Board

Board Members

Joe Bill, Co-Chair
Joe has been a resident of Fountain Hills since 1987. He actively participated in the effort to obtain voter approval for incorporation, which led to his appointment to the first Town Council in 1990. His professional career was in health care administration and he has served in many different volunteer leadership roles in Fountain Hills, Scottsdale, and Phoenix. He served as an Adjunct Professor at ASU and taught strategic planning in their masters program, authored the book Climbing the Ladder Less Traveled, and claims that his 15 minutes of fame was when he was bitten by a rattlesnake. Ever since his first telescope as a Christmas present in sixth grade and his later attendance at astronomy camps, he has appreciated the wonders of the nighttime universe and the beautiful skies above Fountain Hills. In October 2017, Joe was recognized as a Dark Sky Defender by the International Dark Sky Association, one of only five named internationally per year.

Nancy Bill, Co-Chair
Nancy has always appreciated being able to see a beautiful night sky whether it was while growing up in Wisconsin, living in the country in Minnesota while working at Mayo Clinic, camping in the Southwest, or living in Fountain Hills for 30 years. Although her careers as a lab manager and later as a CPA kept her busy, she usually found time to volunteer for various organizations and causes such as co-chairing the effort to bring a high school to Fountain Hills . Now that she is retired, she is devoting her time to her love of the dark skies by helping to preserve them in Fountain Hills and by frequently enjoying night viewing. She loves being reminded that no matter what happens during the day, the wonders of the universe are there every night. In October 2017, Nancy was recognized as a Dark Sky Defender by the International Dark Sky Association, one of only five named internationally per year.

Ted Blank
Ted began to be passionate about amateur astronomy when he first saw the moons of Jupiter through a telescope from the high, clear air of the Sierra Nevada mountains. He is a past President of the New Hampshire Astronomical Society and is currently a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador. He was the first to receive the 250-hour award pin for public outreach from the Sidewalk Astronomers of America, a nationwide public service organization. After purchasing a home in Fountain Hills, he co-founded the Fountain Hills Astronomy Club and continues to help organize their monthly public viewing sessions in Centennial Circle.

Clayton Corey
Clayton moved here from the brightly lit city of Providence, Rhode Island. It wasn’t too long until he discovered beautiful Fountain Hills, and fell in love with the small town feel away from the hustle and bustle. The limited commercial and street lighting were a part of his decision to move here. Clayton is an IT Manager for CVS Health, a past officer of the Fountain Hills Toastmasters Club,  past co-chair of the Fountain Hills Leadership Academy, and serves on the board of Out & Equal Arizona, a workplace equality non-profit. He enjoys volunteering his time in the community and meeting new people. Visit him at ClaytonCorey.com

Mark Derksen
Mark grew up in Phoenix and Tucson, moving to Fountain Hills in 1997 to teach junior high at New Life Christian Academy. He went on to become Principal, and later became Administrator. He currently works for Demand Drop, a company started by a family member that helps businesses acquire energy efficient lighting through SRP and APS rebate programs. When Demand Drop began doing business in Flagstaff, Mark became interested in learning about lighting that met Dark Sky standards. Living in Fountain Hills and learning classical astronomy with his children developed his deep love for the night sky. He is committed to helping preserve our dark skies in Fountain Hills for his children and future grandchildren.

Vicky Derksen
Vicky grew up under the dark skies in the panhandle of northern Idaho where she remembers frequently seeing the Northern Lights and the trail of the Milky Way. She moved to north Phoenix in 1995 where the only remarkable thing she remembered seeing in the sky was Comet Hale-Bopp. Vicky moved to Fountain Hills with her husband in 1997 to teach high school at New Life Christian Academy. After the birth of her children two years later, she became a homeschool teacher when her kids started pre-school, and continues to the present day by teaching them their high school classes. Vicky has served as the Secretary of the Fountain Hills Christian Home Educators, our local homeschool group, for five years. During the 2015-2016 school year, she taught a classical astronomy class to the homeschool students of FHCHE, giving them a deeper understanding and passion for the night sky. She graduated from the inaugural class of the Fountain Hills Leadership Academy in 2016. She joined the board of the Fountain Hills Cultural & Civic Association in 2017, as well as joining an educational committee currently being put together by the River of Time Museum. Vicky loves hiking and particularly enjoys Full Moon hikes hosted by the nearby county parks.

