Our Staff

We are a small, hard-working staff helping local people save local land. While we take on summer interns and part-time educators, the majority of our year is spent efficiently and effectively managing the acquisition, management, education, and promotion of our 2,100+ acres of green space.

  • Christopher J. Beichner

    President & CEO

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    Christopher J. Beichner has more than 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur, non-profit executive, regional planner, and community and economic developer. Chris is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Allegheny Land Trust. His role as CEO is to set a vision, fundraise, and measure results.

    He has held various leadership positions in community and economic development organizations including the director of a Pittsburgh-based community development corporation, and the director of a regional economic development agency. In his career, Chris has raised millions of dollars in direct resources, which has leveraged over $270 million in public and private investments.

    He holds a degree in Business Management from Clarion University, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma, Economic Development Institute certification program. Please contact Chris with questions related to ALT’s office and conservation area accessibility.

  • Alyson Fearon

    Community Conservation Director

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    Alyson joined ALT in 2017 under the Urban Planning Internship and in 2018 accepted the position of Community Conservation Director.  Alyson is responsible for establishing and expanding urban conservation  and greenspace efforts in our region.

    Alyson has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science, Concentration in Sustainability and a Dual Master’s Degree in Sustainability and Business Administration.  She spent 11 years in the US Marine Corps in roles varying from Supply and Administration Clerk to Intelligence Analyst.  After leaving the military Alyson moved to Pittsburgh with her husband to be closer to family.  While looking for a job, Alyson volunteered with the Friends of Murrysville Parks where she assisted in removing invasive species, this is where she developed her passion for supporting and promoting native plant species.  Most recently, Alyson worked for PPG as a Process Specialist, with key skills in project management, lean manufacturing and process improvement.  Although she loved the work, the sedentary indoor environment had taken her away from the outdoors and her reasons for studying environmental science.  Having grown up in the Midwest, with the contrast of open space versus dying cities and contaminated land, strongly influenced Alyson’s decision to work with urban greenspaces.

    Outside of work, Alyson can often be found tending to her garden, which she has been slowly converting to native plants after losing several large trees.  She wanted to show the beauty of native plants and support suburban pollinators, birds and wildlife.  She also enjoys cooking and herding her two large breed dogs, two cats and 500+ worms in the vermicompost.

  • Lindsay Dill

    Marketing Communications Director

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    Lindsay joined ALT in 2014, and is the Marketing Communications Director producing marketing, literature, photography, and other materials for the organization. She launched the organization’s first comprehensive communications plan.

    Native to Erie, PA, Lindsay moved to Pittsburgh to attend Point Park University, where she graduated with degrees in Photojournalism and Global Cultural Studies. Lindsay fell for Pittsburgh while biking around each neighborhood exploring its city stairs, third places, and green spaces. Lindsay also runs her own photography business, and prior to working with ALT, worked with the Tribune-Review, the Erie Times-News, and various photo clients.

    In her free time, she can be found crafting personal documentary photo series on place, labor, travelers, and stairs; volunteering with local bike- and play-promoting organizations; and running, biking, and city-stair climbing.

    Lindsay’s favorite conservation area is Dead Man’s Hollow because of its rich history, dark tunnels, and location along the GAP.

  • Tom Dougherty

    Vice President of Development & External Affairs

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    Tom joined the ALT team in January 2017 after a 31-year corporate business development and marketing career, coming to the conservation world from PPG where he had been a Director of Marketing since 2003.  He is responsible for growing public awareness of ALT, and expanding its base of support among individual, corporate, foundation, and public contributors.

    Tom redirected his career based solely on his deeply-held belief that ALT’s mission of helping local people save local land is vital to the quality of life in our region saying “I am honored to be part an organization that has preserved thousands of acres of green space, and excited about our amazing potential for additional land conservation and expanded environmental education programming in the years to come.”

    A native of Western Pennsylvania, Tom holds a B.S. Degree in Management from Penn State University and an M.A. in Corporate Communications from Duquesne University, and has been involved over the years as a member and volunteer of several area conservation and trail groups.  He loves hiking, running, paddling and skiing in the region’s woodlands, trails, waterways and mountains; and declines to name a favorite ALT conservation area saying “each one provides its own unique experience!”

  • Julie Halyama

    Development Associate

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    Julie is a Development Associate at ALT, and is responsible for managing the donor database, helping with special projects, and supporting ALT staff in their work. She is part time and in the office two days a week.

    Julie has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration from The Ohio State University. She spent 10 years working in the criminal justice system supervising offenders, working with crime victims, and developing/administering programs for victims, offenders, and families of offenders. Although she loved her work, she felt she needed to be at home with her children. After several years at home and a move to Pittsburgh, she began looking for part time work and connected with ALT.

