Swann Seiler is Manager of External Affairs for Georgia Power’s Southeast Region in Savannah, Georgia. Swann is a 1978 graduate of the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism and serves on its Grady Board of Trust. She also served as the first woman President of the University of Georgia National Alumni Association from 2005 – 2007, and she is an Emeritus Member of the UGA Athletic Association Board of Directors and of the University of Georgia Foundation. Additionally, she serves on the UGA Library Board of Visitors.
Swann was presented with the Southern Company University of Georgia Distinguished Alumni award in 2001 – the year the award was established. She graduated from Leadership Savannah and Leadership Georgia in 1984 and 1991, respectively. Active in numerous community and civic activities, Swann serves on the State Board of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Georgia and the Chatham County Public School’s Foundation. Swann also serves on the Board of the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire and is a member of the Savannah Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Rotary Club of Savannah.
For eight years Swann was a member of the Historic District’s Board of Review for the City of Savannah. And she is a past President of the Board of Senior Citizens, Inc., and a former board member of Bethesda Academy. She chaired the United Way of the Coastal Empire’s Campaign in 1998 and is the past Chairman of the Savannah Sports Council. Swann is a past member of the Board of Curators for the Georgia Historical Society, and a past President of the University of Georgia Club of Savannah. Swann served consecutive terms on the Georgia Women of Achievement Board and the Georgia Humanities Council.
Swann is past President of the Junior League of Savannah, former President of the Girl Scout Council of Savannah, and was Chairman of the Chatham/Effingham Regional System Library Board. In April 2009, she was honored with a Women of Distinction award by the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia.
Swann lives in the historic district of Savannah, where she is an active member of the Lutheran Church of the Ascension. Her family has raised and cared for the University of Georgia’s famed white English Bulldog mascots for over 65 years.
Josh Keller grew up in Louisville Kentucky and Southern Indiana farming, raising horses, and working with his father in the restaurant business. He attended the University of Louisville Speed School of Engineering for three years before transferring to Indiana University School of Business where he received his Bachelors Degree in Marketing.
In 1998 he began working with Cellular Sales, now Verizon Wireless’ largest national independent retailer. In 2002 he and his wife Kelley moved to Savannah where he furthered his career with the company and became a Regional Director.
Josh has served on the boards of the Savannah Downtown Neighborhood Association, The Savannah Children’s Choir, The Historical Savannah Foundation, St. Andrew’s School, has served as Board Chair for a manufacturing startup in Savannah, and currently serves on the boards of Synovus Banks Advisory Committee, The Savannah Music Festival, and The Telfair Museum where he is on the Executive Committee and Chairs the Facilities and Capital Planning committee.
Josh also has a passion for Historic Preservation having restored 2 houses in downtown Savannah and is currently restoring and renovating The Conrad Aiken House on Oglethorpe Avenue.
Dr. William T. (Ted) Moore is retired from the University of South Carolina as Distinguished Professor Emeritus. He earned a Ph.D. in finance and statistics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1982, joined the faculty at Indiana University in that year, and moved to the University of South Carolina in 1986. He held the Berlinbergendowed chair at USC and in 2004 he began serving in various posts in university administration. These positions included Associate Provost, Vice-Provost, Vice-President for Planning, Executive Vice-President and Provost, and Vice-President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer at USC, overseeing an annual budget of $1.1 billion. Ted is an expert in capital investment analysis and has published 75 scholarly articles, a book and a monograph on financial topics. Working with Dr. S. Chen in the 1980s and 1990s he helped develop modern methods for accounting for uncertainty in assessing capital project values. Working with other colleagues in the 1990s until present, he has focused on corporate financing policy involving option-embedded securities, and evaluation of capital investment projects to account for growth and timing options. Much of this work is contained in his book, Real Options & Option-Embedded Securities, published by John Wiley & Sons in 2001. During his academic career, Moore received numerous awards for research and teaching, including the highest awards offered for teaching excellence and research accomplishments from the University of South Carolina. Prior to entering the academic world, he served on active duty in the U.S. Army in various positions as an infantry officer which included combat experience in Vietnam in 1968-69. Moore’s wife is Linda T. Moore, an attorney who served as director of legal affairs at the USC School of Medicine. They have recently moved to Savannah where both are active in civic and philanthropic activities.
Jan Hill Dorman was raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She graduated from Mills College in 1968 and then served in the Peace Corps and VISTA. After several years with Bank of America, she attended Stanford University, receiving her MBA in 1975. She and her husband, Lawrence Dorman, also MBA 1975, then moved to New York. Jan worked for International Paper Company, directing tax-exempt financing for several years before becoming managing partner of Institutional Energy Investors, a private equity firm investing in the oil and gas business. After moving to Connecticut, she continued consulting and teaching. In a move to Boston, she was the major gifts officer for UNICEF for several years. She has served on the board of the Florence Griswold Museum, in Old Lyme, CT, the Board of Overseers at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she chaired the Patrons Program, and the board of UNICEF.
John J. “Jay” Neely, III, Esq. currently serves as Vice President, Law & Public Affairs for Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation. His law responsibilities include management of the Legal Department, its lawyers, and other personnel, and his Public Affairs responsibilities include management of State and Local Government Affairs and Community Relations. Before joining Gulfstream in 1999, Neely was an attorney in the Atlanta office of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, LLP. He served as Law Clerk to the Honorable Dudley H. Bowen, Jr., U.S. District Court, Southern District of Georgia, Augusta. Neely received his J.D. in 1992 from the University of Georgia School of Law and a Bachelor of Science in 1989 from Vanderbilt University. He has been married to Courtney Parks Neely since 1993, and they have two children—Laura and John. He and his family attend the Community Bible Church. Neely serves as Chairman of the Georgia Department of Economic Development Board of Directors and on the boards of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce. He also serves on the Savannah Area Chamber Board’s Executive Committee. He has served on the Leadership Georgia Board of Trustees, as the Leadership Georgia Chairman of Selections, and as President of the Leadership Savannah Board of Directors.
