Our Historic Preservation Commissions
Frederick Stachura, J.D.PRESIDENT (PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY)
Frederick Stachura is a graduate of Boston College (B.A. in History), Boston University (M.A. in Preservation Studies) and Saint Louis University School of Law (Juris Doctor). With prior experience in the private practice of law, non-profit advocacy, and consulting, Mr. Stachura has developed specific expertise in preservation law and planning, organizational development, community advocacy, and preservation-based real estate development. He has represented individuals, developers, neighborhood associations, and nonprofit organizations before zoning and historic preservation agencies, and state courts. His professional interests include Main Street/Smart Growth consultation, preservation non-profit organizational facilitation, and building collaborative relationships.
Mr. Stachura is the Planning Supervisor for the Maryland National-Capital Park and Planning Commission’s Community Planning Division, and has specialized expertise in technical preservation issues, preservation easements, ordinances, and preservation public policy. Along with teaching preservation law, advocacy, and policy at the University of Maryland, Mr. Stachura has taught historic preservation law and planning, and adaptive reuse and rehabilitation finance courses at Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI, and Boston Architectural College, Boston, MA. He is currently the President and Chairman of MAHDC, where he has served since 2010.
G. Bernard (Bernie) Callan, Jr.TREASURER & VP OF FINANCE (FREDERICK COUNTY)
Bernie Callan is chair of the Frederick County Historic Preservation Commission, former chair of the Frederick City Historic District Commission and founding chair of the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions. He is past president of the Maryland Heritage Alliance and is a director on the Board of Trustees of the Maryland Historical Trust. Mr. Callan has also served on the boards of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Center of Preservation Law, and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers. He is a nationally-recognized authority on the economic benefits of historic preservation and historic districts. As a founding member of this organization, Mr. Callan has served on the MAHDC board since its establishment in 1979.
Sheila Bashiri has worked professionally for local municipal governments for the past fifteen years as the administrative liaison to historic preservation boards. She recently relocated to Maryland from Michigan to become the City of Rockville Historic Preservation Planner. Prior to moving to Rockville, she worked as the Preservation Planner for the City of Birmingham, Michigan. She has served on boards for both the Michigan Historic Preservation Network and Main Street Oakland County, and she is currently serving on the Board of Directors for Heritage Montgomery. Her undergraduate degree is in historic preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design, and she has a master’s degree in urban planning, with a historic preservation concentration, from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Ms. Bashiri joined the board in 2014.
Charles (Chris) Kirtz(GAITHERSBURG)
Chris Kirtz has worked primarily in the federal sector, retiring from a career with the Environmental Protection Agency in 2001 after more than 36 years of federal service (including military). He has been a licensed real estate agent in Virginia and Maryland and has acquired over twenty-five historic properties—many log cabins—that he has restored. He was appointed one of the first commissioners of Washington Grove’s Historic Preservation Commission when it was formed in 2001 and served in that capacity until 2005. He was appointed as a member of Gaithersburg’s Historic Preservation Advisory Committee (later, Gaithersburg Historic District Commission) in June 2009. He served as vice-chair and then chair since 2012. Mr. Kirtz has a bachelor of science degree from Columbia University and a J.D. from the New York School of Law. Mr. Kirtz joined the board in 2014.
Aaron Marcavitch is a preservation and community development professional with over fifteen years of experience in a variety of areas of heritage and community planning. With degrees in historic preservation from Roger Williams University and public history from Middle Tennessee State University, Aaron was the Assistant Administrator of the largest historic district in the United States on Nantucket island and led the operations of Housing Nantucket, an affordable housing agency. He has been the Executive Director of Anacostia Trails Heritage Area Inc. for the last seven years, bringing the organization up to a regionally recognized heritage tourism partner with eighteen municipalities and Prince George’s County. He has led the Battle of Bladensburg Bicentennial Committee, the Prince George’s County War of 1812 Commission, sat as a member of the Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail Advisory Council, sits as chair of the Capital Trails Coalition and as chair of the Prince George’s County History Consortium. He is also secretary/treasurer of the Maryland Heritage Areas Coalition. He has been developing and implementing the new Maryland Milestones Heritage Center in Hyattsville, MD. He lives in historic Greenbelt, MD where he served on the board of Directors of Greenbelt Homes Inc and led the development of a preservation plan for the cooperative housing.
