Meet the Times Staff

 Denise Dunbar, Publisher

Denise is a southern girl by birth and temperament, and though she loves Alexandria dearly, does not consider it truly southern. Born in Atlanta, educated in Denton, Texas, and Athens, Georgia, and married in Charlotte, Denise and her husband moved to Alexandria in 1986. She has worked for the Charlotte Observer, the CIA and the Virginia Department of Social Services. She passionately loves baseball and is a political junkie well-suited to life inside the Beltway. She and her husband have three children.


Kristen Essex,  Publisher / Director of Sales and Marketing

Kristen, a native of the Washington metropolitan area, spent the majority of her life in Rockville. After graduating from Randolph-Macon College, she moved to Virginia briefly before trekking halfway across the country to Dallas. Despite five great years in the Lone Star State, she missed the East Coast and moved to Alexandria in 2010. Prior to joining the Alexandria Times, Kristen spent eight years selling structured settlements where she advanced her sales and marketing experience. Deciding it was time for a career change, she spent a year as a bartender before joining the Times.

In her first year, Kristen instigated various new marketing campaigns, including the very successful Readers’ Choice Best of Alexandria. She is also an active member of the Alexandria business community through service on the boards of the Old Town Business and Professional Association and West End Business Association. She serves as an ambassador for the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce.

Kristen also works with local charities and serves on the planning committee for the Relay for Life of Alexandria City.


Erich Wagner, Editor-in-Chief

Erich has spent the past several years in Maryland honing his reporting craft, coming to Alexandria with years of experience covering community news and governments from municipalities to state legislatures. He won the 2012 award for Best Environmental Coverage from the Local Media Association for his coverage of flooding in rural Upper Marlboro, Md. and its effect on residents and business owners. He is a Baltimore sports fan and an enthusiast in English soccer.


Chris Teale, Reporter and Photographer

Chris was born in Massachusetts to British parents and raised just outside of Oxford in England. He moved to Alexandria shortly after graduating from the University of East Anglia in 2013, and has been with the Times since April 2014 in a variety of roles. He arrived at the Times having already covered events like the Olympic Torch Relay as it made its way through Oxford in 2012, and has already wowed a variety of Alexandria personalities with his British accent.
 Patrice V. Culligan, Publisher Emeritus

Patrice worked in medical publishing for 18 years.  After working with the International Medical News Group, Patrice moved to New York City as the publisher of Physician’s Weekly.  After five years as publisher and the successful sale of the publication, she started an independent rep firm and two years later joined a larger firm representing numerous medical associations and medical publishers. She followed her husband, Tom, to Washington. They have six children and six grandchildren spread across the United States.


Susan Hale Thomas, Staff Reporter / Photographer

Chris Teale, Reporter & Copy Editor

Jennifer Powell, Art Director


Pat Booth, Classifieds & Office Manager

Pat is from Ogden, Utah, but came to Alexandria in 1989 to serve at the Pentagon until she retired in 1995. In 2000 she graduated with a degree in sociology from George Washington University. Afterward she worked at Old Town’s Bombay Co. until they closed and began her employment with the Alexandria Times in March 2008. She’s been happier than a clam ever since.

 Margaret Stevens, Sales Associate

Margaret Stevens, Account Executive, has been with the Alexandria Times for three years. Her interests outside of advertising include freelance writing and painting.  She graduated from the University of Virginia with a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture and a bachelor’s degree in English Literature.

Marty DeVine, Sales Associate
Marty has a BA from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, an MA in Religion from Yale Divinity School, an MA in Theology from Durham University (England) and a JD from the University of Detroit (Michigan & England). She is married, has two sons and resides in Alexandria.

 Isabel Alvarez, Pet Columnist

A life-long animal lover and full-time professional pet sitter for four years, Isabel writes a monthly column for the Alexandria Times entitled Pet Matters. Isabel is the proud owner of The Wag Pack Professional Pet Services, which provides dog walking and pet sitting services in Northern Virginia. Recipient of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters 2012 Business of the Year Award, Isabel takes pet care very seriously. She’s a passionate animal advocate and is also involved with various local and national rescue organizations in the effort to help homeless and needy animals.