Whidbey Island Center for the Arts
Board of Directors
Jon Wilbert (Chair) is currently the U.S. Business Development Manager at Hewlett Packard Co. for HP’s Managed Print Services delivery organization. Jon has been with HP 33 years and has held numerous positions including Customer Engineer, Project Manager, Storage Business Manager, Services Portfolio Manager and Western & Central Region Delivery Manager. Jon started his career in computers at Western Power Systems by installing and supporting Energy Management Systems in the Los Angeles area. Jon earned his B.S. Degree in Electronic Engineering Technology from California Polytechnic University. In addition to his professional career, Jon spent many years at the San Gabriel Civic Auditorium working as a Flyman, Set Rigger, Set Construction, Front Light operator, Light Board operator and Sound Board operator. He was also a founding member of the Music Theater of Southern California (aka San Gabriel Valley Civic Light Opera) where he performed a variety of technical roles. In later years, Jon volunteered as a crew member of the Inland Pacific Ballet Company, where he built sets and operated a carbon-arc spotlight for many IPB performances including too many performances of The Nutcracker to count!
Kathy Wilson (Vice chair/Chair Elect) left a 17-year career at IBM as Vice President of Marketing for the U.S. and joined Talegen Holdings as a Managing Director. There she worked with a variety of insurance companies to help develop technology, personnel, and marketing strategies to position them for mergers with other insurance companies. Kathy and her husband Clyde have been on Whidbey since 1997 and joined the WICA Stage Two Capital Campaign in 2007. They recently retired to Whidbey as full-time residents.
Mark Gappa (Treasurer) is a senior level executive with extensive experience leading organizational change and strategic business initiatives. He has a broad, global leadership perspective with the ability to develop solutions to complex problems. He has extensive experience working with boards of directors and corporate governance issues. Mark’s career as a Human Resources executive spanned 30 years working for such companies as Target Stores, Medtronic, AT&T Wireless, and Recreational Equipment, Inc. At REI, Mark was a corporate officer and held the positions of Vice President, Human Resources and Vice President, International Sales. Since leaving the private sector, Mark has volunteered his time to a number of community groups, notably the Goosefoot Community Fund, where he served on the board of directors for seven years, as Treasurer for four years, and had a variety of committee assignments including Executive, Planning, Real Estate Development, and Finance (where he still serves). At Goosefoot, Mark has played a crucial role in the acquisition, redevelopment and financing of the Bayview Shopping Center, and opening The Goose Grocer. Mark and his wife Sandra have owned a home on South Whidbey for over 20 years, residing here full time since 2002.
Debra Campbell (Secretary) received her B.S. in English literature, theater, speech, and journalism at The Ohio State University where she was student director of the OSU Children's Theater. Debra spent 20+ years as corporate human resources executive in the technology and telecommunications industries where she specialized in organizational development, executive coaching, leadership development, and mergers and acquisitions. She was on the executive management committees for the CompuServe / WorldCom-MCI / AOL merger as well as the the AirTouch Communications / Vodafone / Verizon Wireless mergers. She is a graduate of the Center for Creative Leadership’s ‘Executive Development Program’ and the Michigan Ross Executive Education’s ‘Advanced Human Resources Executive Program’. She has been an award-winning interior designer for the past 16 years, specializing in residential design. She was secretary of Island Shakespeare Festival’s board of directors and served on the Executive Committee. She recently joined the board of directors of CADA (Citizens Against Domestic and Sexual Abuse). An avid photographer, her photos have been featured in the Whidbey Camano Land Trust annual calendar and local publications.
Bob Davidson graduated from the University of Washington in 1962. He was the Northwest manager for Mattel, Inc. for ten years; sales manager for Supra Products for nine years; built 3,000 apartments in the Seattle area during the 1990s; owned a wholesale food company for ten years; and was the national sales manager for A&T Ski Company for five years. Bob is presently retired and lives/travels between his homes in Seattle, Whidbey, and LaQuinta, CA.
Geri Forbes recently arrived on Whidbey Island to become the CEO of Whidbey Health Medical Center and Clinics. She holds a BSW/Psychology and Education from Eastern Michigan University and a Masters in Healthcare Administration from Strayer University, Washington DC with a focus in Rural Health and Telemedicine. With her extensive background in hospital care, Geri has served on numerous non-profit boards, including Florida Rural Health Association (President), Big Bend Rural Health Association, North Florida Area Agency on Aging, North Florida Workforce Development, Florida Hospital Association Executive Board, Washington Hospital Association Rural Executive Board, and Washington NW Healthcare Council. Her most recent role was as CEO at Doctors’ Memorial Hospital in rural north Florida. After leading a financial turnaround for Doctors Memorial Hospital, Geri and her husband John took on a new adventure and moved after 25 years in Florida to the magnificent Pacific NW. Geri and John have one daughter, Amanda, who lives in Florida with her husband Bobby.
