Bruce C. Soper, Chair
Bruce began his career as an English and Physical Education teacher in 1967 after graduation from Plymouth State College. After several years in education he became involved in the New Hampshire ski equipment industry for seven years. The remainder of his career was devoted to facilities and asset management in school systems, shopping malls and housing in New Hampshire, Maine and South Carolina. As General Manager of the Bangor (Maine) Mall he earned his designation of Certified Shopping Center Manager (CSM) through the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Recently Bruce served on the Board of the Colonial Theater in Keene as chairman of that board’s facilities committee. He has also been a volunteer firefighter and was the Emergency Services Coordinator for the New Hampshire Wing of the Civil Air Patrol.
Bruce has had a life-long fascination with weather. He now has weather stations on the Weather Underground network, Weathercloud, and MesoWest; is a rain/ snow data collector for the nationwide CoCoRaHs network out of Fort Collins, Colorado and sends data to the National Weather Service through the CWOP program.
Now retired, he and his wife Marilyn live in New London, New Hampshire.
Erica Broman, Vice Chair
Erica recently retired as Senior Advisor at Westfield State University after a successful tenure as Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of their Foundation. During her time in that role, she oversaw an 100% increase in the assets and tripled their fundraising efforts. Previously, she oversaw the marketing, resource development, institutional research and advancement efforts at Holyoke Community College, where she helped grow their foundation four-fold. Erica received her BA from Miami University, her MBA from the University of Massachusetts, and her doctorate in higher education management from Northeastern University. She also took part in Harvard University's summer program for educational leadership. She is Trustee Designate at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona and was a founding member of the Healing Racism Institute of the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts.
Robert C. Kirsch, Immediate Past Chair
Rob Kirsch worked as a weather observer between 1978 and the fall of 1981. He joined the Observatory board of trustees in 1985.
In 2018, Rob retired as a partner from WilmerHale LLP, where he chaired the firm’s national environmental practice. Between 1983 and 2018 Rob focused his practice on environmental and human rights issues.
Rob’s environmental work concentrated on enforcement and litigation matters across a broad spectrum of federal and state statutes and regulatory programs. His clients spanned the energy, defense, life sciences-pharma, waste management, consumer products, and real estate development industries, among others. To demarcate his departure from full time legal practice, following the completion of a final hearing in May 2018, Rob climbed Mount Rainier with his two sons.
Between 2004 and 2015, Rob led a WilmerHale pro bono team representing six men interned at the US Naval base at Guantanamo Bay — receiving a favorable decision before the US Supreme Court, a favorable decision in the first Guantanamo habeas corpus trial, and the only ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in favor of a Guantanamo prisoner out of the more than 20 such decisions to date.
Rob serves as the Vice Chair of the board of the Environmental Law institute, is a Fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers, and a Trustee of The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire.
Rob holds a B.S. from Middlebury College and a J.D. from the Cornell Law School.
Beth Newhouse, Treasurer
Beth is a retired Managing Director from Cambridge
Associates LLC, where she was the Director of the Quantitative Research Group
for over 12 years, responsible for creating the firm’s models, analytical tools and related
materials used in the investment advisory practice.For
the preceding eight years, Beth was an investment consultant for Cambridge
Associates, working with college endowments, private foundations and
health-care institutions.Before joining
Cambridge Associates, she was the Director of Sponsor Services for BARRA Inc.,
where she was responsible for all aspects of the firm’s business unit consulting to pension
fund, endowment, and foundation clients. Beth received an MBA from the
University of California at Berkeley and a BA from Calvin College.
Beth is an avid hiker and became
acquainted with the Observatory on her first ascent of Mount Washington after
moving to New England in the early 1990s.
She has been active in a number of civic and professional organizations for many years,
including the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the
Appalachian Mountain Club.
