A registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Tennessee Wildlife Federation is governed by a volunteer board of directors.

Chairman — Bruce Fox (Knoxville)

Vice Chairman — Allen Carter (Athens)

Treasurer — Tommy Bernard (Kingston Springs)

Allen Corey (Chattanooga)

Bobby Goode (Dresden)

Katherine R. Griffin (Dayton)

Dan Hammond (Franklin)

Jill Hanggi (Knoxville)

Terry Lewis (Powell)

Rob Lineberger (Brentwood)

Chris Nischan (Nashville)

Billy Oehmig (Chattanooga)

Bobby Pidgeon (Memphis)

Richard Speer (Nashville)

Ric Wolbrecht (Germantown)


Tennessee Wildlife Federation maintains an advisory board to expand and increase our impact for wildlife and conservation across Tennessee.
Members of the advisory board are located across the state and share a passion for Tennessee’s great outdoors.

Albert Buckley, Jr. (Franklin)

Svend Brooks (Knoxville)

Chuck Chitty (Chattanooga)

Craig Connors (Williston)

Bill Cox (Collierville)

Bill Dance (Collierville)

Phillip Fulmer, Sr. (Knoxville)

Sheldon Hightower (Hendersonville)

Bob Hodge (Knoxville)

Mike Kelly (Nashville)

Jim Maddox (Nashville)

Colin Reed (Nashville)

Tom Rice (Nashville)

Dr. David Sloas (Cordova)

Brian Sparks (Germantown)

Dr. Ben West (Jackson)

Terry Whitson (Rogersville)


Michael A. Butler, Chief Executive Officer

Michael Butler has served as Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s chief executive officer since June 2002. Michael works with elected officials, state and federal agencies, and civic leaders to implement sound natural resources policy. He joined the Federation as technical advisor to the executive director in 1996, working with the organization’s Conservation Policy Advisory Council and board of directors to develop natural resource policy. Prior to his role at the Federation, Michael earned his master’s degree in fish and wildlife management from Montana State University.

Kendall McCarter, Chief Development Officer

Kendall McCarter serves as chief development officer. Prior to joining the the Federation in 2008, Kendall served as vice president of development and university relations at Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee. Kendall’s development experience includes seven years as associate director of philanthropy for The Nature Conservancy, Tennessee Chapter and four years as director of development for Lifeline Blood Services in Jackson. In addition, he has served as vice president and trust officer with Regions/Morgan Keegan Trust, where he worked with high net worth clients in financial and estate matters. Kendall began his career in development work as a regional representative for LeBonheur Children’s Medical Center in Memphis.

chrisrobertsthbChris Roberts, Director of Conservation

Chris Roberts joined the Federation in January 2015 as the Director of Conservation, overseeing the Federation’s wildlife habitat conservation projects. Chris has a master’s degree in biology and more than 20 years of professional experience in conservation planning, land and water protection, government relations, rare species surveys, and wildlife habitat restoration.

jwstaffthumbJohn “J.W.” Worthen, Director of Programs

John “J.W.” Worthen joined the Federation in January 2015 as Director of Programs. Prior to joining the Federation, J.W. served as store manager at Gander Mountain, one of the nation’s largest outdoor products retailers. He holds a degree in business with a focus in marketing from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky.

chrisrobertsthbCandy Sakarapanee, Director of Finance

A Middle Tennessee native, Candy holds a bachelor’s degree from Lipscomb University with concentrations in finance and economics, management, and marketing. During her career, she has accumulated more than 20 years of diverse accounting experience, including 15 years in the nonprofit sector. In her spare time, you’ll find Candy kayaking the beautiful rivers and lakes of Tennessee.

Kevin Botts, Director of Policy

Kevin joined the Federation in 2021 with more than 25 years of experience in government relations, healthcare administration, and finance. Most recently, Kevin served as principal of The Botts Strategy Group and touts a strong network of relationships with elected officials and key decision-makers. He currently serves as a member of Tennessee Utility Management Review Board and is a member of the Tennessee Lobbyist Association. Kevin is an avid hunter and fly fisherman. He holds an undergraduate degree in government from Western Kentucky University and an MBA from Marylhurst University.

Rebeca Bell, Director of Development

Rebeca Bell joined the Federation in August 2019 as Grants Manager. With a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in writing and rhetoric, Rebeca is passionate about using words to advocate for wildlife and conservation. Before making Tennessee her home, she worked in Chicago and Washington, DC, for conservation organizations and in the public sector for 14 years.

