Vernon LaVia

  Image courtesy of the Associated Press.

Image courtesy of the Associated Press.

Birder Superlister

A bird watcher (or "birder") for 47 years, Vernon LaVia has adventured to 6 continents, 48 countries, and all 50 U.S. states in the pursuit of listing bird species. Since the age of 7, he has recorded over 3,600 species, joining a rare group of "superlisters" who have compiled massive "life lists" of birds they've identified. In North America, he's identified 740 (81%) of the 914 known bird species. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Audubon Society.

LaVia has a B.A in Economics from Duke University (where he was also part of the Navy ROTC) and has spent the last 15 years at Fortune 100 companies, opening over a dozen businesses himself. He is currently the CEO of Defibrillators, Inc., a company that distributes and sells portable defibrillators throughout the U.S.

He has been married to his wife, Linda, for 26 years and has 2 daughters, Veronica and Jacqueline. He's always willing to lead anyone on a nature hike.