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Chelsea Hudson
Conservation Planning Manager

Employee Spotlight

November 2021

Nearly five years ago Chelsea joined SCD as a compliance inspector and quickly became a conservation planner. A Delaware 4-H Foundation board member and LEADelaware Fellowship Program graduate she is a true leader. Jovial and quick-witted, laughter is inevitable when Chelsea is around.

Let’s get to know Chelsea

Q. What do you enjoy about working at SCD?
A. I enjoy the diversity of producers farms. I get to work with grain, high tunnel, urban, beef, poultry, equine and swine operations while having the opportunity to work with wildlife and pollinator habitats. I’m always learning something new.

Q. What are you doing when you’re not at work?
A. I’m likely constructing something or working on a home improvement project. I also have a 30-acre hay farm that I harvest about four times a year.

Q. What other hobbies do you have?
A. While I may not be very good, I love trivia. I like to visit the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore and the museums in Washington D.C. I also volunteer at the Milton Theater when I can.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I’m from Delmar and grew up on a poultry farm, with goats and beef cows. I live in Laurel now.

Q. In a few words, describe yourself.
A. Creative, persistent, curious and facetious.

Q. What would you do if you won the lottery?
A. I’d probably pay off debt and take a vacation.

Q. Tell us about your family.
A. At home there is my fiancée, one dog, Missy, or Melissa when she’s in trouble, and three cats who don’t always get along.

Q. What do many people don’t know about you?
A. In college I minored in theater. I wasn’t on stage but rather behind-the-scenes building props. I once had to come up with an alternative egg prop because the actor was allergic to eggs; yogurt and apricot was a very convincing substitute.

Q. What would be your dream vacation?
A. My goal is to road trip and visit all of the National Parks.

Q. Do you have a favorite restaurant?
A. I really like Heirloom in Lewes.

Q. What type of music do you like?
A. I’ve had the band Luthi on repeat lately.

Q. What superpower do you wish you had?
A. I’d love the ability to teleport because it would make for quick trips to new places.

Q. What’s your favorite food?
A. I LOVE milk.


Jessica Watson
Program Manager

Employee Spotlight

October 2021

For nearly 20 years Jessica has led the Sediment and Stormwater Program. She can be found in the field or in the office providing technical assistance to property owners or working with developers, builders and contractors to resolve problems, always striving to protect property and waterways across Sussex County.

Let’s get to know Jessica

Q. What do you enjoy about working at SCD?
A. My coworkers, they are all super smart and nice. I love the people of Sussex County and think it’s a really beautiful place. Every day is different and I enjoy helping people.

Q. What are you doing when you’re not at work?
A. Probably chauffeuring my boys around for sports or school. We spend a lot of time fixing or improving things around the house.

Q. Tell us about your family.
A. My husband and I have two teenage boys, a black lab and a small flock of chickens.

Q. Do you have any hobbies?
A. I like decorating, antiquing and refinishing furniture. Recently I bought a pie safe at an auction and had quite an adventure trying to load it. My favorite piece is a 150-year-old dresser that I refinished.

Q. Do you have any other hobbies?
A. When I have time I like to garden, read and spend time with family and friends.

Q. What type of music do you like?
A. I listen to all kinds of music and it’s usually really loud.

Q. Do you have a favorite movie?
A. Not really, I like a lot of different types of movies. There are two that I can’t watch anymore because my boys watched them constantly, Herbie Fully Loaded and Finding Nemo.

Q. What did you do before joining SCD?
A. I had a few interesting internships and worked for the Queen Anne’s Conservation District.

Q. What would you do if you won the lottery?
A. I would take care of family and maybe buy a farm.

Q. What’s your favorite food?
A. Definitely pizza, if I get to pick what’s on it I’d get spinach, broccoli and ricotta. I love chocolate too, like, a lot, it’s bad.

Q. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A. An astronaut, because of the movie Space Camp, but I hate flying. I thought I wanted to be a social worker but I like science and being outdoors.

Q. What would be your dream vacation?
A. I’m really a homebody but I’d like to go out west and see the Grand Canyon at some point. We go camping and visit family in West Virginia, I enjoy traveling but I always miss home.

Q. What are your hopes for the industry?
A. I would love to see people focus on creating more natural areas, meadows and pollinator-friendly spaces instead of having green grass.


Jonathan Walton
Conservation Planning Manager

Employee Spotlight

September 2021

Jonathan joined SCD five years ago as a compliance inspector, ensuring structural best management practices were used and maintained properly. From there he became a conservation planner and in his current role, he manages the day-to-day program activities. His impeccable work ethic and matter-of-factness to get the job done are invaluable and instrumental in keeping the air seeder program running smoothly.

Let’s get to know Jonathan

Q. What do you enjoy about working at SCD?
A. I enjoy working with farmers to improve their operation.

Q. What are you doing when you’re not at work?
A. I’m probably working on my own farm. I’m a third-generation farmer. About ten years ago I started raising cattle. In 2018 I bought the farm next door and have grown to about 20 to 25 cow and calf pairs a year. It’s mostly Hereford but we have a few Angus. I also have a hay operation.

Q. Do you have any other hobbies?
A. I like to fish and hunt, specifically waterfowl and deer. I’m a third-generation volunteer firefighter with the Ellendale Volunteer Fire Company, I started when I was 15 years old. Also, I recently won reserve champion at the Delaware State Fair in the Hereford cow/calf class.

Q. Tell us about your family.
A. My wife and I have a nearly four-month-old daughter. We have two Labrador’s but they’re really my wife’s dogs.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I was born, raised and still live in Sussex County.
 
Q. What did you do before joining SCD?
A. I worked on a farm in Milford, it was a cattle feeding and grain facility.

Q. What would you do if you won the lottery?
A. I would pay off stuff but not buy anything extravagant. I would buy more land close to home and farm full-time.

Q. What would be your dream vacation?
A. I don’t really have one, I’m a homebody. My wife and I went on a cruise for our honeymoon; being on a boat for 10 days was my limit, I’m not one to sit around.

Q. What’s your favorite food?
A. I love steak and seafood, especially snow crab legs. In the summer I like to grill steak, our freezer is usually pretty well stocked.

Q. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A. I was going to school to be a paramedic. I was sitting in class daydreaming about farming and I took it as a sign, so I switch my major to production agriculture.

Q. What’s something you’re good at?
A. I think I’m good at dealing with and solving problems.

Q. When are you the happiest?
A. At home on the farm.

Q. In a few words, describe yourself.
A. I’d really just say easy going.


Bryan Jones
Preservation Program Manager

Employee Spotlight

August 2021

Ten years ago, this month, Bryan joined SCD in a temporary, grant-funded role. From there he became a conservation planner, water resource planner and conservation manager. In his current role, he focuses on land preservation and restoration efforts. His vast experience, quiet demeanor and passion for preservation make him an invaluable asset to the team.

Let’s get to know Bryan

Q. What do you enjoy about working at SCD?
A. I enjoy being able to work outside, travel across the county, meeting and talking with landowners and producers. The staff at SCD are a good group of people that really care about what they are doing. It makes the work enjoyable and rewarding. 

Q. What are you doing when you’re not at work?
A. My main hobby is surfing. I try to surf year-round when the conditions are good. I can’t remember the last hurricane swell that I missed. 

Q. Where are you from?
A. I was raised in Seaford, DE. After high school, I went to the University of Delaware and spent my summers in Fenwick Island. I liked the area so much I came back and have hung around the southeastern part of the county ever since. My wife is from that area as well. Right after college, I spent close to a year living in Richmond, VA. which was very nice, but I got my fill of city life and decided to come back to Delaware. 

Q. What did you do before joining SCD?
A. I worked in a variety of positions that focused on wildlife and natural resource management, which helped me understand how all our different conservation partners operate.

Q. In a few words, describe yourself.
A. Most people would say I am low-key, reserved and maybe quiet. I consider myself a private person so this employee spotlight exercise is a big deal.

Q. What superpower would you like to have?
A. The ability to clone myself. I could get a lot more done if I could be in multiple places at once. I would also want the ability to unclone myself; having a bunch of me running around permanently could be a problem.

Q. What would you do if you won the lottery? 
A. I would pay off any debt that my family has and donate to some organizations that I think are doing good work. Then I would start buying up land to keep preserved in open space either working farms, wetlands or forestland; it doesn’t matter to me, it’s all important.

Q. What’s on your bucket list?
A. I want to get better at fly fishing. I really enjoyed it when I went on a trip out to Colorado.

Q. What would be your dream vacation?
A. I would love to take more surfing trips all over the world. I have places I want to hit on just about every continent. I have been surfing in Costa Rica. That was a nice time. 

Q. What do many people not know about you?
A. I think once people get to know me they are surprised at my sense of humor.

Q. If you could be any animal, what would you be?

A. I’ve thought it would be cool to be a sea turtle, an albatross, or something pelagic that cruises around the ocean. The freedom of it is appealing. 


Siobhan Kelley
Communications and Outreach Specialist

Employee Spotlight

July 2021

Siobhan joined SCD in November 2019 to raise awareness about all of the ways SCD can help Sussex County landowners and residents achieve their conservation goals or become better stewards of their land.

Let’s get to know Siobhan

Q. What do you enjoy about working at SCD?
A. Every day is different and I get to share all the great things the district and our cooperators are doing. I actually never knew what a conservation district was before I started.

Q. What are you doing when you’re not at work?
A. Taming toddler tantrums, working in the yard, cleaning or making something.

Q. Do you have any other hobbies?
A. I knit, crochet, cross-stitch, and sometimes sew. My husband and I also like to make stuff, usually out of reclaimed wood or metal.

Q. Tell us about your family.
A. My husband and I have a daughter who will be three in October and I have a teenage stepson. We also have a herd of ridiculous rescues, including two pit bulls, Lacy and Marilyn, and four cats, Hazel, Fancy, Tater, and Maggie. We used to foster kittens too.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I was born and raised in Sussex County. I lived in Los Angeles and the Bay Area of California for a few years and moved back to the eastern shore almost ten years ago. My husband and I live in Laurel now.

