Joe Bill, President

Joe Bill has been a resident of Fountain Hills since 1987 when he moved from Rochester, MN to help open Mayo Clinic-Scottsdale.  As a new resident, he actively participated in the effort to obtain voter approval for incorporation, which led to his appointment to the first Town Council in 1990.  Although his undergraduate and graduate studies were physics and math, his professional career was primarily in marketing and health care administration, mostly with Mayo Clinic.  He authored the book Climbing the Ladder Less Traveled and taught strategic planning in the masters program at ASU as an Adjunct Professor.  He has served in many different volunteer leadership roles in Rochester, Fountain Hills, Scottsdale, and Phoenix.  A life-long appreciation of the wonders of the nighttime universe began when he received his first telescope in sixth grade.  Later, attending adult astronomy camps furthered his desire to preserve the beautiful skies above Fountain Hills.  In retirement, he helped form and lead the Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association in its successful goal to have Fountain Hills receive its prestigious designation as the world’s 17th International Dark Sky Community and in 2017, he was recognized as a Dark Sky Defender by the International Dark Sky Association.

Ted Blank, Vice President

Ted began to be passionate about amateur astronomy when he first saw the moons of Jupiter through a telescope from the high, clear air of the Sierra Nevada mountains. He is a past President of the New Hampshire Astronomical Society and is currently a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador. He was the first to receive the 250-hour award pin for public outreach from the Sidewalk Astronomers of America, a nationwide public service organization. After purchasing a home in Fountain Hills, he co-founded the Fountain Hills Astronomy Club and continues to help organize their monthly public viewing sessions in Centennial Circle.

Nancy Bill, Secretary/Treasurer

Nancy Bill always appreciated being able to see a beautiful night sky while growing up in Wisconsin, living in the country in Minnesota while working at Mayo Clinic, camping in the Southwest, or living in Fountain Hills for over 30 years.  Although her careers as a medical lab manager and later as a CPA kept her busy, she always found time to volunteer, often in leadership roles.  Nancy co-chaired the bond campaign to build a Fountain Hills high school and chaired the Strategic Committee for the Fountain Hills incorporation effort.  She also volunteered time as a McDowell Mountain Conservancy steward and as an officer of the PTO Board, Library Board, and Golden Eagle Foundation.  Over the past several years, she’s been devoting her time to help preserve Fountain Hills’ unique dark skies and has enjoyed frequent night viewing at Star Parties.  She loves knowing that no matter what happens during the day, she can marvel at the wonders of the universe at night.  In October 2017, Nancy was recognized as a Dark Sky Defender by the International Dark Sky Association.

Scott Adams, Board Member

After completing a 31-year career in petroleum exploration with Chevron Corporation, Scott and his wife Diana retired to Salida, Colorado in 2006. There, he volunteered on local theater, radio station and science organization boards, and for five years managed a collaboration with the Colorado Symphony (Denver) to bring classical music to Salida. In another “universe,” appreciating the sensational night skies of rural Colorado, Scott took up the hobby of astronomy, purchased telescopes and volunteered as an evening astronomy host at a local viewing site. He enjoys sharing “backyard” astronomy experiences with the public. Scott and Diana moved to Fountain Hills in May 2018 to be closer to family and grandchildren in Phoenix. Fountain Hills’ status as an International Dark Sky community was a key factor in choosing this community. Scott is enthusiastic about the mission of the International Dark Sky Discovery Center and is honored to be a Board member.

Jerry Butler, Board Member

Jerry is a retired engineer, who during his 40+ year career became a principal in two design firms (one small, one national) and was instrumental in leading both to new heights. Following retirement, Jerry moved to Fountain Hills full-time in 1999 to enjoy the ambiance provided by its dark skies. Since then he has tirelessly applied his design experiences to advance a variety of community causes. Recognizing that success begins with careful planning, he immersed himself in the Town’s 2005 strategic planning process, later serving on its first Strategic Planning Advisory Commission.  In 2018 his many Fountain Hills’ accomplishments were acknowledged when he was inducted into the Lower Verde River Hall of Fame. In addition to being on the Board of Directors to promote and develop the Dark Sky Discovery Center, Jerry also serves on the Board of Directors of the Fountain Hills Cultural and Civic Association and the Fountain Hills Sanitary District.

Clayton Corey, Board Member

Originally from Massachusetts, Clayton moved here in 2012. It wasn’t too long until he discovered beautiful Fountain Hills, and fell in love with the small town feel away from the hustle and bustle.

Clayton is an IT Advisor at CVS Health. He enjoys volunteering his time in the community and meeting new people. In addition to being on the Board of Directors for the International Dark Sky Discovery Center, Clayton also serves on the Board of Directors of the Fountain Hills Cultural and Civic Association, Fountain Hills Sister Cities, Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association, is a committee member of the Human Rights Campaign Arizona chapter, Chairs the Fountain Hills Leadership Academy, and serves as a Planning & Zoning Commissioner for the Town of Fountain Hills.

