Friends of Peirce Mill
Officers, Board Members, and Key Consultants
William McLeod, President
Bill is the executive director of Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets. From 2002-2006, he was the executive director of the Mount Vernon (DC) Triangle Community Improvement District. Earlier, he led Barracks Row Main Street, revitalizing 8th Street, SE, and winning a Great American Main Street Award. Bill also has worked for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Bill was jogging through Rock Creek Park in 1993 and stopped to visit Peirce Mill. Disappointed to hear that the mill was inoperable, he became an early member of FOPM and volunteer interpreter. Bill became the volunteer coordinator in 2014 and co-led the redesign of the FOPM website.
Nathan Marzoli, Vice President
Nate is a historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History in Washington, DC. His primary area of expertise is the Civil War, and he has written extensively on the involvement of his home state of New Hampshire in that conflict. Nate served in the U.S. Air Force from 2007 to 2011. Afterwards, he used the G.I. Bill to earn both a BA in history and a MA in history with a concentration in museum studies. While in graduate school, Nate worked as a historic interpreter at the former home of an eighteenth-century merchant now part of the Historic New England museum. In 2015, while doing volunteer work on Rock Creek Park trails, Nate discovered the Peirce Mill complex and later joined FOPM. As both an interpreter and board member, Nate will continue to share his love and knowledge of history with visitors to the mill.
Sharon Hart, Treasurer
As a newcomer to Washington, DC, Sharon is delighted to be living in such a vibrant city. In addition to her work for FOPM, Sharon volunteers at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History and the Folklife Festival. She also advocates for the American Association of University Women, saying that it helps her feel she is making a difference working with the dedicated women young and old in the Lobby Corps. Her membership on the board of Mt. Pleasant Village has given her a great opportunity to meet some wonderful neighbors. In her professional life, Sharon taught elementary, university and adult education classes specializing in English as a Second Language and teacher training. Her various jobs have taken her around world, including Tokyo, Madrid, Los Angeles and Seattle.
John DeFerrari, Secretary
John was born and raised in Washington, D.C. and has a lifelong passion for local historic sites like Pierce Mill, which is less than a mile from the house where he grew up and which he has known since he was a child. By day a long-serving federal government analyst, John enjoys digging up little-known facts about the cultural history of the nation’s capital. In addition to penning the popular Streets of Washington blog, John is also a trustee of the D.C. Preservation League and in that role actively works to preserve the historic built environment of the District of Columbia. He is the author of three books: Lost Washington, D.C. (2011), Historic Restaurants of Washington, D.C.: Capital Eats (2013), and Capital Streetcars: Early Mass Transit in Washington, D.C. (2015).
David Lyman, Board Member and Business Manager
David joined the Friends of Peirce Mill in 1999. He has developed grant request proposals as well as prepared financial reports and tax returns for the organization. He grew up in Northern New Jersey, served with the U.S. Army in the Korean conflict, and later pursued an engineering career with IBM, working in New York and Washington where he specialized in systems design, cost benefit analysis, and program risk assessment. David has volunteered as a docent at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and as a tutor and mentor to middle and high school students. His hobbies include hiking, tai chi, gardening and international travel. He’s pleased to have participated in the 1999-2011 fund raising and renovation of the mill and now enjoys conducting visitor tours. His maxim: each day at the mill brings a new learning experience both to the guide and to the visitor.
Thomas Blackburn, Board Member and Development Specialist
A geochemist by training, Tom loves old machinery, and is keen to see the complete “Evans system” operating again at Peirce Mill. Tom joined FOPM in 1998, working primarily in the areas of fund-raising, donor relations, and proposal writing. Tom and Richard Abbott, the founder of FOPM, became close friends, and that collaboration resulted in identifying the financial supporters that made the 2011 restoration of Peirce Mill a reality. After a long career in college teaching, Tom joined the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, retiring in 2002. He is the author of books on undergraduate chemistry and science grants, and has published two novels. An avid amateur cellist, Tom is a member of the Dumbarton Chamber Ensemble and the Hunt String Quartet.
Tim Makepeace, Board Member
Tim Makepeace often visited Peirce Mill, beginning in the early 1970s, and was fascinated by watching the miller grind corn and explain the mechanical workings of the mill. His mother, also an accomplished artist, dedicated many years supporting the art program at what was then called “The Art Barn at Peirce Mill,” and now is the Visitor Information Center at Peirce Mill. Tim’s interest in orcharding began five years ago when he planted his own backyard apple orchard and learned how to grow and manage fruit trees using only organic sprays and soil amendments. In the fall of 2016, he discovered the Historic Orchard at Peirce Mill, and offered to take over its management and help recreate the family orchard that occupied the site 200 years ago. Tim has been a resident Washington DC artist for all of his adult life. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Cornell University in 1984, studied sculpture at the Corcoran School of Art, studied photography at the Smithsonian Institution, and has exhibited his work nationally.
