Top Menu

Board of Directors

Gail E. McCann, Vice-Chair
Gail McCann is a partner with the law firm Locke Lord LLP. She has served as chair of the firm’s Real Estate Department and has particular knowledge in a wide variety of construction and project financing, including affordable housing, apartments, hotels, power retail centers, office and industrial space, and assisted living and other healthcare facilities. Her experience includes mezzanine finance transactions and projects involving low income housing tax credits, historic tax credits and new markets tax credits. She also frequently represents asset-based and middle market lenders for a broad spectrum of companies. Her practice frequently includes representations of agents/lead lenders in syndicated senior and mezzanine loans. She also has extensive experience in commercial loan restructurings, workouts, foreclosures, note sales, and REO sales. Admitted to the Bar in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, Gail is a fellow and a member of the Board of Regents of the American College of Mortgage Attorneys  and is a Rhode Island Bar Foundation Fellow. She also served as a member of the Professional Advisory Council of the Rhode Island Foundation. Gail received her JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and graduated from Brown University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa). She also attended the University of Edinburgh.  She is a Past President of the Brown University Alumni Association and been on the Board of Directors of Caritas House, AAA Northeast and other community organizations.   She lives in North Attleboro, MA. Gail joined the Board in 2012, was elected Secretary in May 2013, Vice-Chair in May 2016 and Chair in May 2017.

William Baldwin
Bill has been active in the home building industry for over 33 years as President of Baldwin Corporation and Baldwin Homes in Johnston, RI. The Companies engage in energy efficient residential custom home design and building, custom remodeling and renovations, land development and site construction. Bill has been a past President of the Rhode Island Builders’ Association (RIBA); state representative to the National Association of Home Builders; Director of the National Association of Home Builders in the New England area. While an officer at RIBA, Bill was responsible for and spearheaded the building of the country’s first demonstration “Smart House”, built to New England Power Company’s Energy Crafted Home Standards. This demonstration house was built in Western Cranston from 1992 – 1995 by RIBA members to showcase new home computer technologies; Energy Crafted Home Building Standards; new natural gas distribution tubing; recyclable building materials; engineered lumber technology; non-toxic pressure treated lumber; low water consumption plumbing products; radon sub-slab ventilation systems; low energy appliances; whole house ventilation systems and many other state of the art technologies. Throughout construction, Bill was responsible for filming and producing two ½ hour documentary films called “This New House” which aired on CBS thru the local channel TV-12 affiliate. This home was also held for public viewing during a six month period. Bill resides in Johnston where his family operated one of the larger dairy farms in Rhode Island and where he continues to remain active in agriculture as President of Meadow View Farms. Bill joined the Board in 1998 as a founding Board member.

Daniel A. Baudouin
Dan Baudouin, AICP, is Executive Director of The Providence Foundation. The not-for-profit Foundation, founded in 1974, serves as a private-sector voice in downtown economic development issues, monitors public policy, and initiates projects that have a positive impact on Providence’s downtown and the City. The Foundation is supported by 125 leading corporations and institutions. A graduate of Fordham University, where he majored in economics, Dan also holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from New York University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, as well as a member of the International Downtown Association. He is a past president of the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Planning Association.
Dan has held numerous volunteer Board positions throughout his career. Currently, he is a member of the Providence Economic Development Partnership, Rhode Island’s Transportation Advisory Committee, and Rhode Island Community for Justice. He was selected to receive the 2006 Distinguished Leadership Award by the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Planning Association. In 2007, he was elected to the Hall of Fame of the Providence/Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau. Dan lives in Providence. He joined the Board in 2010 and was one of Grow Smart’s founders.

Samuel J. Bradner
Sam joined Peregrine as a partner in 2009. A real estate development and investment company based in Rumford, Peregrine is active in several New England markets in a variety of asset types ranging from commercial offices to large-scale multi-family projects. Sam is currently managing the American Locomotive Works project in Providence, where Peregrine completed delivery of the 52,000 square foot corporate headquarters for United Natural Foods. Sam managed the design and construction phases; including the design and submittal process to the USGBC for LEED certification. Sam is currently acting as Owner’s Representative on Chef Morimoto’s (the “Iron Chef ”) latest restaurants located in Napa, California, Mexico City and TriBeCa.
Prior to Peregrine, Sam was a development director with Struever Bros. Eccles and Rouse responsible for development management of the American Locomotive Works. As development director, his responsibilities included managing and negotiating the commercial development process, including design, acquisition, scheduling, New Market and historic tax credit financing and implementation for redevelopment projects throughout the New England region. Sam brings more than 15 years of land-use planning, development and policy experience in both the public and private sectors; including leadership and implementation of smart growth and transit oriented development policies for the State of Maryland’s Office of Smart Growth. He is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island, (BLA) and the University of Maryland, (MPP). A resident of Providence, Sam joined the Board in 2006 and serves on the Public Transportation Subcommittee.

