Speaker Bios

(Alphabetical by Last Name)

Ruben Acosta Survey and Registration Supervisor, State of Florida, Division of Historical Resources

Ruben A. Acosta is the Survey and Registration Supervisor at the Bureau of Historic Preservation at the Florida Department of State. His section manages the National Register and Certified Local Governments (CLG) programs at the Bureau. He has a Masters of Fine Arts in Architectural History from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and a BA in History from Clayton State University in Clayton County, Georgia. Ruben previously was National Register and CLG coordinator at the Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office for over two years before moving to Florida in 2016. Before that, he interned/volunteered with the Georgia State Historic Preservation Office while working as an adjunct lecturer of American History at Clayton State. He is an active member of the Southeastern chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians, where he has presented papers on the architecture of 1960s Catholic cathedrals (2015) and early 20th century railway stations in the southeast (2010).

Sara Ayers-Rigsby, Director, Florida Public Archaeology Network

Sara Ayers-Rigsby specializes in cultural resources management and historic preservation. Prior to beginning her role as Southeast/Southwest Regional Director, she spent 10 years working as an archaeologist throughout the United States, with a regional focus on the archaeology of the southeast and Mid Atlantic. She earned her M.A. in Archaeology for Screen Media from the University of Bristol, UK, and her B.A. in Classical Archaeology from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. She is certified as a member of the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA). Her research interests include public outreach and archaeology, archaeological compliance legislation, and industrial archaeology in Florida. She loves visiting state parks, historical sites, and house museums in south Florida and is always thrilled to talk to others about them!

David Baber, Consultant, Historic Preservation Solutions, LLC.

Mr. David Baber has over 37 years of experience in activities associated with the protection and preservation of historic resources in Virginia, Connecticut and Florida. He has earned degrees in architectural engineering and historic preservation from Roger Williams University. His involvement in the historic preservation field has included development and management of local historic preservation programs, conducting or supervising the preparation of historic sites surveys, preparing historic designation applications for the National Register of Historic Places and local historic designation programs and providing oversight and supervision of projects to restore or rehabilitate historic buildings. Mr. Baber meets the Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualifications Standards for Architectural History in accordance with federal regulations 36 CFR Part 61. Mr. Baber is also a member of the Sarasota County Historic Preservation Board. Mr. Baber enjoys studying historic architecture and collects world’s fair memorabilia.

Rick Cain, Director Museum Services Division, St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, Inc.

Rick Cain is a recognized leader in Florida tourism and in the museum world. For sixteen years he has worked for the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum. The lighthouse museum is a nationally recognized, Smithsonian Affiliate, maritime museum on America’s First Coast. He has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Florida Attractions Association, the largest tourism association in the United States, and was a founding member and chairman of the Florida Attractions Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is supporting hospitality students. In 2015 he received the Chairman's Award for outstanding service to the Association. He serves on the Board of Directors of the American Lighthouse Council, and has served on the Board of Directors of the Florida Lighthouse Association. He works closely with the United States Coast Guard to maintain their historic ties to the lighthouse museum and was recognized for this work by receiving an Honorary Service Oar for outstanding support from the Chief Petty Officer’s Mess, Sector Jacksonville, in 2011. Rick returned to the world of tourism after spending twenty years as a health care professional.

Mari Carpenter, Chief Registrar, The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art

Marian Carpenter is the Associate Director for Collections/Chief Registrar at the John and Mable Ringling Art Museum.  She has over 20 years of experience in the museum field in the area of curation, collection management, and exhibitions.  Ms. Carpenter has worked at various museums including the Delaware Historical and Cultural Affairs in Dover, DE, the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service located in Washington, D.C.  She enjoys working with communities to connect the importance of object preservation with the documentation of oral histories.  Ms. Carpenter has a B.A. in American history from Indiana University and an M.A in American history with a concentration in African American history from the University of Cincinnati.

