Staff

Management

Donna Dunn, Interim Executive Director
Sharon Shilling

A native New Englander, Donna’s work in and with nonprofits spans 30 years. She has experience working with nonprofits in times of transition and transformation. As a nonprofit staff member, she has worked in the areas of communications and membership. She served as executive director/CEO of four different organizations, all going through varying transitions. As a consultant in the nonprofit space, Donna has supported organizations through strategic planning, enhanced governance, organizational design and restructure, and program evaluation. She is passionate about nonprofit work and helping individuals and organizations achieve success.

Donna is a graduate of the University of Vermont with a bachelor’s degree in plant science and a master’s degree in agricultural and applied economics. Donna also has a Master of Science degree in not-for-profit management from the University of Maryland University College.

Outside of her professional life, Donna enjoys cross-country skiing, hiking, home renovations, and an almost-annual long-distance (180 - 200 miles) walk in the UK. She lives in Jackson, NH with her two rescue dogs Sadie and Tucker.

 

Brian Fitzgerald, Director of Science & Education
Brian Fitzgerald

Brian began his observatory career as a winter intern on the summit in early 2012 after attending the University of New Hampshire where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Conservation Studies. Following intervening seasons as a Backcountry Hut Naturalist and Education Assistant for the Appalachian Mountain Club, Brian returned to the Observatory as a full-time Observer and Educational Specialist on the summit where he performed daily weather observations and led weather station tours, distance learning programs and media interviews.

After nearly three winters on the summit, Brian headed south to work as the Chief Weather Observer at Blue Hill Observatory and Science Center just south of Boston while going to graduate school at night. In early 2016, Brian graduated from Boston University with a Master’s of Education with a focus in Science Education, and moved back to the Mount Washington Valley to serve as Mount Washington Observatory’s Director of Education. In 2019, he took on the role of Director of Science and Education. When Brian’s not administering and teaching educational programs and summit adventures, you can find him hiking, mountaineering, trail running, skiing or staring at the clouds. He currently resides in North Conway along with his partner, Stephanie, and their son Cameron.

 

Brenda Sullivan, Director of Finance & Administration
Brenda Sullivan

With an Animal Science degree from the University of Maine, Brenda started her career as a veterinary hospital technician and office manager on the East End of Long Island, NY. After going back to school and completing her MBA, Brenda spent a number of years in central Connecticut as Finance Manager for Protein Sciences Corporation, where her responsibilities included the financial oversight of multi-million dollar government contracts and shareholder relations. In 2017 Brenda, her husband, two dogs and two cats moved to Madison, NH. After continuing to work for the same CT based company for over a year, she decided it was time to focus her attention on her new community by joining the team at MWOBS. With an MBA in Business and years of Finance experience, she now focuses on supporting The Observatory where needed.

Stephanie Turnbull Fitzgerald, Development Director
Stephanie Turnbull

Stephanie has been on a steady move north since receiving her Masters in Library and Information Science from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Originally from Massachusetts, she headed back to Boston after school to work for Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum and the State Library of Massachusetts. After a few years, she knew she was done with city life and when the opportunity arrived to move to the Mount Washington Valley, she took it.

While Stephanie started working at the Observatory in the Summer of 2016 as a contract worker, it only took a few months before she was hooked and joined the valley staff full time as the Membership and Database Coordinator. Between her background in organizing and curating information and her experience in various customer service roles, it seemed like a perfect fit. After 4 years supporting appeals, stewardship, events and getting to know the enthusiastic members of MWO, Stephanie is excited to take the role of Director of Development.

She currently resides in North Conway along with her husband, Brian, and their son Cameron.

 

Weather Observers

Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer & Meteorologist
Ryan Knapp

Originally from the Lake Tahoe region of California, Ryan was born into the alpine lifestyle. He came to the Observatory as a winter intern in 2005, and started as a Weather Observer in 2006.

Ryan’s interest in weather started as a child, when he would watch the morning weather report before going skiing. In high school, he enjoyed giving weather reports to fellow students and ski clubbers, and decided to pursue a career in meteorology. He graduated from San Jose State University in 2004 with a B.S. in Meteorology, and spent the first three years of his career as a weather observer for San Jose International Airport.

Ryan came to Mount Washington for the unique weather, and to explore and study the worst weather in the world. When he’s not watching the weather, he enjoys backpacking, ski boarding, aggressive inline skating, traveling, video games, and movies.

Sam Robinson, Weather Observer 
Ryan Knapp

Born and raised in Northern Massachusetts on the NH border, Sam is no stranger to the crazy weather of New England. Spending the majority of his childhood outdoors, he developed a strong passion for the woods and mountains, all while closely observing what was going on above him.