Kenneth R. Burnett
Ken Burnett, Senior Vice President/Assistant Manager of Commercial Lending for BankNewport, has more than 19 years of commercial lending experience. He is a member of the Providence Chamber of Commerce and serves as the president of Grace Church Apartments. Providence Business News recently selected Ken as one of the “40 under 40.” Ken graduated from Bryant University with a BA in accounting. He resides in Scituate. Ken joined the Board in 2006.

John Chambers
John Chambers directs Fuss & O’Neill’s Brownfield and Urban Redevelopment team in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The multidisciplinary team includes environmental assessment, remediation, and site design engineers and scientists specializing in productive property re-use, site design and assessment and remediation. During his career John has completed a wide range of environmental assessment and remediation, water resource planning and development, and site redevelopment projects. John has extensive experience in brownfield and urban redevelopment, funding acquisition, development financing strategies, and multidisciplinary permitting and regulatory solutions. He has led many public outreach efforts and is a state leader in environmental justice regulation and policy. John graduated from Tufts University with a BS in Geology and received his Masters in Civil Engineering from Washington State University. He lives in Woodstock Valley, Connecticut. John joined the Board in 2012.

Gilbert (Gib) Conover, Jr., Treasurer
An electrical engineer, inventor and entrepreneur, Gib Conover has devoted his career to the development of startup companies dedicated to the design, manufacture and distribution of medical, industrial, and consumer electronics products. He currently serves as President and COO of Ultradian Diagnostics, an early stage medical device company whose mission is the development of advanced, continuous, wireless biosensors for on-patient monitoring and management of chronic illnesses. For more than 20 years, as co-founder and later President of Goldline Controls, Inc. (originally Independent Energy, Inc.), Gib led the company from initial product concept through design, development and marketing of electronic controls for the solar energy and swimming pool markets. The company’s products eliminated the need for chlorination chemicals and constant maintenance, through the use of a breakthrough technology that generated chlorine from small amounts of salt in pool water. In 2004, Goldline was acquired by Hayward Pool Products, and Gib continued to manage the operation until 2006. Gib has also been a partner and investor in companies that developed desktop blood analyzers for use in physicians’ offices and targeted coupon dispensing kiosks at retail locations. Gib is a graduate of Brown University with a BS in electrical engineering. He lives in Providence and now focuses his time and energies on angel investing, philanthropy, and cycling. Gib joined the Board in 2011. He serves as Treasurer and sits on the Executive Committee.

Trudy Coxe
Trudy Coxe has led the Preservation Society of Newport County as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director since late 1998. Prior to assuming that position, she served as Massachusetts Secretary of Environmental Affairs for five years, Director of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for 2 years, and as Executive Director of Save The Bay for 11 years. Trudy sits on the boards of the Rhode Island Commodores, the Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting, and the Community College of Rhode Island. She also serves on the Advisory Board of the Conservation Law Foundation/Rhode Island, is an Incorporator of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, BankNewport and the Newport Health Care Corporation. She has received honorary degrees from Roger Williams University, the University of Rhode Island, and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Trudy graduated from Beaver College (now Arcadia University). She lives in Cranston. Trudy joined the Board in 1999 and serves on the Nominating Committee.

Michael A, DeCataldo
Michael A. DeCataldo is the managing partner at Sansiveri, Kimball & Co., L.L.P. and the managing member of SK Wealth Management, L.L.C., the firm’s fee-only financial planning arm. Michael specializes in advising clients in the areas of tax, accounting, and financial planning. As the managing member of SK Wealth Management, Michael provides comprehensive financial planning and investment advisory services. Michael is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Rhode Island Society of Certified Public Accountants, Rhode Island Society of Certified Financial Planners, as well as the Financial Planning Association. In April of 2010, Michael received the Mission Award from the RI Society of Certified Public Accountants—an award that recognizes outstanding leadership within the Society, the accounting profession, or the greater community. Michael serves on the boards of many community and civic organizations, including the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, the Mariposa Center (as treasurer), the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, and the Providence Foundation. Michael received both his BS in Accounting and his MS in Taxation from Bryant University. He joined the Board in 2017.

