Board of Trustees

Capt. Bob Buehn, (USN, Ret.)  Chairperson

Capt. Bob Buehn serves as Director of the University of North Florida Military and Veterans Resource Center.  He is an adjunct professor for the US Naval War College and teaches a graduate seminar in National Security Affairs for military officers. He was formerly Chief of Military Affairs for the City of Jacksonville in the administration of Mayor John Peyton. Capt. Buehn was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott in October 2011 as Florida Commissioner to the Interstate Compact regarding education for military children. He retired from a 30-year career in the US Navy in March, 2008.  His career included command of VS-32, at NAS Cecil Field, command of US Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he also served as Deputy Joint Task Force Commander, and command of Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility at NAS Jacksonville. Capt. Buehn also served as Chief of Staff for the USS Enterprise Strike Group during Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He had previously deployed aboard USS Forrestal in support of Desert Storm, and also served as Executive Officer of USS Constellation. As a Naval Aviator he flew more than 5,000 hours in Navy aircraft, primarily the S-3 Viking carrier-based antisubmarine warfare jet. He logged nearly 900 carrier landings. He is Chairman of the Greater Jacksonville Area USO and serves on the board of Specialty Hospital. He is a National Director of the Navy League and Immediate Past President of the Jacksonville Council. Capt. Buehn is a graduate of the University of Florida, with a BS in Journalism and of the US Naval War College, with a MA in National Security and Strategic Studies.  He has two sons who are both naval officers.

Mr. Irving Kass, Treasurer

Mr. Kass is the proprietor of two premiere St. Augustine businesses, the St. George Inn and A Fantasy in Flowers. Kass has decades of management experience at premiere accommodations including the Adam’s Mark of Jacksonville and Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami. He is the past chairman of the St. Johns County Visitors and Convention Bureau and past vice chairman of the St. Johns County Tourism Development Council. He is a current member of the Rotary Club of Jacksonville as well as the Jacksonville and St. Johns Chambers of Commerce. He and his wife Susan have been married 29 years.

Dr. Holly Sheets, DPM Secretary

Dr. Sheets received her B.S. in biology from Indiana University. She then proceeded to study in San Francisco were she received her four year degree of Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. A three year surgical residency was then embarked upon in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Sheets then set up practice in St. Augustine and Palatka, Fla. Currently Dr. Sheets is a member of the Junior Service League of St. Augustine and has enjoyed working on the Lighthouse Fun Run and Night Fest. Previously she was a member of the American Business Women's Association in which she served as treasurer, scholarship chair, fundraising chair and vice-president. She also was a member of the executive board of Enterprising Women's Leadership Institute in which she was a treasurer and events co-chair for women of the year luncheon for NE Florida. Other societies include American Association of Women Podiatrists of which Dr. Sheets was a scholarship chair for years and a member of various other medical societies. Dr. Sheets is married to her wonderful husband Greg and has been a resident of St. Augustine since 1998. She lives on Anastasia Island and has enjoyed watching all of the changes/improvements to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum.

Mr. Bruce Beaman, Executive Committee Trustee

Mr. Beaman is a graduate of Guilford College with a degree in Business and Political Science and the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary. He is a licensed broker in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. He is a member of Realtor's Land Institute (RLI), the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the National Retail Federation and a graduate of the Site Selection University of Scottsdale, Arizona. He also serves on Gerson Lehrman Group's Commercial Real Estate advisory council. He is President of E-Beaumont Pour Homme, LLC and Gray Court Commercial specializing in brokerage and site selection in the Southeast. He is currently working with the museum’s Development/ Fundraising Committee on several cultivation events for the campaign. He is married to Johna.

Mr. Peter Spiller, Past Chairperson

Mr. Spiller's career has been exclusively involved with transport of cargo by sea. For thirty years he worked for the Danish shipowner A. P. Moller/Maersk Line in New York, Copenhagen, Philadelphia, Miami, Caracas, and Santo Domingo, beginning as a trainee working in the mail room and becoming an officer and managing director. He was proactively instrumental in convincing Maersk to become pioneers of moving cargo at sea by container, and Maersk is now the largest global container carrier. Later he initiated Maersk's extension of containership services into Latin America and was formally named, "Founding Father of Maersk in Latin America." Since retiring from Maersk in 2000, Mr. Spiller was for two years a General Manager of the Grand Bahama Port Authority in Freeport. Freeport Container Port has grown larger in container output than the Port of Miami. He is now President of the Board of the Florida Shipowners Group Inc. and Executive Director of the Caribbean Shipowners Association. He and his wife Debbie have lived on Anastasia Island since 2000. They have four children, no more expected, and ten grandchildren, more hoped for.      

