The Environment Virginia Symposium brings together environmental professionals throughout the Commonwealth, even at the highest levels of government.  Their joint efforts create better results for our environment for our state and region.

Why at VMI?

The late Capt. Ron Erchul, Professor of Civil Engineering, began the Environment Virginia Symposium at VMI in 1990.  Since then, Environment Virginia Symposium has provided a level playing field for environmental professionals to convene, collaborate and connect.

In 2009, The VMI Center for Leadership and Ethics became a formal department of the Institute with its own dedicated conference facilities and staff.  Part of our Center’s mission is to host conferences which tackle complex issues of national urgency and share them with our audiences.    Our offices are in Marshall Hall on the Post of VMI, a certified green venue location.

The symposium is produced each year thanks to the collective endeavor of staff at the VMI Center for Leadership and Ethics and our Conference Planning Committee.  Together, they combine the expertise of event hosting and environmental program planning and development. 

Program Advisory Committee Members by Sector:

State Government                   

  • Sharon Baxter, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
  • Rob Farrell, Virginia Department of Forestry
  • Tom Smith, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

Federal Government               

  • Miranda Ryan, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Norfolk District

Local Government                  

  • Richard Street, Spotsylvania County Government - Zoning Department


  • Tina Bickerstaff, O’Brien & Gere
  • Andrea Wortzel, Troutman Sanders
  • Chris Stone, ClarkNexsen
  • Joe West, AECOM


  • Cathy Taylor, Dominion
  • William D. Gill, Smithfield Foods, Inc.
  • David Gunnarson, Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • Marty Bullins, Mohawk Industries
  • Kateri Shreve, Luck Stone


  • Ann Jennings, Chesapeake Bay Commission
  • Adrienne Kotula, James River Association
  • Joe Maroon, Virginia Environmental Endowment
  • Peggy Sanner, Chesapeake Bay Foundation 
  • Kendall Tyree, VA Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts
  • Tamim Younos, Green Water-Infrastructure Academy
  • Clara Poffenberger, Air and Waste Management Association
  • Mary Rafferty, Virginia Conservation Network
  • Program Chairman: Col. David Gray, Director, VMI Center for Leadership and Ethics
  • Program Coordinator: Maj. Kim Connolly, Assistant Director for Programs and Conferences, VMI Center for Leadership and Ethics
  • Conference Coordinator: Derek Pinkham, Assistant Conference Coordinator, VMI Center for Leadership and Ethics
  • Assistant Planner: Courtney Harris, Assistant Conference Planner, VMI Center for Leadership and Ethics

Conference Resources