Brandi Baros, President
Brandi Baros moved to the Shenango Valley in 2009, and immediately fell in love with the Shenango River and joined SRW. With a BS in Biology from Allegheny College and a PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh, she co-chairs the SRW Research Committee. She was a biology professor for over a decade, focused on microbiology, and a hazardous materials technician with the Crawford County Hazmat Team. Brandi now works in Environmental Health and Safety for Penn State, coordinating safety programs at six PSU campuses. She lives in Hermitage with her husband John Alderfer and also volunteers for WaterFire Sharon.
Lisa McKenzie, Vice President
Lisa is an avid fish enthusiast. She originally hails from upstate New York, and grew up on the Hudson River. She has a Biology degree from Penn State University, and is currently working on an Environmental Biology degree from Clarion University. Lisa enjoys volunteering in the community, fly fishing, sailing, and spending time exploring and enjoying the outdoors with her two beautiful and intelligent daughters, Chloe and Sophie.
Joel Ristvey, Secretary
Joel is a graduate of Hickory High School, Youngstown State University, and the Mercyhurst Municipal Police Training Academy. While at YSU he was elected Vice President of the Youngstown Chapter of the National Criminal Justice Honor Society. He is currently the Deputy Chief with the Hermitage Police Department and a Member of the Pennsylvania State Police Northwest Region Computer Crime Task Force. On the Shenango River Watchers Board of Directors since 2004, he serves on the Budget and Finance Committee. Joel had attained the highest rank of Eagle Scout, is a member of the Hermitage Rotary and enjoys many outdoor activities.
Jennifer Barborak, Founding Member (Trustee Emerita)
Jennifer Barborak co-founded SRW with her husband Rick and a small group of dedicated river lovers! She has served on the board of directors since the organization’s inception. Jennifer is a registered nurse, having worked many years in different nursing disciplines. In 2001, she graduated from Slippery Rock University with a BS in Environmental Studies and managed a macroinvertebrate laboratory for an environmental consulting firm. She currently works part time as a grant writer for UPMC Horizon Community Health Foundation and is employed by WaterFire Sharon as the operations manager. Jennifer has served on several Mercer County commissions and boards including the City of Sharon Beautification Commission which she founded in 2004. She is also an active member of the Apollo Maennerchor in Sharon. For SRW, Jennifer organizes all environmental education activities and sits on many committees at Buhl Park. She assists with the SRW grant writing, clean up, development and research committees. Jennifer enjoys spending time with Rick and their daughter Emma, born in 2003. Emma, with her mom and dad’s help, organizes the SRW family clean up each year!
Rick Barborak, Founding Member (Trustee Emeritus)
Rick Barborak co-founded the Shenango River Watchers with wife, Jennifer and has served on the board of directors since it’s inception. He currently serves as chair of the Clean Up and Recycling Committee. Rick is employed as a Registered Nurse as a clinical endo-therapy specialist for the medical division of Olympus, America. A lifelong resident of the Shenango Valley, Rick spent a lot of time on the Shenango River fishing and boating and has enjoyed seeing the benefits of the clean-up committee. He assists with programs at Buhl Park, is an active member of the Sharon Apollo Maennerchor Club and assists with the City of Sharon Beautification Commission’s clean-ups. Rick enjoys assisting with the operations of WaterFire Sharon and is a boat “captain” for that organization. He also fly-fishes, hunts and canoes and enjoys spending time with Jennifer and Emma.
Joan is a lifelong resident of Mercer County and has been an active member of Shenango River Watchers since its early days. She graduated from Slippery Rock University with a B.S. in Environmental Science and was a founding member, and the first president, of the SRU Environmental Science Society. Joan is retired after over twenty years in the steel industry as an Environmental Specialist at NLMK Pennsylvania. She previously served on the board of the Hermitage Historical Society and currently serves on the Mercer County Local Emergency Planning Committee. Joan lives in Hermitage with her husband Dana, and together they enjoy kayaking, biking, fishing, and volunteering with the WaterFire Sharon river operations.
Joyce Cuff (Trustee Emerita)
Dr. Cuff is an award winning educator, Professor Emerita of Biology and the former Paul M. Rike Professor of Life Sciences at Thiel College. She has shared her expertise and provided guidance to SRW since its inception, serving on the board and as chair of the education and research committee. She also volunteers beyond our watershed. In 2002 she conducted research on water quality issues in Ghana and in 1996 earned a Fullbright Award for Teaching and Research in Tanzania, East Africa. Now enjoying her retirement, Dr. Cuff is assisting at a health care clinic in Karatu, Tanzania.
John is an independent software consultant. He was raised in Alaska where he developed a strong appreciation for the outdoors. He moved to Sharon PA in 2004. A board member since August 2009, he manages the River Watchers web site.
Debbie has been a lifelong resident of the Shenango Valley, currently residing in Hermitage. She was a fundraiser and grant writer for several local non-profit organizations over the years, retiring in 2017 from Buhl Park.
Debbie feels it’s important to give back to her community by volunteering. She has been a member of the Shenango River Watchers for over 12 years and was elected to the board of directors in 2020. She also volunteers for the Community Food Warehouse, Buhl Park, and the Hermitage Parks and Recreation Board. She enjoys golfing, kayaking, walking, or simply spending time outdoors. Debbie believes environmental education is a key element to our children’s future.
Ryan Gotch lives in Hermitage with his wife Jessica and two daughters, Sadie Grey and Olive Watts. Ryan is a graduate of PSU where he studied Forest Science and Biology. His passion for forests and wildlife originated with time spent outside as a child and further enhanced through educators, mentors and books.
A Lifelong resident of the Shenango Valley, a Hickory HS graduate, earned a BA from Thiel College majoring in Business Administration and an AAS from Youngstown State University majoring in Civil Engineering Technology. A US Army Viet Nam combat veteran. Served 44 years as Manager of the Mercer County Conservation District, retiring in 2015. A founding member of the Shenango Conservancy and Munnell Run Farm Foundation. Serves on the MRFF Board of Directors, Sharon Beautification Commission, and Neshannnock Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Enjoy travel to national parks and forests, wildlife refuges and historic sites. Also enjoy playing golf, nature photography, and model railroading.
Mark Russell is a teacher with the Greenville Area School District and an adjunct professor for Seton Hill University. He earned a degree in biology, with a wildlife biology minor, from Thiel College and his masters degree in biology from Clarion Univeristy. He is currently a co-chair of the water testing and research committee for the Shenango River Watchers. Mark enjoys spending time with his wife, Melanie, and their three daughters. He is also an avid outdoorsman who spends much of the fall and winter archery and waterfowl hunting, and much of the spring and summer fishing. Other interests include environmental and physiology research, hiking, and exploring.
Casey is a Greenville native who grew up enjoying the outdoors and the Shenango River. He received an Associate’s Degree Outdoor Recreation Leadership at Colorado Mountain College and a B.S. in Recreation Management with an emphasis in Community and Commercial Recreation from Lock Haven University. Casey owns and operates Carried Away Outfitters and spends his free time with his wife Stephanie and dog Riley.
Monica King, Director of Operations
A Shenango Valley native, Monica King has worked for the Shenango River Watchers since 2014 and is currently the Director of Operations. She is a graduate of Slippery Rock University where she studied Geography and Environmental Studies. She enjoys camping, kayaking, tending to her goats and is an avid gardener.