Robert Faircloth has lived in Savannah for the past 23 years. He is a retired international business executive. His career was primarily in manufacturing, starting in the oil and chemical paper industries in Canada. He is a 1956 graduate of the University of Manitoba (Canada) with a B.S. in Geology. In 1974 he joined BTR plc, a London-based manufacturing firm with operations throughout the world. He spent several years in Europe, based in or near London, and managed a diverse range of companies on six continents. His specialization was acquisitions and company turnarounds. He retired from BTR in 1995 as Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director, settling in New Hampshire and Savannah. On retirement, he held several board positions, including at BTR, and joined National Grid plc as a Director in 1995. National Grid operates the electric and gas utility grids in England and Wales, and today is also one of the United State’s largest utilities, centered in the Northeast. Since retirement, Mr. Faircloth has also done consulting work in Southern Africa and Europe. He has been actively involved as a trustee of the New London, NH, hospital, and played a key role in this hospital’s modernization and expansion in 2006-2009 as both a fundraiser and major donor. Mr. Faircloth joined the board of the Savannah Music Festival in 2007 and served as chairman for three years. In 2020, Dale Critz, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Trustees requested that Bob serve as Acting-Director of Telfair Museums until a new director could be selected.
Bob served with distinction lending his tremendous leadership skills to deal with the difficulties brought by the worldwide pandemic. He and his late wife Jean were active in supporting many community philanthropies in both New Hampshire and Savannah. Bob and Jean have four children, eight grandchildren, and interests include travel, golf, art, and music.
Dave Neises is President of The Commonwealth Company, an advisory firm specializing in real estate and finance for the hospitality industry. Previously, he held several executive positions with The Promus Companies (now a part of Hilton Hotels), culminating with Senior Director of Development for Homewood Suites by Hilton. Prior to that, he served in numerous capacities within the hotel and restaurant fields. He and his wife Sylvaine moved to Savannah six years ago from Atlanta. He sits on the board of the Savannah Music Festival and serves on its Executive Committee. He was previously Chairman of the Georgia Chapter of the Counselors of Real Estate, and was Past President of the Georgia Chapter of the Cornell Hotel Society. He has guest lectured at Cornell University and Georgia State University, and is a graduate of Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration.
Tom Reilly worked at Putnam Investments from 1982-2004 and was also the Head of European Business, London UK, 2000-2004. His extensive background includes Head and Chief Investment Officer of Value Equities, Boston MA 1986-2000, Portfolio Manager, George Putnam Fund, Boston MA 1984-1993, and CIGNA Insurance, Hartford CT 1981-1982. He was a Senior Equity Analyst at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Springfield MA 1976-1981, a Portfolio Manager and Analyst at Allstate Insurance, Northbrook IL 1973-1976, a Venture Capital Analyst at First Chicago Corporation, Chicago IL 1968-1973 and an Investment Officer, Venture Capital Group. He graduated from the University of Chicago with an MBA in 1971 and attended Knox College where he obtained a BA in Economics in 1968. Additional activities and accomplishments include: Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) 1977, US Army Reserves- 12th Special Forces Group 1968-1974, Trustee-Savannah Music Festival 2008-Present, Board of Directors- America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia 2011-Present and Knox College Board of Trustees 1997-2009.
Vincent West was born and raised in Atlanta, where he would go on to graduate from the University of Georgia’s Terry Business School. Vincent’s business pursuits have included: a retail glassware company; a Southeastern billboard company; real estate development, including Utana Bluffs, a boutique mountain community in the North Georgia mountains; and he is the founder of Floor and Décor, a nationwide chain of over 80 hard-surface flooring superstores with 5,000 employees. Floor and Décor went public in the spring of 2017 on the NYSC. Its symbol is FND. Vincent currently serves as Founder and Vice Chairman of Floor and Décor. Vincent previously served as the Chairman of Reflections Ministries of Atlanta, is a past member of the Session of Trinity Presbyterian Church, a past member of the board of Georgia Museum of Art, Lamar Dodd School of Art of the University of Georgia, a past member of the George West Mental Health Organization, and served with several other nonprofit organizations over the years. Vincent currently serves as Chair of the Lamar Dodd School of Art and on the board of The Savannah Music Festival. Vincent was previously the President of West Building Materials, served on the board of Rhoades Furniture Company, and was a past member of the Young Presidents Organization. West is also a member of the Piedmont Driving Club and The Savannah Yacht Club. Vincent is married to Lisa West, and they have three children, Ansley, married to Rafe Rivers; Cubby, married to Dakin Spain; and a son, Vincent. Vincent’s hobbies include tennis, fishing, hunting, hiking, skiing, gardening, cooking, and traveling and spending time with his children and grandchildren.
Dale C. Critz, Jr. is a native of Savannah and President and CEO of Critz Auto Group, a third-generation dealership group founded in 1938 representing Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Buick, GMC Truck and Sprinter Vans. Dale also served on Telfair’s Board from 2001-2004 and has served The United Way of the Coastal Empire in numerous roles, including Campaign Chair in 2008 and Board Chair in 2010. He has served as Chair of the Savannah Community Foundation and The Savannah Historic Board of Review. He also served on the boards of the Savannah Country Day School, Junior Achievement, and The Savannah Association for the Blind. He founded the Critz Tybee Run Fest, the proceeds of which are donated to local charities focused on education and healthy living. Since the race series began in 2009, over $500,000 has been donated to local charities. Dale graduated cum laude with a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia and received his M.B.A. from the University of Texas. He graduated from Leadership Savannah in 1992. He and his wife, Debbie, have four children.
Kelly L. Bouchillon, Sr. is a co-founder and Senior Partner at Sound View Wealth Advisers on Skidaway Island in Savannah. Kelly retired from Merrill Lynch as a Senior Vice President in March 2018 after 28 years to form an independent financial planning and investment advisory firm along with his wife, Melissa, and his investment partner of 24 years at Merrill Lynch, Mr. Ham. Kelly began his investment career in 1989 at Merrill Lynch and in 2005 earned his Certified Financial Planner Designation. In past years, he has been a guest speaker at numerous functions and worked closely with new Financial Advisors. Kelly and his partner formed the Bouchillon & Ham Group within Merrill Lynch in 1994 to specialize in investment management, estate planning, and financial planning advisory services for retirees. He has been a charitable contributor to Kiwanis Club of Skidaway Island, Savannah Country Day School, Savannah Philharmonic, St. Joseph’s Candler Foundation, and numerous other organizations. An accomplished golfer, he has competed in countless local tournaments and championships for many years and also on the state level. His hobbies include power boating and snow skiing with family and friends, and he has a passion for sailing, which he professes to do “not nearly enough nor nearly well enough.” Kelly and Melissa have four children, he has coached in various sports, and they live in The Landings. Kelly has served as a committee member for both The Landings Club and The Landings Association. As a native Savannahian, Kelly graduated from Savannah Country Day School and went on to study Economics and English at the University of Georgia. Kelly professes Telfair Museums to be a “crown jewel” in Savannah’s history, tourism, and cultural activities.