Eric K. Case, Historic Preservation Grants Specialist, Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State

As a grants specialist for DHR, Eric Case manages in excess of six million dollars in historic preservation grant projects. Projects managed include restoration of historic buildings and structures, historic property surveys, archaeology surveys, Main Street Start-up grants, and education projects. He graduated with an M.A. in History from Florida State University in 2013, interned with DHR in the Historic Marker Program and The Grove Museum in 2012 and later joined full-time as a Grants specialist.  He has been working with the Grants Program for three years. Eric loves the opportunity that working with the Grants Program gives him to actively help in the restoration of historic resources throughout the state of Florida, his home for 20 years.

Denyse Cunningham, Curator, Bonnet House Museum & Gardens

Denyse Cunningham has been a professional curator of historical collections for over 30 years. She began her curation work after completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from the State University of New York at Oswego. She later earned a Master’s Degree in American and New England Studies from the University of Southern Maine. She has worked in museums and archives in New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maine. For the past 23 years, Denyse has worked with collections throughout southeast Florida. From 1996 to 2002 Denyse served as the Curator at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens and she was delighted to return to this magical place in 2014. Today she is overseeing the restoration and preservation of this 35-acre estate on the Fort Lauderdale Beach. 

Patricia Davenport-Jacobs, MHP, Historic Resources Specialist, Environmental Services, Inc.

Patricia Davenport-Jacobs holds a BS in Environmental Design from Auburn University and an MFA in Historic Preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design. She has worked with the Historic Savannah Foundation, The Coastal Heritage Society, and Kreilick Conservation, in a variety of roles that surround historic preservation efforts, building assessments, site maintenance plans and adaptive reuse plans. In her current position with Environmental Services, Inc, she specializes in Section 106 review, architectural assessments, and historic district proposals. She has provided presentations on historic preservation, preservation planning, hands-on masonry and wood programming, as well as discussions revolving climate change and historic properties.

Carrie Dilley, Visitor Services and Development Manager, Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum

Mrs. Dilley began her career with the Seminole Tribe of Florida in February 2008 after receiving a Master of Science in Architectural Studies and Historic Preservation Certificate from the University of Florida in 2007. She first served as the Architectural Historian of the Tribal Historic Preservation Office, a position she held for over 5 years. In late 2013, Mrs. Dilley became the Visitor Services and Development Manager for the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum. Her book on Seminole architectural history entitled: Thatched Roofs and Open Sides: The Architecture of Chickees and Their Changing Role in Seminole Society was published by the University of Florida Press in 2015.

Kathy Fleming, Executive Director, St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, Inc.

Kathy A. Fleming is the Executive Director of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, Inc. Fleming helped form the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) in 1999 and serves, as its Chief Administrative Director. The museum's research arm, LAMP studies submerged cultural resources in the waters of the nation's oldest port. Fleming facilitated the transfer of ownership of the St. Augustine Lighthouse from the US Coast Guard through the GSA and the NPS to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum. The Lighthouse and LAMP have been called, "Truly a role model for public institutions," by Gail Norton, former US Secretary of the Interior. Ms. Fleming also received a certificate of Congressional Recognition from US Senator Bill Nelson for helping other lighthouses understand the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 Ms. Fleming has Previously Served on the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation Board, and the Board of Preservation Action in Washington, DC. She is also the current Chair of the Florida Association of Museums.

Carmen Godwin, Program Manager, Florida Association of Museums

As Program Manager for FAM, Godwin manages continuing education programs for museum professionals and coordinates educational aspects of the association's annual conference. Prior to her work at FAM, Godwin served as the Executive Director of Riverside Avondale Preservation from 2008-2016. Under her management, the American Planning Association recognized Riverside Avondale as one of the Top Ten Great Neighborhoods in the nation. She also served as Director of the Amelia Island Museum of History for six years, where she managed several preservation projects within the historic Nassau County Jail. Godwin holds a B.A. in American history from Rutgers University, and an M.A. in American history from the University of Florida.

