Board of Directors

The IRWP is intentionally structured to involve a wide diversity of entities, and thus a diversity of opinions and motivations. Our Board of Directors is compromised of 3 members in each of the following 6 categories: Agriculture, Business, Conservation, Construction, Government and Technical Research Education. Additionally, there are between 3 and 13 other members in an At-Large category, designed to give our Board flexibility in growth as well as to maintain its diversity and balance. By encompassing such a broad spectrum of stakeholders, we hope to develop solutions that are ultimately sustainable. 

Meet our Board of Directors  


Tom Allen, CCIM, Director of Real Estate Hunt Ventures, LLC; Benton County Quorum Court member

Tom Allen, CCIM and Director of Real Estate for Hunt Ventures, LLC, joined the IRWP Board of Directors this past November, 2012. Allen received his B.S.B.A. in Marketing from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Ark. and also serves as the Justice of the Peace, District # 4 for the Benton County Quorum Court.  "I am interested in a balance of preserving our precious natural resources in the Illinois River Watershed while at the same time partnering with our economic partners to keep a healthy balance for all to enjoy the quality of life we currently enjoy in this part of the country."  Allen has served two terms on the Rogers City Council and is serving a 5th term on the Benton County Quorum Court. He and his wife, Chris, have been married for 22 years, they have two children, Matthew and Rachel. 


Tracie Ashley, Prairie Grove Middle School 

Tracie Ashley, EAST Faclitator for Prairie Grove Middle School, has served on the Board of Directors since 2007-2008. Tracie received her BA of Psychology and her Masters of Art in Teaching from the University of Arkansas. "I have been teaching at the Middle School level for 13 years now: I have taught 7th & 8th grade Science , 9th Grade US History and my community service class is called Environmental & Spatial Technology. I have been married for 15 years to my husband Jeremy who is a Fayetteville Firefighter. We have two wonderful boys, Caleb-9 and Cole-8 & I just recently achieved National Board Certification for Teaching. As a teacher, I am excited to lead my students toward the direction of becoming environmental stewards.  Showing them the way & letting them take the lead will hopefully inspire them & others to continue helping the world around them."




Scott CarneyPlant Environmental Coordinator, Flint Creek Power Plant, AEP/SWEPCO and AECC 
Scott received his BA from Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, and has served on the IRWP Board since 2010.  "I am interested in protecting the Illinois River watershed in order to preserve its essential ecological functions, its recreational, scenic, and social values, and its responsible industrial and municipal uses for the region." Carney is married to his wife, Tonya Carney, and they have three sons. 








 Mike Faupel, Founding Board Member, Past President 

Chief Operating Officer, The Sustainability Consortium
Mike Faupel is a founding board member for the Illinois River Watershed Partnership. He is the Chief Operating Officer for The Sustainability Consortium, University of Arkansas.  Faupel directs the University of Arkansas operations for The Sustainability Consortium, a multi-stakeholder effort developing transparent tools and methodologies for reporting environmental and social sustainability attributes for the global consumer packaged goods industry.  The Sustainability Consortium's work is presently focused on delivering Category Sustainability Profiles (CSP’s) and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for a number of consumer product categories that are being used by both manufacturers and retailers to identify best practices and innovation opportunities both internally and externally with the goal of improving product performance from a sustainability standpoint.  Prior to joining the Consortium Mr. Faupel enjoyed several years in the value-added agricultural industry, primarily managing quality and food safety projects in the produce and bakery categories. When not at work Mike enjoys outdoor activities with his son, is an avid gardener and indulges his passion for clean water through the Illinois River Watershed Partnership’s activities.


Hunter Haynes, HCH Consulting

Hunter is a developer and owner of properties in Northwest Arkansas. His focus is on land and property acquisitions, project design and construction and property management. In a professional capacity, Hunter has implemented many environmentally sensitive initiatives within projects, especially in regard to non-point pollution of Northwest Arkansas streams as well LEED Certification for his projects.




Tom Hopper, IRWP Board President, Chairman, Crafton Tull
Tom Hopper received a bachelor of science in civil engineering from the University of Arkansas in 1970. He is a registered professional engineer in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, and Texas, as well as a registered professional land surveyor in Arkansas. He has 38 years of design and construction experience managing commercial, industrial, medical, office retail, single and multifamily residential developments, water supply and distribution systems, and wastewater collection and treatment systems. Tom is known for his understanding of the land development process from the clients’ perspective, as well as his ability to work through complex regulatory difficulties and reach a solution that is acceptable to all the parties. 







Jimmy Mardis

Jimmy Mardis is a former Senior Director of Environmental, Health and Safety for Tyson Foods and oversaw international poultry operations in Mexico, Brazil, China and India as well as 23 poultry and prepared food operations in the U.S.   Jimmy holds a B.S. in Astronautical Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy where he became a military pilot.  Jimmy also holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville.  Jimmy and his wife Terry have one son and one daughter.  Mardis is a founding member of the IRWP Board of Directors.  


Dr. Josh B. Payne, Technical Services Manager, Jones-Hamilton Agricultural Division
Dr. Payne is the Area Animal Waste Management Specialist/Adjunct Associate Professor for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service’s Northeast and Southeast Districts and is housed in Muskogee, Oklahoma. He designs, coordinates and delivers quality educational programs to improve animal manure management while serving as Coordinator for the Poultry Waste Management Education Program and the Oklahoma Litter Market. His research and extension activities focus on pathogen control, soil fertility, nutrient management and water quality as they relate to agricultural productivity and environmental quality.  Dr. Payne has served on the IRWP Board of Directors for 3 years, and is involved in additional professional activities such as the Poultry Science Association, National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center and the Oklahoma Association of Extension Agriculture Agents.  "As an avid outdoorsman, I’ve often floated and fished the Illinois River and have a true appreciation for its scenery. Educating both urban and rural citizens about the importance of water quality is key to sustaining a healthy Illinois River watershed ecosystem for future generations."
Kurt Price, SVP Private Banking and Treasury Management, Arvest Bank
Kurt is from Siloam Springs and graduated from John Bron University with a degree in accounting. He has worked for Arvest since May 1990 and served in numerous capacities ranging from internal auditing to Adair County Community Bank President. Kurt's wife, Beth, teaches Language Arts at Siloam Springs Intermediate School and they have three children: Isaac, Grace, and Jude. In addition to serving on the IRWP Board, Kurt is also involved with Siloam Springs Kiwanis. With a dedication to community service, he has also previously served with Adair County Boys and Girls Club, Sillwell Kiwanis, Westville Chamber of Commerce, Arvest Leadership Team and Adiar County Industrial Authority. 

Terry Rakes, Rogers School District, Retired
Terry is a founding IRWP Board member, who got involved during a Osage Creek streambank restoration project with fellow founding Board member, Luanne Diffen. She is a native of Cave Springs and taught for the Rogers school system for 40 years. Her family has owned the 68-acre farm on which she currently lives for 68 years and is actually a neighbor to IRWP's Learning Center. After retiring in 2012, Terry remains active in local community groups and civic engagement.  


Roland Pinault, Walmart ISD Manager, Software Release (Not Pictured) 
Roland has worked for Walmart Stores for 21 years and currently serves as Manager of Software Release Management.  Roland serves on the IRWP Education Committee.  In January 2014, Roland completed his 23rd marathon with a goal of 50 marathons before he turns 50 years old!  

James Simpson, Benton County 4-H Foundation President (Not Pictured)  
James is a life-long resident of Cave Springs. James has a masters degree from the University of Arkansas in Agricultural Economics and has served on the 4-H Foundation Board as president and currently serves on the Benton County Farm Bureau Board.  James' wife, Linda, works with the Benton County Cooperative Extension Service. 


Tim Snell, Associate State Director of Water Resources, The Nature Conservancy
Snell is responsible for the Nature Conservancy of Arkansas’ Water Resources Initiative. He is developing and implementing Water Resource strategies that protect Arkansas’ aquatic habitats while providing the water that people and businesses need to thrive and prosper.  A graduate of Louisiana State University, School of Forestry and Wildlife, he brings experience in fisheries, land management, wildlife management, agriculture and sustainable forestry to the program. Snell also serves as the Associate State Director of Water Resources for The Nature Conservancy of Arkansas and currently serves as a board member for the Illinois River Watershed Partnership and the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust. In the past, Tim has served as Director of Ozark Conservation Programs and Director of Ozark Karst Program for The Nature Conservancy of Arkansas, Director of Natural Resource Conservation at the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Oklahoma, President of the Rural Opportunity Fund, a revolving loan fund for farmers and agricultural businesses, Vice President and Chair of Loan Committee of Forge (Financing Rural Growth and Economy), a revolving loan fund for farmers and agricultural businesses, Board Member for Ozarks Small Farm Viability Project, and Ozark Organic Growers Association, educational and marketing for agricultural non-profits.  Snell has been a resident of Washington County, Arkansas, for 30 years, is married and has one son. He is a Life Scout, Order of the Arrow Leader in Boy Scouts of America, hunter, fisherman, and gardener.

Rick Stubblefield, Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission(Not Pictured)  
Rick Stubblefield is owner of Stubblefield Insurance Agency of Kansas, OK.   Rick is an Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commissioner representing Delaware County.  Rick is a graduate of John Brown University in Siloam Springs, AR and he and his Suzanne have two children and two grandchildren.  

Evan Teague, Arkansas Farm Bureau Environmental
Evan Teague serves as Environmental Specialist for the Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation.   Evan is a graduate of Arkansas State University in Engineering and is a  licensed engineer, previously working in engineering before joining the ARFB in 2003.  

Patrick Tenney, Vice President, Baldwin Shell Construction
Patrick is a graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Architecture and serves on the Advisory Board of the UA School of Architecture and on the Advisory Board for John Borwn University's Construction Management Department. Patrick is also active with both the Spring and Fayetteville Chambers of Commerce. 

Scott VanLaningham, Executive Director, NWA Regional Airport (Not Pictured)

Seth Walters, Director of Environmental Quality, Simmons Foods
Seth is a manager in the Environmental Department at Simmons Foods in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. He joined the IRWP Board in 2016. Seth holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Arkansas and he is a registered Professional Engineer in the state. 


Ralph Weber, Ph. D., Arkansas Master Naturalist
Dr. Weber joined the IRWP Board of Directors in November, 2012. He received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from Ohio State University and his M.B.A. from Tulane University. Ralph is currently an Arkansas Master Naturalist, served as the Past President of the Northwest chapter of Arkansas Master Naturalists and is the most recent Past President of the State Board of Directors for the Arkansas Master Naturalists.   "We all live in a watershed – we need to protect them."   Weber was also a Fulbright Fellow, University of Zagreb, Yugoslavia (now Republic of Croatia), 1974-77. Ralph and his wife, Carla, currently reside in NWA.




The Illinois River Watershed Partnership is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the health and vitality of the Illinois River Watershed. What separates this partnership from the other environmentally minded organizations is our method – a uniquely holistic approach representing all stakeholders to positively address the needs of the Illinois River Watershed.

The concept for the IRWP began with 9 individuals from Northwest Arkansas who recognized that true progress for the Illinois River would necessitate a cooperative effort from the various stakeholders and entities in the watershed. To this end, these individuals formed a steering committee and hosted an Upper Illinois River Summit in September of 2005. They invited key stakeholders and decision-makers to the Summit with the goal of creating an effective watershed partnership and developing a management plan that would address the challenges of rapid development, expanding infrastructure needs and degrading ecological Illinois River watershed. Delegates to the Summit voted unanimously to establish the IRWP, which was officially formed on December15, 2005.