Mrs. Theresa Floyd, Past Chair

Mrs. Floyd is a native of St. Augustine, Fla., with Minorcan roots.  She is a graduate of St. Augustine High School and earned her BA in Business from the University of North Florida.  Theresa is a Vice President of Commercial Banking with First Citizens Bank. She is involved in her community and currently sits on the board of the Womens' Business Center and is a member of Junior Service League and Ancient City Road Runners.  Mrs. Floyd has been a United Way Leader in Giving for the past four years.  She is a firm believer that giving and participating in her community is a priority.  She appreciates the community she lives in and feels it is everyone’s job to make it a better place every day.

She is married to Jay Floyd and they have a daughter, Devin.  Mrs. Floyd has run six marathons, completed three triathlons and participated in many road and mud races.  When not working, volunteering or running, she enjoys camping with her family at any state or national park.

Mrs. Gayle Ballard

Mrs. Ballard holds an MBA from St. Xavier University in Chicago, and an MA in Guidance Counseling and Psychotherapy from Bradley University, in Peoria, IL. She has experience in high profile, executive roles and a background in operations, finance and healthcare. She has years of experience in Strategic Planning experience leading corporate growth. She is serving her second year on the Board of Trustees.

Mr. Clyde Brady

Mr. Brady is a fourth generation Florida native. He graduated from the University of Florida, College of Architecture in 1965. In 1968, he joined the architectural firm of Robert Murphy, where he became partner in 1972. He retired in 2000 after a successful career as an award winning Architect. Throughout his career, Mr. Brady had a passion for detailed pen and ink drawings of European churches and cathedrals. His drawings were used by the firm to produce holiday posters which were sent to clients, associates, and friends each December for over 20 years. Mr. Brady and his wife, Jan, relocated to St. Augustine in 2003. He continued to produce images of ancient architecture in watercolor, rather than pen and ink. For several years, he has been involved with the St. Augustine Art Association, receiving 9 awards for watercolor paintings displayed at various events. His other activities include travel, kayaking, scuba and tennis. Most recently, he was able to work with the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum in producing a rendering of the Maritime Archaeology & Education Center (MARE) campaign.

Mrs. Elsbeth "Buff" Gordon

Mrs Gordon, is a MFA graduate of the University of Florida (in Anthropology, Archaeology, and Architectural History) and has written three books for University Press of Florida about Florida’s architectural history. Her background includes owning an orchid nursery and Adaptive Restoration, a company that restored five buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. She also designed and sculpted the Martin Luther King, Jr. Fountain and Sculpture for the City of Gainesville.  She has served on many boards, including the Florida Museum of Natural History and St. Augustine Archaeological Association, and was president of Gainesville Women’s Forum and the University of Florida Performing Arts Board of Advisors. She and her husband built a sailboat and restored a 35 foot English ketch, and twice sailed the ICW, once from Connecticut to St. Augustine with their two children, and second from Annapolis to the Florida Keys. She is currently an Associate of Historic St. Augustine Research Institute. Buff is a long time time resident of St.Augustine. Her fourth book for University Press of Florida is under way. 

Mr. Ray Hamel, Past Chair

Mr. Hamel has previously served on the Board, and is a regular here at the Lighthouse. A former United States Marine during the Vietnam War, Ray served many years as the personnel officer for Sutter, Kemper Investments Company in NYC. He is interested in security and also in weather. He has also served as boat Captain in both New York Harbor and at Fort Matanzas for the National Park Service. He and his wife, Barbara, are the guiding forces behind the popular Sunset Moonrise tour.


LTC. Maury Keiser, (USA, Ret.)

Mr. Keiser graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1961 with a BS Degree in Geology and Mineralogy. Upon his graduation he was commissioned a 2nd LT in the Regular Army retiring in 1983 after 22 years of service as a Lieutenant Colonel. Upon his retirement he joined The Navy Federal Credit Unions’ executive staff as the Facility Manager of its Headquarters Facility in Vienna, VA. In his 17 years at the Credit Union he was responsible for the operations, maintenance, renovations and construction of the organizations headquarters complex. As an active member of the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) he served as President of the associations chapter in Washington D.C. He went onto serve as president of the IFMA Foundation and served on both the Associations Board and Foundation Board. He is a Certified Facility Manager and a Lifetime member of the Association. In 1996 he was elected as an IFMA Fellow. Upon his retirement from the Credit Union in early 2000 he volunteered in the boatbuilding program at the Alexandria Seaport Foundation in Alexandria, VA. Upon his wife Phyllis’s’ retirement from Prince William County Schools’ in 2003 they cruised for two winters season on the ICW from Annapolis to Florida on their 30 foot sloop IMPULSE. That’s how they found St. Augustine. During the second cruise in 2004 they built a home here and relocated from Northern VA. Both he and Phyllis became active Volunteers at the Castillo, Spanish Quarter, and Lighthouse. Mr. Keiser worked with the staff at the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) to establish the Boatworks Program and serves as unofficial leader of the volunteers in the program.  Four years ago he became active in planning for the 450th commemoration and became chair of the 450 Corps tall ship committee, which has evolved into the St. Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation that is working in conjunction with the First Light Maritime Society and Fountain of Youth in the construction of a Chalupa and other maritime activities. He is also a trustee of Temple Bet Yam and serves as their religious activities chair.  The Keisers are members of the St. Augustine Yacht Club and Maury is a member of the Club’s Board of Directors.

Mrs. Lorri Lassiter

Lorri and her husband, Charlie, moved to St. Augustine in 1977 where they co-owned and operated motels and other properties for many years. Mrs. Lassiter and her husband were members of the Chamber, Visitors and Convention Bureau, Visit Florida and the Florida Hotel and Motel Association, where she served as President for a one year term. Prior to this, she graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Advertising Design in 1973.

She was involved the Junior Service League of St. Augustine and was fortunate to be involved in the restoration of the Light Keeper’s House. Lorri served as league President from 1988-1989. Ms. Lassiter is also a member of the St. Augustine Art Association where she serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors. She is also involved in the St. Jude Miracle on the Bayfront Gala Committee. Her other interests include painting, fitness, travel and spending time with her four grandchildren.

Mrs. Margaret Van Ormer

Mrs. Van Ormer retired from the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, after working there for over 35 years. As Administrator of Instructional Services, she supervised the academic departments, Principals, and Teachers, school-wide, as well as the English Speakers of Other Languages Program, Testing, Curriculum, Reading and Math Specialists and Instructional Aides. Margaret has also supervised Flagler College Deaf Education Interns, federal grants for Duval County Public Schools and Developmental Play at Daniel Inc. Mental Health Facility in Jacksonville, Florida. She currently serves on the Board of the Foundation of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind.

As a member of Junior Service League, Margaret co-wrote grants for the Keepers' House and was involved in the early stages of renovation. She was instrumental in the initial communication with the Coast Guard regarding the acquisition of the Lighthouse.

Mrs. Regina Gayle Phillips

Regina is a retired chef and former newspaper editor residing in St. Augustine, FL.  She is a Florida native, who has attended several Florida schools including the University of Florida, Florida Junior College at Jacksonville and First Coast Technical Institute. She is currently serving in a volunteer capacity as event coordinator and co-director of the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center with husband, Floyd Phillips.  They serve, along with the board of directors of the Friends of Lincolnville, Inc., as the governing board of the museum which presents African American history and culture in the former Excelsior High School building.

Dr. Michael Reid, Ph.D.

Dr. Michael B. Reid is Professor of Applied Physiology & Kinesiology and Dean of the College of Health & Human Performance at the University of Florida. Prior to this position, he served as chair of the Department of Physiology and Vice Dean of the College of Medicine at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Reid has been working with the University of Florida Historic St. Augustine (UFHSA) Partnership with Pat Croce for the Colonial Quarter. In particular, the UFHSA is organized to ensure the long-term preservation and interpretation of state-owned historic properties in St. Augustine through historic preservation initiatives and education programs of the University of Florida.