Jeannie Oliver, Secretary
Jeannie Oliver is the Senior Director of ROC-NH, a program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. ROC-NH helps residents in manufactured home parks to purchase and manage their parks as resident owned communities, preserving affordable housing and creating stronger, more vibrant communities. Previously, Jeannie was a Professor of Law and Staff Attorney at the Energy Clinic at the Vermont Law and Graduate School. In this role, Jeannie worked with students to provide law, policy, and advocacy services to clients pursuing clean energy and climate justice solutions. Jeannie has also worked for the Vermont Department of Public Service focusing on energy policy, utility project siting, and utility rate cases, and in private practice advising clients on a range of corporate and commercial matters. Originally from New Zealand, Jeannie has a law degree from the University of Auckland and an LLM in Environmental Law and an LLM in American Legal Studies from the Vermont Law School. Jeannie is an outdoor enthusiast, and enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and backpacking in her spare time.
Lourdes B. Avilés, Ph.D.
Lourdes Avilés has been a meteorology professor at Plymouth State University since 2004 and is currently department chair for meteorology, climate studies, and physics, and the director of the Computational, Applied, Mathematical, and Physical Sciences (CAMPS) Academic Unit. She has a Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and B.S. and M.S. degrees in physics from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus.
Dr. Avilés is a trustee for the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and has also served in a variety of national committees, including the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Board on Higher Education and the (formerly named) AMS Board on Women and Minorities. She is also currently an academic ambassador for the AMS Committee on Hispanic and Latinx Advancement (CHALA).
She has done research in tropical meteorology, air quality, and currently teaches courses in dynamic and physical meteorology, among others. Dr. Avilés has also written an award-winning book on the science and history of the Great New England Hurricane of 1938, and for the past few years has been working on a textbook on the science and history of the Optics of the Atmosphere (blue skies, rainbows, halos, etc.). She lives in Campton, NH with her family and has enjoyed visiting Mount Washington with them, as well as being directly and indirectly involved with the many interactions between Plymouth State University and MWOBS over the last couple of decades. She is now honored to serve as a trustee.
Ed’s interest in weather began as a child growing up on a farm in southern New Hampshire where his father was the local NWS Coop Observer. His interest intensified during pilot training in the 1970s, and inspired him to serve as a backup observer for local weather icon Briggs Bunker for many years. Ed became the local NWS Coop Observer about 2002 when Briggs decided to winter in Florida. At the time he also took over Brigg’s role on the WMWV Morning Weather Show which provides the “rating of the day” to residents of the Mount Washington Valley. In October 2015 Ed turned the role of Coop Observer back to the Mount Washington Observatory through the establishment of NCON3 the new weather station at the WDC in North Conway.
Ed served as interim executive director, vice president and president of the Obs from January 2015 to September 2016. Previously, he served on the Board of Trustees and has returned to the Board following his time on staff. Ed also served on the Board of the Appalachian Mountain Club and is a member of the Nature Conservancy and Tin Mountain Conservation Center. He received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of New Hampshire and an MBA from Plymouth State University. Ed is the retired president of H.E.B. Engineers, Inc. a consulting engineering firm which he started in 1974.
Ed is an avid cyclist, gardener, fly-fisherman and outdoor photographer, and has climbed and hiked all over the U.S., Europe and New Zealand. He resides in North Conway with his wife Kathy. They have two daughters and four granddaughters.
Teresa S. Bowers, Ph.D.
Terri Bowers is an environmental scientist and advising principal at Gradient, an environmental and risk sciences consulting firm in Boston, MA, where she spent 30 years helping clients develop risk-based environmental strategies to address their regulatory and litigation needs. She served for eight years as president of the company before largely retiring in 2021. Terri served on the Science Advisory Committee for Mount Washington Observatory for several years in the late 2000s.
Terri has a B.S. in mathematics and geology from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in geochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. She maintains an active leadership role in the Geological Society of America. Terri divides her time between homes in Arlington, MA and Meredith, NH.
