Community Housing and Resources Board of Directors and Committee Members are comprised of passionate members of our community that are committed to the complex issue of affordable housing.
Dr. Stephen Brown President
Community Housing and Resources, Inc. would like you to meet, Stephen R. Brown, MD, CHR Board Member and Nominating Chairman. Steve is a humble man of many wonderful talents who brings us wisdom and guidance. CHR is so honored to have Steve as a member of our Board of Directors.
Steve and his lovely wife, Lena, met in College and have been married for over 52 years. They first came to Sanibel in 1986 and moved here full time in 1994 from Annapolis, MD where Steve at one time had a boat for every day of the week. They suffered a loss of their daughter a few years ago but continue their faith and cherish their family including their two sons and three grandchildren who all live in the Denver area.
Steve has been a distinguished member of his community where ever he has lived. Some of his accomplishments and positions are listed below:
Steve attended Dalhousie Medical School, Halifax N.S. Canada; MD Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota: 1 year surgery and 3 years Radiology – Board Certified Radiology. He was Class President in Medical School.
His Practice included: Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; Mercy Hospital, Baltimore, MD; Anne Arundel General Hospital – Annapolis, MD, Chief of Staff, Chief of Radiology
Steve gives of his time in many areas including Board of Director of Community Housing and Resources as well as a Lee Health Chairman of the Board with Liaison Positions including: Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, Quality & Safety, Lean Transformation, Behavioral Health.
Additional Background and experience:
Member of Radiologic Society of North America
Member of American College of Radiology
Member of American Medical Association
Board of Trustees, Anne Arundel General Hospital
Sanibel City Council – 9 years
Sanibel Mayor 2002, 2003
Chairman, Lee Memorial Children’s Advisory Committee – Current Member
Past Board Member and President of CROW – Old Schoolhouse Theater
Past Board Member – Lee Memorial Health System Foundation
Board Member – Sanibel Captiva Trust Company
Member – Sanibel Captiva Kiwanis
Vice President and Secretary of the Board
Laura DeBruce is a lawyer and entrepreneur who has owned a home on Sanibel since 2010 and been an island resident since 2015. After graduating from the University of Florida, Laura moved to Washington, D.C. and worked for several years at The Atlantic Council. After graduating from law school at Boston University, she lived in Europe for thirteen years where she taught university courses in U.S. Constitutional Law; was an associate at Baker & McKenzie in Prague; and then served as Director of Legal Affairs for CME Media Enterprises, where she played a key role in launching several television stations throughout Eastern Europe. Subsequently she co-founded GrandView Castle Entertainment, along with her husband Jeff Blackman, distributing films throughout Eastern Europe and Russia. As a partner in DeBruce Blackman, Laura provides legal and consulting advice. She has also produced several documentary films. In 2018 Laura and her husband started Sanibel Carts. Their son, Luke Blackman, also a UF graduate, lives in the area and works as a Realtor for Pfeiffer Realty Group.
The addition of Doug Babcock to the CHR Board brings another strong community leader ready willing and able ot help CHR move to the next steps in our expansion goals. Doug and his lovely wife, Paige, have been strong supporters of CHR for many years now. And you might recall Doug was a Swimmer in our CHR Swim Team Competition two years in a row.
Doug has a BS degree in Finance and Economics from Syracuse University and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from New York University’s Stern School of Business in both Finance and Economics. He worked on Wall Street for some of the nation’s largest investment banks like Morgan Stanley as an Institutional Bond Trader in New York City for 12 years.
Armed with a strong background and experience in finance and business Doug turned his attention towards the hospitality industry 9 years ago when he accepted a position as Chief Operating Officer with Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts Inc. which owns and operates Tween waters Inn Island Resort and Spa on Captiva, West Wind Inn Island Resort, Beachview Cottages, and Castaways Beach and Bay Cottages of Sanibel and the newly created Sanibel Captiva Island Vacation Rentals.
July 2019 Doug was promoted to Vice President and CEO of the entire operation at Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts. He is the current treasure of the Lee County Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association for the past 3 years and has served as a board member on the Sanibel/Captiva Chamber of Commerce, and on the Sanibel School Advisory Council.
Doug currently lives on Sanibel with his wife, Paige, daughter, May (17), and son, Rhys (14).
Lena has been a CHR Supporter for as long as I can remember. We are over the moon that she has now joined our Board of Directors.
