Putting a Face to the Name

Our staff makes Kanuga the wonderful place it is.

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Meet the staff at Kanuga, comprised of skilled individuals dedicated to serving our guests and sustaining our grounds, community and programs.

To contact a staff member by phone, please call 828-692-9136 and then enter the extension number.

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Allie Pfeffer
Hospitality Specialist
Allie Pfeffer joined Kanuga in 2015, starting out in the Retail Department and assisting in Guest Services. She transitioned to the Reservations team in 2018 with a strong background in Customer Service. Allie was born and raised in Hendersonville, but aspires to travel any time she can. In her spare time, Allie likes to sketch, write short stories, and go hiking with her dog Riley who shares her love for the outdoors.
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Andrea Garber
Camp Bob Program Director
Ext. 2836
Andrea Garber grew up in Denver, North Carolina, close to Lake Norman. Recently, she graduated from Mars Hill University where she was a Bonner Scholar and received a B.A. in Spanish, as well as a B.A. in Sociology. In her years at the university, she spent time volunteering with an afterschool learning program for students in Section 8 housing in Asheville, which is where she grew passionate about working with youth from disadvantaged circumstances. While Andrea may be new to this position, she is not new to Kanuga. She spent 3 summers working with Camp Bob, two years as a counselor and one as the Assistant Director. Camp Bob has a very special place in her heart and Andrea is very excited to be here as a part of the Kanuga family.
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Barry Phillips
Director of Food Service
Barry Phillips came to Kanuga in 1994 as the assistant manager of the kitchen and was promoted to food services director in 2000. Embracing Kanuga's commitment to environmental stewardship, he works with local produce distributors to supply Kanuga's dining hall with seasonal locally grown fruits and vegetables whenever possible. “I love the peaceful Christian community at Kanuga,” he says. “I enjoy ensuring that guests enjoy every aspect of Kanuga, but especially the food and service they receive while here.”
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Bill Schneckenberg
Staff Accountant
Born in Wisconsin, but spending most of his youth in Orlando, Florida, Bill graduated from the University of Central Florida with an accounting degree in 1988. Bill has two grown children who are still living in Florida, and parents who live in Greenville, SC, with whom he enjoys spending time with when he’s not at work. Bill moved to Hendersonville with his then fiancé, Sean, in October of 2015 and started his position at Kanuga as Staff Accountant in April of 2016. Over the next year and a half, he quickly realized what a special place this is and hosted his wedding reception in November of 2017 at Perry Pavilion on the Bob Campbell Youth Campus. During this same time, Bill also completed construction of his permanent home in the mountains for he and his wife to enjoy for many years to come. Bill plans on many weekends filled with Green Bay Packers or UCF Knights football, cornhole, barbecues, woodworking and time with family and friends.
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Clint DeWitt
Environmental Projects Manager
Ext. 2823
Clint DeWitt joined Kanuga in 2006 as an instructor for the Mountain Trail Outdoor School. Now serving as Kanuga's environmental projects manager, Clint brings his passion for learning and environmental stewardship to this important role. His responsibilities include Kanuga’s trail system, its solar hot water systems, the organic garden, as well as other green initiatives. In addition, Clint serves as an administrator for MTOS. Originally from Black Mountain, NC, he graduated from Brevard College with a degree in wilderness leadership and experiential education.
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David Hanson
Assistant Manager of Guest Services
Ext. 2828
David joined Kanuga in 2016 and is the Assistant Manager of Guest Services.
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David Schnitzer
Camp Kanuga Director
David Schnitzer loves camp! He has 11 years of full-time professional camping and youth ministry experience but has worked at camp every summer since he was 15. Before coming to Kanuga in 2012, he was the program director for Camp Glisson in Dahlonega, GA, where he created two leadership development programs for teenagers, grew the staff by more than 100 percent and organized training programs for more than 130 staff members. A graduate of the University of Georgia and the National Outdoor Leadership School, he is in the process of completing a master’s degree in Christian leadership from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY. An avid outdoorsman, he is the author of Great American Outdoors, Nature at its Best.
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Derek Stapleton
Chief Financial Officer
Derek came to Kanuga as Chief Financial Officer in August of 2018. A graduate of Clemson University with a degree in Financial Management and post-secondary education received at the Wharton School of Business—University of Pennsylvania and the Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business—Georgia Institute of Technology, he brings strong leadership and extensive management experience in the areas of operations, finance, accounting and information technology.

