The Board of Directors of Friends of the Verde River is composed of people who are passionate about our vision of a healthy, flowing Verde River system that supports our unique environment, vibrant economies, and quality of life for now and into the future.

  • Jeni O’Callaghan President

    Jeni O’Callaghan is a third generation artist: “for me, art has always been just there, like breathing.” Her art reflects much of the southwest desert she grew up in and still lives in today. Jeni has been coming to the Verde Valley since her grandfather bought Rancho Tres Brisas on the Verde River in 1963. Read more.

  • Chip Norton Vice-President

    President Chip Norton, a third-generation Arizonan, lives next to the Verde River in Camp Verde. He retired from his project management career in 2008 and currently serves on several nonprofit, municipal and regional boards and commissions. Read more.

  • Tony Gioia Secretary

    Vice-President Tony Gioia, a retired U. S. Postal Service worker and business owner, has also served on the Town Council and as Mayor for the Town of Camp Verde. Read more.

  • Brent Bitz Treasurer

    Brent Bitz Brent is a retired businessman whose career involved him in large scale commercial real estate projects throughout North America. Since moving to Sedona with his wife Dion in 2006, he has been an active member of the community. Read more.

  • Peggy Chaikin

    Peggy Chaikin has been involved with Friends since its inception. She has lived and worked in the Verde Valley and Flagstaff area since the 70’s. Read more.

  • Jennifer Diffley

    Jennifer Diffley is a junior partner in Culp & Kelly, LLP, where she practices in the areas of water and natural resources law, providing support to a variety of non-profit, government, and investment clients on environmental issues and water policy. Read more.

  • Harry Sweet
    Harry Sweet

    Harry Sweet is the Board Director of Friends of the Verde River, and he is part of the advisory committee for the Business Conservation Partners program. Harry works in the wine industry and is also a river boating enthusiast.

  • Marsha Foutz Founding Board Member

    Founding Board Member Marsha Foutz is the volunteer coordinator and a founding member of Friends of the Verde River. Read more.

  • Thomasene Cardona

    Thomasene (Jackson) Cardona is born for the Bear Clan and a gift to her father’s clan, the Des che’ ish kidn, (The Rocky Ridge Clan). She is of Acoma, Yavapai and Apache descent, was raised in the Clarkdale community, and currently resides on the Yavapai-Apache reservation. Read more.

  • Shelley Detwiller DiGiacomo

    Shelley specializes in securities law, and her practice focuses on advising private companies and investors with respect to securities transactions.  Shelley began her career with Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton in New York and worked for two years in Cleary’s London office where she gained experience in international mergers and acquisitions and sophisticated financing transactions.  Read more.

Solute to our founders: We thank the first Board of Directors as of December 2011

Chip Norton

Tony Gioia

Bob Rothrock

S. Max Castillo

Peggy Chaikin

Marsha Foutz

Jane Moore

Diane Joens

John Parsons

Jodi Allen


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