BOARD OF DIRECTORS
P. Gardner Howe- Chair
Gardner retired from the U.S. Navy after a 35-year career in the Naval Special Warfare and joint Special Operations communities. His last assignment was as the Associate Director of Military Affairs at the Central Intelligence Agency; he had previously commanded Naval Special Warfare Unit Three in Bahrain, Naval Special Warfare Group Three in San Diego, and Special Operations Command, Pacific in Hawaii. Gardner also served as the 55th President of the Naval War College. He and his wife Erin reside in Newport.
Katherine (Kit) Weschler Diver- Vice Chair
Kit is a former investment and commercial banker who transitioned to executive coaching and leadership development through two companies she founded and sold. She was also head of Global Strategy and Human Capital for Genzyme Corporation and a principal in a Harvard Business School consultancy. Kit has been chair of two national non-profits and concentrates on governance. Kit’s father, VADM Tom Weschler (1917-2016), was one of the original builders of the Oliver Hazard Perry along with with Chair Emeritus Bart Dunbar.
Avery “Whip” Seaman- Assistant Treasurer and Chairman Emeritus
Whip is the retired owner and President of Corp Brothers, LLC, a supplier of industrial, medical and specialty gases along with welding equipment and supplies to the Southeastern New England market. A life- long sailor and boat owner. he was twice captain of Etchells Fleet 8 Narragansett Bay. He is the former Commodore of the Twenty Hundred Club, past president of the Narragansett Bay Yachting Association, and past president New England Yacht Racing Council. Whip has been involved with tall ships since 2000 and is a Chairman Emeritus of the Board of the Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island.
Richard Gersh- Treasurer
Richard has been a licensed Coast Guard captain (100 ton near-coastal) since the age of 18. For his “day” job, he has also more than 20 years with MetLife, serving in senior management roles in finance and risk management. He acted as CFO/Chief of Staff to the General Counsel in Boston and served as President of Newbury Insurance Company, Ltd., a Bermuda-based captive reinsurance company. He has worked for an MIT-spinoff in the aerospace industry, as Vice President, Business Development and is currently employed by Transcend Air Corp. as Senior Vice President, Risk Management.
Dr. Austin Becker is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Marine Affairs at the University of Rhode Island. His research and teaching focus on coastal resilience and adapting to climate change. Prior to becoming a professor, he worked on sail training vessels, including five years as captain of the Sloop Providence. He is a Sloan Foundation Research Fellow in Ocean Sciences, earned a PhD in Environment and Resources at Stanford University, and maintains his 500 Ton USCG Captain’s License.
Mark Brown Sr.
A. Rives Potts, Jr.
Bartlett (Bart) Dunbar- Chair Emeritus
Lisa retired from owning a national award winning and published interior design firm. As a member of the USCG Auxiliary , she teaches boating safety and is National Branch Chief of Academics for their Auxiliary University Program. She hold a USCG 200 ton Ocean license. When not sailing tall ships, she single hands a 30 ft. Cape Dory cutter, bringing along with her two boat kitties. Lisa has been a volunteer on OHP since 2015.
Josh is an attorney at Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C. He worked at a maritime litigation boutique in the New York City area before returning to his native Ocean State. A lifelong sailor, Josh remains an active and avid racer, and additionally serves on the board of Providence Community Boating. He lives in Newport with his wife and energetic Portuguese water dog.