Dennis L. DiPrete
Dennis DiPrete practices civil and environmental engineering in RI, MA and CT. He is the principal of a 45 person engineering firm with offices in Cranston, RI; Newport, RI; and Dedham, MA. His engineering and site design credentials include over 25 years of extensive land planning and environmental engineering relating to all types of public and private land development DiPrete Engineering is actively working on mixed use, Neo-traditional neighborhoods, and other Smart Growth developments as well as conventional land use design. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in RI, CT, and MA and a graduate of Merrimack College in North Andover, MA. Dennis serves on the Board of Directors of Ocean Tides School, Board of Directors of the RI Association of Home Builders, and is actively involved in fundraising activities for the MS Society. He lives in Narragansett.
Dennis joined the Grow Smart RI Board in 2006 and sits on the Executive and Development Committees.  He was elected Secretary in May of 2016.

Travis J. Escobar
A south side Providence native, Travis Escobar is a “social entrepreneur”. Travis is passionate about helping solve community issues regarding poverty, education, workforce development, and social equality. Travis’ passion to give back to the community is inspired by his mother Carmen Cruz. Carmen is an advocate for Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships. She has shared her story to students, legislators, and the community at large, in hopes of creating social awareness around domestic violence. Travis sits on the board of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, Rhode Island College Foundation and is the co-founder for the newly launched Millennial Professional Group of Rhode Island (MPGRI). MPGRI is a generational organization that focuses on inspiring and connecting millennials to live, work, and grow in Rhode Island. Travis joined the Grow Smart RI Board in 2016.

Maia Farish
Maia Farish moved to Rhode Island in 2011, when her husband Don was named the 10th president of Roger Williams University. She immediately plunged into Rhode Island’s community life and currently serves as a Board member for Grow Smart Rhode Island, Herreshoff Marine Museum, Newport Restoration Foundation, and Providence Public Library. She also serves on the Steering Committee for the Roger Williams University Community Partnerships Center. Maia brings a broad range of professional and Board experience to her community work in Rhode Island. A board member of the New Jersey Historic Trust from 2007-2011, having been appointed by Governor Jon Corzine, Maia served as Both Chair and Vice Chair and was the board’s lead advocacy spokesperson. Between 1996 and 2005, she held positions as the Executive Director of the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, Director of Community Relations for Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, and Executive Director of the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce. She was a founding member of the Nantucket Sustainable Development Corporation. She also worked for more than two decades in advertising, public relations and development. Maia joined the Grow Smart Board in 2013. She lives in Bristol

Michael L. Friedman
Michael Friedman is Vice President at Gerber Finance Inc., an Asset Based Lender to lower middle market companies. He is also the managing partner of Mulligan’s Island, LLC, operator of a golf and family entertainment center in Cranston, RI, and Restaurant City LLC, a foodservice equipment and supply dealer in Providence. He was formerly President/CEO of Paramount Restaurant Supply Corp., Monarch Industries, Inc., and of MMF Realty, LLC, which owned industrial real estate in and around Rhode Island. Michael is currently a Member of the Corporation for Johnson & Wales University, the Funds Management Committee for the Jewish Seniors Agency and the Buildings and Grounds Committee for the Wheeler School. Michael graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business with a BS in Economics and a concentration in Accounting and Entrepreneurial Management. He is a native of Providence, RI where he currently resides with his wife and three children. Michael joined the Board in 2009 and sits on the Development Committee.

Glenn Gardiner, AIA, LEED AP
Glenn Gardiner is a principal and founder of Northeast Collaborative Architects (NCA). The Newport-based firm provides architecture, master planning and sustainable design services. Their work encompasses new construction, renovations, restorations and adaptive reuse projects. The firm specializes in historic architecture and serves clients in the municipal, cultural, hospitality, education and residential sectors. Glenn himself has more than 30 years of experience and specializes in sustainable design for education, transportation, institutional and residential clients. He has designed over 15 learning environments in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts and developed master plans and multiple academic buildings for five school campuses. Recently he teamed with Providence Green Airport on their new Interlink transportation hub. Glenn is a past chairman of the Board of registration and examination of Architects for the State of Rhode Island, a member of the NCARB Exam Writing Committee for the A.R.E. Exam, and an Adjunct Professor of Architecture at Roger Williams University. Glenn earned a B.S. in Architecture from the University of Illinois and an M. Arch from Miami University. He lives in Newport. Glenn joined the Board in 2015.

Brian Goldberg
Brian Goldberg is the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives for the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Brian oversees government and community relations, as well as provides leadership on long-term institutional planning, strategic partnerships, and special projects for the school. Before becoming the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, Brian served in other capacities at RISD, both as the interim dean of Graduate Studies and as a lecturer and senior critic in the Architecture department. Brian has co-founded and directed several non- and for-profit organizations, including the experimental media distribution company Drift Distribution and the interaction design company Avalanche Systems. Brian’s creative work includes film, video, photography, installation, and architecture. He has served on numerous nonprofit governing and advisory boards involved with the arts, education, food systems, and public health. Brian holds a Master of Architecture from RISD, and a BA in Visual Art and Semiotics from Brown University. He joined the Board in 2017.