Malcolm L. Butler was born and raised in Savannah. He graduated from Savannah Country Day School in 1976 and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University in 1980. Upon graduation, he began working at The Fiduciary Group, taking time out to earn his J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1985 with a focus on estate and trust law, as well as taxation. Malcolm is the President and CEO of The Fiduciary Group, having served as investment advisor for over 35 years and as administrator of hundreds of trusts and estates. In civic affairs, Malcolm has served as a Director of the Rotary Club of Savannah, YMCA, Isle of Hope Historical Association, and the Skidaway Health and Living Services, Inc., which operates The Marshes of Skidaway Island, a continuing care retirement community. He has served in a number of different executive positions for nonprofit organizations, including President for both The Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Georgia and Colonial Wars in the State of Georgia. He was a Trustee of Savannah Country Day School and served on the Executive Committee as Secretary. He has served as President and Board member of the Executives’ Association of Savannah.
Charles “Chuck” H. Chewning has more than 30 years of experience in luxury residential, hospitality, and preservation interior design. Today he runs his own design business, Charles H Chewning Interiors, based in Atlanta, with an additional presence in Savannah. Chewning’s attention to conceptual design development, documentation, and management in the interior design field is coupled with the cross-cultural experience he accumulated from years of working in London and Milan. In 2014, Chewning became design director of Studio Rubelli, the interior design division of the Rubelli Group where he worked on prestigious hospitality and residential projects around the world including Longcross, the English country house in Surrey of a royal family, a new showroom in Paris for the Rubelli Group, and the restoration of Palazzo Berlendis in Venice, Italy.
In 2013, Chewning completed the much-celebrated restoration of the historic Gritti Palace in Venice, Italy. For his design, the Gritti was awarded the International Hotel & Property Award and was featured prominently in Architectural Digest (May 2013). The Gritti Palace recently won an Haute Grandeur Global award. Chewning joined the iconic American lifestyle brand Donghia in 2008 as creative director, a position he held for eight years in New York City.
Today, Chewning is working on equally exciting projects such as the restoration of the prestigious c. 1916 Armstrong Mansion in Savannah’s National Register Historic District for the Kessler Collection and a new May River estate in Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina, for a private client.
An alumni of The Savannah College of Art and Design, Chuck became the first recipient of the SCAD Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2008 and wrote a forward to the recently published book SCAD: The Architecture of a University.
Leda Chong was named senior vice president of Government Programs and Sales in May 2016. In this role, she is responsible for worldwide government and special mission sales and marketing, international relations and business development, government contracts, as well as trade and regulatory compliance. Chong previously served as Gulfstream’s senior vice president, Strategic Planning, and led the identification and pursuit of strategic business opportunities for Gulfstream, with particular emphasis on international markets. She also served as Gulfstream’s senior vice president, Asia Pacific. Chong came to Gulfstream from parent company General Dynamics. Prior to joining General Dynamics in 2007, Chong was a career military officer serving in various leadership roles in the United States Navy. She serves on the board of the National Aeronautic Association (NAA); is an active member of the General Aviation and Manufacturing Association’s International Committee and co-chairs the US China Aviation Cooperation Program’s General and Business Aviation Committee.
Meredith Repella Dulany grew up in Savannah, Georgia, and graduated from Savannah Country Day School in 1992. She attended Southern Methodist University with a ballet scholarship and graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Dance Education. Immediately following, Meredith studied ballet and modern dance and performed in New York City.
In her professional career, Meredith coordinated and managed events for National Public Broadcasting headquartered in Manhattan and later served as Director of Events for Savannah College of Art and Design at its many campuses. She married Reed Dulany III in 2007. After the birth of the couple’s two children, Meredith became a full-time contributor to her community. She is a past volunteer at Savannah Classical Academy, a Chatham County Public Charter School. She served as a member of the Advisory Board for the Next Generation for the Children’s Hospital at Memorial University Medical Center and the Savannah Downtown Neighborhood Association where she led for six years as Events Chair followed by Secretary.
Meredith currently serves as a Trustee for Savannah Country Day School. She is an active member of the Women’s Board of Bethesda, where she worked on the Executive Committee as Secretary following her leadership as Chair of the Academic Achievement Committee, which she helped establish. She is in her second term as a Trustee of Telfair Museums, where she helped re-establish and lead the Events Committee and currently works with the Collections Committee. In 2019, Meredith chaired the museum’s 200th Anniversary Telfair Ball, raising a record-breaking $1.3 million.
Ronald (Ron) J. Gantt was born in New York City. He graduated from Forest Hills High School in 1968 and from Howard University in Washington, DC, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology in 1972.
Upon graduation, Ron went to work for McDonald’s Corporation as a manager trainee and rose through the ranks of restaurant management with a promotion in 1978 to a staff position as personnel supervisor. Eager to get back in restaurant operations, he was promoted to area supervisor, leading restaurant teams in Maryland and Washington, DC. His success led to another promotion as a field consultant to McDonald’s Franchisees on the eastern shore of Maryland and Delaware. After two years on the job, Ron again was promoted to his first department head position as operations manager for McDonald’s Corporate owned stores in the Baltimore area. Three years later, Ron received a promotion to the first field service manager for the newly formed Baltimore Regional Office. Intrigued with the franchising side of the business, Ron was promoted to field licensing manager for the Washington DC, Baltimore, and Norfolk Regions. The primary function of this position is the selection, training, and placement of new franchisees, as well as managing the franchising processes for the Corporation. His focus was on attracting minority candidates to the business. This experience was the most impactful in making the decision to become an entrepreneur as a McDonald’s franchisee.