Ed Gemkow (Facilities Committee)is founder and former co-owner of Gemkow Construction, a local general contracting company. As a native of Chicago, Ed attended the University of Illinois, Circle Campus for four years before moving to Seattle and completing a B.S. degree in Building Construction from the University of Washington. Prior to moving to Whidbey Island, Ed supervised and/or managed large scale commercial construction projects for both Sellen Construction and Bayley Construction of Seattle, WA. After moving to Whidbey Island, Ed was VP in charge of construction for Island Construction of Oak Harbor and he built the original WICA Phase One project. After managing Island Construction for eight years and building many other notable local buildings and custom homes, he opened his own company with his wife Marge. Since opening their own company they have been responsible for building and remodeling many local commercial construction projects, including WICA Stage Two, and many fine custom homes. Ed’s wife Marge is a previous WICA board member.
Karen Leeds received her B.A. in English literature from Adelphi University in Garden City, NY. Following graduation, she joined the Peace Corps and served in Ethiopia where she taught English as a Second Language to ninth graders. Upon her return to the U.S., Karen moved from New York to Los Angeles and worked as an executive assistant at advertising agencies whose clients included the Century Plaza Hotel, Varian, Raytheon, and Toyota Motors. In the early 1990’s, she and her husband Bill formed The Leeds Company, which designed lead generation and marketing programs for medical and high-tech clients. They closed the company when they moved to Whidbey Island in 2001, where they formed Leeds Consulting Group, which currently provides the same services. Karen is a photographer and a member of the Whidbey Allied Artists where she is co-chair of the show committee. She has been a volunteer at the Admiralty Head Lighthouse for the past six years, serving as a docent and in the gift shop, and has been a volunteer at WICA since moving to Whidbey.
Earl Lasher (WICA Foundation liaison) received a Juris Doctor from the University of Washington in 1966 and is the founder of Lasher Holzapfel Sperry & Ebberson. He is the owner of Ray’s Boathouse and Yarrow Bay Grill restaurants; the founder and director of the federally chartered Commerce Bank; a finalist for Appointment to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals; a Superior Court Judge Pro Tem; an adjunct professor at the University of Puget Sound Law School; former member of Children’s Hospital and Medical Center Foundation, Northwest Hospital Foundation, Friends of Youth, YMCA of Greater Seattle, and Odyssey Maritime Museum. He is a professional watercolorist and is currently on the board of the Coupeville Arts Center. Earl returns to the WICA board of directors as the liaison for the newly-formed WICA Foundation.
David Melman and his wife Susan have maintained a home on Whidbey since 2002. Originally from New York City, they migrated to Lafayette, Louisiana, the heart of Cajun Country, and then to Houston, Texas. David holds a B.S. in Economics and Accounting from Queens College in New York, a Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School and a Masters of Law (LLM) from New York University Graduate School of Law. After practicing law for several years he joined, and ultimately became president of, an American Stock Exchange listed investment company. Subsequently he moved to Louisiana, taking the position of General Counsel with an international oil and gas exploration company. The following twenty-seven years were spent commuting to China, Ukraine, Mozambique, Madagascar, England, and Canada before closing his Houston office and settling full time on Whidbey in March 2011. He has served on numerous boards of directors of oil companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, and the Toronto Stock Exchange. During the years, he has assisted Susan in bringing musical theater pieces to New Orleans; Edinburgh, Scotland; and off-Broadway in New York.
Robert W. Merry, a Washington native, spent forty years in Washington, D.C., as political reporter, newsroom executive, corporate CEO, political commentator, and historian. He covered Congress, the White House, and national politics for The Wall Street Journal for a decade, then spent 22 years at Congressional Quarterly as the company’s top editor and CEO. At CQ he won a reputation as a pioneer in digital publishing. After CQ was sold to The Economist of London in 2009, Merry became editor of the foreign policy journal The National Interest. Merry’s books include biographies of postwar columnists Joseph and Stewart Alsop, and President James Polk, who took America into the Mexican War and expanded U.S. territory by a third. The Alsop book won an Ambassador award from the New York-based English-Speaking Union, while the Polk biography was a New York Times bestseller. Merry now lives on Whidbey Island, where he is working on a book on William McKinley and America’s march toward empire.
