Board of Trustees & Staff

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Steve Shotwell

President

Steve has been active in local, state, national and international Model T organizations since 1999. He is currently president of the Piquette T’s and a former president of the Casual T’s. While serving on the Board for the Model T Ford Club International (MTFCI), Steve supported over 127 Model T chapters around the world. Steve is also the proud owner of his grandfather’s 1916 Model T. He and his wife, Jan, drive it just about everywhere—including from New York City to Seattle! “From the Home of the T,” Steve’s regular column for the MTFCI publication Model T Times, promotes Detroit in a positive way to 4000 readers around the globe.

Jerry Mitchell

President Emeritus

Jerry Mitchell is a retired professor of anatomy at Wayne State University School of Medicine and a historic preservationist. He restored and now lives in Henry and Clara Ford’s Edison Avenue home in Detroit, for which he obtained the Michigan State Historic Site designation. He is an archivist and historian for the Historic Boston-Edison Association in Detroit, as well as secretary and co-founder of Boston-Edison Development, Inc., a nonprofit organization for rehabilitating houses in the Boston-Edison Historic District.

Michael Skinner

Vice President

Mike Skinner is a founding member and past president of the Henry Ford Heritage Association. Members of this association donated the funds to purchase the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in 2000. Mike has served on the Piquette Plant Board since its inception. He represented the Plant during the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Henry Ford’s birthday. Mike frequently delivers Ford-related presentations and leads tours of Ford sites in southeastern Michigan, at which he promotes the preservation and restoration of the Piquette Plant.

Peter Nikolajevs

Secretary

Peter Nikolajevs’s passion for Ford Motor Company and the Model T began with the purchase of his 1927 Model T Tudor sedan with his paper route money at the age of 12. Peter worked as a dealership technician and shop foreman for several Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealerships before becoming a Ford dealership technician trainer. Peter subsequently was a technical curriculum developer and now is a diagnostics manager for Ford. Peter is a founding member of the Piquette T’s Model T Club, served as its first treasurer, and was also on the planning committee for the MTFCI Model T Centennial Tour in 2008.

Barry Cogan

Trustee

Barry Cogan is a lifelong teacher, having taught middle school and high school, as well as 38 years teaching mathematics at Macomb Community College. He has a BS in Education from Kent State University and an MA in Mathematics from the University of Detroit. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Dodge Brothers Club, the Eastside A’s Model A Club, the Piquette T’s Model T Club; and, in addition to his role on the Piquette Avenue Plant’s Board of Trustees, he has been an active volunteer here for more than ten years.

Garlin Gilchrist

Trustee

Garlin Gilchrist II is the founding Executive Director of the Center for Social Media Responsibility at the University of Michigan School of Information. The Center’s mission is to help and encourage media platforms to meet their public responsibilities. It provides people who participate in and observe our information ecosystem with tools and insight that will improve the quality of how people connect and share information.

After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan in 2005, Garlin became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. At the same time, he co-founded the political blog “The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level”. Gilchrist then served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. He then became the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org, where he co-hosted the award-winning podcast “The Good Fight”.
Garlin returned home to become the City of Detroit’s first ever Director of Innovation & Emerging Technology in 2014. His job was to open up the city’s public data and information, and solve problems using technology for the benefit of all Detroiters.

Gilchrist ran for Detroit City Clerk in 2017, rising from 2% in early primary polls to losing the general election by less than 1,500 votes. As a first-time candidate, he earned the support more than 48,000 voters, more than 600 nationwide volunteers, and $270,000 raised from an unprecedented 4,750+ donors from all 50 states.

Art Howland

Trustee

Art Howland is a Ford Motor Company retiree who served for 35 years in various engineering management positions. He has over 42 years of experience in the automotive engineering field and holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from General Motors Institute, Kettering University, plus a Master’s Degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers, previously serving on its board of directors.

John Kaplan

Trustee

John Kaplan’s career spans 38 years at Ford Motor Company including the positions of VP Finance and CFO Ford of Europe, Controller Global Manufacturing, Executive VP and COO Ford Motor Land Services Corporation. John was also a VP Controller at the Detroit Medical Center. John has served on a number of boards and is currently involved in the Bequest and Real Estate programs for the Ford Piquette Plant.

