William W. Sellers
President and CEO
Chief Operating Officer
Director of Educational Programs, National History Academy
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.
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Board of Trustees
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.
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.
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.
Treasurer, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The Landmark Group of Companies
Leslie Greene Bowman,
President Thomas Jefferson Foundation
President, Eisenhower Institute
Gilbert M. Grosvenor,
Retired Chairman, National Geographic Society
Glynn Capital Management
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 President, American Battlefield Trust
Producer and Filmmaker
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P.
Libby Haight O’Connell,
Former Historian, History Channel
Hunton & Williams