The Erchul Environmental Leadership Award recognizes an individual for their significant efforts to better our environment over their lifetime or career. The Erchul award is named in honor of the symposium’s founder and VMI professor, the late Capt. Ronald Erchul.

Carlton H.  Hershner, Jr.
Director, CCRM; Professor of Marine Science

Link to his bio:

Nominees may come from any field or endeavor and must:

  • be a living Virginia resident aged 18 or over
  • have a “Record of Significant Individual Effort to Better our Environment”

Judging Criteria:

  • Vision
  • Expertise
  • Commitment
  • Integrity
  • Communication Skills
  • Accomplishments
  • Diplomacy

A call for nominations will be emailed in December 2018 to all past attendees of the Environment Virginia Symposium.

Submissions must be no more than 350 words explaining why the nominee is qualified. Representatives from the VMI Center for Leadership and Ethics reserve the right to eliminate nominees if they fail to meet criteria. Candidates may receive multiple nominations.

Finalists must agree to nominations and nominees must officially accept the nomination before their name goes on the ballot. VMI’s Center for Leadership and Ethics will post every approved nomination.

Nominees will be contacted by email or phone to conduct a fact-checking session to verify:

  • eligibility
  • the facts regarding the reasoning provided with their nomination

Nominees will receive information about:

  • who nominated them
  • the selection process
  • the date by when we will select this year’s recipient

About Voting:

  • Voters must be registered attendees at the current Environment Virginia Symposium
  • Voting is online

Award Process

  • The top 10% proceed as finalists to the Selection Committee (the Selection Committee consists of previous Erchul Award recipients)
  • A winner will be selected prior to the symposium
  • The award recipient will be notified and will receive:
    • two complimentary tickets to the Environment Virginia Awards reception
    • a commemorative plaque
    • $1,500 donation to the non-profit environmental group of their choice
  • Recipients are only eligible to receive the award once in a lifetime but may participate as a member of the Selection Committee for future nominations.
  • The most recent past recipient is invited to present the newest recipient with their plaque during the awards presentation.

Important Dates:

  • December 2018, nominations open
  • February 2019, nominations close (date TBD)
  • March 2019, voting
  • Early to Mid-March 2019, winner selection
  • Award ceremony during the Symposium (date/time TBD)

Carl Hershner 2018
Nikki Rovner 2017
Marc Edwards 2016
Jack Frye 2015
Russ Baxter 2014
Shelton Miles 2013
E. Cabell Brand 2012
Timothy G. Hayes 2012
Cindy Berndt 2011
Michael Lipford 2010
Ann Jennings 2009
Ward Burton 2008
John Carlock 2004
David Paylor 2004
David Nelms 2004
Robert Dunn 2004
Katherine Slaughter 2004
Ann Regn 2004
Tayloe Murphy 2000
Dennis Treacy 2000
Jay Gilliam 2000
Joseph Maroon 2000

Nominations now until February 14, 2019
Captain Ron Erchul



The Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards recognize successful and innovative efforts that improve Virginia’s environment. The awards program is run annually by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation. There are four broad categories of awards:

This category is intended to provide recognition to organizations or facilities that can document the success of their sustainability program by providing evidence of:

  • A culture of environmental sustainability;
  • Recent accomplishments related to reducing their environmental footprint; and
  • A commitment to future sustainability-oriented actions.

This category is intended to recognize activities or processes implemented by a facility or organization within the past five years that are directed at a single goal to improve the environment beyond what is required by regulation.  Examples include, but are not limited to, projects aimed at reducing waste generation, water consumption and pollutant releases, increasing water reuse, green infrastructure, and use and access to clean energy; and adapting to the impacts of a changing climate.

This category is intended to recognize exemplary land conservation work within the Commonwealth. Examples include outstanding land conservation easement or fee simple acquisition projects that permanently protected lands with high conservation values to the development of an integrated prioritized land conservation plan for an organization or agency region of coverage.

This category is intended to recognize outdoor recreation accomplishments meeting the 2013 Virginia Outdoors Plan goals and objectives.  Awards will be directed in three categories: trail development, public access to waterways including water trails, and other recreational uses and scenic resource recognition.

Awards Website

2019 Co-Hosts and Supporting Organizations