After twenty successful years with Corporate McDonald’s, in 1992, Ron decided to become a McDonald’s franchisee of two restaurants in Washington, DC. With the assistance of his wife, Bernice, and two sons, together, they have dedicated themselves to operating their restaurants and developing their staff. Today, they have grown to an organization of ten restaurants and over six hundred employees. Their business focused on customer and employee satisfaction, community involvement, and education. These efforts have resulted in numerous awards, including the highly coveted Ronald McDonald Award in 2018.
Also, Ron has been Chair of the Board Trustees for his Church, a member of the 100 Black Men of Savannah, a member of the National Black McDonald’s Operator Association, and Immediate Past President of Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia Black Operators Association, and a member Congressmen Anthony Brown’s Business Advisory Council in Maryland. After 28 years in business, Ron and Bernice sold their restaurants in June of 2020 and successfully retired.
Brent Harlander was born in Minneapolis but has lived in Savannah since age four. Brent is a graduate of Savannah Country Day School Class of 1997 and received a BBA from the University of Georgia Terry College of Business. Brent travels extensively for Gavilon LLC, the second largest distributor of specialty and bulk fertilizer, with more than 80 fertilizer terminals worldwide, and is one of the top three distributors in Mexico, Peru, and South Africa. Brent and his wife, Lindsay, are members of St. John’s Episcopal Church and are the parents of Katherine, 8, Lydia, 6, and Charlie, 3.
Lori Judge, a Midwest native, grew up in Princeton, Illinois, and holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Iowa. Lori is the Founder and CEO of Judge Realty and a co-owner/founder of the Yaupon Teahouse, Temples Farm, and the Judge Art Collection. Judge Realty is a full-service boutique real estate firm active since 2005. The firm specializes in residential and commercial sales, leasing, and property management. “Acting with integrity, exceeding client expectations, acting as a collaborative team, challenging traditional modus operandi, and enriching our community” is the core of Judge Realty’s values.
Lori is committed to a focus headlined with the local and global environment, culture, and the economy. Following this philosophy, solar panels are installed on the Judge Realty office building make it the only real estate company to run on solar power. Additionally, she curates the Judge Art Collection and makes the collection accessible to the public within the Judge Realty offices. Lori’s commitment to supporting local art and culture results in hosting and coordinating an annual public art display, as well as a number of community collaborations. Utilizing the Judge Realty office building facade as a blank canvas, local artists share their creative talents. These art displays are integral to Lori’s goal to define and redefine ways that creativity, commerce, and art can be incorporated into the lives of the local community by making art accessible in nontraditional and more traditional ways.
Other ways that Lori engages in the local culture and environment are through her memberships in various local organizations, including Telfair Museums, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah Tree Foundation, Georgia Conservancy, Flannery O’ Connor House, Downtown Neighborhood Association, and the Downtown Businesses Association. Lori serves on the Queensborough Bank Advisory Board. Lori moved to Savannah in 1999 and resides in Savannah’s Historic District with her husband, Lou Thomann, and son, Albert Thomann, who attends Benedictine Military School. Lori’s original guiding principles of focusing on the local and global environment, culture, and economy continue to be an inspiration and catalyst in formulating all her future plans.
Catherine Viscardi Johnston is a New York City native and the former Executive Vice President of Conde Nast Publications. During her 25-year career in magazine publishing, she held a variety of executive positions, including Associate Publisher of Architectural Digest and New York Magazine. She also served as Publisher of Mademoiselle and Mirabella magazines. As Executive VP at Conde Nast, she was responsible for advertising sales, marketing, and consumer research for the company’s 22 magazines, including Vogue, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker. In 2000, Crain’s New York Business named Viscardi Johnston one of the 100 Most Influential Women in Business. Mrs. Johnston also has experience with numerous entrepreneurial and philanthropic ventures. She and her husband Doug founded Midway Communications, which launched various local newspapers and magazines, including Connecticut Cottages & Gardens. She is a general partner of The Cue Ball Group, a Boston VC with a diverse portfolio of innovative companies; a founding director of art + interiors, a web-based collective of contemporary artists serving the design trade; and a former director of The Westport Art Center in Westport, CT. As a founding trustee of the Harlem Village Academies, she helped launch a network of one of the highest performing charter schools in New York City. Ms. Johnston also has served on the board of trustees of ReadWorks, an education technology nonprofit venture supporting classroom literacy and ConnCAN, an advocate for higher achievement in public schools in Connecticut. Catherine and Doug have recently moved their permanent residence from Connecticut to Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina and have two sons.
Richard C. Kessler is an entrepreneur in the field of hotel development and operations. Kessler has been Chairman and CEO of The Kessler Enterprise, Inc. since 1984. He is also Former Chairman, President and CEO, Days Inn of America, Inc. and Former Chairman of Lutheran Brotherhood.
In 1984, Kessler founded The Kessler Enterprise which consists of several wholly owned subsidiaries consisting of development and operational companies. Some of these projects include The Kessler Collection of themed hotels and resorts, the 500-acre Silverwood Plantation residential community, the 1,000-acre Georgia North International Industrial Park, and commercial land developments, including Plant Riverside District.
Kessler was born in Savannah, Georgia and is a descendant of the Salzburgers, a group of Lutherans from Bavaria who came to America in 1732 seeking religious freedom. Kessler holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering and operations research from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is married to Martha Jane Wilson of Durham, N.C. The couple has two grown children, Mark and Laura, and three grandchildren.
At the age of 23, Kessler became the right hand to real estate developer Cecil B. Day and help found Days Inn of America in August 1970. From 1972 to 1975, Kessler founded and led five real estate development and operational companies. In May 1975, at age 29, Kessler became President and CEO of Days Inns, and one year later, Chairman. The chain was sold in 1984 and Kessler began his own independent ventures.
The Kessler Collection owns, operates and creates hotels, each with its own unique theme. All of the hotels are part of the Marriott Autograph Collection Hotels marketing program, central reservation system and national sales, public relations offices, and technical services
Kessler is the Founder and Chairman of the New Ebenezer Retreat and Conference Center in New Ebenezer, Georgia. Founded in 1736, the township of New Ebenezer was settled by a group of Lutheran Salzburgers seeking a new beginning and a place of religious freedom. Much of the town was destroyed by the British during the Revolutionary War and later by Union soldiers in the Civil War. In 1972 Kessler spearheaded efforts to rebuild the essence of the town. New Ebenezer, has been reconstructed to resemble the original 1700s township. The new Ebenezer Retreat and Conference Center has space for group meetings of up to 400 people. Kessler retired from the Board after serving 30 years as Chairman.
In the early 1990s, Kessler led the committee effort which designed and created the “Tech Plaza” in the heart of Georgia Tech’s campus. He then commissioned the Kessler Campanile, a $450,000 carillon created by Atlanta artist Richard Hill. The 80 foot, stainless-steel high-tech tower is positioned in a 100-inch diameter fountain and an assortment of 100 different songs chime on the quarter-hour.
Kessler chairs the Committee for the Richard C. Kessler Reformation Collection, an assembly of over 3,600 pieces of rare works, all dating pre-1570 in Pitts Theology Library, on the campus of Atlanta’s Emory University. It is one of the largest theological libraries in the United States with nearly 130,000 items in the rare book and archive collection alone. It holds the largest collection in the U.S. of 1,000 pieces of original writings of Martin Luther.
Dr. M. Ann Levett, the current Deputy Superintendent, worked in the Savannah-Chatham Public Schools from 1976 to 1995 and returned to the Savannah area in fall 2013. During her tenure with the district, she served as Principal of Savannah High School and Assistant Principal at Beach High. After leaving the district, she went on to become Executive Director of the School Development Program at the Yale University School of Medicine Child Study Center. She holds a Doctorate in Educational Administration and Supervision from the University of Georgia; Education Specialist and Master’s degrees from Georgia Southern; and a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Language Pathology from Armstrong. She is a member of Butler Presbyterian Church, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, The Savannah (GA) Chapter, The Links, Incorporated, Board of Directors for Greenbriar Children’s Center, Board of Community Advisors for Junior League of Savannah, Advisory Board for St. Joseph/Candler African-American Health Information and Resource Center, Scholarship Chair of the Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame, and several other community organizations. Levett was recognized recently for her contributions to the field of education by the Georgia Senate. She is the proud mother of two adult daughters.
Pamela H. Lewanda retired from IBM after a 25-year career as Vice President of Communications. While at IBM, she was responsible for media and consultant relations, executive communications, and communications to the company’s employees, salesforce, business partners, and largest customers. She headed communications for IBM’s sponsorship of the Olympic Games and handled crisis communications during the Atlanta-based games’ bomb explosion. Her IBM career included a five-year, Asia Pacific-wide assignment based in Tokyo, Japan heading communications, marketing, and corporate responsibility programs.
Before her career at IBM, Pamela was a reporter for several newspapers and city editor for both The Miami News and The Fort Lauderdale News. Before moving to Savannah four and a half years ago, she was a Trustee at the Bruce Museum of Greenwich, CT, where she served on the Executive Committee, chaired the Development and Governance Committees, and served on the Marketing, Membership, and Exhibitions Committees. She received Bruce’s 2010 Volunteer of the Year award for creating and co-chairing a unique fund-raising event. She served on the Avon Theatre Film Center board, where she helped create its first Oscar Awards night fund-raising event and chaired its Nominating and Corporate Outreach committees. She was on the Board of the Stamford (CT) Center for the Arts, where she co chaired its gala and served on its Marketing Committee.
She received the Fairfield County (CT) 2011 ‘Light A Fire Award’ for “Most Involved in the Arts” for her leadership across multiple cultural organizations. She is past Board Chair of the YWCA of Greenwich (CT). She chaired a broad community-based search committee in a nationwide hunt for a CEO.
In Savannah, she is on the Telfair Museum’s Collections’ Committee, served on the Museum’s gala committee (2018), is programming chair for the Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO), and served on the Savannah Philharmonic’s Marketing and Public Relations Committee.
Leslie B. Littlejohn has served on the Board of New Canaan Country School, the YMCA, and The Taft School, where she co-chaired its development committee and was a founding board member and Chair of Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, Conn. Leslie is currently a board member of Horizons National Board since 2008 and co-chair of their development committee, she also serves on the board of Bethesda Academy and Horizons Savannah. She previously worked as a fashion editor at Glamour and Harper’s Bazaar magazines.
Kendall Maginnis McCurry is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French. After living and working in Atlanta for several years, she moved to Savannah in 2001 to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design. Upon receiving a Master of Arts in Art History, Kendall worked for SCAD in their Exhibitions and Admissions departments, as well as at the SCAD Museum of Art. Kendall is married to Savannahian Jamie McCurry and has recently closed her Savannah Carlisle Collection agency to focus on raising their three children. Kendall supports multiple statewide and community organizations, including Leadership Georgia (2005 graduate), the Junior League of Savannah (past member), Savannah Christian Preparatory School, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She chaired the Telfair Art Fair in 2014 and is a past advisory board member of Memorial Hospital’s Next Generation. She is an active member of Seeds and Weeds Garden Club and St. Thomas Episcopal Church.
J. Wilson Morris lived in Washington, DC and southern Maryland as a young child before moving to Alabama during World War II. Chosen as Valedictorian for his graduating class at Sheffield High School in Alabama, Morris would go on to attend Princeton University on a Navy ROTC scholarship, graduating with honors with a major in History. As a US Navy Lieutenant, Morris was Operations Officer on the USS Cook operating off the coast of Vietnam. Morris’ ship received the Arleigh Burke Award for combat efficiency in the Pacific Fleet. In the spring of 1965, in an operation that would be crucial to the start of the Vietnam War, he served as Primary Control Officer for the landings of Marines at Chu Lai and Phu Bai. From 1965-1980 Morris served as a journalist, reporter and editor for newspapers in Florida, Texas, Washington, DC and Ohio, including seven years with The Washington Post. Starting in 1980 his career turned to the United States Federal Government where he served as a senior advisor to the U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader; the Chairman of the House Budget Committee; and the Speaker of the U.S. House. Morris played a prominent role in negotiations to end Contra operations and achieve peace in Central America helping to end the Contra War. At the end of his illustrious career from 1990-1997, he served with the United States Agency for International Development, assisting on Latin American operations and completing work on a Master’s in Education, from Marymount University. Morris is past president of the Princeton Club of Savannah, a member of the Princeton Club of New York City, Co-director of the Savannah English Speaking Union Shakespeare contest, and a member of the Washington, DC, Chevy Chase Club and was on the Board of the Washington Tennis Foundation. Wilson is married to Linda Fisk Morris and they reside in Savannah, Georgia.
