FODC Governing Structure
Board of Directors
Brett Webber - President
Brett Webber , AIA, LEED AP, is a Principal of SPG3, an award-winning architecture and design firm specializing in high performance, sustainable design. His firm is located in Philadelphia and Bucks County. Brett is active in a number of local organizations, and his firm is a Business Member of the Friends. A longtime champion of industrial and architectural heritage preservation and environmental conservation, Brett adds his professional design and construction expertise to current and future projects.
Brett has relocated from Philadelphia to a historic farmhouse in Tinicum Township just above the Canal in Erwinna.
Jeff Connell - Vice President
There probably has been no one more determined to walk the full 58.9-mile length of the Delaware Canal than Jeff Connell. On Jeff's first try at the Friends' annual Canal Walk in 2009, the group had to turn around and head back to Easton because the Delaware River was flowing over the towpath. He persisted in 2010 and participated in four of the five Canal Walks. In 2011 and 2012, he prevailed and walked on each of the Saturdays detouring around damage and climbing over fallen trees with his fellow Canal Walkers. He now knows the route and routine so well that he served as a tour leader for the Lunch and Walk last March.
Jeff and his wife Robin live in Newtown, PA and have a second home in Lanoka Harbor, NJ. A graduate of Rider University, Jeff majored in finance and accounting. He has been a licensed real estate broker in New Jersey since 1978,and was President of the Ocean County Board of Realtors in 2001. Jeff has served on the Board of Directors and Executive Board of the Jersey Shore Council of the Boy Scouts of America since 1992. Both he and Robin are very involved in their communities and have participated in a variety of Friends' activities and events since they became members in 2010. Jeff is ready and willing to move the Friends' mission forward.
Judith Franlin - Secretary
Judy and her husband Joe have lived overlooking the Canal Mule Shed in New Hope for the past three years and have been Bucks County residents for ten. They have been members of the Friends since moving to New Hope, and they are among the nine members of a recently formed community group, which is dedicated to returning water to the Canal from Centre Bridge to Lock 10.
Judy is now retired from over 30 years of employment in management, financial analysis, and quality improvement; working primarily within the telecommunications industry. She was recently appointed by the New Hope Borough Council as their representative to the Delaware and Lehigh Trail Alliance and has been active, along with Joe, as an Advisory Board member of the National Foundation for Cancer Research. Judy is also President of the Board of Directors of the Bucks County League of Women Voters, a volunteer at Doylestown Hospital and an active supporter of women's wellness organizations.
She looks forward to seeing our historic Canal flow and flourish once again.
Peter Sperry - Treasurer
Growing up a native of Pennsylvania, Pam has fond childhood memories of visiting New hope on Weekends with family and friends to ride the mule barges on the Canal. While she and her husband Stephen have moved their family many places in the Northeast, in 2011, the Cans settled in the borough of New Hope along the Canal, bringing it full circle for Pam. The whole family enjoys hiking and biking along the towpath.
Pam currently serves on the New Hope Park and Recreation Board as Garden Club chair and is also a member of the New Hope Revitalization Committee. Since moving to New Hope, she has participated in Canal Clean-up Days, the Canal Action Team (CAT), and various Friends of the Delaware Canal functions. She is eager to do what she can to help keep the canal viable and its towpath a destination for families to enjoy together.
Stephen Freeman and his wife Sandra Wonsidler have lived in Smithtown since 1992 in a home that sits between the Canal and River. Born in Philadephia, Steve has lived most of his life in Bucks County. Sandy is a lifelong resident whose grandmother told stories of riding canal boats to her favorite swimming holes in the early 1900s. From his childhood through the mid-1990’s, Steve took the Canal for granted as a source of constant beauty and enjoyment. Since then, the lengthening periods of an empty and deteriorating Canal have become a deep concern for him. He feels that we are now in a critical period and fears that the Canal could face permanent decay or destruction unless those who live in or visit the area take decisive action to combat the effects of time, bad weather and a challenging economy. “The Canal is an old friend that needs help.”
Stephen is a psychologist and cofounder of Catapult Learning LLC, an educational services company that serves children with special needs across the country. He was President and CEO of Catapult though 2010 when he became Executive Chairman of its Board of Directors. He has experience organizing lobbying efforts in support of government-funded educational services programs and hopes some of what he has learned about advocating for education will translate to advocating for the Canal.
For more than twenty years, Joan Fullerton has travelled to Upper Black Eddy on weekends to enjoy life Bucks County-style. The Delaware Canal has played an important role in those weekends, especially since it runs along Joan's backyard. She enjoys the towpath in every season, especially hiking or biking it, and appreciates its diverse animal, bird and plant life as well as its beauty and tranquility. Along with her appreciation of the Canal's pleasures came the understanding that the waterway and towpath need more help than the State Park can provide. Thus, Joan became a member of the Friends early in her Upper Black Eddy residency. In recent years, she has been serving on the Friends' Fundraising Committee taking a key role in the production of Faces and Places in 2012. Now she is pleased to expand her role as a member of the Board of Directors.
When not in Upper Black Eddy, Joan lives in Westfield, NJ. She has worked in the international relocation industry for thirty-three years and is currently director of Global Business development for Holman United. She also serves as Treasurer for the International Friends Club.
