Vicky Derksen- President
Vicky grew up under 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. She moved to Fountain Hills with her husband in 1997 where her two children were born, raised, and homeschooled. During their high school years, she taught naked-eye astronomy to a class of 18 teenage students in the local homeschool group. Vicky is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Fountain Hills Leadership Academy in 2016. She serves on the boards of the International Dark Sky Discovery Center and the Fountain Hills Cultural & Civic Association. She has also served as a Sister Cities Advisory Commissioner with the Town. She is the author of the blog Night Sky Tourist and is the host of the podcast by the same name.
John Craft- Vice President
John is a native Arizonan who returned to his home state 24 years ago and settled in Fountain Hills. He has a BS/MBA and devoted his professional life leading business and strategic planning in the health services industry. Since his retirement, John has been involved in numerous community civic and social projects, including FH Pickleball Club (co-founder), Vision Fountain Hills (co-chair), Leadership Academy (co-chair), Town of FH Strategic Planning Advisory Commission (7 years and 3 years as Chair), and volunteered at two Dark Sky Festivals. John’s motivation for joining FHDSA is driven by his ongoing interest in preserving our community’s natural environment which includes sustaining our International Dark Sky Community designation, and raising community awareness and support for the future of dark skies in Fountain Hills.
DJ Willard- Treasurer
Cynthia Magazine- Secretary
Cynthia moved to Fountain Hills in 2006 after years of contribution in other cities across the country. She worked in management at Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto, CA, Kaiser Permanente and United Health Care in Washington, D.C., and was a volunteer and board member for Habitat for Humanity. While living in Alexandria, Virginia, she founded the Habitat for Humanity ReStore there. Since moving to Fountain Hills, she became the co-founder and co-chair of the Fountain Hills Liberal Ladies, served as president of the Fountain Hills Friends of the Library, and graduated from Class 2 of the Fountain Hills Leadership Academy. She also formed and chaired a 20-member Political Action Committee, Save our Town, after creating a project for the Leadership Academy. Cynthia is also a Commissioner for the Strategic Planning Advisory Commission.
Scott Adams- Astronomy Coordinator & Past President
Ted Blank- Education Coordinator
Al Lorenz- Festival & Event Coordinator
Al Lorenz grew up in rural South Dakota on a farm/ranch learning from rural schools and participating in school sports and activities. He’s a graduate of South Dakota State University. He had a successful 36-year career at Motorola Solutions and over 8 years of owning a small business.
Al’s true values are reflected in his areas of personal focus: working with customer-focused businesses, pursuing his love of the outdoors by focusing on the National Parks (having hiked the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim and visiting all 63 National Parks and over 100 other National Park entities, and volunteering in the community. Al volunteered for Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association because of his love of the outdoors and the dark skies that go with the outdoors. His local volunteerism also extends to: local education issues and bonds, outdoors and recreation, coaching youth sports, and supporting foundations (National Park, Wounded Warrior, South Dakota State, Dark Skies, and United Methodist charities.) His most important area of focus and enthusiasm is his family, including his wife Nancy, and three children, Laura, Adam, Brian and spouse, Meghan, three grandchildren, and extended family.
Lisa Miller- Membership Coordinator
Lisa has dedicated much of her life to the education, inspiration, and entertainment of others about the natural world. As an avid birder and naturalist, Lisa understands the importance of maintaining dark skies for owls, bats, and other native wildlife. After moving to Fountain Hills with her young family in 1993, 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 conservation efforts as a member of the Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association to keep our sky dark for other children to experience and enjoy.
Dave Perry has been a science and space buff his entire life. He started by looking through telescopes at an early age and building and flying model planes and rockets, to supporting high-tech companies building aviation and space products over a 30-year career. His experience also includes marketing and technical presentations to professional and public audiences on a variety of technical and marketing products. Dave now resides in Fountain Hills and is able to pursue a better understanding of the heavens and share that with others through stargazing nights and community programs. He has his own telescope and will be adding space photography to his repertoire. He was recently selected as a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.
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 its 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. Tony also serves on the board of the International Dark Sky Discovery Center.
FOUNDING BOARD MEMBERS & MEMBERS EMERITUS:
Joe & Nancy Bill
PAST BOARD MEMBERS:
- Peter Atkinson
- Debbie Clason
- Clayton Corey
- Mark Derksen
- Jeff Esposito
- Craig Gimbel
- Don Harvel
- Jackie Miles
- Jerry Miles
- Kim Robertson
- Jay Schlum