SCA’s staff offers a variety of informed perspectives on topics ranging from conservation and sustainability to youth development, national service and more.
Dale Penny, President and Chief Executive Oﬃcer
President and CEO since 1997, Dale has devoted his professional life to advancing the causes of youth development, experiential and outdoor education, and intercultural understanding. Prior to joining SCA, Dale spent more than 20 years with Up With People, the international education and community service program, where he served as President and COO. He also worked as senior program director of the Colorado Boys Ranch Foundation, a non-proﬁt organization dedicated to serving troubled and at-risk youth. Dale received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University.
Valerie Bailey, Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff
Valerie is well versed on all aspects of SCA with more than 30 years of experience with the organization in a variety of roles, including that of acting president in 1996 and 1997. In 2000, she established SCA’s Three Rivers Oﬃce in Pittsburgh, PA and in 2002 she assumed the role of Executive Vice President for Strategic Planning and Development. Valerie also has provided organizational development assistance to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and served on numerous nonproﬁt boards.
Douglas Caum, Director for Education, Training, and Evaluation
Doug recently led the redevelopment of SCA’s conservation curriculum, strengthening its application and outcomes across all SCA programs. He is also managing SCA’s collaboration with the Search Institute to strengthen SCA outcomes in both conservation and youth development. Previously, Doug was director of SCA’s Conservation Crew programs. He holds a B.A. in Recreation from the University of Richmond (1992), an M.A. in Environmental Education from the University of New Mexico (1996) and a Graduate Certiﬁcate in Regionalism and Historic Preservation from UNM (2005). Doug has been a ﬁeld instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and continues to work as an instructor for the Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS. He is a Wilderness First Responder, certiﬁed in Avalanche (Level 1), a USFS B-Sawyer, and 10 years’ experience teaching in Independent Schools and directing outdoor experiential education programs.
Robert B. Coates, Senior Vice President for Program
Bob directs all of SCA’s conservation service ﬁeld programming. His previous SCA roles include vice president for Program Development, regional director for both California/Southwest and the Northeast, and Director of SCA’s New Hampshire Conservation Corps. Prior to SCA, Bob was a legislative assistant to US Senator Warren B. Rudman in Washington, DC, and he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon, West Africa from 1987-1989. Bob received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire and holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the John Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Jay Satz, Vice President for Northwest Region
Jay has been with SCA for over 25 years, serving as a crew leader, Conservation Work Skills instructor, program director and chief program oﬃcer. Currently, as SCA’s Northwest regional leader, he is responsible for exploring new program opportunities with federal, state and municipal land management agencies in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Jay also builds partnerships with other agencies and non-proﬁts, and supports SCA’s governmental relations. He led SCA’s Mount Rainier Recovery initiative following massive ﬂood damage in 2006, for which he was honored with the Secretary of the Interior’s Cooperative Conservation Award in 2008. He is also a senior consultant for SCA’s risk management program and, as a standing member of the National Wilderness Risk Managers Committee since 1995, he is an often-published expert in this ﬁeld and presents annually at the Wilderness Risk Managers Conference. Jay also directed the development of Lightly on the Land SCA’s premier trails and conservation construction manual, published by The Mountaineers.
Marsha Towns, Director of Partnership Development for the Gulf Region
As SCA’s primary partner liaison in the region, Marsha leads SCA’s Gulf of Mexico restoration partnership and project development from Texas to Florida. She has served with SCA for more than twenty years in several positions, most notably as national director for the Conservation Internship program, SCA’s largest conservation service program, and Director of SCA’s Member Services. Marsha also served as an adjunct instructor for the Community High School of Vermont (Vermont’s high school for adjudicated youth) and on the school’s Advisory board. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Art from the University of Massachusetts in Boston, Massachusetts, and her Master’s of Education degree in Secondary Education in the Arts from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire.
Jay Watson, Vice President for California/Southwest
Jay’s responsibilities duties include program and partnership development, major donor, foundation, and corporate advancement in the West, government relations, media outreach, and staff management. Prior to joining the staff of SCA, Jay spent nineteen years with The Wilderness Society, fourteen of which were in California, where he was regional director. Other past positions include ﬁve years as a wilderness ranger with the U.S. Forest Service in the Trinity Alps Wilderness in northern California and three years as executive director of the Camp Unalayee Association, a nonproﬁt wilderness youth camp, also in the Trinity Alps. Jay graduated from Humboldt State University with a B.S. in Wildlife Management.
Scott Weaver, Senior Vice President for Government and Agency Affairs
With more than three decades of SCA experience, Scott previously served as Vice President of Programs, as Director of the High School and Resource Assistant Programs, and he worked in the ﬁeld as an SCA Conservation Work Crew Leader. Prior to that, Scott worked for the National Park Service in Yosemite National Park for nine years. Scott serves on the Advisory Board of American Trails and is a member of the Association of National Park Rangers, the National Parks and Conservation Association, the Yosemite Fund, and the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps.
Miriam Parson, Program Coordinator for Green Cities Corps
With over six years’ experience innovating and leading sustainability, community development, policy, and service-learning projects, Miriam believes strongly in the power of networks and collaboration to leverage resources and better serve communities’ sustainable futures. Her hands-on, results-oriented leadership is expanding SCA’s collaborative impacts in sustainability. Miriam currently leads SCA’s Green Cities Corps program in Pittsburgh, managing Sustainability Fellows across strategic partnerships to increase citywide sustainability. She holds degrees from Gettysburg College in Political Science and Environmental Studies with a self-designed concentration in sustainable development. Her undergraduate honors thesis explores environmental attitude and behavior change through service-learning programming. Miriam is currently a Masters of Sustainability and Management candidate at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA.