The Virginia Chapter regularly profiles current members to share their background, research interests, and professional contributions relating to the preservation of the Commonwealth's inland fisheries and aquatic resources.
Michael Odom is a Supervisory Fish Biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service . He has a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University and an M.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences from Virginia Tech . Michael's primary professional interest is the restoration and management of anadromous fishes, and he has played a part in American shad restoration efforts on the James, Potomac, and Rappahannock Rivers since 1994. He currently is the manager of Harrison Lake National Fish Hatchery, which produces American shad and river herring for restoration stockings, striped bass, smallmouth bass, and freshwater mussels. Michael has been a member of AFS since 1981, and has previously served VCAFS as both President and Treasurer.
Michael Odom with an American shad at Great Falls, VA.
Price Smith is a Fisheries Biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in Ashland. His current responsibilities include managing fish populations on public impoundments, including Chesdin Reservoir, as well as warm water stream surveys. His career has also included trout stream management and stream restoration. Price spent three years as the Virginia Fish Passage Coordinator and chaired the Fish Passage Workgroup of the Chesapeake Bay Program's Living Resources Subcommittee for two years. He is a Certified Fisheries Scientist and has served as Member-at-Large and President of the Tidewater Chapter. Recently Price has become a supporter of the Virginia Chapter, chairing the Arrangements Committee for two years and serving as President from 2002 to 2003.
Victor DiCenzo is a District Fisheries Biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and most of his work in the southcentral region of Virginia centers on the Kerr Reservoir and Briery Creek Lake fisheries. Prior to his current position with VDGIF, he spent several years as a Senior Research Associate at Auburn University and a District Fisheries Supervisor with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Victor holds a B.S. in Fisheries Management from Virginia Tech and a M.S. in Biology from Tennessee Tech. He has been a member of AFS since 1992 and currently serves as the Secretary and Treasurer for the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society.
Kain is the Water Compliance and Monitoring Manager for the Virginia
Department of Environmental Quality Valley Regional Office in
Harrisonburg. He is responsible for supervising and managing regional
water quality monitoring, biological monitoring, facility inspections,
and pollution response programs. Don is also the project manager for
the department's long-term mercury monitoring efforts in the Shenandoah
River system. Before coming to work for the Commonwealth, Don spent
7 years with the West Virginia Division
of Natural Resources. He received a B.A. in Economics from the
University of Virginia, a B.S.
in Fisheries Science from Virginia Tech,
and a M.S. in Fisheries Biology from Tennessee
Tech. In 2002, Don was the recipient of the VCAFS Professional
Wajda is the Assistant Director of the Wildlife Diversity Division
of the Virginia Department
of Game and Inland Fisheries. Becky received her Bachelor's from
the College of William and Mary and
her Master's in Wildlife Science from Virginia
Tech. She joined the department in 1986, managing the agency's
Fish and Wildlife Information Systems and GIS programs for 13 years.
In her current role, Becky is responsible for overseeing a wide variety
of activities within the Wildlife Diversity Division, such as nongame
and endangered species staff coordination, wildlife watching, environmental
affairs, and wildlife information management. She has served as President
and Secretary for VCAFS.
John Copeland is a Fisheries Biologist in the Blacksburg Office of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Most of his work involves fish population and angler surveys on Claytor Lake, the New River, and a few warmwater impoundments in his eight county district. He also works closely with Dr. John Ney of Virginia Tech on striped bass and hybrid striped bass populations in Claytor Lake and Dr. Tom Shahady of Lynchburg College on defining population dynamics of zooplankton, gizzard shad, and alewife in the same lake. John has served as VCAFS Secretary, Arrangements Chair, and Nominating Co-chair among others positions. He holds a B.S. in Fisheries Science from Virginia Tech and a M.S. in Zoology from North Carolina State University.
John Kauffman is the Region V Fisheries Manager for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. He is a graduate of Humboldt State University and has been with the department since 1971. During his career, he has been active in numerous resource issues, ranging from trout stream acidification evaluations to anadromous fish restoration. He was a founding member of both the Potomac and Virginia Chapters, where he has served on various committees. John was also a charter member of the Southern Division's Warmwater Streams Committee and Instream Flow Committee. He is currently chair of the AFS Mail Ballot Committee and a member of the AFS Certification Committee. John is co-author of the book, Instream Flows for Riverine Resource Stewardship.
Robert Greenlee is a District Fisheries Biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in Williamsburg. Bob received a Master's degree in Aquatic Ecology from Virginia Commonwealth University and has worked for VDGIF since 1996. Bob's fisheries management activities focus on the tidal Chickahominy, James, Mattaponi, Pamunkey, and Rappahannock Rivers. His current projects include a largemouth bass monitoring study on the Chickahominy and James River systems and a catfish electrofishing survey on the James, York, and Rappahannock River systems. Bob now serves as the Treasurer for VCAFS.
