Team & Leadership

Staff

 

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.

 

Laura Lake

Admissions and Recruiting Coordinator

Laura Lake is the Admissions and Recruiting Coordinator for the National History Academy and works to promote awareness about the program and application process to prospective students and parents.

Laura has been with the National History Academy since January 2018 and comes from a background in tourism and hospitality, working with the local tourism bureau, historic sites and in event management. Laura has a B.A. in foreign language and print journalism from American University.

Laura Lake. Admissions and Recruiting Coordinator

 

Penny Williams

Controller

penny's headshot
Penny Williams has served as the Controller of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership since 2015. Penny oversees the accounting and finances of the organization, including the areas of budgeting, compliance and financial reporting. Penny 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, Penny worked as an external auditor and consultant for many nonprofit clients in the DC metropolitan area. She also served as the Controller for several nonprofits prior to joining the Journey. Penny 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.

 

Katherine G. Wilkins

Director of Public Outreach and Community Engagement

Katherine Grayson Wilkins has worked for many years for a wide variety of issues, including education, historic preservation, and the environment. In all of these areas, she has enjoyed connecting people with causes and especially working with volunteers, and being a volunteer herself.

Before joining the Journey staff in 2015, Katherine worked as Director of Development for Give an Hour, a national nonprofit that provides free mental health care to veterans, active duty service members, and their families; and in the development office and Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation at Washington National Cathedral, Washington, DC. Katherine served as Chair of the Board of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library in Staunton, VA. She received a BA in history from Yale University. Katherine is a partner in her family’s Blue Ridge Farm near Upperville, Virginia.

Katherine Wilkins, Director of Public Outreach and Community Engagement

 

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Board of Trustees

Trustee Officers

Chuck Ledsinger
Chair

 

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
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.

 

Christopher Miller
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.

Trustees

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.

 

Elizabeth Merritt
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
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.

 

Elizabeth von Hassell
Executive Director, National Sporting Library and Museum

 

Elizabeth von Hassell has served as the Executive Director of the National Sporting Library & Museum since December of 2018. Prior to joining the NSLM, von Hassell previously served as the Director of Development at James Madison’s Montpelier. In that capacity, she worked closely with Montpelier’s leadership on conservation and preservation projects. Before joining Montpelier in 2014, von Hassell worked at Shenandoah University and spent 25 years living and working between New York City and Clarke County, Virginia as a Vice President of Marketing in the pharmaceutical industry. She was born in Winchester, Virginia. She is a graduate of Hollins University. Von Hassell is currently on the Board of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground, Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, and has served on the Boards of the Preservation Alliance of Virginia, Millwood Country Club, Long Branch Historic Plantation, Old Chatham Hunt Club, and the Lost Brigade Wounded Warrior Foundation. Von Hassell is an avid outdoor person, and enjoys riding, hiking, canoeing, fishing, shooting, and tennis.

 

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

David Collins,
Founder, Learning Tree International

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,
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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