Katherine brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the position of Interim Executive Director that will assist PCO in moving forward on strategic initiatives to better serve our members and remain a top choice for those seeking organic certification. She has been a forward-thinking leader in the organic movement since 1990. She spent 16 years at the helm of the Organic Trade Association (OTA) where she was instrumental in shaping the outcome of the U.S. National Organic Program (NOP) Standards and securing Congressional support. Katherine is the Managing Partner and Senior Associate at Wolf, DiMatteo + Associates where she leads their policy, regulatory and international services.
Stacey joined PCO as the Executive Assistant in January 2019. She has a background in association management and conference planning and is ready to put her knack for logistics to work for the team. Originally from Minnesota, she attended Grinnell College in Iowa where she earned a degree in Anthropology. Stacey believes in the power that community brings to building a resilient, healthy food system. When not crafting or designing her next DIY project, you can find her removing more of her lawn to build raised beds for edibles to grow.
Diana joined the PCO team as Director of Operations in Fall of 2012. Prior to relocating to Boalsburg, PA, she lived in Raleigh, NC where she obtained her Business Management – Finance degree from North Carolina State University and began her career. Diana spent the first eight years of her employment in a small business environment, with six years as Operations Manager. She looks forward to contributing to the continued growth and success of the PCO team. In her spare time she enjoys reading, eating local and organic food, cooking, and enjoying the outdoors.
Angela joined the PCO staff in February of 2016 as the Quality Systems and IT Manager. Prior to working at PCO Angela spent 21+ years working at a Contract Research Organization that supported analytical and specialty environmental services as well as bio-pharmaceutical drug development. She started out as a Laboratory Technician and moved on to specialize in Document Control, Process Improvement, and Quality Systems Management. In her spare time Angela enjoys reading, cooking and writing poetry.
Garrick joined PCO as the IT Specialist in April of 2015. He graduated from Penn State in 2013 with a Bachelors degree in Telecommunications, and has previously worked as an IT Generalist in both the healthcare and finance fields. More recently he has worked with the College of Ag Science at Penn State, assisting researchers and farm extension offices. Outside of PCO, Garrick is a local DJ and also volunteers for the Centre County Elections Board. He currently resides in Bellefonte with a very grumpy cat and spends his personal time reading, writing, playing music and auto-crossing.
Sandy joined the PCO Team as Human Resource Manager in September 2016. Originally from Annapolis, Maryland, she lived and worked in Washington D.C and Philadelphia before moving to Boalsburg, PA. For the past twelve years, Sandy has been working in the Natural & Organic Retail Industry, most recently as a Regional Trainer and Career Development Program Coordinator. She is passionate about organic food access and healthy eating education. In her free time, you can find Sandy in the kitchen perfecting her favorite recipes, practicing yoga, belly laughing with her partner Matt, gardening, or out tending her beehives.
Vasilia Lopez, also known as Lia, has been involved with PCO since she was just 9 years-old, from helping stuff envelopes and pasting stickers for mailings to cleaning up roadsides during PCO’s Adopt-A-Highway. After graduating from State College Area High School she went on to complete a semester at Penn State and then moved to the DMV (Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia) area where she obtained all her qualifications to be an esthetician. Lia has been with PCO as the Administrative Staff Assistant since 2012. She enjoys the outdoors, crafting, gardening, and going on adventures with her husband and two children in her free time.
Elizabeth started at PCO as the staff accountant in April 2014, and now leads the accounting team as Accounting Manager. As a licensed certified public accountant, Elizabeth is excited about her career in the organic industry (and leaving the public accounting sector). Originally from Clearfield, PA, Elizabeth ventured to the State College area where she attended the Pennsylvania State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. She currently resides in Boalsburg with her husband Matt, their children Blake and Bridger, and dog Mayson. In her free time, Elizabeth adores spending time with family and friends, traveling, and enjoying the outdoors.
Shawnee joined the PCO Team as a Staff Accountant in November of 2016. Shawnee was born and raised in Pleasant Gap, PA, and currently resides in Clarence with her husband, Andy. Shawnee received her degree in Accounting from South Hills School of Business and Technology. Shawnee enjoys traveling the Caribbean with her husband, spending time with family and friends, riding her motorcycle, and going for walks in the mountain with her dogs, Nyla and Zara.
