Friends of Peirce Mill

Nathan Marzoli, President
Nathan 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. Nathan 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, Nathan 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, Nathan 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.

Tim Makepeace, Vice President and Orchardist
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.

William McLeod, Treasurer
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.

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).

Stacey Lincoln, Board Member
Stacey has lived in the District of Columbia for almost 20 years and has been a resident of Ward 4 for the past 10 years. Currently, he serves as a Commissioner on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission in Ward 4. He serves in the leadership of various organizations in the District of Columbia. They include board member of the Shepherd Park citizens association (SPCA), board member of United Planning Organization’s (UPO) Advocacy Advisory Council and he also serves as the Vice President of his residents’ Tenants Association. Stacey also volunteers in other community outreach programs in the District and the metropolitan area. He has a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration with a minor in Political Science. After college, Stacey worked for the US Department of Health and Human Services on public health policies. Stacey worked on various presidential campaigns including Barack H. Obama. Focusing on local politics, he served as a campaign manager for a city-wide District of Columbia Congressional Delegate candidate. For six years he worked as a special assistant to a former At-Large Council member. Currently, Stacey is a consultant to small businesses that engage in international development.

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.

Steve Dryden, Executive Director
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 Director
Angela Kramer has over twenty years’ experience in museum education and a wide-ranging background. At Peirce Mill, she enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for history, crafts, engineering, and gardening.  Angela’s interest in milling began in Brooklyn, NY, where some of the first tide mills in America were built along Gowanus Creek.  While living in Brooklyn, she created an exhibit and public art project about tide mills for Proteus Gowanus; Angela also developed education programs for the Old Stone House and Lefferts Historic House.   Since moving with her family to Washington in 2014,  Angela has worked for the Audubon Naturalist Society and Montgomery Parks. She has led family programs at Peirce Mill since 2015, and works closely with the National Park Service to support and develop school field trips to Peirce Mill.


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.

Quentin Looney, President Emeritus
Quentin lives on Pierce Mill Road, a modern city street in Washington that roughly follows the 1800s track that connected the mill with the communities to the east and west of the Rock Creek. Curiosity for that history lead Quentin to Peirce Mill, now spelled the way we believe builder Isaac Peirce preferred, and to FOPM. Counted among FOPM’s most dedicated volunteers, Quentin served as president during 2014-17, spearheaded the barrel hoist restoration project in 2016, and still gives invaluable help to miller Jeanne Minor whenever and wherever needed. Quentin, who has a strong interest in food science and preparation, was the force behind FOPM’s popular cider-tasting event, and helped organize the January 2012 visit of Alice Waters, renowned American chef, activist and author, to Peirce Mill. Now retired after a forty-year career in energy efficiency management, Quentin is well-known as an expert in energy use technology development, and demonstration. He specialized in renewable energy technologies, such as bio-fuels, solar, wind, and fuel cells, so his affinity for water-powered technology, like Peirce Mill, is not a surprise.

Adam Sieminski,  President Emeritus
Adam became interested in mills during the early 1970s after a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park where he and his wife Laurie happened upon the John P. Cable Mill in Cades Cove. That experience 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 and cotton fabrics. In addition to his activity with FOPM, Adam has served as an officer in 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. When he isn’t volunteering at Peirce Mill, he is usually analyzing the complex relationships between energy, economics, and the environment. Currently overseas as the president of KAPSARC, a Riyadh-based energy think tank, Adam was part of the Energy and National Security Program team at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, headed the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in 2012-17, and before that had a long career as a financial analyst on Wall Street responsible for company and commodity research.

In Memoriam

Thomas Blackburn
A geochemist by training, Tom loved old machinery, and was keen to see the complete “Evans system” operating again at Peirce Mill. Tom joined FOPM in 1998, working primarily in the areas of fundraising, 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 was the author of books on undergraduate chemistry and science grants, and has published two novels. An avid amateur cellist, Tom was a member of the Dumbarton Chamber Ensemble and the Hunt String Quartet. Tom passed away in October 2019.

David Lyman
David joined the Friends of Peirce Mill in 1999. He developed grant request proposals as well as prepared financial reports and tax returns for the organization. David 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 also 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 included hiking, tai chi, gardening and international travel. He participated in the 1999-2011 fundraising and renovation of the mill and enjoyed conducting visitor tours. He believed that each day at the mill brought a new learning experience both to the guide and to the visitor.  David passed away in November 2019.

Sheila Ploger
Sheila played an integral part in the restoration of Peirce Mill from the very first meeting held by the Friends of Peirce Mill (FOPM) in the fall of 1996.  She served enthusiastically as the membership chair and secretary-treasurer from 1997 to 2014. In the early days of FOPM, Sheila helped with member communications, wrote fundraising letters, and set up the extensive computer files needed to track FOPM’s many projects, people, and collaborative organizations. She was a crucial member of the team that raised over a million dollars for the mill restoration. Born in Ohio, she attended Ohio Wesleyan University as an undergraduate, completed a master’s in geology at Indiana University, and then joined the U.S. Geological Survey in Colorado. She was part of a start-up company in California that provided networking computer hardware.  Sheila worked for 20 years with children in the media center of a Montgomery County, MD, elementary school.  After retiring, Sheila’s love of history, coupled with a desire to preserve Peirce Mill and ensure an outstanding learning opportunity for the area’s schoolchildren, provided her motivation to volunteer at FOPM. Sheila passed away in October 2017.