Elections for 2021 & 2022
Positions on the Ballot at the end of an even year ... Officers assume their positions on the 1st of January.
AGS Officers and Board Members hold offices for 2 years and one-half of the offices are elected/re-elected every year. The biennial elections being held December 2020 are for the 2021 & 2022 years and the offices include President, 1st Vice President, Secretary & 2 Directors-At-Large. The candidates presented below are being presented in alphabetical order by last name. The vote can be done online or by mailing in the ballot on this page (or the copy in the Winter issue of The Gourd Magazine).
President: Vote for Reagan Bitler or Write-In an Alternate
President Candidate. Reagan Bitler, Pennsylvania (Incumbent)
Reagan Bitler was elected to the 1st VP position in 2018 and assumed the AGS presidency in early 2019 upon the resignation of the previous office-holder. Reagan served as president of the PA gourd society and chairperson of their annual gourd festival for 5 years. Currently, Reagan is president of the York Town Craft Guild and one of the teachers on the negotiating team for the local school district where he is a middle-school history teacher. Recently Reagan opened his studio gallery, “Godahavam Gourds,” as a venue for classes and sales.
One of Reagan’s goals for AGS is to focus on how it can support the growth of its chapters. To meet that goal a new committee was formed to seek input from the Chapters to identify needs, brainstorm possible solutions to help the chapters grow and maintain their membership numbers. The AGS Board now offers to provide educational and informational materials to chapters to help them achieve their goals. As chapters succeed, so will AGS.
Reagan’s life is consumed with gourds and his new gallery. He has built his own space to create and inspire. “Opening the business has been interesting and fun and I look forward to creating and hosting events.”
1st VP President: Vote for Judi Fleming or Write-In an Alternate
1st VP Candidate. Judi Fleming, North Carolina (Incumbent)
Judi Fleming has been an active member of AGS for some twenty-plus years and has been a vice president in the AGS since 2014, advancing from 2nd VP to 1st VP in 2019 when Reagan vacated that position to fulfill the position of president. Judi is currently president of the North Carolina Chapter, a position she held in the past as well.
In service to AGS, she has been a long-time member on the Judging Committee and has been instrumental in producing educational materials for that committee. Judi also is involved in outreach to chapter presidents as a member of the Chapter Relations Committee and a member of an ad hoc committee to brainstorm how AGS and chapters can support small gourd/supply vendors being adversely impacted by the cancellation of gourd shows and workshops this year.
Judi is the newsletter chairperson for the NCGS and runs her local gourd patch. Judi’s great passion is education. She is a cheerful ambassador for our great hobby of growing and crafting gourds with an impressive resume of places and events where she has introduced others to the wonderful world of gourds. Judi willingly gives of her time to promote the gourd hobby and has helped start several state chapters. She is a talented gourd artist and her work has been featured in juried art shows among other places. Beyond the world of gourds, she has a full-time job, from which she will soon be retired from. Judi is also a board member for Red Dog Farm Animal Rescue (RedDogFarm.com)
Secretary: Vote for Terry Noxel or Write-In an Alternate
Secretary Candidate. Terry Noxel, New York (Incumbent)
Terry Noxel has held various positions in the AGS. She is a past-president of PA and NYS gourd societies. Most recently she was appointed AGS Secretary to fill the vacancy created in 2019. In the past Terry has been AGS Treasurer and Ads Manager. Currently, in addition to being Secretary, she is also the AGS webmaster and magazine coordinator.
Terry’s life philosophy can be described as “when you see something that needs to be done, be part of the team that does something about it.” This can be seen in action as she serves on numerous AGS committees, including Chapter Relations, Judging, Traveling Teachers and the Ad Hoc small vendor support committees. She is also one of the AGS Facebook moderators, manages several web-based applications for AGS and is the “Girl Friday” for other AGS officers and programs.
From Celia, “As a board member who has worked closely with her I have observed her work ethic. She is good at keeping up with the behind the scenes duties that keep our organization running smoothly.”
