Bob Conley, Chair
Since 2012, Bob has proudly served as the Mayor of his hometown of Madison NJ. As Mayor, he is a champion for ideals such as: positive leadership, fiscal management and responsibility, respecting the great resource of our volunteers, strengthening of partnerships within Madison and with other communities, and in reinvesting in the community. With a background in volunteerism, Bob has always been an extremely loyal and active member of the community. Having worked at the Madison YMCA from the 8th grade and working his way up the ladder until he retired as the Vice President of Operations in fall of 2018, Bob is keenly in tune with his community and its needs.
Bob’s incredible service to the community has been honored numerous times over the years by a variety of organizations. In 2015 Drew University recognized him twice for his efforts to strengthen the relationship between the university and community. In 2014 Conley received the Boy Scouts of America Patriots Path Council Lifetime Achievement Award for service to the community. In June of 2018, he received the Service Award from Chapter 17 (State of NJ) of the Association of YMCA Professionals (AYP), recognizing his contribution to the YMCA movement and the AYP. And in October of 2015 he received the prestigious New Jersey Rotary Vocational Service Award for his vocational service achievements.
Randy Jones, Vice Chair
Born and raised in New Jersey, Randy Jones is the co-founder and Managing Director of The Brunswick Group, an Information Technology Consulting and Executive Search firm based in New Brunswick, NJ. Randy is an avid fly-fisherman and triathlete. He has served for nearly two decades on the Franklin Township Open Space Space Advisory Committee and over the past decade as a Board Member and Chair of the New Jersey Audubon Society. He is also a member of the Somerset County Open Space Advisory Committee and the Board of Advisors for the Rutgers University Zimmerli Art Museum. Randy resides in Franklin Park, NJ with his wife and daughter.
Julia Somers, Treasurer
Julia Somers is Executive Director of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition, which represents a diverse network of organizations—small and large, local, regional, and statewide—and individuals. Its mission is to represent their common goal to protect, enhance and restore the resources of the New Jersey Highlands and to preserve the quality and quantity of drinking water both for the 850,000 people who live in the Highlands as well as the more than four million people living elsewhere in the state who depend on Highlands water. Prior to 2006, Julia was Executive Director of the Great Swamp Watershed Association, a membership-based organization working to protect the land and water of the ten towns of the Great Swamp watershed in Morris and Somerset Counties. Julia serves on the Boards of the Coalition for Affordable Housing and the Environment and the New Jersey Environmental Lobby. She also serves on her community's Open Space Committee. Julia, her husband and family live in Green Village.
Marsha Benovengo was employed in the Travel Industry for over 17 years and sales for approximately 29 years. In her Conservation and Advocacy work, Ms. Benovengo has always sought to educate and inform while championing the work of community members and bringing residents into partnership as involved citizens.
An avid flyfisher, Ms. Benovengo serves as President of Central Jersey Trout Unlimited and is Chair of the New Jersey State Council of Trout Unlimited, where she directs the efforts of approximately 3500 Anglers and conservationists working to conserve, protect and restore the cold water fisheries of New Jersey. And, to ensure that we include a diverse population in the work that is done throughout NJ communities, while leaving a future that is better for generations to come.
In July 2022, Ms. Benovengo was honored with the Trout Unlimited Mortensen Award for Outstanding Volunteer Leadership, the highest award given to a Volunteer. Additionally, Ms. Benovengo works on the Advisory Committee of the New Jersey School of Conservation as an advocate for the work and education offered by the NJSOC. She holds a degree in Elementary Education from the City College of New York, a Certificate in Youth and Theology from the Princeton Theological Seminary, and Certificates in Nonprofit Management and Meeting and Event Planning from Brookdale Community College.
Cindy Ehrenclou is the Executive Director of the Raritan Headwaters Association. Prior to taking the helm of RHA, Cindy served as Development Director of the Upper Raritan Watershed Association from 1994 through 2006 and as Executive Director from 2006 through 2011. She is the second Vice President of the NJ Highlands Coalition and Chair of the NJHC Governance Committee, serves on the Raritan Basin Watershed Alliance, Keep It Green campaign, and the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative, and is a 2007 graduate of Leadership New Jersey. Cindy holds degrees from Colby Sawyer College and Washburn University.
Thomas Dackow joined the Education Fund’s board in February of 2017. He grew up in post-WWII Long Island during the Eisenhower Era, providing him, at the dawning of an era of suburban sprawl, a vantage point from which to view nature as an encroached state of being. Thomas is interested by the actions that can be taken by industry -- and by the consumers of the products of industry -- within the state, to achieve environmentally sustainable economic development, and how these actors can best be encouraged to take necessary steps in order to do so. Ultimately, he finds that environmental progress can be made at the state and municipal levels of government, as well as from responsible corporations.
Trina Mallik (she/her) is Vice President of Global Programs at the Institute for Sustainable Communities. She oversees the Institute’s programs in Bangladesh, China, India, Thailand, the US, and other countries across Asia. After starting her career as a mechanical engineer, where she designed coal-fired power plants, Trina has dedicated her career to fighting climate change.
Most recently she worked as the Director of Climate Mitigation at The Nature Conservancy, New Jersey Chapter. At the Nature Conservancy Trina advocated for and facilitated the implementation of New Jersey’s climate change policies, and helped ensure the passage of New Jersey’s leading electric vehicle bill and amendments to the Global Warming Response Act. She co-led the effort to pass the Energy Efficient Appliance Standards, which Governor Murphy signed into law in January 2022.
Trina has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland, a Masters in Engineering Management from George Washington University, and a Masters in Business Administration from the Stern School of Business at New York University.
Kerry Kirk Pflugh
Kerry Kirk Pflugh is the Executive Director for the New Jersey Conference of Mayors. She is responsible for coordination of the non-profit’s activities in concert with the President, executive Board and Board of Directors. Previously, Ms. Pflugh was the Director for Local Government at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. She was the department's liaison between New Jersey's 564 Mayors, 21 counties and the 75 programs in DEP. Prior to becoming Director, Ms. Pflugh was the Manager of Constituent Services responsible for communication planning, consultation and coordination of internal communications. Previously, she was the Manager for the Office of Watershed Education, Estuaries and Monitoring coordinating all the watershed education and communication programs for the Division of Watershed Management and a Research Scientist in the Division of Science for thirteen years.
Ms. Pflugh is also the President of the Friends of the New Jersey School of Conservation. The NJSOC has been providing students and teachers with environmental education experiences and training for more than 70 years. The NJSOC is internationally recognized as a leader in teaching the four curriculum areas using unique methods of experiential learning and learning through discovery. Ms. Pflugh and the Friends have spearheaded the successful effort to restore the historic former CCC education center and were recently named as managers of the NJSOC when Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation assigning the Friends legal responsibility for the management of the environmental education center.
Ms. Pflugh is also the chair of the recently established Warren County Environmental Advisory Committee, charged with advising the Warren County Commissioners on environmental matters in the county. She serves as a trustee on the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, Hackensack Riverkeeper and New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.