BIOGRAPHIES OF CANDIDATES FOR THE LBA BOARD – 2023
Bill Baumgartner: Christina and I moved to Lake Barcroft in the fall of 2018 and were immediately impressed by the extraordinary sense of community. On our second day, a neighbor insisted on bringing us to a neighborhood party and introduced us to dozens of fascinating people. We were quickly welcomed into a whole range of activities ranging from the Newcomers Club to the Women’s Club home tour to Neighborhood Watch to beach cleanups and much more. Before coming to Lake Barcroft, I enjoyed a 33-year career in the U. S. Coast Guard and lived in many places throughout the U.S. Neighborhoods like Lake Barcroft are rare and don’t “just happen.” They are the result of a lot of hard work, commitment, tradition, and a deep sense of shared community. Although not glamorous, responsive, and competent management are also essential elements – especially when you are stewards of a magnificent 135-acre lake. I believe I can make a significant contribution to Lake Barcroft. I have been impressed by the management of our beaches, boating, dam, water quality, and safety, and would be thrilled to contribute my Coast Guard maritime and water safety experience. Much of my work in the Coast Guard involved law enforcement and security. I believe that I can be helpful in strengthening our community’s relationship with our local police force and helping them work on behalf of all the members of our diverse community. With engineering degrees, an MBA and a law degree, I can also assist the LBA Board in a variety of other areas ranging from maintenance to finance and more.
Carole Bausell: It is with utmost enthusiasm that I offer my candidacy to serve as a member of the Lake Barcroft Board. My mission, if elected, will be to help maintain the precious gifts we enjoy in this unique community and protect them for future generations: a healthy, swimmable lake set within an urban forest that is home to birds and other wildlife; a welcoming social fabric; safe streets; and a quiet, peaceful community. Arriving in 2011 with husband Larry Golfer, I have experienced life on both sides of the lake, first residing on Stoneybrae Drive and now living on Jay Miller. My volunteerism here has covered both environmental and social activities. For several years I enjoyed overseeing the Lake Barcroft Earth Day Raffle that contributed hundreds of dollars to the LBA for its Tree Replacement Program. I also volunteered for Geese Peace, the Village, the Woman’s Club, the Newcomers Club, and the Art League. I currently volunteer with Barcroft Families for Safe Streets, where my goal is to recommend effective new strategies for traffic safety for our pedestrians, cyclists and drivers throughout the community. During a rewarding career as an educational psychologist, I advocated for children and adults with special learning needs, working at the local, state, and national levels. I served on a federal roundtable and on the board of a school for the blind and trained executives in using quality improvement techniques and data-based decision-making. I also supported causes such as clean water with environmental groups, recommending policy changes as needed. I am well-versed in working with diverse stakeholders on complicated issues and have been successful in promoting consensus among them through respectful dialogue, creative thinking, and practical solutions. It would be an honor to be given the opportunity to give back to my community by serving on the LBA Board.
Merri Brown: I moved to this area from Massachusetts, with my husband, Gil, in 2011. I had just retired from a teaching career spanning early childhood to high school and we were delighted to be close by our daughter and our new little grandchild in Arlington. In 2014, we bought our house on Whispering Lane and immediately felt at home. Throughout the years, I have enjoyed being part of decision making within my community and working with others to create change. In our Massachusetts neighborhood, I served on the boards of our local synagogue and the local Woman’s American ORT chapter. These experiences taught me the importance of working with others to achieve common goals. Valuable lessons learned! After moving here, I wanted to be just as involved in this lovely community. I have taken on leadership positions in the Newcomers, Barcrofters and the Woman’s Club, serving as recording secretary of the Woman’s Club, co-president and then, President for three years. With co- president, Marcia Graboswki, we reallocated Club funds for two benches in the Woman’s Club Garden, contributed funds for the wrought iron fence and replanted the area now known as the rock garden. These efforts were done in collaboration with WID and LBA which provided me valuable insights about the collaboration among the various organizations. The pandemic presented new challenges. We expanded the club’s activities and moved immediately to zoom. Working with co-president, Charlotte Flounders, we opened the classes to all women of the community to bring us together while staying apart. Currently I chair the member events committee. Being a part of a leadership team has always been important to me. As an LBA board member, I can continue to give back to this community that so warmly welcomed us.
