Gustavus Community Center Board Members
Kathy Lochman, Founding board member. Kathy has been the Board President since the Gustavus Community Center began in 2008 and she continues in a strong leadership role. Kathy moved to Gustavus in 1966. She received her BS in Chemistry from the University of Hawaii and worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers as a Quality Assurance Representative on environmental and construction projects from 1994 to 2003. She owned and operated Fairweather Construction from 2003-2008. Her company took on every aspect of construction from site excavation to dirt work to environmental remediation projects. From 2003 to the present she has worked for Bethel Services and AHTNA Engineering on various contracts as Project Manager. She has two businesses running concurrently in Gustavus; Crane and Cottonwood Salon and Sunnyside Market, a successful natural food store/deli. Kathy is a “make-it-happen” person and when she decided to put her efforts towards the development of a community center, no one doubted it would become a reality.
Christine Gabriele, Founding board member, Secretary. Chris was raised in upstate New York and has lived in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Hawaii, but did not fully learn the meaning of the word “community” until she came to Gustavus in 1991. She is the whale biologist for Glacier Bay National Park and is a founding board member of the Hawaii Marine Mammal Consortium. She has also served on the board of the Community Chest thrift store and the city’s Marine Facilities Committee. She looks forward to the day when the people of Gustavus have a place to gather.
Rachel Parks: Rachel is a lifelong resident of Gustavus. She is a graduate of the Gustavus School and later attended the University of Alaska. She was the activity director for the Encore Program in Gustavus and saw first-hand the need for a location that could provide youth with a place to communicate and co-mingle with community members in a positive environment. She manages her family’s inn, the Annie Mae Lodge; serves as president of the Gustavus Visitors Association, and coaches at the Gustavus School. Rachel has an intuitive sense for the needs of others. She knows a Center that will provide a meeting place for visitors, local residents, and businesses alike will be a huge asset for Gustavus.
Susan (Meadow) Brook: Since moving to Alaska, Meadow has worked as a forester, bed and breakfast proprietor, and program manager for the Alaska Coastal Management Program. She also helped spearhead the Gustavus Land Legacy campaign, which resulted in The Nature Conservancy’s purchase and protection of the town’s unspoiled shoreline. She has a forestry degree from Utah State University and a Master’s degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She first came to Gustavus in 1977 and lived in a leaky tent while building her cabin. The tagline of the Gustavus Community Center, “Refuge from the Rain,” has a deep, visceral meaning to her.
Sean Neilson: Sean’s first visit to Gustavus and Glacier Bay was in the summer of 1993. He fell in love with the big wild country and returned seven years later as a ranger/naturalist with the National Park Service. As long-time Gustavus resident and former Glacier Bay Superintendent Bob Howe once said, “People come for the place, but stay for the people,” which is exactly what he did. Sean now works as a freelance photographer, filmmaker and guide to Glacier Bay and Gustavus visitors. He looks forward to sharing his art and stories on a big screen, in a warm room, surrounded by his community.
Whitney Rapp Whitney was born and raised in New York; moved north to Massachusetts for high school; and kept going north to complete a Biology degree in Maine. She worked in Maine managing a field station, maintaining the website of a fiber arts mail order company, and doing shellfish aquaculture until she returned to Massachusetts to complete a Masters in Ecological Landscape Design and Planning. From there, she headed really north to Alaska. Whitney arrived in Gustavus in 2003 to work for Glacier Bay National Park. She left in 2009 for a job promotion that took her to southwest Alaska, then eastern Oregon, before happily returning to Gustavus in 2016. She knows that Gustavus is the rarest of communities–one that embraces its neighbors in good times and in bad and deserves more than it currently has!
David Thomas David Thomas has been living in Alaska since 2011 after marrying the love of his life, Lou Taylor, a Juneau local. He and his wife moved to Gustavus in 2015. David owns a coffee roasting business that he moved into Gustavus and has been growing ever since. He has also taken on the responsibility of publishing the local newspaper, “Strawberry Point Pioneer.” Previous to Gustavus, David owned coffee houses and bakeries in other states as well as spending summers as a marine mammal observer. He is originally from Massachusetts but after travelling all over the country has found that Alaska is the most beautiful and community-oriented place he has ever been, and is proud to call it home.