Team & Leadership



William W. Sellers

President and CEO

William W. Sellers has served as the President of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area since 2015. He has extensive experience in education, law and nonprofit management. Sellers received a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History from Harvard University, where he studied under David Herbert Donald and Bernard Bailyn, and a law degree from the University of Missouri. From 2008 to 2013, he served as President of Wentworth Military Academy and College in Lexington, Missouri. Sellers has held leadership roles in a broad range of organizations. Among other positions, he has served on the Board of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas, as President of the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States; on the Presidential Advisory Committee to Missouri’s Coordinating Board of Higher Education; on the Board of Trustees of the State Historical Society of Missouri; and on the Board of Directors of the Harvard Alumni Association.
bill sellers headshot


Michelle Burrelli

Chief Operating Officer

Michelle Burrelli headshot
Michelle Burrelli is the Chief Operating Officer of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area. Michelle holds a B.A. in Art History from the University of Illinois and a Master’s degree in Museum and Gallery Studies from the University of St Andrews. She has been with The Journey since 2010 and has built relationships with partner historic sites as the Director of Regional and Strategic Partnerships, managed the National Heritage Area program as the Director of the National Heritage Area, and, now as COO, manages all daily operations for the organization. Michelle has been involved in the development and implementation of many educational, tourism and preservation/conservation initiatives.


Katie Smolar

Director of Educational Programs

Katie Smolar taught during the inaugural session of National History Academy in 2018 and began as the Educational Director of High School programs in 2020. Katie graduated from Purdue University West Lafayette where she studied Social Studies Education, Spanish, and Global Studies. She then attended Purdue Northwest and earned her M.A. in History, specializing in United States History. Her career has focused on studying and teaching history through different perspectives by experiencing different cultures and the diverse ways students learn and educators teach around the world. She has taught in Francisco Morazán, Honduras, Saint Petersburg, Russia, and Madrid, Spain where she focused on site-based learning and gained TEFL certification. She is currently teaching at Donald E. Gavit High School in Hammond, Indiana where she uses her experiences to teach Advanced Placement US History. She has also taught English as a Foreign Language, Spanish and Latin American History, US History, World Civilizations, and Economics to a wide range of students from preschoolers to adults.


Ava Hampton

Public Outreach Manager

Ava Hampton is the Public Outreach Manager for the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area and has been with the Journey since 2023. She received her B.A. from Harvard University in 2021, with a concentration in History and Literature on the American Studies track and a secondary in History of Art and Architecture. Her undergraduate work focused on the origins and evolution of American cultural institutions, particularly museums. Ava has previously held positions in public engagement and development departments at the Harvard Art Museums, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.


Becky Wilhelm


Becky Wilhelm joined the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership in March 2022.  Becky oversees the accounting and finances of the organization, including the areas of budgeting, compliance and financial reporting. Becky is a graduate of the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business and has been a Certified Public Accountant since 1996. Prior to working for the Journey Through Hallowed Ground, Becky worked as an external auditor and consultant for many clients in the DC metropolitan area. Becky is excited to be part of the JTHG team, working to further Preservation and Conservation in the National Heritage Area, as well as supporting its exciting Educational initiatives, including the National History Academy and the Extreme Journey.

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Board of Trustees

Trustee Officers

Chuck Ledsinger

Mr. Ledsinger is the Chairman and Managing Director of SunBridge Capital Management and Chairman of Sunburst Hospitality Corporation.


Mr. Ledsinger is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Choice Hotels International, Inc., where he served from 1998 until 2008. In 2006, he was elected Vice Chairman. Mr. Ledsinger’s career includes nearly 20 years at Promus (now Hilton) and its predecessor companies. From 1988 to 1990, he served as Treasurer of Promus and in 1990 was named Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer after Promus’ sale of Holiday Inns to Bass, plc. In 1995, after managing the successful separation of Harrah’s and Promus in a spin-off to create two publicly traded companies, he was named the senior vice president and chief financial officer of Harrah’s Entertainment. Immediately prior to joining Choice, Mr. Ledsinger was President and Chief Operating Officer at St. Joe Company, Florida’s largest private landowner and developer of master-planned communities, resorts, and commercial and industrial facilities. He served on the Board of Darden Restaurants from 2005 to 2014 and is a former board member of Felcor Lodging Trust and TBC Corporation. He is a former Rector (Chairman) of the board of trustees at the University of Richmond and serves on the Board of Managers of Spider Management. He is the Chairman of the Investment Committee for the Bainum Family Foundation board and is a past Co-Chairman of the Industry Real Estate Financing Advisory Council of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Mr. Ledsinger is a former member of the board of trustees of the Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland, served as an Executive Board member of the Chickasaw Council of The Boy Scouts of America, is a former trustee at St. Mary’s Episcopal School, in Memphis, TN and a former member of the board of the Memphis Development Foundation (Orpheum Theatre). Mr. Ledsinger earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Memphis.


