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.
Vice President: Kirsten Piacentini (Cumberland Foreside)
Kirsten is a supply chain executive at L.L.Bean with years of experience in managing large teams, leading strategic cross-functional projects, and delivering results. L.L.Bean’s mission to inspire and enable others to enjoy the restorative power of the outdoors is one that Kirsten lives in her daily life. She spends much of the summer out on Casco Bay with friends and family exploring the islands, beaches, and Portland’s waterfront. Kirsten’s son was a student and commercial lobsterman for eight years, so she also has a deep appreciation for Casco Bay’s commercial uses and the thousands of Mainers’ livelihoods it supports.
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.
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.
Deb Debiegun (Yarmouth)
Deb has a background in teaching, and in environmental and ocean sciences. After struggling with whether to become a scientist, engineer, or teacher, she realized she could combine those interests. Deb enjoys sharing her passion for the interconnectedness of nature and continuing to learn what humans can do to better our relationship with the ocean and natural world. She teaches science at the Maine College of Art & Design, and is involved with area marine education and conservation groups. Deb was a volunteer for many years with Friends’ Citizen Stewards Water Quality Monitoring Program. Her “other” interests include skiing, composting, dogs, poetry, hiking, biking, fiddle, and sailing.
Howard Gray (Portland)
Howard and his wife Gail moved to Maine in 1998, but they were no strangers to the State. Gail’s family owned Dunn & Elliot, a shipbuilding company located in Thomaston, and she spent every summer in Maine. Howard’s family also spent a few summers in the state. In 1999, Howard became Superintendent of Financial Institutions for Maine. As Superintendent, Howard served on a number of boards, including those of a few land trusts. Howard has served for many years on the Management and Executive Committees of the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership. Through his work with the Partnership, Howard came to be impressed by the water quality advocacy and project successes of Friends of Casco Bay. He joined our board in 2021.
Ellen Grant (Portland)
Ellen is a collaborative leader with thirty years’ experience in successful, high growth nonprofits. Most recently she was Chief Operating Officer at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. She also spent ten years as Executive Director of the Institute for Civic Leadership, and is a consultant with international conservation experience. She believes that nonprofits like Friends of Casco Bay can be extraordinary incubators for innovation and movers for creating necessary and important change in the world. In her retirement, she is devoting time to organizations focused on the climate crisis and rebuilding democracy. She also spends as much time as possible outdoors and with her many grandchildren.
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.”
Megan Hallett (Falmouth)
Megan’s love for Casco Bay finds its roots in her childhood, where she grew up sailing on the Bay with her family. Her first job, naturally, was working as a dockhand at Handy Boat, a marina her grandfather owned for over 40 years. Megan has a business degree from the University of Southern Maine and continues to work in the waterfront industry today where she manages her family’s business, Hallett Canvas and Sails. For Megan, Casco Bay is not just a place that she loves, but the place that helped shape the person she is today.
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.”
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. He served as Vice President of the Board of Friends of Casco Bay from 2020 to 2022.
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.
Cover photo: Photograph by Kevin Morris
Read more about some of our current and past Board Members:
You’re invited to our Members Annual MeetingJune 30, 2021
Friends of Casco Bay will be hosting the Members Annual Meeting on Tuesday July 20, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. We will celebrate our collective victories for Casco Bay over the past year, vote on term renewals for some members of the Board of Directors, and together consider the work ahead as… Read more
Our top 10 moments of 2020January 4, 2021
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
Three decades of success – the impact of Friends of Casco BayDecember 31, 2019
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