Q. What did you do before joining SCD?
A. I spent many years working with animals. I worked and volunteered at an animal shelter and was a dog groomer for over five years.

Q. In a few words, describe yourself.
A. Particular, quirky, goofy, resourceful, crafty and caring.

Q. What’s your favorite movie?
A. Growing up it was probably The Cat from Outer Space. I don’t really watch movies but my husband does.

Q. What’s your favorite food?
A. Pho, it’s a Vietnamese soup. I also love the pupusas from Doña Maria's Pupuseria in Seaford.

Q. What type of music do you like?
A. If it’s catchy I like it and I’m a big Taylor Swift fan.

Q. What’s on your bucket list?
A. To get our El Camino running one day. Other things have taken priority so it’s in pieces in the garage.

Q. What’s one thing you can’t live without?
A. Coffee! I’d say my phone but I can’t function without coffee.

Q. What do many people not know about you?
A. Probably how to say my name but it’s actually pretty simple, Sha-vonne. Also, I used to be a manicured motorhead. I still have over 300 nail polishes and can work on cars. I used to be a BMW Car Club of America member and participated in car control clinics and autocrosses in my E36 M3. I’ve also been around the Nürburgring Ring with Sabine Schmitz piloting a Ferrari 360 Modena.


Owen Lenkner
Conservation Planner

Employee Spotlight

June 2021

Owen joined SCD in 2014 with extensive knowledge of conservation issues and how to solve them with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs. He is exceptionally skilled at assisting beginning poultry farmers with their conservation goals and helping producers with pasture and rotational grazing plans.

Let’s get to know Owen

Q. What do you enjoy about working at SCD?
A. I love working with farmers and solving problems with different resources that are available.

Q. What are you doing when you’re not at work?
A. I like to stay busy and I’m usually building something. Recently I finished two cedar chests for my granddaughters and seven window flower boxes. One year I made 27 Adirondack chairs for Christmas presents.

Q. Do you have any other hobbies?
A. I have a bass boat and we go surf fishing. We also like to go hiking and biking. Before I retired my wife and I took golf lessons. The instructor never saw someone swing a club like me, I’m pretty bad but it’s exciting when I go looking for my ball and find three more!

Q. Tell us about your family.
A. My wife and I have three adult daughters and seven grandkids. The oldest is graduating high school and the youngest is starting kindergarten soon. My wife and I went to high school together and were in the same third grade class; we started dating when we were juniors in high school.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I’m from Greenville, Pa. After I retired we moved to Delaware.

Q. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A. A dairy farmer, I grew up on a dairy farm. However, knowing what I know now, I might have turned the farm into an organic, grass-fed Angus beef farm.

Q. What did you do before joining SCD?
A. I’m a retired USDA NRCS District Conservationist. Right out of college I worked at a conservation district. Then I was a full-time dairy farmer and high school wrestling coach. I joined USDA NRCS and worked in five counties in Pennsylvania, two counties in Ohio and briefly did flood recovery work in West Virginia. I spent most of my career in Ohio where I also coached junior high wrestling for 10 or 11 years; it was a good way to meet people and get to know the kids that my girls were going to be around.

Q. In a few words, describe yourself.
A. I’d say I’m honest, serious, hard-working, fair and diligent. I’m also a rule follower, if there aren’t any rules, I’m going to make my own.

Q. What’s your least favorite food?
A. Well, I told my wife when we got married that I do not like mac-n-cheese and please, do not make meatloaf. Growing up we had meatloaf three times a week for 20 years so now I can’t eat it anymore.

Q. What do many people don’t know about you?
A. In 2016 I was inducted into the Hall of Fame for wrestling at Theil College.


Holly Swafford-Givens
Administrative Coordinator

Employee Spotlight

May 2021

For over five years, Holly has been the go-to for numerous district activities. She wears many hats,  including human resources and payroll while managing bid packages, board meetings and community transportation funds. Holly is the best dressed, detail-oriented, force to be reckoned with who is behind the scenes keeping everything moving.

Let’s get to know Holly

Q. What do you enjoy about working at SCD?
A. It’s always something different, I have my hands in all sorts of different things which keeps it interesting.

Q. When you’re not at work, what are you doing?
A. If it’s nice out I’m at the beach or out in my yard working. We recently turned our backyard into a tropical oasis. I also love spending time with my family and grandkids.

Q. Do you have any other hobbies?
A. My husband and I love to travel. We usually go to Jamaica twice a year, we’ve gone three times in one year before. I really love the atmosphere and people there, it’s very laid back.

Q. Tell us about your family.
A. I have an enormous family! I have an amazing husband, Andy, two daughters and a step-daughter. Between Andy and I, we will have 10 grandkids, the 10th one is due this month.

