Meet the Board

John DeSaix

John DeSaix

Chair

John and his wife, Suzanne, moved to Lovettsville in 1988 to enjoy the rural life. They converted much of the property to forest and conservation fields, and enjoy growing organic fruits and vegetables. John is retired, having spent most of his career working for NASD (FINRA), the securities industry regulator, and the Nasdaq Stock Market. His work experience includes systems development, financial analysis and strategic planning, including three years as Senior Vice President of Market Strategy at Nasdaq Japan and four years as Vice President of Strategic Planning for NASD. Before joining the Board in 2016, John was a pro bono consultant to the Co-op, facilitating the development of the mission and vision statements and assisting with overall planning and financial analysis. “The pro bono work with the Co-op made me realize starting a food co-op is so much more than opening a store. It’s about delivering good food to our neighbors, supporting local producers and contributing to our local economy. It really is about serving the community.” John has been the Chair for the Co-op Board since 2018 and was the Chair of the Finance Committee from 2016 to 2020.

Julie Harner

Julie Harner

Vice-Chair and Chair, Membership Committee

Julie, a recent transplant to Lovettsville from Falls Church, spent 35 years at Verizon, the majority of her service supporting the federal government telecommunications and technology. She was responsible for government programs generating $25 million in monthly revenue. Julie has had a long career on the volunteer side as well. She served multiple terms as PTA president during her children’s elementary and middle school time. Julie also served in other capacities on the PTA board including secretary. Julie also served on the board of the Fairfax Voluntary Action Committee, which identified corporate sponsors to support local projects serving the underserved Fairfax County community. She has most recently supported the Falls Church Community Service board with the inventory and delivery of food items to county clients. Her interests have always been supporting local residents. As a Loudoun County resident she is learning the “ways of the land” farming and gardening. Her hobbies are her grandchildren and quilting. After joining the Co-op Julie became membership chairperson and was appointed as vice-chair in 2020 supporting the board of directors under the chairman’s direction. This spring Julie became manager of the Lovettsville Community Garden which is sponsored by the Co-op.

Gretchen Demmin

Gretchen Demmin

Secretary

Gretchen retired from the military after 22 years of service to form her own biosafety consulting firm, Demmin Consulting, LLC. She was actively involved in developing course content and teaching maximum containment laboratory practices and procedures for the National Institutes of Health. She received her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Colorado Health Science Center before being assigned to the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID).
In 2017, she closed the consulting firm and focused her attention on community service and farming. To date, she has been a member of the Lovettsville Cooperative Market Membership Committee, participating and developing several recruiting drives and surveys. She also has volunteered extensively and donated numerous items to the Co-op’s 2018 and 2019 Seasonal Market.

Karen Hignite

Karen Hignite

Treasurer

Karen has lived almost 30 years in Loudoun County, 20 of those years in Lovettsville. She has been a member of the Board since 2012, and has served as Treasurer for the past 5 years. She is responsible for the financial records of the Co-op and for keeping in good standing with the State Corporation Commission and the Virginia Department of Taxation. She was a major force in developing the first Co-op Seasonal Farm Market in 2012, and has been an active coordinator in each successive market through 2019. Karen started her life in DC working for a series of Members of Congress doing casework and legislative research. She then moved into a 35 year IT consulting career as a training specialist and systems analyst managing projects for branches of the military. Seeking a less “structured” employment environment she accepted a job designing databases for the National Wildlife Federation. Karen spent her last years there managing their document management records retention system, and the in-house photo library licensing images for use by staff members, and negotiating image donations or discount pricing from photographers and studios. She now enjoys retired life in the farmlands of Northern Virginia.

Caroline Ahern

Caroline Ahern

Director

Caroline and her husband, Frank, moved to Lovettsville in 2016, trading in their 100 year old row house in downtown DC for a 100+ year old farmhouse on a winding dirt road. Since moving to Lovettsville, they’ve welcomed two sons to their country brood and also added a dozen chickens, a garden, and a puppy to their farmette, which they hope to expand in the coming years. Caroline is currently the Senior Vice President of Finance & Accounting for EB5 Capital, a real estate investment firm in Bethesda, MD. In her current role she manages all corporate finance and accounting functions including financial reporting, budgeting and forecasting, treasury, and income taxes, as well as human resources and payroll. Prior to her current role at EB5 Capital, she was the Assistant Controller for the Washington Redskins. Caroline studied finance, accounting, and Spanish at the University of Richmond where she graduated summa cum laude in 2008. Upon graduation, Caroline passed the CPA exam in Virginia while starting her career as an auditor at Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP (formerly Beers + Cutler). In her spare time she enjoys trail running, cooking, traveling, and chasing after her two young sons. Caroline has served on the Lovettsville Cooperative Market‘s Board of Directors and Finance Committee since January 2020 and is now the chair of the Finance Committee. Caroline is passionate about the Co-op’s mission, especially its quest to serve as a hub for community building, gathering, and learning.

Ellis Burruss

Ellis Burruss

Director

Ellis graduated from the University of MD with a B.A. in English (and a minor in organic chemistry) and has lived in Brunswick for the past 40 years. As an independent business owner (Bellwether Printing) Ellis understands the issues facing small businesses in our community. He has shown his commitment to the community by volunteering his time and energy to a number of community organizations including: the Greater Brunswick Area Chamber of Commerce (currently treasurer); the Brunswick Planning Commission; Downtown Revitalization Committee ; Brunswick Museum Board of Directors ; Brunswick Economic Team ; the Brunswick Library Board of Directors; and actively participates in Brunswick Main Street programs. Ellis joined the Lovettsville Co-op Board in 2015 and has served as both secretary and vice chair.

Glenn Willard

Glenn Willard

Director

Glenn is a 20-year resident of the Hillsboro area (originally from Michigan) and has been on the Board since 2016. He has practiced political law at Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP (including its legacy firm, Patton Boggs, LLP) in Washington, DC since 2003, and was previously counsel to a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission. Since 2015 he has also been on the board of the Catholic Climate Covenant, which helps guide the U.S. Church’s response to the moral call for action on climate change. He has been married for 38 years, and has 12 children and 14 grandchildren. He strongly believes in the cooperative business model, seeing in cooperatives the potential for them to be, as Pope Francis said, a “healing economy in the insidious sea of the global economy. A true economy supported by people who have only the common good in their heart and mind.” Specifically, he sees the Lovettsville Cooperative Market as a communitarian alternative to the chain store business model, a means by which all can participate in a fair, humane, local and sustainable economy.

Merle Russ

Merle Russ

Director

Merle was born and raised in Princess Anne County, Virginia. He served 25 years in the US Army with assignments including Installation Director of Contracting, Fort Lee, VA, and Chief, Supply Policy, Department of the Army, The Pentagon. After retiring from active duty, he was a senior manager at Electronic Data Systems (EDS) and at Northrop Grumman as well as a vice-president at L3 Communications. Merle has always been active in his community, serving as the President and Vice-President of two Homeowner Associations (HOA) in Fairfax County, Virginia. He and his wife Dr. Ellen Scully-Russ joined the Cooperative when they moved to Lovettsville in 2013 and he has served on the Board since 2018. Ellen is an Associate Professor and Department Chair at The George Washington University. Merle’s professional experience is in automated supply chain management, contracting and facilities management, and business development. He and Ellen established and operate Hobby Horse Vineyard in Lovettsville, providing high quality wine grapes to local wineries.

Copyright 2021. Lovettsville Cooperative Market, Inc.