Malinda Horton, Executive Director, Florida Association of Museums

Malinda Horton has been the Executive Director of the Florida Association of Museums (FAM) since 1995. The mission of the Association is to represent and address the needs of the museum community, enhancing the ability of museums to serve the public interest. The Association encourages excellence in its members by promoting communication through which its members share information and resources, effect legislation and promote support of museums. In addition to her regular Executive Director duties, she also serves as the lobbyist for FAM. Prior to working for FAM, she worked for the previous Executive Director and also worked in the Florida Legislature. Malinda is a native Floridian and attended Florida State University. Her degree is in Political Science and her dream was to become a lobbyist and work in the legislative process

April Kirk, Executive Director, Historic Stranahan House Museum

April Kirk was hired in May of 2011 and has nearly 20 years of experience in nonprofit management and fundraising. She provides support to all programs at the Stranahan House Museum in both an administrative and programmatic capacity from overseeing the day-to-day operations to conducting specialty group tours. April holds a Bachelors of Arts in Art History and Studio Art and is a native of Broward County. She focuses on developing collaborative partnerships and programs to further the mission of the museum.

Timothy Knoepke, Historic Preservationis Grants Specialist, Bureau of Historic Preservation, Florida Department of State

Timothy Knoepke is a Historic Preservation Grants Specialist with the Florida Division of Historical Resources, Florida’s State Historic Preservation Office. After completing his B.A. in Classical Archaeology from Carthage College and M.A in Classics and Museum Studies from FSU, he joined the Division of Historical Resources, managing grants which provide funding to assist local, regional, and state-wide efforts to preserve significant historic structures and archaeological sites, and promote knowledge and appreciation of the history of Florida.

Alissa Slade Lotane, Bureau Chief & Deputy SHPO, State of Florida, Division of Historical Resources

Alissa Slade Lotane is the Bureau Chief of Historic Preservation at the Florida Department of State and a Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer for the State of Florida. She holds an M.A. in Anthropology and a Museum Studies Certification from Florida State University, and a B.S. in History from Troy University. A native of rural south Alabama, she began her career in preservation with the Florida Bureau of Archeological Research before holding internships and fellowships at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, Ca' d'Zan at the Ringling Museum of Art, and the Appleton Museum of Art. Alissa returned to the Department of State in 2003, working her way through the ranks - reviewing state and federal undertakings for impacts to historic properties, managing grant projects and later supervising the state historic preservation grants program, and then serving as the grants administrator and historic property lease manager for the Department, before her promotion to Bureau Chief of Historic Preservation in 2011. She volunteers her time to assist local historic preservation projects in Tallahassee, where she has lived since 1999. She is married to Bob Lotane, a wheelchair bound West Nile virus survivor and consultant for the Florida insurance industry.

John McCarthy, Executive Director of Gulf Coast Heritage Association and Historic Spanish Point

John is a native Floridian and has lived in Sarasota for most of his life.  John received his BS from Goshen College (Indiana).  Prior to joining the team at Historic Spanish Point, John was employed as the Executive Director of SCOPE (Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence), a community data and engagement organization.  In 2012 John retired after working 33 years with Sarasota County Government, having served as Environmental Specialist, County Historian and Director of Parks and Recreation.  John has served as President of the Historical Society of Sarasota County for two terms, and served as President of the Florida Recreation and Parks Association Foundation. John is a frequent presenter of local history lectures, educational programs and tours and has written a number of articles for Sarasota Magazine.  John’s interests include woodworking, cycling and kayaking.  In May of 2017 John was awarded the Hero of History award by the Historical Society of Sarasota County for his dedication to sharing local history.

Jeff Moates, Director, Florida Public Archeology Network

Jeff Moates is the Director of the West Central Regional Center of FPAN. He earned a M.A. in History/Historical Archaeology and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of West Florida. Jeff’s work experiences prior to FPAN include employment as a field tech and crew chief with Archaeological Consultants, Inc (Sarasota, FL), an underwater archaeologist for the FL Bureau of Archaeological Research, and museum curator at the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez. Jeff enjoys coffee and smoked mullet, but not necessarily at the same time.

