified Organic, and the first grower to receive the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification in Prince William County in 2011. Jim coached 14 seasons of youth sports and served on the board of Northern Virginia Wrestling Federation for five years. Jim is a welcomed addition to the District.
Jim serves on the Finance Committee, is a member of the Technical Review Committee, and is our Alternate Representative to the Potomac Watershed Council and Roundtable. Jim serves as the Vice Chairman of our 501(C)3 non-profit organization affiiliate, Prince William Environmental Excellence Foundation.
Paige Thacker, Secretary
Paige is the Horticulture Agent and Unit Coordinator for Virginia Cooperative Extension in Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park. She has a BS in Ornamental Horticulture and a MS in Career and Technical Education from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Her work experience includes 11 years as Propagation Manager for a large wholesale perennial nursery in Southwest Virginia. She has been with Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) since 2002 and in the Prince William Unit since 2003.
The Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) program at VCE-Prince William provides environmental and pesticide safety education for homeowners, volunteers and the green industry. Over 150 Master Gardener volunteers assist ENR program staff with providing sustainable landscape management practices that homeowners can implement in their landscape. Paige grew up in Prince William County. She enjoys gardening and time with friends and family.
Elizabeth Ward, Treasurer
Elizabeth is a certified Virginia Master Well Owner, retired Environmental Engineer with 30 years experience; MSChE, MBA. She volunteered at the New York Water Environmental Association, worked at the Environmental Protection Agency while she was an engineering graduate student, worked as a Chemical Engineer at DuPont, and a consultant with Washington Advisors, San Francisco. She was a Director of the Creative Center for Land Recycling from 1998 to 2004, and a Director of MC-San Francisco from 2000 to 2004.
Elizabeth is the author of Lender's Guide to Developing an Environmental Risk Management Program as well as numerous articles and textbook chapters, and author of her blog Green Risks. Elizabeth serves as our Treasurer, Representative at the Potomac Watershed Council and Roundtable, Chairman of the Finance Committee and a member of the Education Committee, also assisting with our Farm Field Days and Envirothon programs. Elizabeth is the Treasurer of our affiliate 501(C)3 non-profit organization, Prince William Environmental Excellence Foundation. Elizabeth and her husband live in Haymarket.
Stephanie Cornnell, Director
I am a fourth generation farmer with a concentration in dairy, grain, and turf. Farming has been my immediate family’s primary source of income and way of life since the establishment of my parent’s farm in 1968. It became so ingrained with my identity that I chose to continue my family’s legacy. I am currently in the process of obtaining my Turfgrass Management, Advanced Certificate from Pennsylvania State University. In addition to being a Director for Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District, I serve on Prince William-Fairfax Farm Bureau as Treasurer, Prince William Agriculture and Forestry Advisory Committee, and Virginia Farm Bureau Legislative Advisory Committee.