The Board of Directors for The Fauquier Trails Coalition.
Jimmy Messick, President
Jimmy Messick is a 3rd generation dairy farmer in southern Fauquier County. In business with his brother, Ronnie Messick, they own and operate O.B.Messick & Sons, Inc., to which Jimmy is president. Additionally, they own and operate Messick’s Farm Market in Bealeton, VA, a market on the farm, selling their own fruits and vegetables as well as products from local vendors and artisans.
Currently serving as president, Jimmy is a founding member of the Fauquier Trails Coalition, receiving recognition from Fauquier County Board of Supervisors for his role in development of the Warrenton Branch Greenway. Passionate about establishing and expanding the trail system in Fauquier County, Jimmy believes that a trail system benefits not only trail users, but also business and commerce. He has served on the Pedestrian Bicycle Greenway Action Committee (PBGAC,) is a life member of Fauquier and VA Jaycees, and is a Jaycees International Senator.
He served in various roles and received numerous awards and recognition for his service with emphasis on the effort for fundraising for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Highly active in church leadership, Jimmy is a lifelong member of the Midland Church of the Brethren. He has served on Casanova Hunt Board, Southern States Cooperative Board.
Living on the family farm in Midland, Jimmy has a wife, Ellen, four children, and two grandchildren. He enjoys relic hunting, train chasing and rail trail exploration.
Rebecca Ziolo, Secretary / Social Media Coordinator
Rebecca Ziolo has been an active volunteer since participating in her first Warrenton Greenway Spring Cleanup, and has served on the Fauquier Trails Coalition Board as Secretary since 2016.
As a native of Fauquier County, Ms. Ziolo is dedicated to preserving the natural beauty and community spirit of this special place. Ms. Ziolo loves the outdoors and enjoys hiking, kayaking, fishing, camping and gardening. “Fauquier County is a beautiful place and I know that trails will only help bring the community together and make it an even better place.”
Ms. Ziolo has worked in the Real Estate industry since 2011. She holds a Real Estate License, Title License, and Home Staging License. She is currently a Title Processor for RGS Title, LLC located in Warrenton.
Her line of work has made Rebecca particularly aware of the role of trails in attracting people to the area. Through her work Ms. Ziolo utilizes a broad range of social media and marketing tools, expertise that she brings to the Fauquier Trails Coalition in its various social media and public outreach projects. Rebecca also enjoys reading, cooking and DIY projects.
“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks” – John Muir
“Follow the Trail of your Dreams, not the highway of other’s Expectations” – Hannah
Christopher Ward, Treasurer
Dr. Christopher Ward has been an active member of the Fauquier Trails Coalition since 2013. He has served as a Board Member at Large and, currently, as its Treasurer. A native of Dallas Texas, Dr. Ward graduated from University of Texas at Austin in 1993 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He graduated from The Ohio State University Medical School in 1997 and served his residency at UTMB at Galveston in a combined residency program for Internal Medicine and Pediatrics with service as Chief Resident 2001.
Since 2001, Dr. Ward has been a full time physician and managing partner of Piedmont Family Practice. Dr. Ward is a member of the Fauquier Hospital Board of Trustees and was previously a member of the Peer Review committee for Fauquier Hospital, where he also served as Chair between 2007-2009. Dr. Ward has served as a regular volunteer at the Fauquier Free Clinic since 2001.
Dr. Ward has published numerous papers and articles in journals and news magazines including The Vector, The Columbus Physician, and The Bull Run Observer. He is also a frequent contributor to the Fauquier Trails website, for which he also serves as webmaster. Dr. Ward was awarded Best Pediatrician by Virginia Magazine 2012, and Best Teacher during his residency in 1999.
Friedrich Nietzsche said, “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” And Rousseau observed, “I can only meditate when I am walking. When I stop, I cease to think; my mind works only with my legs.”
When you step out from your door, you become a slightly different, slightly better person. Outside your door, there is the anxiety of a wall-less space, but also wealth that otherwise we could never afford. Outside, there are no bills to pay, no floor to sweep, no echoing voices arguing. The ever-present ghosts of our jobs, our families, our daily tribulations, our phones, begin to fade away as the infinite outdoors absorbs and disperses our nagging worries into the sky and countryside. A ten minute stroll from our door takes us another world away where, even if we have not left our cares behind, we are no longer trapped in amongst them.
As a group, we can build trails around our towns and out through the rolling hills and leaf canopied roads of the county, linking small towns, stores and restaurants to welcome the jolly rambler off the road. Such a county of ramblers, I think it can be argued, will be significantly happier and healthier than we are today.
