Eric Savaiano, Chairman of the Board & Fundraising Committee
Eric Savaiano has been close to Mountain TOP since he was a youth at East Heights United Methodist Church in Wichita, KS. He was a camper for 4 years, on staff for 3 years with the Youth and Adult ministries, a Spring intern, and is now serving his 2nd year on the Mountain TOP Board of Directors. Eric has an Bachelor of Science degree from NYU in Teaching English, 7-12 (2006) and a Master of Education degree from Vanderbilt in Community Development and Action (2012). He is currently a PENCIL Foundation Family Resource Center Director at Glencliff High School in Nashville, TN. With his wife, Mackenzie and their daughter, Remy, Eric enjoys video games, reading, and hanging out with his family.
The Rev. Edward B. Simmons was named Executive Director of Mountain T.O.P. in January 2006 after the retirement of founder and past Executive Director, George Bass. Simmons holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida, an MBA from the University of Houston, and received his pastoral training from Chandler School of Theology and Perkins School of Theology. He spent 15 years at Enron Corp. before entering the ministry in 1993. He is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. He previously served several churches in the Texas Annual Conference as the Minister Administration. Simmons had an 18 year affiliation with Mountain T.O.P as a camper prior to being appointed executive director. His call to full-time ministry in the United Methodist Church came while participating in a Mountain T.O.P. camp week. He has been married to his wife Glynn for over 30 years.
Julie came to Mountain T.O.P. in 2007 after serving in the Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts in Mississippi. At Mountain T.O.P, Julie is responsible for facilitating all programs within our various camps and ministries. She will also be the person primarily responsible for coordinating the ministry’s growing community development activities and in forming the new South Cumberland Community Development Partnership. Julie started out as a mechanical engineer, but migrated back over to the world of missions, a passion that began for her at Mountain T.O.P. as a youth.
Stephanie Carr is originally from Valparaiso, IN and currently lives in Nashville, TN. She is a teacher for Metro Nashville Public Schools where she teaches 8th grade Literacy. She got her undergrad from Ohio Northern University and her masters from Vanderbilt University. Stephanie was a Mountain T.O.P. camper from 1997-2000 and was on staff in 2001, 2004, and 2006. Things that make her happy are good books, driving stick shift, good kids, being outside, good coffee, McDonald’s coke, speaking German, Batman, her family, and two miniature dachshunds.
Dr. Fred Kaserman, Trustee & Fundraising Committee
Fred Kaserman was born and raised in Knoxville, TN. He graduated from the University of Tennessee. Fred was in the Air Force for three years in Okinawa, Japan. Fred went through Surgery Training and Plastic Surgery training at the University of South Carolina. Fred was a plastic surgeon for 34 years in Knoxville, TN. Now retired, he enjoys riding motorcycles, playing tennis, fly-fishing, skiing, and riding bicycles. Fred has been married to Dickie for 47 years. They have 3 grown children and 2 grand-daughters.
Steve Koelbl, Trustee & Secretary
Steve Koelbl (nick name Daddy Koelbl) was born in 1960 at Air Force Base in Rapid City, South Dakota. He currently lives in McMinnville, Tennessee with wife Mary Dillon Stubblefield Koelbl. They have two children – Jay Koelbl (27) and Jennifer Koelbl (22). Steve is a Dyno Quality Engineer for the Nissan Decherd, Tennessee power train facility. He has also previously worked as Senior Quality Engineer at Carrier Air Conditioning in Morrison, TN for 10 years. Steve has a BS Mechanical Engineering degree (Cum Laude) from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Hobbies when not enjoying a Mountain TOP function include: Habitat for Humanity of Warren County Home Builder (help build 20 homes since 2000), Beekeeping (1998-present) – life time member of Tennessee Beekeeping, member of Winchester Beekeeper Association and McMinnville Beekeeper Association, Tennessee certified beekeeping apiary inspector, and a beekeeping mentor. Steve also is a Military collector and a life time member of both Alabama and Tennessee Military Collector Associations Antique Car Collector and restorer. Other interests include: motorcycle riding (1998 Harley Davidson Road King), Master Gardener and Photography. Community activities include: Warren County Chamber of Commerce 2011 Volunteer of the Year, member of the First United Methodist Church and an assistant with the Methodist Youth Fellowship. An officer (President 2002-present), Building Co-Chair (2002-present) and Board of Directors member (2000-present) of Habitat for Humanity of Warren Co helping build 20 homes in Warren Co (2000-present). I enjoy working with Mountain TOP because I can work outside with the Mountain Top family members, community youth and also learn from and provide assistance to Grundy, Van Buren and Warren County families.
One thing I have learned over the years that I have been affiliated with Mountain T.O.P. is that the tasks of ministry, whatever they may be, are always so much more than what I am capable of dealing with. That being said, I came to the realization early on that it is not the task itself but that I accept the responsibility for it and trust God to equip me for what He wants to accomplish through me. What I must do is give Him all I have and it always is enough. This is my attitude in the way I approach my responsibilities on the Board.
There are three important things in my life; Family, Church and Mountain TOP. I went to High School in Manhasset, Long Island graduating in 1954 and to college at West Virginia Wesleyan graduating in 1958. I went into the Army in late 1958 and served 18 months in Germany. While in Germany I married Deeda on June 11, 1960 and we now have 3 sons; Jay in Birmingham, AL, Mike in Long Beach, CA, and Tom in Murfreesboro, TN. Reed has 4 grandchildren. I retired in 1991 from State Farm Life Insurance after 28 years of work. I started coming to Mountain TOP in 1980 driving youth from our church in Winter Haven, FL. In 1990 I started doing AIM and after retirement the trips became more frequent. I was project manager along with Deeda to get Baker Mountain built, to get the Friends cabin built and to do the renovation of Peabody. We purchased property here in Coalmont, TN in 2006 and officially moved in March 2008.
Doug Warner first came to Mountain T.O.P. in 1987 and has only missed three years since then. He now comes several times a year and is proud to support the mission of what he believes is a truly unique program. His wife and two daughters have also been very involved. Doug was born in West Virginia and attended Marshall University in Huntington. He began his career in Cincinnati, OH at Procter & Gamble and soon after he and his wife moved to Germantown, TN where they still live today. He had a successful career in sales and logistics and retired from Pfizer, Inc. in 2010. He has always been active in his community and church, serving on many committees and boards, but his work with Habitat for Humanity and Mountain T.O.P. has been by far the most rewarding and consistent.
Phil Swords was born and raised in Northeast Mississippi. He graduated from the University of Mississippi. Phil has been married to Deborah Montgomery Swords for 31 years. They both have worked for BancorpSouth Bank in Tupelo, MS for over 35 years. Phil is honored to serve as a deacon at Harrisburg Baptist Church in Tupelo. He loves HBC’s “72 Hours Of Service” which takes us outside of our church campus to serve others in our city and county. HBC introduced us to Mountain Top in 2005 while serving in the Singles Department. Debbie was hooked immediately, but it took Phil a couple years to warm up to the hard work and long hours. After one hard, tough day, while in the sharing session that evening with his brain in neutral and his mouth in overdrive he commented “I won’t work this hard for money!” The singles group suggested this statement may be fitting to put on a tee shirt. He hopes someday to attend all five AIM Fall Weekends. Phil is also a member of the Tupelo Luncheon Civitan Club where he serves on the board of directors and helps with various community service projects.
Mitch Lister was born and raised in the Smokey Mountains of East Tennessee. He attended Tennessee Tech University out of High School to play Varsity Soccer. He transferred and graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Marketing. While attended UT, he went to work for the Knoxville Utilities Board and began a career in the Utility Industry that began in 1985. He married his wife in 1986, Carrie, soon after graduation from UT. He started working with youth and beginning one of his passions of Youth Ministry in 1987 with Trinity United Methodist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. It was at Trinity, that he was introduced to Mountain TOP. He moved with his wife from Trinity to Fountain City United Methodist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee and continued his service with Youth Ministry. He and his wife welcomed their son, Alex, in 1994 while members of Fountain City. Alex is today is attending the University of Georgia. In 1999, he received a job offer and moved his family to Atlanta, Georgia. He accepted a position and still is employed today with AGL Resources Inc., the parent Company for several Gas Distribution Companies across the United States. His family joined Cannon United Methodist Church in 1999 and he continued his work in Youth Ministry. He rekindled his relationship with Mountain TOP upon moving to Cannon. He has participated in several events through the years and now continues his work with Mountain TOP as a Board Member. Besides his family, his love for Youth Ministry and his love for Mountain TOP, he officiates football at several different levels. He has been officiating since 1988.
I first participated as an AIM camper in 1998. I sold my electric business in 2000 and retired. During the summers of 2001 and 2002 my wife, Bobbie, and I were on the AIM staff. We moved from Ohio to Tennessee in 2003 and shortly after that I was elected to the Mountain T. O. P. board of directors. During that time on the board I was involved in selecting Ed as the executive director. Was also board chairman from 2007 – 2009.
I’m a wife, mother and pastor! I’ve had the amazing privilege of walking alongside persons in a variety of ministry settings. From being able to walk with persons in the Cumberland Plateau to preaching to those on vacation in the vast beauty of Yellowstone National Park. This life of following Christ has taken me from the south to the plains of Michigan and Ohio. Thankfully for the past 13.5 years the journey has included the life of being wife to joke-filled, sci-fi loving Luke Diamond. We love hiking and just being in the mountains (which is an added bonus now that I have the honor of serving as the pastor of Morton Memorial UMC in the beautiful scenery of Monteagle, TN)! I also have the privilege of being mom to Emma our crazy, creative, fun loving 5th grader. My life is full and crazy and yet one in which I am trying to drink from the well of our Creator’s love and goodness.