Kathleen Kilpatrick
Vice Chair

A native Virginian and resident of Goochland County, Ms. Kilpatrick served as Director of the Department of Historic Resources and State Historic Preservation Officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2001 to 2016. Ms. Kilpatrick began at the department as Deputy Director in 1995, bringing extensive experience in state and federal government and a broad background in natural and cultural resource policy. Before coming to the department, Ms. Kilpatrick served in state government as Special Assistant for Policy and Legislation to the Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources with oversight responsibilities for historic resources, game and inland fisheries, marine resources, state parks, and recreation. Her federal service includes five years with the U.S. Department of Interior as Senior Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget from 1988-93. In 1984, she was confirmed by the United States Senate to a six-year term on the National Council on the Humanities and served as chairman of the Committee on General Programs with policy and grant-making responsibilities for public programs conducted by museums, historical societies, libraries, radio, and television.


Jim Campi
Co-Secretary, Policy and Communications Director, American Battlefield Trust

Mr. Campi is the Policy and Communications Director for the American Battlefield Trust (ABT) and is responsible for overseeing all government and media relations at the national nonprofit organization. Prior to joining ABT, Mr. Campi worked for 14 years in political communication and administration, including serving as press secretary for U.S. Congressman George W. Gekas and spokesperson for the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law. He is also the veteran of more than 60 national, state, and local political campaigns. He currently serves on the boards of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground and Franklin’s Charge (Tennessee). Mr. Campi is a free-lance writer; his first book, Civil War Battlefields Then and Now, was published by Thunder Bay in November 2002. He was most recently a contributor to The Political Lincoln: An Encyclopedia, published by CQ Press in 2008. Mr. Campi is a graduate of Elizabethtown College, near Hershey, Pennsylvania; he and his wife Jennifer live in Springfield, Va.

Elizabeth Merritt
Co-Secretary, Deputy General Counsel, National Trust for Historic Preservation

Elizabeth Merritt is Deputy General Counsel at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, where she has been responsible for the National Trust’s advocacy and litigation program for more than 30 years. In the administrative, judicial, and legislative arenas, the National Trust serves as an advocate to enforce federal and state historic preservation laws. Ms. Merritt has represented the National Trust in more than 150 historic preservation cases in federal and state courts, including at least two dozen transportation cases. She is nationally recognized for her expertise on federal historic preservation law, including Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. In addition to her advocacy and litigation experience, Ms. Merritt has lectured widely on preservation law and has testified before Congress in support of transportation legislation. She has also participated actively in efforts around the country to resolve preservation controversies through negotiation and mediation, particularly major transportation projects affecting historic properties. Ms. Merritt is a native of Seattle, Washington. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 1980, and from Mills College, in Oakland, California, in 1976.

Chris Wall

Treasurer, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

As Pillsbury’s senior international trade partner, Christopher Wall focuses his practice on export controls and sanctions, foreign investment, international trade proceedings and policy.Chris advises clients on commercial and military export licensing, compliance and enforcement matters; OFAC and other economic sanctions; national security (CFIUS) reviews and investigations; anti-boycott compliance and enforcement; the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act; import relief proceedings; NAFTA and WTO dispute resolution; Court of International Trade appeals; bilateral investment treaties; complex Customs matters; and trade policy and legislation. A past Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration, Chris works closely with a wide range of U.S. government agencies.


Dominique Castanheira
Business Analyst, McKinsey & Company

Dominique Castanheira is a Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company, where she specializes in sustainability and operations. She previously worked as an Investment Banker with Morgan Stanley, advising clean energy clients across M&A and capital market platforms. Dominique served as the Secretary-General (President) of Yale Model United Nations, the largest Model UN conference on an Ivy League campus. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Yale International Relations Association, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to promoting a better understanding of global affairs. In 2019, Dominique studied at the National History Academy, an educational program operated by Journey Through Hallowed Ground, where she received the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Award. Dominique is a 2024 graduate of Yale University, where she earned her B.A. in Ethics, Politics and Economics.


Peter Friedman
Partner, O’Melveny & Meyers LLP

Peter Friedman is a nationally acclaimed bankruptcy and restructuring litigator. He successfully represents troubled borrowers and public entities and their stakeholders, including lenders, bondholders, investors, and officers and directors, in bankruptcy courts, district courts and courts of appeals across the country. In the past two years, he has litigated on behalf of the Governors of California and Puerto Rico in separate high profile restructuring matters. He also currently represents a variety of financial institutions and high net worth individuals in fraudulent transfer litigation. Peter is listed as a leading bankruptcy lawyer in Chambers USA (2010-19). Chambers describes Peter as “an outstanding oral advocate” who “always thinks outside the box,” an “excellent litigator with a unique ability to synthesize complex legal issues,” and is focused on “getting to a creative resolution.” Peter is also a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy.


Gertraud Hechl
Consultant and Representative in Mid-Atlantic office, Bonhams, Auctioneers, and Appraisers

Gertraud Hechl is a board member of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground since 2015. She is active in fundraising for the Piedmont Environmental Council, a partner of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground, to support its mission of promoting and protecting the Virginia Piedmont. She is also the Bonhams representative in the Mid-Atlantic area. Gertraud holds a degree in strategic management from Witschaftsuniversität Wien in Austria and serves on the Board of the Community Music School of the Piedmont, the Music in the Country committee of Washington Performing Arts and the Grace Church Concert Series.


Hollis McLoughlin

Hollis McLoughlin recently retired from FreddieMac where he served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications/External Relations and Chief of Staff. Prior to that, he served as Chief Operating Officer of two private equity-backed operating companies. He was one of the founding partners of Darby Overseas, a private equity partnership based in Washington, DC. He was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under President George H.W. Bush, serving as Counselor to the Secretary. He also has been a senior executive at Purolator Courier, an overnight delivery company and privately held transportation company. He served as chief of staff to Sen. Nicholas Brady, R-N.J., in 1982 and to Rep. Millicent Fenwick, R-N.J., from 1975 to 1979. He graduated from Harvard University. Hollis is a trustee of the National Building Museum and a former board member of the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation. He is a member and former Governor of the Metropolitan Club of the City of Washington.


Kenneth  D. Merin

Ken received his B.A. and LL.M degrees from  George Washington University, and his J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law.  He has worked for the United States Congress, served as Commissioner of Insurance for the State of New Jersey, and has been a partner with New York and New Jersey law firms. He has served on the Board of The Charles Hayden Foundation since 1991, and was President of the Foundation from 2000 through 2021. He has been a Director or Trustee of various government, for-profit and not for profit organizations. Ken served as an infantry officer in the United States Army, and is a veteran of the Vietnam War.

Christopher Miller
President, Piedmont Environmental Council

Christopher G. Miller has served as Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) President since January 1, 1996. He is an attorney with expertise in environmental and transportation policy. Mr. Miller is responsible for overall management and strategic planning for PEC, including the land conservation program, land use policy, smart growth and transportation policies. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the Coalition for Smarter Growth and serves on the boards of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, the Virginia Conservation Network, the Chesapeake Crescent initiative, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, and the Nonprofit Roundtable of Washington, D.C.. Mr. Miller initially worked for PEC as coordinator of the successful campaign that challenged Disney’s America development proposal. Prior to joining PEC, he was Assistant Director for Federal Affairs at the Surface Transportation Policy Project, a national non-profit transportation organization based in Washington, D.C. Until 1993, he was an Associate with the law firm of Beveridge & Diamond, P. C. Mr. Miller also worked for the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Environmental Law Institute, and the American Council on U.S./Soviet Relations. In 2004, Mr. Miller received the Virginia Conservation Network’s Blue Ridge Award for outstanding conservation leadership in the Piedmont. He acquired his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and B.A. with honors in Environmental Studies from Williams College. Chris Miller is married to Catherine Anthony and has two daughters, Caroline and Claire.

