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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

ELLEN BRIGGS | FOUNDER & PRESIDENT

Born and raised in a pre-Revolutionary built home which is still located along the Hudson River, Ellen has been poised with the honor of living within the walls of history her entire life. During the summers, with her family, she slept, ate and played in an iconic history-filled guest windmill built by her Great Uncle Herbert Briggs in Chatham. MA. Eventually, Ellen’s mother and father retired to their Chatham home where she visited whenever possible. Her father passed away in 1983 followed by her mother thirteen years later. Fortunately, Ellen and her husband, Robert, were able to buy this home from the estate in 1997. They enjoyed it part of the year as they continued to reside in Florida. Finally, with her husband, she decided to make Chatham their permanent home. What helped influence this life-style change was their decision to rescue the historic windmill her Great Uncle had built by having it moved onto their property for restoration.  Now fully immersed in the process of saving historic properties, to that end, Ellen has launched the non-profit Protect Our Past.

Her career includes sales and management positions with Ackerley Communications, Group W Satellite Communications (ABC, The Disney Channel, The Nashville Network), The Washington Post, and Pier 1 (Istanbul, Turkey). After co-writing 'Are Your Kids Running On Empty' and its accompanying cookbook, she created the 'Kid Kritics Approved' program, 'Family Food Experts', and hosted its radio shows. After retiring to Chatham, MA, she is finding good use for all of that experience!

FREDERICK H. ECKER II, | VICE PRESIDENT

Frederick H. Ecker possesses a unique background that bridges the fields of restoration, preservation and conservation. Throughout his 35-year-career, he has worked with a wide variety of administrators and owners of more than 300 historic properties. These include Federal, State, and Local agencies; non-profit organizations and museums; private foundations; and private individuals. His knowledge and expertise in the realm of historic preservation is well-recognized, and his work with board members, Federal, State, and Local officials, and private owners is highly regarded. His goal is to demonstrate that careful, thoughtful, conservative preservation and restoration, respecting the original sanctity of a building, can have a positive impact on a city, a community, a congregation, or a private individual. Mr. Ecker strives to work with and educate all parties, public and private, about the value of our architectural heritage and our role as its stewards. Past and current projects include such well-known historic structures as The White House (Washington, DC), Mount Vernon (Mount Vernon, VA), the Green-Meldrim House (Savannah, GA), the Edith Wharton Estate (Lenox, MA), The Octagon Museum (Washington, D.C.), and Monticello (Charlottesville, VA).

CESAR RODRIGUEZ |TREASURER

Raised in New Jersey in the small town of Haworth, NJ, Cesar developed his lifelong love of history and historical places. His involvement with history-related organizations continues to this day. Cesar earned his BBA Degree in Economics from the University of Georgia and a JD Degree from the University of Georgia School of Law. Cesar transitioned from the practice of law into commercial real estate development over 35 years ago. In 1992 Cesar formed Rodriguez Klein Group, Inc. (“RKG”), a real estate investment and development company whose primary emphasis is on acquiring and developing retail, office, and related properties. In addition to his business interests, Cesar has served his communities through his involvement in the following organizations: Mentor in the Community In Schools program at Burroughs Molette Elementary School, located in Brunswick, GA; Director and Past President of the Coastal Georgia Historical Society; Director, Latin American Resources Center; Treasurer and member of the Board of Directors, Friends of Coastal Georgia History; Past President of the East Beach Homeowners Association, St Simons Island, GA; Past President of the Cobb County, GA YMCA; and as a Director on the Board of Directors, Boy Scouts of America, Roswell, Georgia. Cesar’s civic contributions include serving as a Glynn County appointed member of the Glynn County, GA Tree Board Committee, an appointed member of the Glynn County Tree Ordinance Committee, and a representative on the St. Simons Island Steering Committee for the Glynn County Comprehensive (ten-year) Plan.