His experience includes being the Corporate Controller at Staubil—North America, a multinational manufacturing company (based in Duncan, SC) and CFO and Co-Director of Operations at Habersham Metal Products Company in Cornelia, GA. In addition, Derek has worked for Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith (Greenville, SC) and UBS Wealth Management in Atlanta.

Derek oversees Kanuga’s Finance, Sales/Business Development, Human Resources, Facilities Management and IT Departments. He lives in Greenville, SC with his wife Deven and three children.
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Dwayne Owens
Property Manager
Dwayne Owens became the Property Manager at Kanuga in June of 2019. He oversees grounds, property and maintenance on our beautiful campus.
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Jackie Albritton
Hospitality Specialist
Jackie lives with her husband and two rescue dogs in her native Hendersonville, where she enjoys the simplicity of mountain life. Jackie is a passionate animal welfare advocate and volunteers at the Blue Ridge Humane Society where she holds a position on their Board of Directors. She loves to explore the forests around her home, listen to old records and spend time with her family.

Jackie has diverse work experience spanning from her time as a preschool teacher to that in the automotive industry where she learned she had a second passion. Cars. She dreams of one day owning a race car and parking it at her very own rescue dog sanctuary. It thrills her to work for an organization that has such compassion for people and the environment and is proud to call Kanuga her home away from home.
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Jason Sampler
Director of IT
Jason started as IT Director at Kanuga in 2016 and brings over ten years of experience in Telecommunications and Information Technology, working for both managed IT service providers and within the nonprofit sector in Western North Carolina. He holds an Associate in Arts & Sciences degree in Computer Network Systems, along with several vendor-specific certifications. Jason grew up in Central Florida and came to the Mountains in 2003.  In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and four children, playing guitar and enjoying music, traveling, and exploring the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina.
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Jimmy Haden
Executive Vice President for Mission
Ext. 2810
Jimmy joined Kanuga in 1993 from the Adams Mark Hotel in Charlotte and is dedicated to the Kanuga community and its mission. He is a graduate of East Carolina University with a BS in communications and minor in business administration. After more than 24 years on staff, serving six summers and attending Kanuga since infancy, there aren't many areas of Kanuga that Jimmy hasn't touched. He brings to Kanuga extensive experience in employee engagement, executive leadership, hospitality and quality service. Jimmy works collaboratively with the President contributing strongly to advancement, program development and the overall culture of Kanuga. A cradle Episcopalian with an active spiritual life, he serves as an ambassador of the mission and vision of Kanuga and represents the organization broadly throughout the community and wider church. Jimmy and his wife, Catherine, are the proud parents of James. In his spare time, Jimmy enjoys working with his hands, exploring the outdoors and reading history books.
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Jim Hackney
Executive Vice President for Advancement
Jim is a native of North Carolina, a collector of pottery and a Renaissance man that worked nearby Kanuga as a teen at Camp Tekoa. After serving as a development officer at his alma mater, Wofford College, he led advancement at the Mint Museum in Charlotte. He then joined one of the nation’s premier capital consulting firms, Alexander Haas of Atlanta. After spending almost two decades in that position and assisting hundreds of clients throughout the United States, he joined the advancement efforts of Yale University at Yale Divinity School where he served for over five years before joining the Kanuga team in June 2019. Jim spends his spare time with his husband Scott and their golden retriever Beecher,
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Julia Burkart
Sales Manager
Julia earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Travel & Tourism in Pennsylvania and eventually followed family 25 years ago to live in the mountains of Brevard. She has enjoyed an extensive hospitality career encompassing a variety of positions including Bar Manager, Tourism & Marketing Director, and Front Office Trainer at Asheville’s Grove Park Inn. She joined Kanuga in the fall of 2017 following a long-term position as a Tour Operator involved in planning and operations of group tours. Julia’s spare time is dedicated to family, being outdoors, exploring off-the-beaten path travel with her boyfriend, and creating seriously good food. She especially relishes her bucolic commute (and bear spotting) through DuPont Forest.
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Kajsa Anderson
Sales Manager
Kajsa grew up right down the road from Kanuga in Brevard before pursuing a BSBA focusing on Hospitality & Tourism Management at Appalachian State University. With over 9 years of diverse experience in customer service, hospitality and tourism she followed her love for the mountains back home to join our sales team at Kanuga. Prior to her time at Kanuga, Kajsa worked for Marriott, Gideon Ridge Inn and Oakwood Worldwide, a global housing provider in Charlotte, NC.