Karen Corl, Board Member
Elmer C Knoderer, P.E., Board Member
Elmer joined our board in January 2016 after volunteering for several years for the Great Pumpkin Ride (GPR) annual fundraiser. He began attending monthly Board meetings, to see what we were all about, after riding in his first GPR in October 2012. Elmer has worked on the GPR Committee for the last several years, assisting Bob Moore with route marking and signing.
From 1990 to 1999, Elmer volunteered with the Cub Scouts as an Assistant Den Leader, and BSA Troop 175 as an Assistant Scout Master. He was a member of the Order of the Arrow, Goshen Bears, and Wood Badge, where he provided adult leader training for new Scout leaders, and participated in week-end work sessions at Goshen Scout Camp. He attended week-long camping trips to Goshen Scout Camp with Webelos Scouts and Boy Scouts every summer, as well as year-round monthly camping trips with the Troop. He served as the Acting Chaplain while with Troop 175, providing non-denominational worship services on all camping outings.
From 1999 to 2003, Elmer made good use of his love of carpentry by building sets for local High School, Community, and Professional Theatre groups. Some of his favorite projects were for Noises Off, The Importance of Being Earnest, Father of the Bride, The Tempest, Much Ado about Nothing, Macbeth, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Christmas Carol, A Civil War Christmas, The Nutcracker, Bay at the Moon, and The Matchmaker, to mention just a few shows he remembers vividly.
When he left the polls one election day, Elmer saw a sign-up sheet asking for help by becoming an Election Officer. Since 2006, he has worked as an Officer of Election at the polls in Fauquier County helping citizens check in and cast their votes in primary and general elections. He currently serves as the Assistant Precinct Chief for his precinct.
Currently, Elmer works as a Professional Engineer for a Civil Engineering firm in Fairfax County, VA. He has been a Registered Professional Engineer in Virginia since 1973. In 2001 he became a national recognized Certified Floodplain Manager, working on the National Flood Insurance Program contract for identifying and mapping the Nation’s floodplains. He began his career there in 1969 when he was released from active duty with the US Army, Corps of Engineers, following his return from deployment to South Viet Nam.
Elmer holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from The Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, VA. He graduated in 1966 and was immediately provided gainful employment by the previously-mentioned US Army. He served tours of duty at the US Army Map Service, Bethesda, MD, and with the 569th Engineer Company Topo Corps, Nha Trang, Viet Nam.
Bicycles have been a part of Elmer’s life from an early age. His first one was a Western Flyer he bought from Western Auto Hardware in Clarendon, VA, when he was 12 with $5 down and $5 a month, which he paid for from his earnings from his Washington Times Herald Newspaper route. He rode his bike to Junior High School in Arlington, VA. When he went to Blacksburg to college, the first thing he did was find a used bicycle in the local paper for $15, which he rode to classes year round, rain or shine. There has scarcely been a time in his life when he has not owned a bicycle.
Favorite quote: Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. – Thomas Alva Edison
Melissa Mabon, Board Member
Melissa Mabon has been active with the Fauquier Trails Coalition since moving to Warrenton in 2016. Ms. Mabon has a strong commitment to community involvement, and has been involved as a volunteer in a variety of organizations, including the Boy Scouts and Virginia Master Gardeners.
Trained as a philosopher, Ms. Mabon has been a highly successful entrepreneur and expert-systems designer. Currently, Ms. Mabon is the President and CEO of Expedience Software, a proposal automation start-up company, with offices in Warrenton VA and Boston MA.
Previously, Ms. Mabon was co-founder and principal software architect at New Hampshire based Pragmatech Software Inc. Pragmatech Software delivered solutions to field sales, proposal, and bid teams in Fortune 1000 companies, including those in technology, telecommunications, healthcare, financial services/insurance, distribution, and manufacturing.
By the end of Ms. Mabon’s tenure, Pragmatech Software had grown from a self-funded, bootstrap company to a $12 million business. Among other awards, the Ms. Mabon’s company received Inc. 500, New Hampshire Technology Council Entrepreneur of the Year, and New Hampshire Remarkable Woman.
Melissa Mabon graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude, from Ohio State University in and holds two masters' degrees from Columbia University. While at Columbia, Ms. Mabon taught philosophy classes and a section of Columbia's acclaimed Humanities Core Curriculum. She has done extensive research and development in logic, epistemology, and expert systems.
“Quiet time on a trail can help us clarify our thoughts, remind us of our natural surroundings, and expand our sense of neighborhood and community. In these ways community trails literally connect us—to ourselves and to each other.”
Chuck Williams, Board Member
Robert Moore, Board Member