Thank you to our Board of Directors for their dedication and support.
Art & History Museums – Maitland
Board Of Directors 2019-2020
Christopher Grim (President) serves as a Partner for Grennan Fender CPAs, leading their Outsourced Accounting Department. Mr. Grim has more than 25 years of experience in public accounting, corporate accounting and financial management. Prior to joining Grennan Fender, Chris was the Chief Financial Officer for a defense contractor, and he has held senior positions in a number of highly regarded accounting firms, where he was chiefly responsible for audit and financial review functions. Chris has served clients in a variety of industries including construction and real estate, defense, nonprofit, manufacturing, distribution, and technology. Chris possesses an MBA from Rollins College in Florida and a B.S. in Economics from the University of Delaware, and has been a licensed CPA in the State of Florida since 1999.
Bill Randolph, CPSM, Affiliate ASLA, (First Vice President) works with JCR Consulting, a landscape architecture firm in Maitland, FL. Randolph received a BS in Photojournalism from the University of Florida with a minor in history, and he earned a MA degree focused on business from Webster University while serving in the U.S. Air Force. Randolph has been actively involved in both professional associations and non-profit organizations. A resident of Maitland since 1988, he volunteered to serve on city advisory boards which earned him recognition as Maitland Citizen of the Year in 2005. He transitioned from the Maitland Historic Society board to the A&H board in 2010 where Randolph served as the 2013-14 Board President, facilitated the expansion and renovations to the Germaine Marvel Building, and spearheaded the city-approved conceptual site plan for the future expansion of A&H’s Maitland Art Center.
As an accomplished photographer, he won several Air Force awards for images depicting life in the military, has images published in books and magazines, and self published a book of his photographs taken at Kennedy Space Center during the final 23 Space Shuttle missions.
Dave Plotkin (Second Vice President) is a journalist and media specialist, and is the digital content editor at Orlando Weekly. He has worked as an art director, columnist, broadcaster, and political media strategist, serving in leadership and media roles for members of Congress, the Florida Legislature, local governments, and more than 150 campaigns. Dave earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Central Florida, and has taught at Full Sail University and Rollins College.
James Tivy (Treasurer) serves as the CFO for ITEC Entertainment, a global themed entertainment solutions provider. His professional experience includes over 25 years of corporate accounting across a wide variety of industries, including several publicly traded companies headquartered in Orlando. Born in The Bahamas, James attended high school in New Smyrna Beach before graduating from the University of Florida with a BSAc from the Fisher School of Accounting, and has been a licensed CPA since 1996. James was a non-profit board member with the Lyman Rowing Association, serving as their treasurer and subsequently as president. James enjoys traveling and has an appreciation for classical architecture and its history.
Patrick Terry (Secretary) was born and raised in Winter Park, a close neighbor to Maitland, and his family has been a member of the local community since the 1970’s. Since 2011, he has worked as an engineer at Siemens Energy, an international industrial conglomerate supplying hardware and service to power providers. He is a proud graduate and current student of the University of Florida, where he earned a BS in Materials Science and Engineering in 2014, and is currently pursuing an MS in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Since 2014, he has served on the board of FHSMUN, Inc., an educational nonprofit serving domestic and international middle and high school students. Patrick’s goal in joining the A&H board is to preserve and enrich a unique piece of history and culture in Central Florida.
Nate Balint (Immediate Past President) is a corporate attorney and a partner at Akerman LLP, specializing in mergers and acquisition transactions and other corporate representations. He is originally from New York and moved to the Orlando area in 2006. Nate is a graduate of the University of Rochester, with a B.A. in Economics and Political Science, and obtained his law degree from New York University School of Law. Nate has also been a non-profit board member with Health Workforce NY and ACG Orlando, and has done volunteer legal and teaching work with low-income youth. Nate is an appreciator of the arts and enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and coaching and playing basketball.
Born and raised in Iran, Nargges Albekord came to the United States as a student in 1977, but she is a Florida resident since 1982.