John P. Hartley
John Hartley is the New England Regional Operating Officer for GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., a leading environmental and geotechnical consulting firm with 24 offices in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes regions. John specializes in environmental studies and remedial investigations, the development of environmental clean-up programs and client support related to environmental regulatory issues. Prior to joining GZA, John served for four years as an Engineer/Senior Engineer with the RI Department of Environmental Management, Division of Air and Hazardous Materials. He has also worked with the Minnesota Department of Health, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography. He is a founding member of the Rhode Island Society of Environmental Professionals and participates in numerous RIDEM Regulatory Advisory Committees, including the Brownfields Grant Program committee. John earned a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Rhode Island and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Health from the University of Minnesota. He is a resident of Bristol, RI. John joined the Board in 2015.

Dr. William H. Hollinshead
William Hollinshead is a pediatrician, epidemiologist, and long time Medical Director/Chief of Family Health policy and programs in the Rhode Island Department of Health, retiring in 2008. He is an Assistant Professor in the Brown Departments of Pediatrics and Epidemiology. Dr. Hollinshead has talked and written on a variety of topics, including uses of public health information for policy leadership, impacts of local socio-environmental forces on children’s development, and building community opportunities for youth success. Dr. Hollinshead has been active in leadership of the Assocation of Maternal and Child Health Programs, the National Commission to Prevent Infant Mortality, the National Academy for State Health Policy, and other national organizations. Recently, he’s been President of the RI Chapter of the AAP and involved with RI Kids Count, Reach Out and Read, RI Healthy Mothers Health Babies Coalition, the RI Parent Information Network, Successful State, the Brown ReadyRI Initiative, and other local groups addressing children’s healthy development. Dr. Hollinshead has trained at Princeton, the University of Minnesota, Rochester, and Harvard. He currently resides in Rehoboth, and joined the Board in 2017.

Xay Khamsyvoravong
Xay Khamsyvoravong is the Head of Government and Institutional Banking for Webster Bank in Providence, RI and Hartford, CT. Prior to assuming that position, he seved as the head of the bank’s financial advisory group, which represented more than sixty cities, towns and school districts in the public sales of municipal debt (bonds) and advised clients on the refinancing, restructuring and reduction of debt. Prior to joining Webster, he worked for Morgan Stanley in their Public Finance Group in New York. Xay began his work in public finance as the deputy chief of staff to the Rhode Island General Treasurer a role in which he served as a senior advisor through the financial crisis of 2008, and official office designee on the boards of Rhode Island Housing, the State Properties Committee, Rhode Island Student Loan Authority. Xay holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from Brown University. Since 2013 he has chaired the Providence Water Supply Board, one of the largest traditional water utilities in the Northeast. He serves as the Chair of the Board of the Center for Southeast Asians and is on the board of Girls on the Run RI and is a past Board member of Young Voices. He is a resident of Providence, RI.

Howard M. Kilguss
Howard Kilguss is Chairman and partner of Acqualine LLC, an acquaculture company.  He was formerly the President and CEO of EXCELL Manufacturing Company. Howard’s election to the Grow Smart Board Chairmanship is the latest in a series of community leadership positions including memberships on the boards of Save The Bay, the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council and the Rehoboth Land Trust. He also serves on the Governance Studies Advisory Board for the Washington, DC-based Brookings Institution and was a New England Advisory Council member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Howard received his B.A. from Boston University in 1967. An amateur rowing enthusiast, he won the Canadian Championship and earned a silver medal in the U.S. National Championships. He lives in Rehoboth, Mass. Howard joined the Board in 2000 and was elected Chairman in May, 2009. He chairs the Executive, Development and Nominating Committees.

Jason E. Kelly
Jason Kelly is the Executive Vice President/Chief Information Officer for Moran Shipping. Founded in Rhode Island, Moran is the largest independent steamship agency in the United States. Under his direction Moran Shipping has become a leader in the management of marine information systems. As Executive Vice President, Jason led the company’s decision to maintain and expand operations in Rhode Island and to rehabilitate the former Rhode Island Medical Society Building in Providence as Moran’s new corporate headquarters. A Historic Preservation Tax Credit project, the property is rehabbed to LEED standards and incorporates the first geothermal heating and cooling system in downtown Providence. In 2013, Governor Chafee appointed Jason to the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation Board. He also serves as a trustee of The Providence Foundation and on the Providence Harbor Commission. Prior to joining Moran, Jason lived in Puerto Rico, working for the Puerto Rican government in various positions related to investment promotion, international trade and finance. Jason graduated from the Boston College Carroll School of Management. He resides in Providence. Jason joined the Board in 2009 and sits on the Executive Committee and the Development Committee.

