2012-3 Board Bios

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Below are the bios of the candidates elected to the 2012-2013 Board of Directors of the VHCA. The Board was elected by residents on September 13, 2012 at the VHCA Annual Meeting. Following are the bios that they submitted prior to their election.

John Becker

I own a home on Rosedale Road where I’ve lived for 11 years. I’m currently a freelance writer but am looking to return to my old field of pharmacy automation as soon as I find the right sales position.

I have a strong belief in local volunteerism and have been involved in my community in one way or another everywhere I’ve lived. In VaHi I started by volunteering for Summerfest, working a few shifts per festival for several years until being asked to coordinate all volunteers for last year’s festival. We were fortunate to be very successful with volunteer recruitment in 2012, securing our quota of volunteers well ahead of schedule and experiencing very few cancellations and no-shows. Things went very smoothly. I’ve agreed to serve in this capacity again for the 2013 festival.

In 2006 I started serving as editor of the print Voice newsletter and continued in that role until stepping down in 2011. I still write occasional articles for the fantastic new electronic Voice. I’m also an avid digital photographer and have enjoyed serving as the neighborhood’s “unofficial photographer” since starting as Voice editor in 2006.

A few years ago I took an interest in the neighborhood’s parks and became involved with small groups that took on maintenance of areas like the Triangle and John Howell Park. I currently serve informally on the parks committee with Jack White, Lauren Fralick and Laura Voisinet. One of my most gratifying volunteer duties is keeping the doggie waste bag dispensers in John Howell Park full.

I’m a sports fan, racquetball player, and dog lover. If you’re looking for me and I’m not at home, there’s a good chance my dog Dakota and I are on the patio at Taco Mac enjoying something cold to drink.

I’m very excited about the opportunity to continue my service to our neighborhood as a member of the VHCA board. If fortunate enough to be elected, I’d like to continue my focus on Summerfest, communications and parks. I’d appreciate your support.

Peggy Berg

I moved to Virginia Highland in 1984 and have a home, rental property and had a business in the neighborhood. My husband and I raised our two sons here and I served on PTAs for Morningside Elementary, Inman Middle and Grady High Schools. We have always been active in our neighborhood.

Our family is in the hotel business (we own the Hampton Inn Northlake Mall) and I have also been a partner in a consulting firm and an international CPA firm. I have a strong business background. I have chaired several industry and professional organizations. I recently completed a Masters degree from Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy.

I believe that our individual involvement is what makes our neighborhood such a good place to live so I served on the VHCA Board in 2012. I work on sidewalks and streets. This year, the City has responded to requests from us with regard to pedestrian signs, street signs, traffic lights and other maintenance items on the streets. We have also been working on a program to improve sidewalks in Virginia Highland and expect to have 29 sidewalk segments replaced by year-end with collaborative funding from VHCA, the City and property owners.

Lola Carlisle

I am currently on the VHCA board. I have volunteered with various organizations in Virginia-Highland since 1997. My husband, Tom Beisel, and I have lived in Virginia-Highland at 1030 N. Virginia Ave. since 1993, being the second family to live at this address! We have a daughter who is 16 years old.

Over the years I’ve volunteered with VHMPA, VHCA History & Preservation efforts, PLAN – reporting to the City of Atlanta from Virginia-Highland as the zoning code was revised, the VHCA Planning Committee and various fundraising efforts of the VHCA. Karri Hobson-Pape and I co-authored the Images of America – Virginia–Highland history book.

I hope to continue working with the planning and preservation committees helping to ensure that development in the area supports the neighborhood’s vision. Through proper planning and oversight, Virginia-Highland can represent the best Atlanta has to offer in a vibrant intown neighborhood.

Arturo Cruz-Tucker

I was born in Mexico and grew up in El Paso, Texas. I graduated from New Mexico Military Institute, where I received a commission as a 2LT in the US Army Infantry. My wife Dominique and I moved into Virginia-Highland in 2004 to raise our son Triston, who attends Springdale Park Elementary. I have been a small business owner and now work in Sales for Starwood Hotels.

Most recently, I chaired the Virginia-Highland Summerfest Kidfest and have committed to another year in 2013. I also joined the ToH committee under Kris Smith. I sit on the Board for The Carlton Homeowner’s Association and was able to bring FBAC into this community.

Atlanta has been my home for 14 years and I’ve loved every minute of it. My family and I have reaped the benefits of this community’s hard work for many years and feel it is now time to return the favor. We not only want to live in this great neighborhood, we want to be woven into the fabric that holds it together. The people I’ve met and friends we’ve made on the other committees and board only reinforce my desire to be involved and run for the Association. Kidfest was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve been a part of in a long time, and I can’t wait to have many more just like it.

Lauren Wilkes Fralick

Lauren and her husband Frank moved to the neighborhood in 2011. They live on Highland View with their dog Abner. Lauren works in Government Relations for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. On the weekends, you may find her working on one of the many “do it yourself” projects they have going on at their home.

Lauren enjoyed her last year of service on the VaHi board and looks forward to another year serving the neighborhood.

Genny Ferrero

Genny is a returning Board member of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association, having served as Board secretary in 2011-2012. She is a member of the Planning Committee and the Tour of Homes. By way of background, Genny and her husband purchased their home in Virginia Highland in 2011. She is relatively new to Atlanta, having relocated to Atlanta from Chicago with her family in 2009. In Chicago, Genny was a commercial real estate and finance attorney with the law firm of Baker & McKenzie. She also devoted time to the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. She is now a stay-at-home mother to her three-year-old son and devotes her time to the community.

