Karen Parysek has been an active volunteer with ECRT for over 10 years and the author of several successful grant applications as exemplified in Concord’s redecked bridges, an accessible ramp to the historic Springville Trout Pond, and our efforts to connect an elementary school bike path to our trail in Colden.
Raised on a farm in Eden, NY, Karen grew up with three siblings, as well as four children from Buffalo, fostered by her parents during her childhood years. She attended Eden Central School where she excelled in math and science. Karen was awarded a full scholarship to the University of Rochester, majoring in chemical and engineering.
After graduating, she joined Linde-Praxair where she used her problem-solving skills in a wide variety of positions: energy systems engineering, market development for materials, procurement, Six Sigma, marketing and sales. She finished her career in R&D, where she developed collaborations for emerging clean energy technologies with universities, startups and national labs, learning about the grant making ecosystem in the process. It was this experience that she has been able to directly transfer to the benefit of ECRT.
Karen raised two sons, now in their 30’s, both of whom found success following in their mother’s engineering footsteps. Back-country canoe camping and wildflowers are among her outdoor passions. Throughout her adult life, she has been a dedicated and active volunteer, supporting a number of worthy non-profits, most significantly Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the Lounsbury Adaptive Ski Program at Holiday Valley where she volunteers as an adaptive ski instructor.
“My philosophy of life has always involved making the world a better place, and working with like-minded friends on projects we enjoy.” And that, gratefully, includes Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail!