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Meet our bloggers!

Posted on June 28, 2011 by | Comments Off

Meet the HR Green Bloggers, or the experts as we like to call them. Collectively, they share a lifetime of experience working in utility and environmental sectors of municipal government in the greater Hampton Roads region. Most are members of the HR Green Executive Committee, which provides oversight for the development of the HR Green campaign.

Julia Hillegass

Julia Hillegass, Public Information and Community Affairs Administrator, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, is a Hampton Roads native who truly considers herself a regional resident.  Having grown up on a small farm in southern Virginia Beach, she now works in Chesapeake in Public Information and Community Affairs for the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and resides in Smithfield–home of the world’s largest ham biscuit! “Just as I cross local boundaries everyday during my commute, the work that I do with localities in Hampton Roads cuts across boundaries to help people understand how their individual actions affect the environment.  It’s a good feeling to bring positive messages to the region.”

Katie Rider

Katie Cullipher, Senior Environmental Education Planner, joined the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission in January 2011. Prior to that, she worked for the City of Virginia Beach where she concentrated on spreading the word about the value of tap water, wise water use and healthy drains. Katie has lived and worked in Chesapeake, Norfolk and Virginia Beach. As a Hampton Roads native, she’s excited to now be working on a regional level to help improve the community she has always considered home.

John Deuel

John Deuel is the former Executive Director of Keep Norfolk Beautiful and Recycling Coordinator for the City of Norfolk. He retired in March of this 2014 to “shift gears” into helping other municipalities, businesses and organizations with their sustainability efforts through his company, GreenQuest, LLC. He and his wife Sallie now split their time between Hampton Roads and Flagstaff, Arizona. John will share his experiences with his cross country ride and about other groups around the U.S. that are working to improve the way people handle their waste and make their communities more vibrant. John can be reached at

Elizabeth Vaughn

Elizabeth Vaughn, City of Chesapeake Public Works Information Specialist, is responsible for communicating all things Public Works to the citizens of Chesapeake, with a special focus on stormwater education and recycling. She uses her background in broadcast communications and public relations to help folks understand that it really is easy being green! During her previous job with the Girl Scouts, she saw the positive impact young girls can have on the environment so she knew that adults – herself included – could easily do the same! Growing up at the Jersey Shore instilled in her a love of the water from the very beginning and she is passionate about keeping it clean and healthy! She lives in beautiful Chesapeake with her husband, water-loving lab Nova and three cats.

Rebekah Eastep

Rebekah Eastep, Environmental Planner, joined the staff of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission in July 2013. Having lived or worked in Poquoson, Newport News, Hampton, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Suffolk, she is truly a member of the greater Hampton Roads community. Rebekah has an educational background in environmental policy with a particular interest in water resources management. She has previously worked with small towns in eastern North Carolina to advocate economic development through investment in local assets such as arts, entrepreneurs and natural resources. Rebekah is excited that as part of the team she will be able to educate the public about the value of our region’s natural resources and the simple things we can all do to protect them.

Sarah Crawford

Sarah Crawford, HRSD Community Educator, is responsible for educational and outreach programs with Hampton Road’s regional wastewater treatment utility. She was born in Virginia Beach and also lived in Chesapeake before attending James Madison University where she earned her B.S. in Integrated Science and Technology. After working abroad for a year at a rainforest research field station in Australia, she returned back to Hampton Roads and worked for an environmental engineering company for several years before taking a job in HRSD’s Engineering Department in 2009. She began her current position as a Community Educator in 2012, received her M.S. in Biology from Old Dominion University in 2013, and thoroughly enjoys bridging the gap between scientists and the public. When she is not explaining the science behind wastewater treatment and the importance of protecting public health and the waters of Hampton Roads, she enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, 2 dogs, and cat. She also enjoys challenging herself with new ways to be green – you can always do 1 more thing! 


Erica Roberts

Erica Roberts, Media and communications coordinator for Virginia Beach Public Utilities, where she carries out a long-standing tradition of promoting a water conservation ethic among the city’s school-age children. Erica’s educational outreach efforts bridge all generations and also include a variety of topics, including FOG, backflow, and the value of tap water. Having grown up in the mountains of Vermont, Erica has fond memories of the forests, rivers, and lakes, all of which helped shape her understanding of the importance of conservation education and living green. Erica is amazed at the ways Hampton Roads residents live the green life, and she can’t wait to share her green experiences with you!

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