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.
Paul Chafe, Vice Chair
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 enjoys canoeing, woodworking, and hiking with his family.
Courtney Harnum, Treasurer
Courtney is an electrical engineer working in the energy industry. She grew up in St. John’s, but has strong family ties to Winterton, with the majority of her family residing in the community, and many summers spent in the community and the Outside Pond RV Park. Her grandfather, Jim Harnum, was mayor of the town for several years. Growing up, Courtney loved to go fishing with her dad during the summers and always visited the Museum. She completed her heritage fair social studies project in junior high on the history of boat building in Newfoundland. Joining the Wooden Boat Museum Board of Directors is her way of giving back to the community that raised her.
Courtney has previously served on the Board of Directors for Women in Science and Engineering Newfoundland and Labrador (WISENL) and is passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM.
Lionel Clarke now lives in St. John’s, but had the great good fortune to grow up with wooden boats. Long before the cod moratorium, Lionel, his brother and their friends were allowed to run around loose in Springdale, Twillingate and Carbonear, on the hills, the beaches and the wharves, and out in boat. In those days there were passenger boats and trap skiffs in every harbour, punts at every wharf and stage, and schooners were still a familiar sight. Lionel learned to row before he learned to swim.
After high school in St. John’s Lionel went to Memorial University for a few years, Dalhousie for a few more, and University of Toronto for a few after that, managing to parlay a political science degree into post-grad work in Beijing, China for a couple of adventurous years. Returning to Canada, he went to work in a tire factory for several years, before earning a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto.
Practicing labour law, as a staff lawyer for a national public sector trade union, brought Lionel back home to Newfoundland in 1991. He retired from that position in 2007, but retirement didn’t take. He is now working as a public servant in the information and privacy field. Lionel currently lives in St. John’s, spends a lot of his free time playing music with friends, and with his wife Debra, travels to Scotland and other places in Europe as frequently as decently possible. He often wishes he owned a boat.
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.
Lee Hedd is a Naval Architect and business leader with over twenty-five years of experience in managing marine design and Research & Development projects across the globe. Raised just a stone’s throw from the steps of the Wooden Boat Museum in Winterton, Lee grew up surrounded by wooden boats and influenced by the local inshore fishing industry.
His professional experience has ranged from the development of designs and concepts for large high-speed catamaran ferries and novel marine vehicles to the management of hydrodynamic studies for a wide-range of vessels and offshore structures, including winning America’s Cup yachts. Lee has an international reputation for his expertise in design-contraction and has published and presented papers at numerous industry conferences including Mari-Tech, Arctic Technology Conference, Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering (OMAE), SNAME Maritime Convention, Tugs and Barges, International Conference on Fast Sea Transportation (FAST), Symposium on High Speed Marine Vehicles (HSMV).
Outside of his role as Director of Business Development for Oceanic Consulting Corporation, Lee maintains a keen interest in the development of numerical simulation techniques and their expanding application to Naval Architecture. He is a Naval Architecture graduate of the Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador and is an active member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME), where he has held several executive positions at the Section Level.
Lee enjoys being on the ocean as much as possible and can usually be found on Winterton’s traditional fishing grounds during the annual recreational cod fishery.
Beverley began her career working with Abitibi Price in Buchans as a Clerk Accountant with the Mineral Exploration Department. She continued working in the Mining/Exploration field as an Exploration Assistant with various mining companies including BP Canada, Royal Oak Mines and Voisey’s Bay Nickel. Beverley joined the Wooden Boat Museum of NL in 2008 as the Administrative Assistant and became the Project Manager in 2009. She is experienced in Project Management, Human Resources, Office Administration and Occupational Health and Safety. In 2020, Beverley retired from her position as Project Manager with the Museum to pursue her lifelong goal of opening a bakery, Just Like Sisters Bakery & Sweet Shop, in the community of Heart’s Content.
Max is a native Newfoundlander, born and raised in Grand Bank. He is a professional engineer who graduated from Nova Scotia Technical College in 1968. He has significant experience in engineering design and construction, government and regulatory service, offshore support services and offshore fabrication/shipbuilding. His senior appointments have included President and CEO of Marystown Shipyard Limited, Deputy Minister of the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology and Chairman and CEO of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board. Max was named as a Fellow by Engineers Canada in 2009, and received PEGNL’s Award of Merit in 2014. He is currently an independent consultant, offering services to the offshore oil and gas industry.
Michael is a passionate educator and Social Studies Department Head at Beaconsfield Junior High School in St. John’s. Raised in Rodgers Cove, Gander Bay, Mike graduated from Memorial University with a B.A. in Political Science and History and later completed his B.Ed and his Masters degree in Education.
Michael’s passion for preserving culture was reignited while teaching in Sandy Lake, ON where he worked with Elders to seek ways to bring traditional teachings to the classroom. After the birth of his daughter in 2000, Michael and his family returned to Winterton, his wife’s hometown. He continues to work in education and currently resides in Mount Pearl with his wife, Darlene (Evans), daughter, Bethany and son, Mark.
Having taught the Grade 8 Social Studies course in NL Culture for many years, Michael realized there was a better and more engaging way to teach the curriculum than through a textbook and has been taking students on an ‘Excursion Around the Bay”, including a stop at the Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador, since 2018. Michael emphasizes that young people today need to know their past in order to understand their future and believed it is imperative that the skills, knowledge and tools of the past continue to be shared.