Broward Trust for Historic Preservation - LEADERSHIP
OPEN LEADERSHIP POSTIONS
michaela m. conca president
As president of Broward Trust for Historic Preservation, Michaela advocates for all 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.
clive taylor vice President
New vice president Clive Taylor has been a small business owner for 35 years; he is active in the city of Hollywood Beach with all things historic. In addition, he holds the seat as President of the Hollywood Historical Society.
With numerous awards and recognitions and a record of community involvement, we are pleased Clive has chosen to remain active with the Trust as our new Vice President.
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 ten. 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.
Arthur Cholakis grew up in New York City in the 1960s and 1970s. As a teenager, he strove to make sense of what seemed to be a chaotic world In the context of the Vietnam War, racial violence, and the drug epidemic. First obtaining a B.A. in Philosophy, he then acquired an M.A. in English Literature and finally a Ph.D. in Theology, pursuing a career as a professor of Theology.
His quest led him to the sites of ancient civilizations, and in his 20s, he climbed to the top of Mount Sinai in Egypt and the Great Pyramids. His studies and travel acquainted him with archaeological “tells” in the Near East and Mesopotamia, ancient mounds that are the sites of cities such as Babylon and of great value to anthropologists. His passion for the sea led to swimming across the English Channel in 1988, racing Hawaiian canoes, and joining a Fort Lauderdale team in 2005 to cross Bimini to Miami. He relocated permanently in 2010.
Nearer to home, he grew aware that indigenous peoples who were forcibly cut off from their languages, history, and culture suffered great social and personal distress, including alcoholism and high rates of suicide. These problems are also evident in the broader society, he believes. Therefore, it is imperative to maintain contact with the cultural heritage that defines us to have a healthy community. His association with the Broward Trust for Historic Preservation perfectly expresses his interests.
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.
Born September 24, 1988, in Overtown, Florida, Emmanuel George spent his childhood in North Miami and Miami Shores. Since 2002, he’s been living in Hollywood and Dania Beach. His calling to be a voice and advocate for the local Black community grew when Valencia Gunder took him under her wing as one of her mentees. Getting involved in community activism in Miami, Emmanuel applied what he learned to the Hollywood and Dania Beach communities, and on February 16, 2022, he received a proclamation from Hollywood highlighting his work on preserving Black history in that city. His passion has always been filming and art, along with a desire to blend his love for history with community development. Forbes has noted his work on preserving history, and as a 2021 Gen2Gen Fellow through Encore.Org, Emmanuel has encouraged a greater focus on bridging generational divides.
Through his work and dedication to Black Broward, he has produced and directed the following:
● The Black Broward film project, Episode 1, “A tale of Sibling communities: Dania & Liberia.”
● “Sistrunk-A-Fair,” the first Black art week in Broward County.
● The 2018 Radical Partners Leadership Lab Alumni.
● The completed African-American Archive Project for the Lake Wales Museum.
● The “Emmanuel George Archive Collection” on South Broward’s Black history featuring historic Attucks High School through interviews, public online yearbooks, and digitized & scanned photos, including the documentary, “Stories From Our Ancestors, An Ode to Attucks High School.”
● An interview series about Hallandale’s history through the Broward County Cultural Division.
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 26years. 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. Additionally, she recently secured a book contract. The Trust looks forward to the expertise she brings to the table.
Originally from the New York City area with a BA in psychology/English from Fairleigh Dickinson University and an MSW in social work from Fordham University, Valerie Kooyker has always had a passion for history, historic preservation, and humanitarian causes.
Motivated by her personal research into her grandmother’s close college friendship and local visits with Lucile Quinn (an early Ft Lauderdale pioneer who founded the Panhellenic Society, the Study Club, and worked on the Provident Hospital project with Ivy Stranahan, and Dr.James Sistrunk; her mother, Ada, was a founding member and first president of the Ft Lauderdale Garden Club) during the early 1920s, Valerie volunteered as a docent and public speaker for the Ft Lauderdale Historical Society for over ten years. She is currently an active member of the historic Woman’s Club of Ft Lauderdale, founded in 1911, and a volunteer photographer for Find-A-Grave. A professional proofreader, she currently lends her skills when needed to edit the Trust’s communications.
Having watched in dismay as the Francis Luis Abreu-designed Quinn house, built in 1926 and painstakingly restored, was recently torn down to accommodate a new modern structure, she strongly supports the Trust’s efforts toward preserving and restoring our historic resources.
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, which 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-historic district in Fort Lauderdale would benefit the city’s historic efforts.
His vision to create this historic 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.
Sara Ayers - Rigsby
historical Archaeologist consultant / Board member