Q. What are you good at?
A. I’m can throw a good party and balance a checkbook down to the penny!

Q. What would you do if you won the lottery?
A. I’d probably pay off my house and buy an oceanfront condo in Ocean City, Md. I’d buy my girls a house and take care of family. I’d like to travel too, maybe I’ll finally go to Aruba; I’m definitely not going anywhere cold. I would probably build a rollercoaster with lots of drops in my backyard because I’m an adrenaline junkie.
 
Q. What three words would you use to describe yourself?
A. Thoughtful, giving, and fun.

Q. What’s an ability you wish you had?
A. I’d love to be invisible. I’d be a fly on the wall. I’d go to the White House; I’d want to know what’s going on.

Q. Do you have a favorite movie?
A. I have two, P.S. I Love You and Tombstone.

Q. What type of music do you like?
A. I love all kinds of music, but country is my favorite, and it’s usually loud. I love going to concerts too, I recently saw Eric Church and caught two guitar picks which are still in my jewelry box. I’ll never forget the first concert I went to, I saw Loretta Lynn and I got to shake her hand.

Q. What did you do before joining SCD?
A. I owned and managed a construction company; before that, I spent many years managing a mortgage company.

Q. People would be surprised to know…
A. I really like history and enjoy going to the museums in Washington D.C. I like old churches too and tour as many as possible. I also like historical-based shows, like Reign on Netflix.

 


Dan Holston
Conservation Planner

Employee Spotlight

April 2021

For nearly 13 years, Dan has helped producers achieve their conservation goals, providing technical assistance for SCD and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service programs. From soil tests to nutrient management plans, he’s the in-house tech guru and can navigate the complex systems and maps with ease.

Let’s get to know Dan

Q. What do you enjoy about working at SCD?
A. I enjoy helping farmers help the land.

Q. What do you when you’re not at work?
A. I like spending time with my family or playing video, card or board games. I usually play World of Warcraft, Magic: the Gathering or Risk.

Q. Tell us about your family.
A. My wife and I have two boys who are five and two, and two dogs.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I’m from and still live in Gumboro, DE.

Q. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A. First it was a baseball player then it transitioned into a game warden. I grew up working on a farm and knew I wanted to help the farming community but I wasn’t interested in being a farmer.

Q. What four words describe you?
A. Calm, honest, rational and patient.

Q. What would you do if you won the lottery?
A. I’d pay off my debts and my wife would want to travel. I’d make sure ten percent would go to our church and then help our families out. I might work at a gaming store just because I think it would be fun.

Q. What’s your favorite food?
A. Pizza! Cheese is my go-to but I like the ham pizza from Delmar Pizza.

Q. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
A. Maybe the ability to fly or have super strength. I like Vegeta’s powers and abilities from Dragon Ball Z but I don’t think many people know what that is.

Q. What was the last vacation you went on?
A. I think it was to Busch Gardens, it was a birthday surprise for my wife.  We tried to go on a cruise but that was canceled when everything shut down from the coronavirus.

Q. If you could meet anyone famous, who would it be?
A. Probably Ryan Reynolds, he seems pretty fun to hang out with and can make fun of himself.

Q. What was the last movie you watched?
A. Probably Rock Dog but I prefer action or comedy to kids movies.

Q. Do you have a favorite sport?
A. I don’t really watch sports but I liked playing sports. In high school, I ran cross country and played baseball. I played church softball but I popped my hamstring and now I can’t run like I used to.


Matt Messina
Project Manager

Employee Spotlight

March 2021

Since 2013, Matt has helped the residents of Sussex County resolve private drainage concerns. From pipe replacement and sinkhole repair to catch basin installation, he is hands on throughout the process, ensuring solutions are implemented to protect and preserve natural resources.  

Let’s get to know Matt

Q. What do you enjoy about working at SCD?
A. I enjoy working outside, the people and the schedule.

Q. What do you like to do for fun?
A. I play a lot of golf, usually at Mulligan's Point or Plantation Lakes but there are a lot of great courses in Sussex County. I play in a men's league every Wednesday too.

Q. Do you have any other hobbies?
A. I like to travel and fish. My family lives in New England and when we visit them I’ll go smallmouth bass fishing at Lake Winnipesaukee.

Q. Tell us about your family.
A.  At home it’s my wife and me. I have an older sister and several nieces and nephews. We spend a lot of time with my wife’s family boating and fishing.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I was born and raised in Dover.

Q. Do you have a favorite sport?
A. I love baseball. I was a pitcher in high school and college. I like going to spring training and visiting different ballparks; I’ve been to Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. The Philadelphia Phillies are my favorite team and I’d love to take a year off and travel with them so I can visit every ballpark.

Q. Where do you like to travel to?
A. My wife and I like to visit New Orleans, we always go to Sunday brunch at Commander’s Palace and Napoleon House where I get a muffuletta sandwich. We also visit Key West because my wife prefers warmer weather.

Q. What are you good at?
A. I do the majority of the cooking at home and my wife bakes. I just got an Ooni pizza grill and am excited to start using it. 

