Staff


Gretchen Quarterman Executive Director.

On July 12, 2020, the WWALS Board appointed her Executive Director, after several years as Acting Executive Director.

Former Treasurer and still Chair of the Finance, Grant-Writing, and Membership Committees. A charter board member, after a two-year partial term and two three-year full terms (post 5, 2012-2014, 2014-2017, 2017-2020), she was term-limited from the board.

Lives in Lowndes County, GA.


[Welcome to the booth]
Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman says Welcome to the WWALS festival booth in the woods

Interest in WWALS:

Without clean safe water, we cannot live. Protecting our environment, the rivers, the soil, the aquifer is fundamental to the success of our community.

Background:

I have been described as the team utility player. I can work as a member or leader of a team in most any role. From farming to technology, from politics to photography, I can work with others for positive outcomes. I have over 20 years of experience as a corporate administration manager, technical consultant, system administrator, line manager and project facilitator. I was a founder of a venture funded technology firm in 2000. I have extensive hiring experience and have written a book on the subject, Hiring System Administrators (1999). Most recently, I focus on local foods and farming.


John S. Quarterman Suwannee Riverkeeper®.

On December 30, 2016, the WWALS board appointed Quarterman the first Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®, a staff position required as part of the license from Waterkeeper ALLIANCE®.

Former President, still Chair of the Public Relations and Watershed Issues Committees. A charter board member, after a two-year partial term and two three-year full terms (post 4, 2012-2014, 2014-2017, 2017-2020), he was term-limited from the board.

Lives in an unincorporated part of Lowndes County, GA, on land bought by his grandfather in 1921. He does not now nor has he ever lived in Valdosta.

[Water trails]
Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman talking about Water trails and water quality testing at State Line Boat Ramp on Earth Day 2020 as part of a Waterkeepers Florida celebration.

Clean water for health, local agriculture, and local economy: WWALS looks after that on a watershed-wide basis.

Fondly remembering my mother’s mother’s decorative fish pond in their front yard in Pearson, after many years working in the Internet, a dozen years ago I moved back to the same land and waters where I grew up and where Gretchen and I were married. I invite all who like to get wet with fun and work to join WWALS to explore and conserve.

Background:

My front yard is a cypress swamp in my longleaf pine forest next to my produce field. My back yard is a 12 acre pond on Redeye Creek, flowing into the Withlacoochee River.

Gordon Rogers, Flint Riverkeeper, caused me to realize water is in my blood. My father preserved some original longleaf forest, which is the most diverse ecosystem outside a tropical rain forest, while he farmed and my mother grew flowers as she taught school. None of forest nor fields nor flowers can survive without water, and already droughts with pine beetles are more frequent and the wet times are not as wet. We all need to pay attention to clearcutting, over-paving, and other causes of these problems.

My grandfather ran the original Valdosta water plant, and his father was a timber grader on the Altamaha River in Darien. A great grandfather owned a house in Troupville at the confluence of the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers when they bought a paddlewheel streamer which tried to set up commerce with the Suwannee River, but fell afoul of shoals.

I fondly remember my cousin Clark’s musical mullett-and-hush-puppy fish fries at Lake Octahatchee in Hamilton County, Florida.

My aunt Elsie Quarterman, professor of plant ecology at Vanderbilt, was living evidence that all these things are connected: terrain and soils help determine what plants will grow; agricultural chemicals run down into streams, ponds, and rivers; and everything from air to economy depends on water at geographic watershed scales that cannot be adequately addressed by city, county, or even state governments in our watersheds that cross the Georgia-Florida line.

It’s up to us. And who wouldn’t want to be outside in our sub-tropical paradise?

Bobby McKenzie WWALS Intern

Accepted by WWALS as an Internet in May 2021, paid by the U.S. Air Force in a transition program after his retirement from the Air Force in April 2021.

Elected to the board 14 July 2018 to previously-vacant Post 6 (2018-2020). Did not run for re-election, due to impending retirement and move to Tennessee. Former Chair of the Outings Committee.

Lives in Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia.

Interest in WWALS:

I enjoy kayaking, outdoors and just all around simply enjoy the calmness and serenity that water of all types provides. Especially since living in Hawaii, I pushed myself to complete my dream of learning to sail. Mainly after my mother’s death 17 years ago, I have made it a point to enjoy life everyday for myself and now my children. I have a 6 year old girl, and 3.5 and almost 2 year old boys that I have introduced at an infant stage to water and enjoying life. My daughter has had her own kayak and has been paddleing on her ow since she was 4 and before that she rode with me in my kayak since ahe was 1 year old. My 2 boys have ridden with me on my kayak since they were 18 months old All of them started in the Pacific Ocean and Rivers of Hawaii. I want to share this element of adventure and life enjoyment with those around me. I believe there is a hidden and overlooked charm on the local rivers in and near Valdosta. To give credit and due notice to the Withlacoochee and Little River.

Background:

I have 18.5 years of service in the United States Air Force. I have progressed into multiple leadership positions at the peak of which I directed 600 people. I have a diverse experince working with multiple cultures and ethnicities and in numerous countries around the world. Because of this, I understand and have lived in the difference of opinion and perspective. I have lived, worked and explored in Korea, Italy, Germany and have spent a year in Iraq teaching and mentoring Iraiq military. I have strong family ties to Romania as my wife is a naturalized American citizen from Romania. I have also traveled and explored nearly 20 countries. I know how to speak with and handle sensitive topics of discussion fairly well. I have also organized multiple outings catering to 400 people on average at a time. Many events involved coordinating food as well as scripts and sequence of events for numerous military ceremonies. I also developed and taught Professional Development Courses on Leadership, Mentoring, Personal Finance to over 600 co-workers. Leading, Managing, Problem Solving, along with navigating and coordinating multiple agencies to accomplish a common task is what I do on a daily basis. I believe these skills would be valuable to growing and coordinating future events with WWALS and the local community.