Kyla Smith has worked with PCO since 2003 in many roles including Organic Inspector (for all scopes), Certification Specialist, Policy Director, and now as Certification Director. In her current role, Kyla assures that PCO and its mission, programs and services are consistently presented with transparency and integrity to relevant stakeholders in adherence with PCO’s strategic plan, as well as oversees the certification, inspection and material teams. She is a member of the Organic Plus Trust Grass-fed Organic Livestock Certification Steering Committee. Kyla received her Masters degree in Transformative Leadership and Social Change from the Maryland University of Integrative Health (formerly Tai Sophia Institute) in Laurel, Maryland. She is also a Environmental Leadership Program Fellow and graduate of the Leadership Centre County progam. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, fishing, gardening, boating and most importantly spending time with her husband Ben and their two beautiful little girls, Stella Rae and Hazel Johna!!
Marissa Evankovich joined the PCO team in June of 2009, as a Certification Specialist and eventually took on the position of Compliance Manger as well. Since November 2015 Marissa has served as PCO’s Certification Program Manager.
Born and raised in Karns City, PA some of Marissa’s earliest memories are making trips to the barn to visit her family’s small herd of Hereford cattle. Although she didn’t do much more than sit on the wheel well of the tractor beside her dad while he was baling hay, she found agriculture to be exciting and ended up finding her way to Penn State, where she graduated in 2009 with a degree in Agroecology and a minor in Agronomy.
Cathy joined PCO as a Certification Specialist in November of 2016. She attended Ohio University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies. She also earned an associate’s degree in Eco-Tourism and Adventure Travel from Hocking College. She has several years of experience working on organic produce farms and now has a small mixed vegetable operation in her hometown of Athens, Ohio. Before joining PCO, Cathy worked as a Certification Specialist at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association. In her free time she enjoys hiking, traveling, kayaking, sewing, and spending time with her daughter, Ruby.
Chelsea has a bachelor’s degree in Food Science from the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio and a master’s degree in Environmental Protection and Agricultural Food Production from the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany. She worked as a Certification Specialist at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association in Columbus for two years and enjoys learning about food, agricultural, and environmental issues. When not working, she enjoys yoga, hiking, traveling, and cooking Indian food.
Craig joined PCO in January 2018 as a Certification Specialist. Prior to joining PCO, Craig was a farm inspector for PCO and Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association. He is the 2017 recipient of the International Organic Inspectors Association Andrew Rutherford Scholarship. Originally from Indiana, Craig spent 12 years living in Asheville, North Carolina where he worked on a Boer goat farm and for Organic Pharmacy & Wild Earth Market. In 2011 Craig married and moved to Penns Valley, where he and his wife live with their two children and dog. In his free time he enjoys fly fishing, gardening, and spending time with his family.
Eastlyn Wright joined the PCO staff as a certification specialist in December 2018. A Nebraska native and University of Nebraska- Lincoln alumna. Prior to PCO Easlyn had been employed as an organic certification specialist, educator at a botanical garden, and an AmeriCorps member for a non-profit community gardening organization. She is passionate about agriculture, education, her friends and family, and of course kitties.
Heather joined PCO as the Certification Staff Assistant in 2007, and is now a Senior Certification Specialist working primarily with transitioning farmers and first time applicants. Heather is originally from a New Jersey suburb and arrived in central Pennsylvania to attend Susquehanna University, graduating with a bachelors degree in Business Administration. She came to PCO while working for Sweet Meriam’s Farm CSA in Snyder County where she was a co-manager for 2 years. Heather continues to enjoy the country life in Mifflinburg, PA with her husband Jeremy, their 3 dogs, 1 cat and 2 horses. They raise chickens for meat and eggs, and keep a large garden, all managed organically of course!
Justine is a New Jersey native who loves farming practices that build vibrant soil environments. She has a B.S. in Environmental Studies from Stockton University and a M.S. in Agronomy from Penn State, where she studied soil nutrient cycling and cover crops. After spending three years exploring soil ecology and organic matter dynamics, she moved to New Mexico to experience the practical application of sustainable farming techniques at the Seeds of Change organic research farm. For the past five years, Justine has been working with NOFA-NJ to provide technical assistance to organic farmers and, in conjunction with the USDA-NRCS, to support natural resource conservation on certified organic farms. She joined the PCO certification team in January 2016.
Lauren joined PCO as a Program Assistant in December 2018 and became a Certification Specialist in October 2019. She has a B.S. in Biology from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, and an M.S. in Biology from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. Lauren currently resides in State College with her husband and three pets. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and running with her dog, volunteering at Centre County PAWS, and reading library books.
