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VARD Board of Directors

Sandy Mason


Sandy served for 12 years as an elected member of a planning and zoning board in Massachusetts. During his tenure Sandy faced issues similar to those of Teton County such as preserving agricultural land and open space, grappling with commercial and residential sprawl, and conserving community character in a community with a large second-home-owner population. One of Sandy’s accomplishments, with support from The Nature Conservancy and the State of Massachusetts, was helping to conserve 1,200 acres of land that was slated for a 900 unit residential development. For decades, Sandy has been very involved in the Teton Valley community through volunteerism.  He and his wife Mary made Teton Valley their permanent home in 1997. Sandy and Mary are also conservation easement donors.

Mike Pfeil

Vice President

A western Washington native, Mike has frequented Teton Valley’s fishing, hunting, snowboarding, and hiking offerings since 1990. He and his wife, Annette, split their time between the “two best places in the west,” Teton Valley and the Olympic peninsula in Washington State. Mike spent his formative years in Washington and western Colorado, where he developed deep appreciation and keen understanding of western lands issues.

As the former Vice President for Communication and Public Affairs of Philip Morris International and Altria Group, Mike has traveled around the world, with a most recent international stint living in Switzerland. He and Annette settled in Teton Valley not only to continue enjoying the mountain lifestyle, but to create a home base for their family, most of whom live in the area.

Linda Unland


Linda and her husband, John, have been part-time residents in the Valley for over 25 years.  Their other ‘home’ is Edwards Colorado. Linda’s love of the natural world, Master’s in Environmental Education, commitment to land and resource preservation and passion for this Valley are what brings her to VARD’s board. She is interested in fostering good development practices and land use planning in Teton Valley.  She is an avid outdoor enthusiast, teaching Nordic skiing in Beaver Creek, Colorado in the winter, while biking, hiking, running, and bird watching in the Tetons throughout the summer and fall. Her previous career was in advertising with Outside and Audubon Magazines. She also has been a partner in her husband’s marketing strategy consulting business.

David Axelrod


David was born in California’s San Fernando Valley, which was known for growing walnuts, citrus, and corn. In ten short years, he watched the agricultural valley of his childhood become subdivided into 7,000 lots, thus giving rise to his interest in smarter, more sustainable growth.

He earned his BA in political science/economics from the University of California Los Angeles, and later earned his Juris Doctor from the University of California, Davis School of Law. He currently works out of Portland, Oregon and Victor, Idaho doing class action and intellectual property litigation. David thinks VARD is the most important non-profit supplementing critical government functions in the Valley, because without a protected environment the Valley’s charm will be a thing of the past.

Janna Rankin

Board Member

Janna grew up in rural southern Illinois hiking the hardwood forests. Her father was an avid fisherman and loved to take Janna and her mom on camping trips in National Parks. Janna got her college degree in parks and recreation management from the University of Illinois, a master’s from NYU and her law degree from Rutgers. Her professional career was divided between Parks Administration and college and law school teaching with an emphasis on natural resources and environmental law.

She is a former chair of the board of National Recreation and Parks Association and also served as chair of the Teton County Wyoming Parks Commission. Janna has been in Teton Valley since the late 70’s, and has been a full-time resident since 1998.  She first came here with her late husband Arthur, and for decades they loved and explored this valley together.  Today, Janna still continues to ski, hike, kayak, and play tennis when not opening the door to let the dog in or out.


G.L. (Lee) Simmons

Board Member

Lee received a PhD from Catholic University of America in Nuclear Engineering and Mathematics. He came to the Teton Valley in 1989 and built a log home in Alta where he has lived ever since. His professional career began at Battelle Memorial Institute in Richland, Washington. He worked full time at the Center for Radiation Research of the National Bureau of Standards while attending Catholic University full time. He finished his PhD in two years and joined Science Applications International Corporation, a small science and technology company with 146 employees. As an engineer specializing in radiation effects and nuclear weapons proliferation, he held positions of increasing responsibility during his 25 year career at SAIC. At SAIC, he consulted for several Federal government agencies and was responsible for new business development and managing 400+ people. SAIC had 47,325 employees when he retired in 1996 to joined Enron Energy Services in Houston acting as its Chief Information Officer. Two years later Lee retired helped a start company, RETX, by raising $18 Million from a Canadian Telephone company. After operating the company for 7 years, it was sold to Schneider Electric.

In the Teton Valley, he started the Targhee Towne Water District in Alta and served as its President until 3 years ago. Today, he advises the Water District and serves as a member of several Boards, including a Solid Waste Disposal District in Teton County Wyoming. He, along with 5 other people, started an investment partnership which today has 75 general partners. Lee continues to consult for Government Agencies and to enjoy entertaining his grandchildren.

Kate Koons

Kate Koons

Board Member

Kate grew up in New Jersey and despite it being the most densely populated state, she spent much of her childhood hiking and camping throughout the garden state. She received a BA in Anthropology from Skidmore College and upon graduation, moved west to explore and live in the Rockies. She ended up in the Teton Valley in 2002 when she was working as a NOLS instructor. What started as a temporary winter stop became her home. Kate has worked in the education field for the past 23 years for a number of organizations. As any good Teton Valley local, Kate has held a number of jobs within the valley, from catering for Bill Boney, working at NOLS Teton Valley, gardening at Full Circle Farm, to guiding for Teton Backcountry Guides. Today, Kate works for the American Avalanche Association as a program manager for the pro avalanche education program, ski guides for Teton Backcountry Guides, teaches avalanche courses and works as a risk management consultant for the US Antarctic program. When not working, you can find her running, biking, skiing or traveling somewhere in the world. Kate and her husband Kevin, along with their two dogs live in Victor and enjoy all Teton Valley has to offer. Kate is very excited to join the VARD board to continue to work toward making the Teton Valley the best it can be.

