President Michaela M. Conca
As president of Broward Trust for Historic Preservation, Michaela advocates the use of historic resources in Broward County; she believes these resources contribute to Broward County neighborhoods for future growth and that property or landmarks are assets, with historic preservation as an intrinsic component that enhances our county for future development strategies.
In turn, the homeowner’s property and its value are protected. One aspect of this protection is a landmark historic designation. These historical landmarks and designations further enhance the history of our communities and protect these assets for future generations.
In addition, when a property is designated, it enhances and contributes to our sustainable resiliency and goals for the years ahead, creating a sense of place and time based on the county’s history.
Vice President H. Michael Solloa, Jr.
H. Michael Solloa, Jr., (“Michael”) an associate with the law office of Tripp Scott, P.A., focuses on his practice in the area of representation of creditors’ rights, in many aspects of civil litigation, representation of creditors within Chapters 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcies, representation of condominium associations and homeowners’ associations, landlord/tenant disputes, and real estate litigation. Michael is a Martindale-Hubble AV® rated attorney, which is the highest rating available to any individual lawyer.
Michael has always been interested in preserving the history of structures and has a desire to be more connected within his community, and in combining those two interests, believes he would be a natural fit in volunteering for the Broward Trust for Historical Preservation.
Michael and his partner of over 21 years, currently live in the City of Wilton Manors. He has lived in Southern Florida for a total 19 years to date and has no plans of leaving the South Florida area. He enjoys the tropical weather, ocean, and friendly Southern residents.
Board of Directors
Joshua “JW” Arpin is the fifth-generation operator of JB Arpin & Sons, a master carpenter and Dade County Pine (DCP) expert. Born in 1983, JW reclaimed his first DCP board from Casablanca Cafe at age 10. He is a graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas HS ‘02 and Wake Forest University ’06, led by his legacy to study history and told by his father, Ted Arpin, “Study what you’d like because there’s only one thing you’ll ever be.”
JB Arpin & Sons was founded in 1849 in Arpin, WI, a lumber company specializing in pine. It relocated to Fort Lauderdale in 1908 when JB Arpin, a foremost dredging engineer, was invited by Governor Broward and offered a large portion of the Everglades drainage project. In addition, JB Arpin & Sons dredged and created most of the Las Olas Isles, also laying the original road grade of the Federal Highway. By the mid-1900s, JB Arpin was the city’s top marine sea wall contractor, inventing and installing the beach erosion devices from Dania to Pompano still utilized today.
JW Arpin, mentored by Randy Shropshire of Old Florida Lumber Company who encouraged his passion for DCP preservation, proudly represents both Arpin and Shropshire pine legacies, firmly believing that DCP and the old homes where it is found are unique and vital to American history and to trees worldwide. JW’s mission is to meld scientific research and carpentry; his DCP stock is now being researched by the UF Forestry School and the US Forest. Recently he has worked on restoring the historic Peacock Lodge in Port St. Lucie.
Returning Director Terry Bean brings her marketing skills and love of historic preservation to the Trust. She strives to educate Broward County and beyond on the importance of historic preservation. Terry divides her time between Queens, New York, and South Florida. Terry will work tirelessly as a remote board member to support the Trust’s mission.
Terry is currently updating the Trust’s brochure. In addition, Terry has committed her marketing skills and strategies to bring increased brand awareness to the Trust’s mission.
Christopher Brennan is a Fort Lauderdale native with a lifetime of conservation. His interests were cultivated at an early age by his father Michael Brennan. Together they founded the educational department of the Sawgrass Herpetological Society (the study of amphibians, reptiles).
Christopher’s involvement with the educational department led to a career as a Broward County park ranger that spanned the better part of a decade until the parks department privatized the program.
He then went on to work for the Fort Lauderdale “Water Taxi” where he educated tourists and locals alike about the sights and history of the waterways. When Fort Lauderdale’s historic Rain Tree was threatened by a developer, he took a stand against him and had to leave the water taxi due to a conflict of interest.
“In 2015, he ran a no-party affiliation in a three-party race” for mayor of Fort Lauderdale and came in second place. Today he is self-employed but makes time to continue his activism.
Michael J. Gehron
Michael J. Gehron is a third-generation Fort Lauderdale native. Michael graduated from NOVA High School in 1974. Afterward, he attended Broward Junior College receiving his Associate of Arts degree. In 1980, he attended Florida State University earning his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. Michael then endeavored to earn his Ph.D. in chemistry. He achieved his goal when he graduated from the University of Florida in 1987. Even though Michael attended two of the most distinguished colleges in Florida, he strongly identifies as a Florida State Seminole.
Dr. Gehron is now a retired aerospace engineer and consultant. His expertise is in chemistry, chemical safety, chemical processes, and forensics. After retirement, Michael taught at Indian River State College in Stuart, Florida. In addition, he directed a pain management and drug abuse testing laboratory as a licensed medical technologist supervisor. We welcome and thank Michael Gehron for joining the Broward Trust for Historic Preservation.
Returning Director Susan Gillis is an expert in all things history. She graduated from William and Mary College with a Bachelor of Arts degree and received her Master of Arts degree in anthropology from the University of Denver. Susan specializes in using documentaries as a means to explore history. At WLRN, Susan facilitated two documentaries. The first is about prohibition. The second is about a World War II radar station—located at Boca Raton Army Airfield. A third one was produced for the Florida TV channel Florida Crossroads. It is a documentary about the Yamato Colony, a pioneering community of Japanese settlers who came to the Boca Raton area in the summer of 1905.