Mary Clare McCormick

Trustee

Mary C. McCormick is a Principal at CM Partners Architects LLC, in Detroit. Mary Clare co-authored both the “Historic Structures Report” and the Master Planning Prospectus for the Piquette Plant for the Founding Members along with the late Richard C. Frank, FAIA. She was Project Director of the award-winning restoration of Orchestra Hall and has worked on many historic property restorations and planning projects for over 35 years in the design and construction industry. She is a consultant for many historic institutions, including the Archdiocese of Detroit on its historic church and school building stock. Mary Clare is part of a three-generation Ford Family; her grandfather, father and siblings have worked at Ford Motor Company since 1927.

Ray Pittman

Trustee

Ray Pittman retired from the Ford Motor Company after 33 years of service. He was the Executive Director of Powertrain Operations for Ford of Europe, with global responsibility for small gas and diesel engines and manual transmissions. He is presently a consultant in the field of advanced manufacturing technology. Ray has a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan. He is co-founder of the University of Michigan Engineering Zone in Detroit, the central workshop for 14 Detroit public high schools’ FIRST Robotics Teams.

Art Pope

Trustee

Born in Chicago, Art Pope grew up mainly in Tennessee, earning a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Tennessee Tech University. After service in the Army Signal Corps, Art joined the Ford Motor Company. He worked as a chassis engineer, became a department manager, and had a three-year assignment as an executive engineer in San Paulo, Brazil. Art has been an active volunteer at the Piquette Plant for several years, leading the Window Restoration Team, and was elected to the Board in January 2008. Art also serves on the Board of Trustees for Rochester College, Rochester Hills, Michigan.

Adrian Price

Trustee

Adrian Price is the Director of Powertrain Manufacturing Engineering and is part of the Manufacturing Global Leadership team at Ford. He moved into this role from a position as Director of the Manufacturing Business Office. Prior to that, he ran the Global Ford Production System Office and was previously the Plant Manager of the Lima Engine Plant where he ran the plant for four years. He has worked at plants in the UK, US, and Germany and lived in Spain for 1.5 years during the installation of a new plant in Valencia, Spain. He has spent many years in various global positions within Manufacturing Engineering organizations as well as his operations experience. Adrian has a Bachelor’s Degree (Honors) in Electronics Engineering from the University of Kent at Canterbury and a Master’s Degree in Advanced Automotive Engineering from Loughborough University in the United Kingdom.

Jack Seavitt

Trustee

Jack Seavitt, a retired educator, worked for the Detroit Public Schools for 42 years teaching science, mathematics, English, and computer science. In 1991, he was asked to become a computer consultant for Detroit school teachers. He stayed in that position for 15 years until he retired. In 1991, he and his wife, Andrea, moved into the Boston-Edison area of Detroit, where they worked to get historic designation for the district. He first started volunteering for the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in 2005 as the registrar and has since added tour guide and member of the Board of Trustees to his duties.

Nancy Darga

Executive Director

Nancy Darga started working as the first Executive Director of the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in 2013. Formerly she was the Managing Director and one of the founding members of MotorCities National Heritage Area, dedicated by Congress in 1998. A licensed landscape architect, Nancy served as Chief of Design for Wayne County Parks from 1978 -2003 spearheading many large regional park and trail development projects.

During her tenure with Wayne County, she was one of the founding members of the Friends of the Rouge.  For her efforts she was awarded the Friends of the Rouge Award in 1997. In 1999, Nancy was awarded the Michigan Public Servant of the Year Award by the Public Administration Foundation, Inc. for her extensive community outreach programs. For her continued work in historic preservation and heritage trail development, she was awarded the Governor Swainson State of Michigan Historic Preservation by the Michigan Department of Interior, May 2005.

In July of 2017, the Henry Ford Heritage Association’s individual Friend of Ford Award was presented to Nancy Darga for her work in establishing the Ford Heritage Trails and historically registering the Ford Village Industry Plant located in Wayne County, saving them from being demolished. While serving as the Executive Director of the MotorCities National Heritage Board, she organized the Henry Ford 150 Celebration.

George Linker

Treasurer

George Linker retired in 2007 from the Ford Motor Company, where he held various finance positions over a career spanning more than 35 years. He has extensive finance experience in automotive insurance and financial services. George was most recently CFO for Global Insurance Operations at Ford Credit. In addition to his  work at Piquette, George serves as an ambassador at Detroit Metro Airport, a tax preparer for low-income families, and a recruiter of new students for Drexel University.