The Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador is operated by a volunteer Board of Directors. If you are interested in joining our team of dedicated directors, please contact Beverley King at (709) 583-2070. WBMNL is currently seeking volunteers to fill positions on committees dedicated to revenue development, workshop programming, heritage documentation, communications, governance and education. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are interested in playing an active role in the future of our prospering organization.
2016-17 Board of Directors
Jim Dempsey, Chair
Jim Dempsey has lived in Newfoundland for more than half of his lifetime. Growing up on Vancouver Island, he was fortunate to spend his summers on the water in small boats. At times, he had two clinker-built skiffs which he used for short adventures or camping trips in the Gulf Islands. Today Jim lives by the sea in Flatrock with his wife, Catherine and has a Henry Vokey rodney and a Norwegian-styled light weight skiff.
Jim was educated in the marine sciences. Since leaving school, he has worked as a contract consultant for marine-based industries. In British Columbia, he was the skipper of a 40 ft. work boat and travelled between the Columbia River to Alaska for work. In 1981, offshore oil brought him to St. John’s and where he spent years of his life on supply vessels measuring ocean currents and waves with the occasional iceberg on the side. In those years when the offshore was quiet, there always seemed to be something to do in Labrador. In his time in Newfoundland, he has sailed the east coast of Canada from Sable Island to Baffin Bay.
Today, he has turned his mixed environmental and marine operations experiences into a role as an emergency and oil spill response advisor. Jim learned his carpentry skills at his father’s side. There were even a few plywood boats in those days. At one point, Jim attempted to get a shipwright’s apprenticeship at the navy yard in Esquimalt. After two years of trying, he was told that they shop were leery of university boys and he gave it up. Jim promised himself that, at some point, life would include building small wooden boats. The museum has proved to be a friendly way to get into boat building where he coordinates the workshop program.
Ray Piercey, Treasurer
Ray Piercey is a Certified Information Systems Professional (ISP) with 30+ years of experience in the area of Information Technology (IT) management. He has extensive experience in the areas of Strategic Planning, Project Management, Contract Management, Policy Development, IT Budgeting, Business/Systems Analysis, Design, Implementation and Programming. Over the years, Ray has been Project Leader for several large-scale IT Projects giving him extensive experience in the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
Ray fished 3 cod traps from wooden boats at Hant’s Harbour from June to September 1968 after finishing Grade 11 and before starting Memorial University (MUN).
Ray holds B.Sc. (Mathematics) and B.Ed. (High School) degrees from MUN and an Information Systems Professional (ISP) certification with the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS). Ray and his wife Sandra reside in Paradise and have two grown children, residing in St. John’s, along with one Grandson. Ray and Sandra also maintain the Piercey homestead in Hant’s Harbour which they use as a summer cottage.
Chris Brooks, Director
Chris Brooks is a Newfoundland independent radio producer who has crafted audio documentaries professionally for three decades. These documentaries have won many international awards and have been broadcast around the world. Some have even been about boats. He has directed documentaries for Canadian network television, is a published author and playwright, and has taught documentary storytelling at workshops in North America and Europe. Before coming to radio, in the 1970’s he founded the Mummers Troupe Theatre and pioneered the use of theatre as a vehicle for community development.
He has been named an International Audio Luminary by the 3rd Coast International Audio Festival, is inducted to the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Hall of Fame, holds an honorary doctorate from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and is a recipient of the Order of Canada. Chris cares passionately about Newfoundland heritage, and most recently has developed smartphone audio apps about community history and fishing heritage. He’s been the proud owner of a Henry Vokey-built Rodney for 19 years, and is sometimes found rowing it around St. John’s harbour. He lives on the Battery with a fiddler, a cat, and far too many seagulls.
Paul Chafe, Director
Paul Chafe is an award-winning architect with eight years of international industry experience. Born and raised in St. John’s, Paul is passionate about Newfoundland & Labrador heritage, specifically vernacular architecture. He was the designer of the Quidi Vidi Village Plantation – recipient of the Southcott Award for New Building Design, presented by the Newfoundland and Labrador Historic Trust. Paul also acted as Project Architect for the John C. Crosbie Sealers’ Interpretation Centre in Elliston.
Paul strives to design innovative, contemporary buildings that complement the character of the historical built environment. Paul has developed expertise in leading community design projects, as well as investigating and developing inventories of heritage buildings, structures, and landscape features.
In his spare time, Paul can be found canoeing, woodworking, and hiking with his wife and one year old daughter.
