Board of Directors -as of March 2017
- Jennie Marshall
- RB Laurence
- Renate Raeder
- Christa Williams
- Jennifer Cotrupi
- Laura Hafner
- Sean O’Connell
- David Shay
- Fred Loucks
- Bill McGowan
- Bonnie Enright
- Felicia Sperry
Board Member Biographies
Bonnie Enright – Member
After an introduction to rowing in 1997 at Stirling University Rowing Club in Scotland, Bonnie returned to rowing at Amoskeag Rowing Club in 2011. There she joined a Learn to Row program to dust up her 14 year old skills and was (re) hooked. When she relocated to the Portsmouth area, after trying out Durham Boat Club on the Lamprey River, she joined GBR in 2016 for the opportunity to row on both the Oyster River and the Cocheco with a community of other like-minded masters rowers. Bonnie was raised in the Lakes Region in Maine and grew up spending time recreational boating & swimming on the water there, and later she learned to navigate the Merrimack River when she began sculling. Bonnie, a resident of Portsmouth for 5 years, ran for a board position to bring a new masters rower’s perspective to the board. After four years of rowing in a variety of waterways and through memberships at Stirling, Amoskeag Rowing Club, DBC and GBR, Bonnie contributes to the GBR board alternative ideas and policies informed by her other club memberships .
Sean O’Connell- Co-Treasurer, Equipment Committee, Coach
Sean, a 40 year resident of Durham, has served on the Great Bay Rowing BOD for 15 years. He served for 12 years in the early days of GBR, and recently returned to the board as a parent of a GBR junior rower. Sean’s introduction to the sport came in 1981 through high school friends who rowed for Durham Boat Club and before founding GBR, in his 36-year career as a competitor, Sean rowed for Durham Boat Club, UNH, Pioneer Valley Rowing Association, Boston Rowing Center and the US National Team. Sean started GBR over twenty years ago, first as Durham Boat Club and soon thereafter it became Great Bay Rowing. His hope was to develop a broad based recreational and competitive rowing club for all in the greater Seacoast NH/ME area. He started the club, and continues to serve, because rowing provided him great opportunities as a young person and created positive habits that have served him well today. As a board member his aim it to to improve and expand rowing opportunities and ensure GBR rowers have positive experiences. As an attorney and now shareholder at Shaheen & Gordon, P.A. since 1996, Sean has served on many non-profit boards over the past 20 years, forming and representing them as an attorney. Sean brings legal expertise, combined with year of coaching experience (Brookline High School, UNH Men’s Crew and GBR) to the boards oversight of the club.
R.B. Laurence – Vice President, Safety, HOF Organizing Committee
In the first year of his first 3-year term as a GBR board member, as VP, RB has taken on a lead role in updating and overseeing the implementation of GBR’s safety policies and procedures, as well as taking a lead role on the Head of the Fish organizing committee. RB has been a resident of Greenland for over 20 years and was introduced to the sport of rowing over 30 years ago, when his sister rowed at the University of Pennsylvania. RB was himself a competitive collegiate sailor at the US Coast Guard Academy, and has navigated and/or sailed in ports around the world. He has formal education and training in the nautical sciences, including navigation and ship handling and as a US Coast Guard Officer, where he served over 5 years at sea, ultimately serving as chief engineer of a large oceangoing cutter. In his professional life, as a consulting engineer, his experience involves the design of somewhat dangerous mechanical systems and through time spent on construction sites, he has developed extensive experience with risk assessment and evaluation, serving on a national fire code committee, with a speciality in evaluating the fire and safety risks associated with unique facilities not covered by codes. RB’s daughter, a junior rower, brought him to GBR, which led him to board membership because, as he explained, “I believe in the club’s mission and the positive power of the sport. The club has been good to my daughter and I am interested in facilitating similar positive experiences for other youth rowers.” The nautical and safety expertise RB brings to his service to the BOD is invaluable to the work of the GBR Board and the operations of the club.