Q. Do you have a favorite restaurant?
A. We like the Cultured Pearl and Michy’s Relaxed Dining in Rehoboth.

Q. What three words would you use to describe yourself?
A. Laidback, thorough and approachable.

Q. What would you do if you won the lottery?
A. I would retire and travel a lot. Maybe buy a golf course or work at one for fun just to play golf for free.

Q. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A. I considered being a science teacher but I like being outside too much. I thought about going to culinary school but after working in a restaurant for a year I realized it wasn’t for me.

Q. What food do you wish had zero calories?
A. Butter!


Jennifer Grice
Program Secretary

Employee Spotlight

February 2021

Jennifer is currently the second longest-serving employee, joining SCD over 28 years ago. Although her role has evolved, she remains cool as a cucumber and quiet as a mouse, keeping the stormwater program rolling, tracking plans as they scurry to and fro.

Let’s get to know Jennifer

Q. What do you enjoy about working at SCD?
A. The atmosphere and the people. It’s a good work atmosphere, very laid back, it’s the reason I’ve stayed. I actually started at the agriculture office and worked with Janet Griffith for a bit before my current position opened.

Q. What are you good at?
A. I like cooking, my father was a chef. I mostly like to try new recipes but everyone asks for my mac and cheese and macaroni salad. I’d like to start baking more though.

Q. Tell us about your family.
A. I’m the youngest of five siblings. I have an adult son and a Boston Terrier named Kobe.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I was born in Miami, Fla. but my family moved to Delaware when I was little.

Q. What do many people not know about you?
A. I don’t eat hamburgers; I’ve never had a Big Mac or a Whopper. High school was probably the last time I actually ate a hamburger. I also used to get in trouble at school for talking too much.

Q. What’s your favorite memory?
A. One of my favorite memories growing up was the family road trip we took out west, visiting major sightseeing spots along the way. My favorite spot was the Gateway Arch.

Q. When are you the happiest?
A. When I’m with family, especially my extended family. My mom had 11 siblings and my father had 8 siblings so I have a big family.

Q. What three words would you use to describe yourself?
A. Quiet, kind and thoughtful.

Q. What’s your favorite food?
A. I love seafood but crabs and shrimp are my favorite. Blue crabs are good, but snow crabs are easier to eat.

Q. What’s on your bucket list?
A. I’d like to travel and visit each state. I’ve been to a few, my favorite so far is Florida.

Q. If you could meet anyone famous, who would it be?
A. Either Kobe Bryant or Nelson Mandela, I’d like to hear them tell their story.

Q. Where would you go on a dream vacation?
A. Maybe Hawaii, but probably Australia because it looks interesting. I watch travel channel and it looks like a nice place to visit. Except for the giant spiders; I’m very afraid of spiders.

Q. Would you rather be a tiny elephant or giant hamster?
A. A tiny elephant. I love elephants and just started collecting small figurines.


Janet Griffith
Administrative Assistant

Employee Spotlight

January 2021

Janet has a long history with SCD, dating back to 1985. She currently handles tax ditch cost-share for 137 different ditch organizations in Sussex County. She answers questions, maintains the active projects list and tracks supplemental funds and balances, with a smile. 

Let’s get to know Janet

Q. What do you enjoy about working at SCD?
A. I love the district, it feels like a family. I like everything about it from the farmers to the people I work with. I’ve never worked at a place where everyone was so willing to help. It feels like home.

Q. What do you like to do for fun?
A. I love to play bingo. I play every Tuesday and Friday night, twice a year my mom and I take a trip to Connecticut to play. I play 36 cards at a time.

Q. Tell us about your family.
A. My husband Buddy and I will be married for 48 years in July. We have two wonderful adult children, an amazing grandson and the world’s best daughter-in-law. We share our home with our Pomeranian puppy, Austin, and two cats, Willis and 20-year-old Kitty Littles.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I am from and still live in Sussex County.  We lived in Salisbury for a few years, but we came back because we were too far from family.

Q. What do many people may not know about you?
A. I’m very competitive. I’ve traveled all over the country participating in competitions including national softball and bowling tournaments; most recently I was on a golf travel team.

Q. How do you stay active?
A. I love to play golf, I used to be on a travel team and even won a few championships. I still play regularly with my son and grandson. My husband and I like to walk or go for rides with the dog. We also like to ride our bikes.

Q. Do you have a favorite restaurant?
A. Nicola Pizza! I love their pizza, their sauce is the best. I’m so glad they are moving, they’ll be closer to me and I won’t have to fight to find a parking space.

Q. Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A. Definitely a night owl, I’ll stay up for hours playing games. Sometimes I’m going to bed when my husband is getting up. My entire family is like that.

Q. What would you do if you won the lottery?
A. I would take care of my mother and make life easier for my family. I'd maybe buy an RV and travel; I'd like to visit the Grand Canyon. We'd probably stop at some golf courses and amusement parks along the way.

Q. What did you do before joining SCD?
A. I worked for SCD from 1985 to 2001; I came back in 2015. Before joining SCD, the first time, I worked at a lawyer's office. My husband and I had an art gallery in St. Michaels for a few years. I also worked at a doctor's office before coming back to SCD.