Donna Connors, Director
Donna grew up in a fishing family from Quidi Vidi, spending most of her childhood in and around the water. Nowadays, she resides in the small fishing community of Bauline. As a mother of three young boys and director at a non-profit community center in St. Johns, her busy schedule still allows her to be an avid lover of boats; in particular, rowing. Being in a boat on the water surrounded by the open ocean is a passion that has been passed down for generations. This passion had been paired with success, as Donna has participated in several boat racing regattas and has had the honor of winning several events. She has placed first in the Fogo Island Punt Race in 2014, 2015 and 2016. She has competed in the Royal St. Johns Regatta, landing in the championship race several times and is part of the reigning Female Championship Team of 2016. She has participated in the “Townie vs Bayman” Punt Race in St. John’s and has placed first in two of three competitions.
Donna prides herself on being the owner of two wooden punts and is committed to getting as many people rowing as possible. She is dedicated to preserving Newfoundland and Labrador’s heritage and giving people the opportunity to see the world from a little boat on the water.
Barry Darby, Director
Barry grew up in Burin and fished for seven seasons while obtaining a B.Sc and BA(Ed). A retired Educator, Barry spent most of his career at the College of North Atlantic teaching math and Physics. In the 1990’s he became the Fisheries Adjustment Coordinator for the St. John’s Campus. Volunteer activities include several decades in the union movement in a variety of capacities, nine years as a director on the Capital Coast Development Alliance (zone board for economic development for the NE Avalon) and twelve years as director of the Public Service Credit Union. Barry lives in St. John’s.
Heather Elliott, Director
Heather received her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Cultural Anthropology from Trent University, and her Post-Graduate Diploma in Museum Management and Curatorship from Fleming College, both in Peterborough, Ontario. As part of Fleming’s internship program, she spent a summer at The Rooms in St. John’s, and fell in love with Newfoundland.
In 2010, she permanently relocated here and never looked back. Since she was young, Heather has had a passion for maritime history. This, in addition to now living near the ocean, inspired her to create Original Shipster, a blog dedicated to sharing stories of ships and shipwrecks from across Canada. She is currently working at The Rooms Provincial Museum on the First World War project and is actively involved with Youth Heritage NL.
Everett Fancy, Director
Everett is a Professional Engineer and retired college administrator. He was born in Bishop’s Falls and spent his early years playing on the banks of the Exploits River. For the river, where he spent his summer days, he had access to family built wooden boats which included a punt, a Gander River boat, and various plywood flats. The Gander River boat was used for excursions out in Notre Dame Bay. To this day, Everett maintains a strong connection to boats and the sea.
After high school, Everett studied engineering at Memorial University of Newfoundland and at the Technical University of Nova Scotia, which lead to a career in heavy industry, education and consulting. During an industrial sabbatical from education in the late 70’s, Everett studied automation of the long line cod fishing industry, which lead to worldwide patents for baiting long lining gear.
Everett maintains his connection to industry through an association with a local environmental management firm, and his connection to the ocean with a small, but unfortunately not, wooden boat.
Frank French, Director
Frank’s educational pursuits started with his obtaining BA and BA (ed.) degrees as well as a Diploma in Industrial Arts, he taught on the Burin and Avalon Peninsulas until his retirement from teaching in 1998. He is currently working in a management position in the private sector. Frank has given many years to his community as a volunteer, particularly as a member of the Winterton Heritage Advisory Board, an Incorporating Director of the Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador, and now as Chair of the Museum Board of Directors. Frank’s father and grandfather were both traditional wooden boat builders. Frank makes his home in Winterton.
Rhonda McMeekin, Director
Rhonda McMeekin was born and raised on the Avalon Peninsula and currently calls Mount Pearl home. She has been employed at the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University for the last eight years. Holding a Bachelor of Arts in English and Sociology, and a Master’s in Education (Post-Secondary Studies), Rhonda fills her spare time as a self-employed social media consultant and is currently enrolled in the Diploma of Public Relations program at the University of Victoria.
As an avid community volunteer, Rhonda has been involved with politics in Newfoundland and Labrador for over 15 years, Scouts Canada and the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program. She has also played an active role on planning committees for community organizations such as Newfoundland and Labrador Volunteer Week and is formerly a representative for Newfoundland and Labrador on the Youth Advisory group for the Canadian Commission on UNESCO. The illegitimate love-child of strategy and creativity, Rhonda brings fresh perspective, vast knowledge and boundless energy to every aspect of her life.
Wallace Pinhorn, Director
Wallace is a Professional Engineer and is a Life Member of the Professional Association (PEGNL). He is a retired Newfoundland Power Executive. Wallace has been a Member of the Winterton Heritage Advisory Board since 2003 and is an Incorporating Director of the Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador. He makes his home in Winterton and St. John’s.
Ex-Officio Board Members:
Beverley King, Secretary
Melvin Green, Director