Christmas Tree Promotion Board


The next meeting of the CTPB will be a conference call on October 30, 2020 starting at 11:00 am Eastern. Contact the CTPB office at 800-985-0773 for an agenda. Please note that it is a one item meeting to approve the financial audit.

The Christmas Tree Promotion Board is a national research and promotion program whose mission is to share the benefits of fresh Christmas trees with consumers through promotion, public relations and education, while engaging in research to better serve our customers and growers.

The first CTPB board was appointed in January of 2015 by then USDA Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.  The board is made up of Christmas tree producers representing production in the east, central and west regions of the U.S., along with an importer member.

Christmas Tree Promotion Board:

  • Paul F. Battaglia, California  West
  • Roger Beyer, Oregon West
  • Bob Schaefer, Oregon West
  • Mark Schmidlin, Oregon West
  • William Brawley, Oregon West
  • Derek Ahl, Wisconsin Central                
  • Beth Walterscheidt , Texas  Central
  • Jim Corliss, Maine Eastern
  • Gary Westlake, Pennsylvania Eastern
  • Della Jean Deal, North Carolina Eastern
  • Charles Fowler, North Carolina Eastern
  • Christopher Maciborski, Michigan Importer

Christmas Tree Promotion Board Officers:

  • Beth Walterscheidt – Chairperson
  • Roger Beyer – Vice Chairperson
  • Mark Schmidlin – Treasurer
  • Bob Schaefer – Secretary

Those interested in serving on the Christmas Tree Promotion Board are required to complete a Nomination form and return it to the CTPB office by June 1.

Nomination Form (XMAS-NF 04-19)


Through a process of strategic planning, the board has developed both vision and mission statements that will serve to guide the board and its committees in all future decision-making; with all activities and resource allocations being held to the standard of these guiding principles.  

Vision Statement – The Christmas Tree Promotion Board will enhance the value and demand for cut Christmas trees creating and increasing opportunities for growers, importers and others in the industry.

Mission Statement – The CTPB is focused on improving the future of the industry by increasing the value and demand for cut Christmas trees through promotion, research and education.

Committee Structure

Although the board has responsibility for all decision-making for the program, much work  takes place at the committee level; engaging more Christmas tree producers from around the country.  The committees will work in their assigned areas and offer their best recommendations to the board.

Promotion Committee

The Promotion Committee is chaired by Paul Battaglia and is responsible for planning and implementing promotional programs.  They recommend public relations and promotional programs to the Board for approval, and direct agency partners in executing approved programs.  

Committee Members:

  • Bill Brawley, OR – Vice Chair
  • Ashley Ahl, WI
  • Mark Arkills, OR
  • Beau Coan
  • Olivia Dobbs, CO
  • Travis Drexler, NY
  • Kendra Driver, WA
  • Carrie McClain, NC
  • Jane Neubauer, OH
  • Beth Walterscheidt, TX

Research Committee

The Research Committee is chaired by Della Deal and is responsible for planning and implementing all research programs.  This research could include consumer research, product research and more.

Committee Members: 

  • Derek Ahl, WI
  • Jim Heater, OR
  • Bob Jones, TX
  • Josh Peterson, MI
  • Mark Schmidlin, OR
  • Matt Sexton, NC/VA
  • Kirk Stroda, OR
  • Gary Westlake, PA
  • Brad Wishon, NC/VA

Industry Relations

The Industry Relations Committee is chaired by Gary Westlake and is charged with undertaking all industry communications.  The committee engages with growers and importers across the country through direct mail, industry publications and electronic media.

Committee Members:

  • Mark Steelhammer, WA – Vice Chair
  • Ellen Church, NC
  • Della Deal, NC
  • Fritz Ellett, OR
  • Pat Gaskin, NC
  • Dugald Kell, ME
  • Scott MacKinnon, Nova Scotia
  • Steve Meier, MO
  • Dave Vander Velden, WI


The Governance Committee is chaired by Bob Schaefer and is responsible for developing policy recommendations for the board.  This includes the development of bylaws and a detailed policy and procedure manual.

Committee Members:

  • Charles Fowler, NC – Vice Chair
  • Roger Beyer – OR

Finance Committee

The Finance Committee is chaired by Mark Schmidlin and manages the board’s financial planning and records.  They are responsible for developing and recommending annual budgets, providing financial reports to the CTPB and USDA and securing loans as needed.

Committee Members:

  • Roger Beyer, OR
  • Beth Walterscheidt, TX

Compliance Committee

The Compliance Committee is chaired by Chris Maciborski and is charged with recommending strategies to the CTPB to encourage program compliance by growers and importers.


The Christmas Tree Promotion Board has contracted with Marsha Gray and Gray Management LLC for operations management. Gray serves as the Executive Director of the CTPB and had been previously serving the CTPB as the Industry Communications and Program Director since shortly after the Board’s inception in January of 2015.

Marsha brings 27 years of association management experience, including more than 14 years as the Executive Director of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association.

Cynthia Knudson serves as CTPB’s Director of Research and coordinates the research proposal process, guides the committee through proposal review and works closely with funded researchers.  Cyndi is a former Extension Agent at Virginia Tech and has also worked as a Field Enumerator for USDA National Ag Statistic Service.

Jenny Tomaszewski is the CTPB Administrator and oversees office operations, database management and compliance issues.

Beth Kohn of BAK Bookkeeping provides bookkeeping services for the CTPB.