Michelle moved to northern New Hampshire from New York City
in 2002 as a North Country AmeriCorps member supporting the Mount Washington
Observatory’s educational outreach efforts. After her year of service, she
resumed life in New York City and continued to stay involved in the nonprofit
sector. Shortly thereafter, she returned to the North Country as an outreach
educator for the Obs. Her dedication and passion for her work led her to
becoming Director of Education. During this time she was involved in building
distance education and the renovation of the summit museum now known as Extreme
Today, Michelle joins the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce
supporting community and member engagement providing resources for businesses
to strategically market the Mt. Washington Valley as the premier New England
An applied climatologist by training, Dr. Dupigny-Giroux's research interests intersect a number of interdisciplinary fields including hydroclimatic natural hazards and climate literacy, geospatial climate and land-surface processes, all within the context of our changing climate. Dr. Dupigny-Giroux has served as the Vermont State Climatologist since 1997, and is the immediate Past President of the American Association of State Climatologists. In 2020, she was appointed by the Vermont House of Representatives to the Vermont Climate Council as the member with expertise in climate change science.
She continues to work with Vermont State Agencies and municipalities in their planning for and adapting to climate change. She is an expert in floods, droughts and severe weather and the ways in which these affect Vermont's landscape and people. She has worked extensively with K-12 teachers and students, bringing the use of satellites, climatology and climate change to all levels of the pre-university curriculum. She is the lead editor of Historical climate variability and impacts in North America, the first monograph to deal with the use of documentary and other ancillary records for analyzing climate variability and change in the North American context.
Paul T. Fitzgerald
Paul received his B.A. from St. Michael's College in 1972 and earned a law degree four years later in 1976. He is currently a director of the law firm of Wescott, Dyer, Fitzgerald & Nichols in Laconia, NH.
In addition to his law practice, Paul has been active in a number of community organizations and has served as both the Mayor of Laconia and Chairman of the Laconia Police Commission. Paul first became involved with the Observatory as an extension of being an avid hiker when he walked into the summit facility out of curiosity after climbing the mountain back in 1980. After serving on the summit operations committee for several years he was elected a trustee in 1985 and has been active on the executive committee and long-range planning committees. Paul is a past president of the Board of Trustees and currently serves on the Observatory's Governance Committee.
Paul lives in Laconia, NH, with this wife, Cheryl Ann Fitzgerald. They have two grown sons.
Ty Gagne, Chief Executive Officer of Primex3, has held executive positions in the municipal, non-profit, and healthcare sectors, and was a two-term school board member. Ty holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of New Hampshire and a Bachelor of Science from Granite State College. He is a member of the Leadership NH Class of 2013. Ty completed the program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and holds the Associate in Risk Pool Management (ARPM) and the Associate in Risk Management for Public Entities (ARM-P) designations. He is a certified Wilderness First Responder and the author of the book The Last Traverse: Tragedy and Resilience in the Winter Whites and Where You’ll Find Me: Risk, Decisions, and the Last Climb of Kate Matrosova. Two of his essays, “Emotional Rescue,” and “Weakness in Numbers: How a Hiking Companion can be Dangerous” were published in Appalachia journal. Ty is located in Hampton, N.H.
John F. Gorman
Growing up in the Berkshires, with the Appalachian Trail literally traversing his back yard, John seemed destined to be a hiker. As a member of the AMC, his love of four season backpacking led him to the White Mountains and the Presidential Range. In 1979 and 1980 he worked on the summit of Mount Washington as a union carpenter during the construction of the Sherman Adams Building. So began his association with the Obs.
During the 1980s, John assisted Obs staff in an attempt to mitigate the water leaking into the summit building. A member of the Observatory's Facilities Committee since 2012, he recently spearheaded the renovations of the Obs summit bunk rooms. He is a former board member of the Friends of Tuckerman Ravine and of the Friends of the Mount Washington Avalanche Center.
John attended Northeastern University where he studied civil engineering and political science, disciplines that led to a career that included both politics and construction. As a Boston based political operative he has worked on campaigns all over the country, including stints as an advance man for the Clinton White House, the Kennedys, John Kerry and the DNC. Since 1978 his construction industry career has evolved from carpenter to contractor to project manager to permitting consultant. His company, Permit Strategies, specializes in resolving building permit and zoning issues in the City of Boston.
John and his wife Katie live in Boston. His four grown sons and his grandchildren are all avid hikers and big fans of the Observatory.
