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Staff

  • Paul Ziemkiewicz

    Ph.D., Director

    (304) 293-6958

    Dr. Ziemkiewicz, a native of Pittsburgh received his PhD from the University of British Columbia and an MS and BS from Utah State University in the biological sciences. After graduation he worked for ten years with the Alberta Department of Energy before coming to West Virginia University in 1988 to serve as director of the Water Research Institute. The Institute develops and carries out environmental research projects in the region and nationally. Research focus areas include management and treatment of waste streams from coal mining and oil and gas development. Major research programs include acid mine drainage, critical mineral and rare earth recovery, coal ash, water use in power generation, coal mine reclamation, industrial water treatment and watershed restoration.

  • Melissa O'Neal

    Associate Director

    (304) 293-7006

    Melissa O’Neal is the Associate Director for the West Virginia Water Research Institute, where she is responsible for program oversight and supervision of lead managers and Directors of WVWRI programs - Brownfields, Critical Materials, Water, and Energy. As the Associate Director, she manages the USGS-funded 104b, 104g, and student internship program allocated to the WVWRI as one of the 54 institutes that comprise the National Institutes for Water Research. Melissa started her career with WVWRI as an Environmental Technician in 2008, performing water sample collection for various water quality projects throughout Appalachia. In 2011, as an Environmental Specialist for WVWRI, Melissa assisted in securing funding through Colcom Foundation for Three Rivers QUEST, expanding the successful USGS funded Monongaleha Water Quality study to the Upper Ohio River Basin. Known affectionately as 3RQ, the program includes partnerships with Duquense University, Wheeling Jesuit University, RedHorse Environmental, and numerous watershed associations throughout the Upper Ohio River Basin. Advancing in her career at WVWRI, Melissa served as a Project and Program Manager between 2014-2019, where she developed and managed a variety of water monitoring projects, building relationships with stakeholders and securing funding for new initiatives. Melissa obtained an Associate of Science degree through the Garrett College Natural Resources and Wildlife and Technology Program and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Resources from West Virginia University. A resident of Garrett County, Maryland, Melissa enjoys spending time mountain biking, kayaking, and hiking with her family and much-loved chocolate lab, Ruger.

  • Patrick Kirby

    Director, Northern Brownfields Assistance Center

    (304) 293-6984

    Patrick Kirby is the Director of the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at West Virginia University. He has collaborated on brownfields projects across the state, attracting millions of dollars in federal brownfields grants, private foundation funding, and private investments in revitalization projects. Through the launch of many successful redevelopment initiatives including the statewide WVU BAD Buildings Program, and the Downtown Appalachia Program, Patrick has brought brownfields resources directly to West Virginia communities. Patrick also serves as the Executive Director of the West Virginia Land Stewardship Corporation responsible for the growth of the WVLSC’s three signature programs – Voluntary Land Stewardship, Site Certification, and a Land Bank. Patrick has been involved in regional and national brownfields policy issues, as well as provided expert testimony to Congress on brownfields legislation. Patrick earned a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from West Virginia University and received his B.S. degree in Political Science from Shepherd University. His interest in community and economic development was driven in part by his experiences in the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps and as Rotary Exchange Student.

  • Carrie Staton

    Associate Director, Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center

    (304) 293-7071

    Carrie M. Staton is the Director of WVU BAD Buildings, which provides technical assistance and resources to communities to address abandoned and dilapidated properties. Carrie provides strategic leadership and management, program development, partnership development, education and outreach, and develops research priorities, policies, and publication strategies on blight in rural Appalachia. Carrie also serves as Associate Director of the Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center at West Virginia University. Carrie provides operational leadership, including development and management of internal processes; program development and implementation; financial and administrative oversight; and partnership development and management. She also manages programs and projects related to community engagement, education, research, and collaborative redevelopment. Carrie oversees the identification and pursuit of research priorities and opportunities for the Center, including facilitating collaboration with faculty and communities. She has published case studies on brownfield redevelopment in industry publications and textbooks, and has presented at national and international conferences on brownfields and community development. She has also coauthored published research in public administration journals. Carrie is a proud alum of Bethany College, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Nonprofit Administration, and of West Virginia University, where she received a Master of Public Administration. She is a member of the Leadership WV Class of 2016 and was named one of Generation Next’s Top 40 Under 40 Leaders in 2018. She currently serves as the Board Secretary of PopShop, Inc., a nonprofit music academy dedicated to providing quality music education while working to nurture artistic and personal growth in students of all ages

  • Raymond Moeller

    Economic Redevelopment Specialist

    (304) 293-0390

    Ray Moeller was born and raised in Michigan and went to college at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI. He received his B.S in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics with a minor in Chemistry. After an extensive career in the pharmaceutical industry, he secured an AmeriCorps VISTA position in West Virginia which led him into the community and economic development field. As an Economic Redevelopment Specialist, Ray works with communities around the state, focusing on downtown / Main Street redevelopment strategies. When Ray isn’t working, he and his wife Connie enjoy time together hiking, kayaking, biking, and reading.