Lena has lived on Sanibel for the past 25 years with her husband Steve. During that time they have both been active volunteers. Lena served on the board of The Old Schoolhouse Theater, Crow and the advisory board for WGCU public media. Aging gracefully, Lena has given up tennis and golf and now prefers to garden, play duplicate bridge and visit her grandchildren in Denver. She and Steve are both big believers in CHR and its mission.
Campean traded cold Ohio winters for the warmth of Sanibel and has been a full-time resident since 2006. George joined the CHR board in 2013 and brought with him a wealth of knowledge. He has a Masters Degree in mechanical engineering and experience in construction and property maintenance, including the owning and operating of a small 15-unit motel. He also gained the unfortunate but valuable experience of disaster remediation after Hurricane Charley.
George is the board director overseeing the group of volunteers who handle many light construction and maintenance duties for CHR, saving the organization thousands of dollars each year.
George and his wife are also actively involved throughout the community in many other wonderful island organizations and CHR’s board is lucky to have him!
CHR is honored to announce our newest Board member, Chris Coile. Chris has been a supporter of CHR for many years
Chris Coile and Susan, his wife of 54 years, moved to Sanibel and became Florida residents in 2005. They looked all over Florida to find a place that felt like home, but nothing came close to Sanibel. Beautiful water ways, fabulous fly fishing, 65% undeveloped, no stoplights, and multiple development restrictions makes it a unique community….just what they were looking for.
Prior to locating in Sanibel, Chris had been in the real estate business since the late 60’s. As founder, president and CEO of 2 large residential, multi-office real estate firms, Chris has years of experience in business operations, marketing, advertising, branding, development and construction. Chris has the professional designations of GRI, CRS and CRB from the Realtors National Marketing Institute and was a Certified Senior Instructor on a national basis.
Chris and Susan have been involved in charitable activities for all of their adult lives. They have a established the ‘Coile Family Foundation’ twenty years ago that has consistently supported many of the non-profit organizations on the Island including CHR. For the past several years Chris has been on the board of F.I.S.H. of SANCAP. Chris is a lifetime musician and entertainer and puts on multiple benefit concerts a year.
CHR is honored to have Chris join the CHR Board of Directors and we look forward to his participation for years to come.
Jerry Edelman joined the CHR Board in 2017. He has been coming to Sanibel since 1995. He achieved his dream of retiring here in 2004 and has been captivated with island life ever since. After retiring from a career in pharmacy and medical supplies, he has taken up pottery and now sells his works here locally.
Jerry grew up in St. Louis and says his parents were huge influences in his life, sharing their love of philanthropy and showing that even if you didn’t have money to give, you could always give of yourself and your time.
In addition to serving on the board of CHR, Jerry has been heavily involved with many other island organizations such as F.I.S.H., BIG ARTS, and Kiwanis as he continues to keep his parent’s philanthropic spirit alive and well.
Tim Garmager has been a CHR board member since May 2012. Tim has a degree in History from the University of Illinois and a J.D. (Law Review) from Loyola University of Chicago Law School.
Tim now lives and works on Sanibel as an Executive Success Coach, bringing to the board a rich knowledge of goal setting and relationship building, making him perfect to oversee the development committee that assists CHR with its fundraising and developing activities.
Tim’s coaching principles are grounded in compassionate leadership and he believes that great organizations are led by caring leaders who are goal-oriented and innovative. CHR is proud to have Tim’s great skill set helping to steer the organization.
CHR welcomes Roger Grogman to our Board of Directors, Roger and his wife Sandy have been CHR supporters and we are thrilled to have their participation on our Board.
• Full time resident of Sanibel
• Owner of a Residence on Sanibel for over 18 years,
• Vice Chairperson Sanibel Planning Commission.
• S.C.A. Vice President and Board Member, Shell Museum Capital Cabinet and Board member
• President of the Shell Harbor Property Owners Association for 3 Years, Now Board Member
• San-Cap Rotary Board Member, Sanibel Chamber of Commerce-Govt. Affairs Committee,
• Married to Sandy Grogman, Two Children: Ryan and Shannon
• Worked Directly with many of the country’s most prominent business leaders.:
RETAIL CONSULTANT: MARKETING AND LOGISTICS (RETIRED)
• Provided business positioning and Developed Marketing plan and communication base for product introduction.
• Responsible for New Client Growth and existing Client position expansion in the Convenience and Petroleum Channels.
• Improved Company positioning and awareness significantly in a highly competitive market.
• Introduced and executed tactical awareness initiatives with key organizations providing a long term platform for service consideration and client/candidate affiliation
• Managed the development and execution of the communication platform for awareness, trial building and continuity.