Vicky Derksen, Board Member

Vicky grew up under the dark skies in the panhandle of northern Idaho where she remembers frequently seeing the Northern Lights and the trail of the Milky Way. She moved to north Phoenix in 1995 where the only remarkable thing she remembered seeing in the sky was Comet Hale-Bopp. Vicky moved to Fountain Hills with her husband in 1997 where her two children were born, raised, and homeschooled. During their high school years, she taught classical astronomy to a class of 18 teenage students in the local homeschool group. Vicky is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Fountain Hills Leadership Academy in 2016. She serves on the boards of the Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association, the Fountain Hills Cultural & Civic Association, Fountain Hills Leadership Academy, and was appointed by the Town to the Sister Cities Advisory Commission in 2018. Vicky loves hiking and particularly enjoys Full Moon hikes hosted by the nearby county parks.

Walt Franklin, Board Member

Walt is a retired former owner of Cheese and Dairy Products Ltd., a sales and marketing company based in Arizona.  A graduate of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, Walt has had several national sales and marketing responsibilities in the home furnishings and environmental control industries.

The Franklin Family has lived in Fountain Hills for over 40 years where their children attended district schools.  Walt has always been actively involved in local civic matters and positions he has held over the years include President of the Civic Association, Trustee and President of the Joint Powers Road Districts, Trustee of the Sanitary Commission, Founder and President of the Community Center Advisory Commission, Founder and President of Vision Fountain Hills, and Member of Fountain Hills Hall of Fame.

Walt believes Fountain Hills deserves an impressive, nationally recognized reputation and that the International Dark Sky Discovery Center will be key to attaining that goal.

Alan Magazine, Board Member

Alan Magazine’s career was in Washington, DC where he retired as CEO of the Health Industry Manufacturer’s Association. Prior to that he was President of the Council on Competitiveness and served as Director of Intergovernmental Relations at the US Environmental Protection Agency.  Additionally, Magazine served on various US and regional governmental commissions and was on staff at the International City Management Association.  From 1971-1979 he was an elected member of the Fairfax, Virginia County Board of Supervisors while earning his PhD from the University of Maryland.  He was recently re-elected to his second term on the Fountain Hills, Arizona Town Council.  In retirement, Alan is an award-winning nature photographer and is happily married to Cynthia Penrose Magazine.

Lisa Miller, Board Member

Lisa and her family have been proud residents of Fountain Hills since 1993. Originally from suburban New Jersey, Lisa Miller graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Natural Resource Management and pursued a career in environmental education. She has worked locally for the Desert Botanical Garden, the Arizona Science Center and the River of Time Museum.  

She has dedicated much of her life to the education and preservation of Arizona’s wildlife and biodiversity. As a birder and naturalist, Lisa understands the importance of maintaining dark skies for great horned owls, screech owls, and other native wildlife. Lisa has fond memories of waking her daughters at 2 am and, bundled against the cold with hot chocolate in hand, watching meteor showers from the comfort of her own backyard. Lisa is thrilled to continue her preservation efforts and also serve as a Board member of the International Dark Sky Discovery Center.

Tony Pistilli, Board Member

Staten Island NY native Tony Pistilli began his interest in astronomy during his university studies, graduating from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1973 with a degree in Aerospace Engineering & Applied Mechanics and later a Master’s in Business from Rensselaer Hartford in 1980. After his wife Sandy bought him a telescope—a Criterion 6” Newtonian Reflector with Clock Drive— he began exploring the night skies in Vernon, CT on COLD, minus 20-degree nights, shooting his first photos of the planets. Tony’s career path next moved to Phoenix with an assignment to help America West Airlines build its maintenance program and manage their fleet expansions into the Pacific and European markets. During this time, Tony’s love for astronomy grew. Upon retiring to Fountain Hills in 2007, Tony picked up his 10” Orion Newtonian Reflector and began serious viewing of our Dark Skies and converted his home to Dark Skies standard lighting. Tony has always been an active volunteer in his communities. Here in Fountain Hills, he volunteers with Junior Achievement and the Boys and Girls Club and is a current and past president of the Rotary Club of Fountain Hills. Tony is also a “Purple Jacket Navigator” at Sky Harbor Airport and a member of Mesa’s Commemorative Air Force.

Jay Schlum, Board Member

Originally from West Bloomfield Michigan, Jay Schlum moved with his parents John and Dawn to Fountain Hills in 1977 when he was 12.  The Schlums were early day real estate pioneers and Jay followed in his parents’ real estate footsteps by being a licensed Realtor® since 1992.  Jay served as Mayor of Fountain Hills from 2008-2012 and previously served as a Fountain Hills Councilman from 2004-2008. In addition to being an elected official Jay has volunteered and served as Chairman of the FH Chamber of Commerce; Church President, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran; Board Member and Executive Committee member, Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors SAAR; Board Member, Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC); President Four Peaks Rotary Club; and many other committees, commissions and boards.