Nargges has been a member of selection committee of AiA & AiR programs of Art & History Museums, Maitland since 2017. She also is the President of the Iranian-American Community Center (IACC), an organization which she and her husband co-founded in 2005, in order to promote Persian culture, art, and history. In addition, she is the program director and singer of SAMAN Ensemble, a Persian classic music group. She had been working in management, director of training, and supervisory positions with DiPasqua Enterprises (Subway Sandwiches) for more than 11 years, retired in 1995.
Nargges holds a B.S. in computer science from University of Central Florida, a B.F.A. in painting from UCF, and M.F.A. in Studio Art and the Computer from UCF. She lives in Winter Park, Florida with her husband. Currently, she is a faculty of Art Department in Valencia College, East Campus, teaching studio art while making art in the Central Studio, her own studio-gallery in downtown Orlando.
She loves cooking, traveling, and meeting new people any chance she gets.
Joe Ales is a structural engineer and Senior Principal with Walter P. Moore and Associates and serves as the Managing Director of their Orlando office. He started his career in the firm’s Tampa office and then served as Managing Director of their Los Angeles office before moving back to Florida. He has been a resident of Maitland with his family since 2014 and he and his wife have one child each in Dommerich Elementary, Maitland Middle School, and Winter Park High School. Throughout his 24 years in structural engineering practice, Joe has served on numerous technical committees and boards, and is currently co-chair of the Local Planning Committee for the 2019 Structures Congress, which will be held in Orlando. The Structures Congress is the largest yearly gathering of structural engineers in the United States. He is a licensed professional engineer in Florida and seven other states and is a Fellow of the Structural Engineering Institute. Joe received his Doctorate in Civil Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and his Master and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. Though he is unequivocally left-brained, Joe has a deep appreciation for the arts and is looking forward to being an active member of the Maitland Arts Community.
Peter Banca has a unique connection to Maitland’s National Historic Landmark. He was the only child to grow up at The Research Studio, during the founding years of J. André Smith. Peter’s parents, Attilo & Florence Banca assisted André with the management of the artists colony. The Bancas were André’s closest personal friends and heirs. Peter is a resident of Branford, Connecticut, living in his family home, which was designed by André Smith. Peter retired from a career in finance. He is married and has a daughter.
Caroline Cheong is an assistant professor in the University of Central Florida’s History department. Her research spans historic preservation and economic development, focusing on the relationship between urban heritage conservation, urban regeneration and poverty reduction, with a particular focus on the Global South. Originally from California, she earned her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in City and Regional Planning, her MS in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and her BS in Anthropology from the University of Chicago. Previously, Caroline was the Director of Research for Heritage Strategies International and PlaceEconomics through which she published numerous publications focusing on the economic impacts of historic preservation with preservation economist Donovan Rypkema.
James B. Dorman, Jr., CPA/PFS, CFP®, is the President and founder of Dorman Financial Management, P.A. in Maitland, FL. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Accounting from Stetson University. Jim’s work experience includes 8 years with Arthur Andersen & Co., at the time the largest international accounting and consulting firm in the world. He is a Member of the Financial Planners Association (FPA), and successfully completed the rigorous education curriculum for the prestigious CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional certification. Jim is also a member in good standing with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants, having also successfully taken and passed the Certified Public Accountants’ (CPA) examination. Jim is active in the local community, serving on the Board of Directors of the Art and History Museum – Maitland and on the Advisory Council of the Enzian Theater.
Both a strategist and practitioner, Lisa Junkerman has 25 years of applied, integrated marketing expertise on national and global levels. She is currently Chief Marketing Officer and Director of Business Development for ITEC Entertainment, a global themed entertainment solutions provider. Lisa previously worked for Fortune 250 companies, including Motorola, Inc. and Progress Energy/Duke Energy, and in the higher education industry where she was Assistant Vice President and CMO for Marketing for Rollins College. Lisa is also Principal of Chief Marketing Associates, Inc., an integrated marketing communications and branding firm. She has an MBA degree from the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College and a BA in Business Administration with a marketing major from the University of South Florida.