Q. When are you the happiest?
A. I’m happy all the time but I enjoy it when we all get together at my mom’s house. We stay up until the wee hours of the morning laughing and playing games. My husband says he’s never met a family who laughs so much. I also love watching my
husband play tournament softball, he’s a phenomenal player.


John Justice
Plan Reviewer

Employee Spotlight

December 2020

For just over two years, John has checked and double-checked stormwater management plans for compliance with Delaware’s regulations. He has gained a reputation as a stickler for perfection; however, he just wants to make sure designs work on paper before they are implemented on the ground.

He’s a detail-oriented, hard-working, family man who is always willing to help out.

Let’s get to know John

Q. What do you enjoy about working at SCD?
A. There’s a lot to like. From the top down, everyone is a team and that alleviates a lot of stress.

Q. What do you like to do for fun?
A. I’m at an age where I like to relax and spend time with my family. My daughter is a thrill seeker and loves rollercoasters as much as I do, so we visit a lot of theme parks. Apollo’s Chariot is probably my favorite rollercoaster.

Q. Tell us about your family.
A. There’s my wonderful wife, Jennifer, beautiful teenage daughter, Rachel and a spoiled Beagle name Lacy.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I am from and still live in Laurel, DE.

Q. Have you lived anywhere else?
A. I’ve lived in Mississippi, Virginia, North Carolina and California

Q. What three words describe you?
A. I think people would say I’m judgmental, rigid and unapproachable. I pray to be humble and think I’m laid back but I also overthink things constantly. So, content, steadfast and determined.

Q. What is something many people may not know about you?
A. When I was a little kid, my parents had to keep me on a leash and harness when we were out because I would run off everywhere.

Q. Do you have any hobbies?
A. I do a little woodworking and home improvement projects. For the past six years, I’ve helped out at the Cemetery House in Laurel, De.

Q. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A. I wanted to be a fighter pilot and still do but my vision won’t let me. I may have to grow old but I don’t have to grow up.

Q. What did you do before joining SCD?
A. I designed stormwater facilities for eight years, I actually designed the system at Delmar Middle and High School. Before that, I served in the Navy for six years, four active and two reserve. I was stationed at Miramar, CA, aka Fightertown, USA and worked on the flight deck with F-14 Tomcats. Aboard the ship, I served in Hawaii, Singapore, the Philippines and the Persian Gulf.

Q. If you could be any animal, what would you be?
A. A Wolverine


Rob Mitchell
Equipment Operator

Employee Spotlight

November 2020

Rob Mitchell has worked with big toys for over 15 years. He previously led the equipment program, but now he splits his time between SCD and other endeavors. He’s a family man with a big heart who is always willing to help someone in need.

Let’s get to know Rob

Q. What do you enjoy about working at SCD?
A. I like the work, the people I work with and the people I’ve met along the way.

Q. What are your favorite projects to work on?
A. I really enjoy working on agriculture projects like reclaiming land for natural habitat. One project that stands out was the restoration of the Lightship Overfalls; it had sunk and was stuck in the mud. We dug it out, watching it pop up out of the water was neat.

Q. What do you like to do for fun?
A. When we get a chance, we like traveling, usually to the Pacific Northwest. My favorite place to visit so far has been Homer Spit, Alaska. I did a lot of fishing when I was there; I like fishing somewhere I’ve never been before.

Q. Tell us about your family.
A. I’m married and have three adult children, one son and two bonus daughters. We also have two English Mastiffs, they’re really my wife’s dogs because they go crazy when she comes home.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I am from and still live in Laurel, DE but that’s why I like to travel.

Q. What’s your favorite food?
A. Steak, or any seafood; I love seafood.

Q. What’s one food you wish had zero calories?
A. Moose Tracks ice cream.

Q. What three words describe you?
A. Loyal, faithful and trustworthy.

Q. What is something many people may not know about you?
A. I raise grass-fed beef, mostly Angus, and I’m a hay farmer too. I do a lot of custom hay work; I cut, rake and bale or just bale hay for farmers. It keeps me busy.

Q. Have you ever met anyone famous?
A. I met Donald Trump a few years ago, before he was President. I was at Madison Square Garden with a church group, he sat down in front of us. He was very cordial and friendly.

Q. Do you have any hobbies?
A. I’m a sound tech on the side. It all started when I was a teenager and someone at church volunteered me to do it. I mostly do it for our church, but I was one of the techs for WBOCs Easter Special.


Debbie Absher
Director of Ag Programs

Employee Spotlight

October 2020

They say time flies when you’re having fun.

For the past 30 years, Debbie has helped the district grow by securing funding and creating new opportunities. Debbie finds creative avenues to expand conservation efforts, getting conservation on the ground where it matters most.

Let’s get to know Debbie

Q. What do you enjoy about working at SCD?
A. I truly love my job, the people I work with, the farmers and helping the environment.

