Craig spent his formative years in the Midwest, earning a Masters Degree in Theatre and Drama from Indiana University. In order to earn a living, he learned computer programming, and then enjoyed a 35 year career in IT, eventually working as a Project Manager for implementations of Data Warehouses for State Medicaid Agencies.
He and his wife Lynn Zonakis spent 17 years in Minnesota before realizing that life in the frozen tundra is not all it’s cracked up to be. They had a 5 year detour in Park City Utah before ending their careers in Atlanta where Lynn worked for Delta Air Lines. In 2005 they purchased a retirement home in the Village of Oak Creek, gradually spending increasing time in the Sedona area prior to moving here permanently in 2015. Recently they moved to West Sedona.
In addition to a passion for travel, and an ongoing effort to improve his skills as a cook, Craig volunteers with Friends of the Forest serving as a docent at the Palatki and V Bar V Heritage Sites.
Executive Vice President:
Sedona was a last minute decision in 2003, when Carla and her husband, Don, decided to drive down from Zion National Park. They bought property two days later. Fondness for the high desert geology and the clean environment was the draw, but they had to finish careers in Alaska before moving in 2015.
Prior to Sedona, Carla grew up in Minnesota and spent forty years in Alaska. She graduated from the University of Alaska with a BA in English. Her career included many years as an accounting controller, ten years as a control systems engineer on Alaska’s North Slope projects, and nine years in senior leadership positions in engineering and oilfield construction quality management and assurance. A book she wrote, entitled Wildcat Women, Narratives of Women Breaking Ground in Alaska’s Oilfields, is about her and fourteen other women working in the early days of oil and gas in Alaska.
Carla spent over twenty years in nonprofit leadership positions, including ten years as president of a 501(c)(4), which frequently took her to Washington D.C. to lobby Congress. When she envisioned living in Sedona, her goal was to be a litter lifter, so others could feel as she did driving highway 179 into the Village of Oak Creek for the first time. When she is not litter lifting, you can find her on the trails. Her part-time job is as a professional hiking guide for Enchantment Resort.
Besides writing and hiking, she entertains friends visiting Sedona. She is honored to be on the board and contribute toward a successful future of KSB.
Jo Anne Van Derveer
Jo Anne fell in love with Sedona while vacationing with friends in the early 90’s. She also fell in love with her husband, Steve, whom she met here. Jo Anne was living in Boston at the time and after a long distance relationship Steve moved to Boston, but under one condition — upon retirement, they would move to Sedona.
Fast-forward to 2014 and the Jo Anne and Steve moved permanently to Sedona. Jo Anne worked for over 30 years in the field of Human Resources for a large New England energy company. Her experience encompassed the areas of organization design and development, employee relations, staffing and compensation. She earned a Bachelors Degree in Sociology from Boston University, and a Masters Degree in Public Relations, also from Boston University.
Jo Anne’s interests include cooking, aerobics, and hiking. She is a volunteer with the Sedona Literacy Center. Jo Anne and Steve have one son who lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
Abbie Denton was born in Galveston, Texas. She graduated with a BA in Accounting from Kennesaw State in Kennesaw, Georgia and with an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from the University of Houston in Houston, Texas. Abbie founded and established Denton Accounting located in the Village of Oak Creek in 1999. She specializes in Quickbooks and most major accounting software and point of sales systems. She is active in several tax and accounting associations and is currently studying to become an Enrolled Agent with the IRS.
Abbie has three children and six grandchildren. Married to husband Jonn since 2003, they live in Sedona with their Golden Retriever and cat. Her hobbies include, cooking and hosting international cuisine dinners for family and friends, camping, watching foreign films (a real movie buff), traveling, and drawing.
Peggy Chaikin has lived and worked in the communities of the Verde Valley and Flagstaff since the 1970s, having worked in Cottonwood, Camp Verde and Flagstaff in early childhood education, special education and elementary education. She and her husband retired and settled in West Sedona in 2008.
Peggy is a community activist, hiker, biker, gardener and artisan whose focus is conservation and quality of life issues.
Steve Estes spent his first career, spanning over 30 years, in the field of human services. His professional endeavors focused on positions such as juvenile probation officer, substance use counselor and other numerous assignments in community mental health services.
Upon returning to graduate studies, Steve earned his Master of Public Administration degree at Northern Arizona University with a focus on environmental policy. His pedigree in the human services fields, however, drew him to assignments as CEO for three different community mental health non-profit agencies.
Steve’s environmental passion persisted resulting in positions as co-chair of the Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee and eventually in assignments as Outreach Director for Friends of the Verde River as well as for the Verde Valley Land Preservation Institute (VVLPI). He subsequently served on VVLPI’s board of directors and ultimately as its president. Upon VVLPI’s merger with Keep Sedona Beautiful, Steve now serves on KSB’s board of directors.
Donna grew up in the northwest Chicago suburbs and graduated from Western Illinois University with a degree in Health Sciences. Part of her early coursework at WIU included Environmental Health, a topic that has always been of interest to Donna. Today, Donna is still focused on the environment and passionate about protecting the earth from human impact on nature.
For most of her career, Donna worked in Marketing, Communications, Public Relations, Brand Strategy, and Digital for some of the biggest global medical device companies. She retired early from Medtronic two years ago. Donna also ran her own consultancy, Medical Marketing Communications, for 15+ years.
