Board + Staff

The work of Green Built Alliance in the community is led by our passionate and engaged staff and Board of Directors.

Sam Ruark-Eastes
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Sam has been working in the field of sustainability for local governments, nonprofits, and small businesses since 1998. Sam’s first foray into the nonprofit 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 North Carolina 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 a recession, he returned to California to work as an Energy and 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 North Carolina dream job in November 2015 as the executive director of Green Built Alliance. He has served on the Boards of Directors for three successful nonprofits and is excited to bring those experiences to this organization.

Sam has a Bachelor of Science 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 Green Built Alliance since 2003, and became full-time staff in July of 2006 after serving as Treasurer. Currently she is keeping busy as Program Director of the Green Built Homes Program and LEED-Homes Providership.

Maggie received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies, concentrating in Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Policy, from Warren Wilson College. Since completing her Bachelor of Science, 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.

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 Green Built Alliance, 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 Green Built Alliance, 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.
Jonathan Gach
ENERGY UPGRADE PROGRAM MANAGER
Jonathan Gach (pronounced Gahk) would take a phrase like "master jack of all trades" as a compliment and personal challenge. Nurtured by his experiences as the seventh generation of his family to grow up in Asheville, he is passionate about fostering the ability to adapt to life's universal constant: change. Having studied environmental policy, business and economics at UNC Asheville, Jonathan seeks to nurture closer connections to our community's life-giving resources.

Starting an early professional career while in high school, he worked at Biltmore to further estate sustainability. Since then, his professional interests have touched several aspects of sustainability, including clean transportation through supporting work for Asheville's first solar charging stations for electric vehicles. Desiring a balance between physical and mental work, work for renewable energy mechanical and efficiency contractors eventually helped inform his passion for home performance. Jonathan now brings his enthusiasm and experiences to Green Built Alliance with certifications from the Building Performance Institute and the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners.

Jonathan involved himself early in the endeavors of the Energy Innovation Task Force. Now, Jonathan brings his past experiences to benefit a more-resilient energy future for Asheville by managing a strategic equity-focused energy upgrade program for Buncombe County households, in hopes of reaching peak-energy reduction goals, as well as improving occupant health and structural durability.

A resource to the community, Jonathan invites you to reach out to him. When not at work, Jonathan can be found deep into home improvement projects of his 1890s home in Saluda, NC with his wife.
Sophie Mullinax
BLUE HORIZONS PROJECT COORDINATOR
Sophie Mullinax joined Green Built Alliance in February 2018. She brings nine years of nonprofit experience to the project, and is elated to be in a position that puts her skills and passions to work for a community she loves.

Sophie has lived in Asheville off and on since 2001, spending much of her childhood before then in New York City. Before moving back to Asheville in 2018 for this role, she lived and worked in Washington, DC for the DC Sustainable Energy Utility doing program management and implementation.

Sophie received her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Wake Forest University and is a LEED Green Associate. When not coordinating the Blue Horizons Project, Sophie can be found biking around Asheville or enjoying the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains hiking with her partner, Jerick.

Board of Directors

Chrissy Burton (Chair)
Robin Cape (Vice Chair)
McGregor Holmes (Treasurer)
Jamie Shelton (Secretary)
Jessica Arrowood
Stephens Smith Farrell
Jeff Staudinger
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CONSULTANT
Raymond Thompson