Taylor Martin, Associate Director of Hunting and Fishing Academy

Previously a Tennessee SCTP athlete, Taylor Martin joined the Federation staff in January 2018 as the program coordinator. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin in business management. Prior to returning to Tennessee, Taylor served as a logistics coordinator in the transportation industry in Michigan. Taylor is a West Tennessee native who enjoys duck hunting and lake life.

Lindsay Gardner, Associate Director of Policy Research/ Development & Federal Relations

Lindsay joined the Federation in June 2017. She conducts intensive research and manages stakeholder outreach to deepen the Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s knowledge base and influence on public policy. Prior to joining the Federation, Lindsay worked as communications and habitat restoration program manager for the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership. She also was the executive director of Red River Watershed Association. Lindsay holds a bachelor’s degree from George Mason University and a master’s degree from the University of London.

mattthumb2Matt Simcox, Hunters for the Hungry Manager

Matt Simcox joined the Federation as outreach coordinator in April 2008, where he coordinated the day-to-day operations of the Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target Program and Hunters for the Hungry. In 2011, Simcox was named Manager of Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s Hunters for the Hungry program. Simcox is a 2007 graduate of Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in communications.

Tony Lance, Administration Manager

Previously a naturalist for the Nashville Park system, Tony Lance joined the Federation in 2011. A longtime birder and beekeeper, Tony is most at home being outdoors hiking and backpacking. In 1999, he checked a major goal off his bucket list by completing a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Tony has a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Kate Hill, Multimedia Manager

Kate Hill joined the Federation in August 2014. She handles the creation of print and web graphics. Kate is a graduate of Mississippi State University where she earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design. A native of Jackson, Tenn, Kate enjoys spending time in the outdoors, especially hiking, camping, and biking.

Ben Dongarra, Visual Content Manager

Ben Dongarra joined the Federation in the summer of 2020. He is a six-time Emmy-winning video producer with 10 years of broadcast experience including work for the Tennessee Titans, NBC affiliates in Atlanta and Nashville, and the Texas Travel show “The Daytripper.” Ben is a Middle Tennessee State University graduate who loves hiking, fishing, spelunking, and most outdoor activities.

Jeff Pratt, Gifts Manager

Jeff Pratt joined Tennessee Wildlife Federation in March 2021. Growing up in north-central Arkansas, he developed a passion for the outdoors while riding horses, working cattle, camping, hunting, and fishing with friends and family. Jeff was an active volunteer for the outdoors before he gained experience with fundraising as a capital campaign consultant and as a director for development for a peer conservation organization.

Ashley Tone, Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target Program Manager

Ashley (Swift) Tone joined Tennessee Wildlife Federation in August 2021. Ashley is a Milton, Tennessee native and a Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target Program alum. She competed for Middle Tennessee Christian School and Lindenwood University, where she was a part of the ACUI Division I Clay Target National Championship Team. Ashley continued her time at Lindenwood as a graduate assistant coach for the shotgun sports team while pursuing a masters degree. Before joining the Federation, Ashley served as the associate director of admissions for Lipscomb University’s College of Pharmacy.

Chris Hearn, West Tennessee Field Representative

Chris Hearn joined Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s team in August 2019 as the Hunting and Fishing Academy’s West Tennessee Field Representative. He holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Tennessee at Martin in natural resource management with a concentration in wildlife biology. Chris has a huge passion for all things outdoors. He has more than ten years guiding experience, as well as a background in habitat and forestry management.

Jeb Beasley, East Tennessee Field Representative

Jeb Beasley joined Tennessee Wildlife Federation in August of 2019 and now serves as the East Tennessee Field Representative. He works with the Federation’s Hunting and Fishing Academy to recruit and engage the next generation of outdoorsmen and women. Jeb holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in agricultural and resource economics. A Middle Tennessee native, Jeb is an avid deer and duck hunter but enjoys all aspects of the great outdoors.

Sharon Armstrong, Development Coordinator

Sharon joined the Federation in March of 2021. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she majored in marketing and has an associate’s degree in visual communications from Nashville State Technical Institute. Sharon has a diverse background of work experience with both corporate and nonprofit organizations. A native Nashvillian, she enjoys reading and walking at Nashville Metro Parks and Radnor Lake.

Maggie Buckley, Program Generalist

Maggie Buckley joined Tennessee Wildlife Federation in May of 2021. Having volunteered with the Federation’s programs for the last decade, Maggie has a deep understanding of the organization. She brings a strong background in hunting, guiding, wildlife conservation, land management, and the shotgun shooting sports.