CORPORATE VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING
McLane Company, Temple, TX, 1991-2007
(A 53 Billion dollar distribution services company owned by Wal-Mart then by Berkshire Hathaway serving the Convenience, Mass, Drug and Military channels.)
• Responsible for the successful alignment of McLane resources with customer needs and the effective development and communication of the McLane business proposition. Revenue increased from $7Bil to over $40 Bil.
• Managed the development process for McLane’s strategic positioning and the tactical initiatives needed for success in the business plan.
• Identified and supported the development of Technological and Service initiatives that contributed significantly to customer acquisition, retention and improved productivity.
• Managed Research, Customer Service, Advertising and the Relationship with external companies on joint business initiatives.
DIRECTOR OF NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT 1989 -1991
The Armour Food Company, ConAgra, Inc .Omaha, NE
• Managed a shared organization of Project Managers in the successful development of Healthy Choice® Lunchmeats.
• Developed and implemented Turkey Breast line extensions with Butterball® increasing its brand sales significantly.
• Managed the research and identified consumer purchase patterns associated with protein products identifying new strategies for growth of the Brands.
NATIONAL MARKETING MANAGER: FOODSERVICE and INTRA-COMPANY 1971-1989
7-Eleven, Dallas, TX
• Developed and managed foodservice marketing plans, product positioning, new product testing and promotional efforts companywide.
• Co-Managed the development of proprietary and licensed foodservice initiatives. (Big Gulp, Big Bite, Coffee and Sandwiches..Fresh Foods)
• Managed the Intra-Company dairy and food processing relationship with retail.
• Operational and Administrative experience as: District Mgr. (Chicago), Area Marketing Mgr (Toronto, Canada), Sales and Prom Mgr, (Philadelphia) and Division Marketing Mgr. (Washington D.C.).
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS Austin, TX
Executive Marketing Program (McCombs School of Business) E.M.A
LOYOLA UNIVERSITY/MARQUETTE U. Chicago, ILL/Milwaukee, WI B.A.
Dr. Phillip Marks
Dr. Phil Marks is currently CHR’s longest standing board member, joining in January 2006. Over the last 11+ years, Dr. Marks has been instrumental in shaping and steering the home ownership program ran by CHR. He not only serves on CHR’s general board of directors but also on the CICLT (Coast and Islands Community Trust) board and as a member of the Landlord/Tenant Committee. He also serves on the City of Sanibel’s Planning Commission.
Dr. Marks grew up in Arkansas and graduated from Tulane University with both his Bachelors Degree and his M.D. He has an impressive background including a career as a Flight Surgeon in the Air Force and receiving the “Resident of the Year” award from the Guedel Society during his residency in anesthesiology at the USC Medical Center.
CHR is fortunate to have such a dedicated and brilliant long-time board member who gives so much of themselves to the program.
Mona grew up in N Ft Myers, FL. It is still home to her and her husband Bill and their 2 daughters. She has been involved in many organizations over the years and is currently serving as the President of the N. Fort Myers Red Knight Foundation. This foundation is partnered with N. Ft. Myers High School to enhance the educational environment for both students and teachers.
Mona’s banking career began in 2001 with First Community Bank for 13 years. Mona has back office experience and retail banking, which is where she found her love for helping customers. She came to Sanibel Captiva Community Bank (SCCB) in July of 2015 and it was like coming home! She was initially the VP Treasury Manager for SCCB working out of the Ft Myers office. In December 2015 circumstances brought her to Sanibel. Mona fell in love with her co-workers, customers and the island. She chose to stay on as the VP Office Manager for Library Way branch.
“We are thrilled to welcome Mona to the Treasurer position of the CHR Board of Directors” said Melissa Rice, Executive Director. “Mona’s background and experience are a perfect fit for CHR Treasurer.”
Past Board Members
Richard Johnson Past Board President
Richard Johnson’s education began not only in school, but in the workforce. He began a career early on working with a national insurance company owned by a farming family. Richard began his college career in Virginia and completed his Business degree at the University of Jacksonville’s Davis School of Business. Richard met wife Mead in college and the couple and their three children came to permanently reside in Sanibel in 2004, the year Hurricane Charley hit the island.
Richard specialized in information technology in addition to disaster relief and internal business consulting with his company, and that skillset made him a valuable asset to the island at that time, particularly to Bailey’s General Store, Mead’s family business.
Richard’s approach was a rebuilding and evolution of the business, with a huge emphasis placed on getting involved in the fabric of the community. Among many other island organizations he is a part of, Richard has worked with Community Housing and Resources – Sanibel since the year he moved to Sanibel and he has served as Board President since 2010.