Rebecca George Ogden moved to Savannah from Greenwich, Connecticut as Co-Founder and President, PortFresh Logistics, a full-service cold storage warehouse facility offering comprehensive logistics support for Georgia Ports Authority Port of Savannah’s fresh produce import initiatives. PortFresh Logistics was sold to AmeriCold Logistics, LLC in 2019. Rebecca is currently President, Westfield Capital Corporation, a diversified holding company, and private equity firm. After graduating from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, she spent 35 years in financial services and marketing executive positions including Merrill Lynch International’s UK Institutional Investment Advisory Services, London, where she was honored for outstanding contributions globally; MasterCard International Member Advisory and Marketing Services, Purchase, NY; and AT & T Retail Consumer Affiliate Marketing, Basking Ridge, NJ. Rebecca was also responsible for global creation of MasterCard International’s first corporate social responsibility program, “The Future of Youth” and first non-profit corporate sponsorship: the Microcredit Summit which achieved its 15-year goal of providing microfinance for over 100 million of the world’s poorest families. With both international and US non-profit experience including Founding Board Member, Junior League of London; Chairman, New Docent Program, Royal Academy of Arts, London; Senior Trustee, Stanwich Congregational Church; Founding Board Member, The Center for Hope and Renewal, Greenwich, CT, Rebecca is currently serving on the Board of Directors, Savannah Chamber of Commerce; Gala Committee, Georgia Historical Society and is an Affiliate member, Trustees Garden Club. Rebecca and her husband, Denny, live at The Ford Plantation. They have five children and two grandchildren and are thoroughly enjoying the vibrancy of Savannah.
David E. Paddison, CPCU serves as President of Seacrest Partners, Inc., a privately-held insurance brokerage and employee benefits consulting firm based in Savannah, Georgia. A native of Savannah, David has been active in the local insurance and business community for more than 29 years. As the head of Seacrest Partners, Mr. Paddison is committed to building an organization that is an asset to the community in terms of professionalism and civic support. David began his career in the insurance industry in 1984 when he joined the commercial insurance division of Palmer & Cay, Inc. in Savannah, Georgia. During his 29 years in the insurance brokerage business, David has provided risk management advice and property-casualty insurance brokerage services to clients in a wide range of industries and in every region of the United States. He has developed special expertise in risk management and insurance plan design for major contractors, national retailers and large property management firms. In 2006, David and six former Palmer & Cay executives established a new insurance brokerage and benefits consulting firm, Seacrest Partners, Inc. Seacrest Partners now employs 42 insurance professionals in Savannah and Atlanta and their client list extends across the United States. Seacrest Partners’ staff includes industry specialists in healthcare, construction, financial institutions, education, retail, manufacturing and property management. David earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. While attending Drew University, David was an active member of the Cycling and Lacrosse teams and studied international economics in Brussels, Belgium and at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. A dedicated student of his profession, David earned the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) professional designation in 1993. Other industry designations include Associate in Fidelity and Surety Bonding (AFSB) and Accredited Advisor in Insurance (AAI).
C.B. Richardson currently serves as a Managing Director and the Global Chief Compliance Officer of Banking, Capital Markets, and Advisory, Research, Control Group, and Personal Trading and Outside Activities for Citigroup.Prior to joining Citi, C.B. was a Managing Director in the Legal and Compliance Department of The Blackstone Group, where he served as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of Blackstone Advisory Partners, as well as Chief Compliance Officer of two other Blackstone-affiliated broker-dealers. Additionally, he was responsible for most of Blackstone’s firm-wide compliance functions. Before joining Blackstone, C.B. was Head of Investment Banking and Syndicate Compliance, Control Group, and Conflicts Management for the Americas at Barclays Capital. While at Barclays, he also served as Head of Compliance for Brazil, Canada, and Mexico and U.S. Institutional Broker-Dealer Branch Office Compliance Manager.
Prior to joining Barclays, C.B. was Senior Vice President/Global Capital Markets and Investment Banking Senior Compliance Manager at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he was a key architect of Bank of America’s Investment Banking and Capital Markets Compliance program. Before joining Bank of America, C.B. served as Assistant General Counsel, Securities and Corporate Governance of SPX Corporation. Prior to that, he was a Corporate Associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. C.B. began his career as a Captain in the U.S. Army as an attorney in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps and received several military honors.
C.B. received his J.D. from New York University School of Law and his B.A. from Duke University. He currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Duke University Chapel National Advisory Board.
Kimberly Smith is a native of Owensboro, KY. She attended Western Kentucky University and earned a degree in Fashion Merchandising and Business Management. Kim began her career opening and managing retail stores on Hilton Head Island, SC. She then moved to Atlanta and was one of the first employees to work in the startup company Petroleum Source and Systems, which became a prominent leader in the fuel management industry in the Southeast.
In 1996, Kim moved to Savannah and married Mark V. Smith, who is a native of Savannah and is active in the Savannah community as well as a hotel and water utility entrepreneur. Kim and Mark are in the hospitality industry and own hotels in the Historic District of Savannah.
Kim is very engaged in the community and has enjoyed volunteering for The Lutheran Church of the Ascension, Parent and Child Organization, American Diabetes Association, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah Tennis League, Savannah Children’s Museum, and Telfair Museums. Presently she spends her time being an active mother and volunteering at Savannah Country Day School, Benedictine Military School, and the Women’s Board of Bethesda.
Kim is very passionate about family, interior design, art, and animals. She resides with her husband Mark and their 17-year-old twins Delle and Gowan on Whitemarsh Island.
Susan Willetts is a retired partner of Goldman, Sachs, & Co., where she spent her career in the investment banking division. She and her husband, Alan Pritz, became part-time residents of the Savannah area in 2010. Prior to joining Goldman, Sachs, & Co., Ms. Willetts was treasurer of Microdot Inc. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College and received her Master of Business Administration from Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University. Ms. Willetts currently serves on the Board of Directors of Memorial Health, where she is vice chair; The Chicago Botanic Garden, where she is the former chair and a member of the executive committee; and the board of the Ford Plantation, where she is treasurer. She has previously served on the board of The Field Museum in Chicago; Cellular Dynamics International, a biotech company; and Yonkers Department Stores.
Dale Critz was born in Little Rock, AR but spent his entire life in the Savannah area. He is the retired President and Chairman of Critz Inc, a family automobile business that his father founded in 1939 and is now owned by his son, Dale Critz Jr. Dale was honored by Time Magazine as the Quality Automobile Dealer of the Year in 1988. Presently, Dale is managing partner of Critz Properties, a family-owned investment company. Dale serves on the Endowment Committee of the Telfair Academy, chairs the investment committee for the Savannah Community Foundation, serves on the Georgia Historical Society Endowment Committee, has been a member of the United Way’s Tocqueville Society for 25 years, and is past president of the Historic Savannah Foundation. In 2004 he was inducted into the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame as one of Savannah’s top business leaders. In addition to being active in preservation, Dale is also involved in the environment and promoting healthy eating and living. Dale served on the board of the Forsyth Farmers Market to help them establish a business and fundraising plan, which has grown the market exponentially. Dale, Lila, their children, and grandchildren are committed to making Savannah and the Lowcountry a better place to live, dedicating their time and resources through their family foundation.
Lila Critz grew up on a farm in Tallahassee, FL where she discovered her passion for conservation and preservation. After graduating from Duke, she moved to Savannah becoming involved in the community as a member of the Junior League, of which she eventually became president. Her passion for the arts led her to the Telfair. When she requested to become a member from then-president Andy Labrot, he agreed to send her an invitation. She then encouraged him to make membership accessible to all, and the process was changed where anyone could become a member. Beginning in 1977, Lila served two terms as president during a time of change and excitement. Under her leadership, the Telfair received a $1 million grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, initiated a preservation process of the paintings after having the collection rated, and the museum received its first accreditation. The inaugural Telfair Ball was also initiated that year by Director Alexander Gaudieri. Lila is grateful for all Savannah has to offer and enjoys being at the center of such a vibrant, growing community with her husband Dale.
A native of Richmond, VA and an alumna of Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, VA, Alice and her husband, Robert S. Jepson, Jr. moved to Savannah in 1990. She has served on the Boards of Savannah Country Day School, Savannah Health Mission, Hospice Savannah, Savannah Book Festival, Bethesda Home for Boys (Chair 2000-2002) and Telfair Museums (Chair 2013-2015). She is one of the founders of the Charter Circle at Memorial University Medical Center. Alice is the recipient of an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters from her alma mater and an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She has received the Savannah Technical College Community Star Award, Savannah Children’s Choir “One Small Voice” Award and recognition from SCAD as one of the “Savannah Women of Vision.” She currently serves on the Foundation Board of the Savannah Classical Academy.
Robert S. Jepson, Jr., is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Jepson Inc., a private investment company located in Savannah, Georgia. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Richmond. Jepson was formerly Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kuhlman Corporation (NYSE) from 1993 until its sale to Borg-Warner Automotive Inc. in 1999. Prior to that, Jepson founded and was Chairman and CEO of the Jepson Corporation from 1983 until its sale in 1989. During his tenure as CEO, Jepson built the corporation into a Fortune 500, NYSE-traded company. He currently serves as Chairman on SCAD’s Savannah Board of Visitors and is on the board of the Georgia Historical Society.
Carolyn Luck was married to the late John V. Luck, who served as President of the board from 1994 – 1997. She joined as a member of the Telfair in 1989 and served as a Trustee of the Telfair 2003-2009. She has been actively involved with the museum serving on the Membership Committee and Director’s Circle as well as previously holding the position of Co-Chair with Mimi Cay on a Texas Party for the museum in 1994. She started the Telfair Art Fair with Ann Hildebrand in 1995, served as chair of the 24th Telfair Ball, “Elegance of Design” in 2004 and was a major donor toward the Jepson Center for the Arts and the Telfair Art Fair. She received the Gertrude Hollowbush Award in 1999 and was a previous Leadership Chair for United Way in 2003.
Ann Miller was born in Lowville, New York and attended the University of Rochester. She moved to Savannah with her husband Bill in 1967. Since then she has been an active community volunteer and has worked with organizations such as the Junior League of Savannah and the Historic Savannah Foundation. She was a member of the board for Memorial Health and is a former Chair of the Telfair board. Ann was also the Chair of the Telfair Ball Committee for two years.
Frida Sinkler is a native Savannahian and attended Savannah Country Day School; however, she graduated from Oldfields School in Glencoe, Maryland. She then attended Mount Vernon College. After moving to Charleston, Frida joined the Gibbes Art Gallery board and was President of their Women’s Council. Aside from her lengthy contributions and involvement with the Telfair, Frida is involved with other Savannah organizations. She is the past President of the Trustees Garden Club, a board member at the Wormsloe Plantation, a press advisory board member for the University of Georgia, and a past President (and currently involved) with the Wildlife Education Center at Georgia Southern.
Ken Sirlin began his professional career working as a CPA in Cleveland and has lived in various cities throughout the world, including Madrid; Barcelona; Brussels; Muncie, Indiana; San Francisco; and Toronto. In 1999, after working for Levi Strauss & Co. for almost two decades, Sirlin retired and moved to Savannah, where he serves on several nonprofit boards. Ken is a graduate of the Wharton School of Finance of the University of Pennsylvania, 1964; and earned an MBA in 1968.
Cathy Solomons attended Savannah Country Day School and the University of Georgia where she majored in art education. From 1978 to 1982, she was the Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of Savannah. Since that time, she has been a homemaker and community volunteer, focusing her efforts on education and the arts. Cathy has been involved with various organizations such as Savannah Junior League (past President – current sustaining member), Savannah Country Day School (past Co-Chairman, long range plan), Jewish Food Festival (past Co-Chair), Chatham County Jury Commissioner, and the Savannah Arts Commission (past board member, past Chairman). She has also been involved with the Savannah Symphony women’s guild (past board member), Washington University in St. Louis (past member, Executive Committee, Parents’ Council), Parent and Child Development Services (past board member) and the Savannah Science Museum (past board member). In 1985, she was the recipient of the Savannah Jaycees Young Person of the Year Award.
