Members of our Board of Directors share a passion for the Bay. Each brings a unique skill set to help the organization. Our Board Members include educators, resource harvesters and growers, engineers, doctors, bankers, attorneys, and entrepreneurs. Those titles may not describe their underlying passions for the Bay. Other identities in their life histories—such as Peace Corps volunteer, long-distance sailor, surfer, lobsterman, kelp farmer—begin to illuminate their strong commitments to protecting Casco Bay.
Olympic athlete Joan Benoit Samuelson has served on the Board of Friends of Casco Bay almost since its founding. “This place is a jewel,” she asserts. “Having grown up in Cape Elizabeth, I realized early on that Casco Bay is connected to the world’s oceans when I threw a note in a bottle off Casino Beach, and it was picked up by a schoolteacher in England. It’s important to protect this resource.”
Joanie was asked why she chose to devote her considerable energy and prestige to the Board of Friends of Casco Bay. Herself a model of the Maine work ethic, she replied, “Because they DO stuff!”
President: Daniel Brazeau (Scarborough)
Dan is a research associate professor and director of UNE’s Genomics Analytics and Proteomics Core at the University of New England. Dan’s research interests involve the genetics of natural populations and pharmacogenomics, the study of how human genetic variability influences drug reactions and medical treatment. Having documented the degradation of coral reefs in the Florida Keys earlier in his career, Dan was drawn to a science-based organization that promotes conservation here in Casco Bay.
Vice President: Derek Pelletier (Portland)
An aquatic ecologist with ENVIRON International Corporation specializing in water quality issues, Derek evaluates the potential risks to fish, wildlife, and humans from contaminated sediments and surface water. His graduate work in whole systems thinking created an awareness that “It all ends up in the ocean.” Derek and his brothers have revived a multi-generation family tradition of camping along the shores of eastern Casco Bay each summer with their own families.
Clerk: Patricia Ianni (Falmouth)
Pat Ianni is an environmental scientist and attorney with over 30 years’ experience assessing the risks posed by hazardous wastes and toxic materials. She has been employed as an Environmental Risk Officer for TD Bank since 2002. A Master Gardener, Pat regularly teaches community workshops on BayScaping, lawn care without using pesticides and fertilizers.
Treasurer: Malcolm F. Poole (Scarborough)
Malcolm is President of Poole Group of Companies, a family based holding Company of Commercial Real Estate, Marine Construction and Stormwater environmental controls. In addition Malcolm offers business Coaching and Consulting services for family, non-profit and closely held corporations. Malcolm is a life long sailor, user of Casco Bay and supporter of community based approaches to change. He served as President of the Board of Friends of Casco Bay from 2008 to 2015.
Immediate Past President: Jack Thomas (Cumberland)
Jack is a financial advisor with RBC Wealth Management. Jack grew up in South Freeport, where he still sails and lobsters. Over the past 20 years, Jack has taken hundreds of people out on lobstering adventures aboard his 32-foot lobster boat Dark ‘N Stormy to share the beauty of the mouth of the Harraseeket River and the surrounding islands.
Kim Charmatz (Portland)
Kim has taught students from the elementary grades through college. Dr. Charmatz currently serves as an academic advisor to students majoring in the natural sciences at the University of Southern Maine. Originally from Maryland, Charmatz began her education career as a middle school science teacher teaching about the importance of a healthy Chesapeake Bay. Now she plans to connect students, staff, and faculty of USM with our shared mission to improve the health of Casco Bay.
AJ Curran (Cape Elizabeth)
AJ worked at L.L. Bean for 23 years, most recently as the Director of Outerwear, Accessories, and Kids categories. An avid outdoorsman and year-round surfer, AJ moved from Colorado to Maine nearly three decades ago, drawn by the allure of our rugged coast.
Jim Dusch (North Yarmouth)
Jim is an attorney who was recently named Deputy Executive Director of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System. Prior to that change, Jim served 20 years with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), most recently as Southern Maine Regional Office Director, with the oversight of a 100-town region and 53 staff members. During his tenure with DEP, he came to appreciate Friends of Casco Bay’s strong regional focus and the stature it had gained to effectively advocate for water quality protection.
Ward Graffam Jr. (Falmouth)
Ward is Senior Vice President/Commercial Credit Manager for TD Bank. He has been engaged in banking in the greater Portland area since 2000. Ward holds a U.S.C.G. captain’s license (100 Ton Master near Coastal) and is a Certified Diver.
George L. Higgins III, MD (Peaks Island)
Bud’s love of the ocean was launched early. He grew up lobstering and commercial fishing from the age of ten. He discovered Portland in the 1970s during his medical training and immediately fell in love with Casco Bay. Bud has served as Chief of Emergency Medicine at Maine Medical Center and Chief Medical Officer/Vice President for Medical Affairs before returning to his true passions of academic medicine and research. He is a professor at Tufts University School of Medicine. Bud served as President of the Board of Friends of Casco Bay from 2002 to 2005.
