Meet Rick DeMark and Mark Hews
Rick DeMark and Mark Hews will be the convenors of the Viability Working Group. Together, they bring a tremendous amount of experience in sustainability, conservation, and food systems. Under their leadership, the Viability Working Group will ensure agreement and clarity on the goals, approaches, and indicators established to advance the Viability Initiative. They will engage with the NH Food Alliance network to understand what kinds of projects and enterprises already exist in New Hampshire and how to best implement actions that support the Viability Initiative. They will also work to understand where there are gaps within the food system and determine best practices to fill those gaps.
Rick DeMark currently serves as the executive director of the North Country Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Council. North Country RC&D is a small organization that provides critical project development, implementation, and management support services that blend natural resource conservation with community improvement and economic development for groups, institutions, local government, and small businesses across New Hampshire.
Rick is also a trained facilitator with expertise in strategic planning. Rick left the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2011 after a 30+ year career. The majority of his time with USDA was as Coordinator (a federal liaison) for the North Country Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Area and its Council.
Prior to his work in the RC&D Program, Rick specialized in soil and water conservation planning and practice design. Rick was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica, where his primary assignment helped develop an agricultural/artisan cooperative. Rick received a Bachelor of Science at the University of New Hampshire. While at UNH, Rick’s primary fields of study were in the natural sciences, economics, and political science. Rick is a graduate of the New Hampshire Leadership Development Program of 1999.
Rick has maintained extensive relationships with many statewide boards and commissions, including the NH Rural Development Council, NH Coalition for Sustaining Agriculture, State Forest Advisory Board, and the NH Food Alliance. Rick is also an active volunteer in his community. He is a board member on the Lake Winnipesaukee Association and an associate member of both the Meredith Energy Committee and the Wicwas Lake Watershed Committee.
Mark Hews is President of M E Hews and Company, LLC, which specializes in cross-sector consulting, natural resource enterprise development, and place-based rural sustainability. The Company has helped clients with project development and management ranging from small scale institutional market development to a $2 Million Sustainable Year Round Agriculture project integrating greenhouse, solar, and advanced composite sectors.
The Company also contracts with organizations to provide facilitation, leadership development, strategic planning, and project design services. For 32 years, Mark worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, providing natural resource community and economic development assistance to landowners and communities in southern and western Maine.
Mark also served as Director of Programming for the Maine Association of Nonprofits before launching his own business. At the Association, he was responsible for all education and learning programs for nonprofit member boards and staff, helping them develop the capacity necessary to run their organizations effectively. Mark currently serves as President of the New England Association of Resource Conservation and Development Areas, as Board Secretary for the National Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils, and on the Leadership Council of the National Small Business Association.