Garrett Artz is new executive director at Asheville nonprofit RiverLink


An email from former RiverLink Executive Director Karen Cragnolin has a simple subject line, but no other information. The subject line says: Please welcome my successor Garrett Artz.

A press release posted at also makes the announcement:

Environmental non-profit RiverLink welcomes Garrett Artz to the role of executive director with the organization. Artz takes the reins at RiverLink to continue their work to promote the environmental and economic vitality of the French Broad River and its watershed.

He takes the place of a retiring Karen Cragnolin, the only executive director RiverLink has known in its 30-year history. Cragnolin will stay involved as a consultant for strategic property transitions.

Originally from the small town of Hegins, Pennsylvania, Artz graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and went through Navy Flight Training to become a Naval Aviator, serving 10 years of active duty. Upon graduating from the North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham, NC, Artz and his family moved to Asheville in 2008. He and his wife, Dr. Evelyn Artz, are the parents of two boys and a girl.

His work in law began at Pisgah Legal Services in Asheville. He would later serve Mills Manufacturing as corporate counsel. In 2014, in an effort to improve bicycle and pedestrian travel in the Hominy Creek and Enka area near his home in Biltmore Lake, he co-founded Connect Enka and will continue to serve as that organization’s president.

Cragnolin announced her departure from RiverLink earlier this year. Cragnolin founded the nonprofit back in 1986, and has been a vocal proponent of clean-up and environmental preservation along the river ever since. Best of luck to Artz as he takes over.