Ryan Shostak is from Marietta, Georgia and has participated in Mountain T.O.P. as a youth camper, a staff member, and as an adult camper. He served on staff with Mountain T.O.P. as a Ministry Coordinator is 2007, a Program Manager in 2008, and as a Director in 2009. Ryan attended the University of West Georgia where he received a degree in Psychology with a minor in Creative Writing. Currently Ryan serves as the youth minister at Carrollton First United Methodist Church in Carrollton, Georgia where he oversees Solid Rock Youth Ministries. Ryan met his wife, Casey while serving on staff at Camp Glisson in Dahlonega, Georgia. In November of 2014 they welcomed Tucker to their family. Ryan and Casey enjoy spending time outside hiking, camping, and traveling.
Keri grew up in St. Cloud, Minnesota. She studied Social Work at Bemidji State University in northern Minnesota. Keri transplanted to Nashville after completing her sixth year on Mountain TOP summer staff. Her work in Nashville was with children and youth in foster care or at risk of foster care. She worked in the child welfare field for seven years before she started working on staff at Hillcrest United Methodist in South Nashville in 2010. Keri is currently on staff at Hillcrest serving as the Director of Children and Youth ministries. Keri loves music, hiking, and most of all, hanging out with Helen, her toddler.
J is the Director of Business Development Power USAC with over 29 years of experience in the power industry. This experience includes management, leadership, and team building skills with expertise in sales and marketing, customer service, budgeting, utility process development, process optimization, ERP/SAP process installation, and utility regulations. J is an executive leader with a broad knowledge of operation and maintenance for residential, commercial, and industrial services. He has managed business operations is Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and Louisiana and was responsible for the biding and construction of Transmission, Substation, and Distribution Facilities. J and his family have been supporters and participants in both YSM and AIM for the past 25 years. J has been on the MTOP Board for 5 years and has served as the Chair for the Human Resource Committee. J enjoys spending time with his wife, church and golf. J holds a Bachelors of Business Administration and Management from Texas A&M University.
John has been involved with Mountain T.O.P. since his time participating in YSM as a youth with City Road UMC in Madison, TN. He was on the YSM summer staff for two summers as a Ministry Coordinator and Field Manager. He also spent a summer and spring/summer as a Ministry Intern with the Support Staff and has been an AIM Fall Weekend participant for the past several years. John has a Bachelors of Arts degree in Religious Studies with minors in Interactive Media and Computer Science, and a Masters of Science degree in Appropriate Technology and Environmental Design. John is currently the Operations Manager for LightWave Solar Electric in Nashville, TN where he leads Tennessee’s most experienced solar electric (PV) design and installation team. When not at work or at a MTOP event, John enjoys relaxing with a good cup of coffee, reading, seeing live music, and exploring the natural beauty to be found around middle TN with his wife Liz.
Emily Chadwick, Facilities Committee
Tony is from Summertown, Tennessee . After serving in the National Guard where he learned his trade in electronics, he worked in the Office Equipment Business in sales and service for 28 years before retiring in 2009. He has been on many mission trips to Guatemala, Sager Brown in Louisiana , in addition to Mt Top. Tony said Mt Top is very special to me. My father in law Harry Dedad Williams started coming to Mt Top in the 80s. He came approximately 18 times before passing away in 1996. Ray, his son has been many times as well as his Wife of 33 years who passed away in a car accident in 2008. Tony enjoys his retirement by picking (like American Pickers) when he’s not at Mt Top but mostly enjoys spending time with his son Ray, daughter in law Tiff , grands, Amy Carson , Jancin and Isaac. He also had daughter Amy who passed away with cancer in 1997 at 14.
John has been a member of St Thomas Episcopal Church in Terrace Park, Ohio for 25 plus years. He currently serve as an usher and teach teacher for the 3-6 year old Sunday School class. He has been involved with Mountain TOP through St. Thomas for the last 10 years and have been the church contact for our Youth Summer Ministry program for 5 years. John has been involved with Fall AIM and Friends Weekend for the last four years and is an member of the Builder’s Club. John graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, with degrees in Chemical Engineering. He worked for Chevron for 26 years in the variety of technical, operational, and management roles in California and Ohio. He has worked with AECOM for the last 10 years as an environmental consultant, and is a Certified Professional in Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program. He is currently serving on the Board, the Relocation Task Force, and the Development Committee for Inter Parish Ministry, a choice food and clothing pantry in Newtown Ohio that was started by St. Thomas and 3 other local churches 50 years ago to serve people in several counties in Southwest Ohio.
John is currently a co-owner of McCarty Granberry Engineering. They specialize in development and municipal engineering. He previously serves as a project manager at Fisher & Arnold in Memphis. He is a lifelong member of Collierville United Methodist Church where he currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and the Vice Chair of the current Facilities Planning Committee. He is also active in the Collierville community by being the Vice Chair of the Design Review Commission. John has participated with Mountain T.O.P. since 1996. He served as a field coordinator and manager in 1999, 2000, and 2002. He returned as an adult YSM camper in 2005. He continues to participate with the construction portion of Staff Training and volunteering at Friends Weekend.