Helen Steward is a graduate of Savannah Country Day School and St. Mary’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina. She was a previous member of the Junior League of Savannah (Area Council 1973 – 1975), and the Cultural Arts Commission of Savannah (1987 – 1994). Helen has served as a board member for Savannah Speech and Hearing Center (Vice-Chairman), Steward Palliative Care Endowment (2006-2009), Savannah Music Festival (2007-2010), and the Endowment Board of the Bethesda Union Society of Savannah. She was also actively involved with Hospice Savannah and served as a board member, President, and chairman of the board. Currently, Helen is involved with First Families of South Carolina and the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the state of Georgia. She is a member of Independent Presbyterian Church and an associate member of the First Presbyterian Church in Highlands, North Carolina.
Nicole Blackwood is a Professor of Art History at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). She earned an MA and PhD in the history of art from London’s Courtauld Institute of Art, focusing on the theory and practice of painting in the Renaissance. Since then she has taught at several universities in North America, held fellowships at Harvard, Yale and the University of Toronto, and worked with collections and museums in Canada, England, and the United States. She is passionate about sharing the history of art with broad audiences through her teaching, writing, and frequent public lectures. In 2016, she founded Disegno, an art consulting and appraisal firm that advises historic houses, museums, and private collections. She is an Associate Member of the Appraisers Association of America; serves on the Exhibits and Community Engagement Committee at the Davenport House Museum; is a member of the Renaissance Society of America, the Decorative Arts Trust, and the Métis Nation of Alberta; and an alumna of the Winterthur Institute and the Attingham Summer School. She is an occasional interpreter at the Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters, where for the past two years she also served as Vice President of the FOT. In 2019, she was part of the live auction committee for the 200th Telfair Ball, and she currently serves on the Telfair’s Collections Committee. Having lived or worked in over twelve countries, she loves calling Savannah home with her husband Stephen and especially loves sharing its rich and complex history with visitors through her educational travel company Art & Amble, which specializes in curating private experiences and encounters throughout the low country.
Linda McWhorter grew up in New England, graduating from Skidmore College with a degree in Art History, then completing her graduate work in English. Upon moving to Savannah in 1972 with her husband Tom, she devoted herself to raising their three children and volunteering for Savannah’s varied cultural organizations. Her work for Telfair Museums included Chair of the 2000 Art Fair, Catalogue and Exhibition Coordinator for the Frederick Carl Frieseke retrospective in 2000-2002, President of Telfair Academy Guild 2004-2006, Friends of the Owens-Thomas House, then the Gari Melchers Collectors’ Society from 2013-2017 while also organizing the museums’ trips abroad.
Patricia James grew up in Iowa and New Jersey. After graduating from Vassar College, she moved to New York City and began working in Information Technology, most recently with New York University Langone Medical Center. She and her husband Scott, have two children and four grandchildren. They have lived in Savannah for the past 13 years.
Cyreia Sandlin is the co-anchor of THE News at Daybreak, Savannah’s No. 1 morning show on WTOC-TV. She is also the anchor of THE News on Bounce, the co-host of “Tailgatin’ with WTOC,” and she reports regularly for the evening newscasts on WTOC. Cyreia came to Savannah as an anchor and reporter in September of 2011. She spent three years anchoring WFXG Fox 54 News at 10 for WTOC’s sister station. Cyreia graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism with a Bachelor’s Degree in Radio-TV Journalism in 2011. In college, she spent five months living in Brussels, Belgium, where she studied journalism and art history. During that time, she traveled to museums around Europe and developed her passion and love for art. She spent a summer in New York City working as an International Radio & Television Society Fellow at NBC News before moving to Savannah. Cyreia is a board member of the Frank Callen Boys & Girls Club, and she is also active in the Junior League of Savannah. She lives in the historic district and enjoys spending her free time exploring all the Hostess City has to offer.
Calvin Woodum is originally from Wrightsville, GA. He is a former Telfair Museums employee. From 2001 to 2006 and from 2009 to 2012, he worked as a docent at The Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters. Calvin also trained as a Telfair Academy Docent. Calvin a former fashion major at SCAD recently shifted his focus to painting. He is an up-and-coming well-known local abstract artist. He generally uses acrylic on canvas, exploring the “layer upon layer” technique. Calvin has a shared gallery in City Market, Gallery 11 and is an active member of Savannah’s thriving art community. He recently won first prize in the Low Country Artist Contest. His art is featured on the cover of Julia Coates’ book, Invisible Diversity Teaching Every Student.
Simons is Executive Director/CEO of Telfair Museums in Savannah, GA. He served previously as Director of the Academy Art Museum in Maryland and as the Chief Curator at the Nantucket Museum Center. He also worked at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery. He is a graduate of the Getty Museum Leadership Institute, received an MA in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, England. He attended Harvard College with an AB in Philosophy and holds an MA/MPhil in English Renaissance Literature from Yale University.
Ben has authored several catalogues, including Island Treasures: Gifts of the Friends of the Nantucket Historical Association, 1986–2011, and The Nantucket Art Colony, 1920–45; and two books on private collections of maritime art: A Yachtsman’s Eye: The Glen S. Foster Collection of Marine Paintings and Maritime Maverick: The Maritime Collection of William I. Koch. He was the Editor of the award-winning quarterly Historic Nantucket.
Ben and his wife, Alison Cooley, have a ten-year-old son, Finley. Alison is a practicing artist who exhibits her work in galleries in Los Angeles, New York City, Charlotte, and Richmond. She served for over ten years as the Director of Development, PR, and Special Events at the Artists Association of Nantucket, a community arts organization that combined a gallery, workshop, permanent collection, and an extensive program of arts education. Ben, Alison, and Finley look forward to joining a vibrant community where a love of the arts and a thriving non-profit culture enhance and enrich the lives of all residents and visitors.