Board of Directors
Steven Cousins has been paddling Georgia rivers for the past twelve years. He has a heart and concern for the environment, and is a supporting member of several Riverkeeper organizations throughout the state. Steven is an Equipment Quality Manager for the Coca-Cola Company and with over 25-years with the company, his responsibilities include governance to ensure that vending machines, coolers and dispensers are environmentally sustainable and conform to low-carbon requirements. Steven has taken part in Georgia River Network activities for the past ten years and backs protection and restoration of our waters.
Mickey Desai - President
Mickey Desai currently Chairs the Metropolitan Counseling Services Board of Directors, is a member of the Georgia Lakes Society Board of Directors, and is a member of the United Way's Volunteer Involvement Program (V.I.P.) Alumni Association, the premier board development program in Atlanta. Working in the nonprofit sector since 2001, he helped resurrect the Atlanta Nonprofit Professionals group and organized the Stetson University Alumni Association across the state. In 1995 he received his Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Denver, and he holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Stetson University. He has had a varied and diverse career path, choosing nonprofit causes specifically for strength of passion and demonstrated return on investment. His personal interests revolve around causes that develop personal strength, integrity and critical thinking skills. Mickey is the founder of The Nonprofit Snapshot.
Alicia Evans was born and raised in Atlanta, lives along the Chattahoochee River, and has been sharing her passion for rivers with others while working at Chattahoochee Nature Center for the past 8 years. As the Visitor Experience Manager, she blends her experience in education, retail, and customer service to ensure that all CNC members and visitors have a top-notch experience during their visit to CNC. Alicia also enjoys working "for fun" at REI. Before coming to CNC, Alicia was a guide in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area for three years, where she fell in love with water, wilderness, and the "art" of canoeing. She earned her BSFR in Wildlife Biology and graduated magna cum laude from the Warnell School of Forest Resources at the University of Georgia. Alicia also serves on the board of the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia. She spends much of her free time canoeing on the Chattahoochee River, birding, enjoying live music, and relaxing with her dog, Ella.
Victor Johnson lives on the South Fork Broad River north of Athens with his wife and their animals. He is a reformed geologist practicing country law in Danielsville, Georgia, ranging from land use and government law to civil litigation. A long time board member of the Broad River Watershed Association, he’s also (among others) a board member of the Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation and helps with many community programs and projects. He has a B.S. in Natural Resources and a B.A. in Economics from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, as well as an M.S. in Geology and J.D. in law from the University of Georgia. Though he has lived or worked in five southeastern states, Georgia is home (you always come back to the best).
Keith Parsons is a river and wetland ecologist. Moving to Georgia in the late 1950s and spending his formative youth in the then still wilds of Cobb County around woods and creeks, his innate connection to earth and water were solidified. Four years of military service provided a certain maturity and focus, which later sustained him working through a BS in biology at Georgia State University and additional graduate studies at Mississippi State University and later Emory University. Primed with academic credentials, he accepted a position at Georgia Tech as a research associate on a major National Science Foundation grant studying the ecology of the Ogeechee River. He later moved to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa but continued the work on the Ogeechee. The research funding finally ran dry in 1988, and he returned to Atlanta accepting a job as a wetlands ecologist with the Georgia DOT and later with Georgia DNR from where he retired in 2012. He has served as an advisor/contact for wetland and river issues with the Sierra Club, as well as, on the initial formative committee with the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. He is the co-founder, along with Marty Kearns, of the Georgia River Network. He and his wife, Shirl, have volunteered with the Smithsonian Institution since 1993 to support coral reef research in Belize where they spend a month each year. They have held the volunteer sweep spot for Paddle Georgia since 2011. Addressing the Ecological Society of America in 1976 in Athens, Dr. Eugene Odum said an ecologist should experience tropical rain forests, coral reefs and Copper Hill, Tennessee. This is a trifecta Keith has notched on his belt of life.