Don Roth VARD Board Member

Don Roth

Board Member

Don and his wife Leslie discovered the grandeur of the Teton Valley over 30 years ago on a vacation from the wind-swept plains of Laramie, WY where Don worked at the University of Wyoming. At UW, Don was a professor of molecular biology, Director of Biomedical Studies, Dean of the Graduate School, and Associate Director of the School of Energy. He also worked with the Idaho National Lab as the Associate Director of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies. He is the founding president of the JMT Group, an energy strategy enterprise. Throughout this time, the pull of the valley grew stronger and, in 1996, they began building a log cabin, finally “settling in” after retirement. Don and Leslie enjoy and appreciate all the activities possible in the Valley; from outdoor opportunities to arts, music, and community solidarity. They are deeply appreciative of the unique and magnificent environment and people of the Valley. Blending, balancing and sustaining this complex ecosystem in the face of development demands community engagement; and, thus support and commitment for VARD.

Dave Work

Trustee Emeritus

A year before Dave retired as a Geologist and the U.S. Regional President of BP Amoco Corporation, he and his wife, Susie, purchased a home in the Teton Valley. When Dave isn’t traveling he is skiing or out on a river somewhere. As an avid fly fisherman, you can often see him fishing on the Teton, South Fork, Henry’s Fork, and occasionally on the Rio Grande River in Argentina. David and Susie live on the Teton River where they conserved approximately 40 acres of riverfront and have been busy with riverbank restoration work. Dave is a board member of the Teton Regional Land Trust and in the past has served on the board of the Friends of the Teton River. As a board member of VARD, Dave hopes to ensure that the Teton Valley grows in a way that sustains the quality of life and natural beauty of the valley that we all experience today.

Susie Work

Trustee Emeritus

Susie is the mother of 3 grown children whom she raised while traveling around the world following her husband’s career. In her free time she has been a stalwart volunteer for numerous organizations both in the United States and abroad. While living in Egypt, Susie co-founded the Friends of Children with Cancer Foundation, which provides funds to cover health care expenses for children with cancer. When Susie returned to the United States, she founded a U.S. based foundation to help support the Friends of Children with Cancer. Both foundations now provide nearly all the medications required for Egyptian children with cancer. Susie and her husband, David, moved to Teton Valley in 1999. They were attracted to the valley by its natural beauty and quality of life, which they are both committed to conserving. When Susie is not volunteering for one of the many organizations in Teton Valley that treasure her dedication, she enjoys fly fishing, skiing, birding, hiking, and just being out in nature.

Jeff Carter

Advisory Committee

Jeff has been involved with VARD since its inception in December 2001 as one of VARD’s founding board members. Until July of 2006 he served as VARD’s volunteer Executive Director. Jeff’s colorful background has provided him an array of experiences ranging from buying, renovating, and managing residential real estate in Manhattan to instructing courses in Alaska for the National Outdoor Leadership School.

Since moving to Teton Valley in 1995, Jeff has served as a chaplain at Teton Valley Hospital and Surgicenter, a hospital board member, the Scoutmaster for local Troop 185, a board member for the Alta Retreat Center, and Board President for VARD. He has also taught yoga at Yoga Tejas in Driggs. Jeff served on the Land Use Subcommittee during the revision of Teton County’s Comprehensive Plan: 2005-2010. He ran for Teton County Commissioner in 2004. He has also sat on the county’s planning & zoning commission. Jeff has two joy-filled sons, Nathan and Mitchell.

Georgie Stanley

Advisory Committee

Georgie earned a BA in anthropology from Brown University and then moved to Lander, Wyoming to work as an outdoor educator for NOLS. She later became a mountain guide. After years of traveling, climbing and guiding, she has settled down in Victor. She looks forward to raising her two beautiful children and tending her organic market garden. She lives in her unique, family-built strawbale/timberframe house off the grid. Georgie hopes our county can incorporate innovative tools so that as our community grows, the integrity of our landscape, our community and our economy will be not be sacrificed.

Richard Danforth

Advisory Committee

Richard is a graduate of Kenyon College and received a Masters degree from Dartmouth College. In 1996 he founded The Danforth Company, an advisory firm specializing in corporate advocacy, capital acquisition and marketing services. As an avid fly fisherman, Richard has spent many summers in Teton Valley angling the blue ribbon trout streams of the Yellowstone region.

In addition to serving on VARD’s Board of Directors, Richard is the Secretary of the Loyalhanna Watershed Association, a conservation group in western Pennsylvania and Treasurer of Junction Dance Theater. He was the Finance Chairman of the Ultimate Walk to Cure Diabetes, a 2003 expedition to the South Pole supported by the Royal Geographic Society in London, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in New York and the Honorable Alexandra Shackleton. He has also been a participant in the Children’s First America Director’s meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.