Doug Gasek, Executive Director
Doug Gasek is a preservation leader focused on community development and organizational sustainability. As the Executive Director of the Alaska Association for Historic Preservation, Doug fostered new partnerships to improve the administrative functions and fundraising with the Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance and Russian Orthodox Sacred Sites in Alaska. Doug established new heritage tourism programs at Nike Site Summit and Oscar Anderson House Museum. As Alaska’s State Architectural Historian, Doug demonstrated the need for more trained preservationists in the state. Today there are more preservationists working in Alaska than ever before. Also, Doug worked with local governments to establish historic preservation ordinances. Nearly 80% of Alaska’s population lives in a jurisdiction with local preservation laws.
Doug is excited to be back in the upper Midwest. He is ready to explore Minnesota’s communities, rural areas, and wilderness and learn about Minnesota’s history through the people, buildings, and land. Doug is especially excited to view Minnesota by canoe and bike.
Erin Hanafin Berg, Field Services Coordinator
Erin Hanafin Berg brings over fifteen years of hands-on preservation experience to her role as Field Representative for the Preservation Alliance. Erin was born and raised in Saint Paul, and she credits daily school bus rides along Summit Avenue with instilling in her a love of historic buildings at a very early age. Erin graduated from Saint Olaf College in Northfield with majors in Studio Art and Norwegian and a self-designed concentration in Architectural Studies. After college, she studied traditional arts and handcrafts in Norway before enrolling in the Historic Preservation program at the University of Oregon, Eugene in 1994.
Erin completed her Master’s thesis, a survey and analysis of post-World War II basement houses in southeastern South Dakota, in August 1997. Shortly thereafter, she moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where she was hired as a staff person to the Memphis Landmarks Commission. Her daily work consisted of design review for Memphis’s eleven locally designated historic districts, but she was also in charge of special projects, such as the Commission’s annual preservation awards, a poster contest for high school artists, and the quarterly newsletter. She also volunteered with Memphis Heritage, the local non-profit preservation organization, and served on the historic committee of the Vollintine-Evergreen Community Association.
In 2004, Erin moved with her husband, an architect, and two children back to her home city of Saint Paul. She was employed for three years as a historian with Hess, Roise and Company, where she worked on projects both in the Twin Cities metro area and in greater Minnesota. Erin began her position with PAM in July 2008.
Will O’Keefe, Communication & Programs Coordinator
Will O’Keefe comes to us from the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, DC where he served as the Program Assistant in the Legal Department. Although not a preservationist when he started; his participation on a task force focused on saving Charity Hospital in New Orleans solidified his interest in historic preservation and urban planning.
Will joined the ranks of Minnesotans in 2009 and has a new found appreciation for flannel, hot dish, and walleye. Prior to accepting the Administrative Assistant position with PAM, Will served as a volunteer on the Advocacy Committee and as the Intern for the Minnesota Main Street program. As of November, 2011, his job title is now Communication & Programs Coordinator, reflecting the increasing commitment of the organization to our communications efforts.
Will graduated from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio in 2007 with degrees in History and Religious Studies.
Emily Northey, Minnesota Main Street Program Coordinator
Emily brings to the Minnesota Main Street Program Coordinator position a wealth of on-the-ground experience having built the local Brainerd Main Street program from the ground up as its Coordinator for the past three years. Her excitement for the opportunity to lead the nation’s newest statewide coordinating program was evident. “I have been passionate about understanding and revitalizing historic commercial districts since my senior thesis at Macalester,” said Emily in applying for the position. “Historic downtowns are the heart of their communities. These downtowns are central to a town’s identity for residents, visitors, and prospective businesses. For the future health of a community, it is critical that they have a vibrant downtown true to their unique history.”
Emily holds a bachelor’s degree in urban studies and political science from Macalester College. She had previously participated in the National Trust Main Street Center’s Main Street Basic Training while administering her local program. Proficient in Spanish, Emily is also proficient in the language of Main Street and how it can catalyze positive change for our historic communities.
The Minnesota Main Street Program is recognized by the National Trust Main Street Center® as the official statewide coordinating program in Minnesota. The Minnesota Main Street Program has been financed in part with funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society.
Chris Brown, Community Action Assistant
Chris Brown began working in his new role as Community Action Assistant on August 21, 2013. Chris recently graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Urban Studies and a Geography minor. In January 2013, Chris joined the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota as the Resource Development Intern, in which he worked with our membership database and solicited and secured donations for our (Anti)Wrecking Ball and upcoming Minnesota Preservation Awards & Gala. Chris continued to develop his experience in community development and historic preservation as the Main Street Assistant, gaining expertise in grant writing and administration, partnership development, meeting facilitation, and addressing community development challenges throughout Minnesota.