The official name of A Greater Applegate is Greater Applegate Community Development Corporation (GACDC). We became known as AGA in 2019 in order to mark the transition from our role as operators of Cantrall Buckley County Park to broader community efforts.. We now build on the community engagement work initiated by the Applegate Economic Vitality Roadmap in collaboration with Rural Development Initiatives. As a result of input provided by the 200+ participants of the Applegate Roadmap process, AGA reorganized into a backbone organization for the community. To better fulfill our mission, AGA built capacity by bringing on staff and new board members. Get to know our team by reading our bios below!
Paul Tipton, Chair
Paul Tipton has lived in the Applegate Valley over 45 years and has worked locally doing forestry work, farming, vineyard management, construction, and custom woodworking. Since retiring he has volunteered with the SMART reading program for 10 years, helped distribute food for ACCESS, judged senior projects at South Medford High School for 20 years, was president of the Applegate Community Grange for four years, and is a long-time board member and current president of the McKee Bridge Historical Society. He has many years of past involvement in environmental activism with positive results, and has grant writing and nonprofit organization knowledge and experience thanks to the nonprofit leadership conferences sponsored by the Oregon Community Foundation and The Ford Family Foundation. His ongoing desire through life is to help benefit the community and, as a poet and veteran, to seek peace and equality for all.
Eric Adams, Treasurer
Arriving in the Applegate Valley in 2020, Eric is a management consultant specializing in coaching professional services company executives and corporate mergers and acquisitions. After 25 years in Seattle, the opportunity to return to rural life presented itself, and he and his wife Heather jumped at the chance. He grew up in the mountains of Maine, has lived in eight states, and has traveled to all 50. He and Heather are in the process of building a glamping guest ranch in the east end of the Applegate with their three dogs. The welcome to the Applegate that they received from neighbors reaffirmed their decision to move from the big city. He enjoys participating in community development organizations, fine food and wine, travel, skiing, hiking, whitewater rafting, and working on their property. Eric holds a degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Sonya Prislac, Board Member
A native of Massachusetts, Sonya has spent most of her time in the sunny Applegate Valley. Having lived in Ruch for the majority of her upbringing, she had the pleasure of going on many hikes in the valley and discovering just what makes this area so desirable. She continued her studies at Southern Oregon University with a focus in Music Education and Performance and brought her knowledge to the Portland Metro area. While residing in Washington County, she established a thriving business helping students young and old become enthralled with their musical abilities. Concurrently, she was also immersed in the Accounting world and had the benefit of being employed as a bookkeeper with some of the biggest companies in the region. She recently returned to Jackson County and enjoys having her three kids attend ROCS, knowing they will get to experience all that this incredible Valley has to offer!
Peter Salant, Board Member
Board Member Peter Salant has lived in the Little Applegate Valley since 2000, having bought a small beef cattle ranch there in 1994.
Peter was born in New York City, and grew up in California since he was a four-year old. Raised in both rural and urban environments, he took to raising cattle as a teenager and pursued Animal Husbandry, attending Cal-Poly Pomona in 1975.
Peter has worked in drug rehabilitation and juvenile re-education, has been in the wholesale food business, the international import-export business, and the raising of beef cattle during a lifetime of adventure. He and his wife moved to Southern Oregon to raise their daughter here in the Ruch area, with a strong belief in public school education. She has now fulfilled her dream and become a Marine Biologist.
Raising home-grown, quality beef for the public is Peter’s retirement passion, and he works at it daily. He’s been on the Board of the Medford Schools Foundation, as well as that of the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market. He is excited to be part of this bread-basket of locally grown, high quality food produced here in Southern Oregon. He is honored to be newly nominated to the Board of A Greater Applegate, and continue participating in the positive momentum we’ve achieved here in the Greater Applegate Valley.
Cathy Rodgers, Vice Chair
After nearly 40 years with IBM as vice president, global engagements, Cathy returned to the Applegate Valley, where she has had property on the Applegate River for almost 30 years. She has been recognized as Woman of the Year in California for her work in disaster preparedness, featured in the New York Times for her role with minority suppliers, and has worked with the US State Department on women, youth, education, and entrepreneurism around the world. Cathy has summited Mt. Kilimanjaro and is the first mother-daughter team to run a half marathon on all seven continents. She is co-founder of Rooted in Hope, a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental conservation and sustainable development. She currently serves on the board of the Applegate Partnership & Watershed Council and the Applegater Newsmagazine. Cathy holds a master’s degree in hazard management and community service, an MBA, and is currently completing her PhD in environmental policy.