Emily Jane Murray, Public Archaeology Coordinator, Florida Public Archaeology Network

Emily Jane Murray earned a MA in Anthropology from Brandeis University where she focused on public archaeology and site museums in Northeast Florida, and a BA in Communications from Flagler College. She has worked as an archaeologist throughout the Southeastern United States and created numerous outreach tools including videos, activities and museum displays. She currently works as a Public Archaeology Coordinator for the Florida Public Archaeology Network Northeast Region and serves on the boards of the St. Augustine Archaeological Association, the Florida Anthropological Society and the Florida Chapter of the Association for Gravestone Studies. Her interests include Florida's prehistoric archaeology, historic cemeteries and public archaeology and interpretation.

Rob Overton, Executive Director, University of West Florida Historic Trust

Mr. Overton has a bachelor's degree from the University of West Alabama and a master's degree from the University of South Alabama, both in history. He has over 20 years of public history experience, specializing in historic sites and museum management. He has worked for the University of West Florida Historic Trust since 2002 and has served as the Executive Director for the organization since 2015. In his position Mr. Overton oversees all aspects of the organization's operation of twenty-eight historic properties including a multicultural center and eleven museum facilities in downtown Pensacola and a 37-acre archaeological site with a visitor's center in Milton. Both sites feature indoor and outdoor exhibits focusing on the history of Northwest Florida. Mr. Overton is a member of the American Alliance of Museums, the Florida Association of Museums, the Southeastern Museums Conference, the American Association of State and Local History and he serves on the Board of Trustees for the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.

Ross Pristera, Historic Preservationist, UWF Historic Trust

Ross Pristera has an undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Florida and a Master’s in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University. He has worked on various preservation projects, ranging from surveying, planning, and the restoration of a historic Olmsted designed park system in Utica, New York; a $1.2 million renovation of a two-story urban building in Pensacola, Florida; a rehabilitation of an 1880 shotgun house; drafting historic district code and policy updates for the City of Pensacola; and other smaller preservation related projects. Ross is the Historic Preservationist for UWF Historic Trust; he is the past president of the St. Michael’s Cemetery Foundation; he is the Vice President of the General Daniel “Chappie” James Boyhood Home Museum; and he is the preservation adviser to the Pensacola Architectural review Board.

Barbara A. Ramsay, Chief Conservator, The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art

Barbara A. Ramsay was hired as Chief Conservator at The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in January of 2014. She is responsible for managing and developing the Conservation department. Barbara ensures that conservation and restoration of the diverse Ringling collections and architecture remain a high priority for the museum. Barbara earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Toronto where she went on to study art history and studio art. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Art Conservation from Queen’s University, Canada, where she later was Associate Professor of Painting Conservation for two years. Barbara was a painting conservator at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa for 18 years, with 5 of those years as Senior Conservator of Fine Art and manager of the sculpture and decorative arts conservation laboratory. Before her appointment at The Ringling, Barbara was Director of Conservation at ARTEX, a private fine art services firm in Washington, DC where she established the ARTEX Conservation Laboratory in 1999, providing conservation services for museums as well as private and corporate collections. She directed numerous projects at the US Capitol, including wall painting and painting conservation, as well as historic painted finishes research in the Senate Reception Room.Barbara has made significant contributions to national professional associations. Most notably, she served as President of the Canadian Group of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC-CG) and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of Professional Conservators (CAPC). She is a Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation and a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation.