Jane S. Long
Jane Long is an Assistant Vice President in Commercial Real Estate at Bank RI, where she is responsible for new business development and portfolio management for commercial real estate loans and compliance for all commercial loans. Jane has more than 35 years of experience as a commercial lender and a commercial real estate broker. Jane is a past member of the Real Estate Advisory Committee of the Diocese of Providence, a past member of the Finance Board for the Downcity Partnership in Providence and has served as a fundraiser for both the United Way Annual Fundraising Campaign and the Providence Preservation Society. She served on the Parents’ Association for the Lincoln School in Providence. Jane received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida in Gainesville. She lives in Swansea, Massachusetts. Jane joined the Board in 2015.

Donald W. Powers
Donald W. Powers has over 23 years of experience in all aspects of architectural practice including urban and town planning, multi-family housing, commercial and institutional buildings, adaptive re-use and single-family residences. In recent years he has concentrated on integrated, mixed-use planning and architectural design with the goal of creating truly diverse and vibrant neighborhoods. Through a 13 year association with the Congress for the New Urbanism and frequent collaboration with some of the best firms in the country doing traditional urban design (including the noted firm of Duany Plater Zyberk), Don has developed an expertise in the technique and art of creating livable communities and cherished places. Before forming Union Studio Architecture & Community Design (formerly Donald Powers Architects) in 2000, Donald worked with several internationally recognized architects and planners including Cooper Robertson + Partners of New York City and Kyu Sung Woo, Architect of Cambridge, MA. For seven years, he worked as a lead designer with Graham Gund Architects of Cambridge, Massachusetts, before relocating to RI. Donald received his B.S. in Architecture from University of Virginia in 1988, where he was awarded the annual Design Prize, and received his Masters in Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in 1992. He holds professional licenses in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New York. Donald is an active member of the Congress for the New Urbanism and has a single minded vision to restore communities and save the world from sprawl. Donald resides in Providence. He joined the Board in 2011.

Lucie G. Searle Lucie Searle specialized in the re-development of historic properties and for the past 25 years has focused most of her efforts on downtown Providence. Through her work with AS220, a non-profit community arts organization and also the Providence Preservation Society, Lucie has been responsible for the adaptive re-use of several high profile downtown buildings. The Chair of the Providence Preservation Society’s Board of Directors, Lucie also serves on the boards of Farm Fresh Rhode Island and the Providence Revolving Fund. She received her B.A. from the University of Rhode Island and her M.A. from Tufts University. Born and raised on her family’s farm in Exeter, Lucie now resides in Providence. Lucie joined the Grow Smart Board in 2008. Most recently she participated in the Grow Smart led initiative to re-instate the State Historic Tax Credit program; and she also served on the 2013 Grow Smart Awards committee.

Martha J. Sheridan
Martha J. Sheridan currently serves as the President and CEO of the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau, Rhode Island’s largest destination marketing organization responsible for meeting and leisure sales and marketing for the Greater Providence region and the Rhode Island Convention Center. In this capacity, Martha has elevated the agency’s profile locally and statewide to insure representation on a variety of key community and government organizations and initiatives. Under her leadership, PWCVB was the recipient of the Providence Business News Business Excellence Award for the non-profit category. Martha has previously served as the Vice President of Sales for the Newport County Convention and Visitors Bureau. She has been named one of the 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry by Successful Meetings Magazine.
Martha has served in a variety of capacities in the community. She served as Chair of the DMAI Board of Directors, and she has been on the board of several community organizations, including the US Travel Association, WaterFire Providence, and the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy. She has also served as President of the New England Society of Convention and Visitors Bureaus and on the Executive Committee of the Meeting Professionals International New England Chapter. Martha received her BA from the University of Rhode Island. She currently resides in Saunderstown, RI, and joined the Board in 2017.

Pamela M. Sherrill
Pamela Sherrill, AICP, is the principal of Pamela M. Sherrill Planning, LLC, providing transportation and municipal planning expertise. She served as the Town Planner and Administrative Officer for the Town of Johnston from 2010-2014. Prior to working for Johnston, she was principal planner for municipal and multi-modal transportation projects for the Pare Corporation, located in Lincoln, Rhode Island. She has over 30 years experience linking land use and transportation planning, combining her community perspective–gained through the preparation of comprehensive plan updates, revitalization plans, and housing studies –with multimodal transportation planning for bicycle, rail, transit, ferry, and airports as well as traditional roadway projects. She was inaugural president of WTS-Rhode Island, the local chapter of the Women’s Transportation Seminar. Pam holds a B.S. in Environmental Design from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She resides in East Providence. Pam joined the Board in 2006 and sits on the Agricultural and Public Transportation Subcommittees.