Bob Greenlee with a blue catfish
Arthur "Bud" LaRoche, III is a Regional Fisheries Manager for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and received a B.S. and M.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences from Virginia Tech . Bud has worked for VDGIF for 31 years in a variety of positions, to include Summer Technician (1971-72), Assistant Fisheries Biologist (1973-76), and District Fisheries Biologist (1980-87), before becoming Regional Manager and moving to Roanoke in 1987. His fisheries related interests include wild trout, impoundment, and river management. Bud served as President of both the Virginia Tech (1978) and Virginia (1997) Chapters of the American Fisheries Society and became a Certified Fisheries Scientist in 1984.
Tom Gunter is a District Biologist for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. He first joined the department's biological staff in 1983 as an Assistant Fisheries Biologist in Northern Virginia. In 1986, he transferred to the Ashland Field Office where he is presently stationed. Throughout his career, Tom has been involved in several restoration projects for anadromous fishes, including the initiation of VDGIF's striped bass restoration effort in 1988. He is also the Coordinator for the American Shad Restoration program. Tom is proud to serve the Commonwealth in his role as fisheries biologist and says, "we are fortunate to have such a wide variety of natural resources in our state."
Owens is a Fisheries Biologist with the Virginia
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. He received a B.S. in
Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University
and a M.S. in Biology from Tennessee
Tech. Prior to joining VDGIF's staff in Northern Virginia, Steve
worked as a District Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia
Department of Natural Resources and a Marine Scientist at the
Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
His professional responsibities are numerous and involve, among others,
pond and small impoundment management, stream ecology, and aquatic
education. Steve has been an active member of AFS since 1993.
Steve Owens at work on Burke Lake
Paul Bugas, Jr. is a Senior Fisheries Biologist for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Paul earned a B.S. in Forestry and Wildlife from Virginia Tech and immediately thereafter began work as a seasonal employee on the original Trout Stream Survey. He was hired as a Fish Biologist Assistant two years later and was eventually promoted to District Fisheries Biologist and Fisheries Biologist Supervisor. His fisheries related interests are varied and include wild trout management, watershed ecology, and public outreach. Paul has been an AFS member since 1979, became a Certified Fisheries Scientist in 1989, and was part of the steering committee that formed the Virginia Chapter in 1990.
Shelly Miller is an Aquatic Biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Information Services section of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. After earning a M.S. in Ecology and Evolution from the University of Pittsburgh, Shelly worked for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy. Her ongoing projects for the VDGIF include updating the existing Coldwater Stream Survey database, developing a Threatened and Endangered Species Water GIS dataset, and implementing a statewide Aquatic Gap Analysis Project. She also serves as the Communications Chair for VCAFS.
Amanda Rosenberger is a Doctoral Candidate in the Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences program at Virginia Tech. She received a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Simon's Rock College of Bard and a M.S. in Zoology from the University of Florida. Her primary research interests are in the ecology and conservation of freshwater fishes, with an emphasis on the role of environmental characteristics in shaping fish distributions, community structure, and abundance. She has served in a number of professional capacities to include the President of the Virginia Tech Chapter. In 2001, she was the recipient of the VCAFS Graduate Student Award.
John Odenkirk is a Senior Fisheries Biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and a Certified Fisheries Scientist through the American Fisheries Society. He obtained a B.S. in Forestry and Wildlife from Virginia Tech and a M.S. in Biology from Tennessee Tech. His current research is wide ranging, from protecting wild trout populations in Northern Virginia to evaluating the smallmouth bass fishery on the Rappahannock River. In recognition of his service and enthusiasm, he has received awards from Trout Unlimited, Virginia Wildlife Federation, and VCAFS. John is also a member of the Virginia Chapter's EXCOM.
John Odenkirk in the Rappahannock River
Dr. Richard Neves is Leader of the Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and Professor of Fisheries at Virginia Tech. For the last 20 years, he has conducted research on the life history, reproduction, and recovery of freshwater mussels in Virginia and surrounding states. He has authored numerous papers and reports, recovery plans, and status surveys for mussels, and co-authored the National Conservation Strategy for Native Freshwater Mussels. For the last 5 years, he has served on the Ohio River Valley Ecosystem Team to address the zebra mussel threat to native mollusks in that region.
Dr. John Epifanio is a Staff Scientist with the national office of Trout Unlimited in Arlington, Virginia. He is also President of the Genetic Section of the American Fisheries Society and an Associate Editor of Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. The focus of his research is to examine the causes and consequences associated with loss of genetic diversity, as well as the application of mathematical genetic approaches to resource conservation.
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Last updated on Oct.15, 2007