Tony Ruffing, Chair -Tony grew up in Republic, Ohio, a rural town in North Central Ohio about half an hour south of Lake Erie. Growing up in rural America blessed Tony with the opportunity to experience the outdoors by working the land and recreating on it. From early ages of hunting rabbits and raccoons with his father and early deer hunting with his uncle, he knew the outdoors was going to be his first love and a lasting endeavor. Growing up his passions grew from hunting small game behind his parent’s home to traveling the state in search of whitetails, turkeys and waterfowl. But all this comes at a cost, and none of it would be possible without our public lands. As a residential contractor, and a cattle farmer, Tony saw and recognized a need for our public lands for our responsible timber harvests and for a healthy competitive beef market.
Jonathan Ingram, Co-Chair -Jonathan is an at-large board member out of Cincinnati, Ohio. He grew up in southern Illinois and spent his childhood running the bluffs and bottoms of the Mississippi River and Shawnee National Forest. Eventually he latched on to an Ohio girl and in 2005 he traded the Mississippi for the Ohio. Jon earns a living providing financial and operations consulting to city and county governments and spends his free time in the woods or on the water. He is a middling hunter and a terrible fisherman, but his enthusiasm is notable. Jon has two young children, Hannah and Oscar, who remind him every day that he owes them a love of the woods. He hopes his work with BHA will help fulfill that debt.
Nathan Voris, Board of Directors - Nathan is a native Ohioan, who returned to the Buckeye state in 2016 after more than a decade away. He is a husband and father of two young boys, who together spend as much time as possible in our public lands and waters. Nathan is a focused river fisherman and a hunting generalist, chasing whatever is in season, often with very little success.
Brandon Skiver, Treasurer -Brandon grew up in Lima Ohio and currently resides in Cardington Ohio with his wife Krista, daughter Ainsley, two dogs and cat. Brandon is a Major in the U.S. Army and serves as a Brigade Logistics Officer. He is an avid outdoorsman who grew up hunting primarily private lands. However, it was in 2015 when he made his first trip out west for an Elk Hunt that he realized something must be done to stand up for our public lands. Brandon is engaged with calling and writing to his local politicians expressing his voice in support of public lands. It is Brandon’s goal to ensure that the same public lands we have today will be around for his grandchildren and grandchildren’s children. The photo of Brandon is when he finished his first 50K Trail Race in May 2017 at Delaware State Park in Ohio.
Jayson DiGangi, Board of Directors -Growing up in Southern Michigan, one of Jayson’s earliest memories is being taught how to hunt and fish. All his life, Jayson has been passionate for hunting and fishing year-round. Whether it be a warm, sunny day out on the lake or -20 below on a frozen piece of pond, Jayson is known to be outdoors. He is often found chasing squirrels and whitetails, too, each time hoping to harvest some of our country’s best natural resources.
Since moving to Ohio in 2014, Jayson exclusively uses public lands for his only access to the great outdoors for his hunting and fishing capabilities. This is where his interest in “keeping public lands public” began. Jayson is devoted to help secure the right of keeping public access maintained for all future generations to continue to enjoy and grow their passion to become a avid hunter and fisherman. Jayson is proud to help bring a BHA Chapter to the great state of Ohio.
Always a adrenaline chaser, Jayson has been a Public Safety Sector for the past 10 years as a Firefighter, and Emergency Medical Technician. Today, Jayson is honored to be a emergency medical dispatcher, helping those in need. Jayson resides in Southern Ohio with his other passion in life, his wife Brandy and their four-legged family members.
Tim Rogers, Board of Directors -Tim lives in Circleville Ohio with his wife Deb, daughter Laurel, and their German Shorthair named Barley. Tim has worked as a first responder in emergency services for 15 years. Prior to moving to to Ohio in 2016, Tim and his family lived in East Tennessee, where he was born and raised in the heart of the Cherokee National Forrest. This Region offered a magnitude of diversity, and the opportunities for a “generalist” are endless. Like many others, these opportunities spent on public lands have shaped Tim into the person he is today. Tim is committed and looks forward to preserving and sharing these opportunities with his children, just as his father did with him.