  • Thomas "Wes" Edge

    Materials Scientist

    (304) 293-3886

    Wesley Edge is a Materials Scientist for the West Virginia Water Research Institute where he assists recovering Rare Earth Elements from AMD precipitates. Wesley holds both B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mining Engineering from Virginia Tech and West Virginia University, respectively. During his time at Virginia Tech and WVU, he was a member of collegiate robotics teams and was a member of the collegiate mine rescue team. Wesley comes from Mt. Holly, North Carolina and in his spare time he loves to hike, travel to new places, and watch Mountaineer football.

  • Nicole Dias

    BAD Buildings Project Associate

    (304) 293-6990

    Nicole Dias is a Project Associate at WVU BAD Buildings. Within the program, Nicole helps communities establish sustainable community development initiatives that will enhance the well-being and quality of life for the people of WV, attract investment to communities, and maximize resources in the state. Nicole facilitates the implementation of community development strategies on abandoned and dilapidated properties, including coordinating stakeholder groups, project identification, project prioritization, site redevelopment plans, and pursuit of public and private sector funding opportunities. Nicole also has experience with ArcGIS mapping and Comprehensive Planning. Nicole grew up in Morgantown where she earned a Bachelors in Multidisciplinary Studies from WVU specializing in Public Relations, Sustainable Design, and Communication Studies. In May of 2018, Nicole earned her Master's degree in Urban Planning at Texas A&M with a specialization in Environmental Hazards

  • Drew Bucy

    Project Manager

    (304) 293-7003

    Drew Bucy is a Project Manager for the West Virginia Water Research Institute. In this role, she provides project and budget coordination as well as proposal management support across WRI’s portfolio of projects. Drew specializes in business development and communications and has worked in the federal contracting sphere across a wide variety of fields, including energy and environmental support, international development, and national security. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont and a Master’s from WVU.

  • Terry Polce

    Program Assistant II

    304-293-7041

    Terry has worked for West Virginia University for 26 years. She first began working at Extension Services in 1994, where she worked for Family, 4-H and Youth Development. She has been with the West Virginia Water Research Institute for 16 years. Terry’s role is Administrative support for numerous projects. In her spare time, she enjoys tanning at her best friend’s pool, going on cruises to exotic places and beaches, kayaking, walking, and spending time with her grandchildren. Terry also enjoys spending time with her lab/boxer mix, Elliott.

  • Sarah Cayton

    Project Manager

    304-293-7066

    Sarah Cayton is a Morgantown native and a graduate of West Virginia University. She earned a bachelors degree in Environmental Geoscience as well as a minor in Communications. Most recently Sarah was the Executive Director of Friends of Deckers Creek, a local non profit watershed group that is committed to the remediation of the Deckers Creek Watershed. She served FODC as an AmeriCorps VISTA and as the Water Remediation Project Manager before taking on the Executive Director position at FODC. Previously, she worked on a soil remediation project in Spelter, WV, cleaning up a community after contamination by a zinc smelting plant. Sarah servers on the board of the Morgantown Utility Board, and is a member of the Morgantown Green Team, an advisory committee to the City of Morgantown. She is very excited to be a part of the Water Research Institute and make an impact in her home community and across the state.

  • Jim Constant

    Critical Materials Program Director

    (304) 293-7009

    Jim is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mining Engineering. With extensive experience in the mining industry, Jim has worked on the design and installation of selenium reduction technologies for mine induced waters and biochemical reactors. Jim is the Critical Materials Program Director at WRI and leads our team in the recovering rare earth elements from acid mine drainage.

  • David Hoffman

    Critical Materials Scientist

    304-293-6894

    David is a recent graduate of Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA, where he obtained a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Chemical Engineering, a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and a minor in Mathematics. David is a Critical Materials Scientist at WRI and is responsible for the operations of the acid leaching and solvent extraction system to recover rare earth elements from acid mine drainage waste byproducts.

  • Rachel Pell

    Water Resource Specialist

    304-293-6894

    Rachel is a Water Resource Specialist for the West Virginia Water Research Institute. In this role, she provides general support for the coordination and implementation of WVWRI programs such as the Three Rivers QUEST (3RQ) REACH program and acid mine drainage programs. Her work includes conducting field sampling and assisting with outreach efforts. Rachel holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Penn State Behrend in Erie, Pa. Her recent experiences serving as an AmeriCorps member at Mountain Watershed Association (Laurel Highlands, PA) and Friends of Deckers Creek (Morgantown, WV) have inspired her to protect communities’ water resources. She hopes to accomplish just that through her work at WVWRI.