Julia Anne M. Slom Julia Anne leads Washington Trust’s Commercial Real Estate Group, whose team focus is developing commercial real estate loan business. She is responsible for a large commercial portfolio and a team of seven lending officers. Julia Anne joined the Bank in 1994 and has extensive experience in real estate and commercial lending and banking. Julia Anne serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State. She is the Finance Committee Chairman of Christ the King Parish and a member of Parish Council. Additionally, she is an alumni class officer for Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut, and is a member of the advisory board of LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) and its related credit committee. Julia Anne received a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Connecticut College, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in finance from the University of Rhode Island. She is a member of The Providence Foundation, REFA (Real Estate Finance Association) and is a member of their board of directors. Her other affiliations include NAIOP (National Association of Industrial and Office Properties), and the Risk Management Association (RMA). She is a 2004 graduate of Leadership RI. Julia Anne joined the Board in 2011. She lives in Charlestown.

Joseph T. Wanat
Joe Wanat is the Managing Director of VHB’s Providence office, where he oversees the operations of a team of transportation, land development, and environmental professionals. His primary areas of expertise include traffic engineering, safety, design, planning, permitting, and project management. Current and former projects that Joe has worked on include serving as an On-Call Traffic Design Consultant for RIDOT, making Green Infrastructure Improvements to Thames Street and Spring Street in Newport, overseeing Brown University’s Institutional Master Plan, and serving as the Multimodal Planning Lead to develop the Warwick Station Development District Guidelines.
Joe is involved in several civic and community organizations. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure. He is also on the Board of the City of Worcester Zoning Board of Appeals. Joe received his BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Massachusetts and his MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California. He joined the Board in 2017.

George W. Watson III
George Watson is Counsel with the law firm Robinson & Cole.  He is a member of the firm’s Environmental + Utilities Group, where his practice is focused on siting and permitting energy, utility, and other infrastructure projects. His work regularly involves the range and intersect of environmental, real estate, and land use concerns. His practice also includes the negotiation of environmental land use restrictions, representing clients in the acquisition, development, and disposition of commercial real property, and telecommunication facility siting and leasing matters. He earned his JD from Northeastern University School of Law and a B.A in Sociology and Political Science form Williams College. George joined the Grow Smart RI Board in 2016.

Brad R. Weissman
Mr. Weissman has held a variety of roles of increasing responsibility within the finance & accounting profession over the past fifteen years. He currently provides strategic insights & analytics to Fidelity Investments’ expansive retail channel which encompasses a network of more than 180 locations. Previously at Fidelity Investments, Mr. Weissman held positions that focused on the economics of new product development, customer segment analytics, and annual & strategic planning. Prior to joining Fidelity in 2006, Mr. Weissman began his career as a Consultant with the Enterprise Risk Services Division of Deloitte & Touché LLP where he focused on information technology control and process reviews. Leveraging his public accounting experience, Mr. Weissman joined Cleanharbors Environmental Services, Inc. [NYSE: CLH] and achieved the role of Regional Finance Manager where he oversaw a staff of six and had full P&L responsibility for a $23M service line. In addition, he was part of a $500M strategic acquisition that resulted in the firm’s rapid expansion throughout the US. Mr. Weissman earned an MBA with a specialization in International Business from the College of Business Administration at Northeastern University, a Graduate Certificate in Forensic Accounting from Northeastern University: College of Professional Studies, and a B.S. with a concentration in Accounting and a minor in C.I.S from Bryant College. Mr. Weissman is also a member of the adjunct faculty at Southern New Hampshire University, where he teaches online accounting courses. Mr. Weissman resides in Cumberland, RI and joined the GrowSmartRI Board in 2015

Sharon D. Conard-Wells
Sharon Conrad-Wells has been in community development work for most of her life, professionally and personally. After working as a computer systems analyst and serving as Clerk to the RI Senate Corporations Committee, she returned to her roots and became involved with the West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation where she as been the Executive Director since 1991. Under Sharon’s leadership, West Elmwood Housing is a member of NeighborWorks America and holds several national certifiations including Home Ownership Center, Full Cycle Lender, Green Organization and HUD approved counseling agency. Sharon has completed the arduous adaptive reuse redevelopment of two Brownfield historic mills and three low income tax credit rental projects. A recent example of one of her projects is Sankofa Apartments, a new construction of low income rental properties that was completed in August of 2016; it has an abutting urban agriculture component and won a Smart Growth Award in 2017.
Sharon serves on the Board of Directors for Care New England, the Brain Injury Association of RI, the Housing Network of RI, and the Integra Medicaid AE Governing Council. She holds a Master of Education degree from Cambridge College and is a Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government Achieving Excellence in Community Development fellow. She joined the Board in 2017.