Laura Hafner – Board Secretary, Master’s Rep
With over 37 years of rowing experience, Laura explains that she found rowing when she was dragged to a rowing orientation at San Diego State University (SDSU) because the coaches noticed she was tall. She began rowing at SDSU in 1980 and continued rowing at UNH while on the SDSU/UNH student exchange, then finished her collegiate rowing career at the University of Washington. She has been in a boat ever since! Over the years, Laura has successfully competed in many regattas, including the Collegiate Championships, Head of the Charles, Masters Nationals, FISA World Rowing Masters Regattas and World Masters Games. One of the first things Laura does when moving to a new area is look for a rowing community. She rowed and coached in Fort Worth, TX and Miami, FL while she and her husband were moving around with the Air Force. When she arrived in NH in 1999, she brought what she learned from rowing at a variety of clubs and on diverse bodies of water to GBR, when she joined and began rowing on the Oyster River out of Jackson’s Landing in Durham. Throughout her 18 years of membership at GBR, while participating as an athlete, she has also served on the board, coached GBR athletes, and served as Rowing Director. Laura was integral in searching for and securing GBR’s access to the Cocheco, a waterway that is rowable in all tides, and has advocated for a GBR presence at both the Dover and the Durham locations to support the club’s growth, serve members in a greater radius in the Seacoast community and provide access to two beautiful rowing venues in the Seacoast Area. As of March 2017, Laura joined the Board as Secretary. Laura brings years of rowing, coaching, boat repair, launch and trailer driving experience to the club’s operations and board work.
Felicia Sperry – Board Member, Nominating, Booster Committees, Parent Representative
Felicia was first introduced to the sport at Bucknell University while she was playing rugby at Bucknell and she joined the program in it’s early years. At Bucknell, she rowed and coached as a grad student and later rowed a season of Masters at GBR. In addition to her 5 or so years experience of rowing and coaching experience,as well as her ten plus years coaching youth soccer, Felicia brings vast experience with non-profits and fundraising to her service on the Board: she ran the PTO’s at Mast Way Elementary School and ORMS; she started and developed the OR Hockey Boosters; and she served as parent coordinator for OR Otters swim team where she also officiated. With over 30 years experience as a school psychologist, she brings a deep understanding and commitment to the social and emotional development of local youth, as well as a commitment to fostering growth mindset and a sense of community for GBR. She is a collaborative, problem-solver and supports a systems perspective in club operations and decision-making. Of her interest in the sport and her decision to serve on the Board, Felicia says, “I fell in love with the sport of rowing when I was in college..I love it…only thing I ever got up at 4am for!! I loved the team component, the challenge of getting everyone to work together and move together and when it happened…you worked to keep it going! I am so glad that I found out about GBR so I could share this sport with my kids and get a chance to row again as a masters.” Felicia is in her first year of her first three-year team on the GBR Board.
William McGowan – Board Member, Equipment, Safety Committees
A resident of Durham for 15 years, and a GBR Board member for 13, Bill was introduced to the sport in 1977 when he joined crew at Northeastern University. Since then, he has been involved with the sport as a rower and a coach, and was instrumental in starting the Lowell High School rowing program, where he served as coach from 1996-2004. He has also coached at UMass Lowell, and GBRand in her 26 plus years of coaching,he’s worked with adaptive rowers, juniors, collegiate rowers and masters. Bill has rowed an/or coached on many bodies of water: the Charles, Schuylkill, Connecticut and Merrimack rivers, Lake Quinsigamond, Lake Onondaga, Lake Placid, Canadian Henley, Henley on the Thames to name just a few.He has extensive experience organizing races and regattas, and has served on regatta organizing committees (Chair of the Festival Regatta and Textile River Regatta in Lowell), he organized and ran the dragon boat races at the Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival, started the Lowell High School Invitational and co-founded the NE Fours Championship Regatta for colleges in Lowell. His board service is further informed by his experience as an educator (he is the Winnacunnet High School Principal) and his membership on the Durham Town Planning Board. Bill is a member of the equipment committee and the safety committee.
Dave Shay – Board Member, Equipment, Safety Committees
Dave Shay is a 40 year resident of the Seacoast currently living in Durham who was introduced to the sport through his daughter, a GBR junior rower since she took a Learn to Row camp in 2014. A member of the equipment and safety committees, Dave can often be seen driving the boat trailer to races, standing over a rowing shell making repairs or driving a launch at practice.Of his decision to serve as a board member, Dave says, “I decided to run for a seat on the BOD because I thought I might be able to contribute somehow. I’d been around the water and boats my whole life, just not the long, skinny kind, so it seemed like a good fit and a fun opportunity to learn about a sport I knew very little about. I also saw the positive impact rowing and the GBR community had on my daughter and I’d hoped by serving on the BOD I’d be able to pay that forward.” He has been the Assistant Director for Marine Facilities and Operations at UNH since 2009, where he is responsible for the marine research laboratories and all on-water activity for the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, including the safe operation of a fleet of 14 boats, 12′ – 50′ in length. His other duties there include boat safety training for UNH students as well as some volunteer time with UNH Rowing, helping them with their launches. Dave’s tireless contributions to the smooth and safe operations of the club are invaluable.
Christa Williams – co-Treasurer/Bookkeeper
As the sister of a UNH Women’s Crew member, mother of a junior rower, and wife of National Team rower/coach/GBR founder and co-Treasurer Sean O’Connell,while not a rower herself, Christa is not newcomer to this sport. Nor is she a stranger to the role she is playing on the GBR board; prior to serving in this role, Christa was the Oyster River Otters Treasurer for 3 years. As the owner of a Bookkeeping Consulting business which provides bookkeeping and office administration services to small businesses in the Seacoast, Christa has worked directly with business owners and has had a diverse group of clients over the years; from lobstermen to engineers to dentists and even an equine vet. She is able to understand the unique financial needs and personalities, of her clients with adaptations to her approach, workflow, and communication style as needed. Christa has brought these skills, as well as her understanding of the sport and club rowing, to her management of the GBR books, financial planning and decision-making. Under her management, the club is able to balance operating needs with capital expenses, manage the revenue from programs and dues, and work toward a greater understanding and intentional approach to revenue/expense management and cash flow planning. She explains her goal in serving on the GBR board,“I came to the Great Bay Rowing board with the intent of helping to continue to make the club run in a fiscally responsible and efficient manner, assisting the Treasurer to be the decision making entity, separating the day to day financial tasks from the big picture role of the Treasurer.”
Jennifer Cotrupi – Board Member
Membership Committee, Programming Committee, Welcome Committee, Masters Coordinator, Junior Parent Rep
Jenn’s family has been associated with GBR for over a decade, and she has been a rower herself for 6 years. Three years ago, she joined the board” to give back to the program that my daughter benefited so much from.” She has been instrumental in facilitating GBR’s transition from a small program on the Oyster River to a larger, more competitive program on the Cocheco River because she wanted to be a part of steering the junior program in a direction that was fun, supportive and had opportunity for all kids. As the program has grown into something that she and the board members are all very proud of, her role has shifted and is more focused towards the masters. Jenn helps out in areas from membership, welcoming new rowers, organizing events and pitching in wherever she is needed, bringing her years of volunteer experience, her knowledge of the club from multiple perspectives, her love of sport (she’s an avid skiier in winter), and her patience to any task the club needs accomplished. Jenn’s enthusiastic service to the BOD and her club membership are infectious and inspiring. In her words, “I have especially enjoyed sharing my love of rowing with 2 of my daughters over theses years. This summer they both got up at the crack of dawn and coxed my boats.My youngest daughter; Iris and I had a blast racing at some regattas together. I look forward to competing in some mother daughter boats in the future with her” Keep an eye out at the next big regatta for a mother-daughter GBR entry!
Renate Raeder – Board Member, Master’s Representative, Coach
Renate, a resident of Durham for almost 15 years, first learned to row as a child in Germany, and re-discovered the sport with GBR. She has been a club member of GBR for 11 years and is serving her second three-year term as a board member. She’s an active member of the masters group, sweeping and sculling, and always ready to take a new masters rower out on the river or jump in a boat when an extra person is needed. Renate provided hours of service in launching and maintaining our web site; she’s at the boathouse on every clean-up day, and she’s volunteered at National Learn to Row Day each year when the club opens its doors and provides a chance to anyone to come try rowing. When she’s not rowing or volunteering, she can be found in a launch coaching novices for the GBR and at Berwick Academy, or teaching new rowers at the GBR Learn-to-Row programs. Renate joined the board to ensure masters representation in the club deliberations and planning, and has been instrumental in balancing and integrating the needs of the junior programs with the needs of the masters. Her perspective is avidly inclusive; she advocates for juniors, masters, competitive and recreational rowing members of the club alike, facilitating our partnership with Berwick Academy rowing program and UNH as well.
Fred Loucks- Board Member, Equipment, Programming Committees, Coach
Fred started rowing over 44 years ago,in his hometown of St. Catharines, Ontario, also home to the Canadian Henley. He’s been a coxswain, a lightweight rower, a 3-time member of the Canadian National Rowing Teas and was recruited to row at the University of Pennsylvania where he was the captain of his team. He has been rowing, coaching and supporting the development of the sport for most of his life. Prior to joining GBR 8 years ago, Fred was been a member of Vesper and Malta Rowing Clubs. He’s coached high school rowing and ski teams and college rowing teams, most recently at UNH and has served 3 years as a GBR Board Member. When not on the water, Fred might be seen replacing the wooden trailer bed, building and installing oar racks, opening his Salmonfalls Woodworks shop for repairing and repainting boats or oars, or just building a whimsical car bumper bench to leave at the boathouse for parents or athletes to enjoy. Fred serves on the board, and donates his shop space, time, skills and materials because he wants to ensure that youth rowers get a quality experience, and have every opportunity to row, to develop as athletes to the best of their ability and desire, and to help build a community of healthy, happy youth and adult rowers in the Seacoast.
Jennie Marshall – President, Programming Committee, Coach sub
A former college coach (UPenn, Harvard, UNH), Jennie joined the GBR board 3 years ago as an empty nester, interested in giving back to the sport that has been such a positive influence for her and for her family. Jennie’s relationship with the sport started in Durham in 1977, when she met Jim Dreher, through her sister’s boyfriend, who found out she has been accepted to UPenn. Jim connected Jennie with the rowing coach there, and after years of swimming, basketball, field hockey and high jumping, Jennie wandered down to Boathouse Row in Philly to try rowing. That launched 40 years of rowing and coaching at the collegiate, national and international levels, racing and training on estuaries, rivers, lakes and man-made rowing courses all over the US, Europe, and in Korea. Jennie’s day job is in the Salem Public Schools, where she is the Director of Literacy, managing several federal projects and grants, supervising curriculum, assessment and professional development for teachers, serving as the homeless liaison and the co-program manager of Salem’s End68 Hours of Hunger, and supervising the K-12 ESOL, library and reading intervention staff and programs. She has served on the Women’s Olympic Rowing Committee as the athlete representative, and as president of the inaugural National Collegiate Coaches Association, formed as a response to the decision to bring women’s rowing into the NCAA. Jennie brings her experience from these rowing boards as well as her project management experience to her service on the GBR board. Her aim is running day-to-day operations effectively while also developing replicable and sustainable approaches to club operations for junior, masters, competitive and recreational club members. Cheering for her daughter’s crews, teaching her son to row, and returning to racing in a mixed double with her husband have been among her best rowing experiences, and nothing makes her happier than to see athletes, young and old, and their families discover the sport and it’s unique opportunities for physical and personal growth.