Board of Trustees
Ron Gibson Gwenda Hiett-Clements Doug Ryckman Ran Niehoff
President Vice President Treasurer Secretary
Chauncey Goss. Sandy Gross Deborah La Gorce John Morse
Mary Ellen Pfeifer Tom Price Richard Shipley Claude Crawford
Diane Neitzel Paul Roth
Ron Gibson, President
A native of Richmond, Virginia, Ron moved to Captiva Island with his wife, Phyllis, in 1991. Ron Gibson held executive positions with several East Coast brokerage firms, including Vice President of Operations for Baltimore-based Legg Mason, and Principal and Board Member for Phase 3/Sungard Systems of Waltham, Massachusetts. Retiring in 1992, he continued to consult until 2001. He is Past Commodore of the Captiva Island Yacht Club and served on the Community Foundation of Sanibel-Captiva and the Captiva Community Panel. He is a Fire Fighter One Volunteer at the Captiva Fire Department. Ron served on the SCCF Board from 1998 through 2002 and from 2005 to 2010. He was Vice President from 2001 to 2002, Treasurer from 2005 to 2010, and Secretary from 2013-2014.
Gwenda Hiett-Clements, Vice President
An SCCF volunteer for over 15 years, Gwenda served on the Board of Trustees from 2004 to 2008, heading the Membership Committee for over six years. She has been a sea turtle volunteer since 1997 and she is currently the lead volunteer for SCCF data entry relating to membership, the Annual Fund Drive and other donations. Gwenda moved to Sanibel from Indianapolis, Indiana where she taught high school English, journalism and photojournalism for 25 years and was advisor for school newspaper and yearbook staffs. While vacationing on Sanibel in 1991, she met Len Clements, an islander since 1973, and they married in 1994. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from Ball State University, a master’s from Butler University, and pursued additional training in design and photography at Indiana University where she taught summer journalism workshops. She credits working at all three of the local island newspapers during the 90s with providing her a good island education.
Ran Niehoff, Secretary
Ran and his wife, Marilyn, moved to Sanibel in 1991 when he became Senior Minister of the Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ and they both joined SCCF. In the larger community Ran served two terms as one of Sanibel’s representatives on the Lee County Commissioner’s Community Development Committee and one term on the founding board of the Sanibel-Captiva Community Foundation. Retiring in 2008 after 41 years of parish ministry, he now teaches in the Winter Academy of BIG Arts and writes a column in the local magazine, Times of the Islands. Born and bred in the St. Louis, Missouri area, Ran and Marilyn have lived in West Seneca and Wellsville, New York and Marblehead, Massachusetts. Currently the Niehoffs divide their time between Sanibel and Captiva and the woodlands of Winsted, Connecticut. They have three children and four grandchildren.
Doug and his wife Kris have been visiting Sanibel since the early 70s and have owned property on the island for approximately 25 years. He has been a member of the SCCF Finance and Endowment committees for the past year. Doug has a BBA degree in Finance and a Masters degree in Hospital Administration from the University of Michigan and is a CPA (inactive). Following graduation, Doug was the CEO of Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan. After several years, Doug joined Accenture (originally Andersen Consulting) where he held a variety of positions over the next 26 years including Worldwide Managing Partner for the Health Services and Government Industry groups. Doug was elected to the Accenture Board of Partners, and has served on the boards of several health care startup companies and the Aspen Forest Conservancy. Doug is the President of the Seaspray Property Owners Association on Sanibel and volunteers at the Heights Foundation in Ft. Myers. Doug and Kris have three children and spend their summers hiking in Aspen.
