John Smillie, Executive Director
John is a graduate of Stanford University. He was an organizer and research coordinator for the Northern Plains Resource Council from 1979 to 1984, and served as campaign director for WORC from 1984 to 2015. During that time he has been a trainer for WORC’s Principles of Community Organizing sessions, writer and editor of many WORC publications, and lead staff for several regional and national campaigns on agricultural and natural resource issues.
Kevin Williams, Deputy Director
Kevin is a graduate of the University of Idaho with a Master of Science Degree in Forest Resources. Kevin served previously as WORC’s Director of Organizing, responsible for coordinating a multi-faceted training program for members and staff, and delivering a wide range of capacity building assistance to WORC’s member groups. Kevin has worked in the WORC network as community organizer, staff director and field organizer since 1984.
Patrick Sweeney, Senior Advisor
Pat served as WORC Executive Director from 1982 to 2014. He is a third-generation Montanan and a graduate of the University of Montana in history. He has been a community organizer on natural resource and family farm agriculture issues in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain Region since 1972. He has served on numerous state and federal boards and commissions dealing with energy, mining, reclamation and water. In 1993 he received a Shalan Foundation award “for exemplary commitment, dedication and vision in the area of economic and social justice.” In 2010 along with his wife, Teresa Erickson, he received the Len and Sandy Sargent Stewardship Award from the Cinnabar Foundation.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Bus Federation Civic Fund – national youth voter engagement programs, and Executive Committee for the Power Past Coal and Western Coalfield Alliance Campaigns. He is a founder of Montana Conservation Voters, Montana Rural Voters and Montana Native Vote with campaign and field experience. As senior advisor, Pat focuses on special projects, civic engagement and voter participation programs, and fundraising.
Sara Kendall, Washington, DC Office Director
Sara is a graduate of Middlebury College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. She has represented WORC in Washington, DC since 1994, monitoring Washington policy decisions that affect WORC’s members, activating our organizations and leaders, and leading issue campaigns. Sara has written and edited many WORC publications, including Uncertain Fortune, Law and Order in the Oil and Gas Fields, and Model Oil and Gas Laws, Regulations and Ordinances.
Anna Lucas, Political Director
Anna Lucas joined WORC as a lobbyist in the Washington, D.C. office in 2008, and now is working in Billings with the Montana League of Rural Voters and Western Native Voice on voter registration, education, and mobilization. She is a graduate from the University of Maryland and prior to joining WORC, she served in Kenya with the U.S. Peace Corps.
Kevin Dowling, Communications Director
Kevin has been with WORC since 1995. He has served as WORC’s Development Director and is currently the Communications Director. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, with a B.A. in Political Science. His experience includes work as a field organizer for a Congressional campaign, as a staff assistant in a Congressional office, and as Director of Northern Plains Resource Council’s Montana Rural Electric Cooperative Project. He is vice president of Community Seven, a community access television station.
Kerri Nelson Wolenetz, Development Director
Kerri joined the WORC staff in May 2002 as a college research intern on food safety and GM crop issues. She stayed on staff after graduation as WORC’s Development Director and helps coordinate joint fundraising for the WORC network. Kerri also does layout and design of WORC’s publications, and provides staff support on communications, technology and other administrative issues. Kerri is a graduate of Rocky Mountain College with a B.A. in English and Writing.
Eric Halstvedt, Regional Technology Coordinator
Eric joined the WORC staff in November 2013. He’s a fourth-generation Montanan with a B.A. in International Commerce & Spanish from Montana State University, and a B.S. in Information Systems from MSU-Billings. Eric has worked in the information technology field since 2000 when he went to work for Microsoft and has used his technological knowledge in Montana’s non-profit community since 2004.
Margie MacDonald, Regional Organizer
Eastern Montana native Margie MacDonald facilitates campaigns on coal exports. She returned to the resource council community after a 20-year hiatus during which she served as Executive Director of the Montana Association of Churches and the Montana Office of Community Service. She worked for the Northern Plains Resource Council for nine years, culminating her tenure there as staff director. Margie holds a bachelors of science in Journalism from the University of Montana, where she was recognized in 2001 as a Distinguished Alumni.
Scott Skokos, Regional Organizer
Scott worked as an organizer and lobbyist for Dakota Resource Council from 2010-2014. Scott’s areas of focus at DRC were Oil and Gas and Clean Energy. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in Social Relations and Policy and holds a Master’s Degree from University of Denver Sturm College of Law in Natural Resources Law and Policy. Scott handles WORC’s oil and gas campaign.
Dan Cohn, Regional Organizer
Dan joined the WORC staff in June 2014 as an intern. His responsibilities included working on Undermined Promise II but evolved over subsequent seasons. He is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Rachel Zatterstrom, Regional Organizer
A fifth-generation western Colorado native, Rachel joined the WORC network as an organizer for Western Colorado Congress in 2013. She joined the WORC staff in 2017 as a Regional Organizer and is based in Montrose,Colorado. Rachel holds a B.A. in Environmental History from Hampshire College and a M.A. in Environmental Leadership from Naropa University. She is an accomplished facilitator and trainer, and dedicated to developing the leadership capacity and skills of people who want to work for positive social change in their community.
Colin Lauderdale, Washington, D.C. Representative
Colin is a graduate of Kalamazoo College with a B.A. in Biology. A native Kentuckian, Colin splits his time between WORC’s Washington, D.C. office and his home office in Lexington, Kentucky. Colin monitors Washington policy decisions that affect WORC members and communicates WORC’s issue priorities with members of Congress, Congressional staff, and federal agencies. Colin joined the WORC staff in 2016 after more than two years working on coal, water quality, and the Tongue River Railroad as a Field Organizer for Northern Plains Resource Council. Colin initially came to WORC as an intern in 2011.
Eileen Hanchett, Comptroller
Eileen joined the WORC staff in April 1986. She is a graduate of the Billings Vo-Tech Center. As Comptroller, she handles audits, finances, tax, accounts receivable/payable, and payroll.
Marvel Karch, Office Administrator
Marvel has been with WORC since September 1995. Marvel graduated from May Technical College in 1993 and has a wide array of business and computer training. Since joining WORC she has incorporated new database programs, helps prepare the yearly organizational budget, coordinates regional trainings and meetings, files quarterly lobby reports, bulk mailings and general office management.