Charles A. Fracchia,
Founder and President Emeritus
Christopher Aguilar | John Briscoe | Richard L. Corriea | David Fishman | Diane L. Gibson
Tom Gille | Noah Griffin | Richard S. E. Johns | David Kvaratskhelia | Rick Lenat | Bruce M. Lubarsky
Christopher A. Patz David Parry | Edith L. Piness | Donald Ferguson Reid
Cynthia So Schroeder | Ken Sproul | Diana Whitehead
Thomas R. Owens, President
Thomas R. Owens earned a B.A. and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He moved to California in 1970, where he practiced real estate law for ten years. Starting in 1980 he has served as partner, COO, and principal of Pacific Union Co. In 1998 Thomas formed Sagamore Equities, which became New Urban Properties in 2004. Since then, he has operated New Urban Properties, which acquires and manages office buildings throughout the West. Mr. Owens is now New Urban’s CEO and sole investor. Thomas has served on numerous boards and commissions. He is currently a trustee of the California Historical Society. He is also a member of various professional organizations, including Lambda Alpha Honorary Real Estate Society and the California and Federal Bars. Tom resides in San Francisco with his wife, D’Arcy, and their two children.
Joe Barkett, Vice President
Joe Barkett earned a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and a J.D. from University of San Francisco. He has combined 45 years of law practice with a variety of top management positions in government and business, including serving as a California State Deputy Attorney General, CEO of the California Exposition and State Fair, CFO for two closely held California corporations, CEO of the Solano County Fair and CEO of the Cow Palace. In conjunction with these various activities Joe has served as a director and officer of numerous business and trade associations and non-profit agencies.
Kevin Pursglove, Secretary
Kevin Pursglove is the former senior director of corporate communications at eBay. He has also served as director of communications for former San Jose mayor Susan Hammer. For many years he was a well-known voice on the radio: from 1979 through 1992, he was a reporter, program host, and public affairs director at KQED radio. Pursglove holds a B.A. in political science from San Francisco State University. He has served on the SFHS board of directors since 2012 and has extensive volunteer experience with the World Affairs Council of Northern California, Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, San Francisco State University, Commonwealth Club of California, and more.
Jack Lapidos, Treasurer
Jack Lapidos was born in Chicago and received his B.S. in mechanical engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology in 1965 and MBA in tax and finance at the University of Chicago in 1967. He moved to San Francisco in 1969 and developed a great fondness for the history of the Bay Area. To pursue this interest, Jack has supported numerous nonprofits devoted to the preservation of San Francisco Bay Area history. He is currently on the boards or treasurer of: San Francisco Maritime Museum Association, Potomac Association, and Presidio Historical Association, Nature Bridge, Touch Inc. (his own private foundation). He is the former director of Museum of American Heritage and Jeremiah O’Brien Liberty Ship. In real life, in 1974 he founded an accounting practice that caters to small businesses and well-to-do individuals.
Charles Fracchia (1937-2021), a renowned San Francisco historian founded the San Francisco Historical Society in 1988. He was the Society’s president prior to the merger with the Museum of the City of San Francisco, and served as the president of the San Francisco Historical Society through February 2005. Fracchia continues to serve on the Board of Directors, chairs the Council of Advisors, and manages the Society’s publications. He is a native San Franciscan who attended local schools and received his B.A. in history from the University of San Francisco. He did graduate work at the University of San Francisco Law School; University of California, Berkeley; San Francisco State University; and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.
Fracchia has taught at City College of San Francisco and the University of San Francisco, lectures extensively throughout the Bay Area, and has been an investment banker for over 30 years. He has written several books including Fire and Gold: The San Francisco Story, City by the Bay: A History of San Francisco 1945 to the Present, and When the Water Came Up to Montgomery Street: San Francisco During the Gold Rush. He has been a trustee of the California Historical Society, and is a member of the Leadership San Francisco Advisory Board of the Chamber of Commerce.
Christopher Aguilar, Director
Chris Aguilar was born and raised in Concord, California, and moved to San Francisco in 1986 after attending St.Mary’s College and Oxford University for undergraduate studies. He started his own legal and business consulting practice and worked for a decade as a trial lawyer. In the 2000s he was the CEO of a small institutional broker-dealer and the general counsel of a mid-sized San Francisco-based public broker-dealer. Chris has worked for the San Francisco City Attorney and the Alameda County District Attorney, and has taught at his alma mater, Hastings College of the Law. He has two children and is an avid Giants, Raiders, Sharks, and Stanford basketball fan. He enjoys live music, motorcycles, drone flying, and tinkering with his home computer network.
John Briscoe, Director
San Francisco poet, author, lawyer, and UC scholar John Briscoe is a founding partner of the law firm Briscoe Ivester & Bazel LLP in San Francisco. He has written extensively on history, international environmental law, and law of the sea. He has tried and argued cases in The Hague, the U.S. Supreme Court, and scores of other courts. He is also an author: The Tadich Grill: The Story of San Francisco’s Oldest Restaurant, with Recipes (2002); The Lost Poems of Cang Jie (2016); and Crush: The Triumph of California Wine (2018). He is a trustee of the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association; a board member of the Historical Society of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and a Distinguished Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.
Richard L. Corriea, Director
Richard Corriea is a fourth generation San Franciscan and a former San Francisco Police Department Commander. He attended San Francisco State University and earned his Juris Doctorate and Master’s in Business Administration at Golden Gate University. He is an adjunct professor at University of San Francisco’s School of Management and a USF Fromm Institute Lecturer. He also serves as Director of the University ‘s Institute of Criminal Justice Leadership.
Corriea’s family has a long history of public service in San Francisco. His great grandfather was an SFPD sergeant before the 1906 earthquake and fire, and relatives including his great-uncles, father, sister and cousins have served the city in public safety capacities since that time. During a thirty-five career in public safety Corriea has held a wide variety of positions, including, commanding the SFPD’s Metro Division, where his span of responsibility included five district stations and over 600 personnel. Prior to his appointment to commander, he headed up the Police Academy, commanded a District Police Station, and managed security operations at the SF International Airport and the Municipal Railway. He’s recognized as a police practices expert with broad experience in investigations, patrol, crowd management and police administration.
David Fishman, Director
Diane L. Gibson, Director
Attorney Diane L. Gibson practiced complex commercial litigation for more than 30 years, representing national and
international clients. She retired from Squire Patton Boggs LLP several years ago. Diane now serves on the board of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library and formerly served on the board of Legal Community Against Violence (now known as the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence). She grew up in the Santa Cruz Mountains and has enjoyed exploring San Francisco and its history since she adopted the city as her home in 1981. Diane earned her undergraduate degree in English and political science) at UC, Berkeley, and her law degree at Hastings College of the Law.
Tom Gille, Director
Tom Gille is a fourth-generation San Franciscan who, after graduating from Polytechnic High School, earned his B.S. and M.A. in Political Science from San Francisco State University. His four-plus decades of experience in the commercial real estate industry include his current role as founder (1996) and principal of REAL Systems, providing consulting services on operational issues. Tom’s love of San Francisco began as a child listening to stories from his grandmother about surviving the 1906 earthquake and fire. His wife Nancy served nine years on the SF Heritage Board and was Chair for three years. They live in San Francisco and have two sons, who both work in the city.
Noah Griffin, Director
Noah Griffin is a native San Franciscan who, after graduation from Washington High School, earned his BA in history from Fisk University and his JD from Harvard Law, where he was the recipient of three fellowships: a Yale history fellowship, a CORO Foundation fellowship, and a Phelps-Stokes fellowship. Noah spent 45 years in government, politics, and media, serving on two presidential campaigns, as an award-winning Examiner columnist and a local ABC KGO Radio talk show host. He served as an administrative aide to Dianne Feinstein and press secretary to Mayor Frank Jordan. Nancy Pelosi appointed him to the National SemiQuincentennial Commission. Noah is currently a monthly columnist for the Marin Independent Journal. He serves on the Buck Family Fund and is founder of the Cole Porter Society. He is married to Meredith Griffin and is the father of five grown children.
Richard S. E. Johns, Director
Richard Johns served as SFHS President from October 2006 through June 2010. He has been a member of the board of directors since 2002. Prior to the merger creating the SFHS, Johns was a Director and Vice-President of the Museum of the City of San Francisco. Johns occupies the Historian’s Seat on the San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission, and is a major collector of San Francisco music.
David Kvaratskhelia, Director
David Kvaratskhelia was born in 1969 in Georgia, former Soviet Union, and immigrated to the United States in 1991.
He attended UC Berkeley on a tennis scholarship and graduated in 1994 with a B.S. in Slavic languages and literature. He completed one professional tennis tour. Currently, he is the CFO/CIO of the Inner Spark Foundation. David is on the board of the Bay Area Hall of Fame and an honorary board member of Meals on Wheels America. He is also involved with the Project Glimmer and Harper for Kids Foundations and in the past was involved with the Olympic Club Foundation. He lives with his wife and two children in Olympic Valley (Lake Tahoe).
Rick Lenat, Director
Rick Lenat is President of Lenat & Partners Communications, Inc., an advertising agency that specializes in travel, tourism, and entertainment. Rick has been active in a number of nonprofit organizations serving as board member and president. He is currently a member of the board of trustees for the Theodore Roosevelt Association and president of SF Hillel. Rick holds a BA from the University of California and an MSJ from Northwestern University. Rick and his wife Ally live in San Mateo. They have a married daughter residing in Bend, Oregon and a son living in San Francisco.
Bruce Lubarsky, Director
Bruce Lubarsky is a fifth generation San Franciscan. He attended Lawton School, Presidio Junior High School, and Lincoln High School and graduated from UC Berkeley in 1959 and Hastings College of Law in 1962. He was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1963 and the United States Supreme Court in 1971. Lubarsky is a member of the World Jurist Association, the American Bar Association, the San Francisco Bar Association, and the Lawyers Club of San Francisco. He worked in the office of the San Francisco district attorney 1962–63 and served as a first lieutenant in the US Army Reserve 1963–68. Lubarsky has been a Judge Pro-tem in the San Mateo Superior Court since 1972 and Judge Pro-tem in the San Francisco Superior Court since 1982. He has been a member of civic and charitable organizations, including the Blum Foundation, the Thomas A. Dooley Foundation, and the Edward J. Whelan, SJ Society.
David Parry, Director
David Parry has been a full-time San Francisco real estate broker since 1986. He served as President of the San Francisco Association of Realtors in 2002. He is currently a Director of the California Association of Realtors representing San Francisco’s 5,000 members. Parry is a collector of San Francisco historical material and writes articles on the architects who shaped San Francisco. He was a board member of both the San Francisco Historical Society and the Museum of the City of San Francisco prior to their merger in 2002.
Edith L. Piness, Ph.D., Director
Edith Piness has served on the board since 2000. Piness is a retired historian with a specialty in British Administration in South and Southeast Asia. She served on the California Postsecondary Education Commission and chaired the California Student Aid Commission. She is a Life Trustee of Pitzer College and President Emerita of the California Historical Society. Piness also serves as Secretary of the California Missions Foundation Board and is a member of the Institute Nominating Committee of the Institute for Historical Study in the Bay Area.
Donald Ferguson Reid, Director
After graduating from law school, Mr. Reid worked as a National Bank Examiner and Senior Representative in Trusts for the U.S. Treasury Department. He then joined Wells Fargo Bank for 20 years, becoming Vice President and Managing Senior Compliance Officer. Later, he was manager of the Legal and Government Relations Department, a member of the Executive Committee, and the Chief Compliance Officer of Sumitomo Bank of California. His next position was Director, Treasurer, and Secretary of Stellar-Net, Inc. Mr. Reid co-founded AML Specialties, LLC, a consulting firm focused on anti-money laundering and other measures to counter terrorist financing.
Mr. Reid’s long list of awards and honors includes the first Wells Fargo President’s Achievement Award for Social Service, Korean Veterans Medal by the Republic of Korea, and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Certificate of Honor. In 2008 his Alma Mater presented him with its Medal of Honor. He has endowed academic scholarships for deserving students at St. John’s University and the University of San Francisco. In 2009 he co-founded the Korean War Memorial Foundation, where he serves as Treasurer. Mr. Reid is a life member of the San Francisco Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club and has completed 69 marathons and 11 swims from Alcatraz, including the first 7 “Escapes from Alcatraz.” He continues to swim regularly (but more slowly) in San Francisco Bay.
Cynthia So Schroeder, Director
Cynthia So Schroeder is a marketing executive and startup advisor. She’s a venture advisor at Next 10 Ventures, a venture group focused on the global Creator economy and ecosystem. For over 20 years, Cynthia has worked in internet commerce, technology and management consulting in the US, Asia, and Europe, ranging from Fortune 500 clients to internet startups. Previously, she led eBay’s Global Community Development and Engagement group, and managed corporate acquisitions and divestments for eBay Inc. Cynthia is passionate about educational opportunities, especially for first-generation students. Cynthia is a Regent Emerita at the University of California’s Board of Regents, and currently serves on boards at the San Francisco Friends School, U.C. Berkeley Library and the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. Cynthia received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.A. from UCLA. As a SF native, she loves discovering new culinary finds in the City, learning new San Francisco trivia and traveling with her family.
Ken Sproul, Director
Ken Sproul went to Lick Wilmerding High School and later to Stanford to complete his formal education; life brought the rest. Sproul has specialized in the sale and leasing of office properties in San Francisco with a focus on older, unique properties such as China Basin, Harkness (Southern Pacific) Hospital, and Hills Bros. He served on the board of San Francisco Architectural Heritage for many years. He has a bucket list of travels that needs to be emptied.
Diana Whitehead, Director
Diana Whitehead has served as Chief Information Officer of both Pacific Bell and SBC. Following her retirement, she consulted within the industry for several years. Diana earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stanford University and attended several graduate programs at Stanford, MIT, and UCLA. She currently serves on the boards of several San Francisco nonprofits, including the Institute on Aging, the Community Music Center, and Salesian Boys’ and Girls’ Club.