Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors donate their time to the Texas Cave Management Association because they believe strongly in our mission and understand the importance of protecting caves and karst resources. They are well-established in the caving community and have numerous ties to other conservation agencies and nonprofits. Some have decades of experience serving on the boards of these conservancies. Our board members also come from a wide range of backgrounds, ensuring that we have a diverse culture and wide knowledge base to achieve our goals.

Interested in becoming a TCMA board member?

The TCMA Board of Directors is open to anyone who has a passion for conservation. At times, we may have a need for specific qualifications, such as land trust experience or nonprofit fundraising. However, as long as you have an interest in caving and cave conservation, you are welcome to apply.

Nominees are selected each summer, and elections are held in the fall. Directors are elected for three-year terms, and can serve for two terms in a row. After the second term, directors must take a mandatory break before running again. Officers must be board members and are elected by the board at the beginning of each year.

Some of the responsibilities of TCMA directors include:

  • attending at least 50% of board and member meetings,
  • representing TCMA in the community, such as presenting programs to civic or business groups,
  • participating in fundraising through events, presentations, grant writing, mailings, etc., and
  • participating in TCMA’s annual evaluation and planning efforts.

If you want to become part of the group that actively protects our Texas cave resources, and help to direct and shape our conservation efforts, please contact any of the directors below for more information about becoming a TCMA board member.

Officers

President

Joe Ranzau

Jan 2024 – Dec 2026
president@tcmacaves.org

In addition to serving previous terms as a director and an officer of TCMA, Joe Ranzau has also been an officer of the Texas Speleological Association and the Bexar Grotto.

Mr. Ranzau’s caving life started 19 years ago as a tour guide at Cave Without a Name. Some cavers from the Bexar Grotto would come out to go play in the stream passage. Mr. Ranzau wanted to know what was around the corner, so he joined in! From there, he quickly joined in the fun around the state at various projects like Kickapoo Caverns and Colorado Bend. Pat Copeland and other cavers lit a passion in him for cave conservation and restoration. This passion has taken him caving in many special places around the US, Mexico, and Belize.

Vice President

Jim Kennedy

Jan. 2021Dec. 2026
vicepresident@tcmacaves.org

Jim “Crash” Kennedy began caving in 1973 as a Boy Scout, and soon learned about vertical caving, cave conservation, cave rescue, and cave mapping as a member of the Nittany Grotto.  After graduating with degrees in Biology and Environmental Education, he moved to Texas in 1995 to take a position with Bat Conservation International.  There, he worked for 18 years as Cave Resources Specialist, studying and protecting caves across the US and other countries.  In 2013 he left to found his own small consulting firm, Kennedy Above/Under Ground, LLC.  He currently specializes in the design and construction of particularly large and difficult cave and mine gating projects across the United States. His background and experience in cave microclimates and the restoration of cave ecosystems altered by human actions makes him one of the top cave conservationists in the country.

In Texas, Jim was quickly appointed to a position on the Texas Speleological Survey Board, and has since served as Editor (Vice President), Secretary, and Office Manager.  He has also served as both Chair, Vice-Chair, and Editor of the Texas Speleological Association at various times, and has organized three TSA Spring Conventions.  He is currently the Chief Organizer and Head Cat Herder for the Texas Cavers Reunion.  He also served two terms previously as a TCMA Board Member, and was Preserves Committee Chair during his entire tenure.  And he is on the Advisory Board of the Association for Mexican Cave Studies.

Nationally, Jim is a Fellow and Life Member of the National Speleological Society, and is the former Bat Conservation Liaison for the NSS.  Currently, he is the NSS representative and Chair of the steering Committee for the National Cave and Karst Management Symposium.  He is also chairing the organizing committee for the 2021 NCKMS Symposium which will be taking place in San Marcos, TX on 15 December.  Jim has contributed a chapter to the excellent NSS book, Cave Conservation and Restoration, and has written numerous other articles throughout the years.  He is the former project coordinator for the TSA’s Colorado Bend State Park Karst Research Project, is coordinating the ongoing survey of TCMA’s Punkin Cave, and has run 17 mapping expeditions (so far) to the Laguna de Sánchez area in northern Mexico.  