Jodi Rubin, Business Development Manager – Restoration, Specialized Property Services

Jodi Rubin has been involved in Florida’s preservation community since 1989, when she became Orlando's Historic Preservation Officer. She facilitated designation of historic resources and evaluated changes to those buildings for the City’s Historic Preservation Board. She wrote Orlando’s first Design and Demolition Standards and Landmark Sign ordinance. During much of her career with the City, Jodi also taught Historic Preservation at Rollins College. Jodi left the City in 2004 to join Classic Renovations, a residential construction firm specializing in historic properties, where she earned her contractor’s license. In 2009, she purchased CCS Restoration, a millwork shop in historic downtown Sanford that specialized in the restoration and replication of wood windows and doors. In 2016, Jodi sold CCS to Specialized Property Services, a construction, painting and restoration firm. Jodi has degrees in Landscape Architecture and Urban and Regional Planning, both from the University of Wisconsin. She is a Trustee of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.

Carter Quina, Principal, Quina Grundhoefer Architects

Carter Quina, AIA, has practiced architecture as a principal of the firm in Pensacola, Florida, since 1984. Drawing on Pensacola’s 450 years of history, the result was a new appreciation of historic buildings for adaptive reuse, preservation projects, and as an influence on the design of new buildings. The firm has been the Architect for the restoration and adaptive reuse of many Pensacola Landmarks. An Auburn University and Tulane graduate, Carter has broadened his education through world travel, volunteer participation, and by teaching graduate level students. His appreciation for the history of place confirms his invested interest in restoration as well as the value of new construction that considers the context of history as a primary factor in design. Making buildings that will be built to last and be preserved, is the defining philosophy of his professional life.

Maureen Thomas-Zaremba, Curator of Education, The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art

Maureen Thomas-Zaremba is curator of education and adult program coordinator at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art where she has been a museum educator for 19 years. She oversees educational programming at The Ringling for the Museum of Art; the Circus Museum; Ca’ d’Zan, the Ringling’ historic mansion: as well as the Bayshore Gardens and special exhibitions. Educational programming includes community outreach, K-12 tours, youth and family programs, professional development opportunities, public programs, lifelong learning, symposia, and management and training of the 150-member docent corps. She is a contributor to museum education publications including Visitor-Centered Exhibitions and Edu-Curation in Art Museums, Rowman & Littlefield, 2017, and The Caring Museum, New Models of Engaging with Ageing, MuseumsEtc LTD, 2015, and has presented at numerous regional and national museum conferences.

Mike Thomin, Museum Manager, Destination Archaeology Resource Center, Florida Public Archaeology Network

Mike Thomin is the manager of the Destination Archaeology Resource Center. He is also a regular writer for the Unearthing Florida radio program broadcast on NPR member stations across the state of Florida. Mike received his BA in History and MA in Public History from the University of West Florida. Mike has spent nearly a decade in the museum field, is a Certified Interpretive Guide with the National Association for Interpretation, and has worked with several organizations on heritage interpretive projects and programs across the state including the Florida Anthropological Society, Florida Division of Historical Resources, Florida State Parks, U.S. Forest Service, and National Park Service. He has curated a number of museum exhibits on a range of diverse topics from piracy in the Gulf of Mexico to the roles women played in northwest Florida during the Great Depression. He currently serves on FPAN’s Archaeological Tourism Task Force and on the Trail of Florida Indian Heritage Board of Directors. His research interests include Mississippian period southeastern Native Americans, maritime history of the Gulf of Mexico during Florida’s Territorial Period, public history, and public archaeology.

Jenny Wolfe, Historic Preservation Officer, City of St. Augustine

Jenny Wolfe is the Historic Preservation Officer for the City of St. Augustine and has been with the City seven years. She manages the city’s Historic Preservation Division which includes historic preservation and archaeology. Daily responsibilities include serving as staff liaison to the Historic Architecture Review Board, providing guidance to the general public, and developing recommendations for preservation programs and policies. In addition, she proposes and manages grants for special initiatives like wayfinding markers, historic building rehabilitation, and architectural surveys. Wolfe is entering her fifth year of service as a Trustee to the Board of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation and currently serving as Secretary on the Executive Committee. She is a graduate of the University of Florida programs in historic preservation and political science with a minor in dance.


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