Unlike many, Sam would rather be shivering than sweating and winter is without a doubt his favorite season. Seeking cold air and elevation he enjoys hiking, nature photography, skiing, and backcountry snowmobiling.

Apart from the natural world, Sam has a strong mechanical aptitude and passion to troubleshoot, repair, and modify any machine he can get his hands on. His experience started with his own small engine repair business at the age of 12, eventually becoming a heavy equipment mechanic during high school. He went on to get a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 2020. While attending UML, Sam started submitting storm reports to the National Weather Service, realizing his hobby for the weather was turning into a professional goal.
 
Landing the position of his dreams on Mt. Washington integrating extreme weather and engineering, Sam looks forward to joining the team at the highest office in the East and combining all his favorite aspects of life.

Jackie Bellefontaine, Weather Observer & Education Specialist
Jay BroccoloBorn and raised near Boston, MA, Jacquelyn spent her childhood escaping the city in the summer to recreate around the New Hampshire Lakes Region and White Mountains. The time she spent outdoors helped solidify her desire to learn more about our natural world. In 2020, Jacquelyn graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in Earth and Climate Sciences. During her undergraduate studies, she formed a passionate interest in climate change and how it is impacting Earth’s cryosphere. In the summer of 2019, Jacquelyn was a student of the Juneau Icefield Research Program based out of Juneau, Alaska. The Juneau Icefield Research Program, also known as “JIRP”, is an expeditionary-style field program where students engage in a variety of Earth Science research relating to glaciology while learning mountaineering skills during their traverse across the Juneau Icefield. Through JIRP, Jacquelyn got her first taste of living and working in a dynamic environment. Her experience with JIRP and her desire to learn more about Mount Washington’s extreme weather and the climate research happening at the Mount Washington Observatory led her to pursue the winter summit intern position this past January.

 During her time as a summit intern, Jacquelyn came to truly enjoy the work happening at the Mount Washington Observatory. She looked forward to shadowing the hourly weather observations and became interested in the educational outreach that the current Education Specialist engaged in. Jacquelyn thought it would be a dream to later join the summit as a Weather Observer and Education Specialist. An opportunity to join the team at the Mount Washington Observatory came about while Jacquelyn was interning at the summit. Jacquelyn is absolutely thrilled to continue contributing to the Mount Washington Observatory as a Weather Observer and Education Specialist. She hopes that through this position, she will help inspire others to be lifelong learners and become passionate about science!

 

Jay Broccolo, Weather Observer & Meteorologist
Jay BroccoloJay was born and raised in Westerly, Rhode Island. Having grown up along the southern coastline of RI gave Jay the opportunity to experience all sorts of diverse and extreme weather from hurricanes to Nor’easters. Jay’s enthusiasm for the outdoors and the natural world only increased since childhood. His parents insisted that he spend as much time outdoors as possible. He joined the Boy Scouts and spent a weekend every month, regardless of the weather, learning useful outdoor skills, camping, and hiking all over New England. He became enamored with the White Mountains, but specifically Mt. Washington, its geology, and unique extreme weather.

Following graduation of high school and obtaining his Eagle Scout, Jay attended the University of Rhode Island. In the middle of his second year he took a semester off and lived in Boulder, Colorado where he had the opportunity to experience mountain weather and hiking the Flatirons. After returning home he continued and completed his B.S. degree in Geology and Geological Oceanography at URI. While at URI he also attended a Geology Field Camp operated by University at Buffalo, geologically mapping various regions Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.

With the completion of his Bachelors, Jay went on to work in the oilfield industries as a Mud logger on drill-ships in the Gulf of Mexico. After a couple years of working offshore and not feeling fulfilled with his career path, he interned at Mt. Rainier National Park where he was charged with observing and recording the weather on the mountain while conducting various research projects. Upon completion of the internship, Jay attended the University of Leeds in Leeds, England and completed an MRes in Climate and Atmospheric Science where he focused on factors that influence the development and intensification of extratropical cyclones over the Northeast United States.

With his intrigue in extreme weather events and his love for Mt. Washington, Jay is more than excited to be working here at the Mount Washington Observatory, home to the World’s Worst Weather. In his off time, Jay enjoys the outdoors, board and video games, reading, and learning to play the piano, just to name a few.

 

Staff

Keith Garrett, Director of Technology
Keith Garrett

Keith brings over 25 years of experience in IT hardware, software and business networks. He has experience in working with municipalities, non-profits and individuals.

Prior to his work with the Observatory Keith was the owner of Wolfeboro Computer Solutions in the Wolfeboro and Lakes Region area. His services spanned all aspects of IT including deployment and maintenance of a wide range of systems.