Terry Pate - Treasurer
Vincent Payne was born in England but raised in Georgia. He lives in Douglas County on the Dog River. Vincent has a B.S. in Secondary Education from the University of West Georgia. He works for PepsiCo as a Regional TPM Manager coaching the use of continuous improvement tools like Total Productive Maintenance, Lean Six Sigma and High Performance Work Systems. Vincent has paddled Georgia rivers and lakes since the seventies and is past president of and now on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Canoeing Association. He also coaches dragon boat teams for PepsiCo at Lake Lanier and other venues in the Southeast. You may recognize Vincent as the safety leader for Paddle Georgia.
Bonny Putney - Vice President
Bonny is a 30 year Lake Lanier resident and outdoor enthusiast. Her corporate background was handling hazardous waste and materials, conducting workshops and handling corporate clients. She also worked for Chattahoochee Riverkeeper for 5 years as the Headwaters Outreach Manager. Bonny currently participates in the Lake Lanier Association on Shore Sweep, Georgia Canoe Association on river clean up events, Rivers Alive Advisory Board, and Friends of Gainesville Park Board. She has worked with various groups, including the Lake Lanier Association, to make the Shore Sweep one of the 3 biggest cleanups annually in Georgia. Her cleanup activities brought her to the Rivers Alive Advisory Board, where she developed friendships with many of her fellow board members, including Dana Skelton. In early 2005, at a board retreat, Dana asked her if she thought a week-long paddle down the Chattahoochee River would be something people would like to do. Bonny remembers writing her a check that day. Per Bonny, her life changed with Paddle Georgia. She now can't imagine not have kayaking, her friends and her love of the rivers. Since her first Paddle Georgia experience, her life has been centered around protecting and enjoying rivers in the Southeast. She is a certified Recreational Kayak Instructor and can be found on the Chattahoochee River and other rivers paddling most weekends. She has paddled 8 Paddle Georgia trips and enthusiastically recruits new paddlers and promotes and supports Georgia River Network (GRN) and especially Paddle Georgia. With more time and freedom, she expects to be able to help with more protection and promotion of all of Georgia's rivers and the many GRN programs. She has paddled with Paddle Florida on the Suwannee River, the 130 mile Keys Challenge, the Apalachicola River from Woodruff Dam to the Gulf, and actively helped create the New Upper Chattahoochee Paddle Trail above Lake Lanier.
Dee Stone - Secretary
Dee’s life is a kaleidoscope of careers launched with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri in her home state. She worked in TV as a writer, producer and ski show host; in the wine industry as a writer and wine judge; and in education as an international college recruiter and president of a proprietary college. She credits Paddle Georgia for igniting her passion for the rivers. Prior to that, the only thing she had ever done with a river was ice skate on it in the frigid Missouri winters.
Brent is a local Georgia boy that loves the outdoors. He grew up in Stone Mountain, GA and has hiked, camped and paddled all over the state. He graduated from the University of Georgia and currently owns Outside World Outfitters based in Dawsonville, GA. He began paddling at age 13 when he got into his first whitewater kayak. He started to teach at age 18 and continues this today. Per Brent, "My favorite rivers are any that I can enjoy with my wife and three kids. Any day in the outdoors is a great one!"
Don is fairly new to the river scene. He and his son, Jack, were first introduced to Georgia River Network on the 2014 Paddle Georgia trip on the Chattahoochee River. That trip had a profound effect on him as he experienced the beauty of the river above the city and then witnessed the devastation of the river below the city. He and Jack also attended Paddle Georgia on the Ogeechee River in 2015 and are pretty much hooked on that yearly sojourn now. Don and his family are avid hikers, mountain bikers and campers. He owns and operates a medical equipment distributorship with a mission to help independent physicians remain independent through profit enhancement services. His company covers the Southeastern United States bringing new medical technologies to market. He has served on the board of the Athens Area Humane Society and is a self-proclaimed “animal person.” He spends his spare time hanging out with his dog, Thor.