Board of Trustees & Staff
Chairperson & CEO
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.
Mr. Thams is the retired Chief Executive Officer of Integrity Aerospace Group Inc. (www.integrityaerospace.com), a Troy MI based, family owned, aerospace company founded in Detroit in 1941. He was with the company for 30 years in many different capacities including Sales, Marketing, Accounting, Finance and Management positions. He led strategic planning for the company as CEO for his last 20 year in which time the company quadrupled its revenues and refocused its business in the aerospace sector. He is a former member of the Executive Committee of the Aerospace Industries Association and has served on several outside boards. Mr. Thams is a graduate of Michigan State University where he earned a BA in Business Finance.
Trustee & Past 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.
Trustee & 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.
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.
Cheryl Deep directs media relations and publications at two Wayne State University research institutes that bridge the lifespan from infancy to old age. She got her journalism degree from Northwestern University and her MA in writing from Washington University in St. Louis. During her long career, she’s written a variety of styles and content, from secret-level government research reports on weapons systems to magazine profiles of Hawaiian celebrities. She served as editor-in-chief of Midweek Magazine in Hawaii, public relations supervisor for Masters & Johnson Institute, a business writer and editor for McDonnell Douglas Astronautics (now Boeing), a humor columnist in Australia, contributor to the textbook Human Sexuality and co-author of the book How to Survive Your Adolescent’s Adolescence for parents of teenagers. In addition to her work at Wayne State, she heads Deep Communications, a small business that provides freelance writing and editing services and gives workshops on communication issues to students and adults. Cheryl is energized as she learns more about the Model T’s rich history and impassioned by the dedication of Piquette’s many friends and advocates.
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.
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.
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’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 (DMC). John has served on a number of boards and is currently involved in the Bequest and Real Estate programs for the Ford Piquette Plant. In between Kaplan’s tenure at Ford and six years as VP Controller at the DMC, Kaplan was Executive-in-Residence at the University of Michigan-Dearborn Business School for four years. While at U of M-D, he served on the DMC Board and Finance Committee.
Mary Clare McCormick
Mary C. McCormick is a Principal at CM Partners Architects LLC, in Farmington. 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 40 years in the design and construction industry. She is a consultant for many local historic institutions and manages an extensive Ecclesiastical Buildings Archive. 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 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.
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 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, 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. Jack was in charge of ticket sales for the Boston-Edison Holiday Home Tours for 14 years.
Jack first started volunteering for the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in 2005 as the registrar and has since added tour guide, member of the Collection and Exhibits Committees, and member of the Board of Trustees to his duties. He stepped down from the Board of Trustees in January of 2022. At that time, he was given the title, Trustee Emeritus.
Henry Ford III
Henry Ford III was elected to the Ford Motor Company board of directors in May 2021 after 15 years as an employee of the company from 2006 to 2021. He currently serves on the finance committee and the sustainability and innovation committee of the board.
Before his election to the board, Ford held a variety of roles within the company in Investor Relations, Corporate Strategy, Marketing and Sales, Purchasing and Labor Relations.
Ford is a member of the advisory boards of Henry Ford College, Bridging Communities, Operation HOPE and Southwest Solutions. He serves on the board of trustees of The Henry Ford Museum, Ford Foundation, Neighborhood Villages and the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant.
Ford has a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Geoffrey S. Gallinger
Mr. Gallinger is a shareholder at the Butzel Long law firm with 34 years’ experience. His practice includes general business and corporate planning needs, including all forms of real estate transactions and developments, acquisitions, leasing, financing and condominiums. He also has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, partnerships and joint ventures, shareholder matters and general business transactions.
Mr. Gallinger has numerous for-profit, non-profit and civic board experience, including immediate Past President of the Detroit Athletic Club and served the maximum six years on the DAC Board of Directors; Downtown Detroit Partnership Stakeholder’s Committee; Board of Directors (and Past Chair) for The Salvation Army Detroit Metropolitan Advisory Board, as well as numerous board positions with other non-profits and privately-held companies.
Mr. Young has worked at Absopure Water Company for the past 31 years. He also managed an
engineering, design and machinery build firm serving the filling industries (primarily beverage).
He also is currently the Chief Information Officer at Plastipak Packaging, Inc.
Bill is on the board of the International Bottled Water Association. He also serves on the
University of Detroit Mercy College of Business advisory board and the Detroit Jazz Festival
Absopure Water Company purchased a Model T in connection with the company’s centennial
celebration in 2008 and since then, Mr. Young has been fascinated by the Piquet facility, its
history, and the amazing place the Model T has in the world’s history.
Mark is an active volunteer at Piquette in addition to serving on its Board of Trustees. He is leading the Quadricycle replica build project at Piquette. This has required hundreds of hours researching historical documents, reviewing drawings of previous builders, consults with The Henry Ford Curator of Transportation, recruiting volunteers, contacting companies to fabricate parts, and fabrication of parts himself.
Mark’s first car was a 1925 Model T. Mark and his dad restored it while he was in high school. He is a charter member of the Piquette T’s Model T club, in addition to being a Casual T’s club member.
Mark Carpenter retired from Ford Motor company after 27 years, 26 of those in engineering management. While at Ford, he worked on many vehicle projects, including the Ford GT, Raptor, and Shelby Mustangs. He has managed multimillion-dollar budgets and led multimillion-dollar prototype builds while working in the Special Vehicle Team (SVT).
Mark holds both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Mechanical Engineering degrees from University of Cincinnati.
Mark and his wife Linda are very involved with the Midwest Beagle Rescue Education Welfare.
President & COO
Jill Woodward joined Piquette as President & COO in 2022. Throughout her 30-year career, Woodward has worked in leadership positions on behalf of some of Detroit’s major cultural, educational, and nonprofit service institutions, including Michigan State University’s (MSU) Community Music School-Detroit, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Olympia Arenas, Inc. Her background projects to build new audiences and deepen awareness for the value of arts and culture.