Edwin Davis: I have now served on the board for two years and, if re-elected, look forward to continuing to do what I can to help the community. Each board member is assigned a particular responsibility- mine has been community safety. We hired a part-time security person who has been able to reduce trespassing and be a visible presence around the lake. I also have developed a good working relationship with local police, including Lake Barcroft’s own Eddy Azcarate (now retired). My wife Sara and I have lived in Lake Barcroft for 31 years. We previously lived in DC and Alexandria. Our two boys grew up here, both went to local schools including Justice High. I spent many years coaching and on the board of the Mason District Little League, my last four years as president. I was treasurer of the Justice Choral Boosters for three years. Sara and I regularly deliver food for the ACCA food bank. I’m also the Milestones Guy. For the last few years, I’ve been writing the Milestones section of the Lake Barcroft newsletter, chronicling events in the lives of the people in our community. I worked for the US House of Representatives for twelve years and then for many years for a nonprofit advocacy group, Common Cause. In between those jobs, I went back to school and received a master’s degree from Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Our neighborhood has a beautiful lake and a vibrant, full-of-life suburban forest. But we also live in an area that has become more urbanized, bringing with it environmental stresses and "urban" problems- speeding, cars rifled, and last year, gunshots. As a board member, I hope I have done a small part with others to maintain our unique setting while being good neighbors to the communities around us.
Gregory Gragg: CEO/Executive Chairman of a holding company for the last 30 years starting, buying, and selling companies. Stewarded 12 total startups, selling four and currently running four companies within the holding company. Experience includes financial, operations, legal, contracts, HR, sales, marketing, and management. Work to acquire new companies for the holding company analyzing target’s financial feasibility and potential integration. Served for ten years on Longview Farm’s HOA board of directors located in Lee’s Summit MO (364 homes). Served as Secretary for four years and was President for six years. During my tenure as President, we changed the dues structure and set ongoing cost of living increases for dues as well as proposed and passed a onetime assessment to get and keep the HOA out of debt and establish a reserve fund of $250,000 ongoing. We worked to establish a ten-year plan focused on repairing and managing all assets of the HOA including monuments, structures, a lake, green space, swimming pool, playgrounds and walking trails. Serving on three non-profit boards Professional Association for Customer Engagement. PACE and the Florida Association of Private Colleges and Schools FAPSC and National Association for Private Employer Organizations. Serving on the government relations committee for PACE and Political Action Committee for FAPSC and NAPEO. Served on nine non-profit boards over the last 30 years serving as President on three, Secretary on four, Marketing Chair on three, Social Committee Chair on three, and VP administration on three. My wife currently serves as Recruitment Chair on the Lake Barcroft Women’s Club and we participate in the Lake Barcroft Newcomers.
Larry Hoffer: From the moment my husband Wayne and I moved to Lake Barcroft seven years ago, we were captivated not only by the natural beauty that surrounded us but also the amazing spirit of this community. I became involved in small ways until four years ago, when I became the editor of the Lake Barcroft Newsletter. We’ve really made great strides in strengthening the content and capturing all the different activities and personalities that make our neighborhood tick. I’ve served on the LBA Board for two years, co-chairing the Communications Committee and now serving as Vice President. As the executive director of the American Institute of Architecture Students, and someone who has worked in the association management field for nearly my entire career, I work with boards every day, so I’m familiar with the characteristics that make a strong board of directors. I have brought that knowledge to my service on the LBA Board and hope to have the opportunity to continue strengthening its effectiveness, and its communication with residents if I am fortunate enough to be re-elected. We are truly fortunate to live in a community like Lake Barcroft, and it is vitally important we work to protect both the residents as well as the Lake and the ecosystem around us. How we accomplish both of those things is a delicate balance, but it is truly crucial for us to keep flourishing as a community. I would be honored and humbled to serve each of you if I am re-elected and will work to enhance the incredible spirit of Lake Barcroft. Thank you!
John Shapard: I moved to Lake Barcroft in 2013, and I marvel at the friendly community we have. My education is in math and law, and my career involved computer programming and statistical research. I’m also an experienced handyman, which led me to get involved 8 years ago helping George Waters build and maintain our boat racks. I created the boat sharing program that started last May, and which the board seems likely to adopt as an LBA program. Through this, I attended all but one board meeting over the last year. You should attend some meetings, to see what the board deals with, and how. You will almost certainly want to have a word in their discussions. If elected to the board, I hope to accomplish two broad goals. One is to think outside the box and encourage other board members to do the same. Our new board member, Reid Voss, provides an excellent example. Although the board worked to deal with the increased cost of insurance offered by their existing broker, Reid contacted other brokers and found a policy that costs $50,000 less. And in addition to the established routine of maintenance tasks, he is leading an effort to develop a 5-year plan for maintenance and improvements. This makes a lot of sense. I hope to exercise similar creativity in finding savings and thoughtful approaches to the board’s responsibilities. My second goal is to help improve how the board operates. Being a board member is demanding, and I think most members agree that the board is too often diverted by discussions over small matters, leaving inadequate time to address major issues. I hope to promote changes in policy and procedure that will improve decisions and encourage community input.
Jim Simonson: James (Jim) Simonson is the Director of Operations, Budget, and Performance Management at the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP). Mr. Simonson has developed and managed budgets at the Federal, State, county, and local level for thirty-five years. Mr. Simonson is active in the community, currently as Treasurer of the Lake Barcroft Homeowner’s Association and an Assistant Patrol Leader for Boy Scout Troop 681. He was President of St. James School’s PTA Organization and President of the Board of Directors, Sleepy Hollow Bath, and Racquet Association. Mr. Simonson managed two Federal agencies’ budgets, with a combined total appropriation of $31.84 billion, for 17 years. He manages $35 million in contracts for DOJ to secure services for information technology systems, training/technical assistance, strategic planning, and clerical/logistical support. Prior to joining OVC, Mr. Simonson was the Budget Director for the DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance for nearly 10 years. Before working on budget and management issues, he was a Program Manager in the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. He joined DOJ in 1989 and worked for two years as a Grant Monitoring Specialist with the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Prior to his Federal service, Mr. Simonson was the Chief Legislative Analyst for the Miami-Dade County Commission; Director of Programs Operations for the National Spinal Cord Injury Association; and Legislative Assistant in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. In July 1993, Mr. Simonson was selected for a fellowship with the Legislative Staff Management Institute at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. Mr. Simonson was also a student intern in the Irish Parliament. Mr. Simonson holds M.A. and B.S. degrees in political science from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.
Ralph Smalley: My family and I have lived in Lake Barcroft for 33 years where we raised two children. Over the years and at different times, Diane, my wife, and I have each served on the Board. I also initiated the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund (for graduating seniors at Justice High School) in 1994 after Justice Marshall, our neighbor, had died. By profession, I hold master’s degrees in public administration and in Urban Planning. With a scholarship and a fellowship, I earned a Ph.D. in Urban Studies and worked as a planning director. Then we came to Washington D.C. where I consulted with the Congress’s Office of Technology Assessment. Later, I became entrepreneurial and, among other endeavors, designed and developed marinas. With this background, land use planning, public policy and specifically environmental waterfront impacts are familiar to me. Now retired, again serving on the Board would be an opportunity to “give back” to this great community we call home. Based on past experience, the Board mostly does routine management, which it does well, but because community needs change over time, the Board also could be more proactive in assessing our interests and needs, and then, in promoting groups and programs that meet these needs. The creation of the Lake Barcroft Village is an example of such a program, but it emerged only with the private leadership of a few individuals. Again, the building of a new playground is another example of something that was new, but again, it was a private initiative. In my opinion, it would be worthwhile for the Board itself to show leadership for being more innovative. This doesn’t mean spending more money; it does means being deliberative and spending effort. If I were a Board member, this is predominantly what I would want to work on.
Jacqueline Stone: My name is Jacquie and I have lived in Lake Barcroft for five years now with my husband and our two boys. We chose Lake Barcroft as our home due to its strong sense of community. We have loved getting to know and appreciate our neighbors over the years, especially throughout the pandemic. I am forever grateful for the relationships we have forged with each other and with the outdoors. Having grown up in a small harbor town myself, I value not only the community but also a life that revolves around such a beautiful body of water and the natural ecosystem that has developed because of it. While I feel I have been an active member of our small community on our side of the lake, I feel I can do more. We have observed over the years that while we find our backyards and the lake a safe environment for our children, our streets have experienced increased risk of pedestrian and cyclist injury and death due to traffic violators. Our neighborhood has also experienced theft, break-ins, and trespassing, all of which are of particular concern to me as a parent. To that end, I am running for a position on the Board of Directors for Lake Barcroft to be your voice and partner in addressing issues of safety, as well as other matters important to our community. As a parent with young children, and more than fifteen years in project management working in the international global health sector, I will bring a fresh, productive, and collaborative perspective to the Board. I will work in partnership with our fellow residents to maintain and even improve our unique way of life. I humbly thank you for your consideration of my candidacy.