Mrs. Katherine Shetler

Katherine and her husband, William, have made St. Augustine their home since 1971. She has worked at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind as a classroom teacher, grant writer, and for over 30 years as the executive director of advancement for the school. In this capacity, she oversaw advancement operations in fundraising, grant writing, public relations and government relations. In addition to working at the Florida School, Katherine taught at the University of North Florida and Flagler College. She was the first chairman of the lighthouse restoration project with her co-chair, Sherry Bowan for the Junior Service League. She continued to serve in that capacity for the next three years. In addition to serving on the Junior Service League Board, she also served on the Board for St. Augustine Country Day School and the Florida Association of School Pubic Information Officers. 

Mr. Joe Finnegan 

Joe and his wife, Dr. Margaret Finnegan, have been the owners and managers of the St. Francis Inn since 1985.  Joe taught in Connecticut before earning two advanced degrees towards a career in academic administration. In 1996, the Finnegans moved back to St. Augustine full-time where he continues to work in the education field as the Deaf Education Coordinator at Flagler College.   Joe has served on a number of boards of local organizations including our own Board of Trustees where he served from 2004 to 2012.  He has been the President of the Bed and Breakfast Association of St. Augustine and Chairperson of the St. Johns County Visitors Convention Bureau Board of Directors.  He is also a member of the St. Augustine Attractions Association.  We are very excited to welcome Joe back to the Museum Board.

Mr. Julio Torres

Mr. Torres is a retired education administrator with over 30 years of experience in market-funded, career-oriented, higher education leadership.  Most recently he served as Group Vice President-Operations for Devry University where he led operations in 17 locations across five states, serving over 10,000 students in associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs. He earned a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida.  Julio and his wife, Michaele, moved to St. Augustine in 2013 when they acquired Carriage Way Bed & Breakfast, fulfilling a longtime dream of operating a first class boutique hotel, dedicated to service excellence with old-world charm.  Julio and Michaele have six children and enjoy travel, architecture, history, scuba diving and reading.

Dr. Joseph Prosser

Joe and his wife, Dr. Theresa Prosser, Ed.D, moved to Florida about two years ago to retire.  Joe began his long and distinguished career when he graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and went on to earn his  Doctor of Medicine from St. Louis University School of Medicine. He then served in the United States Navy at the Naval Aerospace Regional Medical Center in Pensacola, Florida. Joe has worked in private practice as well as hospital administration, most recently working as the Chief Medical Officer at Texas Health in Fort Worth, Texas. He retired in 2015.  Joe participated in various community service organizations including the United Way and organizations committed to ending domestic abuse. He brings a wealth of experience in operations and process management as well as risk management and performance improvement. Both he and his wife, Theresa, are serving on our Museum committees already. Joe serves on the Facilities and Risk Management Committee and the EGG Task Force while Theresa serves on our Programs Committee.  We want to thank Joe and Theresa for their continued service and support.

Kevin Sweeny

Kevin has spent his career working in Florida politics managing campaigns to legislative affairs for elected officials.  It was here in St. Augustine that he met his wife Beth, who works for St. Johns County School Board.  Both he and his wife are avid runners (Ask him why he is known as the “Pie Man”).  Kevin recently began working with the Florida Justice Association as the Operations Director, a role that expands upon his working knowledge of state politics.  In this role, he manages staff members, develops and implements voter engagement programs, and assists local officials in the development of legislation.  He brings to the Board knowledge about state politics, experience in developing and implementing strategic plans, and leveraging resources to insure these plans succeed.  Welcome Kevin to the St. Augustine Lighthouse& Maritime Museum family.

Dr. Benjamin Perry

Dr. Ben Perry has worked in education since graduating from the University of Arkansas with a degree in early education. His teaching career began in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he worked his way up from teacher to Principal and then to Associate Superintendent of Schools. In July 2008, he and his wife Gloria moved to Wynne, Arkansas, and assumed the role of the Superintendent of Schools. Serving for four years in Wynne, the Perrys moved to Jacksonville and Ben became the Principal at Ed White High School until 2014.  Ben brings an extensive knowledge of organizational experience including managing staff, budgets and resources. He has learned to develop and implement strategic plans and mobilize staff to realize success. Locally, he is actively involved with Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center and currently serves on our Collections Committee here at the Museum. At the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, we are committed to education and working within our community to fulfill our mission statement. We are grateful to Ben for furthering his commitment to fulfilling our mission and offering his experience and knowledge to do so.


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81 Lighthouse Avenue
St. Augustine, Florida 32080