Sam Ruark-Eastes, Executive Director
Sam has been working in the field of sustainability for local governments, non-profits, and small businesses since 1998. Sam’s first foray into the non-profit world was working with the Harmony Project and the Sustainability Institute in Charleston, SC. There he ran a building materials reuse center for affordable housing and a green building trade show. In 2000 he heard the call to “go west young man” and moved to the Bay area without a job or place to live. Within a year he had a job working as a Sustainability Planner for Marin County, CA where he developed and implemented their green building program, helped write the Energy and Green Building Element to the County’s master plan, and initiated two sustainability policies that dramatically reduce energy use and construction waste. In 2005 he returned to NC and served as Educational Programming Director for Seven-Star Events where he worked with a team to organize and manage the Green Festivals and GreenCities. When the economy dove into recession he returned to California to work as an Energy & Sustainability Coordinator for Sonoma County, CA, where he managed a commercial and municipal energy efficiency program in partnership with the utility. He also developed renewable energy projects including a 700 kw PV system, managed the post installation commissioning of a 1.4 MW hydrogen fuel cell and developed a clean commute program for county employees.
In 2014, he returned to the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. After brief stints with Ashevillage, Organic Growers School, and Accelerating Appalachia Sam landed his NC dream job in November 2015 as the Executive Director of the WNC Green Building Council. He has served on the Board of three successful non-profits and is excited to bring those experiences to this organization.
Sam has a BS in Sociology and Communications from the College of Charleston, is a LEED AP, NARI Certified Green Building professional and Certified Permaculture designer. He and his wife Lena tend a 1.5 acre homestead in Candler, NC where they strive to incorporate the principles of sustainability and stewardship into daily life.
Maggie Leslie, Program Director
Maggie Leslie has been working for the WNC Green Building Council since 2003, though became full-time staff in July of 2006 after serving as Treasurer to the Council. Currently she is keeping busy as Program Director of the Green Built NC Homes Program and LEED-Homes Providership.
Maggie received her B.S. in Environmental Studies, concentrating in Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Policy, from Warren Wilson College. Since completing her B.S., Maggie received a certificate in Sustainable Building Advisory from the City of Seattle, WA. After relocating back to the southeast, she worked with the Southface Energy Institute in Atlanta, Ga. While at Southface, Maggie trained as a HERS rater and developed her understanding of building science and sustainable design. Following working for Southface, Maggie moved back to Western North Carolina and worked for Home Energy Partners as the office manager and green building consultant from 2003 to 2006.
Maggie enjoys spending time gardening and cooking with her husband Micah and her daughters Opal, Sophia and Isabel.
Cari Barcas, Community Engagement Director
Cari brings more than a decade of experience in communications and nonprofit management to her work at the WNC Green Building Council, with the intention of helping both members and the broader community more effectively connect with the nonprofit's mission and access ways each person can make an impact.
Cari graduated from DePaul University in Chicago with a major in journalism and minor in political science, and an interest in the way people engage in the story of their own community as well as in the systemic policies and practices which either support that connection or foster civic disengagement. Before moving to Asheville in 2014 to work in nonprofit management, Cari worked as a journalist in Chicago, including time covering green building as a reporter focused on residential and commercial real estate. She's a big believer in the idea that the way you do anything is the way you do everything, and that the process of creating a sustainable experience in the outer world directly relates to the practice of cultivating balance in our inner world.
When she's not supporting the work of the WNCGBC, Cari can be found teaching yoga classes in the community, enjoying the vibrant Asheville food and music scene, or exploring these majestic mountains with her husband, daughter and dog.
Board of Directors:
Chrissy Burton (Chair), Architect
Kevin Ward (Vice Chair), South East Ecological Design
McGregor Holmes (Treasurer), Biltmore Farms
Jamie Shelton (Secretary), Blue Ridge Energy Systems
Derek Allen, Ward and Smith, P.A. Attorneys at Law
Jessica Arrowood, Vandemusser Design
Stephens Smith Farrell, Architecture
Rob Johnson, JAG & Associates Construction
Jay Lanier, Interface Flooring Systems
Heath Moody, A-B Tech Construction Science
Jose Ruiz, Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty
Raymond Thompson, Sure Foot Builders