Kajsa spends time enjoying all WNC has to offer! She takes advantage of our beautiful area by hiking and swimming with her dog Molly. Kajsa is thrilled to be back home and cannot wait to bring her new ideas and energy to support the Kanuga team!
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Kate Bakko
Lead Hospitality Specialist
Ext. 2811
On the Kanuga staff since 2003, Kate Bakko is a familiar voice and friendly face to many guests as they plan a trip to and arrive at Kanuga. She spent three years as a part-time Front Desk clerk before taking a full-time role in reservations in 2006. She brings an extensive background in the human services field, having spent 24 years working with adults with disabilities. "I enjoy watching what Kanuga means to so many of our guests and hope our mission will continue to inspire people to find peace in our community for years to come," she says.
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Kelly Anders
Human Resources Manager
Ext. 2731
Kelly Anders joined the Accounting Department at Kanuga in 2016. When the Payroll and Benefits Specialist position opened in 2017, she jumped at the chance to work in Human Resources, an area she loves best. Kelly enjoys learning each and every employee’s name and assisting them with whatever they may need to be a successful employee at Kanuga. Kelly strives to extend the same Radical Hospitality that our guests receive to Kanuga’s employees!

Kelly loves her church, Clemson Football, East High School Football, reading and spending time with her family.
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Kevin Manion
Resident Apprentice Program Manager
Ext. 2813
Originally from Syracuse, New York, Kevin graduated from Brevard College with a degree in wilderness leadership and experiential education. He began with Mountain Trail Outdoor School in February 2012 as an instructor and was promoted to expedition program manager in January 2015. He now leads Kanuga’s Resident Apprentice Program designed to provide young adults an opportunity to develop skills and habits that lead to personal and professional success. From leading 28-day expeditions with high school students in the Southwest to working with an inner city after-school program, Kevin brings a wide array of experiential education and leadership skills to Kanuga. “For me, being at Kanuga means working with fun, good-hearted people, being surrounded by the peace and beauty of nature, and being able to share all this with the people who visit here,” he says.
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Kirk Ferguson
Administration Welcome Desk/Reservations Associate
I began working for Kanuga in 1995 as part time night watchman and have worked in various departments since including accounting, maintenance, and reservations.

I was born and raised in Charlotte, NC. While I have travelled in Europe, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and across the United States, North Carolina has always been home. I majored in English at ASU (the one in Boone, not Arizona) and received a degree in accounting at CPCC in Charlotte.

Remember evening newspapers or read about them in a history book? I ran the longest newspaper motor route in the Charlotte rural area of over a hundred miles in the early 70’s. Most recent work experiences were six years at a credit union in Charlotte before moving to Hendersonville and running a store while concurrently working part time at Kanuga. I also served on the board of Downtown Hendersonville, Inc., for several years and was its treasurer for two years.