Jonathan Haynes is a long-time supporter of Mount Washington Observatory and former member of the MWOBS Board of Trustees. His career focused on ownership and management of commercial and residential real estate. He has been involved in construction management and contracting. Mr. Haynes is currently focusing on cranberry production and promotion of cranberry products. He has served on the board of Granite State Adaptive, The Rivers School, the Wellesley Chamber of Commerce, as well as the boards of two banks.
After forecasting some of the most extreme weather in the United States, Hayley LaPoint is excited to be in New England with WMUR Channel 9. Hayley grew up in Topsfield, MA and went to college in the Green Mountains of Vermont at Lyndon State College. While attending Lyndon State College, she earned a Bachelor's degree in Meteorology and an Associate's degree in TV News. Previously, Hayley worked at WPTZ-TV in Plattsburgh, New York/Burlington, Vermont for three years.
Hayley began her career in Fargo, ND, at KVLY-TV & KXJB-TV. While in Fargo, she received the Certified Broadcast Meteorologist seal from the American Meteorological Society – the first TV meteorologist to receive this seal in the Fargo television market. The CBM seal, as it's known, is a newer, more rigorous certification.
Gary recently retired after a 40-year career in education. During that time he was involved in many aspects of school life – serving most recently as Superintendent of Schools in Fryeburg, Maine. He has served on many state and regional educational committees, and continues to be involved in a variety of educational work.
Gary, and his wife Karen, moved to the Mount Washington Valley over 40 years ago, planning on staying for a few years to ski and hike, and never left. They're now introducing their grandchildren to the unique, and special places in the area. Gary has served on a variety of committees that have supported local needs.
Along with hiking, Gary enjoys tennis, kayaking, spending time on Cape Cod, as well as sailing on the Maine coast. Having lived in the shadow of Mount Washington for all these years, and with an interest in weather and forecasting, he has always marveled at the work as well as the history of MWOBS.
Mike received his B.A. and M.A. from the Pennsylvania State University in Economics. He went on to manage various mutual funds, pension funds, and write investment research. He is currently President of St. Germain Investments in Springfield, MA. The investment management firm has nearly $1.5 billion in managed assets.
In his spare time, Mike does a considerable amount of outdoor activity, often times in the wintertime in the White Mountains. He has successfully completed the “7 Summits” (highest peak on each continent), summitting Mt. Everest in 2011.
Mike lives in South Hadley, MA with his fiancée Patty. They are scheduled to be married in the White Mountains this February.
Peter graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1981 and has worked in commercial construction ever since. He is currently the president of Martini Northern General Contractors and Construction Managers in Portsmouth, NH.
During summer breaks from college, Peter worked on various construction projects in the Mount Washington Valley area, including the construction of the Sherman Adams Building at Mount Washington State Park in 1979 and 1980.
An avid skier, Peter spent more than twenty years supporting youth ski racing as a coach and board member of the Attitash Alpine Education Foundation. He lives in Portsmouth, NH with his wife, Meg, and their two children, Abby and Ben.
In addition to sitting on the Observatory's Facilities Committee, Peter also serves on the board of Plan NH as treasurer and as president of Friends of UNH Skiing.
Ken is a native of Connecticut but spent most of his early
years ‘summering’ in Conway, being shuttled between relatives in the area. He received his BS in Meteorology from Iowa
State University and went on for a MS at the Meteorology Department at McGill
University in Montreal, Canada, where many of his ancestors came from. After a brief stint in the construction
industry he started at the Observatory in 1979 where he spent his more than 30
year career. Starting at the Observatory as an Observer/Tractor Operator he eventually
managed many research and testing programs on the summit and finished his
tenure as Director of Summit Operations.He was fortunate to represent the Observatory at a number of World
Meteorological Organization meetings in Geneva, Switzerland; Trappes, France;
and Casablanca, Morocco. He believes in
giving back to the community by volunteering. Ken was an early board member of Friends of Tuckerman Ravine, and
currently sits on the boards of the White Mountain Interpretive Association as
Treasurer, and the Conway Historical Society as President. He is also active on the Observatory’s
Science Committee and has mentored a number of Summer Interns. He also serves internationally as the United
States Secretary of the Eastern Snow Conference. Ken lives in an off-the-grid
home In Conway with his wife Jane.