STUART GREEN | SECRETARY

Stuart Green is a retired Vice President of a high tech, internationally-focused mechanical engineering, consulting and manufacturing firm offering cooling solutions for computer chips in high heat dissipation electronics environments.  As a member of the senior management team, his responsibilities included worldwide Sales, Marketing and Customer Service. His forty years of senior level business experience also encompasses financial and administrative roles at a Big Six accounting firm, an international law firm with offices in the US and Saudi Arabia and two 501(c)3 organizations.  He holds Masters Degrees from Brown University and Bryant University. Over the course of his volunteer experience, he has been on the board of over a dozen nonprofit organizations.  Currently, he is a Trustee of the Chatham Historical Society and the Armenian Museum of America. He and his wife, Lisa, have homes in Chestnut Hill and Chatham, MA.

THOMAS H. DOUGHERTY

Tom has over 30 years of experience leading businesses for several U.S. companies serving the commercial and residential building industries. They include Lennox International, Nortek, Otis Elevators, and Carrier Corporation. Having lived abroad for 12 years in six countries while doing work in over 50 countries, Tom brings a unique international lens to problem-solving.

 

After graduating from the Catholic University of America with a degree in economics, Tom served on active duty as a U.S. Army infantry officer for five years; he then earned an MBA in finance and statistics from the University of Chicago. Tom has served on the Board of Advisors for Bryant University’s College of Business and the Board for INROADs of Upstate New York.

 

Tom has a keen interest in history and architecture. He and his family have residences in Chatham and North Sapphire Beach, New South Wales, Australia.

GUNNY HARBOE, F.A.I.A.

In March of 2006 Gunny Harboe began his own architecture firm specializing in historic preservation and sustainable design. Prior to that he spent 17 ½ years at McClier (and Austin/AECOM) where he was responsible for all of the firm’s projects involving preservation, restoration, or rehabilitation of older structures of historic or architectural significance. He is a registered architect having received his M. Arch. degree from MIT, which included study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Denmark. He also has a M.Sc. in Historic Preservation from Columbia University, and an A.B. in History from Brown University. In 1998 he completed the course in Architectural Conservation at ICCROM in Rome, Italy.

BEBE KEMPER HUNT

Bebe Kemper Hunt says that "The world's upheavals are a great challenge to our universal sense of harmony, and it seems that the gift of art, whether it be painting, sculpture, film, music, or some other form, is one of the things that, if we let it, can restore the sense of peace in one's soul." In addition to being an Emeritus Trustee and serving on the Board of Directors for the Kansas City Symphony, she is the co-founder of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Kemper is first and foremost an artist with homes in Kansas City, MO and Chatham, MA.

SUSAN WILSON

Susan Foster Wilson is the daughter of former Board Member Anne Foster. Her grandfather first came to Chatham in 1910, and he bought property in North Chatham soon thereafter.  His children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great, great grandchildren are still enjoying the same family house to this day.  Susan has spent almost every summer of her life in Chatham.  After graduating from the Dana Hall School and Connecticut College, she lived in Tokyo and Paris, before returning to live and work in Boston. Capitalizing on her familiarity with historic preservation and love of the Eastern Coast, she is currently providing interior design consulting services with an expertise in historically-faithful designs. She has a love of old houses, dogs, sailing, painting, and preserving what is best about Chatham, the Cape, and the Islands.

W. DOUG GILPIN JR. FAIA, NCARB

W. Douglas Gilpin, Jr. is registered to practice architecture in Virginia, West Virginia, and Rhode Island. His architectural work has been featured in magazines, video, and tours such as Bob Vila’s ‘Restore America’, The Old House Journal, Southern Accents, Virginia Business, Charlottesville HOME, and The Garden Club of Virginia’s ‘Historic Garden Week’.

His work includes Custom Residences and Estates, Historic Conservation of National Landmark Structures, Cultural Institutions, including Museums and Historic House Museums, Churches and other religious structures,
Transportation projects, including historic Railroad Stations, Collegiate and Secondary School Institutions. 