Whether it is customers, members (credit union), or guests, I always enjoyed the advocacy of directly interacting with the people I serve and Kanuga offers giant servings at this life’s table for all who join this endeavor.
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Matthew Ovies
Project Manager
Ext. 2821
Matthew is the Project Manager in the Business Office and has been with Kanuga in various positions since 2011.
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Meghan Hull-DeWitt
Bob Campbell Youth Campus Director
Ext. 2839
Meghan has experience in outdoor education, traditional classroom teaching and camp management. Before holding the director position, Meghan served as an instructor at MTOS for three seasons and as assistant program director for Camp Bob. She has also taught middle school science and math in Florida. Meghan obtained her bachelor’s degree in integrated science education from Grand Valley State University in Michigan. She is a native of Michigan and enjoys working with all of the schools that MTOS serves.
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Melissa McGowan
Marketing Director
Melissa recently relocated to Hendersonville, NC from Nashville, TN where she was a Marketing Manager at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. Originally from Cincinnati, she earned her degree in Strategic Communications from Miami University and has a strong background in brand-building, social media and public relations. Melissa joined the Kanuga team as Marketing Director in August 2018 and looks forward to using her years of experience to tell the Kanuga story. In her spare time, you can catch her hiking, reading, and hanging out with her husband and son.
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Michael Konschnik
General Manager
Michael comes to Kanuga from employee-owned New Belgium Brewing Company. He will serve as advocate for our guests, Housekeeping, Guest Services, Food Service, Environmental Programs, and Reservations.

A native of the Washington D.C. area, Michael was adopted at birth by a wonderful family and raised in the shadow of our Nation’s Capital with presidential helicopters constantly buzzing, sirens sounding, and neighborhoods representing all nations just within reach. He founded a successful rock band in high school (playing the drums), achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts, became a professional river guide, and later graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Sustainable Tourism and Outdoor Recreation. As an avid whitewater kayaker, many years were dedicated to chasing wild rivers throughout the United States and Canada.

While involved in the craft beer industry he simultaneously developed a small-scale livestock farm in Haywood County, NC. Over a two year period the farm humanely raised pigs, chickens, rabbits, goats, and quail. A true modern day renaissance man, Michael believes that, “At Kanuga we have the occasion to provide a multitude of experiences that bring us closer as a family, bring us closer to our guests, and bring us closer to God.”
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Michael R. Sullivan
President
Michael Sullivan became Kanuga’s 10th president in November 2016. In his first years, he has built upon the historic traditions of this special place while also guiding us to think more strategically about our future.

A native of Seneca, South Carolina, Michael holds a Master of Divinity from The University of the South–Sewanee, Tennessee; a Juris Doctor cum laude, from the University of South Carolina–Columbia, South Carolina; and a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude, Wofford College–Spartanburg, South Carolina (Phi Beta Kappa).

“Sometimes I pinch myself when driving on property. We have inherited such a spectacular place on this planet, a place used for centuries to gather people. From the ancient indigenous people of this land to the founding of present-day Kanuga in 1928, our inheritance is truly inspiring. This is the place where people dared to gather everyone as they were created to be, a place that seeks to honor and respect all whoever they are and where ever they might come from. I get to work with people from literally all over the world while living and breathing in the beauty of Western North Carolina. Our past has been tremendous, but our future is all the brighter."

Michael is the author of two books and numerous articles. Windows into the Soul and Windows into the Light, both published by Morehouse, a division of Church Publishing, explore the place of art in spirituality. He has served on numerous boards, most recently Regent, University of the South (Sewanee) and the Board of Directors of the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes.

In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, fitness, fishing, hiking, and writing.
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Miriam Walsh
Accounting Manager
Ext. 2801
Miriam started coming to Kanuga before she can remember, as a guest period participant, Camp Kanuga camper, youth conference participant and later staff member. She graduated from UNC–Asheville in 2001 with Bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and English Literature. She also has a degree in Culinary Arts from the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont; the pursuit of which inspired her to move to wine country in California. In the fall of 2010, she returned to her beloved NC mountains for good. During a visit with her parents during Autumn Guest Period shortly after her return, she discovered the accounting department needed some temporary help. Temporary turned into permanent, and she has risen through the department to her current position as Accounting Manager.

