Meet Our New Board Members


Kara Vernor, Executive Director, NAPA COUNTY BICYCLE COALITION

Napa County Bicycle Coalition (NCBC) is serving as the lead advocate for those who ride a bike in Napa County. Kara has taken the helm at NCBC and her place on the VINE TRAIL Board and the Engineering & Route Committee.

“I am honored and excited to step into this role,” said Vernor. “Over the past two years, we have seen an explosion in the number of people taking up bicycling, whether for the health benefits of a more active lifestyle, or simply as a way to get around. NCBC has a long track record of working closely with policymakers, local businesses, and residents to advance the needs of those who walk and bike, and I’m excited about what we can accomplish together.”

Sarah Jones Gillihan, Director of Communications, Community and Industry Relations, VISIT NAPA VALLEY

Sarah is a seasoned communications professional with 20 years of experience generating buzz for companies and brands. A creative, results-oriented, and thoughtful collaborator, she views herself as a partner and service provider to those she works with, always encouraging teammates to ask questions and challenge conventions. Sarah has a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape through curiosity and a philosophy of continuous improvement.

Sara has taken a place on the VINE TRAIL Board as an alternate for Visit Napa Valley President & CEO Linsey Gallagher, and will be active on the Marketing Committee.

As Director of Communications, Community and Industry Relations, Sarah leads Visit Napa Valley’s communication and community engagement strategy including the launch of the organization's new Napa Green hospitality program, involvement with community organizations and groups, and stakeholder governance processes. A Napa resident for 21 years, Sarah has enjoyed watching the evolution the city and the valley have made over the past two decades. Sarah lives here with her husband Sean and their dog Gravy.

“I am very much looking forward to assisting the NVVT mission. I’m an avid walker and have recently had my bike tuned up!”

Philip Sales, Vine Trail Coalition Outgoing Executive Director Farewell Message

Dear Vine Trail partners and supporters.

It has been an honor and a privilege to serve you as your Executive Director for the past seven years. I can truly say that this has been the most fulfilling and rewarding job that I have ever had.  I have loved watching this organization grow with the support of an engaged and dynamic Board of Directors. Thanks to you, and your ongoing support, we have made a lot of progress both during the normal times and the challenges created by Covid and the wildfires. We have over twenty of the forty-seven miles in place and another twelve miles in construction this year. We are two thirds of the way there.

I would like to express a special thanks to Chuck McMinn, our board President and Founder, and the Executive Committee of Walt Brooks, Kimberley Meredith Joe Keebler and Laura Stark who have provided excellent counsel and advice.  I also want to acknowledge our donors and our public agency partners who have rallied around us to support this legacy project.  Finally, I would like to thank the staff at the Vine Trail Coalition, Nancy Tennyson, Marion Johnson and Shelly Whitaker. They have been great colleagues and I know the organization and the new Executive Director will be an excellent and capable hands.

Please join with me in welcoming your new Executive Director, Shawn Casey-White, who has extensive background in fundraising and managing a non-profit. I have every confidence that Shawn will build on the solid foundation that has been established and push this project over the finish line.

Philip Sales

Outgoing Executive Director.