“We have something here that I’ve never experienced anywhere else and I challenge anyone to draw a comparison between what we have and other places,” Richard declared. “That goes to the people as well as the environment. When you actually live here and become a part of the community you really see the rich cultural diversity that we have here. I think that’s one of the things that makes our community so endearing.”
Ed Hendrick Past Vice President
Ed Hendrick, Vice President and Member of the Executive Committee, first engaged with CHR as a volunteer member of the Expansion Committee. Following his initial involvement, he was invited to join the Board and subsequently accepted a position as Secretary in the spring of 2019. Ed, and his wife Annette, has been year-round Sanibel residents since late 2013 and are both actively engaged in Community and Church Affairs. Ed is presently serving as President of the Beach View Home Owners Association and both he and Annette are active in promoting a range of Beach View based social events. Ed is also active in the Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club.
Ed spent 30+ years in the telecommunications industry, largely in R&D, with such entities as Bell Laboratories, Bell Communications Research, and US WEST Advanced Technologies, retiring from the latter as their Strategy Implementation Officer. Much of his business career was focused on the identification and subsequent commercialization of emerging technologies through licensing and new venture development. Following completion of his telecomm career, Ed decided to return to school to add to his AB and MBA degrees and earned both a Juris Doctor and Master of Intellectual Property law degrees from the University of New Hampshire. He subsequently spent an additional 6 years as Senior Vice-President of Science Applications Technology (SAIC) as head of the Technology Commercialization practice, followed by another six years in private transactional focused legal practice with the law firm of Holt, Mynatt, Martinez in New Mexico. Between them, Ed and Annette have lived in New Jersey, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico—and are very happy to call Sanibel their home!
Long term Sanibel resident. Married to Sheridan for 52 years. Two sons and four grandsons. Sold home in Michigan four years ago.
Retired for four years. Most recently Partner in private equity firm (HCI) for 14 years. Earlier career was in the corporate world. Most recently as Chairman and CEO of Federal-Mogul Corp. and, before that, CEO of Tenneco Automotive.
Public boards: Commercial Vehicle Group, Federal-Mogul, Schneider National, Clarcor
Charity boards: Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America, United Way (Detroit, Oil City, Pittsburgh)
Enjoy golf, fishing, and travel. And playing with my big dog, Tank.
Doreen has been a supporter of CHR for many years and has volunteered on our annual fundraiser, Mardi Gras. She was the co – chair on the Banking committee this year and will be helping out at our future Mardi Gras on Sanibel too. With that said, I’d like to introduce you to Doreen Ruane.
Doreen grew up in Weston, CT and graduated from University of Massachusetts. “My introduction to Sanibel was when my parents bought their first condo in 1986. I loved it so much, I continued to vacation here almost every year after that,” said Doreen. After working in CT and then NJ for many years, she moved to Sanibel in August 2004 with her husband and son. A few days after moving here, they were surprised by the arrival of Hurricane Charley. This was a quick way for them to meet our neighbors and get involved on the island.
Doreen has been involved in many different organizations in various capacities since moving to Sanibel: The Sanibel School Fund, The Sanibel School PTA, the committee to help pass the referendum to rebuild the Recreation Center, Sanibel City Council campaign committees, Sanibel Captiva Cares and most recently Pace Center for Girls in Fort Myers and now Community Housing and Resources. “I decided to become a CHR board member because I believe this is an organization that is needed on Sanibel and has done a great job in providing affordable housing for those in need. CHR has become a model for other communities and I look forward to working with everyone involved.” reflected Doreen.
“Having Doreen Ruane join our Board of Directors is not only a tribute to her father Tom Gilhooley who served the organization for many years as a Director, but a testament to the commitment of the Gilhooley and Ruane families to our community. Doreen brings a great deal of knowledge, commitment and compassion to our board. With her addition to our Board of Directors our community will be well positioned to continue to provide much needed Work Force Housing in our community. Welcome Aboard Doreen!” commented, Richard Johnson, Board President.
Norm EsseyPast Board President
Norm Essey joined CHR’s board in early 2017 and shortly after accepted the position of board Vice President and then Interim President in 2019. Prior to joining the general board, Norm had served on the CICLT board, the entity that oversees CHR’s affordable home ownership program.
Norm retired to Sanibel from a career as an attorney and a national manager in the commercial real estate and title business. Norm enjoys traveling to see his children and grandchildren and exploring the country’s national parks, but during the majority of the year spent here on Sanibel, he knew he wanted to get involved in community affairs.
