The Team

Photo by USGS on Unsplash

Team

Our team has a philosophy of transparency and making data free, a love of the environment, and an optimism that we can change things for the better.

Our people are our best assets

Confronting global environmental challenges both locally and globally means finding the right people to take on a task that no one else has tackled before. And so SkyTruth’s family of staff and consultants includes programmers and others from around the world and from Shepherdstown, West Virginia, where our headquarters are located. You can learn more about each of us below.

Lucy-team-member

Kudos to SkyTruth for spotting this. You guys provide quite a reality check on things.

John Amos, President

John develops organizational strategy and partnerships, mentors technical staff, and provides remote sensing expertise as needed. He is an expert in the use of satellite images and other remote sensing data to understand and communicate local, regional and global environmental issues. Educated as a geologist (at the University of Wyoming for his M.S. and Cornell University for his B.S.), John spent 10 years applying image processing, image analysis, and digital mapping techniques to conduct environmental, exploration and resource assessment studies for the energy and mining industries and government entities.

In 2001, he founded SkyTruth, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to strengthening environmental conservation by illuminating environmental problems and issues through the use of satellite images, aerial photographs, and other kinds of remote sensing and digital mapping. In addition to his role as President of SkyTruth, he serves on the boards of Chesapeake Commons and Global Fishing Watch, a nonprofit organization formed by SkyTruth, Oceana and Google, and on the advisory board of The Ocean Foundation. John and his wife Amy live in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Jenny Allen, Chief Operating Officer

Jenny leads the daily operations of SkyTruth, aligning program activity and goals with a strategic vision, as well as overseeing finance, communications, partnerships and board relations. In collaboration with John Amos, she works to ensure adequate resources for the long-term sustainability of SkyTruth’s mission. Jenny earned a B.A. from Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., an M.A. from the University of Georgia, and an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management at Georgetown University. Appointed by then-Governor Manchin, she served for 10 years on the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. Her nonprofit board experience includes the Contemporary American Theater Festival, New Dramatists, North Country School and the West Virginia Public Broadcasting Foundation.

Jenny currently represents SkyTruth on the Global Fishing Watch board and lives in Shepherdstown with her son, Grady.

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Johnna Armstrong, Systems Administrator and Web Developer

Johnna works on the SkyTruth Alerts project in project manager, tester and tech support roles. Before coming to SkyTruth, Johnna freelanced as a web and UX developer and did work for both SkyTruth and Global Fishing Watch in stealth mode for several years. Prior to freelancing, Johnna worked at the Bureau of National Affairs (now Bloomberg BNA), managing production of the company’s online tax subscriptions. She has an international MBA from The American Graduate School of International Management, and an undergraduate degree from SUNY Albany and the University of Würzburg in Germany. Outside of work, Johnna is an avid genealogist and volunteers with Historic Shepherdstown & Museum, researching house histories and maintaining its website. She is also an aspiring tai chi ninja warrior and not bad at knitting socks.

Teri Biebel, Office Administrator

Teri keeps the SkyTruth office humming on all things administrative. Teri grew up in Wildwood, along the Southern New Jersey coastline, and attended the former Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) before leaving to work in the bright lights of Atlantic City. After a long career in the casino industry, where she worked in both customer service and administration, Teri decided she wanted to work in a much more positive environment where she could help people, and she joined SkyTruth. She has been involved in many community service organizations including the Girl Scouts Council of the Nations Capital as a Girl Scout leader, Shepherdstown Rotary Satellite Club and the Jefferson High School Band Boosters.

Teri lives in Shepherdstown with her husband Don, her daughters Jennifer and Amanda, and her dogs Henry and Cosmo. She is an avid runner and has completed 2 Tough Mudders, 4 full marathons as well as 23 half marathons.

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Bjorn Bergman, Analyst

Bjorn works closely with SkyTruth’s partner Global Fishing Watch (GFW). He administers GFW’s transparency program in Latin America, working directly with governments to incorporate their satellite tracking data into GFW’s public map and helping them improve their tools for fisheries monitoring and management. Before joining SkyTruth, he worked in a research lab and as a fisheries observer collecting biological data on commercial fishing boats in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. Bjorn has a degree in biology from Yale University and has traveled extensively throughout Latin America — particularly in Peru where he spent time as a child — and returns to the region frequently.

