:: About GIC :: Who We Are

          : Staff
          : Board of Directors
          : GIC Brochure [PDF]



Karen Firehock

Karen Firehock, Executive Director

Ms. Firehock is the GIC Director and co-founded the center in 2006. She oversees green infrastructure planning and research projects. She is an environmental planner with more than twenty five years of experience in planning and natural resources management. She is also an adjunct lecturer in green infrastructure planning and environmental ordinance development at the University of Virginia (UVA)'s School of Architecture in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning. Prior to her current position, Ms. Firehock was a Senior Associate at the UVA Institute for Environmental Negotiation for seven years and served as coordinator for community watershed and land use plans for localities. She also coordinated the national Community-Based Collaboratives Research Consortium, and conducted public outreach for the USDA Forest Service’s Roundtable on Sustainable Forests. Prior to working for UVA, she served as the Director of the Save Our Streams Program at the Izaak Walton League for 12 years where she directed a national stream and wetland conservation program.

Ms. Firehock has authored numerous handbooks, including the Local Government’s Guide to Stream Corridor Protection, Collaboration: A Guide for Environmental Advocates, a Handbook for Wetlands Conservation and Sustainability, A Citizen's Streambank Restoration Handbook, and Local Watershed Management Planning in Virginia, A Community Water Quality Approach. She has won multiple awards for her planning work, including a Renew America Award for the Nation's Best Water Protection Program, a National River Greenways Award, State Conservationist of the Year Award, and Design Professional of the Year Award.

She has a bachelor of science degree in natural resources management from the School of Agriculture at the University of Maryland and a master of planning degree from the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia.

Her most recent publication "Evaluating and Conserving Green Infrastructure Across the Landscape" is available from the GIC.


John Scrivani

John A. Scrivani, Ph.D., Senior Forester and Analyst

John Scrivani is the GIC’s Senior Forester and Analyst. He develops models to map natural resources for creating green infrastructure plans, develops urban forest management strategies, calculates ecosystem services and develops new models and tools. He also is an adjunct professor at the University of Richmond, teaching advanced spatial analysis and remote sensing technologies.

Prior to his current position, Dr. Scrivani was a Geospatial Program Manager for the Virginia Geographic Information Network for seven years, a Research Forester for the Virginia Department of Forestry for 20 years, an Assistant Professor of Forestry at Virginia Tech for four years, and a Community Planner in Miami, Florida, and Asheville, North Carolina, for a total of four years.

Special recognition of his contributions have included an ESRI Special Achievement in GIS award and an Information Communications Technology (ICT) Innovations Award for his work developing an enterprise forestry GIS system, an award from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for his development of a Forest Conservation Layer as part of the Chesapeake Bay Forest Conservation Directive 06-1, and a Geospatial Partnership Award from the Virginia Tech Office of Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing Research.

Dr. Scrivani is also an author of numerous peer-reviewed publications in forestry and remote sensing. He has also been an active non-profit volunteer, serving as President of the Ivy Creek Foundation in Charlottesville and as President of the Virginia Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation. He has a Masters of Planning degree from Florida State University, an M.S degree in Forestry from Clemson University and a Ph.D. degree in Forest Management from Oregon State University.



Andrew Walker, GIS Analyst and Land Planner

Mr Walker is the GIC’s land planner and GIS modeler. His focus is the intersection of geospatial technologies and urban and environmental planning. He has extensive experience in database development, remote sensing for environmental applications, the development of custom GIS models and tools, and dynamic alternatives and scenario assessment using GIS technologies.

At the GIC, Mr Walker manages the implementation of local green infrastructure planning projects, including liaison with local communities and project partners. He manages the GIC’s mapping and land planning and provides technical assistance to local governments, regional planning agencies, communities, land trusts and conservation groups. He builds state models to help states, regions and counties identify, conserve or restore their natural and cultural assets. He also creates case studies, handbooks and presentations.

Prior to joining the GIC team, Mr Walker worked as a regional development planner for Dobbin International, developing strategic plans for large and small regions in Guinea, Mozambique, and Madagascar to support sustainable development and smart investments. Grounded in spatial analysis and economics, and by taking a multi-sector approach (conservation, agriculture, forestry, tourism, etc.), the plans mapped holistic opportunities for regional development.

