Susan Shipman, Chairman
Susan Shipman worked for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Coastal Resources Division, for 30 years, during which she served as its Chief of Marine Fisheries for 17 years and Division Director from 2002 through 2009. As Division Director, she directed Georgia’s Coastal Management Program, habitat protection, and permitting as well as marine fisheries management. She was the State agency appointee to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Now retired, Susan spends the majority of her time as a hobbyist beekeeper and community volunteer. She Chairs the Stewardship Committee for the Land Trust as well as the Cannon's Point Preserve Advisory Committee and Conservation Task Force. Susan is an advisor to Georgia SeaGrant, represents apiarists on the Glynn County Farm Bureau Board, serves on the One Hundred Miles Board, and several other community boards and foundations.
J. Greer Brown, Vice Chairman
James “Greer” Brown is managing partner of Brown-Rose Wealth Management Group of Morgan Stanley. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of the South and his Master of Business Administration from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business in 2000. Greer serves on the Board of the St. Simons Land Trust and is a member of its Executive Committee and previously served as the board’s Chairman. Greer also serves as Chairman of Frederica Academy and Chairman of the College of Coastal Georgia Foundation. Greer and his wife Laura reside on St. Simons Island where they attend Christ Church Frederica with their three children, Maidee, McKenzie and Joe.
Jay Buchert, Treasurer
Robert (Jay) Buchert, a Cincinnati, Ohio, native is President of American Heritage Properties, Inc. His construction and real estate development experience spans more than 55 years. He is a Past President of the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), the Greater Cincinnati Homebuilders Association, and the Ohio Homebuilders Association. He was inducted into the National Housing Hall of Fame, Washington D.C. in 1998 and has also served on the Board of Directors of the Housing America Foundation, the Fannie Mae National Advisory Council, and the Freddie Mac Mortgage Products Advisory Board. Mr. Buchert served President Ronald Reagan on the Private Sector Initiative Committee, as well as both Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush on the Small Business Administration's National Advisory Council. He also served President Bush on the Commission on Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing and as a Director and Chairman of the Fifth District Federal Home Loan Bank. He was appointed by three of Ohio's governors to the Board of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency where he served for fifteen years, ten as Chairman of the Housing Finance Sub-Committee. In 1999 and 2000, Mr. Buchert served as Chairman of the Building Homes in America's Cities Task Force, a partnership between the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Association of Homebuilders. He and his wife Linda have been married for 51 years, have four grown children, four grandchildren, and currently reside in Naples, Florida, Bellevue, Kentucky, and St. Simons Island, Georgia.
Deb Luginbuhl, Secretary
Deb Luginbuhl spent over 20 years working in live television sports and entertainment, primarily producing open-wheel auto racing for ABC Sports and ESPN and was awarded nine Sports Emmy Awards. She has been a member of the Directors Guild of America since 1988. A former member of the Vail (CO) Symposium Board of Directors and a founding co-leader of Slow Food Vail Valley, she also served as a Trustee for The Women’s Foundation of Colorado. Currently a board member for the St. Simons Land Trust and the Coastal College of Georgia Foundation, she and her husband, Dan, reside on St. Simons Island, Georgia.
Jim Barger, Jr.
Jim Barger, Jr. is a nationally recognized trial lawyer who handles complex government investigations, particularly qui tam whistleblower litigation under the False Claims Act. In less than a decade, Jim has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for his clients and the United States. He served as lead counsel in the largest home health Medicare fraud case in U.S. history and in the largest Medicare hospice fraud case in U.S. history. Jim is one of very few attorneys in the country to be tapped to serve as a private attorney general for the United States in a jury trial as part of a Department of Justice trial team. Jim’s pro bono work includes representing death row inmates on appeal where his appellate advocacy and post-trial cross-examination exposed juror misconduct. Jim regularly receives the highest designation by multiple peer-review organizations and since 2012 has consistently been named by his peers as among Alabama’s top 50 plaintiff lawyers. A long-standing adjunct professor at the University of Alabama School of Law, Jim teaches a popular advanced-level course and is published in leading academic law reviews. Together with other members of his firm, Jim has been asked to co-author the forthcoming update of the longstanding treatise: Healthcare Fraud, Enforcement, and Compliance. Jim grew up on St. Simons and he and his wife Burch have chosen to raise their family on the island as well.
Dialo Cartwright, Area Manager for Georgia Power Company. In his 20 years in the electric power industry, Dialo has held Management positions in the fields of Distribution Engineering, Transmission Design, Construction, and External affairs. In his current role as Area Manager, his focus is on external effectiveness for Camden, McIntosh, and Glynn counties. Dialo serves as the liaison in the communities for external engagement with key community leaders, elected officials, and key decision makers. He and his wife, Cherise, have both been active in various community organizations in the area. During this time, he has become a solid supporter of the St. Simons Land Trust and has significantly increased corporate sponsorship to the Trust from Georgia Power. Dialo and Cherise have two children: Dawson, 12 and Olivia Jane, 7. Dialo enjoys family activities, college football and serving his community. Cherise, who he met on a blind date set up by his brother and her sister, is a mom-entrepreneur.
Nancy P. Dorn served as the Vice President for Government Affairs for General Electric Company from 2003-2017, leading government affairs, policy and regulatory for all facets of the company. She retired from GE in October 2017. She came to the position from senior US Government roles, including Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush and Assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney. She had previously served as Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Inter-American Affairs) and Deputy Secretary of State (Legislative Affairs) as well as Special Assistant to Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Ms. Dorn currently serves on the Board of Governors of Argonne National Lab and is a member of the Board of Brookfield Renewable Partners. She serves as Secretary of the Saint Simons Land Trust’s board of directors, is a member of the board’s Executive Committee and co-chairs the Development and Communications Committee. She lives in Saint Simons Island, Georgia, and in Washington, D.C.
Georgia Golden’s family has been living on St. Simons Island for generations. Born and raised on the island, Georgia worked for many years with the state of Georgia’s Department of Family and Children’s Services, both in Atlanta and in Glynn County. She has also worked as a Program Consultant for the state and county. Georgia has been a loyal member of the Land Trust for more than 15 years, and her first acquisition support was in 2004 for the old Chevron Station that is now the protected corner at the Demere/Frederica Roundabout. She has been a pillar of the local community throughout her life and remains an active volunteer and leader.
Valerie Hepburn was president and CEO of the Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation from 2014 through 2016. Prior to that, she served for more than 30 years in senior public policy and educational leadership positions across Georgia. From 2003 until 2014, Valerie served as the president of the College of Coastal Georgia, leading its transformation to a senior college; during this time she was also an administrator and faculty member in health policy and management and public administration at both The University of Georgia and Georgia State University. Prior to her academic service, Dr. Hepburn spent over two decades in senior leadership positions with state health, finance, and regulatory agencies. She and her husband, David Hayes, live on St. Simons and are members of the Land Trust.
Mary Jenrette has nearly 30 years of experience in banking, including 12 years in private wealth management. She began her career in Charlotte, NC before moving to St. Simons Island, Georgia in 2007. In October of 2008, Mary joined SunTrust in their Private Wealth Management group, and in 2014, she moved to Synovus as a Private Wealth Advisor where she received the Chairman’s award in 2016 and 2017. Today she serves as a Senior Vice President – Private Wealth Advisor for Synovus Bank. Mary holds her series 7, 66, annuity, insurance and long-term care licenses. She was the 2018 recipient of the United Way of Coastal Georgia Community Impact Award. Today she serves as Chairman of that Board of Directors. Mary also serves on the Board of Directors for The Gathering Place, Centered For Life and NewCity Brunswick. Jenrette attended Saint Mary’s School, received a BS in Business Administration from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC and holds a graduate certificate in Banking and Finance from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She and her husband, Jon have been married for 29 years and have three sons, Harris (25), Hampton (22) and Cooper (19).