Dan Cogswell, Software Developer

At SkyTruth, Dan develops web applications and leads SkyTruth’s Alerts and Global Flaring development. He has been a software developer for 30 some years, working first in local government and then in the private sector with LEIDOS Biomedical. He has an IT degree from Shepherd College and a Data Science Certificate from Johns Hopkins University. Dan and his wife Margaret moved to Shepherdstown in 1986. Outside of work, Dan has held leadership roles with the Potomac Valley Audubon Society and several youth soccer organizations. In his free time, he enjoys birdwatching, traveling the country, and watching old movies.

Ry Covington, Technical Program Director

Ry leads SkyTruth’s conservation technology program. His work combines geographic information science (GIS), remote sensing, and machine learning to identify, map, and monitor threats to the planet. Ry holds a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he studied the spatial dynamics of environmental impact assessment, especially as they relate to questions of environmental injustice and human health risk. Before joining SkyTruth in 2017, Ry led the spatial science program at Defenders of Wildlife, using remotely-sensed imagery to identify priority places for wildlife conservation, track long-term changes in habitat quantity and quality, and make wildlife-relevant spatial data and analyses more accessible and usable on the web. In his free time, Ry enjoys quality time with family and friends, dusty books, good music, seasonal food and beverages, and all things non-human.

Brendan Jarrell, Geospatial Analyst

Brendan is in charge of SkyTruth’s Internship Program and has worked on a number of projects related to Harmful Algal Bloom monitoring, oil and gas development, and machine learning. Brendan is a resident of Shepherdstown who earned his B.S. in Engineering Science from Shepherd University in 2019. Outside of work, Brendan can be found playing Ultimate Frisbee, riding his bike around Shepherdstown, or watching his beloved Red Sox.

Amy Mathews, Writer-Editor

Amy is responsible for managing and editing the SkyTruth blog and ensuring that SkyTruth’s message and work is communicated in an effective and engaging way. She came to SkyTruth after a long career as an environmental policy analyst, science communication coach, and freelance writer. Amy received her B.S. in wildlife biology from Cornell University and her M.S. in environmental science and M.P.A. (Master of Public Affairs) from Indiana University. Realizing the power of stories to bring about change, Amy returned to school in 2010 and completed her M.A. in nonfiction writing at Johns Hopkins University.

She is past president of, and a current selector for, the American Conservation Film Festival and regularly serves as a thesis advisor to graduate students in the Johns Hopkins science writing program. When not working, she spends as much time as possible exploring the wildlands around her home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Jona Raphael, Machine Learning Engineer

At SkyTruth, Jona automates large-scale image analysis using cutting-edge machine learning techniques. He is a Mechanical Engineer with a B.S. from Olin College of Engineering and an M.S. from Boston University, who ended up in San Francisco (where code is king). So, he taught himself how to program. He co-founded two hardware start-ups and was the first employee at a third — all focused on humanitarian issues and sustainable development in industries such as aquaculture and rural off-grid electrification. His experiences as a full-stack developer, PCB designer, injection molder, and client liaison serve as the foundation for his contracting business: designing bespoke state-of-the-art hardware and software systems. When not working, Jona can often be found planning his next rock climbing adventure or board game design.

Christian Thomas, Geospatial Engineer

Christian leads SkyTruth’s resource extraction monitoring work, both on land and at sea, focusing on surface mining, offshore infrastructure development, and marine pollution events. In addition to applying his background in geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing, he has helped to design lessons for SkyTruth’s educational outreach program. Christian is a native of Shepherdstown, West Virginia who joined the SkyTruth team after graduating from West Virginia University with a B.S. in Geography and Environmental Geoscience. When he’s not in the office, Christian enjoys travel, intricate board games, and adventuring in the great outdoors.

SkyTruth Interns

Sasha Bylsma

Sasha Bylsma

Dylan Thomson

Dylan Thomson

Hillson Ghimire

Hillson Ghimire

Dhiya Sathananthan

Dhiya Sathananthan

Office Dog

Lois

Lois