Alison Hensley Sexauer, Secretary
Born and raised in the high country of the Angeles National Forest, to a family that owned and operated 8 campgrounds and a small ski resort, Kratka Ridge. In 2000, she moved to Santa Barbara to attend UCSB where she graduated with a BA in Global Studies and Spanish Literature. From there Alison found herself in the midst of global travels and Farmers Markets, where she spent the next decade-plus of her life managing markets for Peacock Family Farms and Roots Organic Farms. In 2010 she Co-founded the Santa Barbara SOL Food Festival, with a mission to inspire, empower and promote local food and farming transformation. In 2012 she co-founded Lucidity Festival as the Food and Sustainability Director of the LLC.
All in all, she has spent the last 15 years developing a passion for creating sustainable food culture through education, inspirational events and talks, and empowering herself and others to live into the change they see is possible. She believes that food is the universal common denominator and a powerful agent of change. She is committed to creating, supporting, and growing businesses and community endeavors whose mission is towards creating a more sensible, regenerative, and just human and non-human presence on the planet.
Alison and her husband Tim moved to the Applegate Valley at the end of 2016 and she has thoroughly enjoyed working with and meeting a new region of food-lovin’ folk and tasting the bounty that Rogue Valley has to offer.
Janis Mohr-Tipton, Board Member and Park Enhancement Program Chair
Janis grew up in rural northern Oregon as a fourth generation member of her farming family near Helvetia. After she graduated from Oregon State in both forestry and nutrition/dietetics in 1975, she moved to southern Oregon and entered into US Forest Service work at Star Ranger Station. There she met her future husband and, after a few years in forest work, they began raising their family (three children). She also began volunteering in the local community and hasn’t stopped. In 1979, she first volunteered with, and then worked for, the Jackson County Libraries, and still does early literacy storytimes for 0 – 3 year olds at Ruch and Central Point Libraries. Janis has volunteered with Friends of the Ruch Library for many years; is a SMART coordinator and reader at Ruch School; annually serves as a community judge for senior high school projects; joined the Applegate Valley Garden Club, and started the Senior Shoebox Project with the members of our local seniors. In 2016 she proposed a Monarch Butterfly Garden at Cantrall Buckley Park and then joined the Park Committee to help with several projects and coordinate volunteer work with SOLVE. This newest volunteer work brings her full circle to what she trained for in forestry: natural resource management with an emphasis on education for all age groups and outdoor learning centers. When she wants a quiet moment and reflection time, she gardens, does beadwork, or drumming. “Serving in my community is my passion, and it makes my heart sing. I have so many interests in the world around me, and I get to share, listen, mentor, and learn.”
Seth Kaplan, Executive Director
Seth Kaplan has assumed strategic leadership roles in nonprofit, government, community, corporate, and small business settings for more than 30 years, with a focus on aligning resources with needs and opportunities across systems and sectors for greater impact. Significant accomplishments have included working with a team of youth and government agencies to build a 13-acre youth complex, leading a four-year community visioning project in an unincorporated area, and aligning human priorities within a county budgeting process. He is currently exploring strategies to find more time to enjoy the beauty and magic of the 20 acres of Applegate Valley he shares with his wife, Lily, dog Shayna, and cat Sweet Pea. Seth is a member of the Ford Family Foundation Community Builders Collective and Community Building Partners Organizations and serves on many regional advisory panels. He is a Coro Community Invest Fellow and has served on the boards of CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and Center for Community Benefit Organizations, among others.
Ashley Bradfield, Network Manager
Ashley grew up in the Washington, DC area and has been involved in non-profit work since her teenage years. She has lived in seven states and loves to travel both domestically and internationally. She settled in Southern Oregon five years ago and has been a resident of the Applegate for three years. Ashley does a wide variety of work locally. She starting her own organic vineyard maintenance and winemaking company, serves on the Board for Women in Wine Oregon and started her own non-profit last year, Grateful Givings, which focuses on filling community needs, fundraising and volunteer recruitment in Southern Oregon.
Ashley graduated with honors from New York University with a B.A. in Arts in Education for Healing and Social Change, where she focused largely on criminal justice reform, creative arts healing and youth development. She continued her post-graduate work in various East Coast cities through Temple University’s Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, the Mural Arts Program and For Love of Children, amongst other organizations. She is excited to bring her experiences in urban areas to her home in the Applegate!
In her (rare!) free time, she loves to hike, play fetch with her Toy Aussies, Pearly and Jasper, visit local wineries and breweries and see live music. She loves networking with local businesses and meeting new people.