Jim’s caving philosophy is that identification and protection of the cave resources require good data and careful planning.  You can’t protect what you don’t know.  And people don’t care about things they don’t understand.  It was hard to find a photo to include with this bio because he is usually the one on the other side of the camera, doing all the background organizing for trips.  He enjoys surveying and is more than happy to take new cavers along to teach them the tricks.  Jim eats, sleeps, and breathes caves, much to the chagrin of his wife.  But if elected, you can be assured that he will do the best job possible in managing TCMA’s caves.

Secretary

Rob Bisset

Jan. 2022–Dec. 2026
secretary@tcmacaves.org

Rob Bisset has been actively involved in the Texas caving community since the mid 1980’s. He resides in San Antonio and has held many officer positions over the years with the Bexar Grotto. In addition, Rob has been chairman and vice chairman of the Texas Speleological Association (TSA).

He first joined TCMA in or around 1989. With a few lapsed years here and there, he has been active ever since. He is currently acting as assistant manager of the TCMA Deep & Punkin Caves Preserve (and loves it). This is his first term as board member and he is looking forward to taking on additional roles and responsibilities within the organization.

Treasurer

Ben Dau

Jan. 2021Dec. 2026
treasurer@tcmacaves.org

Ben Dau has been an avid outdoors enthusiast since his parents put him on cross country skis before he was two. Ever since then, he’s been hooked and spends most of his free time enjoying the outdoors. He is an avid rock climber, canyoneer, and mountaineer. Ben eventually got his caving toes wet ridgewalking while living in New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness. Since moving to the Houston area four years ago, Ben has been active in the Texas caving community. He has volunteered at various TCMA properties, and participated in various tank haul projects. Ben has also been active in the national and international caving communities by participating in exploration projects in Montana and Mexico. Ben is a strong advocate for managing both cave recreation and nature conservation. While not traveling for caving, Ben volunteers with the Houston-Galveston Area Council, cleaning trash from local beaches and bayous.

Directors

Michael Cicherski

Jan. 2020-Dec. 2024
michael.cicherski@tcmacaves.org

Michael Cicherski has been caving regularly since the late 80’s. He is a Fellow of the National Speleological Society and a recipient of the National Speleological Society Certificate of Merit.

Michael has participated in the Honey Creek Cave, Powell’s Cave, and other projects here in Texas, as well as projects in Montana, Kentucky and in Mexico. Michael continues to be an active caver, and is the Co-Project Director in two on-going efforts in the Texas Hill Country. 

Michael has previously held positions of leadership in the TSA, TCMA and in The 15th International Congress of Speleology. As Treasurer, he brought a high level of professional bookkeeping standards to each of the organizations, and was instrumental in helping the Congress turn a profit in 2009. 

In addition to the role of Treasurer, Michael has served on various TCMA Committees, assisted on various projects in each of the organizations, and briefly served as a Preserve Manager for Ezells Cave.

Eléonore le Corvaisier

Eléonore Le Corvaisier joined the Underground Texas Grotto in late 2018 and became an active caver in 2020, when she was elected as UTG Vice Chair. There, she dedicated her time and efforts towards programming a wide variety of speakers, developing a vertical competency curriculum and offering regular training sessions.

She joined the TCMA as assistant preserve manager for Godwin Ranch in 2021 and became the preserve manager in early 2023.

As such, she has led dozens of maintenance, digging, and outreach efforts to increase the visibility and relevance of the preserve to its Georgetown neighbors and within the Central Texas caving community.

As a TCMA member, she has participated in several survey trips to UCVC and volunteered with various digging and maintenance projects at other TCMA preserves around Austin.

Eager to get a better grasp of the challenges facing cave ecosystems, she has joined many geological assessments and faunal surveys in Travis, Williamson and Hays Co caves both as a volunteer and paid contractor working for the City of Austin or other small environmental consulting firms.

She believes in the importance of managing our preserves for all their natural resources (plants, wildlife etc) and of creating fruitful connections with like-minded organizations such as the Master Naturalists, the Audubon Societies, Land Trusts and other Land Conservancies.

Jenna Crabtree

Apr. 2023–Dec. 2024
jenna.crabtree@tcmacaves.org

My first memory of a cave was visiting Carlsbad Caverns National Park with my Dad and Grandma. I was left spellbound; cave maps and pictures littered my walls throughout my adolescence. I came to Texas A&M very much directionless, but after a re-introduction to my love of nature, I found the Aggie Speleological Society. I was thrilled to find people who were so welcoming and so excited about exploring the underground. I continued with my passion after accepting the opportunity to be the Night Skies Intern at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Outside of my night time obligations, I worked under Erin Lynch and alongside knowledgeable park employees to grow as a caver for roughly five months. I was fortunate enough to expand my understanding of cave and karst management, caving techniques, biology, teamwork, and my love for the resources during this time. Now, as the current Secretary of the Aggie Grotto, I have brought that knowledge back to the Aggies to help in our goals of producing well-rounded cavers. Although I haven’t been caving very long and I’m low on trips around the sun, my passion for caving and commitment to contributing to the caving community is steadfast. The lessons in research and stewardship of a cave at Carlsbad combined with my opportunity to mentor and learn with the Aggie Grotto has given me happiness beyond measure. My hopes are to continue to learn and grow as a caver while working to give back to the community that has blessed me ten times over.

Bree Jameson

Jan. 2023-Dec. 2025
bree.jameson@tcmacaves.org

Bio coming soon!

Rachael Lindsey

Jan. 2024-Dec. 2026
rachael.lindsey@tcmacaves.org

Rachael Lindsey is a born researcher and explorer who spent her formative years chasing wildlife in the limestone hills and hollers of Tennessee and Kentucky (often barefoot).  Her feral-esque childhood instilled a deep-rooted passion for the outdoors with a special affinity for forests, water, and caves. Eventually, she turned her love of nature into her life’s work, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries management with a forestry minor from the University of Tennessee, followed by a master’s degree in wildlife management from Texas Tech University. Rachael is the Director of Science and Stewardship at Hill Country Conservancy and serves on the Executive and Steering Committees for the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network, chairing the DEIJ and climate change committees. Rachael manages Pecan Springs Karst Preserve for Hill Country Conservancy and leads HCC’s Science Advisory Council. Rachael has 20 years of ecological and land protection expertise with research, management, and monitoring on more than 100,000 acres of land including an active role in the creation of more than 40,000 acres of Hill Country conservation easements. Throughout her career, she has prioritized connecting people and communities to nature.  Rachael is a poet, naturalist, spiritualist, and Lorax—she speaks for the trees.

Scott Nicholson

Apr. 2023–Dec. 2024
scott.nicholson@tcmacaves.org

Scott Nicholson grew up in Austin and was introduced to the outdoors with family camping trips and road trips focused on rock hunting, fishing, and walking creek beds with his rockhound Dad. A lifetime avid backpacker, as a young adult Scott spent hundreds of days backpacking Big Bend, NM, CO, ID and introduced his two sons to backpacking when they were very young; family backpacking trips were a fixture of Thanksgiving and Spring Break for many many years. Scott has organized and led several trekking expeditions in Peru and has visited Machu Picchu seven times so far.

Scott was a very active caver in the mid-1980’s through the mid-1990’s, dozens of TX caves, Precipico twice, Montemeyor, Carizal, and many other caves but took a sabbatical to be a full-time baseball dad for his youngest son who played baseball up through 4 seasons of college baseball. Once baseball was over in 2019 Scott dusted off his caving (and got geared up again!) just in time for COVID to shut down caving for awhile. He has participated in a cave rescue seminar and is a NOLS Wilderness First Responder as well. Scott also was one of the sponsors of the 2021 NCKMS Symposium held in San Marcos and is a generous donor to environmental fundraising efforts.