Aaron Blakely, Board of Directors -Aaron grew up in rural Logan County, Ohio, where he currently lives with his wife, Krista. At an early age, Aaron grew accustomed to an outdoorsmen lifestyle by the teachings of his father while also being shown a love of nature by his mother. These correlating ideologies groomed him to become the hunter-conservationist that he is now. When he isn’t in the woods chasing whitetails and the ever-elusive turkey, Aaron can be found at Indian Lake, grappling with crappies. Aaron believes that as a public land owner, it is part of his heritage to recreate on and pass down this beautiful resource to future generations.
Henry Distad, Board of Directors -I was raised in Shaker Height Ohio in a non-hunting family. I was always naturally drawn to the outdoors and wildlife. Boy Scouts helped me connect to the outdoors better and would often escape to metro parks to fish, but I always wanted to hunt. I got through hunter and drivers education and would head off to public wildlife areas where I would bumble around the woods trying to figure out how the heck to find small game and even deer hunted handful full of times on my own. Eventually befriended some fellow hunters who helped me become more successful. From the start I was using public lands and waters to feed my outdoor appetite. It wasn’t until later in life I came to understand how they came to be, and how unique they are for us. Now living in Geauga County with a wife, a daughter, two sons, a bluetick-mountain cur, and a shitzu-poodle we spend most weekends recreating on county, state, and federal lands and waters. My favorite area to be is in southeastern Ohio hunting and hiking in Wayne and other public lands.
Jacob D. Pries, Board of Directors -Jacob is currently enrolled as a second year law student at the University of Toledo College of Law studying environmental law with the goal of practicing in the area of land conservation. He is also an avid river fisherman and waterfowl hunter.
Benton Collins, Board of Directors -Benton was born and raised in Northwest Ohio in the town of Napoleon. Growing up he enjoyed living near the Maumee River and North Turkeyfoot State Park. His main passion was hunting whitetails and turkeys. After some time away from the outdoors in college, his passion for protecting and enjoying the outdoors has grown, and is looking forward to preserving what we love for generations to come. He now lives West Central Ohio in the town of Minster with his wife Katie, daughter Annora, and their German Shorthair named Willow. He has a new found love for waterfowl hunting and looks forward to helping raise his children to love the outdoors.
Gabe Karns, Board of Directors - Gabe has lived in Ohio for 5 years and works as a wildlife ecologist and researcher for The Ohio State University. He is a husband and father to two daughters. His fascination with the outdoor world stems from his early experiences at the heels of his own father, and he is already passing on that tradition to his family. His passions are bowhunting whitetails in the East, mountain hunting in the West, and relishing the field to fork journey at the dinner table.
Jordan Phillips, Board of Directors -Jordan has been an Ohio resident since 2003. He works for the Division of Wildlife as an Outdoor Skills Specialist in Central Ohio. He is married and has 3 children, two daughters and a son. Jordan has a passion for educating new hunters and anglers on the renewable resources that are readily available on public lands in Ohio. As an avid hunter and angler, Jordan spends his free time pursuing any and all game species that run or swim. He enjoys planning hunting trips to Alaska and chasing Ohio deer and turkey. Through the implementation of hands-on teachings with BHA, Jordan hopes to help educate and share his passion for hunting and fishing on public lands in the state of Ohio.
Grant Fox, Board of Directors -Grant is a Northern Ohio native, born and raised in Galion. He currently lives just outside Athens with his wife Paige, their dogs Bo and Zeus, 14 chickens and several wild whitetail deer that live in the woods and have yet to be informed they are being raised for food. Following high school, he spent two enlistments in the Marine Corps and was honorably discharged in 2016. Once again a free man, Grant decided to pursue a career in his passion, the outdoors. He completed a wilderness guide school in Northern Maine and a wilderness guide and packer school with an outfitter in Northwest Montana. He is now in his second year at Hocking College, pursuing an Associate's degree in Wildlife Resource Management with plans to transfer to Ohio University upon graduation. He currently works for the U.S. Forest Service as a Forestry Research Technician at Vinton Furnace State Experimental Forest. Grant plans to establish a Southeast Ohio based and focused wildlife management company following the completion of a Bachelor's degree in Wildlife Ecology. He hunts, traps, forages and fishes almost completely on the Wayne National Forest and various other state and federal public lands, albeit very unsuccessfully.