Martha L. Werenfels
Martha Werenfels, AIA, LEED AP, is a principal at Durkee, Brown, Viveiros & Werenfels Architects, a 24-person firm in Providence, RI. Martha has extensive experience in a wide range of historic preservation projects, including restoration of national historic landmarks, rehabilitation of various building types, and compilation of preservation feasibility studies. She has been the principal architect for multi-phased restoration projects at the Rhode Island State House, the Newport Casino, the Cranston Street Armory and the Tabernacle on Martha’s Vineyard. Martha is a past president of AIA/Rhode Island and an advisor to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She also serves on the boards of the Historic Preservation Education Foundation, the Providence Preservation Society and the William Hall Free Library. Prior to joining DBVW, Martha worked for the National Park Service in Washington, DC, and served as the State Historical Architect for the RI Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University and a Master’s Degree in History from Brown University. Martha joined the Board in 2011. She lives in Cranston with her husband and two sons.

Nancy Parker Wilson
Nancy Parker Wilson has been General Manager of Greenvale Vineyards since she, her husband William, and parents started the winery operation in 1992. The original 52 acre Greenvale Farm has been in Nancy’s family since 1863 and is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The restored stable turned tasting room has about 15,000 visitors per year after restoration 18 years ago. Previously, Nancy has served as Director of Public Information for the Stone Zoo and Franklin Park Zoo, both in the Boston area. Nancy started her own community relations company which included clients like the Boston GreenSpace Alliance. Nancy is currently on the RI State Conservation Committee, Board of the Eastern Rhode Island Conservation Committee, and the Portsmouth Agricultural Committee. She is also on the boards of Discover Newport, the Portsmouth Free Library, and the Portsmouth Arts Guild, and serves as Secretary for the Newport Historical Society. Nancy graduated from Wesleyan University and joined the GrowSmart RI Board in 2017.

Directors Emeritus

Arnold B. Chace, Director Emeritus
Buff Chace is the Managing General Partner of Cornish Associates, the eight buildings that make up the Westminster Street Lofts and Mashpee Commons, L.P. He has 33 years experience as an investor, financial advisor, urban planner and real estate developer. Buff is currently a board member emeritus of Trinity Repertory Theatre, an officer and member of the Executive Committee of the Providence Foundation, and an inaugural member of the Congress of New Urbanism. Buff resides in Providence.
A founding member of the Board, Buff served from 1998 to 2006.

Louise Durfee, Esq., Director Emeritus
Louise Durfee is a trail-blazing lawyer and an early champion of legal protections for Rhode Island’s environment. Over her five decades in the law, Louise also served as a partner in the law firm of Tillinghast, Collins & Graham and later with the law firm of Brown, Rudnick LLP. She was the first woman ever appointed to Rhode Island’s Board of Bar Examiners, and served on the state’s Committee on the Treatment of Women in the Courts. A past president of Save the Bay and first general counsel of the Narragansett Bay Commission, Louise was Rhode Island’s Director of the Department of Environmental Management from 1991 to 1994. A founding member of the Board, Louise served from 1998 to 2004.

Wilfrid L. Gates, Jr.
Wil Gates is Chairman Emeritus of Gates, Leighton & Associates, Inc, a subsidiary of BETA Group, an engineering, landscape architecture and consulting firm located in Lincoln, RI. A Landscape Architect for forty-two years, Wil worked for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation prior to forming his own office in 1972. He was Founding President of the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Wil is a Commissioner of the Providence Capital Center Commission and Chairman of its Design Review Committee. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Highland Memorial Park, a private cemetery located in Johnston, Rhode Island, and a former incorporator of The Providence Foundation. A past president of the environmental Council of Rhode Island, he was also President of CLEAN RHODE ISLAND and of Save the Bay, Inc. He was a long-time member of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee to the Solid Waste Management Corporation. He served as an East Providence City Councilman-at-large and is past Chairman of the Boards of the East Providence Chamber of Commerce and the East Providence Public Libraries. A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Wil is Past-President of the RISD Alumni Association. He resides in North Kingstown. Wil joined the Board in 2009 and sits on the Public Transportation Subcommittee.