Greg Nau, Board Member
Greg is Systems Engineer with degrees in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering along with an MBA. He has over 26 years of experience managing, designing and constructing a variety of systems for the government, industry and private clients. For the past 9 years Greg has been designing, working on permitting and managing the construction of small scale (20-300 kW) hydropower plants in the UK, many of them on or in historic settings with Heritage implications. These systems principally use Archimedes screw turbine technology to generate electricity from existing low head weirs and dams (two water wheels as well!). More than thirty of the systems are operating now, including a twin screw 270kW system on the River Thames at feeds directly into Windsor Castle (The Queen of England’s home). His work on these projects extends beyond the power technology to developing fish, eel and/or lamprey passes, and the occasional mammal ramp. Greg has long been fascinated with mills and the industrial and cultural history around the development of water driven machinery. During the summer of 2015, Greg met Adam Sieminski who showed him the non-working barrel hoist which Greg promptly modeled on his computer creating graphics demonstrating the operating principle of the lift. Greg is working on plans for props to aid in education, further milling equipment restoration (restoring the full Oliver Evans System), and general mill maintenance working with millwrights and the NPS.
Adam Sieminski, Past President
Adam became interested in mills during the early 1970s after a trip to the Great Smokey Mountains where he and his wife Laurie happened upon the John P. Cable Mill in Cades Cove. That encounter and Adam’s life-long fascination with “anything with gears” turned into a continual search for wind and water-powered mills to visit whenever he and Laurie travel. The quid pro quo for this pursuit is that Adam has agreed to visit fabric stores all over the world to complement Laurie’s fondness for American patchwork-style quilting. In addition to leading FOPM, Adam is vice president of the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the Society for the Preservation of Old Mills, which is dedicated to preserving historic mills and highlighting the cultural and commercial significance of the early American milling industry. Like all the officers of the Friends of Peirce Mill, Adam serves as an unpaid volunteer. His “day” job is at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, where he is a senior member of the Energy and National Security Program team. Previously, he served as administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Steve Dryden, Program Manager
Steve, who has always been fascinated by running water and stone buildings, joined FOPM in 1997 as vice president. He assisted with fund raising, planning special events, publicity and historical research. As a former journalist. Steve always kept files on any subject of interest, and soon found he had boxes of news clippings, court documents, letters and illustrations relating to the mill’s rich history. This led to a decision to write the first book on the mill and the Peirce family, “Peirce Mill: 200 Years in the Nation’s Capital,” published in 2009. In 2010, Steve became FOPM program manager, continuing the work he did as vice president. Steve’s other “hat” is directing Rock Creek Songbirds, a habitat restoration and outreach initiative that has planted or protected more than 500 oaks, maples, and other native trees in the Piney Branch section of Rock Creek Park bordering Mt. Pleasant and Columbia Heights.
Angela Kramer, Education Consultant
Angela Kramer is an independent education consultant and museum educator exploring the intersections between art, history, and the environment. Her interest in milling began when she lived in Brooklyn, NY, the location of one of the first tide mills in America, Brouwer’s Mill, built in the mid-17th century. This mill used the power of the Gowanus Creek’s rising and falling tides to turn wheat into flour. On behalf of the Proteus Gowanus gallery in Brooklyn, Angela developed education programs, and also worked at the Whitney Museum and Brooklyn’s Old Stone House. Angela’s daughter Liza is her chief assistant at the family workshops Angela leads on Saturdays at Peirce Mill. Angela uses innovative but simple arts and crafts projects to engage young children, and is thrilled to share her interests with visitors at the mill. She believes that play is essential to education.
Richard Abbott, President Emeritus
Richard was the founder of FOPM. A retired international agribusiness and marketing consultant, his long association with Peirce Mill began in 1988 when he volunteered to bag flour for the many visitors who loved buying natural stone-ground grain products. He was at the mill in April 1993 when the rotting waterwheel shaft threw the gears out of position and forced a shutdown. When it became clear the National Park Service didn’t have the funds to make needed repairs, Richard wrote a letter to the Washington Post asking the public to support a restoration effort. The letter brought dozens of calls from readers, leading to the formation of the Friends of Peirce Mill as a non-profit organization in April 1997. Richard served as FOPM president until just a few months before it re-opened in 2011. Although he has moved to Washington state, Richard continues to monitor developments at Peirce Mill and contributes his extensive knowledge of milling and mills to FOPM.