In 1999, Doug was elevated to Fellow in the American Institute of Architects, the second highest distinction bestowed by the Institute, and has received the Milton LaTour Grigg Award from AIA Central Virginia and the Marcellus Wright, Jr. Award from AIA James River.  Many historical organizations and commissions have benefited from his voluntary services.  Now he serves as a Director on the Board of Protect Our Past! In addition to architecture, Doug’s interests include hiking with his wife, general aviation, culinary adventures, clamming, and single-malt whiskies.

MATTHEW HOLDEN

Matt is a third generation Cape Codder and has been a year-round resident of Chatham for over 15 years. . Matt’s interest in historic building preservation began in upstate NY where Matt studied architectural history at Hobart College.

Situated in the heart of the Finger Lakes, Hobart and the surrounding area was the perfect setting for him to discover and study a rich landscape of architectural relics. While pursuing a sales career in software for over 30 years, Matt never lost his zeal for architecture and the intrinsic role it plays in shaping the historic identities of our local communities. Matt’s love of history complements his outdoor pursuits. When not hunting or fishing, he spends time with his beloved wife Virginia of 20 years restoring their cottage saltbox in North Chatham.

Matt first put his foot into the Protect Our Past door as a radio co-host for WOMR with Ellen Briggs for the monthly half-hour show, “Protect Our Past.” He continues to support POP with his helping hands, particularly in software programs and marketing. Matt has contacts along with ideas of how to move this nonprofit forward. Hence, the decision to add him to the Protect Our Past Board of Directors.

ROBERT WILKINS

Robert, aka Bob, grew up in an eighteenth-century hip-roof Georgian house on High Street in Newburyport purchased by his paternal grandfather as a wedding present to my parents in the early 1940s. His parents were collectors of antiques, a passion that they acquired from his maternal grandfather. Thus, this house was completely furnished with period American antiques.

 

His father took up the cause for the restoration and preservation of Newburyport’s downtown in the 1960s. He led this first instance of urban renewal funds allocated for restoration rather than demolition in American history.

 

Bob, a William College graduate, lived in NYC with his wife, Suzanne. He worked for American Youth Hostels and purchased an eighteenth-century Dutch farmhouse and set about restoring it. Soon both moved on to become antique dealers.

As their home was near a Shaker community, Shaker antiques became their specialty which led them to become the world's premier dealers in the Shaker material culture. Since Bob has published many magazine articles on Shaker design

 

In 1986, Bob and Suzanne bought their second home, a ca. 1820 sea captain’s Cape house in Yarmouth Port, spending the next quarter century lovingly restoring it. In 2004 Bob joined the Board of Directors of the Yarmouth New Church Preservation Foundation, where he has been actively involved in the restoration of this local landmark. He collaborated with John Canning & Co., one of the nation’s experts in historic restoration, conservation, and preservation, to restore the magnificent paint-decorated interior of (now) Thacher Hall. In 2016 Bob filled Suzanne’s vacant seat on Yarmouth’s Old Kings Highway committee, and he currently serves as its Chairman.

JEANNE MARIE PELLETIER, ESQ

Jeanne M. Pelletier, Esq. is the Principal and Owner of the Law Office bearing her name in Boston, MA. With a Juris Doctor from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from Smith College, she brings a wealth of legal and managerial experience to her practice. Specializing in real estate, trusts and estates, non-profit organization formation, and historic preservation, she provides comprehensive legal counsel to individuals, organizations, and small businesses. Prior to establishing her own firm, Jeanne served as Preservation Advisor to The Campaign for the Ayer Mansion, Inc., where she contributed to the preservation of the National Historic Landmark, Tiffany-designed Ayer Mansion. Her professional journey includes roles as Manager at Goody Clancy and Principal and General Manager at Jean Carroon Architects, both in Boston. Additionally, she has contributed her expertise as a Legal Associate at the Law Firm of Van Ness Feldman in Washington, DC, and as a Program Associate at the Boston Preservation Alliance. Committed to community service, Jeanne has held various board positions, including as a Trustee of The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass and as a Board Member of Meetinghouse Farm, Inc. and Friends of the South End Library. She has also served as President and Board Member of Neighborhood Parents for the Hurley School and chaired the Architectural & Zoning Committee at the South End Historical Society.

