Grant Davies with his daughter-in-law Stephanie Martz and the families’ dog Zephyr near Grant’s home in Charles Town, West Virginia

A Family of Trail Seekers

By Lynn Davis

Grant Davies with his daughter-in-law Stephanie Martz and the families’ dog Zephyr near Grant’s home in Charles Town, West Virginia

“I married into a family of hikers

and trail seekers,” says Stephanie Martz, the new co-chair of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s (ATC) President’s Advisory Circle. Stephanie and her father-in-law Grant Davies, who is anticipated to join the conservancy’s board in August, have stepped into two important roles with the ATC, adding high energy, enthusiasm, and their professional experience. Grant and his wife Carole-Ann have generously funded the ATC’s opportunity to host a special photo-art exhibit in the U.S. Senate Rotunda in September and the corresponding expenses for a congressional reception and a commemorative booklet.

“I have a history with trails and I’ve witnessed how trails can be lost,” says Grant. Originally from Montreal, Quebec, Grant hiked and cross-country skied the Laurentian Mountains. As newlyweds, Grant and Carole-Ann talked about raising a family of outdoor enthusiasts – and stewards. And they’ve done just that. Their children — Chris, Ryan, and Brooke, all adults now — spent a good part of their childhood outdoors. Now they are following in their parents’ steps. Grant proudly points out that his 16-year-old grandson Kyle (the son of Stephanie and husband, Chris) has summitted more than 20 of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks, over 4,000-feet in elevation.

Soft-spoken and clearly a tactician, Grant built a successful risk-management business, which he recently sold to Accenture, a global professional services company. He currently serves as a risk and crisis management consultant for Accenture. In addition to his new board role with the ATC, Grant serves on the board of strategic advisors for the Yale School of Nursing. The couple lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland and Charles Town, West Virginia. “Spending time together with family is so important,” he says. “And it is a much richer experience when you get outside.”

Stephanie says she had little hiking experience when she joined the Davies family. “I well recall my introduction to hiking — a long, six-hour day hike, which was a 15-mile slog for me,” she says. “I’m certain I complained all the way but it hooked me.”

Poised and polished in her position as senior vice president and general counsel for the National Retail Federation, Stephanie served as senior counsel and special assistant to President Barack Obama, chief counsel to Senator Chuck Schumer, and for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Her husband, Chris Davies, is a senior vice chair of the securities department at Wilmer Hale, one of D.C.’s foremost law firms. The couple have three children – Penelope (10) who is called “Pip;” Nora (14); and 16-year-old Kyle who is well on his way to achieving the prestigious status of a “46-er.”

Both Grant and Stephanie hold similar interests in engaging with the ATC. Both would like to see more people experience the Appalachian Trail and both support the conservancy’s work to protect the Trail and surrounding landscape. “Grant and I hold a similar perspective of trails,” Stephanie says. “We have witnessed how small towns like Shepherds town and Harpers Ferry (in West Virginia) survive because of visitors. The Appalachian Trail is important on many collective levels. But it’s also important for personal reasons. When you’re on the Trail, when you’re alone with your thoughts, there is a spirit that is found in putting one foot in front of the other.”