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 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 says. “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: 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.
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.
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: 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.
Stephen Bushey (South Portland)
Stephen Bushey is a licensed civil engineer with 30 years’ experience in stormwater management and local, state, and federal permitting. A Senior Associate with Gorrill-Palmer Consulting Engineers, Steve has been involved in many projects designed to improve and protect water quality throughout the Casco Bay watershed. Steve has worked on planning and design assignments for private landowners, municipalities, hospitals, wind farms, schools, offices, and large residential communities.
Mark Green (Peaks Island)
Dr. Mark Green of Peaks Island is a teacher, research scientist, and oyster farmer. As a professor of natural sciences at St. Joseph’s College, he identified a previously unknown cause of clam mortality in Casco Bay: ocean acidification. He discovered that the shells of juvenile clams become pitted or even dissolve as a result of increasing carbon dioxide, which makes seawater more acidic. His work has led to greater understanding of the seriousness of this other consequence of climate change. Says Dr. Green, “There is no easy, feel-good solution to ocean acidification. The only mitigation is lowering our carbon footprint.”
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.
David Kaufman (South Freeport)
At 11, David discovered the coast of Maine on a sailing expedition with his stepdad. He’s been sailing, learning, and working on his knots ever since. When not on the water, he spent 35 years in broadcasting. His broadcast tenure started with CBS Network News, included Maine radio station ownership and ended as the CEO of the WMTW Broadcast group; comprised of WMTW-TV and five radio properties. His ‘second act’ was as the owner of Brahms Mount, a Maine-based manufacturer of natural fiber blankets. David hopes to contribute to Friends’ efforts to broaden its reach into the community and to “maintain Casco Bay’s health and sustainability.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cover photo: Photograph by Kevin Morris
Read more about some of our current and past Board Members:
As this very odd year comes to a close, let’s celebrate the large and small ways our community helped us protect the health of Casco Bay in 2020. Here are our top ten for the year: 1.) On December 2, the Maine Climate Council released its four-year Climate Action Plan, “Maine Won’t Wait.” We… Read more
Friends of Casco Bay has a long history of success. Since our founding in 1989, our work-with, science-based approach has moved the needle toward a healthier, more protected Bay. We championed a halt to cruise ship pollution and won a No Discharge Area designation for Casco Bay, the first in… Read more
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