President, Thomas Hale

Interests: Virginia Minerals, Mining History, Mineral Supply Chains, Minerals & Security

Thomas Hale is a Virginia native that has been collecting minerals for the past seven years. Over that time, his fascination with minerals and their stories led him to pursue a state-wide undertaking known as the Virginia Mineral Project (VMP). The VMP is a research initiative, first solidified under a $15,000 donation/grant through the local museum, to produce educational videos, community programs, and documents for the Virginia mineral community. Through its success, the Friends of Mineralogy Virginia Chapter was established as a 501c3 to help bring together talented individuals from across the state to educate the next generation of mineralogists and mineral collectors. Outside of the mineral hobby, Thomas is a master’s student at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, focusing on Security Policy Studies and Conflict Resolution. He is also a fellow Blue Hen at the University of Delaware under the new Minerals, Materials, and Society Master’s certificate. Thomas is working to bridge the gap between the scientific and international affairs community. His passion is to work within the nexus of minerals and security, highlighting the important role they place in climate policy and international security.


Vice-President, Alex Venzke

Interests: Virginia Minerals, Norwegian Minerals, Thumbnails & Miniatures

I am a 25-year-old mineral collector from the Washington, D.C. area, but living in the Dallas, Texas area now, who has been seriously collecting minerals for almost 5 years. I am a member of the leadership team of the Young Mineral Collectors group, a member of the mindat.org management team, a board member for the national Friends of Mineralogy organization, a board member for the Mineralogical Society of the District of Columbia, and co-founder and current Vice President of the Friends of Mineralogy Virginia Chapter. My collection "focus" is mostly on worldwide thumbnails & miniatures, with an emphasis on minerals with exceptional provenances — such as ex museum specimens. I also collect minerals from Hardangervidda, Norway, in particular, the quartz with anatase.


Treasurer, Tom Girton

Interests: Virginia Geology & Mineralogy, Native American Artifacts, Fossils

Currently serving as the Treasurer for FMVA. Also a Certified Master Naturalist in Virginia. Retired Healthcare Executive, and working my way out of the Consulting and Leadership Training sidelines. I'm a lifelong collector of Native American Artifacts, fossils, crystals and intriguing rocks. Favorite locations range from Montana to Franklin, North Carolina. I also have additional interests in sports memorabilia, and antiques ranging from telephone insulators, tools and keys. I read extensively and delight in letting legislators know my thoughts. I am also a member of the Richmond Gem and Mineral Society.


Secretary, Kelley Finch

Interests: Virginia Minerals, Fossils, World Localities

I have loved minerals since my childhood in Colorado. I was unable to start collecting until 2015 because as a Navy Wife...every ounce counts when you are moving especially overseas. I now live in Virginia Beach and have been involved in the Tidewater Gem and Mineral Society as the 2nd VP of Programs and the Field Trip Coordinator. I have recently started learning a few lapidary skills. I am honored to be the first Secretary of Friends of Mineralogy Virginia.


Board Member, August Dietz

Interests: Quartz, Virginia Minerals, Micros, Thumbnails, Horticulture, Old Books

I am currently serving as a board member of FMVA and member of the Richmond Gem and Mineral Society. Have been a mineral collector for 65 years(have my first rock- blue quartz pebble) and mineral dealer for 40+ years. A Horticulturist by profession and spent 33 years with the federal government in Washington, D.C. Last job position was the Building Manager for the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and acting Manager for the Smithsonian North Museum Zone. I got to walk through the mineral hall each morning as it was being cleaned and prepped!
Always collected Virginia minerals in all size ranges, particularly obscure locations also worldwide quartz locations, aesthetic micros and thumbnails. Favorite collecting area would be the Northern Virginia traprock quarries(1973- 2003). Gardner for life and enjoy reviving discarded plants, collecting and maintaining native wildflowers and currently collecting and breeding Hellebores(the deer do not eat them!) Collector of books( from a publishing family - Dietz Press) and gardening ephemera(antique horticultural seed catalogs/books and advertising).


Board Member, Jim Doran

Interests: Virginia Minerals, Garnets, Fluorite, Thumbnails

I'm currently a board member of FMVA, a founder of Virginia Minerals, a current member of the Richmond Gem & Mineral Society, and a past President, Program Director, and Field Trip Chairman for the club. I was a past Safety Chairman and Nominating Committee member for the Eastern Federation of Mineral & Lapidary Societies. I was also a past member of the Wildacres Workshop Committee. I am also a multi-year attendee of The Rochester Mineral Symposium. My favorite mineral is Fluorite. I can collect pyrite from locations where it is unknown at!!


Webmaster, Casper Voogt

Interests: Virginia Minerals, Minerals Generally, Trilobites, Old Books and Maps

I'm a lifelong mineral collector and have a collection of Virginia minerals. I have collected at many Virginia localities. Aside from Virginia minerals I am interested in a variety of worldwide minerals as well as fossils (specifically: trilobites). I make websites for a living and support many mineral clubs and organizations with their websites. I have traveled a fair bit and enjoy learning about places, people and cultures.