Q. Can you tell me about your family?
A. I have an adult son who is getting married soon so I’m gaining a daughter-in-law. At home there’s my partner, Brooks, and our cockapoo, Scarlett, who runs the household.

Q. What do you like to do for fun?
A. I like to be healthy and stay fit; we really enjoy hiking. We prefer the mountains over the beaches. Locally we like hiking and biking the Junction & Breakwater Trail at Cape Henlopen State Park.

Q. What’s on your bucket list?
A. Our bucket list is to go to all of the national parks. We’ve been to several including Grand Canyon, Great Falls, Hawai‘i Volcanoes, Saguaro and Shenandoah. My favorite so far has been Yosemite National Park.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I was born and raised in Seaford, DE. I think I’ve lived within a four-mile radius my whole life.

Q. Are you messy or organized?
A. Oh, definitely messy. I can usually find most things but it may take me a few minutes.

Q. What are some of your favorite foods?
A.  I love pizza, pasta, cake and cookies. I have a sweet tooth, but I don’t indulge often because I’m watching my carbs. However, Vanderwende’s has a new ginger snap ice cream, it’s amazing.

Q. What was the last concert you went to?
A. Last year we saw Elton John at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.

Q. What three words describe you?
A. Passionate, loyal and optimistic.

Q. What is something many people may not know about you?
A. I actually wanted a push mower for our yard so I had another way to fit in some exercise.


Jim Elliott
Project Design Coordinator

Employee Spotlight

September 2020

With over 15 years of experience at SCD, Jim Elliott has a wealth of knowledge that allows him to think outside the box and troubleshoot complex drainage concerns.

Jim currently designs and facilitates solutions for the Resource Conservation and Development list, moving projects in Sussex County from concept to construction.

Voted second best dressed and an office potluck favorite, Jim is as cool as a cucumber and is always willing to lend a helping hand.

Let’s get to know Jim

Q. What do you enjoy about working at SCD?
A. I like the people, they’re all very nice and I like the environment too.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I am born and raised in Laurel, De.

Q. Can you tell us about your family?
A. I’m married to a wonderful woman and have a teenage daughter who is starting her first year at college. We also have a Labradoodle Malamute mix named Luna.

Q. What three words describe you?
A. Easy-going, conscientious and dependable.

Q. What would you do if you won the lottery?
A. Let’s see, I’d pay off my house and car. Actually, I’d probably sell my house and move out to the country but stay in Sussex County.

Q. What is something many people may not know about you?
A. In high school, I was co-captain of the football team, lettered in a few sports and I ran intermediate hurdles in track.

Q. What did you do before joining SCD?
A. In a previous life, before I ventured down the stormwater path, I worked with my father who owned an HVAC business; we were partners.

Q. Do you have a nickname?
A. Growing up everyone called me “Skeeter.”

Q. Do you have any hobbies?
A. I bought a kayak last year, but I haven’t used it yet this year. Does cutting the grass, walking the dog and going grocery shopping count as hobbies?

Q. What’s your favorite food?
A. I cook dinner every night. I’m not a chef but I can read a recipe and follow directions really well. I like to make BBQ ribs in the crockpot, they come out pretty good and cleanup is easy.

Q. Do you have a hidden talent?
A. Um, I’m not bad at drawing. I surprise myself sometimes when I help my daughter with school projects.

Q. What was the last concert you went to?
A. I saw Bret Eldredge in 2018 and Darius Rucker in 2017, both at the Delaware State Fair.


Kim Elliott
Administrative Specialist

Employee Spotlight

August 2020

 Since 2017, Kim Elliott has juggled everything from residential permitting, inspection reporting, accounts payable, and accounts receivable. She is the first point of contact for the Shortly Rd. office and maintains order amongst the chaos, always with a smile.

Let’s get to know Kim

Q. What do you enjoy about working at SCD?
A. The people I work with, we have a really great team. I also really like working with customers.

Q. Can you tell me about your family?
A. I have a wonderful husband, an adult son, and two teenage daughters. We have three dogs, two Chesadore’s named Remmy and Hunter; the newest rescue is a Beagle named Charlie. There are also some rabbits and chickens that roam the yard.

Q. What do you like to do for fun?
A. My family and I like to go camping. We tent camped until last year when we got a pop up. I love Chincoteague but my favorite place so far is Frontier Town. I prefer camping in cooler weather though.

Q. How would you become famous?
A. Helping people, community service is near and dear to my heart. It feels so much better to give than to receive. I really try to instill that in my daughters.  I am the leader of the Clover Knights 4H Club which recently won the 2020 Governors Youth Service Volunteer Award for our Harrison House project last Christmas. 

Q. If you could meet anyone famous, who would it be?
A. Cal Ripken, Jr.! I’m a huge Baltimore Orioles fan, I was at the game where he tied Lou Gehrig’s record. I don’t know what I’d ask him, but I’d love to meet him. I really admire his foundation and the work he does with youth.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I’m a transplant, I live in Georgetown but I’m originally from Berlin, MD.