Prior to relocating to Sedona in 2018, Donna spent many years in the Twin Cities and lived for six years in northern California, in the Sonoma Valley. During this stint in Wine Country, Donna found a camera and a passion for photography. She loves taking pictures of nature and thinks there’s no better place to live than in Sedona.
When Donna is not working on communications-related projects for KSB, you’ll find her taking pictures or hiking or road-tripping to explore new areas … you guessed it … to appreciate the beauty that’s all around us.
Mark started his interest in the dark skies as an amateur astronomer at the age of twelve, while using a telescope with his father to explore the light-polluted sky near Washington, D.C. After obtaining a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford and a PhD in Astronomy from the University of Washington, he went on to work on satellites and rockets at Boeing and software at Microsoft while living in Seattle.
Mark’s other major life interest has been public lands and wildlife conservation. For over two decades, he chaired the National Forests Committee of the Sierra Club’s Washington State Chapter and is proud of its successes in designating new wilderness areas and protecting ancient forests, roadless areas, and wild rivers. Mark gained a wealth of experience working productively with volunteers and non-profit staff to reach their goals with agencies and elected officials.
When Mark and his wife Rita moved to the Village of Oak Creek in 2015, they explored the fabulous trails and wild places in the area and found that taking in our amazing dark sky was a highlight for them. This led to a growing interest in getting personally involved to ensure that the night sky in the Sedona area remains spectacular. Mark is now the KSB Dark Sky Committee Chair and notes that, “I’ve been privileged to be mentored by longtime KSB dark sky committee chair Joanne Kendrick. I’m excited to continue her legacy and to continually improve the quality of our night sky. I also hope that my conservation background will prove useful to KSB’s other programs.”
Birgit grew up with a love for nature and the outdoors. She spent the first 19 years of her life in Europe, then immigrated into the US. She is a retired Research Professor in Cell Physiology (Univ. Miami School of Medicine, FL 1971-1995 and Senior Scientist, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole MA, 1995-2000), Birgit has lived in Sedona since 2000.
She has served on the boards of several organizations, first in Massachusetts (Marine Biological Laboratory, Oyster Pond Environmental Trust, Falmouth Conservation Commission, Sustainable Cape Cod) and then in the Sedona area (North Central Arizona Regional Watershed Consortium, Benefactors of Red Rock State Park, Red Rock Rural Community Association, Democrats of the Red Rocks, Keep Sedona Beautiful, Save Our Ancient Red Rocks, Chamber Music Sedona).
Her passion is backpacking in the spectacular public lands of the US, especially the beautiful canyons of AZ and UT. Protection and preservation of these lands and their wildlife for future generations to enjoy is the main focus of her volunteer activities.
Although his early years were spent in southern Ohio, Tom spent most of his life in the San Francisco Bay area. Drafted while living in Ohio in 1970, he served in the US Army for two years. Eager to start over after being mustered out, he moved to California and never looked back. After a BA in mathematics and an MS in Cybernetics from San Jose State University, he met his future wife Naty while she was there working on her BSN in nursing. Living in Silicon Valley with newly minted degrees, the burgeoning high tech industry beckoned. After 14 years of engineering positions with Ford Aerospace and Sterling Software, Tom started his own consulting business and enjoyed contributing to engineering simulation projects at NASA Ames Research Center and other science and engineering firms. But after 25 years of consulting, he’d had enough.
Never a believer in the Silicon Valley mindset of ‘all work and no play’, as an avid sailor Tom managed to squeeze in about 40,000 nautical miles under his keel while contracting at NASA. An author with four novels under his belt, Tom penned A Mexican Tale describing some of his adventures sailing through Central America. It was as a sailor that Tom’s interest in environmentalism started. He saw first hand the effects of declining fishing stocks. Eventually, the physical demands of open ocean sailing caught up with him and day sails were not much of a challenge anymore. It was time to move on…
In his early twenties, Tom had been through Sedona on a road trip and fell in love with the scenery, so he left the San Francisco Bay waters for the Sedona Red Rocks in 2018.
Stan has spent most of his adult life working as a dedicated environmental steward and public lands advocate. He graduated from the University of Arizona and completed post graduate work as an archaeologist for the Arizona State Museum. In 1973 he became an archaeologist for U. S. Dept. of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management working on many health of the land initiatives. In addition, he has consulted with over a dozen federally recognized Native American tribes, advocating for tribal rights and completing designations for traditional cultural landscapes on public lands in both California and Nevada.
After retiring in 2005, Stan worked for a decade as a Staff Environmental Scientist for NV Energy co. and Warren Buffet’s energy platforms until retiring again in 2015. Stan is a passionate animal rights advocate and a Legacy Circle member for the World Wildlife Fund, Animal Welfare Foundation, Humane Society and the American Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Bob and Kristen arrived in the Verde Valley in 1979, glad to have escaped the Phoenix behemoth. Bob has tried to have fun and improve the lives of others. He is happiest when he can do these simultaneously. Some would say he has been moderately successful in these efforts.
After a thirty-year teaching career, mostly in middle school social studies, he began his unpaid career in volunteer work. He served a term on the Cottonwood City Council from 2002-6 promoting responsible development. Bob was also a founding board member of Verde Valley Land Preservation, a group dedicated to preserving and enhancing open space. He was also active with Friends of the Verde River organizing river experiences for the public.
Bob and Kristen enjoy many outdoor activities. Boating and biking, birding and hiking are all on the itinerary. We hope to meet you on the river or trail someday.