Natalie Martinez is a Legislative Assistant in Washington, D.C. She previously was a Public Affairs Manager at Align Public Strategies, a public affairs and creative firm. She is also the Director of Opportunity Jobs Academy, a training program for high schoolers that focuses on job readiness. She holds a Masters in International Business, a B.S. in Business Administration and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida. In addition to serving on the A&H Board since 2017, Natalie is active in the League of Women Voters of Central Florida, Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, and is a co-founder of the Commission on Local Debates. A Maitland native, Natalie aims to support her hometown by enriching the cultural offerings available to its citizens and visitors.
Dr. Gloria Pickar has more than 40 years in higher education, most recently as President and Chief Academic Officer of a leading online learning services company, working in partnership with regionally accredited regional and national universities to deliver more than 120 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree online programs. As President she also oversaw research services, new academic partner acquisition, contract negotiations, and new program development. Since 2015, she has independently consulted with other online program management organizations and their academic partners. Dr. Pickar also has 26 years of higher education executive and nursing faculty experience. She holds Nursing degrees and a doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of Florida and is the author of two best-selling nursing textbooks. In addition to serving on the A&H Board, Dr. Pickar is also active in the Florida and Orange County League of Women Voters as 2nd Vice President and Chair of the Gun Safety Action Team. As residents of Maitland for 38 years, Gloria and her late husband, Roger, are sustaining supporters of A&H and its Landmark Society.
James “Keith” Ramsey is a senior counsel in Holland & Knight’s Orlando office and practices in the area of construction litigation. He is board certified in construction law by the Florida Bar and handles complex construction litigation both at the trial and appellant level. Prior to entering private practice, Ramsey served as a law clerk to the Honorable Barry J. Stone of the Fourth District Court of Appeal. Ramsey earned his Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from the University of Florida and is a graduate of the University’s Levin College of Law. Ramsey served as the A&H’s Board President in 2014-15.
Shawn Richard is the Vice President of Dining Services for Holiday Retirement based in Winer Park, FL. Prior to joining Holiday Shawn worked for Panera Bread, Darden Restaurants, and Earl Enterprises. He has over 20 years of hospitality experience.
Shawn is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island where he earned his degree in Culinary Arts. Aside from enjoying great food and wines, Shawn is a history enthusiast. He has visited museums around the world and makes it a point to learn the heritage of every city he visits.
Steve Ruta is an attorney practicing in the areas of complex business litigation and commercial landlord-tenant transactions. He and his partners in the law firm of Barrett, Chapman & Ruta, P.A. have been serving clients throughout Central Florida for over 30 years.
Steve received his law degree from Cornell Law School and his undergraduate degree from Florida State University. Prior to entering private practice he was appointed law clerk to Judge George C. Carr, Middle District of Florida.
In addition to practicing law, Steve co-owned and operated a chain of retail hobby and collectible stores for over ten years. He and his wife Melanie have two adult children. They have resided in Maitland since 1990 where they have been active in the local schools, church and community.
Steve has been a long-time member of Maitland Rotary–serving three times as president and as a past chair of the Maitland Rotary Art Festival. He is a member of the Florida Citrus Sport Association–serving on the scouting and finance committees; and a member of the advisory board for the Enzian theater.
Michael Thomas is the owner of John Michael Exquisite Weddings & Catering. He started John Michael Catering in 1995 with a partner, John. John soon lost interest and Michael bought him out, keeping the name the same. In 2007, John Michael Catering became John Michael Weddings and Special Events to better portray the company’s market and rebranded in 2015 to become John Michael Exquisite Weddings & Catering.
Michael attended the University of Central Florida where he earned a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management and master’s in business administration, both of which well equip him to create the best events possible. Michael loves creating one-of-a-kind weddings and events, large or small, and infuses passion and creativity into everything he does. Each and every wedding and event he works on is an opportunity to make beautiful, lasting memories. He loves thinking of innovative ways to allow his clients to truly impress their guests…and with corporate parties, their boss!