    Julie’s favorite conservation area is Dead Man’s Hollow. She finds the history, ruins, and ghost stories very interesting, and enjoys the challenge of the trails.

  • Jessica Kester

    Vice President of Education

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    Jessica joined ALT in June 2016 as the Vice President of Education. With more than 16 years of experience in education, she is tasked with starting ALT’s new outdoor environmental education department.

    Jessica holds degrees in Biology/Marine Science and Secondary Education/Biology from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, and is the PAEE State Coordinator for Project WET. She began her career as a field instructor in coastal marine sciences at the ChincoteagueBay Field Station in Wallops Island, VA. She moved westward to teach students from Chicago at the Lorado-Taft Field Campus of Northern Illinois University. Prior to her time at ALT, she ran The Outdoor Classroom in Pittsburgh’s South Hills for 10 years, which focused on educating youth about Southwestern PA’s variety of ecosystems and wondrous treasures.

    Calming sounds of ocean waves and wind rustling through tree canopies were commonplace throughout Jessica’s childhood. She carries memories of those sounds with her still as she educates green space visitors who are soaking up the sounds in their own natural surroundings.

  • Roy Kraynyk

    Vice President of Land Protection & Capital Projects

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    Native to Pittsburgh, Roy is ALT’s Vice President of Land Protection & Capital Projects.

    Roy is educated in landscape architecture from Penn State University. His career has involved land conservation, site planning, and community beautification. Over this 20+ year career, Roy has protected more than 4,000 acres and raised more than $15 million for land conservation. Roy founded the Hollow Oak Land Trust, and co-authored several award-winning publications.

    From 2001 to 2012, he served as the Executive Director for ALT. During his leadership, ALT achieved national accreditation and earned several awards: Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence, Western Pennsylvania Environmental Award, and American Society of Landscape Architects Special Recognition Award. In 2012, he received the Garden Club of America Conservation Commendation, and the Sewickley Herald named him the 2016 Man of the Year for his conservation work in the Sewickley Valley.

    Roy presents at regional and national conferences, and is one of several professionals featured in “Careers in Landscape Architecture.”

  • Emilie Rzotkiewicz

    Vice President of Land Resources

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    Emilie Rzotkiewicz is the Vice President of Land Resources. She manages ALT’s land assets, and directs the stewardship department in their care and management of the land.

    An undergrad degree in biology from Denison University and a Master’s Degree in Forest Resources from Penn State University, Emilie is equipped with the right knowledge for the job. With past work experience in the public, private, and non-profit sector of land conservation, Emilie develops and implements multi-disciplinary natural resource management programs and strategies that address the diverse natural lands of southwestern PA.

    Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, Emilie appreciates what the outdoors provides to children, adults and all other creatures. Emilie resides in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, and can often be found exploring ALT green spaces with her family and dog. Her favorite ALT conservation area is Fern Hollow, for this is where her husband Matt took her for their second date!

  • Caitlin Seiler

    Volunteer & Land Resources Director

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    After volunteering for several years, Caitlin joined the ALT staff in 2014. She now directs ALT’s “forest” of volunteers, and manages ALT green spaces.

    Caitlin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Carlow University and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science and Management from Duquesne University. Before joining ALT, Caitlin ran participation in a children’s respiratory health program at Healthy Home Resources, and provided environmental and safety regulatory education, consulting, and training in the United States and Canada at Printing Industries of America.

    She currently serves on the Trail Pittsburgh Board of Directors, and –when not covered in dirt on an ALT green space– she is likely to be found planning her next cooking or crafting project with her two Chihuahuas. Caitlin’s favorite green space is Sycamore Island, because it encapsulates the work of ALT’s mission with so much history, ecology, and stewardship activity in one, isolated location. It embodies a lot in a small package — like her dogs!

  • Julie Travaglini

    Education Program Director

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    Julie joined ALT’s brand new Education Department in June 2016 as the Education Program Director. Julie graduated from Muskingham University with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in teaching.

    Julie’s entire adult professional career has been in environmental education. She has completed internships at Living Treasures Animal Park, The Dawes Arboretum, and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. She served as the Senior Program Facilitator at The Outdoor Classroom for almost seven years where she taught more than 5,000 pre-school children the joys of nature, planned community events, and wrote curriculum– lots and lots of curriculum. She is also a Specialty Discipline Instructor for the state.

    When not writing curriculum and playing with toys meant for her preschool students, Julie can be found horseback riding, kayaking, watching reality TV, reading, or collecting exotic pets such as reptiles.