Putting a Face to the Name

Our staff makes Kanuga the wonderful place it is.


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
Reservations 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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Alyssa Beebe
Guest Period Manager
With a background in banking in her home state Kentucky and a heart for helping, Alyssa started her exciting Kanuga life in the Resident Apprentice Program within Guest Services in 2017. It was this internship that led her to thrive during Guest Period and earn her reputation as Kanuga's Bingo Bob Barker along with all other Kanuga Sponsored events. While Alyssa cherishes every guest that visits Kanuga, her greatest joys in life are her Kanuga chef husband, Robbie and their son, Owen Bear. Join her in her favorite past time of looking at pictures and videos of her redheaded son... No really, join her because you will see into the heart of a proud Momma Bear and Kanugan.
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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
Senior 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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Carrie Privette
Chief of Staff
Carrie Privette joined Kanuga in January 2019 and was promoted to Chief of Staff in October 2019. Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, Carrie made her home in North Carolina during and after college, with degrees from Central Carolina Community College and Meredith College. She has spent most of her career working for non-profits in North Carolina. Carrie has had stints with Goodwill Industries, the United Way, American Red Cross and Kramden Institute in North Carolina. She relocated to Boston in 2011, where she worked for The Greater Boston Food Bank, The Neighborhood Developers, and Project Bread – The Walk for Hunger. Throughout her career, Carrie has had roles in multiple areas, including corporate relations, operations, development and communications. Prior to coming to Kanuga, she managed Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger, the oldest and longest-running pledge walk in the country, with 30,000 participants in 2016 and 2017.
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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
Guest Services Manager
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 March 2019. He brings to Kanuga almost twenty years of experience as a farm manager, operations manager and grounds maintenance worker. His most recent position prior to Kanuga, was at Buysod USA, where he managed all aspects of running two large turf farms. He also worked at Apple Wedge Packers and Cider as operations manager, The Biltmore Estate in maintenance, and for twelve years at Turf Mt. Sod in Hendersonville as farm production manager, shop manager and field manager.
Dwayne is a North Carolina Certified Turf Professional, and studied at Catawba Valley Community College (Hickory) where he completed two 2-year programs, one in horticulture and a second in turf grass. He has several other professional certifications related to food safety. In his role as Grounds Manager, he truly enjoys caring for the land that has been entrusted to him. In his spare time, he enjoys the outdoors, especially fishing and hiking, as well as football. Go Chiefs!
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Elliott M. Suess
Event Coordinator
Ext. 2731
Elliott Suess joined Kanuga in 2019 as one of the Guest Services members, and then rose to take on group responsibilities in early 2020 as an event coordinator. Tending to the needs of those around him, Elliott strives to create a comfortable and fun atmosphere wherever he goes. Before starting at Kanuga, Elliott graduated from Western Carolina University with a Bachelor’s degree in Art & Design, a minor in Psychology, and playing trombone in the band. You may also see him in downtown Hendersonville as a shop assistant for Choy’s Flowers, a local flower shop. Elliott stays busy in his free time by reading, playing with his cats, and creating art for his small business.
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Jake Lollis
Graphic Design Specialist
Ext. 2825
Hailing from Buffalo, NY, Jake joined the Kanuga team in September 2019 as the Graphic Design Specialist. He is a Multimedia Artist who specializes in motion graphic design. Jake has a Bachelor's in Media Study from the University of Buffalo, NY and prior to Kanuga held the role of Motion Graphic Designer/Video Editor at The Center for Industrial Effectiveness in Buffalo. His skills include video production, photography, print design, branding and much more. In his spare time, Jake is an avid hiker, dog lover, gym-goer and Yankees baseball fan.
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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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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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Lauren Brown
Mountain Trail Outdoor School Program Director
Ext. 2837
Coming from the foothills of Washington DC in Virginia, Lauren joined Mountain Trail Outdoor School as an Instructor in the Fall of 2017. After earning a degree in Environmental Science from George Mason University, working for the Smithsonian as a Forest Ecology Intern, and spending twelve of her summers working at a Scout camp in Goshen, VA (four as the Camp Director), MTOS seemed like the perfect fit for her. Now, she has the unique opportunity to work with students, teachers, parents, and instructors to create life changing experiences in the outdoors every day! Lauren enjoys the art of lazy backpacking, crochet on her front porch, and is always up for new adventures with her community of friends and family.
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Lori Cipot
Retail Manager
Ext. 2824
Lori joined Kanuga in March 2019 as our Retail Shop Manager. Originally from Connecticut, Lori moved to Charlotte, NC in 2014. Drawn to the mountains, she moved to Hendersonville in 2018. With over 30 years spent at a UCC Conference and Retreat Center in Connecticut, Lori fell in love with Kanuga the first time she drove on campus and immediately felt at home. In addition to managing the shop, Lori likes to spend her free time pursuing her passion for landscape photography and finds Kanuga the perfect place to do just that!
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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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Michael R. Sullivan
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
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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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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Stephanie Watts
Hospitality Manager
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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Steve Lollar
IT Director
Ext. 2818
Steve brings six years’ experience working in technology sales solutions for companies like Google, HP, Intel, and Samsung to his new role of IT Director here at Kanuga. His love of technology was born when he purchased his first computer at 18, and began pursuing an education in web development. Steve came to the Hendersonville area in 1999 as a teenager with his family, and he has lived in the Asheville/Hendersonville area ever since. In his spare time, Steve likes to spend time with his wife and two sons, hiking the mountains of North Carolina, road trips to Florida and Tennessee, and eating things wrapped in bacon.
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Will Drosick
Advancement Operations Specialist
In August 2019, Will joined the Kanuga Advancement Department but prior to that he had been a part of the Camp Kanuga 2019 summer staff. He is excited about the opportunity to continue serving in a new role. Prior to Kanuga, Will graduated from App State with a Bachelor's in Business focusing on Management. Outside of working at Kanuga, Will thoroughly enjoys the outdoors and values sustainability.