Photograph © Guillaume Poulin
Washington, DC Office
Bob Parks is founder of the Virginia Outdoor Lighting Taskforce (VOLT), an all-volunteer, non-profit, grassroots advocacy group since 2000. Its mission is to promote safe and efficient outdoor lighting. VOLT has been successful helping localities in Virginia to enact lighting ordinances and was instrumental in the passage of legislation to require that all state facilities purchase only full cut-off fixtures.
Mr. Parks is an avid amateur astronomer and past president of the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club, the largest of its kind in the United States. He has been a member of International Dark-Sky Association since 2000. In 2005, he founded the Almost Heaven Star Party at Spruce Knob, WV, one of the darkest observing sites on the East Coast.
In March of 2009, Mr. Parks joined IDA to launch the Washington Office for Public Policy and Government Affairs. As managing director, he was charged with keeping Congress and federal agencies up-to-date regarding IDA’s mission and its issues. In addition, he is working to build a coalition of environmental and energy organizations that have parallel goals to reduce light pollution, conserve energy, and preserve the natural environment.
In June 2010 the IDA Board appointed Mr. Parks as Executive Director. Follow Bob on Twitter @darkskyone
Tucson, AZ Office
Scott Kardel has always had a love for astronomy and the universe. Growing up in the desert on the edge of Tucson, Arizona gave him a strong connection to the sky and the environment. He used that connection first to become a high school earth science teacher, where he installed an observatory for his school.
After completing a Master’s Degree in astronomy from the University of Arizona, Scott took his passion for the stars to Kansas, where he served as assistant director for the Lake Afton Public Observatory. Prior to coming to IDA, Scott served for eight years as the public affairs coordinator for Palomar Observatory. He directed their public outreach program and was the observatory’s representative on light pollution issues. He is a lifetime member of the IDA and was awarded the IDA’s Executive Director Special Award in 2007.
Follow Scott on Twitter @DarkSkyScott
Matt has been with IDA since 2006. He currently works with lighting manufacturers, designers, and distributors to certify products through the IDA Fixture Seal of Approval (FSA) program. Knowledgeable in photometry with a keen interest in the aesthetics of fixture design, Matt enjoys seeing the innovation of lighting experts firsthand. Well aware that a variety of lighting must be used to achieve any quality outdoor lighting plan, Matt has worked to expand the FSA program from public and commercial lighting to include residential applications and dark sky friendly devices. Matt helps promote this and other IDA programs at lighting trade shows and conferences across the country.
Matt grew up in Maryland and received a bachelor’s degree in art and design at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. His interest in architecture and green design is applied in both his professional and his personal life. In his spare time, he enjoys working on architectural paintings which he shows in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the UK.
Susan has worked for IDA since 2004. The longest-serving current employee, she has enjoyed seeing the tremendous change in public awareness of the issues regarding light pollution. As Membership Director, Susan organizes the IDA database and interfaces directly with general membership. Most anyone who calls during business hours will hear Susan’s pleasant voice on the telephone. Members and volunteers often remark on Susan’s competence and polite demeanor. Her broad business background, encompassing sales, purchasing, and administration helps Susan slowly but surely increase IDA’s member base. In an effort to expand IDA’s sphere of influence, she has started to restructure membership retention efforts, and has initiated several successful campaign drives.
In addition to managing our active membership system, Susan has recently taken on the role of Office Manager. Her bachelor’s degree in business administration from George Washington University has helped hail changes in IDA’s accounting system that will expedite the public posting of public financial records and have already prevented numerous headaches from donors and financial administrators.
Originally from New York, Susan has been a Tucson transplant for 22 years. A dedicated mother of two, she is happy to share her children’s interest in sports and exercise, and can discourse endlessly on football.
John is an Arizona native and comes to IDA from the "dark side" of science -- professional astronomy. He grew up in Phoenix and was involved in amateur astronomy there from grade school. Later, he attended the University of Arizona, beginning research in jobs at the National Optical Astronomy Observatories and National Solar Observatory headquarters in Tucson. From 2001-06 he was on the staff of Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, serving first as an Observing Specialist on the Astrophysical Research Consortium 3.5-meter telescope and then as an Observer for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. He obtained a master's degree in physics at Colorado State University and a master's and Ph.D. in astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin. John has contributed to science in fields ranging from solar physics to galaxy evolution while helping develop hardware for ground-based and aircraft-borne astronomy. Throughout his career, he has been involved in education and outreach efforts to help increase the public understanding of science. The asteroid (14505) Barentine is named in his honor. His interests outside of astronomy and dark skies include history, art/architecture, politics, law, and current events.
Follow John on Twitter @JohnBarentine
Cheryl Ann is an outdoor enthusiast regardless of whether it is day or night.Growing up in rural Washington state, she learned to appreciate the night skies at an early age. Before joining IDA, she received her Ph.D. in Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina and taught communication courses at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. Prior to her graduate studies, she worked in public relations for several years in Austin, Texas, acting as the assistant public relations director for the Austin Fire Department and the information and training specialist for Texas Early Childhood Intervention. She received her master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and has published numerous freelance articles, book chapters, and a book. She is excited to use her writing and communication skills to help further IDA’s mission. In her free time Cheryl Ann loves to explore the beautiful Sonoran Desert, garden and stay active in the Milagro co-housing community.