Craig Gimbel
Dr. Craig Gimbel is co-founder of the Fountain Hills Astronomy Club. He donated part of his vast telescope collection to the Fountain Hills Library to be used by the library lending program, which resulted in the library winning a prestigious national award. Dr. Gimbel is an Assistant Research Professor at a leading dental school, specializing in lasers and optical light-based imaging. He would like to see an observatory ultimately built in Fountain Hills for education and astro-tourism commerce. With his medical and optical background, he definitely knows the detrimental effect of wrong light waves that are dispersed into the atmosphere and visually seen directly by the retina.

Don Harvel
Don has had the opportunity to observe and appreciate the sky from almost every country in the world. He has spent over four decades flying as a military C-130 pilot in the Air Force and as a commercial airline pilot. Both jobs provided magnificent opportunities to see hundreds of sunsets and sunrises, while flying six miles above the earth. During his military career, Don was deployed to remote locations outside of Iraq and in Afghanistan. The dark remote areas provided the perfect opportunity to appreciate what the night sky could look like without the light pollution of a city near-by. Even though he and his family have only been residents of Fountain Hills since November of 2016, he is very proud of the city for supporting the Dark Sky Association’s efforts to preserve a true, and forgotten, natural resource – the dark night sky. Don is honored to be a part of the Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association. As a retired Air Force General Officer, Don serves on a variety of company boards. Being a member of the Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association board is truly a special honor.

Lisa Miller
Lisa is a 25-year resident of Fountain Hills, and currently employed as the Volunteer Manager at the River of Time Museum. She has dedicated much of her life to the education and preservation of Arizona’s wildlife and biodiversity. As a birder and naturalist, Lisa understands the importance of maintaining dark skies for great horned owls, screech owls, and other native wildlife. Lisa has fond memories of waking her daughters at 2 am and, bundled against the cold with hot chocolate in hand, watching meteor showers from the comfort of her own backyard. Lisa is thrilled to continue her preservation efforts as a member of the Fountain Hills Dark Sky Committee to keep our sky dark for other children to experience and enjoy.

Tony Pistilli
Staten Island NY native Tony Pistilli began his interest in astronomy during his university studies, graduating from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1973 with a degree in Aerospace Engineering & Applied Mechanics and later a Master’s in Business from Rensselaer Hartford in 1980. After his wife Sandy bought him a telescope—a Criterion 6” Newtonian Reflector with Clock Drive— he began exploring the night skies in Vernon, CT on COLD, minus 20-degree nights, shooting his first photos of the planets. Tony’s career path next moved to Phoenix with an assignment to help America West Airlines build its maintenance program and manage their fleet expansions into the Pacific and European markets. During this time, Tony’s love for astronomy grew. Upon retiring to Fountain Hills in 2007, Tony picked up his 10” Orion Newtonian Reflector and began serious viewing of our Dark Skies and converted his home to Dark Skies standard lighting. Tony has always been an active volunteer in his communities. Here in Fountain Hills, he volunteers with Junior Achievement and the Boys and Girls Club and is a current and past president of the Rotary Club of Fountain Hills. Tony is also a “Purple Jacket Navigator” at Sky Harbor Airport and a member of Mesa’s Commemorative Air Force.

Kim Robertson
Originally from Coventry, Rhode Island, Kim Robertson moved to Fountain Hills AZ with her parents in 1985.  Fountain Hills is now where she calls home and where she chooses to raise her family. Kim is a proud mom of 3 amazing children.   Kim has worked for the Neighborhood Property Owners Association NPOA, for over 10 years.  The NPOA helps to preserve the aesthetic beauty we all love here in Fountain Hills.  Kim is a SAAR Affiliate, Fountain Hills PTO Member, Church of Ascension Child Facilitator, and was part of the 2017 Fountain Hills Leadership Academy, as well as a past member of McDowell Mountain Elementary School Site Council.  She is excited to be a part of the FH Dark Sky Board to continue to learn, and help educate while helping to preserve Fountain Hills and the dark skies.

Jay Schlum
Originally from West Bloomfield Michigan, Jay Schlum moved with his parents John and Dawn to Fountain Hills in 1977 when he was 12.  The Schlums were early day real estate pioneers and Jay followed in his parents’ real estate footsteps by being a licensed Realtor® since 1992.  Jay served as Mayor of Fountain Hills from 2008-2012 and previously served as a Fountain Hills Councilman from 2004-2008. In addition to being an elected official Jay has volunteered and served as Chairman of the FH Chamber of Commerce; Church President, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran; Board Member and Executive Committee member, Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors SAAR; Board Member, Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC); President Four Peaks Rotary Club; and many other committees, commissions and boards.