Nicole Foerschler Horn

Nicole Foerschler Horn is a business owner, a mom, and an active community volunteer. She has served on the VHCA board the last year and the Planning committee for the past year and a half. Over the past 10 months, Nicole led the Association’s response to the Atlanta Public Schools’ redistricting efforts. This summer she organized a cross-cluster meeting to discuss middle school capacity issues and became the first chair of the new VHCA Education Committee. Nicole looks forward to working closely with this committee to more fully engage the civic association in education issues.

In addition to her work with VHCA, Nicole has served on the Springdale Park Elementary PTO board for two terms, this year as co-president. She was an organizing member of Step Up for Public Schools (formerly Step Up or Step Down), which monitors the Atlanta Public School’s board. Nicole is also a graduate of United Way’s VIP board training program.

Nicole is co-owner of JMH Consulting, a firm that works with universities across the country to launch certificate programs for adult students and enhance online marketing efforts for continuing education departments. Nicole is married to Jon Horn and is the mom of two amazing kids: Gavin (age 6) and Hayden Grace (age 4).

Jenifer Keenan

I am a mom, wife, lawyer, and community activist who has lived in Virginia Highland for almost 10 years. I take great pride in our neighborhood and have been an active neighborhood advocate on the BeltLine and important neighborhood issues. Many may remember me from the “Flowers Not Towers” grass roots campaign opposing the 40-story towers that a developer wanted to build at Piedmont Park near 10th & Monroe.

I have served as the Secretary of NPU-F for the past several years and in that capacity have formed strong relationships with community leaders, including VHCA board members. My service as NPU Secretary has also allowed me to develop a deep understanding of the issues facing our neighborhoods and the most effective ways to deal with those challenges. My neighbors, friends, work colleagues and fellow NPU board members would all describe me as a “go-getter” – when I see something that needs to be improved or changed, I work hard to make it happen!

I am currently on the VHCA Education Committee and would like to become a member of the Board. If elected, I would like to focus on education, parks, zoning, and the BeltLine. I appreciate your vote and would be honored to serve on the VHCA Board.

Pamela Papner

Colin and I have lived in Virginia-Highland for over 10 years. In my first year on the Board, I served as VHCA Secretary, PR Chair for Home Tour, and Co-Chair for recruiting Summerfest volunteers.

From 2007 to present, I served as VHCA President (2007-2011), co-chaired the successful Neighborhood Commercial Zoning initiative (2007-2008), have been Summerfest Co-Chair or Director since 2007. (Net revenues exceeded $110K in 2007 and grew to estimated $170K in 2012). I also led the initiative to purchase additional green space for New Highland Park, which closed in late 2008. I focused on fundraising to construct that new green space, and our fundraising activities resulted in ~$150K to build that project, which began construction last month. With a group of neighbors, I also worked to successfully raise ~$240K for the recent Orme Park renovation. In the years prior to 2012, I played an active role collecting and writing content for the Va-Hi Voice quarterly newsletter.

Next year, if elected, I would like to focus on securing capital grants for New Highland Park. I am also willing to work with the stellar committee we put in place this year (including Co-Chair Ann Guy) to deliver another successful Summerfest. I like fundraising and am proud that our efforts have achieved such tangible results. I enjoy “giving back” to the community and working with so many talented residents who are willing to roll up their sleeves and contribute. It’s what makes our neighborhood special!

David Rein (alternate)

David Rein rented in Virginia Highland from 1997 to 2001, briefly moved to Midtown, and returned to Virginia Highland as a homeowner in 2005. He and his wife Maria have two children that attend (or soon will) Springdale Park Elementary (Spark). David has served as the PTO President, Vice-President, and Fundraising Chair of Spark. David works as a Research Scientist in the Atlanta office of the National Opinion Research Center, a research affiliate of the University of Chicago. David currently serves on the VHCA Education Committee. On the board, he plans to pursue his interests in education and public safety.

Jack White

When my (then four-year old) daughter and I moved from Midtown to Virginia-Highland in 1984, we were the two youngest people on the half-block. If I am not now the oldest, I’m certainly pretty close. My particular interests are planning, parks, and public resources, particularly water use and stream issues, a field in which I’ve worked for several decades. Our neighborhood schools that both my kids attended are pretty high on the list too.

I’m grateful for the association and appreciate its role in shaping the history of the community. If the residents of the late 60’s and early 70’s hadn’t organized and stood together with their allies to the north and south, it’s very likely that most of us wouldn’t be living in – and might not even recognize – this neighborhood today. The idea of a huge interstate highway cleaving the Old Fourth Ward, clipping the Inman School lot, splitting Orme Park, and blasting through Morningside seems even more preposterous in retrospect than it did then, but I believe it’s accurate to say that preventing its construction represented the first defeat of its scope for the Georgia Highway Department. (Thankfully, there would be more, the Presidential Parkway among them.) It took endless energy and an almost illogical faith in the potential of citizen movements to pull it off.

The tradition of openness and belief in the power of organization that were so critical then are still with us and still very important. The challenges of the moment are not as dramatic – thank goodness – but the need for a strong and democratic community organization that capably advocates for the neighborhood remains very clear.

I’ve enjoyed serving on the board this year. Serving as President gave me a lot of insight into the Association’s wide range of activities and the volume of effort that our volunteers expend. It’s been a rewarding experience. The challenges and occasional frustrations have been more than counterbalanced by the chance to work with large numbers of energetic, humorous, and hardworking optimists who like to get things done. I’d be pleased to serve another year.

David Wolfson will serve as the Board member appointed by Atkins Park.

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