Anne Chesky Smith
Anne Chesky Smith, Director of the Swannanoa Valley Museum, grew up off Riceville Rd. She received a BS in Environmental Studies from UNC-Asheville and an MA in Appalachian Studies from Appalachian State University. Anne produced a video and published a book on the history of the Riceville area working with the Scenic Riceville Advocates group. As a FANS board member, she hopes to continue to collect and preserve the vibrant history of the Swannanoa Valley.
Anne currently teaches a class at Warren Wilson College called, “Community Connections in the Swannanoa Valley,” that informs students about the past, present, and future of the area. In her free time, Anne coaches a 12U fastpitch softball team, bikes around town, and hikes through the mountains with her husband and her dog.
Susan Brasfield, Treasurer
Susan graduated from Lees McRae College and received a certificate in healthcare management from UNC-A. She has a background in medical office management, and is currently a home-based medical transcriptionist.
Susan had lived in the area for 40 years until marrying and moving away in 1994. She and her husband moved back in 2011 to be closer to family. Susan has volunteered with Meals on Wheels in several cities, and will begin volunteer work with the Literacy Council of Buncombe County program. She enjoys bike riding, walking her dog, working out, reading, cooking, knitting and spending time with friends and family.
Although her family roots are in Madison County, Cindy has been a Valley resident since 1982. The strong Valley connections are here, going back to when her mother attended Warren Wilson when it was Farm School. Cindy is married to John Davidson, whose great uncle taught woodworking at Farm School. John also went to Warren Wilson College and is originally from Swannanoa.
They own and operate Davidson Homes, Inc. in Swannanoa, which provides services to individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities. This is their 14th year in business. Cindy enjoys physical fitness activities and recently started taking piano lessons.
Valerie has lived in the Swannanoa Valley since 1997, and in the Grovemont community since 2007. She graduated from Wayne State University’s school of journalism in Michigan, and was a reporter for various news agencies, including the Tampa Bay Times in Florida. She switched career paths, and became public relations director for one of the country’s largest healthcare systems before moving to North Carolina.
Valerie now helps area businesses develop marketing and event plans. She specializes in writing content-rich web site copy and collaborates on web design. She coordinated Asheville-Buncombe County’s first county-wide VISION dialogues; is a past member of the Mill Around the Village Festival Committee; and enjoys hiking, biking, fishing, music of all types and road trips.
Beth, originally from Michigan, moved to WNC upon completion of her B.S. degree from Florida State University. She started her career working as the Event Planner for YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, where she stayed on for six years and met and married her husband, Andrew.
Since February of 2013, Beth has been employed with the Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau/Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, where she coordinates familiarization tours for meeting planners and handles the sales of the Asheville area wedding market.
Beth enjoys spending time with her nearby family, camping, and raising her sweet flock of backyard chickens. She and her husband purchased their first home in Swannanoa in 2013 and love being a part of the valley community.
A North Carolina native, Melanie has lived in the Swannanoa Valley since 1998. In 2005, she earned an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Professional Crafts Fiber from Haywood Community College. She teaches weaving at Warren Wilson College where, in 2009, she revived the college’s Fiber Arts Work Crew, part of the weaving tradition history of the college.
When not immersed in weaving, sewing or some other kind of fiber art, Melanie, her husband and two children enjoy gardening and taking in all the beauty of our mountain landscape. Melanie is passionate about the Swannanoa Valley’s history, land and cultural heritage, and the “potential for collaboration with this wonderful community of people who call this river valley home,” she says.
Katherine decided to join in FANS’ efforts when she learned of the organization’s mission to work for a strong and vibrant Swannanoa, her happily adopted home as of 2011. She was drawn to this area largely because of the many opportunities for enjoying biking, kayaking, hiking, and other outdoor pursuits.
She is particularly interested in environmental issues in the Swannanoa Valley, believing that, among other things, the development of connected greenways in the valley will enhance quality of life here. She also serves on the board of Friends of Connect Buncombe, a nonprofit whose purpose is to “make greenways happen” across the county.
A retired attorney who now works as a realtor with Town and Mountain Realty, Katherine hopes to use the skills developed in those professions to advocate for greenways, as well as good stewardship of the Swannanoa River and of our valley’s many other natural assets.
Betsy has been a development officer for Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity since 2007. Her job is to seek, foster and maintain relationships with Habitat house or project sponsors. Before that, she worked for nearly 25 years in the field of domestic violence (DV). Most recently, she was the Program Coordinator for a transitional housing program for DV survivors. She was also a counselor at Helpmate, Asheville’s DV program.
Betsy lives in the Bee Tree Forest community, where she enjoys a long walk or run along the Swannanoa River, a steep hike up Watch Knob and the Four Brothers, or a beautiful bike ride – all by simply walking out her front door. Besides those activities, Betsy enjoys fly fishing, weightlifting, volunteering on Habitat construction sites, and listening to audiobooks.
Andrew and his wife, Mary Anna, enjoy the Swannanoa community, and dream of its potential as a place to live, enjoy and do business. Andrew is a professional development officer and Mary Anna is a substitute teacher in Buncombe County. Andrew is a graduate of Covenant College and the University of Iowa. Both have spent their careers in education, including 30 years at a boarding school in Iowa.
They moved here in 2011. Andrew and Mary Anna have five adult children, three of whom are married, and one grandson. Andrew says their home has always emphasized music, so both Mary Anna and Andrew are members of their church choir. “I also love carpentry and building things,” he says, “because then I can see what I’m getting done.”
Jennifer and her husband, David Mulder, have lived in Swannanoa for the past 11 years. Jennifer attended the University of Texas at Austin and later earned her Master of Science in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, CO. She has been practicing acupuncture for the past 13 years. Jennifer and David chose the Swannanoa Valley as home because of its abundant natural beauty and their love of the outdoors, hiking and spending time in nature. David is a chef at the Grove Park Inn, and they have two children ages five and nine.
Jennifer is a proponent of the “Smart Growth” concept as a tool for building communities that are economically prosperous, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable. She is interested in improving quality of life by advocating for affordable housing, greenways and sidewalks, beautification, and a continued revitalization of the downtown area. Jennifer enjoys travel, has an interest in backyard homesteading, and is a beekeeper and avid gardener.
Elizabeth is a newcomer to Swannanoa, having moved to the area in February, 2017 from the east coast of NC. She grew up in the woods of Tennessee, and was looking for more variety in the seasons – so Swannanoa was a perfect place to hang her hat. Elizabeth has an accounting and office management background, and has also worked as a personal assistant. She enjoys reading, spending time in her yard, and hiking and exploring with her dog.
DELETED from “Swannanoa Organizations” page:
Swannanoa Business Association
P.O. Box 1124
Swannanoa Heritage Exchange
Swannanoa River Greenways Committee
3 rd Thursdays, 5 PM, Swannanoa Library
Sunday Saints – FBC of Swannanoa
202 Park Street