Marlin joined the PCO team as a Certification Specialist in September 2019. He has a B.S. in Food Science and Technology from Oregon State University. Prior to starting with PCO he worked for several years with Oregon Tilth Certified Organic in their Certification Program with a focus on Processors and Handlers. Marlin is a native Oregonian, growing up in a suburb of Portland. He now lives in the central Willamette Valley outside the city of Eugene with his wife, Claire, border collie mix Zeke, and cat Evie. Outside of work, Marlin enjoys gardening, hiking, cooking, sewing, gaming and painting miniature figurines for table-top RPG’s.
Jenny Cruse joined the PCO team as Inspection Program Manager in the summer of 2019. She has been involved with organic certification and inspections since 2011 and has a strong appreciation for the effects of organic certification on small farms and rural communities. She lives in Southeast Minnesota with her husband Mike and their two children.
Reva originally started at PCO as a temporary data entry assistant in November 2013 but soon after, transitioned to the team, contributing to the organization in a variety of roles. Since June 2017, she’s been the Operations Manager. Reva graduated Penn State with a Masters in Comparative Literature as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Gender & Sexuality Studies. She believes that organic sustainability will save the world and is proud to be contributing to its growth. Reva also enjoys fragrant herbal teas, the purring of a happy cat, and the smell of earth right after it rains.
Aleisha grew up in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. She started working at PCO assisting with a data entry project in March 2016 and she officially joined the PCO team in May 2016 as a Program Assistant. She has strong beliefs and values that organic products are a safer and a healthier option for all of us. In her spare time, she enjoys new adventures with her family, campfires, hiking, reading, and playing guitar to name a few.
Diana joined PCO as a Program Assistant in 2019. She holds dual B.A.s from the University of Florida in Environmental Science and History. Diana’s family roots go deep in Central Pennsylvania, and she is gratified to be part of PCO’s mission supporting environmental health and sustainability. Diana has extensive experience in social sciences research and public history, specializing in oral history, and also currently works with the Southern Foodways Alliance. She lives in Bellefonte with her family, including a happy pack of rescue dogs, and enjoys yoga and home cooking.
Kristin grew up in central Pennsylvania and got her degree in International Studies from Lock Haven University where she took every opportunity she could to travel. Upon graduating she had plans to move abroad but couldn’t pull herself away from all the wonderful things central Pennsylvania has to offer. Kristin is now working as a Program Assistant for PCO and is excited to see more and more of the farming industry getting back to its organic roots. Kristin currently lives in Bellefonte with her two cats, Sam and Lucy. In her spare time she enjoys reading, knitting, kayaking, camping, growing her own veggies, and traveling to new places.
Jen joined PCO as the Materials Program Manager in February of 2016. She is originally from Johnstown, PA, but currently resides in State College with her cat, Leslie Knope. She holds a a masters degree in ecology from Penn State and a bachelors degree in biology from Duquesne University. In her free time, she enjoys reading, camping, hiking, and re-finishing furniture.
April grew up in the small town of Emmaus, Pennsylvania. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with an Environmental Studies degree in 2002, April spent the next few years apprenticing on diversified family farms in Vermont, Virginia, and Massachusetts, coming to love many facets of farming from maple sugaring and making herbal preparations to weeding long rows of veggies and collecting eggs. April is passionate about organic food and farming and is thankful for her small role in the movement from PCO staff member and organic CSA supporter to committed organic mama. April lives in Lehigh County with her two lovely daughters, Tessa and Althea. When April isn’t busy working for PCO, you may find her country-road bike riding, reading, or planting flowers!
Sabine has seen PCO go through many changes since first joining the staff in 2000. Over the years Sabine has served roles as a Certification Specialist, Organic Crop & Dairy Inspector and currently as Materials Specialist.
Sabine graduated from Penn State after studying International Development & Agriculture, and worked for the PSU Entomology Department performing pesticide resistance research. This inspired her to follow her path towards organic farming, starting with an internship at the Rodale Institute focusing on cover crops, and traveling solo through Ireland to work on a variety of organic farms. Sabine is currently a NRCS Technical Service Provider and prepares Transition to Organic Conservation plans for farmers in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Sabine also serves on the Board of Directors for Rhoneymeade, a local Arboretum and Sculpture Garden and is an avid photographer. In her spare time Sabine & family operate an organic cut flower & produce operation, and raise pastured poultry, pigs and grass-fed beef.