Martha Raymond

Before her retirement from the National Park Service in 2020, Martha Raymond worked 42 years in historic preservation and cultural resource partnerships. From 2008-
2020 Martha served as the National Coordinator for Heritage Areas in Washington, D.C. During that time she served for two years as Co-Chair of the NPS Partnerships Council and represented heritage areas as a member of the NPS Tourism Council. Martha began her National Park Service career in 1976 with the Publications Branch of the National Register of Historic Places. After earning a Masters of Science in Historic Preservation from Columbia University, Martha rejoined NPS with the Historic American Engineering Record and then the Mid-Atlantic Regional Office, as team leader for Historic Tax Credit reviews. From 1991-2007 Martha worked in Ohio with the State Historic Preservation Office as Department Head for Technical Preservation Services, providing technical preservation assistance and state-level reviews of federal Historic Tax Credit projects. Since retiring from NPS, Martha volunteers locally as a member of the Historic Alexandria Resources Commission in Alexandria, VA.


David Vela
Retired Deputy Director/Acting Director of the National Park Service

David Vela retired from the National Park Service in September 2020 after 30 years with the agency, most recently serving as Deputy Director, Exercising the Authority of the Director. During his tenure, Mr. Vela championed “NPS NEXT, A Second Century of Service,” an initiative designed to modernize the agency’s business practices and engage a new, diverse generation of resource conservation stewards to the NPS mission. Mr. Vela’s previous assignments included Superintendent of Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, Regional Director of the NPS Southeast Region, Superintendent of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, Superintendent of Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, and Superintendent of Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site. In addition, he served as Director of the Texas Child Support program under the Attorney General of Texas.  Mr. Vela is an alumnus of Texas A&M University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in recreation and parks.  He and his wife Melissa, have two children, and seven grandchildren.


David F. Williams

Mr. Williams practiced law with Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, where he was a partner resident in the Washington, D.C. office. His practice concentrated in commercial litigation. He has represented a broad array of corporations, financial services institutions, and individuals in various areas of the law including antitrust, banking, bankruptcy, contract disputes, environmental, real estate, insurance disputes, and other areas. He also has represented nonprofits and individuals on a pro bono basis in environmental, historic preservation, and civil rights matters. Mr. Williams is a graduate of Yale College (B.A. 1974) and the University of Virginia School of Law (J.D. 1979). From 1996-2006 and again in January 2009 going forward, he has been a member of the Board of Directors of Oatlands Plantation, located on Route 15 in Loudoun County, a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. Mr. Williams, and his wife, Cary, have three sons and live in Chevy Chase, MD. He and his family own Little Oatlands, which borders Route 15 and is adjacent to Oatlands in the Oatlands Historic District.


Trustee Emeritus

Jim Moorman


Mr. Moorman, now retired, pursued an active career in environmental and public interest law.  Among other things, he co-founded the Center for Law and Social Policy where he pursued major efforts to implement the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), ban the broad spectrum biocide DDT, to protect our National Forests, and establish the rights of citizen organizations to use the judicial process to protect the environment.  Mr. Moorman was also a founder of the Environmental Law Institute, which he subsequently served as a board member and as chairman.  During the Carter presidency, Mr. Moorman served as Assistant Attorney General of Environment and Natural Resources, overseeing a docket of 27,000 matters.  Mr. Moorman also served as a partner in the law firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham, and Taft for many years.  Most recently he served as president of Taxpayers Against Fraud.  TAF provides support for Whistleblower and their lawyers that use the False Claims Act.  Mr. Moorman received both his AB and LLB from Duke University, where he was an Angier B. Duke Scholar.  After law school, he served a term in the Army and commenced the practice of law at Davis Polk and Wardwell in New York.


National Advisory Council


Susan Barnes,
The Landmark Group of Companies

Leslie Greene Bowman,
President Thomas Jefferson Foundation

Susan Eisenhower,
President, Eisenhower Institute

Gilbert M. Grosvenor,
Retired Chairman, National Geographic Society

John Glynn,
Glynn Capital Management

Kat Imhoff

Jim Johnson,
Perseus LLC

Mark John Kington,
X-10 Capital, LLC

Robert A. Kinsley,
Kinsley Construction, Inc.

Nick and Mary Lynn Kotz,
Protect Historic America

O. James Lighthizer,
Former PresidentAmerican Battlefield Trust

Jacqueline Mars

Ron Maxwell,
Producer and Filmmaker

Stephanie Meeks,
National Trust for Historic Preservation

John Nau,
Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P.

Libby Haight O’Connell,
Former Historian, History Channel

Gordon Rainey,
Hunton & Williams

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