Board of Directors

The Western Flyer Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. The Foundation is pleased to have the following Board Members working towards ensuring our Vision is brought to life.

John M. Gregg

John Gregg is founder and President of Gregg Drilling & Testing, Inc. He started the company in 1985 and has grown it over the past 32 years to become a leader in the industry. Gregg Drilling is known for high quality site investigations and an excellent safety records. Mr. Gregg prides himself in the personnel at Gregg Drilling and their commitment to the company. Many employees have been with Gregg Drilling for over 20-years.He manages over 200 people in six locations within California and Texas.  Through Gregg Drilling’s marine division, John has developed advanced systems for seafloor sampling which have worked at great depths in oceans around the world.

 

John is founder and Director of the Western Flyer Foundation which is currently restoring the historic vessel that was used by author John Steinbeck on his voyage to the Sea of Cortez in 1940. He hopes to grow the Western Flyer Foundation and provide outreach and education to under-served communities along the West Coast. He wants the Foundation to specialize in merging the arts and science together in a holistic approach to learning and hopefully inspire the next generation of biologists, environmentalists, artists and researchers.

 

John has a bachelors degree in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno, Mackay School of Mines.

Susan Shillinglaw, Ph.D.

Since June, 2015, Susan Shillinglaw has been the Director of the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California. For most of her career she was a Professor of American literature and John Steinbeck in the English Department at San Jose State University, where she was also Director of the University’s Center for Steinbeck Studies for 18 years. In 2012-13 she was named the SJSU President’s Scholar. She still teaches one semester a year at SJSU.

 

For thirty years she has been a scholar and a student of John Steinbeck’s work, speaking frequently on the author’s impact and relevance in the U.S and around the world. With her husband, marine biologist William Gilly, she has co-directed five summer institutes for high school teachers, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts--“John Steinbeck: Social Critic and Ecologist” (www.steinbeckinstitute.org).

 

Dr. Shillinglaw has published widely on Steinbeck, most recently Carol and John Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage (University of Nevada Press, 2013) and On Reading The Grapes of Wrath (Penguin, 2014) as well as A Journey into Steinbeck’s California (2006; 2011). She also wrote introductions to several of Steinbeck books for Penguin New American Library editions of Cannery Row, Of Mice and Men, A Russian Journal and The Winter of Our Discontent. Other publications include collections of scholarly essays (i.e. Steinbeck and the Environment, 1997) as well as an edition of Steinbeck’s journalism, America and Americas and Selected Nonfiction (2002).

 

She is currently working on a short biography of John Steinbeck for Reaktion Books, London.

 

 

Richard Brusca

Rick Brusca is an invertebrate zoologist, marine biologist, conservation ecologist, and Southwestern naturalist.  He is Executive Director, Emeritus, of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and a Research Scientist at the University of Arizona and the Centro de Investigación en Alimentación y Desarrollo (CIAD), Mexico.  Rick is the author of over 175 research publications and 13 books, including the largest-selling text on invertebrate zoology (Invertebrates, Sinauer Associates; available in four languages) and the popular field guides Common Intertidal Invertebrates of the Gulf of California, A Seashore Guide to the Northern Gulf of California, and A Natural History the Santa Catalina Mountains, with an Introduction to the Madrean Sky Islands.  He has been the recipient of more than 100 research grants from the National Science Foundation, NOAA, National Geographic Society, Charles Lindberg Foundation, National Park Service, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and many others.  Rick has served on panels and boards for numerous foundations and agencies, including the National Science Board, National Science Foundation, Smithsonian Institution, NOAA, PEW Program in Conservation and the Environment, Public Broadcasting Service, IUCN Species Survival Commission, U.S. Department of the Interior, and others.  He has served on more than a dozen non-profit boards, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for several Tucson-area and Mexican non-profits, including Tohono Chul Park and Comunidad y Biodiversidad (COBI).  He is an elected Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Linnean Society of London (FLS), and the California Academy of Sciences.  He is also a recipient of the Luminaria Award from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

 

Rick’s primary region of interest is the Gulf of California and the Sonoran Desert.  His current research is focused on biodiversity and conservation in the Gulf, and the natural history of the Madrean Sky Islands.

 

Chris Chase

Chris Chase brings 30 years of experience to the Western Flyer Foundation as a previous owner, project manager and one of the head shipwright at the Port Townsend Shipwrights. Chris initially was the project manager for Western Flyer project when it arrived at the Port Townsend Shipwrights. What started as just another restoration to him turned into a deep passion. Intrigued by the history and the future potential of this project he was led to the next chapter in his life which was to work directly for the Western Flyer Foundation as Project Director. Chris has restored countless classic sailing vessels, fishing vessels and adventure yachts from California to Alaska. In addition, Chris has worked along side many environmental maritime nonprofit foundations including Green Wilderness, S/V Martha Foundation and the Sound Experience Foundation. He has also served as a board member on the NW School of Wooden Boat Building in Port Townsend, WA..

 

As Project Director, partner and ambassador for the Western Flyer Foundation, Chris will over see every phase of the project from the sawing the first timbers to coordinating with engineers and technicians to develop a state of the art hybrid propulsion system. He looks forward to sharing the history, restoration process and the exciting future of the Western Flyer.

William Gilly

William Gilly is a Professor of Biology at Stanford University based at Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, CA. He received a B.S.E. in electrical engineering from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in physiology and biophysics from Washington University after carrying out his thesis research at Yale University Medical School. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in the Departments of Biology and Physiology and began working with squid during this time at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA

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His research has ranged from biophysical and molecular analyses of excitability mechanisms in nerve and muscle cells of a variety of invertebrates, but primarily squid, to oceanographic changes in the Gulf of California and Monterey Bay. His group was the first (and only) to deploy pop-up satellite tags and video-monitoring devices (National Geographic Crittercam) on large Humboldt squid to record their second-to-second vertical movements and color-changing behaviors. His current research focuses on the physiological mechanisms controlling skin-color change in squid and the influence of climatic anomalies and changing oceanographic conditions on the life history of Humboldt squid in the Gulf of California.

 

His work has often been featured in popular media, including the Ultimate Explorer episode “Devils of the Deep” on National Geographic TV, “Cannibal Squid” on Dangerous Encounters with Brady Barr, in popular magazines (Discover, Outside, BioScience) and on National Geographic News online posts. His lab group carries out the the popular K-12 outreach program, Squids4Kids, and contributes to Science Friday’s “Cephalopod Week.”  In 2004 he was Director and Chief Scientist for the Sea of Cortez Exploration and Education Project that retraced the 1940 expedition to the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts on the Western Flyer. He is currently developing a marine field station for research and education in the Gulf of California with the technical college Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Mulege, Santa Rosalia, BCS, and The Ocean Foundation, Washington, DC. He also co-directs, with Susan Shillinglaw, a summer institute on John Steinbeck funded by the National Endowment for Humanities for high-school teachers that bridges science and literature.

 

 

WESTERN FLYER FOUNDATION . 2726 Walnut Ave., Signal Hill, CA 90755.  Tel: 949-903-6873  Info@WesternFlyer.org

Board of Directors
John M. Gregg
Richard Brusca
Susan Shillinglaw, Ph.D.
Chris Chase
William Gilly
Board of Directors
John M. Gregg
Susan Shillinglaw, Ph.D.
Richard Brusca
Chris Chase
William Gilly
Board of Directors
John M. Gregg
Susan Shillinglaw, Ph.D.
Richard Brusca
Chris Chase
William Gilly
John M. Gregg
Susan Shillinglaw, Ph.D.
Richard Brusca
Chris Chase
William Gilly