Board Of Trustees
Thomas H. Lauer
Chairman of the Board
BS, University of Minnesota; MBA, Harvard Business School. Was a Managing Partner at Advent International Corporation from 1987 until his retirement in 2013. At Advent, held the positions of Chief Operating Officer and, previously, Chief Financial Officer. Worked at Prime Computer, Inc. where he held several senior positions and at the predecessor firm of Deloitte where he was a practicing CPA. Also served as an Lieutenant in the United States Navy. Currently serves on the Boards of Advent and the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary.
Vice Chairman of the Board
BA, Colgate University; MBA, Harvard University. Retired investment banker and financial executive. Private investor since 2003. Serves on executive committee and board of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Sheltering Arms (a New York based social services agency), the Royal Oak Foundation (the US affiliate of the UK National Trust), the Visiting Nurse Service of New York and the Association of Lloyd’s Members (represents private capital at Lloyd’s of London). Former chair of Out2Play which built over 100 playgrounds for New York City public schools. Passionate about history and has visited most of the major Civil War battlefields as well as iconic battlefields throughout the world.
David N. Duncan
President of the American Battlefield Trust
BS in Communications from James Madison University. Before joining the Trust in 2000, Duncan was Creative Director of a Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, direct marketing agency specializing in political campaigns and nonprofit organizations. David spent more than 20 years as the organization’s primary fundraiser and Chief Development Officer before being named in October 2020 to take over the top spot with the retirement of longtime president O. James Lighthizer. In his years with the Trust, Duncan has led fundraising efforts and campaigns that have brought in nearly $240 million in private donations, allowing the Trust to save more than 45,000 acres of hallowed ground at more than 120 battlefields associated with the American Revolution, War of 1812 and Civil War.
William W. Vodra
Graduate of the College of Wooster (Ohio) and Columbia University School of Law. Held numerous significant positions in federal service, including Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in D.C., Assistant Chief Counsel for the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Associate Chief Counsel for Drugs to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Served on expert panels for the Institute of Medicine and written extensively on food and drug law. Currently Senior Counsel, Arnold & Porter LLP and has been instrumental in securing the firm's pro-bono support for preservation issues. First joined the American Battlefield Trust Board in 2005 and currently serving his second term. He and his wife Dru have identified 21 direct and collateral ancestors who fought in the Civil War.
Travis K. Anderson
Yale College A.B. in history, 1977. Joined stockbrokers R.Gilder and Co. after graduation, became a partner in 1981. Now called Gilder Gagnon, Howe & Co.,Travis has been CEO since 2006. His wife Victoria Phillips Anderson teaches American Cold War history at Columbia University.
BA from St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana; PhD from Loyola University Chicago. Dr. Abroe currently teaches history at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois and has commented on and given presentations related to her interest in the Civil War era and historic preservation at professional gatherings and cultural/historical institutions, including the Kenosha (WI) Civil War Museum, Wilmette (IL) Public Library, Wilson’s Creek (MO) National Battlefield, and meetings of the Illinois State Historical Society, Ohio Valley History Conference, National Council on Public History, and Organization of American Historians. Her articles and reviews have appeared in Civil War History; Mid-America: An Historical Review; the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society; the Journal of Southern History; and Cultural Resource Management (later CRM: The Journal of Heritage Stewardship), a publication of the National Park Service. In observance of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, she was project scholar for “Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War,” co-sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and American Library Association, at the Wilmette Public Library. Dr. Abroe is a member of the Board of Directors of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation and past president of the Civil War Round Table of Chicago.
Terry Beaty, Jr.
Graduate Princeton University and Harvard Business School. Strategic Advisor and a Senior Portfolio Manager for Brown Advisory, an investment management firm. Prior to joining Brown Advisory, he worked in the investment field for 42 years; co-founded Beaty Haynes & Associates, Inc. and served as an officer (President for the last six) of Davidge & Company. He serves on the following: Community Foundation of the National Capital Area, Fort Ticonderoga (Executive Committee), Princeton University History Department (Advisory Board), Montgomery County Historical Society and Decatur House (National Trust for Historic Preservation). An enthusiast of the Revolutionary War, he lives in an historic (circa 1700) home that is now on the National Register of Historic Places and was originally a tavern and stagecoach stop.
Hon. John Campbell
BA, University of California Los Angeles; MBA, University of Southern California. Spent 25 years in the retail automotive industry, working his way up to Dealer Owner/Operator, ultimately representing 15 franchises. In 2000, elected to the California State Legislature and in 2005 to the U.S. Congress. His political career was defined by principled leadership in financial and fiscal issues. In Congress, served as Chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade, and on the Budget Committee and Joint Economic Committee. In 2015, retired from politics with 14 years of full-time elected service, winning 16 straight elections. Now living in Scottsdale, Arizona where he is an avid car collector and is engaged in various business and investment activities.
Hon. John Culberson
JD, South Texas College of Law; BA, Southern Methodist University. John represented Houston’s District 7 in the United States Congress from 2001-2019. He served on the House Appropriations Committee for 16 years chairing two subcommittees: Commerce, Justice and Science; and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. John was a leading advocate in Congress for the preservation of America’s battlefields and historic ships, (such as the Battleship USS Texas, and the CSS Hunley). In late 2019, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine recognized John’s success in lifting NASA funding to near-record levels by presenting him with NASA’s highest honor, the Distinguished Public Service Medal. In early 2020, John was nominated by The White House to serve on the National Space Council’s Users’ Advisory Group to advise the President and Vice President on the future of America’s space program. In 2019, John joined the law firm of Clark, Hill and Strasburger, (with offices in Washington, D.C. and Houston), where he advises primarily aerospace, health care, cyber and energy clients on state and federal governmental matters. Also, in 2019, John was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Ocean Exploration Trust, and the American Battlefield Trust Board of Trustees.
Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Masters in History, Auburn University. For almost 50 years, has had an enduring impact on the University of Georgia (UGA), Southeastern Conference (SEC), and collegiate athletics across the country, serving as head football coach at UGA from 1963-1989 and as the Director of Athletics from 1979-2004. His contributions to coaching and athletics administration are defined by his place as the only person ever to hold the presidency of both the American Football Coaches Association and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. The most successful coach in Georgia history and one of the most successful in NCAA Division I history with over 200 wins, including one national championship, six SEC titles, and 20 bowl games. Also the author of several books on football history and gardening and being recognized as an accomplished gardener with both a Hydrangea and a Camellia named in his honor.
James L. Elrod, Jr.
Jim received an AB from Colgate University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an M.A.R. from Yale Divinity School. Managing Director of Vestar Capital Partners, he joined Vestar in 1998 to lead the firm's healthcare investment activities. Previously, he was Executive Vice President, Finance and Operations, at Physicians Health Services. Prior to that, Jim was a Managing Director and Partner at Dillon, Read & Co. Inc., where he founded and ran Dillon Read’s Healthcare Investment Banking Group. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, a member of the board of Yale New Haven Hospital, and is a Trustee Emeritus of Colgate University. He serves on the faculty of Yale Divinity School, teaching courses on financial sustainability and crisis management for nonprofit organizations.
BS, University of Colorado. Formerly with Cushman & Wakefield, Rich joined in 1986 as a Property Manager and has over 33 years of experience in the commercial real estate services industry. He was most recently responsible for the overall management of a major international commercial real estate services firm’s specialized outsourcing services center in St. Louis, Missouri. Rich is experienced in investor services property management and project leasing. In addition to the Trust, Rich is also on the Board of the University of Colorado LEEDS Business School Real Estate Center and a member of numerous rugby clubs.
Thomas P. Hand
United States Military Academy, 1982; MBA, Campbell University, 1986; Army officer, Fort Bragg, NC, 1983-1986; Brand Management, Proctor & Gamble 1986-1988; Baskin-Robbins, 1988-1994; Owner/CEO, Gilman Cheese Corporation, 1994-2019. Tom is retired and spends most of his time writing a newspaper column and blog called Americana Corner, stories about America’s wonderful past, and helping charitable organizations devoted to teaching about America’s first century. Tom also enjoys reading books on American history and classic novels, as well as gardening, playing his guitar and singing, and traveling the byways and waterways of America with his lovely wife Char.
Van D. Hipp, Jr.
BA, Wofford College. Juris Doctorate, University of South Carolina. Chairman of American Defense International, Inc.; former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army. Author of ‘The New Terrorism.’ Recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II September 11th Garden Leadership Award for National Security. Moderator for two Presidential National Security Town Halls for President Donald J. Trump during the 2016 election cycle. Has appeared as an expert commentator on Fox News Channel and Fox Business Channel over 600 times since the September 11th attacks.
Smith College, B.A. Writer and publisher of http://americacomesalive.com, a website dedicated to telling little-known stories of America’s past. This has led to many stories related to the Civil War. She is also author of Election Day: An American Holiday, An American History, as well as a six-volume history of medicine for the college market. She has collaborated with doctors and business people to write other consumer books. Former instructor at the Osher Institute, University of California at Los Angeles. Served as trustee for LupusLA, the Friends of Smith College Libraries, and the Westchester County Historical Society.
O. James Lighthizer*
BA, University of Dayton; Juris Doctorate, Georgetown University Law Center. Lighthizer was the president of the American Battlefield Trust from 1999 to September 2020. Under his leadership, the organization preserved more than 46,000 acres of battlefield land, for a total of more than 53,000 acres. Before joining the Trust, he was a partner with the Miles and Stockbridge law firm, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation, Anne Arundel County Executive, and a Maryland legislator.
Jeffrey P. McClanathan
Jeff McClanathan is a partner with McClanathan, Burg & Associates, CPAs, St. Petersburg, Florida. Strategic Planning Committee of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Chairman of the Board of Trustees President of HTR Foundation; Formerly Board of Trustees, Canterbury School of Florida; Board of Trustees, All Children's Hospital; Board of Trustees, Morean Arts Center.
Noah B. Mehrkam
BA, West Virginia University; MS, Johns Hopkins University. CEO of Arcland and Self Storage Plus Management, in Washington, DC; previously held senior real estate positions with The Rector Companies and Civil War Trust.
BA, Franklin and Marshall College. A native of Huntington New York, Rich retired from the Marine Corps in Oct ’15 as a Lieutenant General at the conclusion of a 40 year career. An infantryman, he commanded at all levels from platoon to Force including the historic First Marine Division. He served in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, as part of Task Force Tarawa during the invasion of Iraq, as Commander, Ground Combat Element, Al Anbar Province, Iraq and deployed to Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). In June 2010, he assumed command of the newly-created ISAF Regional Command (Southwest) in Helmand Province and as such was the first Marine Corps General Officer to command NATO forces in combat. Rich also served as a United Nations Military Observer in Palestine, studied at the Royal College of Defense Studies in London and served on the staff of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, Gaeta, Italy and the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart Germany. His final assignment was as Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve and Marine Forces Northern Command, New Orleans, La. Rich currently serves as President and CEO of the Marine Corps University Foundation and as a Highly Qualified Expert/Senior Mentor for the Department of the Navy.
John L. Nau, III^
BA in History from the University of Virginia. Previously served as the chairman of three top entities in the historic preservation realm: the National Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the Texas Historical Commission, and, from 2009–2011, the American Battlefield Trust. Benefactor for a new University of Virginia Center for Civil War History, which will bear his name. Also endowed a chair in the History Department of the University of Virginia to ensure top-quality instruction on the subject of the American Civil War (now held by distinguished Civil War Historian Gary Gallagher). President and CEO, Silver Eagle Distributors, LP, the largest Anheuser-Busch distributor in the U.S. Served on a broad spectrum of civic, community, and philanthropic Boards in support of education, health and hospitals, inner city children, and urban parks and conservation, including the National Park Foundation, Greater Houston Partnership, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Texas State Historical Association, and Admiral Nimitz Foundation.
Stephan F. Newhouse
BA, Yale University; MBA, Harvard Business School. Former President of Morgan Stanley & Co. and former Chairman of Morgan Stanley International Inc. Served as an officer in the United States Navy from 1969 to 1972. Worked in the investment banking division of First Boston Corporation from 1975 to 1979.
BA, University of Southern California; JD, University of California Los Angeles. Former Chairman of the San Fernando Valley Bar Probate Section, member of Executive Committee of Los Angeles County Bar Association Probate Section, Chairman of Probate Section of County Bar Association, Chairman of Legislative Monitoring Committee of County Bar Probate Section, President of San Fernando Valley Bar Association 1989, member of Board of Trustees of San Fernando Valley Bar Association, and member of Executive Committee of the Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Section of the State Bar of California. Authored numerous articles for the San Fernando Valley Bar Bulletin, Probate Column for the Los Angeles Daily Journal, Journal of Western Legal History, and for the Daily Journal Report. Numerous speeches before the Los Angeles County Bar Probate Section, San Fernando Valley Bar, Santa Monica Bar, Pasadena Bar, CEB, and other organizations. Served as expert witness in probate, attorney fee, legal malpractice, and federal estate tax matters.
J. Dennis Sexton
Former President and CEO, All Children's Health System, St. Petersburg, FL. Past President, National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions. Chairman, Child Health Corporation of America. Trustee, HTR Foundation.
AB, School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University; MBA, Stanford. Currently CEO (Americas) for software company bolttech; formerly Global Chief Underwriting Officer for AIG. Previous positions include Partner-Private Equity at Oliver Wyman; General Partner at Accretive LLC; Senior Associate at Battery Ventures; and COO at the Loan Page. “An amateur historian for decades,” he is passionate about Civil War and military history and has visited many Civil War battlefields.
Charles E. Trefzger
Founder, President and CEO of Affinity Living Group. Headquartered in Hickory, North Carolina, Affinity provides assisted living and memory care services to residents throughout the Southeast. Affinity’s genesis is rooted in Trefzger’s entrance in Long Term Care in 1986. Over the following decades, spanning a wide spectrum of hands on experiences, he has developed a keen understanding of the daily needs and challenges of the Senior community. This is the impetus for his vision of providing value-driven, cost-conscious Senior Housing Services to those needing assistance with the most fundamental tasks of daily living. This has remained his singular goal and foremost consideration for more than thirty years. Trefzger has served for twenty years on the Executive Board of the North Carolina Senior Living Association and serves on the National Board of Directors of Argentum, Senior Housing’s national trade organization. Trefzger holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Juris Doctor degree from Wake Forest University. A licensed North Carolina attorney, he also serves as Chairman of the Board of Visitors for the Wake Forest University School of Law, and helped create the Wake Forest School of Law Center for Health Law and Policy. Married with three children, he resides in Hickory, North Carolina.
BS in Civil Engineering and Military Science, the United States Military Academy; Masters in Environmental Engineering, University of Florida. Registered professional engineer in 14 states. Retired from MWH Global Inc., one of the world's largest water engineering and construction global companies in 2012 after a 36-year career. In his last 12 years of service to MWH, served as the Chairman and CEO and currently holds the title of Chairman Emeritus. During service in Viet Nam, was awarded for combat action two Bronze Stars, six Combat Air medals, and two Army Commendation medals. Presently the President/Owner of The Uhler Group, which provides strategic advice and CEO mentoring for private equity firms' portfolio companies. Also serves on the Board of the Smithsonian's National American History Museum.
Christopher C. Welton
BBA and JD, University of Georgia. He currently serves as CEO of Georgia Fitness Solutions, an operator of fitness franchises. Chris spent the majority of his professional career as a sports marketing executive, first as CEO of Meridian Management SA, the marketing and sponsorship agency for the International Olympic Committee and other international sports properties, and then as CEO of Helios Partners, a global sports marketing consultancy. He currently serves on the Board of Athletes for a Better World and previously served on the Board of The Nature Conservancy of Georgia.
Graduate, Northwestern University. From 2003 to 2015, served as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, a cabinet-level position to which she was appointed by three consecutive gubernatorial administrations. In 2013, was named National Tourism Director of the Year by the U.S. Travel Association's National Council of State Travel Directors. Also served as the co-chair of the Tennessee's Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, Board Member for the Franklin Battle Trust, Secretary of the U.S. Travel Association's Board of Directors, Co-Chair of the Tennessee State Fair Commission, and Member of the Smoky Mountains Park Commission. Although a Chicago native, she is a direct descendent of Tennessee's first Governor John Sevier.