 

Charlie Buterbaugh, Director of Communications
Charlie

Charlie joined the observatory in 2020 with a multi-disciplinary background in communications and a passion for supporting climate science. After graduating with a BA in English from Susquehanna University in his home state of Pennsylvania, he pursued graduate studies that led to teaching college writing. Charlie then spent five years engaging audiences as a journalist and news editor, often drawn to writing about natural resource conservation and the interdependence of ecosystems and recreation-based rural economies. In 2007, seeking experience in business communications, he joined the scientific company VWR, where he helped develop their R&D services segment. Working in several brand, communications, and content marketing roles over the course of 11 years, the experience provided rewarding opportunities to lead marketing program planning while collaborating with international teams to engage scientists in university, biotech, and other research settings.

In 2013, intent on their return to rural living, Charlie and his life partner Mindy moved to Maine, a place that had sparked love for adventure earlier in life during ski, canoe, and camping trips to the Northwoods. They eventually found a home near the Village of Fryeburg, where they live with their three kids. In addition to the trials and tribulations of gardening in northern New England, Charlie enjoys cycling, hiking, and skiing through the region’s stunning landscapes. After joining Mount Washington Observatory as the Development Coordinator in 2020, he took on the role of Director of Communications in 2021. He also serves as the editor of our bulletin, Windswept.

Carrie Slife, Development Assistant
Charlie

Carrie began her career with Mount Washington Observatory in the summer of 2019 when she joined the summit staff as Museum Attendant. She later returned to live and work on the summit for two seasons as a Park Guide for New Hampshire State Parks. She is thrilled to rejoin the observatory staff full-time as Development Assistant.

Carrie made her first trip to the White Mountains in the early 2000s, when she moved to Boston after graduating from Penn State University with degrees in Advertising and Psychology. Having grown up 30 minutes from where the Appalachian Trail passes through Catoctin, Maryland, she was eager to visit the trail’s storied New Hampshire high peaks. Her first time above tree line made an indelible impression, and she ventured north frequently to hike, ski, and decompress from the frenetic pace of the city. Meanwhile, Carrie’s professional pursuits in Boston led her first to the hospitality industry and later to earn a Master’s degree in Interior Design from Suffolk University, after which she practiced as an Architectural Lighting Designer for nearly a decade.

In the winter of 2019, Carrie pressed pause on her design career to take a seasonal job at Bretton Woods ski resort. In the shadow of Mount Washington, she spent that first season pondering whether it was possible to unify her passion for the White Mountains – with their extreme weather, amazing recreational opportunities, and rich history – and her career. Carrie is happy to report that yes, this is possible, and working for Mount Washington Observatory has been a vital piece of this journey.
 
Dr. Peter Crane, Curator
Dr. Peter Crane

Peter oversees the Observatory's Gladys Brooks Memorial Library, which features books, maps, prints, photos, and other material relating to the Observatory, Mount Washington, and the White Mountains.

Peter has lived in the White Mountains for more than thirty years, and has worked for the U.S. Forest Service and Appalachian Mountain Club in resource management, public information, and educational roles. He began his Observatory career in 1988 as a weather observer, museum manager, and Summit Shift Leader. After three years of summit duty, he served for several years as Director of Programs before transitioning to his current position.

Peter did his undergraduate work at Harvard College, and earned his doctoral degree in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. An avid year-round hiker, he is also a volunteer trail maintainer for the Appalachian Mountain Club, a member of Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue (AVSAR), and serves on the board of the New Hampshire Outdoor Council.

Linda & Hank Dresch, Volunteer Coordinators
Linda & Hank Dresch

Linda is the daughter of Mount Washington Observatory co-founder Robert S. Monahan, and enjoys continuing her father’s legacy as volunteer coordinator with her husband, Hank.

Married for more than 40 years, Linda and Hank have one daughter and two very active grandsons. During Hank's 30-year U.S. Coast Guard career they lived in several locations including Alaska and England. Linda’s diverse career has spanned positions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska, and the Editorial Staff of the Wall Street Journal. Linda and Hank both also had "retirement jobs" in Portland, Maine, where they continue to volunteer at Merrill Auditorium. They have been very active volunteers wherever they have lived.

Linda and Hank now reside in Jackson, New Hampshire, where they keep very busy with year-round activities in the great outdoors.

Nimbus, Resident Summit Cat
Linda & Hank Dresch

Nimbus joined Mount Washington Observatory staff in April 2021 as our resident summit cat. A sociable gray shorthair adopted from the Conway Area Humane Society, he shares his name with large gray clouds that bring precipitation.

Cats have been members of the observatory family and weather station since our founding in 1932, and Nimbus proudly continues this tradition. He succeeds longtime resident cat Marty, who was beloved by thousands of visitors from around the world.
 
When he’s not catching mice or stealing a seat in the weather room, he writes the “News from Nimbus” column, translated by observers and published in our magazine, Windswept.

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