Laurel Briggs, Business Marketing Manager
Although a native southern Oregonian, Laurel Briggs began her career in Salem, Oregon working for a local magazine and obtaining a BA in English from Willamette University. After an internship at Domus Advertising in downtown Philadelphia, Laurel attended graduate school for Communications and Marketing at Cal State Fullerton.
After marketing commercial tile and teaching journalism, Laurel returned to southern Oregon and became a webmaster, graphic designer and writer for Asante Health System’s communication and marketing department.
An opportunity arose to market a local real estate project called the Bella Vita in downtown Medford and Laurel left her corporate job and earned her real estate broker’s license. For several years Laurel marketed development projects.
In the beginning of 2009 Laurel founded Creative Marketing & Design and opened an office in downtown Medford. With offices now in Jacksonville, CM&D provides web development & design, marketing planning, and design services to businesses, individuals, government entities and non-profit organizations.
Laurel’s mix of local market understanding, education and big-city experience provide her clients with a unique marketing edge.
Megan Fehrman, Director of Vision Strategy
Megan grew up in the heartland and earned her undergraduate degrees in Agricultural Economics and International Relations at the University of Wisconsin before heading West. After exploring several aspects of community organizing, sustainability, and education, Megan earned a master’s degree at Portland State University, focusing on Community Food Systems and Agroecology. Most recently, she has earned a graduate certificate at Oregon State University in Rural Public Policy. Throughout her professional career, Megan has woven together community organizing, food and agriculture, asset-based community mapping, and now rural community building. Megan has worked as a statewide advocate and educator for socially responsible agriculture and as the Education Program Director for a non-profit that aimed to train and assist the next generation of farmers and ranchers. She is currently the Director of Vision Strategy for A Greater Applegate and is facilitating the Applegate Valley Vision process, step by step. Megan has lived in the Little Applegate Valley for 13 years and currently resides on an 86-acre ranch and creamery with her family. She is also currently serving as an advisor to the Rogue Valley Food System Network, the interim Coordinator for the Farming for the Future Working Group with the Oregon Community Food System Network, and is developing skills to consult with other rural communities focusing on community building, resiliency, and relocalization. When not at work, Megan likes to dig in the dirt, walk in the woods, travel, take in some music, and spend time with family and friends.
Leigha Perry, Office Manager
Leigha Perry is a Southern Oregon native with eight generations having lived in and around the Applegate Valley dating back to the mid-1800’s. Her love and appreciation for this area is truly beyond description. As a mother of two amazing children, Leigha has thoughtfully balanced family life with career and personal wellness. This approach has healthfully lead her into award winning programs and certifications of adult and youth yoga as well as teaching children meditation. With these skills, Leigha has enjoyed facilitating many youth camps and activities to soothe and uplift the wonderful children in her community. In addition, her experience in management and administration within various office settings has created a perfect match in joining the A Greater Applegate team. Leigha is currently continuing her education through Rogue Community College and Southern Oregon University with a focus on mental health, family counseling and community mediation. She is absolutely thrilled to weave all of her passions and skills together to create a positive impact within the Applegate Valley and beyond!
Operation and management of Cantrall Buckley Park (1998 to February 2018):
With community-led improvements such as Greater Applegate Solar Project, Monarch Waystation, Revitalized Playground Project, New Playground Restroom, Native Landscaping and Community Mural Project, New Campground Showers/Restroom, State-of-the-art Vegetative Wastewater Treatment System, Summer Film Series, Master Plan and Design Grants.
Applegate Valley Economic Vitality Projects:
GOLD’N Applegate Discovery Tour Route, Southern Oregon University Tourism Study, Applegate Lake Campground Proposal, Regional Investment Fund Grant, Applegate Business Consortium, EAS (Toll Free) Calling Area, Applegate Directory, Small Diameter Conference, Buy Local Campaign, Business Technology Survey.
Environmental Sustainability and Community Livability Projects:
Applegate Valley Green and Solar Tour 2008 and 2009, Applegate Wayside Park, Application for Low Power FM Station, Applegate School Historical CD, Fire Plan Survey, Team Bravo – Community Beautification, Support Keeping Ruch School Open, Support Friends of Forest Creek.
Community Partner and Organizational Support:
Pacifica – A Garden in the Siskiyous – Start Up, Fiscal Agent – NW Seasonal Workers, Siskiyou Sustainable Co-Op – Start Up, Applegate School Foundation