About Us

The Mathews Land Conservancy was formed in 1993 as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 

The Mathews Land Conservancy is headquartered at Williams Wharf Landing in Mathews County and is governed by a Board of Directors:
 
Tim Hudgins, President
Bernadette LaCasse, Vice President
Danette Machen, Secretary
Craig DeRemer, Director
Steve Hospodar, Director
Jim Wesson, Director
Jay White, Director


Lynda Smith Greve, Operations Manager
Board Bios

President of the Board – Tim Hudgins, the son of former MLC director Wayne Hudgins, brings over 35 years of design, construction and project management experience to the Mathews Land Conservancy board. As a registered architect, his expertise in managing large complex design and construction projects in the DC & Baltimore Metro areas brings a unique perspective to the board. A Mathews’ school’s alumni, Tim holds a professional degree in Architecture from Virginia Tech. He and his family have lived in Hallieford on Queens Creek in Mathews since 2010.

Vice President of the Board – Bernadette La Casse brings over 35 years experience in global corporate operations – including strategic level and consulting positions with manufacturing, financial services and pharmaceutical corporations. Her experience in corporate finance and change management help the Mathews Land Conservancy navigate as a high performing board. In addition, her perspective as a real estate broker and intimate familiarity with the realty, regulatory, locality and waterway information for the county and region help the MLC make key decisions about its resources. Bernadette holds a BS in Mathematics from Potsdam College and an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She and her family have lived in Mathews, Virginia, on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay since 2005.

Secretary of the BoardDanette Machen is a native of Mathews, VA, and has lived her entire life directly across the East River from Williams Wharf Landing, headquarters of the MLC.  Now retired, Danette spent her nursing career as a cardiac rehab nurse at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital in Gloucester, VA.  She and her husband, Rick, raised two daughters in Mathews, who both rowed on the Mathews HS Crew Team and Mobjack Rowing Association.  Danette and Rick have directed numerous crew regattas at Williams Wharf and Danette has been a director on the MLC board for over 15 years and brings a wealth of historical information to the board.


Directors:

Craig DeRemer brings the Conservancy more than 30 years experience in natural resources and the environment.  With an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Colorado State University, he has provided consulting to cities, States, and the private sector.  At the federal level, Craig was staff to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Water Resources, and was an official for the Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Energy. He has also operated a historic Bed and Breakfast and was President of a federal credit union.  Craig enjoys fishing. kayaking, and biking in our beautiful County.

Steve Hospodar earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia of Virginia Commonwealth University. A veteran of the United States Air Force, Dr. Hospodar's service included his position as Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, as well as a deployment to Afghanistan during which he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. He is board certified in orthopedic surgery and sports medicine.  Originally from Fairfax, Virginia, Dr. Hospodar and his family now live in Mathews, and he is actively involved with high school athletics, Boy Scouts and other volunteer efforts.

Jim Wesson retired from the Department of Conservation and Replenishment, in the Division of Fisheries Management of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. He had been in charge of oyster management and restoration for twenty –five years in Virginia, and had been involved with the improvement in both the harvest of the public oyster fishery and the growth of a hatchery-based private oyster industry. Jim continues to assist with the bay wide, VIMS-VMRC stock assessment of oysters and helps the oyster industry and aquaculturists with day to day issues. Prior to working for the Marine Resources Commission, Jim had been a commercial fisherman and president of a waterman’s trade association for 12 years. He has Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Virginia Tech, and a Ph.D. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Wisconsin. He currently lives on the Piankatank River at Freeport, in Gloucester, Virginia.

Jay White brings over 40 years of construction experience to the Mathews Land Conservancy board, with the last 18 years owning a commercial site concrete company named for the East River on which Williams Wharf resides. His experience will further enhance the board’s construction and facilities knowledge to facilitate the completion of the Owens Maritime Center and continue to assist in maintaining the numerous properties under MLC’s care. Jay holds a BS in Physics from Randolph Macon College. He and his family have lived in Mathews along the East River since 2001.

Lynda Smith Greve (Operations Manager) is a native of Mathews County and has served as the MLC’s Operations Manager since 1999.  She graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. degree in Communications from Christopher Newport University and brings over 25 years of management and administrative experience.  As the single employee of the MLC, she handles all day to day operations as well as managing fundraising, marketing, finances, multiple facilities, projects, large events, grants and board operations.  Also, in her capacity as Vice President of the Mathews Visitor Center Administrative Board and President of Wickham Enterprises, an entertainment company, Lynda has directed hundreds of events, races, parades, concerts and fundraisers.  She also performs in two bands as a vocalist and has six recordings to her credit.  She and her husband live in Mathews with their two teenage sons.

OUR MISSION

Our mission honors the history of Williams Wharf and Mathews County by providing public access to the waterfront and waterways of the Chesapeake Bay. With an emphasis on non-motorized watercraft activities for rowing, sailing, and kayaking, we promote conservation, maritime education, cultural experiences, environmental stewardship, tourism and positive impacts to benefit the citizens of Mathew County. 

WHO WE ARE: 400 YEARS IN THE MAKING

We are a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that relies on donations, grants and use fees for general operations expenses. No local tax dollars are received from Mathews County.

And we came into being as a result of a foreclosure!

The history of the Wharf includes centuries of use as a trading center and port of call for sailing ships and steamboats. In the 1930s, seafood businesses thrived, especially with oysters, and mountains of oyster shells formed a waterfront skyline. In the 1950s, with the seafood industry in decline, oil companies moved in with a dock and trucking activities.

But by the 1990s, these businesses, too, closed their doors. Following the closing of the oil business, and a bankruptcy hearing, the property went to foreclosure with a judge at the federal courthouse in Norfolk in 1994.

The top bid was from a company that wanted to turn Williams Wharf into a gravel storage and distribution center. As you can imagine, this kind of use may have had a significant negative impact on the waterfront and the surrounding areas, as well as the road, since heavy traffic and trucking would be involved.

Fortunately for the neighborhood and future generations of rowers, tourists and families, two representatives from a small, newly created non-profit in Mathews County showed up with a different idea.

After it seemed there was no chance for them to prevail, their offer was accepted, and Williams Wharf became the home of the Mathews Land Conservancy and the Mathews High School crew team. Marine contractor and Mathews resident, Jim Smith, and Mathews High School crew coach, Tim Ulsaker, the founders of the Mathews Land Conservancy, had created a new chapter in the history of Williams Wharf.

Their vision was to preserve and protect the land and to build facilities for public access to the waterfront and educational and recreational activities related to Mathews’ maritime history and culture.

Working with this vision, a board of directors began to seek donations and grants. Progress began and continued after receiving more than $2 million in state and federal grants, $2 million from individual donors and foundations and a total of more than $4 million from the William F. and Catharine K. Owens Foundation over nearly 20 years.

Today, the shoreline and environmental damage has been repaired and an activity building, fishing pier, floating dock, pavilion and walkways provide a place for residents and tourists alike to enjoy rowing, kayaking, sailing, fishing and special programs.

Following a lengthy permitting process with public hearings, legal requirements and extensive planning, design and engineering stages, the Owens Maritime Education and Rowing Center is under construction. When complete, it will serve as a regional educational and recreational center for waterfront and maritime education activities that will benefit Mathews’ residents and visitors for generations to come.