Mr Walker has a diverse array of public and private sector experience, having worked at the state, county, and local levels on a variety of GIS and planning projects. He holds a Master of Urban and Environmental Planning degree from the University of Virginia, where he has been an adjunct instructor in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning since 2013 and teaches graduate-level courses on advanced spatial analysis. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in Geography from Arizona State University, where he graduated at the top of his class, earning the University’s Award for Scholastic Excellence in Geography.


Matt West, Spatial Planner

Matt West is the GIC's Spatial Planner. He is an expert in spatial planning using GIS and related modeling tools and graphic design. His focus is on land use, growth managment and environmental policy and planning. At GIC, he provides support for GIC's mapping and modeling work, researches local codes and ordinances and determines how they can best support green infrastructure assets and meets with stakeholders to learn about their interests and include them in green infrastructure plans.

Prior to joining GIC in 2016, he was the Water Resources Intern for Albemarle County, VA assisting with stormwater compliance. He also worked at the University of Virginia's Scholars' Lab providing technical support to faculty and students in mapping and data management. He has also researched and collected data on climate change and Sea Level Rise in Ghana. His local government experience was gained in Chesterfield county where he supported the GIS Department. He has a B.A. and and M.U.EP. from the University of Virginia. When he is not busy with all of his technical work, he enjoys fencing and time with family in the Richmond area.


Chris McCormick

Chris McCormick, Community Landscape Associate

Chris McCormick is the GIC's Community Landscape Associate. Chris is an environmental planner and landscape designer with a passion for incorporating food and native plants into community spaces. She employs a data-driven approach to create and achieve community goals. She assists communities with assessing, evaluating and conserving their natural assets. She is working on green infrastructure planning projects across the southern U.S. and beyond.

Chris' past experience includes environmental planning in the Baltimore-Washington DC area, landscape design in the Washington DC area and Certified Naturally Grown farming in the Western Maryland. Chris graduated Magna Cum Laude from Frostburg State University with a B.S. in Environmental Analysis and Planning. While at Frostburg State University Chris collaborated on several research projects. In one such project she studied changes in geomorphology of a local stream and potential impacts to the surrounding urban setting. In addition, Chris collaborated on Chesapeake Bay-wide research of road salt and it's environmental impacts. This project was presented at the American Association of Sustainability in Higher Education conference in Los Angeles, CA. In her free time Chris enjoys hiking, exploring, identifying wildflowers, playing guitar and rock climbing.

Cary Anderson

Brittany Gardner, Research Associate

Brittany Gardner is a Research Associate for the GIC. She is currently a graduate student in the Urban and Environmental Planning Program ​at the University of Virginia. ​ Her concentration is Environmental Management and Conservation.

Brittany graduated from Hollins University with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. At Hollins, she was an active member of the Downriver Racing team and received certification in Outdoor Leadership and Leave No Trace instruction.
Her love of the outdoors led her to focus on conservation planning and low-impact development. She is passionate about water resource management and is currently working with the GIC on the Trees and Stormwater Grant.

Brittany also works on the Biophilic Cities Project, which focuses on incorporating natural elements in infrastructure and design.

Board of Directors

The Center’s Board of Directors meets quarterly in Virginia. Center board members are listed below with their positions and professional affiliations. Click on the board member's name to read their bio. For 2013, the Center’s board members are as follows:

Mike Cook
Chair (Term ends December 2018)
Retired, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Falls Church, VA

Chris French
Vice Chair (Term ends December 2017)
Director of Stormwater Programs, Water Environment Federation, Richmond, VA.

Richard Roth
Secretary and Vice-Chair (Term ends December 2017)
Professor of Geography, Radford University
Friends of the New River, Blacksburg, VA

Cindi Johnson
Treasurer (Term ends December 2018)

Andrea Wortzel
At-Large Member (Term ends December 2017)
Attorney with Troutman Sanders, Richmond, VA.

Ralph Jones
At-Large Member (Term ends February 2018)
Managing Director and Co-Founder, The Cadmus Group, Inc.

If you are interested in joining the board, attending a board meeting, or have other questions, please contact Karen Firehock. The center’s corporate documents are available for inspection.

:: Primary Contacts

Karen Firehock