Janet Bearden, GWCFEC Team Leader

Janet brings to the team thirty years of management experience in environmental programs and project development. After retiring from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency May 2008, she initiated efforts to bring food processing back to the Virginia Piedmont Region, first as a volunteer to the Madison Emergency Services Association. Having grown up in a canning culture, her goal was to provide locally-grown, nutritious food to Virginia’s community food banks and other social service organizations.

Janet started the all-volunteer Virginia Food Enterprise Center (VAFEC) in 2011. The mission of VAFEC has been to serve as an informal collaborative to share information about the need for and benefits of local, small-scale commercial food processing. With support from the Virginia Farm Bureau and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the VAFEC team was successful in helping the Prince Edward/Farmville community cannery successfully introduce value-added processing. In 2014, VAFEC received funding to assess the need for food processing at the historic George Washington Carver Regional High School/Piedmont Training Center. With the completion of that assessment, VAFEC has now become the George Washington Carver Food Enterprise Center.

Contact Janet: jbearden@gwcfec.org


Carl Stafford

Carl is the Senior Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources for the Virginia Extension Service, in Culpeper, Virginia. With more than 30 years Extension experience, Carl is certified as a Forage Grassland Professional and a Commercial and Private Pesticide Applicator. Importantly, Carl is the founder and Vice President of the George Washington Carver Agricultural Research Center (GWCARC). It was Carl’s vision and tenacity that led to formation of the Carver-Piedmont Agricultural Institute, home of the GWCARC and the partner George Washington Carver Food Enterprise Center (GWCFEC). Carl’s role on the Food Enterprise Center Advisory team will be to ensure continued collaboration and synergy between the two Centers.

Carl holds a B.S. from Berea College and a M.S. from Virginia Tech.

Contact Carl: ccstaffo@vt.edu


Becky Sheffield

Becky’s work experiences have allowed her to focus on her specialties of food safety, nutrition, and food preservation. Her manufacturing experience includes working as a quality assurance manager in juice/beverage processing, flour milling, frozen dough products and retail /wholesale seafood processing. Becky moved to the regulatory field by working for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation as an Environmental Health Officer in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor. Responsibilities included the enforcement of state and federal food regulations for seafood processing facilities and vessels, restaurants and retail food establishments. Currently, she provides educational programs in the counties of Culpeper, Rappahannock and Fauquier in home food preservation, ServSafe Manager Certification, food safety and healthy living. Becky also designed, organized and leads the Stone Soup Project for the Carver Food Enterprise Program.

Becky is an Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, Virginia Cooperative Extension with a BS – Housing, Interior Design and Resource Management, Home Economics Education/ Extension, Virginia Tech and an MS – Human Nutrition and Foods, Virginia Tech.

Contact Becky: rebes13@vt.edu


Richard Daugherty

Dr. Daugherty is Director of Strategic Services at VT KnowledgeWorks. He helps emerging and evolving technology-based businesses assess, quantify and exploit their business opportunities, especially development of their business strategy and preparation of documents needed for investor discussions. Typical projects involve gathering the data needed for a company to make an intelligent decision about a market opportunity, its competition and the potential financial reward associated with a market opportunity.

Dr. Daugherty has over 25 years experience in leading new businesses and corporate ventures, new product developments and technology management activities. He led corporate ventures at Alcan, Atlantic Richfield and Exxon Enterprises; was the Director of Alcan Aluminum’s downstream R&D laboratory and Innovation Program; and established a competitive intelligence unit at Alcan that provided technology and business assessments for business strategy formulation, competitive pricing structure development and technology program assessment. Before becoming the Director of Strategic Services, he taught courses in corporate strategy, project management and small business consulting at Virginia Tech; and was the Director of the Virginia Tech Business Technology Center.

Contact Dick: dick.daugherty@vtknowledgeworks.com


Ren LeVally

Currently serving as Vice President of partner organization Rural Madison, Ren spent the first half of his career as a trained professional chef in the Chicago and Dallas/Austin metropolitan areas, where he developed a keen interest in human health and nutrition along with 20 years of commercial food service management experience. A member of Slow Food USA, the Southern Foodways Alliance and an award-winning food blogger focusing on healthy eating  (and still cooking privately), Ren now operates an IT consulting service, serving grassroots, nonprofit and small business organizations throughout GWCFEC’s 5-county service area.

Contact Ren: rlevally@gwcfec.org


Vy Goddard

Vy has worked behind the scenes at the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services in Virginia analyzing foods and specimens, as well as in the field as a food safety inspector for both the Department of Agriculture and Department of Health. Working in the lab gave Vy the background to understand food composition and how it affects microbial growth, while working in the field provided her with experience in Virginia food processing laws and regulations. Vy is currently self-employed with Mellifera Homestead where she keeps honey bees, chickens, and a garden. Along with producing local eggs and produce, she creates all-natural body care products using ingredients from the beehive.

BS – Biology with a concentration in microbiology, Virginia Tech
MS – Food Microbiology, Virginia Tech

Contact Vy: vy@melliferahomestead.com


Don Hearl

Don currently serves as Vice President of Environmental Systems Service, an environmental services company specializing in water and wastewater treatment and laboratory services located in Culpeper, VA.  Don has more than forty-two years’ experience working in the environmental services field, with broad expertise in industrial water and wastewater analyses, treatment, and process control. Specific experience includes waste stream characterization, equipment evaluation, and recommendations for treatment of wastewater generated by food processing, metals removal, plastics, and printing facilities.  Don also provides technical consulting and interface with State and Federal regulatory agencies in matters relating to permitting and environmental compliance, as well as conducting water and wastewater training classes, including teaching at the Wastewater Operators Short School at Virginia Tech.  As a member of the Carver advisory team, Don contributes his significant knowledge and experience to help us address the many environmental issues we will face in developing the Carver site.

Contact Don: DonH@ess-services.com


Roger Williams

Roger came to Culpeper in the fall of 2015 to join the Carver Piedmont team. Coming from a career in IT and design engineering, he has integrated his systematic process thinking with a deep interest in both education and the study of the soil interrelationships required for sustainable farming. Handing off his three-year stint as President of the Central Maryland Beekeepers Association to make the move south, he brings his focus to creating the structure for the New Farmers Training program at the Carver Piedmont center.

Mr. Williams has a BA in Philosophy & Religion from Boston University and a M.Eng from Dalhousie University

Contact Roger: rogerw@nordlink.com


Davita Louie

Davita joins the team as a fundraiser, strategic planner and food business development expert.  Davita most recently served as the Director of Business Development and Consulting for the Washington, DC food incubator Union Kitchen, where she learned best practices in incubator strategy and development by working with both domestic and international clients looking to open incubators in their local communities. Prior to joining the social sector, Davita worked in the fashion industry, consulting in trend forecasting for The Doneger Group and teaching pre-college fashion journalism workshops at the Fashion Institute of Technology.  She went on to become a mentor coordinator for the nonprofit Big Brothers Big Sisters, working in a variety of capacities including recruitment strategy, case management, program development, fundraising, and event planning. Currently, she is the Partnership Development Director for the nonprofit EveryoneOn, overseeing the organization’s fundraising strategy, as they work to eliminate the digital divide.

Davita earned a B.S. from the Fashion Institute of Technology and an M.A. from the SIT Graduate Institute.

Contact Davita: Davita.louie@gmail.com