Judy Morton has spent over forty years of her professional life in health care. She taught management / leadership at the University of Washington Dental School, served as Director of Organizational Development for the physician group practice at Pacific Medical Center, led the Service Quality Department at Group Health, served as Vice President of Quality at Premera, and was the Chief Quality Officer for the Swedish system of hospitals. Over the last ten years she has focused her work on consulting and partnering with various health care leaders and teams as they work to improve key aspects of organizational performance. Judy also served as a senior examiner for the U.S. Department of Commerce Malcolm Baldrige Award for several years. Judy’s Ph.D. is in Education and Business from the University of Washington. She and her husband Bill are Pacific Northwest natives and have recently moved to Whidbey Island.
Bill Nesbeitt commenced studying violin in 1948 under Trude Huttenbach, who had toured the great stages of Europe as an incredible young concert violinist. After years of pleasure derived from fine arts under Trude's instruction, Bill received offer of a scholarship to attend the Julliard School of Music in New York City. Although Bill greatly appreciated that honor, he elected to accept appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1957. Graduating in 1961 with a commission, he served as an officer in the U.S. Army. Years later, after doing a small part helping defend the free world, he separated from the Army and entered the business world. Bill held various positions – chief engineer of a heavy construction firm, manager-of-manufacturing of a mid-sized conglomerate, corporate technical director of a Texas manufacturer, and president/executive director of an international association of pipe manufacturers. In the entrepreneurial business world, his positions included vice president of a pipe, valve, and fitting company serving six southwest states and president of a consulting company serving the water, wastewater, and irrigation industries. Those years culminated in his service for a decade as the CEO of an industrial biotech corporation operating in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. In the course of those business years, Bill never abandoned an abiding love for the arts. He enjoyed the high privilege of serving two terms as board president of a large symphony orchestra for budding young musicians.
Pamela Schell (Board Development) served on the original WICA Capital Campaign to build a community home in Langley for the full spectrum of the arts. She served on the Intiman Theatre board for 20 years and with the Intiman Foundation for four years. While her husband Paul Schell was mayor of Seattle (1998-2002) she enjoyed opportunities to participate in community service like the Compass Center (transitional housing for women), having trained as an RN. Together, Pam and Paul built the Inn at Langley, and with partners, the Boatyard Inn. They became full-time Whidbey residents in 2003. Paul served on the Board of WICA soon after, and Pam joined in 2011. She holds WICA to be the soul of this community and is happy to do all she can to promote its mission.
Aaron Simpson brings a vibrant youth component to the Board of Directors. Raised on Whidbey, Aaron returned to the Island after completing his Bachelor’s degree and began to make a difference in the community. He is currently the chair of the Island County Democratic party; treasurer of the Langley Chamber of Commerce; board member of Langley Main Street Association and the Langley Planning Advisory Commission; and chair of WICA’s audience development committee. In his free time, Aaron flies planes.
Greg Strom is a filmmaker, media producer, director, and editor with a history of helming national television commercials, music videos, and feature documentary films. His career has included directing spots featured on the Super Bowl, while working with celebrities Michael Jackson, Martin Sheen, Dan Aykroyd, Larry Hagman, Joan Rivers, and Burt Lancaster, among many others. In addition, he is the co-author of an online, university accredited Personal Leadership Development program that has been used by over 50,000 people in over 50 countries worldwide. He currently serves as Co-Founder and Vice President, Head of Worldwide Media for an internationally award-winning personal development company. He also publishes a blog and bi-weekly podcast at his web site, The "Mile That Matters with Greg Strom" (themilethatmatters.com). He, and his wife, Susan, are originally from the area, and recently moved back after 30 years living in New York, Los Angeles, and internationally. They love living on Whidbey Island!
Angela Vosburg was co-owner of China City Restaurant and Properties, LLC for sixteen years where she created processes and protocols for front of house activities and oversaw customer relations, marketing, human resources, and cross-location training and development. Utilizing her industry resources and exposure, she consistently spearheaded innovative fundraising events and community involvement. After growing and establishing the Freeland and Oak Harbor (Whidbey Island) restaurant locations, the corporation opened a third location in Mill Creek, building and designing their own footprint. Finding a love for that aspect, she is now pursuing her career in design at Flat Rock Productions. She has served on numerous boards and committees, executively as chair and co-chair, as well as volunteered for many organizations: American Cancer Society, Rotary of South Whidbey, Relay for Life, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and Readiness to Learn Foundation. She has been a director of the Greater Freeland Chamber of Commerce since 2008. Angela was adopted from South Korea at six months of age and was raised on Whidbey Island. She still has a passion for dance, and she danced for many years and performed on the WICA stage with the Seattle Shakespeare Theater and for Kaleidoscope. A 2001 graduate of South Whidbey High School, Angela currently resides in Freeland with her son Jacob.