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Our Team


Alex Wyss, Executive Director Tennessee State Park Conservancy.

Alex Wyss, Executive Director

Alex Wyss serves as the Executive Director of Tennessee State Parks Conservancy, championing fundraising efforts and working with Tennessee State Parks to enhance experiences for all to enjoy.
Alex has 30 years of experience in conservation and fundraising and has tackled all types of environmental challenges throughout his career.

Alex comes from The Nature Conservancy, where he served as Director of Conservation and led statewide initiatives in forest restoration and freshwater preservation, as well as agricultural and fire–adapted systems. His leadership in land and water conservation initiatives integrated outdoor recreation and economic development.

Alex’s achievements include safeguarding iconic sites like Hatchie River and Pogue Creek State Natural Area, as well as playing a key role in the creation of Middle Fork Bottoms State Park, a 1,000-acre public recreation gem. In his career, Alex has secured more than $5 million in public and private funding.

Alex is a Florida State University alumnus and received an M.S. in Wildlife Sciences from Auburn University. He loves spending time outdoors with his family, friends, and furry pals.

Gina Hancock, Senior Advisor

Gina Hancock serves as Senior Advisor to the Tennessee State Parks Conservancy where she helps guide strategy, fundraising efforts, and organizational growth. Gina joined the Conservancy in 2022 and brings more than 20 years’ experience leading nonprofit organizations.

Prior to joining the Tennessee State Parks Conservancy, Gina held multiple positions at The Nature Conservancy including Tennessee State Director, where she led campaigns that helped preserve tens of thousands of acres of land and
protected some of the area’s most vulnerable species.
Following those accomplishments, Gina became the Conservation Strategies Director of Global Lands, where she led a team of 47.

Gina has also used her nonprofit expertise to address critical issues such as affordable housing and food insecurity. She co-created Welcome Home! The Movement for Affordable Housing, a coalition
advocating policy changes across Nashville.
She also collaborated with Brad and Kimberly Paisley, as well as Rev. Becca Stevens, founder of Thistle Farms, to launch The Store, a nonprofit grocery store in Nashville, which led to another venture focused on tackling student hunger at Virgina Tech.

Gina lives in east Nashville with her family and two dogs. She is an avid Formula One fan and a serious outdoor enthusiast (if that isn’t obvious already).

Board of Directors

Bob Martineau, Chair

Bob Martineau joined as a Board member of the Tennessee State Parks Conservancy in 2021 and holds the Board Chair position. He is a Senior Partner at Finn Partners, one of the nation’s fastest growing public relations firms, where he helps a variety of clients with communications and public affairs strategies. Prior to Finn Partners, Bob held positions as the Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Senior Attorney for the US EPA Office of General Counsel, and President of LHP Management at LHP Capital, LLC. 

Finn Partners, Nashville

Cathy Cate, Vice Board Chair

Cathy Cate has served as a Board member for the Tennessee State Parks Conservancy since 2017 and holds the Vice Board Chair position. In her professional career, Cathy is the founding Executive Director and President of Leadership Tennessee, Tennessee’s first and only statewide leadership program. Under Cathy’s guidance, Leadership Tennessee has moved from Lipscomb University to a standalone 501(c)(3), received $850,000 in Gates Foundation grants and successfully engaged over 400 high-level thought leaders from all geographic regions and professional sectors of the state.

Laura Franklin, Secretary

Laura Franklin is the longest standing Board member, having served since its inception in 2016. She holds the Board Secretary position and serves as the Interpretation and Recreation Manager for Tennessee State Parks. Laura has worked for the State Parks for nearly twenty years, making her an expert in many areas and a great partner of the Conservancy.

Jamie Cochran, Treasurer

Jamie joined the Tennessee State Parks Conservancy Board in 2019. He serves as Senior Financial Advisor and Vice President for Summit Group Wealth and regularly lectures at the Southern College of Optometry and University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Jamie is a certified financial planner and holds many licenses for life, health and long-term care insurance.

Chris Bavis, Member

Chris Bavis has served as a Board member for the Tennessee State Parks Conservancy since 2022. He is also the Director of Asset Management for Ryman Hospitality Properties. In his day to day, Chris creates investment strategies to grow the company portfolio and leads sustainability initiatives for the hotels through operational change. 

Ann Tidwell, Member

Anne Tidwell joined the Tennessee State Parks Conservancy Board in 2019. For many years, Anne has served as an active member in her community, with roles at numerous organizations including the Junior League of Nashville, Friends of Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association and the Nashville Greenways Commission. She also played a crucial role in founding multiple community groups like Friends of Radnor Lake, Friends of Warner Park, Greenways for Nashville, TennGreen and the Land Trust for Tennessee. Anne has an eleven-year tenure on the Tennessee Water Quality Board and served as Chairman of the Governor’s Commission on Tennesseans Outdoors.  

Andy Stone, Member

Andy Stone joined the Tennessee State Parks Conservancy Board in 2022. He is currently President of Black Creek Chattanooga and a partner at Perimeter Properties, a family-owned real estate development business. In his day to day work, Andy serves as the main point of contact at Perimeter Properties for government affairs and development. He is very committed to the community and also serves as a Board member for the Chattanooga Zoo. Despite a background in engineering, Andy is an avid outdoor enthusiast. 

Thomasa Ross, Member

Thomasa Ross joined the Tennessee State Parks Conservancy Board in 2022. A military veteran who served at Fort Bragg and Iraq, Thomasa has participated in, directed and supported numerous operations. She currently serves as a Legislative Liaison for the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) Fort Campbell Chapter, advocating on behalf of veterans, service members and their families. Thomasa was the first woman in her Company to graduate from Air Assault School and serve as Guidon Bearer, as well as the first woman in a 51-year history to be elected President of the MOAA Chapter.

Seth Rainford, Member

Seth Rainford is the newest Board member for the Tennessee State Parks Conservancy. He is currently the President & Co-founder of Digital Diagnostics, the first company in any field of medicine to receive FDA clearance for a fully autonomous artificial intelligence (AI) diagnostic system. Rainford’s passion for excellence and equity can be seen through his leadership style that prioritizes people. In his career, Seth has been listed as a “Top 10 Entrepreneur to Watch in Healthcare in 2022” by Forbes Magazine and recognized for his work in paving the path for autonomous AI to become the new standard in healthcare.

Greer Tidwell, TDEC Deputy Commissioner + Ex Officio Board Member

Greer Tidwell was appointed as TDEC’s Deputy Commissioner for the Bureau of Conservation in 2022. As Deputy Commissioner, he leads numerous divisions including Tennessee State Parks and the Divisions of Archaeology, Natural Areas, Recreational Resources, Facilities & Land Management, Interpretive Programs, Strategic Initiatives and Marketing. He has worked in both the public and private sectors, carries a long resume of personal environmental achievement and fosters relationships with local governments, statewide agencies, and national wildlife and water conservation groups.