Karen Umberger retired as a Colonel from the US Air Force
after having served 28 years. Her assignments took her throughout the United
States as well as overseas in Germany, Korea and Panama. She served for 6
months in the United Arab Emirates during Desert Storm. Upon retiring she and
her husband settled in Kearsarge where she has been active in the local
community serving on the Conway Budget Committee and as a Conway Selectman. She
served 10 years as a State Representative from Carroll County District 2.
During her time in office, she was an active member of the Mt Washington
Brian K. Fowler
Brian has a degree in Geology and is a retired consulting engineering geologist. He is currently involved in research on the late-glacial geology of northern New England and southeastern Quebec and has published more than twenty professional papers, including the only scientific treatise on the collapse of the Old Man of The Mountain. He and Betsy are active mountaineers and members of the American Alpine Club, and Brian is a co-founder of the Mountain Rescue Service.
Brian was introduced to the Observatory during seven summers working for the AMC Hut System, especially the two he spent as "croo" and then hutmaster at Lakes of The Clouds. He joined as a member in 1964, a trustee in 1972, and served as board president from 1981 to 1996. He has made significant financial contributions to summit improvement projects, and his leadership and tireless efforts helped provide the foundation upon which the Observatory is thriving today.
Guy is one of the North Country's most respected modern pioneers and North Country historians, but he says the "high point" of his career began February 15, 1961, when he became a Mount Washington Observatory weather observer. He was promoted to chief observer in 1963 and appointed to the director's post in 1971. He joined the Board of Trustees in 1978.
Since retiring as executive director in 1996, Guy has continued to serve the Observatory in a variety of important roles; he has advised the organization as a consultant, and also served as managing editor of Windswept. Guy became a life trustee in 2002 and continues to contribute to the success of the Observatory, while also volunteering for other local charitable causes.
Christopher R. Hawkins
A graduate of the University of New Hampshire-Thompson School and Johnson State College, Chris began his career with the New Hampshire DOT Materials and Research Bureau. Work took him to Mt. Washington inspecting soils for the Sherman Adams Building construction and other summit construction. A detour to managing the AMC Construction crew found him directing the Tip Top House renovation in the 1980’s.
Chris’ association with the Observatory started in 1971 as a hut boy at Lakes of the Clouds, when he became an Obs member. Later he joined the Facilities committee, and subsequently appointed a Trustee. Chris has also served on the Coos County Conservation District for 25 years.
Now retired, Chris splits his time between Randolph, NH, Barnet, VT and piloting his VW bus to places unknown.
Kenneth A. Jones
Ken is a retired managing partner of Wilson/Reilly Associates, a technical sales firm in Nashua, NH, following a long career in industrial management. He earned an engineering degree from Penn State and an MBA from Syracuse University.
Active in many outdoor activities, Ken has always been keenly interested in weather. His introduction to the Observatory in the early 1980s kindled a love of Mount Washington and its unique climate. He has been a member of the Mount Washington Observatory Science Committee since 1995, and is a past president of the Board of Trustees. He serves on other non-profit boards as well.
He lives in Amherst, NH, with his wife, Suzanne. They have two grown children, as well as several grandchildren, who visit them often at Lake Winnisquam.
Gail graduated from Merrimack College in 1972 with a B.S. in chemistry and received an M.S. in organic chemistry from Southern Connecticut University. She is the Senior Director of Business Development for St. Teresa Medical Inc., prior to which she worked for twenty years in R&D, sales, marketing, manufacturing, quality, and business development for Pfizer and Dupont Pharmaceuticals.
Always a lover of the outdoors, Gail's interests include sea kayaking, skiing, swimming, snorkeling, bicycling, and hiking. She has hiked in Peru, Alaska, Western Canada, Nepal, and Switzerland, but especially loves the White Mountains.
Gail lives on a mountaintop in Stoneham, Maine, and volunteers as an Advanced EMT for Fryeburg Rescue Association, Fryeburg, Maine. She has served on the Observatory board since 2005.
Jack worked at the Observatory from 1952 to 1953, and served as trustee from 1957 to 2022. He served on the Executive and Governance committees and held the position of secretary for more than five decades.
