Board and Staff


John Cottingham, Founder/Executive Director

John is a former corporate lawyer who started his career in the International Corporate Law Department of Fulbright & Jaworski in Washington D.C.  He ultimately became the Chief Legal Officer of Life Technologies Corporation, an approximately $3.5 billion corporation at the time of its acquisition by  Thermo Fisher Scientific in 2014.  At the time of the acquisition, John was leading a legal team of 130 people including approximately 80 attorneys involved in all aspects of corporate legal activity (contracts, intellectual property, commercial and IP litigation, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, regulatory, international business, government contracting, and compliance).   At other times he also had responsibility for Government Relations (D.C. and Sacramento), Environmental, Health and Safety, and Employment Law.  John has a B.A. in Political Science from Furman University, a J.D. from the University of South Carolina, an LL.M. in Securities Regulation from Georgetown University, and a Master of Science in Executive Leadership from the University of San Diego.  He has served on the boards of the California Healthcare Institute and the Association of Corporate Counsel – San Diego.  Since founding The Pisgah Conservancy in 2015, John has served as its Executive Director and a member of its Board of Directors.  He splits his time between Hendersonville, NC and San Diego, CA.

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Lavoe Davis, Director of Development

Lavoe has been the Director of Development for The Pisgah Conservancy since its inception in 2016.  She has over 20 years’ experience as a fundraising professional.  First through various positions at the Hyde Schools two boarding campuses as Director and Executive Director of Development.  While maintaining robust annual funds of $1MM/year and managing capital campaigns she spearheaded the Hyde @ 40 Campaign and raised $16.3MM.  Prior to entering into the fundraising field, she and her husband owned a crude oil trading company.  She attended the University of New Orleans and the University of Houston

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Jeff Maitz, Trail Specialist

Jeff worked for 14 years at the National Park Service as a trail worker and trail crew leader, including 9 years in Sequoia National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada and 5 years in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  He has also been employed as an educator, working as an adjunct professor for Furman University as well as teaching college courses at the University of Colorado and serving as a Teaching Fellow at Phillips Academy-Andover.  As The Pisgah Conservancy Trail Specialist, Jeff works side by side with the Forest Service out of the Pisgah Ranger District Office in Pisgah Forest, NC to improve the quality and sustainability of the Pisgah District trail system, plan and implement trails projects, and lead and train collaborating Forest Service partners and volunteers with a primary focus on trail maintenance and construction.  Jeff received a Bachelor’s degree in English from Fordham University in the Bronx, New York and a Master’s degree in English from the University of Colorado in Boulder.  Jeff, his wife, Michele, and their daughter Charlotte currently reside in Greenville, SC, but are eager to move up to the mountains closer to the Pisgah.

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Peter Barry, Board Member

Peter retired in 2019 after a career in investment banking at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, Bankers Trust in New York, and Continental Bank in Chicago. His responsibilities included managing Private Finance and Loan Sales, where he was responsible for teams of professionals distributing corporate debt instruments to institutional investors. Peter previously worked in New York as a commercial lender and in Hong Kong as a private equity analyst. He and his wife Amy have been major donors, fundraisers, and public policy advocates for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, serving as co-chairs of the National Volunteer Leader Initiative, co-chairs of National Volunteer Advocacy and board members of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Western North Carolina Chapter. Peter currently serves as Treasurer and Secretary of TPC.  He received his Bachelors in Economics from Dartmouth College and his Masters in Management from the Kellogg School of Management. He and Amy live in Pisgah Forest, NC.

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Amos Beason, Board Member

Amos is Managing Member of Seward Capital, an investment firm based in Charlotte NC.  For eighteen years, he has managed private real estate, credit and private equity funds for a variety of platforms, most recently Columbus Nova and Bracken Capital.  Before becoming a fund manager, Amos worked at First Union Capital Markets in Charlotte and CoreStates Bank in Philadelphia.  Amos is a past chairman of the board of North Carolina Outward Bound.  He and his wife Kimberly have also worked for and supported other organizations focused on the nexus between youth, healthcare and the environment including The Philadelphia Youth Organization, The Philadelphia Street Project, and The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  Amos is a graduate of Middlebury College.   He and Kimberly split their time between Charlotte and Brevard, NC.  

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Clark Gallivan, Board Member

Clark is Managing Director at UBS Financial Services Inc. and oversees The Gallivan Group, a team of 7 professionals who provide legacy focused wealth management and estate management services to over 200 clients representing approximately $850 million in assets under management. The Gallivan Group consistently ranks among the top investment advisors in South Carolina, according to Barron’s and Forbes. Clark began his career in environmental consulting and commercial banking. Clark has served in a number of leadership roles with the YMCA of Greenville, Christ Church Episcopal School, Upstate Forever, and the United Way of Greenville County, including chairing/co-chairing multiple fundraising campaigns. He is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he earned a bachelors in Natural Resources. Clark and his wife, Katie, live in Greenville, SC, with their four sons.

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Bev Melenyzer, Board Member

Bev retired as a full professor from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education in 2011. Since retirement, she serves as an online professor in the school of education at Northcentral University, San Diego, California, and Point Park University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she instructs doctoral students and serves on dissertation committees for students majoring in organizational leadership, school law, and finance.  Bev has been awarded major grants from the Heinz Foundation, State Farm Insurance Company, the US Department of Education, and the Frick Foundation to support program development and expansion. She has published textbooks and numerous peer-reviewed articles and presented at national and international conferences. She also worked with the National Park Service to develop a curriculum for the Fort Necessity Battlefield in Western Pennsylvania.  Bev has served on numerous boards, including the United Way, Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services, Inc, Pennsylvania Association of Teacher Educators, and the United Campus Ministry. She is a member of the Mud Creek Baptist Church, Hendersonville, NC, where she participates in the choir and supports the Carpenter’s Hands Ministry.  Bev is a recipient of the YMCA’s “Circle of Excellence Award for Outstanding Service.” Bev lives in Travelers Rest, SC.

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David Pharr, Board Member

David is President of Trusted Security Solutions, Inc., a data encryption software company for the electronic payments industry serving banks and financial institutions across the globe.  Prior to TSS he co-owned a regional in-store national marketing company.  Previously David was a regional vice president for a national voice automation start-up supplying companies with early versions of voice messaging and voice recognition technologies.  Prior to this, he worked in sales and marketing roles with an office automation company.  David is a US Army veteran, board member of United Air Filter, an active member of Myers Park Presbyterian Church and a volunteer for the Charlotte Men's Shelter.   He graduated with a degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  David and his wife, Harriet, split their time between Charlotte and Montreat, NC.

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