Q. What’s your favorite food?
A. Chocolate! I have a serious chocolate addiction. I really love Mr. Goodbar and Whatchamacallit Bars.

Q. What is something many people may not know about you?
A. I love singing karaoke! I enjoy trying any song but not in public. I have my own karaoke machine at home.


Craig Mills
District Inspector

Employee Spotlight

July 2020

Craig Mills has exceptional attention to detail and a passion to make things right. For over 12 years he has worked with contractors and homeowners to maintain compliance with Delaware’s Sediment and Stormwater Program.

He knows the contractor’s plans, inside and out, often catching errors before they have disastrous consequences. He has the memory of an elephant which is invaluable when some projects can take a decade or more to complete. He makes sure the job is done right and is always willing to help out.

 Let’s get to know Craig

Q. What do you enjoy about working at SCD?
A. The people I work with, they really make it easy. The team has taught me everything I know.

Q. Can you tell me about your family?
A. I have a big family, three brothers, a sister, nieces and nephews. My wife and I have been married for 30 years and we have two adult children.

Q. What do you like to do for fun?
A. My wife likes to ride bikes so she makes me exercise. We go up to Wilmington and ride trails for 15 miles or so. I’m not a fan but she loves it, so we do it.

Q. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
A. My wife wants to visit the Grand Canyon but after being a truck driver I want to fly there, not drive. I’d want to visit Australia; my son went there when he was 12 years old.

Q. What would you be famous for?
A. When I was younger I was a pretty good checker player. I even won a few tournaments including a regional competition four years in a row. I went to nationals two of those years; I placed sixth one year and second another.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I was born and raised in Milford, DE.

Q. What’s your favorite food?
A. That’s hard, my wife’s a good cook. She has an Instant Pot and makes everything in it but I love chili.

Q. What three words would you use to describe yourself?
A. Hardworking, dependable and trustworthy.

Q. When are you the happiest?
A. When the family’s around eating dinner, that’s good for me.


Larry Lynch
Equipment Operator

Employee Spotlight

June 2020

Dig. Lift. Carry. Shape. Smooth. Level.

From restoration work to private land management, Larry Lynch has skillfully moved earth to prepare, protect and preserve our most precious natural resources for over 15 years.

Let’s get to know Larry

Q. What do you enjoy about working at SCD?
A. I really like my job, it’s always something different and I work with a really good bunch of guys.

Q. What type of equipment do you operate?
A. Typically I run excavators, bulldozers and backhoes.

Q. What are your favorite projects to work on?
A. I really like constructing wildlife ponds. You get to use your imagination sometimes, it’s like being an artist but moving earth.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I was born and raised in Gumboro, DE.

Q. Can you tell me about your family?
A. I have a wonderful wife, five kids and 12 grandkids who range in age from three to 25.

Q. What do you like to do in your spare time?
A. I like to travel and play bass guitar.

Q. Where do you like to travel to?
A. My wife and I like to camp in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. We enjoy visiting historical sites across the U.S. and have been to ten different states.

Q. What would you do if you won the lottery?
A. I’d pay my bills, take care of my family and probably donate the rest to the Children’s Hospital. I might buy an RV, but probably not.

Q. What type of music do you like?
A. I enjoy playing and listening to bluegrass and country music.

Q. What’s your favorite food?
A. Beef and dumplings! I like chocolate ice cream too.

Q. What three words would you use to describe yourself?
A. Dependable, honest and funny.

Q. Would you rather be a tiny elephant or a
giant hamster?
A. Um, probably a tiny elephant, they are pretty cool.


Kip Foskey
Senior Conservation Planner

Employee Spotlight

May 2020

In memory of Kip Foskey
1955-2020 


Kip Foskey has worked with farmers and landowners across Sussex County for over 28 years.

From implementing conservation practices and nutrient management plans to providing assistance with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and other cost share programs administered through SCD, Kip knows a few things and can definitely share a story or two.

Let’s get to know Kip

Q. What do you enjoy about working at SCD?
A. I enjoy working with farmers. I’ve worked in agriculture my whole life and really love getting out in the field to help people.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I was born and raised in Laurel, DE. I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be, other than the concrete ships at Kiptopeke State Park in Cape Charles, VA.

Q. Can you tell me about your family or pets?
A. I have three grown children, two sons and a daughter, four grandsons, and a 14-month-old Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Moses.

Q. Do you have any hobbies?
A. I love fishing. A group of us go out to Cape Charles, VA, a few times a year to fish for whatever’s biting.

Q. Do you have a favorite sport or sports team?
A. I love the Yankees, Packers, 76ers and UCLA for college basketball.

Q. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
A. Germany, I had two uncles in WWII.

Q. Do you have a favorite movie or tv show?
A. My favorite tv show is probably MASH. As far as movies go, probably Star Wars or The Godfather. I also like anything with John Wayne or Anthony Hopkins.

Q. Do you have a favorite food?
A. Hm, a good steak, or seafood. I love most any seafood really, well, except calamari.

Q. Do you have a favorite sweet?
A. Chocolate, dark chocolate!