Jack received his A.B. from Lafayette College in 1950 and his J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 1956. He is president of the law firm of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton, and has been active in numerous civic, professional, and bar association activities for many years.
Jack lives in Freedom, NH and has three grown children.
A retired Program Coordinator for the University of New Hampshire College for Lifelong Learning (now Granite State College), Gail worked in the North Country of New Hampshire from 1980 to 2004. She is a University of Michigan graduate with a B.S. in nursing.
Gail served on the Memorial Hospital board of trustees (past president) from 1974 to 1996, the YMCA Camp Nellie Huckins board from 1984 to 1995, the New Hampshire Distance Learning Commission from 1994 to 2003, the New Hampshire State Board of Education from 1995 to 2005, and was a member and chairman of the New Hampshire Juvenile Parole Board from 1995 to 2006. She is also a former board member of the Bartlett School Board, the New Hampshire Farm Museum, the Northern NH Charitable Foundation, and the Mt. Washington Valley School to Career Partnership.
Gail presently serves as a board member on the Goldberg Foundation, Tillotson Foundation, Walker Foundation, New Hampshire Electric Cooperative Foundation, and the Visiting Nurses of Northern Carroll County. She has served on the Mt. Washington Valley Economic Council since 1991, is secretary of the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, and is also a member of the Mountain Top Music Advisory Committee. Gail represents New Hampshire on the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Board in Arlington, VA and serves on both the Administrative Committee and as chairman of the CEO Evaluation Committee for that organization. Gail is active in the Town of Bartlett, New Hampshire, where she resides, serving as chairman of The Lower Bartlett Water Commission ZBA and chairman of the Supervisors of the Bartlett Voter Checklist.
Gail is a Credentialed Cooperative Director and is taking courses towards the Credentialed Leadership Director degree for the National Rural Electric Association directors. Her hobbies include fly fishing, ornithology, golf, hiking, skiing, and traveling.
Leslie graduated from Wellesley College in 1966 and received her M.B.A. from the University of New Hampshire in 1983. In the early days of PCs, she started a consulting business in Maine that helped computerize the accounting functions of for-profit businesses and not-for-profit organizations. This often involved custom programming to get the client's data into a format that could be imported into accounting software. She has also been self-employed as a publisher of hiking cards, owner of restaurants in Kennebunkport, ME, and owner of a company that resold natural gas to a West Virginia utility. She has extensive experience in computing, programming, and accounting.
Leslie enjoys being outside in the Mount Washington Valley, and stays very active skiing, hiking, playing tennis, biking, and golfing. She lives in Jackson, NH with her husband, Warren.
Bryant F. Tolles, Jr.
Bryant has held a variety of leadership positions at distinguished museums and institutions since the early 1970s. He served as the director of the Museum Studies Program at the University of Delaware from 1984 to 2006, and is a Professor Emeritus of History and Art History. He has also written books on New Hampshire architecture including The Grand Resort Hotels of the White Mountains and Summer Cottages in the White Mountains.
A visitor to the White Mountains since the late 1940s, Bryant was introduced to the Observatory in the mid-1970s by Brad Washburn. He joined the Board of Trustees in 1976, and helped enhance the Observatory's educational programs and former summit museum. He was elected a life trustee in 2003.
Bryant and his wife, Carolyn, live in Concord, NH and have a second home on Squam Lake in Sandwich, NH.
Mark Van Baalen
Mark earned an A.B. in astronomy in 1966 and a Ph.D. in geology in 1995, both from Harvard. He is now a lecturer on Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard.
Mark has been an Observatory member since 1966, and a trustee since 1984. He was a member of the Executive Committee for fifteen years and has also served on the Long Range Planning Committee and chaired the Nominating Committee, Personnel Committee and Science Advisory Committee. Mark was the program chair for the successful 75th Anniversary Symposium for Air and Climate in 2007, and has been a regular EduTrip leader since the inception of that program.
Mark and his wife, Louisa, reside in Harvard, MA and have one grown daughter. Mark is a member of the American Alpine Club and a life member of the Harvard Mountaineering Club. He is also a sailor and a commercial pilot.