HONORARY BOARD OF DIRECTORS

J. DUNCAN BERRY 

J. Duncan Berry is a "visual equity analyst." His work centers on re-animating a brand's sensory equities in order to expand emotional connections with consumers/customers.  For many years managing director of a high-end, private label import company, Berry has extensive experience with global enterprise process management, marketing, systems design and quality control. He also maintains an international reputation as an art and architectural historian, publishing and lecturing at universities and academic symposia in the United States and in Europe.

Berry was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Vienna (Austria), an IREX Scholar at the Technical University of Dresden (Germany), a Fellow of the Institute of International Studies, and University Fellow at Brown University where he received both his A.M. and PhD degrees in the History of Art and Architecture. He received his undergraduate degree (with honors) from The College of Wooster (Wooster, OH).  He lives in Harwich, on Cape Cod, where he is actively working toward saving the historic Captain’s Row Houses.

ERIC DRAY

Eric Dray has over twenty-five years of experience in the preservation field, with a focus on historic district and preservation planning issues. Mr. Dray graduated with a B.A. in History from Brown University and has both a Masters in Historic Preservation and a Law Degree from Boston University. Mr. Dray also spent a year mid-career studying Urban Planning at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. This educational background makes him uniquely qualified to provide a broad range of preservation planning services. 

Mr. Dray has extensive consulting experience with local communities, including preparation of MHC Inventory Forms, National Register nominations, design review guidelines, and town-wide Preservation Plans and Survey Plans. Mr. Dray has also consulted with many Community Preservation Committees, including preparation of preservation restrictions. Prior to establishing his consulting business, Mr. Dray worked for six years as Historic District Administrator and Preservation Planner for the Boston Landmarks Commission. In addition to consulting, Mr. Dray was an Adjunct Professor in the Boston University Preservation Studies program from 2006-2013 where he taught preservation planning.

Mr. Dray's community work has also been extensive. In Provincetown, he was Chair of the Historic District Study Committee, where he successfully guided the drafting of the bylaws and guidelines and the public process towards adoption of a 1,500 property district in 2004. He served as a Historic District Commissioner in both Cambridge and Provincetown. He served as chair of the Provincetown Historical Commission for many years and was the Vice-Chair for the Community Preservation Committee. 

In Memoriam

John Yacobian was born and raised in New York State, near Albany.  He was a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany with a BA in Political Science and History, and a MA in History, with a focus on American Studies.  John was an Emmy award-winning producer with CBS News, based in NYC, and was with CBS since 1997, working in the news division on various short and long-form projects. Prior to this, John was a news producer for APTN in London and worked for the CBS affiliate in Albany, New York.  John was very interested in history and preservation.  He had homes in New York City and in Chatham, Massachusetts. He passed away unexpectedly on September 26, 2023. We will miss his energy and talents greatly. 

JOHN YACOBIAN

ADVISORY BOARD

Ellen Briggs, Alice DeSouza, Stuart Green, Gene Guill, Lisa Hassler, Matt Holden, Cynthia Lescalleet, Jon Lesh

Phyllis Nickerson Power, Susan Wilson

CREATIVE TEAM

David Allen - Creative Director

Dennis Williams, Craig Miller, Gwendolyn Horton, Fred Ecker, Kevin McLain, Mike Jackson, Ellen Briggs

MEET OUR VIDEO PRODUCTION TEAM

3 Bridges Consulting

3 Bridges Consulting in collaboration with Full Throttle Media will be filming, editing and co-producing the brand film for Protect Our Past.  Dennis Williams grew up on Cape Cod and will help lead the project. He brings his 30+ years of media experience working as a journalist, content creator and consultant.   Craig Miller brings his decades of experience producing world class video on projects around the globe.  Both are excited to uncover the incredible stories that live within the walls and buildings across Cape Cod and the Islands. 

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