Peter C. LeBourdais (Harpswell)
A practicing general dentist, Peter is owner and president of Brunswick Dental Health Associates, which employs a staff of 16. Peter has been an avid sailor since the age of 9, and he can be found sailing the coast of Maine or summering on Jaquish Island in Casco Bay. In Peter’s words, “Our underlying commitment should be to preserve the connection that we all have as inhabitants of this earth with a healthy ocean. We must work to ensure that Casco Bay will be life-sustaining into the future.”
Andrew “Sandy” Marsters (Portland)
Sandy is well known in the boating community as the co-founder and long-time editor of Points East, the boating magazine of New England whose mission is to bring attention to issues affecting the coast, including environment, commerce, and lifestyle. He has also been a reporter and editor for other Maine publications, including the Times Record, Journal Tribune and York County Coast Star. Sandy was also part of an ownership group that bought Maine Times from the late Dodge Morgan.
Althea Bennett McGirr (Falmouth)
A member of the third generation of family management, Althea is retired from Oakhurst Dairy. She has been involved in many philanthropic activities, including serving on the Board of the Iris Network. Some of Althea’s earliest memories were spending summers at the family cottage on Little Diamond Island. Through the years she’s noticed environmental changes that concern her, motivating her to do her part to protect the Bay.
Sebastian Milardo (Little Diamond Island)
Seb co-founded the human resources organization of Drake Inglesi Milardo in 1981, where he blends his expertise in psychology and organizational leadership to help businesses and nonprofits solve complex people issues at every level. Seb is a summer resident of Little Diamond Island, but he explores the varied environments of Maine all year-round.
Tollef Olson (South Portland)
Tollef has a lifelong connection to the ocean, having been a commercial fisherman, marine salvage diver, urchin harvester, blue mussel grower, and now an aquaculture consultant/entrepreneur. He says, “It is important that we continue to preserve and improve water quality as the oceans are vital to the health of the earth.” Tollef has been promoting new ways of preparing and serving kelp, which he predicts will change the way people eat. Growing kelp also helps the marine environment, as it releases oxygen back into the water and absorbs carbon dioxide, slowing ocean acidification.
Joan Benoit Samuelson (Freeport)
Joan is the founder and chair of the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race in Cape Elizabeth, her hometown. Many of us remember where we were in 1984 as Joanie entered Olympic Stadium in LA to win the first Women’s Olympic Marathon. She continues to set running records in between serving as an inspirational speaker and a supporter and board member of many charities. Joan realized early on that Casco Bay is connected to the world’s oceans when she threw a note in a bottle into the water at Casino Beach, near her home in Cape Elizabeth. It was picked up by a schoolteacher in England.
Barry S. Sheff (Cumberland)
Barry is Senior Vice President with Woodard & Curran, an integrated engineering, science, and operations company headquartered in Portland. A professional engineer, Barry’s expertise centers around municipal infrastructure engineering, urban site development, land use and environmental permitting, and construction management. As an engineer, Barry views protecting the Bay in terms of reducing the likelihood of failure, citing the issues that Friends of Casco Bay works on, including oil spill planning, banning pesticides, eliminating sewage overflows, and stenciling storm drains.
Ann Thayer (Yarmouth)
Ann Thayer has a long-term involvement in the environmental field. Her career has included environmental consulting and working in environmental management for heavy industry and manufacturing. Her many outdoor interests, including boating, kayaking, and birding, explain her passion for the Bay.
Lori Thayer (Portland)
Lori Thayer is a medical and environmental anthropologist who is presently working as an independent contractor for public health and education projects. Originally from Farmington, she left Maine after graduating from high school, but returned to her home state to enjoy its coastline and many great natural resources.
Peter Van Alstine (Yarmouth)
Peter is the CEO of Redd, LLC, a company that develops and sells insanely nutritious superfoods to people who want an edge. Peter has more than 20 years of experience in general management, sales, product development, and marketing. He and his family love cruising on Casco Bay, and they sailed from Maine to Martinique and back aboard a 44-foot sloop on a year-long adventure.
Cover photo: Photograph by Kevin Morris
Read more about some of our Board Members:
Friends of Casco Bay’s Board members are key partners in protecting Casco Bay. Here’s how, in their own words: Barry Sheff: “I drive a Prius and explain to the kids why it’s not a truck.” Barry is an engineer with Woodard & Curran. “I like to solve problems. That’s what… Read more
Friends of Casco Bay’s Board members are key partners in protecting Casco Bay. Here’s how, in their own words: Derek Pelletier: “We don’t preach about what you can do. We prefer to lead by example.“ Derek is an aquatic ecologist, specializing in water quality issues. We first met Derek when… Read more
Friends of Casco Bay’s Board members are key partners in protecting Casco Bay. Here’s how, in their own words: Joan Benoit Samuelson: “Having grown up in Cape Elizabeth near Casino Beach, spending many a summer on Cliff Island, and now living in Freeport with tidal frontage, I know that Casco… Read more