A.W. Bill Jones, III
Bill Jones III is currently Senior Advisor, Sea Island Company and a Director of the Broadmoor- Sea Island Company. He is past Chairman and CEO of Sea Island. He represents Georgia’s 1st congressional district on the Board of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and chairs the Law Enforcement Committee. He is former Board Member and Chairman of the Georgia Ports Authority, the Georgia Research Alliance, The Georgia Cancer Coalition, the Georgia Historical Society and served on the board of the Jekyll Island Authority. Mr. Jones’ personal recognition includes Entrepreneur of the Year award for Principled Leadership from Ernst and Young, the Rock Howard Award for outstanding environmental achievement given by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award for distinguished service, and the NAACP Freedom Award. Georgia Trend named him “Georgian of the Year” in 2004 for bringing the G8 Summit meeting to Sea Island. He and his wife Sally reside on Sea Island and are members of Wesley United Church at Frederica.
Russell Mentzer is a retired sea food industry executive. He retired from King & Prince Seafood Company of Brunswick, GA as CEO and previously served as President of Borden Pasta Group and in senior executive positions at Michael Foods and The Pillsbury Company. His non-profit service includes the role of Vice Chairman of the Southeast Georgia Health System Foundation Board of Directors and Chairman of the Seafood Industry Research Fund of McLean, VA. He is a member of the Land Trust’s Development & Communications Committee. Mr. Mentzer resides on St. Simons Island with his wife, Mary.
Frank G. Mitchell has served as the Division President of St. Simons Bank & Trust since July 2010. He graduated from Georgia Southern University, with a Bachelor of Business Administration where he majored in Finance with an emphasis in Banking. Currently he serves as Vice Chairman of the Land Trust’s board of directors. In addition, he has served as board Treasurer of the Humane Society of Coastal Georgia, is a past Treasurer of the Triumph Foundation, and a past board member of the United Way of Coastal Georgia. He is a graduate of the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Glynn program.
Patrick Parker is the President of The Parker Companies, a local group of businesses that operates Parker’s Convenience Stores as well as car washes, laundromats, and a wholesale petroleum products division. Patrick has served on national and state boards that relate to those businesses, and he is the current Chairman of the Board of the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores. He has also served on the boards of the Glynn County Chamber of Commerce, Coastal Georgia Historical Society, and the vestry of Christ Church Frederica, an historic episcopal church St. Simons. He and his wife Dana and their three children – Jack, Ava, and Isabel – are long time residents of East Beach.
Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Tom Regan has lived in coastal Georgia for seven years. He graduated from Penn State University with a degree in chemical engineering followed by a successful career working for fertilizer and chemical companies. His most recent position before retiring was as President of the Pot Ash Corporation in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Regan has served on numerous nonprofit boards and has been an involved member of the St. Simons community. As a board director of the Land Trust, he participated in the organization’s 2018 organizational review and has served on the Finance Committee.
As Sea Island Company’s President and CEO, Scott Steilen oversees all of the company’s resort operations, membership, real estate development and brokerage, and owner services. Steilen joined Sea Island in 2011 after spending 10 years as a Principal of Warnick + Company (now CHMWarnick), a strategic advisory firm to hospitality industry clients worldwide. Prior to Warnick + Company, he spent nearly 10 years with Ernst & Young as the Central Region Practice Director for E&Y’s Hospitality Services Group. Steilen grew up in the business as a hotelier’s son and is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Hospitality Business. Scott resides on St. Simons Island with his wife, Marybeth. All three of their children attend or attended the University of Georgia. Scott and Marybeth are very active in the community. Scott is the Chairman of the Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau and is a member of several boards, including the College of Coastal Georgia Foundation, the Alumni Board of Directors of the MSU School of Hospitality Business, and the Board & Executive Committee of the St. Simons Land Trust. He is also a past Ambassador for the United Way of Coastal Georgia, and he and Marybeth are the incoming Chairs of the University of Georgia Parent’s Leadership Council.
Before selling his company and moving to St. Simons Island as a fulltime resident, David Wright was the co-founder and vice president of Elite Foam, Inc. and senior vice president of Elite Comfort Solutions in Newnan, Georgia. He and his wife Deborah are active members of the island community and in addition to serving on the board of directors of the St. Simons Land Trust (where he is a member of the development and communications committee, David has been involved with the Coastal Georgia Historical Society, Glynn Visual Arts, and Golden Isles Arts and Humanities Association.