Franklin A. Robinson, Jr.(AT-LARGE)
Franklin A. Robinson, Jr. is an Archives Specialist with the Archives Center, National Museum of American History (NMAH), Smithsonian Institution. In addition to collecting, he works with the Archives’ processing team on preparing paper and film collections for long-term preservation and researcher use. He has collected and processed collections dealing with agriculture, popular culture, LGBT, and the performing arts. He has curated numerous Archives Center exhibits on a variety of topics. He has authored many finding aids as well as monographs and books on local Maryland history. He contributed a chapter to Jessica Lacher-Feldman’s book, Exhibits in Archives and Special Collections Libraries and has an article published in the summer 2014 issue of the journal QED. His latest book, Faith & Tobacco, was published in 2015 by Anchovy Hill Press. He is the former chair of the Charles County Historic Preservation Commission and a recipient of The Maryland Historical Trust’s Preservation Service Award. He was appointed to the board of the Maryland Historical Trust by Governor Hogan in 2016. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Catholic University of America and a Master of Arts from American University. He is a member of the Society of American Archivists and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference. He is also a professional actor, produced playwright, and playwriting teacher. He is a resident of Benedict, Charles County, Maryland.
Kathleen Seay is currently a Graduate Student at Goucher College studying Historic Preservation. She holds a Bachelors Degree from the University of Maryland College Park in Art History/Landscape Management and three years of study in Landscape Architecture. Her primary area of focus in her graduate studies is in cultural landscapes and work towards enhancing the field of preservation for expanded inclusion and intangible asset recognition. She comes to the MAHDC with eight years of experience in museum and library work and is fluid in both archival and material sciences as well as policy and community engagement found in preservation work. She likes to use her experience as a way to intersect preservation work into giving back to the community in unconventional ways such as community health and arts. Kathleen has also spent time working as a Preservation Planning Intern for Charles County. She is a DMV native and active in local preservation efforts rooted both Maryland and Northern Virginia.
Daniel Tana is currently the Program Manager of the American Architectural Foundation’s Center for Design & the City and Center for Design & Cultural Heritage. Prior to this he served as the Associate Manager of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Easement Program and worked for the Cultural Resources section of the National Park Service’s National Capital Region office. Daniel has experience with historic resource documentation, historic preservation easements, and technical preservation, including conservation and treatment methods. A native of Prince George’s County and nearly lifetime Maryland resident, Daniel holds a Master of Historic Preservation and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Archaeology, both from the University of Maryland, College Park. He joined the MAHDC board in 2016.
Cathy Thompson(CHARLES COUNTY)
Cathy Thompson has served as the Community Planning Program Manager for the Department of Planning and Growth Management for over 10 years. There she oversees the historic preservation program including the administration of the Historic Preservation Commission and review of all development projects for impacts to standing structures, archaeological sites, historic landscapes, and burial grounds. Thompson also works closely with community and stakeholder groups to document, preserve, revitalize and recognize the many unique and irreplaceable historic assets in Charles County. She holds a Master’s Degree in Folk Studies/Historic Preservation from Western Kentucky University and a Bachelors Degree in American Studies from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. In 2016, she received Preservation Maryland’s Gearhart Professional Service Award which is presented to an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership, knowledge, and creativity while working to protect and preserve Maryland’s historic buildings, neighborhoods, landscapes, and archaeological sites.
Kirsti Uunila(CALVERT COUNTY)
Kirsti Uunila is a Registered Professional Archeologist and has served Calvert County since 1993 as historic preservation planner and staff to the Calvert County Historic District Commission. In this position she reviews all development projects in the county for potential effects on cultural resources and has designed and managed research projects to capture, preserve, and share the history of Calvert County. She has an undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of Arizona, a master’s of applied anthropology from University of Maryland, and has completed graduate coursework in social anthropology at Johns Hopkins University. Ms. Uunila has served on MAHDC’s board since 2012.
Leslie GottertEXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Leslie is a graduate of the Goucher College Master of Historic Preservation Program. She also holds a Masters degree in conflict resolution from the McGregor School, Antioch University, Yellow Springs, Ohio. Ms. Gottert received a Bachelor degree in Art from Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. Prior to joining MAHDC, from 2014 to 2017, Leslie was a lecturer in historic preservation at the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development, Addis Ababa University. Her prior experience includes serving as a Fellow in the Office of Democracy and Economic Growth of the the United States Agency for International Development in Antananarivo, Madagascar and as a Faculty Research Associate in the University of Maryland Center for
International Development and Conflict Management, College Park, Maryland.