Director 3: Vote for Sylvia or Madonna, or Write-In an Alternate
Director Candidate 1. Sylvia Bisker, Pennsylvania
Sylvia Bisker is from New Park, PA and feels that she has a lot to offer her fellow AGS members. She has been a member of AGS since 1999. She is a very active Director for PAGS. Her interest in gourds began when she found a packet of birdhouse gourd seeds and began growing them. Bill Peoples took her under his wing and she learned all she could from him. Sylvia soaked in all the info and is now teaching gourd classes in carving, woodburning and chip carving.
Sylvia was a wood crafter for over 20 years. The love of wood was a nice transition to working on gourds. Sylvia's goal is to make more "gourd stuff" and to come up with new ideas to share with fellow gourders. She is willing to help AGS in any way she can. Sylvia loves to take pictures of gourd events and would love to help out on an AGS committee.
Director Candidate 2. Madonna Watermon, Missouri
Madonna is the current president of the Missouri – Show Me Gourd Society. Her venture into gourds began about 10 years ago when she went to Branson, Missouri and saw the martin bird house gourds. Because they piqued her interest, she bought some gourds and started her gourd crafting journey. Madonna is an accomplished gourd artist and has made the cover of the AGS Magazine. She idolizes Bill Decker and is always inspired by his pyrography and carving. The challenge of carving has made her become a better artist.
Madonna is would like to serve AGS by serving on the Board of Directors and one or more committees. She has ideas that she would like to share and believes that she will also learn a great deal from serving on the AGS board and she will be able to share that knowledge during her travels to gourd festivals. She currently promotes AGS at all Patch meetings as well as during the Show Me Gourd Festival.
She is especially interested in competitions and would like to be on the judging committee. Madonna has served as SMGS President for 4 years. She is an AGS Certified judge for 5 years. She has taught at patch meetings and festivals. She is on the show committee for SMGS and her goal is to make gourd art know to all and how versatile it is.
Director 4: Vote for Vickie or Lori, or Write-In an Alternate
Director Candidate 1. Vickie Echols, California (Incumbent)
Vickie Echols has been a gourd enthusiast for over 20 years and has been teaching gourd art for 9 years. She is currently Director # 4 and has been in this position for 6 years. Vickie is on the Nominating Committee, Traveling Teacher Project and on the Chapter Relations Committee. Vickie is an AGS certified judge and collects the Chapter News for The Gourd Magazine. She shares AGS info with students in her classes and donated tutorials which were published in the AGS magazine.
Vickie has been active in the SDCGA as a vice president for 2 years and as secretary for 5 years. She believes everyone in the patches contributes something by sharing their ideas and projects.
Vickie travels to as many gourd festivals and gourd related events as her schedule will allow. Since she travels all around the country, she now travels with fellow gourd artist, Robin Bryson and their mascot Trevor. She really enjoys getting to meet fellow gourd enthusiasts and trying regional food.
Director Candidate 2. Lori Smith, Maryland
Lori Smith first became interested in gourds in 2017 and quickly became a member of AGS. Lori lives in Maryland and is also a member of the Deer Creek Basketry Guild. She loved to buy baskets and embellish them with flowers and things that made them look beautiful. Eventually Lori began to sell her baskets, such as at local craft shows in 1989.
Fast forward to 2017 when she was bitten by the gourd bug. Lori loves to wood burn on gourds as well as weave on them. More recently she has become interested in carving on gourds. Lori took early retirement and bought a traveling trailer. Her plan at the time was to travel all over and work on gourds. Her traveling only lasted a short time as she was blessed with a grandchild that she wanted to watch grow up.
Before retiring, Lori’s profession was a para legal, but she was always interested in art. Her mother said “If I gave Lori crayons, scissors and paper, I knew I did not have to worry about her all day.” Lori is eager to volunteer her help where needed and would love to get involved with the AGS.
How to vote: Online or by mail ballots must be received no later than December 30, 2020. To vote online go to www.AmericanGourdSociety.org/election
To vote by mail: (1) Download/print and mail the ballot on this page (link) or
(2) photocopy the ballot in the Winter issue of The Gourd Magazine. Complete the ballot and mail it to: American Gourd Society, PO Box 2186, Kokomo, IN 46904-2186
How to Vote:
Vickie Echols, CA
Celia Shaneyfelt, TN
Madonna Watermon, MO
Dallas Lunsford, IN
Positions that are on the Ballot
1st Vice President