Scott was a paramedic and nurse before transitioning to his current real estate brokerage career; he owns and operates a boutique commercial real estate firm specializing in tenant representation in commercial leases of retail. Office, and industrial spaces in Austin, DFW, and Houston. He also represents several regional environmental groups (San Marcos River Foundation, Great Springs Project, Save our Springs) in a decades-long project to acquire large tracts of Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone. In this capacity Scott has been the point person for the acquisition of 2,000+ acres of recharge zone land around San Marcos. In this capacity also, Scott has leveraged his landlowner relationships to assist in several scientific projects involving sampling springs/wells for eDNA and chronicling locations of undocumented springs. As a result of his conservation and volunteer activities Scott was named the San Marcos River Foundation “Friend of the San Marcos River” for 2021.

Scott has dedicated his life to environmental conservation and has raised two sons who are strong advocates for stewardship; one son is raising two small sons in Peru who are learning to be conservationists and one son is currently finishing his degree in Geography/GIS at TSU and is committed to a career in Water Conservation/Stewardship….passing the torch to the next two generations.

Ethan Perrine

Jan. 2022–Dec. 2024
ethan.perrine@tcmacaves.org

I am the current president of the UT Grotto, TSS Director, TCMA preserve manager, and I am currently employed. I am a cave restoration contractor and employee of 4Caves Institute. I spend time on and off the clock finding, restoring, researching, and managing caves in central Texas.

I’d like to contribute to the TCMA’s efforts in fundraising, education, and cave preservation. I’d like to use the Williamson county Cave Days of years past as an example for familiarizing the local public about their neighborhood caves in exchange for donations. As its new preserve manager, I intend to do this with Avery Ranch, and I’d like to encourage more focus on the caves in the urban corridor, especially those that may be offered freely by their respective owners. The TCMA manages caves, and I believe caves should be judged on their potential value underneath the ground, not on the size or utility of the property above.

 

Cruz St. Peter

Jan. 2019–Dec. 2024
cruz.stpeter@tcmacaves.org

Cruz St. Peter has been an active caver and diligent member of the caving community for nearly a decade. Cruz first began caving in 2010 as a member of the Aggie Speleological Society at Texas A&M University. He quickly fell in love with the underground world and the wonderful people he befriended in the caving community. Cruz joined the Greater Houston Grotto in 2015, where he currently serves as Vice-Chair. He is an active caver who has participated in several expedition projects, including Sistema Chevé in Oaxaca, Proyecto Espeleológico Purificación in Nuevo León, and the Silvertip System in Montana. Additionally, he has volunteered a significant amount of his free time toward cave wildlife conservation; assisting with several White-nose syndrome research projects in Texas and Northern Mexico. His most recent conservation effort involved building a cave gate in Tennessee, to protect a maternal colony of endangered bats.

Cruz’s track record of leadership and commitment to cave conservation make him a qualified candidate to join the TCMA board. Mr. St. Peter currently serves on the Board of Directors for a bio-pharmaceutical company, Blood and Plasma Research, Inc. His background in environmental science and his professional life in industry research have honed his skills in networking, technical writing, and navigating funding opportunities. This skill set will be of huge benefit to TCMA when searching for external funding and drafting grant proposals.

TCMA has a large presence in San Antonio and Austin, but not much in areas of eastern Texas. As a member of the TCMA board, Cruz would work hard to educate the Houston community on cave conservation and safe caving practices, expanding TCMA’s visibility beyond the Texas Hill Country.

Tobin Simpson

Jan. 2024-Dec. 2026
tobin.simpson@tcmacaves.org

Bio coming soon!

Drew Thompson

Jan. 2024-Dec. 2026 drew.thompson@tcmacaves.org

Drew Thompson has been an active member in the TCMA since 2005 and a board member since 2016.

He currently is employed by the City of Austin’s Wildlands Conservation Division as a Biologist specializing in cave sciences. Through this work, he monitors and manages Balcones Canyonland Preserve caves and other City of Austin properties.

Mr. Thompson has been a part of numerous caving projects in the US and Mexico, was president of the UT Grotto of Austin 2016-2017, holds level one certification from NCRC, and is property manager for the Lost Oasis Cave Preserve.

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