Susan is an author, speaker, and former historian with experience educating the community and supporting Fort Lauderdale for 26 years. Susan has been the curator for the Boca Raton Historical Society, where she has been instrumental in the latest renovations to Boca Raton’s historic Town Hall. In addition, she has been a consultant to almost every historical society and museum in the county.
Susan continues to research Oakland Park’s history and is the official historian for Oakland Park.
Jennifer Koff is a writer and interior designer based in Fort Lauderdale. In her writing and designs, Koff prides herself on her ability to revive the antiquated with a timeless yet contemporary approach. Koff received a certification of interior design with UM and currently works with City Furniture.
When not writing or designing, Koff can be found creating silk floral arrangements to sell on the Etsy account created with fiancé JW Arpin (@Arpin & Sons Custom Woodwork Creations), and researching the haunted lore of historic Fort Lauderdale.
Growing up in Fort Lauderdale and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea has left a special place in Maggie’s heart for Fort Lauderdale and its history. She graduated from Northeast High School and attended Iowa State University, receiving a B.A. in film, television, and radio, as well as a B.S. in design which included a year and a half of art and architectural history.
She then worked at KWWL in Waterloo, IA, followed by at “Carnaby” Square Production Company where she produced documentaries, player profiles, and was also part of a production team producing University of Iowa basketball and football games. A family move gave her the opportunity to use her design degree as an interior designer for many years.
Today she is somewhat retired and, during summers, she is renovating a house built in 1895. She also serves as treasurer of the Sailboat Bend Civic Association, is on the Sailboat Bend Civic Association Historic Preservation Committee, and occasionally is able to volunteer at Vizcaya. In her free time she plays tennis “and reads” what 95% of the time is some sort of history book or history document.
Blaise McGinley has 27 years of experience in architectural practice, most recently as president of the Architecture Division of a well-known architectural group in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, providing a multi-disciplined, results-oriented, wholistic approach to real estate development and construction. His experience includes the ability to generate concepts that speak to conflicting needs and the background to efficiently coordinate “all that is professionally required to make those concepts a reality.”
Blaise has extensive experience in direct management of development and production staff as well as on-site field administration and technical management for construction operations. He welcomes complex projects and
prides himself on creating a cohesive and positive work environment in order to achieve quality and
efficiency of goals.
Licensed in five states, Blaise brings a wide-ranging depth of experience to his new “Peacock and Lewis team.”
• NCARB Certified Architect
• Fort Lauderdale Board of Adjustment Chair (2023)
• Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale Advisory Board
Bachelor of Science Architecture University of Texas at Arlington 2000
Master of Architecture University of Texas at Arlington 2005
AIA Continuing Education
The focus of her career has been to promote memorable places and historical resources as catalysts for revitalization. As an urban planner and designer. Rupal Shukla M. Arch; Assoc AIA, APA, CNU joined XCLENC Design as its planning leader and founding partner.
Her extensive public and private sector experience is in city planning and historic preservation. The focus of her career has been to promote memorable places and historical resources as catalysts for revitalization. This experience gives her a unique ability to leverage contextual urban design and preservation as an economic development tool for cities. Rupal’s professional experience as a regional planner for the South Florida Regional Planning Council and as a preservation plan reviewer for the City of Fort Lauderdale rounds off her position as a leader and planning consultant for cities and towns across the United States.
Her growing role as a leader with XCLENC in municipal planning s well as with firms increasing the Caribbean, Indian, and Central American client portfolios keep her in high demand.
In keeping with XCLENC’S strong dedication to giving back the community, Rupal will continue her civic involvement as board member of the Walnut Creek, Pembroke Pines, and Indian Religious and Cultural Centers.
Rupal is also a member of the Transportation Esthetics Review Committee of the Miami Dade MPO. Previously she served as a member of the Beautification Advisory Board of Miami Lakes Commissions and State Road 7 Collaborative. Rupal’s role is part of XCLENC Strategic Growth Plan to provide high quality, contextual design to both private and public sector clients.
Chetan Shukla, XCLENC’S founding partner and Director states, “We look forward to her collaborative approach to urban design and her expertise on comprehensive solutions for crafting, masterplans, historic preservation, cultural and textual urbanism, urban infill, and neighborhood revitalization.
Broward Trust for Historic Preservation looks forward to her expertise in historic preservation as we too look for ways to preserve our county’s historic resources and the positive impact historic preservation plays in economic development.
Reed Tolber, a trial lawyer in Broward County, graduated from the University of Florida in 1980. In 1986, Reed endeavored to save the historically significant landmark, firehouse #2, and he undoubtedly prevented its demolition. He repurposed the historic structure for his new law office through his approach to adaptive reuse by restoring and renovating the firehouse.
When Reed reached out to the Trust, he had been searching for a way to keep the significance of his firehouse relevant. He soon realized that caring for and maintaining a 100-year-old historic building requires financial creativity. He embraced this challenge and became an expert in the care and maintenance of his landmark firehouse.
Looking for a way to bring the historical significance of his firehouse to the forefront of the community, he determined that creating a mini historical district in Fort Lauderdale would benefit the city’s historic efforts.
His vision to create this historical district, along with his support of the Trust in its continued efforts to preserve and restore our historic resources, make Reed an invaluable member of the Trust.