Michael S. Hudner, Director Emeritus Michael S. Hudner is a co-founder and has been CEO of the B & H Shipping Group since 1978. The Group has been involved in a myriad of shipowning and operating projects involving over 130 vessels. These have included offshore support vessels, dry bulk carriers, crude oil carriers, refined petroleum product carriers, and combination carriers (oil and dry bulk). He has been involved extensively in the financing activities of these projects, including the creation of three public shipowning companies, as well as in their investment activities and shipping operations. Michael is a member of the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council, a Trustee of Mystic Seaport Museum, the Council of American Bureau of Shipping, and is a member of the New York Bar Association. He lives in Little Compton and was on the Board from 2003 to 2009.

Michael F. Ryan, Director Emeritus Michael F. Ryan is Vice President of Government Affairs for National Grid in Rhode Island. Mike joined the former Narragansett Electric Company in 1994. Prior to that, he served for eight years as the Rhode Island Director of the offices of United States Senator John H. Chafee. Mike spent almost ten years in the executive branch of Rhode Island state government – first as a Legislative Assistant to the Lieutenant Governor and later as Special Assistant and Press Secretary to Governor J. Joseph Garrahy. Mike served as a member of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education from 1997 to 2011; was appointed vice chairman in 2003 and served until 2011. He is a member of the Rhode Island Commodores Board of Governors. Mike serves as chairman of Boy’s Town New England. He was appointed by Governor Lincoln Chafee to sit as a member of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation. He is the former chairman of Grow Smart Rhode Island and has served or does serve on the boards of several organizations including the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, Navigant Credit Union, Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, Urban Collaborative and The Providence Journal Summertime Fund. Mike is also a member of the Providence College President’s Council and the Junior Achievement CEO Council. Mike is a 1974 graduate of Rhode Island College, a 1993 graduate of Leadership Rhode Island and was named to the Rhode Island College Alumni Honor Roll. In 2006, he was the recipient of the Alumni Service Award from Rhode Island College and in 2008, received an Honorary Degree – Doctorate of Humane Letters from the New England Institute of Technology. He resides in Little Compton. Mike served on the Board from 2001 to 2007 and was Chairman of the Board from 2002 to 2006.

Deming E. Sherman, Esq., Director Emeritus Deming Sherman is a partner at the law firm Locke Lord, LLP and has been with the firm for more than 45 years. He has extensive experience litigating business and environmental cases. Active in the arts and cultural community, Deming serves on the boards of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, First Works and the Providence Athenaeum. He is also active in several conservation organizations. He is Chairman of the Capital Center Commission. Deming received his B.A. from Amherst College and his J.D. from University of Chicago Law School. He resides in Providence. Deming served on the Board from 1998 as a founding member until 2013 and served as Chairman of the Board from 2006-2009.

W. Edward Wood, Director Emeritus Ed Wood retired as CEO of the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative at the end of 2011. While there, he oversaw the work of about 600 employees and volunteers in more than 30 countries, with a budget of $65-70 million annually. Previously, he was Chief Operating Officer of the Initiative, after first serving as volunteer leader of a Clinton Foundation team that produced a care and treatment plan for Tanzania to assist some 1.2 million HIV+ individuals over five years. Prior to his work with the Clinton Foundation, Ed had spent four years in semi-retirement as a writer, consultant and investment manager. Until 1999, when the company was sold, Ed was president and CEO of Coaxial Communications Inc. which operated cable television systems in Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Illinois. Prior to this, he was president of BDS Management Co. From 1983 to 1990, he was an international business strategy consultant with Telesis headquartered in Providence, RI. He also participated in industrial policy studies for the Province of Ontario and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. For most of the 1970s and the early 1980s, Ed was in Rhode Island state government serving for various periods as Deputy Administrator of the Public Utilities Division, Director of the Department of Transportation and Director of the Department of Environmental Management. In the early 1990s, he also served as Chief of Staff to the Governor of Rhode Island. Ed has an undergraduate degree in Political Science and an M.A. in Japanese Studies, both from the University of Michigan. He served as a Captain in the Marine Corps with service in Hawaii and Vietnam and later was a reporter and editor for the Associated Press and the Providence Journal. Ed is a director of the Nature Conservancy Rhode Island Chapter and the Hopkinton Land Trust. He is past chair of the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities and was founder of the Wood Pawcatuck Watershed Association. He served as the elected town moderator for Hopkinton, RI, for more than 25 years. He is a trustee of the Brightman Hill Charitable Foundation, a family foundation he founded in 1999. He lives in Hope Valley. A founding member of the Board, Ed served from 1998 to 2006.