Chauncey grew up on Sanibel and resides here with his wife, Allison, and their three sons. He manages a consulting firm that provides federal budget forecasting and analysis. Prior to returning to Sanibel in 2010, Chauncey lived in Washington, DC where he was a budget policy expert for both the executive and legislative branches of government. Chauncey has served on many non-profit and government appointed boards in Southwest Florida including the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program’s Management and Citizens’ Advisory Committees, the Lee County Coastal Advisory Council, the Lee County Historic Preservation Board, the Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation Board, the Sanibel Community Association, the Ding Darling Wildlife Society, the United Way of Lee County, the Freedom and Virtue Institute, the Lee Coast MOAA Foundation, and the Canterbury School Board of Trustees. Chauncey is a member of San-Cap Kiwanis and the Sanibel Community Church. He is a graduate of Rollins College and received a Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University.
Sandy Gross has been visiting Sanibel for about 35 years. She is passionate about land preservation and habitat restoration. She resides in Cincinnati, Ohio where she owns a public art studio, Brazee Street Studios, situated on acre of reclaimed urban land that is now home to a certified monarch waystation, native prairie, bird habitat and 25 studio artists. She maintains a studio practice in glass, teaches classes to both children and educators and currently has been doing large scale art glass installations with children across the country. She and her husband John Hutton own an award winning childrens bookstore, Blue Manatee Children's Bookstore. Sandy holds degrees in both Art and Education which inspire her work with children and grown-ups alike.
Deborah La Gorce
Born in Boston, Deborah Welch La Gorce moved to Washington, DC, after college, where she met and married John. Three young children later they moved from the city to a small farm in rural Virginia. She calls herself a professional volunteer and has served on seven boards and as President of three, including six years as President of the Board at BIG ARTS. In the environmental area she and John fought to designate a scenic highway byway and to landmark the small town near their Virginia farm; they also put their farm into a conservation easement. Full time Sanibel residents for 19 years, Deborah has been actively involved in every SCCF land conservation campaign since Frannie’s Preserve and is also involved in the RECON water quality sensor program. On Sanibel, they also worked to limit the number and height of cell phone towers. In addition to SCCF and BIG ARTS, Deborah supports FISH and other island nonprofits.
John R. Morse
John Morse is a corporate attorney, having spent 10 years in private practice in Wichita and over 30 years as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for LodgeWorks Partners, L.P. (and its predecessors), a national hotel development and management company with corporate offices in Wichita. John graduated from Wichita State University in 1972 and received his J.D. degree from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1975. John recently completed 2 years as President of F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva, Inc. and remains active on its Board. He has also served two terms as President of the Kiwanis Club of Sanibel-Captiva Islands and continues to serve on its Board. John recently retired from in the volunteer position of Secretary and General Counsel for USA Swimming and its Board of Directors. He served as the Board Chair of the Wichita State University Foundation for 2 years and was a member of its Board of Directors for 28 years. Year-round residents of Sanibel since 2005, John and his wife, Kay, have been married for 45 years and have two adult children.
Mary Ellen Pfeifer
Mary Ellen Pfeifer is a Florida native and grew up in Orlando, vacationing on Sanibel every year since she was five years old. Her love of shells and the ocean inspired her to obtain a degree in Biology and a Masters in Biochemistry from the University of Central Florida (her shell collection is still on display there). In 2001 her dream of living on Sanibel came true when she and her husband Eric moved to the island with their children. She served as the Chair of Fundraising for the Children’s Education Center of the Islands and has supported the Sanibel Sea School’s fundraising efforts, served on the Pastoral Search Committee for the Sanibel Congregational UCC, and worked on Canterbury School’s Development Committee. Mary Ellen works full time with her husband as the Marketing Director at Pfeifer Realty Group. In 2012 she created Serving Sanibel LLC as the charitable arm of the Brokerage and she is currently sponsoring the creation of a series of Sanibel documentaries and art auctions designed to give back to the community while educating viewers about this wonderful island we call home. “Growing Up on Sanibel” debuted at BIG ARTS in April 2014, and “Seven Sanibel Artists” is in production.