When Miriam is not busy with her son Declan or cooking a meal for friends, she is pursuing other creative outlets such as knitting, dance, or music.
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Nate Williams
Adventure and Youth Programs Manager
Nate Williams first came to Kanuga as the Assistant Director of the Mountain Trail Outdoor School in 2016. He now oversees Summer Guest Period Youth Programming, Adventure Activities and Camp Rentals. Nate grew up in Western North Carolina and attended Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, CO. After graduating, he discovered the mountains and youth camps working outside of Estes Park. Nate’s passion is transforming lives through recreation, youth development and nature experiences. He knows that Kanuga is one of those “thin places” that can do amazing things for our guests. Nate lives with his wife Sammie, his son Wilder, and their dog, Georgia. They like to hike in DuPont and Pisgah, go for runs and mountain bike rides, and throwing rocks in the creek behind their house.
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Patrice Suggs
Camp Kanuga Coordinator
Ext. 2732
Patrice is a graduate from Clemson University with a BS in Recreation, Parks and Environmental Resources. As a Marine Corps wife, she and her husband Phillip lived in Oklahoma, Virginia and Okinawa, Japan during the course of his career. The couple attended ministry school in Oklahoma and as ordained ministers, served as full-time missionaries with their children, Rachel and Zach, in Glasgow, Scotland and Dublin, Ireland. Between her work at Kanuga and previous employment at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, Patrice possesses ten years’ experience in the hospitality industry, including reservations, event coordination and group sales. She savors time with her family, hiking, painting and screenwriting. “It’s a joy to work with great people in such a beautiful and unique setting.”
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Polina Georgieva
Assistant Manager of Guest Services
Polina Georgieva is a Bulgarian by nationality and character but likes to describe herself as a citizen of the World. Her early love for languages drove her to leave her country at the age of 22 and explore neighboring Greece where she worked as a chef in a little beach Cafe. After that she spent a year of internship in Universidad de Murcia, Spain.

Upon obtaining a bachelor’s degree in English and American Studies at Sofia University she travelled to Brazil, where she was reunited with an old acquaintance from her internship. Shortly after, Leo became her partner in life and travels.

In Brazil, Polina enjoyed teaching English and learning Portuguese from the locals until she had the opportunity to move to the U.S.A. Coming with substantial experience in hospitality that she had unintentionally developed just trying to pay the bills in university, she quickly found employment at the Hilton Miami Downtown front office, soon to be promoted to a Supervisor, then a year later to Sales and Catering Coordinator. Working closely with the Executive Office she gained valuable experience in providing great customer service, organizing a wide variety of events and coping with challenging problems and personalities. She was very excited to bring and continue expanding her experience here at Kanuga, where she lives together with Leo and their rescue dog Shiva since October of 2017.

In her free time she enjoys gardening, taking photos, making friends or simply backpacking across different countries.
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Richmond Jones
Director of Formation Programs and Resident Chaplain
Ext. 2745
Richmond Jones first came to Kanuga in the summer of 2003 to attend the Senior Youth Program that is part of KEY Conferences. Since attending that event, he has grown in his understanding of how Kanuga facilitates spiritual interaction between people and creation. After attending the School of Theology at Sewanee, he was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 2015. Richmond hopes to bring in a diverse group of people from all ages and places so that they can deepen their spirituality through Kanuga's offerings. Richmond is married to Perry Hodgkins Jones, and they enjoy trying new food, reading and staying active.
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Stephanie Watts
Manager of Event and Guest Services
Ext. 2830
Stephanie joined Kanuga in 2013 in the Guest Services department, building her leadership and management skills while progressing towards her role as manager. She has a passion for hospitality and enjoys leading her team to serve Kanuga guests. Stephanie holds a master’s degree in instructional technology from Appalachian State University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina–Asheville.
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Vicki Huntley
Payroll and Benefits Specialist
Vicki is a Hendersonville, N.C. native who graduated from High Point University with a BA in English Lit. She joined Kanuga in the summer of 2019. Prior to Kanuga, Vicki worked for the Department of Social Services from 2004-2017 mainly working with the Aged and Disabled Adults in the local community.

Her motto is: It’s so much easier to be positive than to carry around negativity all day. In her spare time, Vicki spends time with her husband Robbie, son Lane, and daughter Mazie. She also enjoys working out to reset and boost her energy as a full-time working mom of 2 rowdy kids. Last but not least, Vicki LOVES Clemson football. GO TIGERS!