In late January Cara Bergschneider left LRRD to work for the NRCS in southern Illinois. We miss her very much. She's one of a kind.
When I decided to expand LRRD from a home-based business in 2007, I knew I'd need an extraordinary person to handle a broad range of science and marketing work. We advertised nationally and the applications poured in. Cara went around the system and called me on a Sunday at home. She said her husband had insisted she wait a full day after seeing the advert to call me so she could calm down. She and Devin were in upstate New York, but had decided only a few weeks before to make Carbondale their home, where they both had roots.
She was indeed excited, and her skills were a wonderful fit. After seeing her accomplishments and hearing incredible reviews from her references I hired her sight unseen.
Cara did so many things to build LRRD in what ended up being very tough economic times. She's very good at grant research, and an incredibly bright, happy, and positive person. She understood and believed in our mission - education, science, and conservation - and conveyed that to clients and collaborators.
Cara is universally admired.
She worked on many technical issues; we spent months figuring out the right colors for our Em4 media. And logistical problems; how to ship our Em2 models, how to get the best deal on two thousand pounds of plastic modeling media. Cara talked with hundreds of clients and worked to help them get grants to buy our models.
She spent hundreds of hours working on an NSF CCLI grant we continue to pursue; this year with 17 collaborators on ten campuses. If we're finally funded this year it will be thanks to her hard work, there is no way I could have done it without her.
Cara joined us in October 2008, just as the US economy began the decline to the fall 2009 market crash. Our sales, dependent on tax revenues, plummeted. It was a hard time, I was overwhelmed and lacked the business and leadership skills we needed. We didn't get to do the fun and rewarding stuff and instead spent a lot of time marketing; grant writing, and just staying afloat. Cara rose to the challenge, but this was not what she signed up for--she's a soils and wetlands scientist, not a down market salesperson. I thank her for enduring and helping LRRD through those hard times.
I miss Cara very much, but am grateful she worked with us for two years while LRRD was growing. Cara and her husband Devin, with their beautiful children Shawnee and Trillium, are doing great things in southern Illinois, including organic farming, music, and sustainable living.
Thank you Cara, you were instrumental in building LRRD, and I wish you the best.