Given his real estate background and legal experience, CHR was a natural fit and he has already brought so much knowledge and guidance to the oversight of CHR’s rental and ownership programs.
Unfortunately, Norm was pulled away to open a Real Estate Tile Commitment firm throughout the nation and stepped down as CHR’s Interim President in August of 2019.
Aaron Pruss, Esq.
Past Board Member
CHR (Community Housing & Resources), provider of affordable housing on Sanibel since 1983, has added to its board of directors a Sanibel attorney with deep experience in commercial transactions and litigation related to construction law and real property.
Aaron Pruss was officially appointed to the board at its November meeting. Educated at Rutgers University (B.A. in political science) and Wayne State University School of Law, Mr. Pruss is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Construction Law and is a former chair of the Florida Bar Grievance Committee for the 20th Judicial Circuit in and for Lee County, Florida. He is a member of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Construction Law, the Real Property, Probate and Trusts Law Section of the Florida Bar and the Litigation Section of the Michigan Bar and is admitted to practice law in both Michigan and Florida.
Commenting on the appointment, board President Richard Johnson said: “A successful non-profit such as Community Housing and Resources can only be accomplished by a board of knowledgeable, dedicated and generous community leaders. Those willing to give of their time, energies and support bring a natural esprit de corps to our organization. Aaron Pruss is exactly that and will bring value to our board and organization well beyond our expectations. Welcome aboard, Aaron!”
Following successful service with two Michigan law firms, Mr. Pruss came to Florida, serving with two Southwest Florida firms before advancing to his present situation with Hewson & Van Hellemont, P.C., in 2016. As a managing shareholder with the Florida office, he advises and counsels business and construction clients on complex transactions, risk management, bonding and insurance coverage issues, among other responsibilities.
He is active in the island community, particularly with the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce (as Chair-elect of the Board of Directors, Government Affairs committee) and with the Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club (Vice-president of the board). Mr. Pruss was recently appointed to the Sanibel Charter Review Committee and was elected chairman at its introductory meeting. Those who attended the 2016 CHR Mardi Gras fund raiser may recall his enthusiastic and effective participation as a Kiwanis team member in the hilarious swim relay.
Pruss said: “I am honored and humbled to serve on the CHR Board of Directors. CHR is fundamental to preserving the true character of our islands and is a shining example of the spirit of those who live and work here. I look forward to working with the CHR staff and its constituents toward an even brighter future for all involved.”
As CHR readies for expansion, with the goal of providing more affordable housing for island workers and their families, Mr. Pruss’ experience in all matters of construction law will be invaluable.
With the increase in Aaron’s duties to his legal clients, Aaron has had to relinquish his position on the CHR Board as of July 2019. We have all benefitted from Aaron’s expertise in real estate endeavors and appreciate all he has added to the CHR program during his time on our Board. Thank you Aaron
Past Board Member
Dorothy Donaldson joined CHR’s board in 2011. In addition to Administration and Finance degrees, Dorothy has a rich work history, working in several fast-paced business management and finance positions in New York City, primarily in healthcare-related fields.
Dorothy’s housing experience from working at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation has served CHR well as she shares her knowledge and talents with the team. She also brings her regimented organizational skills gained from a 23-year stint as a commissioned officer in the Army Reserve.
In addition to her volunteer position with CHR, Dorothy has also shared her time and talents with the Sanibel Historical Museum, F.I.S.H., Big Arts, and the Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
Community Housing and Resources – Sanibel counts themselves as lucky to have people as dedicated and talented as Dorothy serving on their board of directors.
Past Board Member
Fundraising Committee:: Lisa Ann Miller, Laura DeBruce, Lisa Ann Miller, Lena Brown, Diane Silhavy, Susan Ayres, Margarethe Miville, Shelley Greggs
Volunteer Building & Grounds Committee: George Campean, Dave, Dave, Dave, Ted, Ed, Scott, Neil, Bob, Steve
Expansion Committee: Roger Grogman, George Campean, Chris Coile, Mike Jacobson, Phil Marks, Stephen Morris
Finance Committee: Doug Babcock (Chair), Mona Strasser.
Governance Committee: Tim Garmager
Landlord/Tenant Committee: Lisa Bramm (Chair), Chris Heidrick, Andy Boyle, Doreen Ruane, Lena Brown
Nominating Committee: Dr. Steve Brown (Chair), Jerry Edelman, George Campean
Personnel Committee: Laura DeBruce, Doug Babcock, Dr. Steve Brown