Tom and his wife, Kathy, became Sanibel home owners in 2008 and spend their time both on-island and in Indianapolis, Indiana, where their three children reside. Tom was born in Chicago and received his MBA from Northern Illinois University after attending the University of Illinois for a BS in Management. He spent ten years as Vice President of Manufacturing with American Hospital Supply before joining Pentek Corporation, a manufacturer of automated material handling equipment, as Vice President of Operations. He then became the owner and president of Continental Metal Products, where he remained for 17 years until retiring in 2007. Tom’s hobbies include spending time with his Portuguese Water Dogs, vintage home and vehicle restoration, traveling and camping, landscaping, and exploring Sanibel. He is a member and past board member of the Sancap Lions Club, a proud member of the SCCF Hammerheads, and a Master Gardener.
Richard Shipley has lived off and on Sanibel for over 10 years, and acquired his current property 5 years ago. He is the founder and Managing Director of Shiprock Capital (www.shiprock.com), a private equity firm investing in early and expansion stage technology companies, primarily in the fields of information technology and the physical sciences. Previously, he was President and CEO of Shipley Company, L.L.C., a world leader in electronic materials and process technology development. Shipley Company’s markets included advanced circuit board technology, semiconductor manufacturing and advanced electronic packaging. Richard received his MBA at Boston University in 1972. He previously served on both the Massachusetts High Technology Council Board of Directors, and the Newton-Wellesley Hospital (Partners HealthCare) Board. He is currently a Trustee of Boston University.
Claude Crawford, Ph.D.
Claude received his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in 1971, having studied marine and estaurine biology in the Dept. of Zoology. During his graduate studies and subsequent post-doctoral posts at The University of Georgia and Johns Hopkins University, he was involved with the startup of two small marine research labs.
For many years Claude worked in the medical device field, managing research and development of many innovative and successful diagnostic and therapeutic devices. Among them were immuno-diagnostics, neonatal intensive care devices, cryosurgical units, and cardiac resuscitation devices. In 2000 Claude joined his wife Marsha to form a successful real estate team in Annapolis, Maryland.
Claude and Marsha were looking for a place in the sun to escape the Maryland winter and visited Sanibel in the fall of 2001. Both biologists and conservationists, they fell in love with the island and bought their first condo in 2002 and the second in 2003. They retired from real estate in Annapolis, sold their home on the Chesapeake Bay, and moved to a home on Sanibel full time in 2007.
Claude and Marsha have been members of SCCF for several years. Claude is returning for his second term as Trustee and he has been a volunteer member of the Marine Lab committee for several years.
Diane Neitzel was born and raised in the Chicago area, and she and husband LeRoy have two sons and six grandchildren. They moved to central Illinois where Diane worked as a head teller in a local bank while LeRoy completed training for his DVM. They opened a small animal veterinary clinic and hospital which they ran together for 30 years. They began visiting Sanibel more than 20 years ago and purchased a home in the late 90s, finally retiring to be full-time residents seven years ago. Diane began volunteering as a sea turtle walker (Zone 6) and recently became a permittee. She has been active on the Events Committee, the Member Development Committee and she also volunteers in the Nature Center.
Returning to the SCCF board, Paul is looking forward to continuing his long association with the Foundation and resuming responsibility as a trustee.
Paul and Lucy first experienced Sanibel with their children in 1972 and like many of us, kept returning until one day they retired here full time. They have lived on Sanibel a total of 17 years, interrupted by a five-year stint in Santa Fe, NM, returning in 2003.
Paul has served as Foundation treasurer and president as well as member of various committees.
Paul is a graduate of the University of Missouri, attaining a B.S. in Civil Engineering with a minor in forestry, and attended graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis. His thirty-five-year career was with Southwestern Bell Telephone Company (now AT&T), retiring in 1991 in Dallas as president of the company’s Texas Division.
He has served on a variety of corporate and nonprofit boards, including the Sanibel Public Library, the Charitable Foundation of the Islands, and remains active in the Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ.