Our Crews and Staff
Patrick Bradshaw, Crew Leader/Green Hat
West Edge (Huntington) Farm
Patrick was born in Charleston and currently lives in Huntington. Married to Angela Carter and has a son Tyler and two step children Tanner and Cassidy and soon to be a step grandfather. I love football (Pittsburgh Steelers) and love rock music. I enjoy reading about anything that will make me think outside of the norm. I like to work and spend time with my family.
Alexander Colt Brogan, Crew Leader/Green Hat
Lincoln County Farm
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Colt is from Lincoln county West by God Virginia by God. He has worked on a small cattle farm, done some landscaping, and a bit of greenhouse management with the FFA before coming to Coalfield as a deconstruction worker. He currently works in partnership with the Lincoln County High School farm/Agriculture class. His hopes for the future are to create a completely sustainable living model for himself and others that can be replicated in Southern West Virginia after graduating the program with Refresh.
Ariela Alpert, Vice President
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Ariela Alpert was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio but is excited to put down roots in West Virginia. She moved to Charleston in the summer of 2017 after completing a Master's in Public Policy. Prior to graduate school, she spent five years working in international development. Most recently, she worked with Innovations for Poverty Action on research looking at the best ways to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Ariela also previously worked with a USAID consulting firm supporting agriculture and civil society strengthening projects in East Africa and at a high school for orphans and vulnerable children in Rwanda. She holds an M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School and a B.A. in Economics from Brandeis University.
Joab Dellinger, Sales & Distribution Manager
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Joab was born and raised in Pekin, Illinois. He spent summers in corn fields detassling corn and spending time on his Great Uncle's farms. After delaying college athletics in favor of jumping out of perfectly good airplanes while apart of the 82nd Airborne Division in the US Army he decided to come to West Virginia and graduated from Marshall University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. Joab lives in Huntington, WV with his beautiful wife Ashley and his two Sons Max and Myles. He is a rabid Marshall University Thundering Herd supporter and Chicago Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, and Cubs fan. After graduation, Joab worked in a variety of fields including Developmental Disability field as a certified Behavior Support Professional, financial planning, sales, and after some time with the US Postal Service. His responsibilities as the Sales & Distribution Manager, include expansion of customer base, customer service, sales, tracking inventory of produce, meat, dairy, and other products sold through Refresh Appalachia, and making sure that deliveries occur in an efficient and timely manner each week. Joab also helps coordinate pickup and drop off of Farm Subscription Programs. Joab's greatest hope for the future is that kids and even adults have a better understanding that our food that we eat everyday wouldn't be possible without farming and those that devote countless hours each and every day of the week into making that food available for you to eat.
Ben Gilmer, President
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Ben Gilmer is president of Refresh Appalachia, a social enterprise of Coalfield Development. Ben has over 15 years of experience in the non-profit, government, academic, and private sectors. Born and raised in Russell County, Virginia, his specialties include sustainable agriculture and food systems, economic and community development, and natural resource management. He has worked on projects in the U.S., Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and the Caribbean. Ben has a Masters degree from West Virginia University and a Bachelors degree from Radford University. When not working at Refresh Appalachia, Ben enjoys exploring the hills and hollows with his family, playing music, and writing.
Adam Hudson, Grower Manager
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Adam grew up on a small farm in Wayne County, West Virginia, where he worked alongside his grandfather in the garden and the Greenhouses. After graduating high school, Adam moved to Berea, Kentucky. There he earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Agriculture and Natural Resources from Berea College. During that time, he worked on the college farm with multiple livestock enterprises and specialized in Pastured Poultry Production. When not working he enjoys playing music, getting outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.
Bethany Lewis, Office Manager
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Bethany was born and raised outside of Parkersburg, WV, and is managing administrative needs in the office and with the food hub for Refresh Appalachia. Previously she has worked in community development in the north central region of the state with a focus on youth development, hunger and emergency and employment services for families. She completed this work as the Family & Social Services Coordinator at Community Resources, Inc. and the Volunteer Coordinator with the Boys & Girls Club of Parkersburg, while she completed her master's education in Applied Community Change and Conservation through Future Generations University. She returned to WV for these opportunities as a Paul D. Coverdell Fellow during her time in grad school after having completed her service in the Peace Corps in Mali, West Africa from 2010-2012. She served as an Environmental Extension Agent in a small village that was also an agricultural research facility studying cotton and corn plants. Her love for 4-H and agriculture and international studies was fostered at a young age as WV 4-H’er. In addition to her Master’s degree, she possesses a double B.A. degree in Spanish and International Relations from Bethany College.
Savanna Lyons, Program Director
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Savanna oversees food hub operations and entrepreneurship training at Refresh Appalachia. Previously Savanna was Operations Manager for FarmTable Delivery, a food hub in Iowa, and worked at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, where she conducted extension and research on food hub financial management. In 2010-2013 Savanna was founding Director of the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition, a statewide nonprofit that continues to strengthen food systems through network-building and policy change. She helped launch the Value Chain Cluster Initiative, a regional technical assistance program for farm businesses, and served on the Administrative Council for Northeast SARE (USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program) as well as the board of the West Virginia Farmers Market Association. She holds a double M.S. in Economics and Sustainable Agriculture from Iowa State University and a B.A. from Harvard University.
Crystal Snyder, Crew Leader/Green Hat
Lincoln County Farm
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Crystal was born and raised in Huntington, WV. She lived in Hurricane, WV and now resides in Ona, WV. Working since she received a work permit at 15, with my mom at Smiley's Motel in Hurricane. She has worked fast food jobs until the birth of her baby girl and she became a stay at home mom. She worked as a rural carrier associate at the post office in Hurricane and has worked as a landscaper and loved it. She found out about Coalfield’s Environmental Jobs Training and Refresh after her time working at the t-shirt factory. She has now found her purpose, promoting health and healing through farming and being good stewards of the land. At Refresh I get to learn everyday. I also get to teach, both workshops on growing shiitake mushrooms and by working with the ag students at Lincoln Co. High School. My children are my biggest blessings. It is important to help create a world they can not only survive in, but also be able to thrive. In the future I want to continue learning not only how to grow mushrooms to feed people, but also how to use them for bio-remediation.
Tim Wiley, Crew Chief
West Edge (Huntington) Farm
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Tim actually travels across the river from his family farm in Rush Kentucky, where he’s operated several High Tunnels, large scale organic gardening, and some livestock operations.
Having grown up in a military family, they always lived “out-of-town”, but would invariably have gardens and animals to tend to. Tim always considered himself a “nature boy” and had interests in wild edibles, conservation and anything outdoors long before it was the cool and hip thing that it has become today.
After his own stint in the Military, and 20 years in the IT industry, serving colleges, universities, and the court systems, he returned home to his roots to once again sink his feet and hands into the soil. He started with Coalfield and Refresh Appalachia in January of 2016. His interest is to build up the facilities, and methods that young people can learn and utilize to “Work smarter, not harder”, and to share the joys and rewards that raising healthy local foods can bring to communities and individuals.
Are you interested in joining our team? Learn more