Preston is the US and UK Business Development Director for Yandex, which is one Europe’s largest Internet technology companies and operates Russia’s largest search engine and most popular website. In this capacity he oversees Yandex’s commercial relationships with large global advertisers and partners who are looking to reach the Russian market. Prior to Yandex he has worked in management consulting and technology. Preston has a BS in Biology from Bates College and an MBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from Babson College. He lives in Newburyport with his two kids and Labrador retriever.
Sarah Gurtman, Secretary
Sarah is a policy analyst a NOAA Fisheries in Gloucester, MA. With a degree in biology and environmental science from Colby College and a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University, she has previously worked for the Audubon Society, the Bimini Biological Field Station and the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve. Sarah lives in Rowley with her husband, a variety of animals, and two young sons, both of whom are enthusiastic participants in Merrohawke programs.
Jennifer brings a unique combination of formal education and real-world experiences. Most recently Jennifer taught seventh grade Science at Ipswich Middle School. Jennifer was recognized for developing curriculum that integrated the sciences and technology within our local communities. She created and implemented core science curriculum which immersed her students in content and experiences which fostered a genuine curiosity and passion for critical thinking and problem solving. Jennifer’s hands-on, pragmatic, team-oriented approach to learning allowed her to meet the diverse needs of her students by enabling them to understand complex content while allowing them to apply this content to situation in their daily lives. Her methodology and pedagogy has been lauded for its effectiveness in making the complex seem simple. Jennifer holds a BS in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from the University of Vermont as well as a Masters Degree in Middle School Science Education from Lesley University.
David is a manager at Johnson O’Connor. He has over 10 years of public accounting experience in a variety of disciplines including assurance, tax, and advisory services. His industry specialties include SAAS, professional services, healthcare, data technology, nonprofit organizations, and manufacturers. Additionally, David serves as the manager of the transactional services group, which provides buy and sell side support and quality of earnings analysis. A member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants, David earned a BS in Business Administration for the University of New Hampshire and an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University. He lives with his wife, Kristen, and son, Austin, in Newburyport.
Sally Milliken, Vice President
Sally is deeply committed to helping young people connect to and enjoy the natural world so that they realize their day to day actions can make a real difference. She is an active participant in her children’s schools, including chairing a committee at Newbury Elementary School that focuses on the outdoor schoolyard. Committee members recently coordinated the building of a new school playground using a community-build model. She also co‐founded the school Recycling Committee. Previously, she was a co‐chair of the Newburyport Montessori School Parent Association. Sally currently works at Mass Audubon’s Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary as a Field Teacher and has worked for several nonprofit environmental organizations, including the Quebec‐Labrador Foundation in Ipswich, Massachusetts. She has an undergraduate degree in biology from Brown University and a master’s degree in environmental studies from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She lives in Newbury with her husband and four children.
Thomas Murray, President
Tom has a diverse background in education and the outdoors. He is a former high school principal, school administrator, and teacher in both public and private schools. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst with a Natural Resources and Political Science degree, Tom began a teaching career in Denver, Colorado, working with gifted and talented students in an experiential based school. From there, he went on to earn a Masters Degree in Education, with a focus on special education and advanced graduate courses in Leadership. For many years Tom taught as a special education and outdoor educator in a small-specialized school for students with learning disabilities. During that time , Tom also worked with environmentally focused organizations such as the Audubon Society. While taking care of his young family, Tom currently works as an independent educational consultant providing services to both school districts, parents and students. Tom specializes in leadership development, organizational management, and learning disability issues.
Vania O’Connor, Treasurer
Vania O’Connor, founder and former president of Portside Technologies, is a graduate of Northeastern University with a B.A. in Political Science. Prior to founding Portside Technologies, a web application development company, Vania worked in technology sales, project management and training in the field of electronic records and information management. Vania is also a member of the Board of Trustees for The Pingree School. Currently a stay-at-home dad, Vania has coached soccer for the Newburyport Youth Soccer League for over a decade and is an avid skier, sailor, and musician.
PJ is a general partner of Second and Fourth, an entrepreneurial consulting company. As a versatile, high impact and strategic Partnership and Business Development Leader, PJ displays a demonstrated success in driving swift and significant growth for startup, turnaround, and high-growth ventures. His entrepreneurial spirit drives his ability to develop key relationships and creative business development initiatives for a wide variety of new media companies.
Early in his career PJ worked for Monster (NASDAQ: MWW) directing their event property division Making It Count, a youth-focused program integrating corporate America into high schools and onto college campuses nationwide. Before this PJ worked at Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) as one of their first 30 employees and 4th overall sales hire. His tenure here is highlighted by forging momentous relationships with Fortune 500 clients including Cingular that helped validate the early-stage company sales strategy. PJ lives in Nebwuryport and his two young sons attend Merrohawke programs.
David Ten Eyk
With over 25 years of diverse and successful group benefits insurance experience, both in the US and International, David Ten Eyck, owner of Ocean Employee Benefits, brings to Merrohawke solid, executive-business experience as well as a local business community interface for our mission. David has also been an active watercolor painter and writer, with works placed in collections world-wide. Involved with Merrohawke for almost 6 years, David is dedicated to educating our children with a practical knowledge of our special maritime history and preparing them to be comfortable in and sensitive to our natural world.
Volunteer Advisory Board
From time to time, we lean on industry professionals for sage advice as we navigate the growth of our youth-serving organization. We are especially grateful for the time and thought afforded to us by our advisory board.
Grace Gonzalez Connolly ~ Law Offices of Conolly & Connolly
Grace was born in Santiago, Cuba. She and her husband Jim reside in Newburyport, where they raised their three daughters. She is fluent in Spanish and French. Mrs. Connolly enjoys dance, cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, walking and hiking. In 2010, she and her eldest daughter hiked the 800 km. Camino de Santiago from the French town of St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
Crystal Daugherty ~ Senior Director of Philanthropy, Year Up
Crystal has been a career development professional in large and small non-profit organizations since 1996. Currently serving as the Senior Director of Philanthropy at Year Up, she focuses on major and principal gifts from high net worth individuals, primarily in New England. Prior to this role, Crystal served Year Up as the Senior Director of Development and the Director of Development, leading the Boston-based development department for five years. Before Year Up, Crystal held fundraising positions at Tufts Medical Center, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MassVOTE, MassEquality and Neighbor to Neighbor-Massachusetts. In addition to her full-time positions, Crystal has also run a boutique fundraising consulting business and served as an adjunct instructor at Northeastern teaching fundraising to graduate students. Crystal has a BA from Smith College and an MBA from Simmons School of Management, where she earned the “Principled Leadership” award. Seeing the need for a progressive scouting organization, Crystal co-founded a local chapter of Navigators, where she built outdoor skills and confidence among a troupe of 7- and 8-year olds. After initially advising the Executive Director on building a development program, Crystal was asked to serve on the Board of the Merrohawke Nature School from 2012-2015, and continues as part of their Advisory Board. When she’s not at Year Up, Crystal is probably skiing, hiking, gardening, kayaking, fixing up her house, and/or parenting.
Steve Degugliemo ~ Fritz DeGuglielmo LLC, Certified Public Accountants
Steve is managing partner of the firm and has over twenty-five years of experience in public accounting, serving small businesses, non-profits and individuals. Steve works closely with business owners in finding solutions to the many challenges of operating a business by providing tax planning and saving strategies, business operations analysis and internal control analysis. Steve also has extensive experience in providing audit, tax and management advisory services to various non-profit organizations. Steve is a graduate of Merrimack College and is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in Massachusetts and in Florida.
George Hilton ~ Key West Express
Scott Mercer ~ Research Scientist at Mendonoma Whale and Seal Study, Co-Chair, North Atlantic Marine Mammal Association.
Dr. Madeleine Nathan ~ child psychologist
Dr. Michael Pilz ~ Riverside Pediatrics