Stephanie Garomon has lived in Solebury for 27 years and has served on the Boards of a few non-profit organizations over the last 35 years. She is a Realtor with Addison Wolfe Real Estate in New Hope. In this quickly moving world, it is nice to have a place where one can leave behind the stress of the day and find the peace and solitude of a simple walk along the towpath. "My decision to join the Friends of the Delaware Canal a few years ago was made so that I could support an organization that faces head-on the challenges of preserving the Canal."
Stephanie has wonderful memories of bringing her three young children for walks and bike rides on the towpath. "We are the present-day caregivers of this natural area and have a responsibility to protect this beautiful link to the wealth of history the Canal offers our community. I want my grandchildren to see and enjoy exactly what my children enjoyed for so many years, and I want them to be able to pass down to future generations the stories and experiences that have enriched so many lives for almost two centuries."
David has lived along the Canal in Lower Makefield Township for over thirty years. By erecting no fences on property lines, he and his hillside neighbors share an expansive view of what they feel is one of the finest stretches of the lower Canal. The continuous water, wildlife (especially the foxes, herons, and spring peepers), and undeveloped flood plain on the River side make it impossible not to love the Canal.
With degrees from Brown and Temple, for 35 years David was a software engineer. When relentless squeezing and off shoring caught up with him in May of 2013, David realized that not only would it be extremely challenging to find a satisfactory position at age 61, but his circumstances made that unnecessary. Uncompromising saving and having a spouse with a successful consulting business conspired to make early retirement possible.
David welcomes the opportunity to do more for the Canal than admire it and send regular donations to the Friends. his ability to analyze processes and procedures and to make suggestions for change will come in very handy.
Seven years ago while still working and residing in New York City, Miriam Seiden purchased an old fishing cabin situated between the Canal and the Delaware River in Upper Black Eddy. Seiden renovated the house (heat is good in the winter!) and spent weekends there. The Canal, with its breathtaking scenery throughout the four seasons, became her favorite place for daily walks with her dogs (leashed, of course). She was an active participant in the annual Upper Black Eddy canoe parade for many years. These weekends were a peaceful contrast to her hectic life as VP at The Westfield Corporation. The three ensuing floods resulted in her house being lifted, and her spirits lifted as well. She was not deterred from loving and remaining in the area.
After a long career in the shopping center development industry, Miriam decided to leave NYC for greener pastures, literally. She now resides in Lambertville where she is a jewelry designer and a published writer and photographer. The Upper Black Eddy house is in fine condition and rented these days to another happy resident glad to have the Canal in his backyard. Still her favorite place for daily walks with the dogs, she is committed to helping this great Bucks County asset remain viable for all residents and visitors to enjoy.
Lynn Vogel lives in the borough of Morrisville within walking distance of the Canal with her husband, Josh Gradwohl. Lynn grew up in Pittsburgh, where access to its three rivers was restricted to industry and boat owners. Lynn moved to the Philadelphia area in 1989 chasing a career. She ultimately chose Bucks County as her home because of the accessibility and beauty of the Delaware River and the PA and NJ canal systems. Lynn spent many years enjoying only small sections of both canals in the Trenton area until she began dating Josh in 2009.
Since then, Lynn and Josh have walked and biked the entire length of the Canal together (some sections many times over). They have grown to love the upper reaches of the Canal and all its beauty and charm and wish to encourage and create that same feeling in others along the lower, more congested reaches.
Lynn is a Geologist/Environmental Specialist with the State of New Jersey (NJDEP) where she oversees the cleanup of contaminated waste sites. When not working or enjoying the Canal, she volunteers her time at three different farms in the Buck/Mercer County area. Lynn and Josh are Canal Tenders in Morrisville.
No stranger to the Canal and Friends' activities, Bill West is closing in on his goal of walking the full length of the towpath from Easton to Bristol. He also has assisted with fundraising events doing everything from arranging for music and catering to hauling tables to the venue.
Bill is retired after 33 years with Sun Oil Company where he served as General Credit Manager with responsibilities for more than 300 people. After retirement, he started West Development Company and undertook projects in Chester and Delaware counties. He served on the Board of Downingtown School District for nine years and on the East Caln Planning Commission for fifteen years. His project of the moment is finalizing plans to build a home along the Delaware River.
During his treks along the Canal, Bill was "overwhelmed with its history and beauty." "I'm happy to contribute my time and experience to help preserve this national treasure."
Community involvement is ingrained in Judy Zipkin-Grasso. She has served on the Boards of several non-profit organizations devoted to women issues- A Woman’s Place, Planned Parenthood, and, most recently, Bucks County Women’s Fund and Bucks Women, an offshoot and part of the United Way. During the 1970’s, she ran the school education program for the Bucks County Playhouse. Her participation in the Friends organization is offering her a different perspective and builds upon her long held interest in preserving life along the Canal.
Judy has retired as the Director of the Behavioral Health Inpatient and Outpatient Program at Aria-Bucks Hospital, and she has a strong background in marketing healthcare services. She and her husband Michael live in Solebury, and they have a family of four children and five grandchildren. “I’m enjoying my involvement with the Friends and look forward to helping to ensure the Canal’s improvement.”
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