Michael was born and raised in Hartville, Ohio, near the Akron/Canton area. He moved to Florida in 1987 and owns a home in the SoDo district of downtown Orlando with his husband Rustin Davis. Together, they have four children – Pugs Nadia and Nina, a tabby cat, Petey, and a Jack Russell Terrier, Lindy.
In his spare time Michael enjoys bowling, golf, backpacking and travel. Michael hopes to someday start a travel adventure company, taking groups backpacking. His favorite color is purple and his favorite vacation spot is Key West. Michael is also a strong believer in karma and the full circle of life – what goes around comes around.
John Michael Exquisite Weddings and Catering is committed to developing a stronger community and inciting social change. Many organizations are those that John Michael has proudly given back to over the past twenty years. We believe in giving back to the community that has helped us prosper, and, in doing so, have been named Orlando’s 36th most philanthropic company by the Orlando Business Journal.
Jane Turner was born in Alabama to a Military family. She grew up traveling to live in many distant places in the U.S.A., Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. This experience provided her with a wealth of varied artistic and cultural exposures. Her earliest memories of creating art was of paint-by numbers projects, which were greatly encouraged by her parents. She is a graduate of Tuskegee Institute (University), 1962-1966. There she obtained a degree in Sociology. She spent her professional career as a Social Worker in Florida, Alabama and California. She has been retired for 15 years from the State of Florida.
She considers Eatonville/Maitland home. Currently, she resides in Maitland, however, She has an artist studio in Eatonville. In 1990, Turner moved to Eatonville and felt an instant spiritual connection to the town. Her artistry was awakened by the community and the rich cultural history. Also, in 1990, Eatonville was recognized as one of the first self-governing, all-Black Municipalities in the United States. Zora Neale Hurston’s memory had been revived and attracted many notable artist of Color from the world, national and local arenas. Turner was fortunate enough to meet most of these talents, talk, work and be encouraged by them.
Turner has always painted and sketched, but did not seriously pursue the talent until later in life. She paints in oil, acrylic, pastel, graphite and charcoal. She has branched out to include batik, sculpture, photography and pottery and has been a student at Crealde Art School, The Maitland Art Center, studied batik with Shalini Tandon, and took classes at the Orlando Pottery Studio.
From January through May, Turner exhibited at the Maitland Art Center with “Maitland and African American Experiences Then and Now: J André Smith and Jane Turner.” She has exhibited at least 4 times at Orlando City Hall in different mediums, including paintings, sculpture, and photography. She says her crowning exhibit was at the Orlando Museum of Art in 2002 – From Grandma’s Brush, as a part of the Grandma Moses Exhibit. Her work has been exhibited extensively in the greater Center Florida area, in museums, galleries and educational institutions. Her work has been the subject of many newspaper articles and magazines. From 2011 through 2013, she worked under the auspices of Crealde Art School, as the artist of a team that conducted Heritage Workshops for Orange and Seminole counties public schools, private schools, home-schooled children and organizations, at The Hannibal Square Heritage Center.
Benjamin Urrutia is a real estate professional in the residential sector in metropolitan Orlando and Central Florida. Benjamin has lived in Central Florida for years and understands the need to reach a vast and diverse audience as he is bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish fluently. An advocate for community involvement, he is President of the Maitland Rotary Club for the 2019-2020 Rotary Year.
Benjamin holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering – University of Illinois, MBA in Finance – Loyola University of Chicago, and a marketing degree from ICESI University in Cali, Colombia.
Art & History Museums – Maitland seeks remarkable individuals to serve on the Board of Directors; individuals who desire to make a difference in Central Florida; individuals who are passionate about arts education for all ages and preservation of our cultural heritage, including a National Historic Landmark; and individuals who are dedicated to the Museum’s mission to “stimulate thought, spark the imagination, enrich the spirit, and foster appreciation in art, historical research and preservation.”
Ideal Board Candidates will have:
- Capacity to directly support the institution;
- Connections to supporting resources in the region; and
- Knowledge, experience and skill sets in leadership areas, such as legal, financial, fundraising, and business development.