DRAFT 2019 SIPOA Candidates for Nominating Committee

The 2018 SIPOA Nominating Committee unanimously proposed the following slate of candidates to run for the 2019 SIPOA Nominating Committee.

Nominating Committee: Two-year term; two positions available
Cynthia (Cindy) Brown
Henry (Trip) Devens
Gregory (Greg) Iaconis

The 2018 SIPOA Nominating Committee unanimously proposed the following slate of candidates to run for the SIPOA Board of Directors.

Board of Directors:  Three-year term; four positions available
James (Jamie) Geiger
Michael Grabman
Ray Hoover
Thomas Pinckney
Gordon Weis

Board of Directors:  One-year term; one position available
Ellen Coughlin

Cynthia ‘Cindy’ Brown

For many years we visited Charleston with our sons’ soccer team and in 2005, discovered and fell in love with Seabrook, purchasing a Summer Wind Cottage. We became permanent residents in November 2016 and are currently building our forever home on Seabrook Island Road.

During my 35+ year career, I focused on helping businesses with financial accounting and human resource issues. I worked as a consultant for both an international employee benefit consulting firm and public accounting firm in addition to my consulting practice. My experience dealing with diverse personalities, in a multitude of industries, with varying problems enables me to quickly evaluate people and situations to determine and implement solutions. These skills can be applied to serving on SIPOA committees where volunteers are required to act as fiduciaries of member’s money and property.

I believe in participating in and giving back to the places where I live, work and play. Since moving permanently to Seabrook, I have taken the position of secretary/membership on COVAR and am a member of the SIPOA Finance Committee. I volunteer with AARP-TaxAide preparing tax returns for citizens of Charleston County and serve as the Treasurer for the Fleming Tennis Tournament next year. Prior to moving to Seabrook, I served on various boards and committees most notably with the NC Association of CPAs where I held the positions of Chairperson, Treasurer and Director and was a representative CPA to the AICPA Council for many years. I recently completed my three-year term as a member of the NC State Board of CPA Examiners which licenses and regulates CPAs in North Carolina and accepted the treasurer position on the board of the NCACPA Foundation which provides scholarships to NC accounting students. I also served as treasurer on two homeowners associations and a club soccer team.

The majority of Seabrook Island property owners fell in love with the community and environment that is Seabrook. The ultimate goal of SIPOA and individual owners should be to maintain and enhance that community. As a community, we need to make decisions that are best for the community as a whole. And each individual must also take full responsibility for their own actions and take care of personal and community property and environment with that common goal in mind. If the answer to the question “does this enhance the community as a whole?” is yes, then an allocation of resources (time and/or money) should be considered along with other competing demands. There are many needs and wants for this community and it is the job of its leaders to determine the prioritization that will ultimately serve our long-term well-being. To be successful, we must have the best, most diverse group of leaders to achieve the optimum results. As a member of the Nominating Committee, I would like to help identify and recruit these individuals. To that end, I plan to leverage the relationships I have developed as the COVAR secretary to encourage COVAR members to volunteer for SIPOA positions.

-Submitted by Cynthia Brown

Listen to an interview with the candidate:

Henry F. ‘Trip’ Devens

Liz and I vacationed at Seabrook five times between 2007 and 2012, purchasing an Atrium condo in April 2012 and a single family home in January 2013, the latter for use as permanent residents. The purchases and move proved to be the right decision for us and, as we have assimilated, we have embraced opportunities to “give back”. Both of us have participated in Club committees, including communications, membership and golf for me. We desire to have the “Seabrook experience” preserved and enhanced, hence our enthusiastic support of Greenspace Conservancy and Sea Island Habitat for Humanity.

As a potential candidate for the Nominating Committee, my goal is to find and recruit the best possible candidates to SIPOA, individuals capable of focusing on the issues and addressing the issues facing Seabrook at any given time.

During my working years, I served on a number of boards, including the local library, school district (elected), YMCA (president) and cemetery, providing me with a broad perspective of experience. Perhaps most importantly, I worked with outstanding individuals and experienced what made them successful.

Professionally, I spent 36 years in Trust and Estate Administration with first Pittsburgh National Bank, then Mellon Bank and finally the last 20 years with PNC Bank, including several stints as manager of estate administration, retiring as a Senior Vice President and a senior member of our department’s Administrative Review Committee. Reflecting back on my professional career and charitable volunteer activities, my strengths, strong belief in personal responsibility, integrity and pride in performance, are consistent with the SIPOA core values.

Educationally, I completed high school at the Taft School in Watertown, CT before attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While there, in addition to my double major, I was a dorm intramural manager for 3 years, member of the Campus Court (ethics violations) and a dorm resident advisor. Upon graduation, I moved on to The Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans, LA. In addition to my studies, during my latter 2 years, I was employed by a security firm. Until my retirement I was a member of both the PA and Allegheny County Bar Associations.

-Submitted by Henry Devens

Gregory Iaconis

My wife and I have been residents of Seabrook for just over 2 years. Our single family home serves as our primary residence. We moved here from the Dayton, Ohio area where I was employed by the Mead Corp. for over 32 years and served in a variety of senior level positions in sales, marketing and general management. Our experience on Seabrook has been fantastic. We enjoy much of what our community has to offer.

I believe my professional background will be of value in a nominating committee role. Specifically, I have broad experience with strategic and financial planning. Throughout my career, I interviewed dozens of individuals for key positions within our organization. As such, I developed a very good sense of which candidates would be the best overall fit for a given position. Additionally, I was involved in integration work (acquisitions) which required very effective interpersonal communication skills (clear, concise messaging, active listening).

I am currently an active member of the Kiawah-Seabrook Exchange Club where I serve as a sales captain for the annual handbook. The handbook generates advertising revenue which provides grant funding for a range of local charities specifically for Johns and Wadmalaw islands. I am also co chair of the Exchange Club’s Health Committee which reviews and makes grant recommendations to the Exchange Club board. Additionally, I currently serve on the Golf Committee of the Seabrook Island Club.

As we have made a long term investment/commitment to reside here, it is with that in mind that I wish to run for the Nominating Committee. From my perspective, all residents of Seabrook are interdependent upon one another to ensure our community maintains/enhances the appeal of the island both in terms of appreciating property values and high quality of life. It’s imperative that all community members have the opportunity to have a voice in offering input on the issues which affect the island both current and future. Committee teams are responsible for ensuring a proper forum exists for meaningful debate and dialog that residents can feel comfortable utilizing. Some issues which I feel are important to address include:

-Ensuring the island infrastructure can systematically be updated in a planned manner (roads, boardwalks/trails, island buildings/facilities).

-Strive toward improving the working relationship between SIPOA and the Island Club.  Common goals and objectives (vs. those that are conflicting) need to guide the behavior and actions of these entities.  Collaboration needs to be achieved and should be a joint priority.

-Cumbersome process for architectural plan approval.  A viable goal would be to streamline the process without losing the integrity/intent of the ARC.  This would apply to both new construction as well as remodels/repairs.

-Need for procedural consistency for the security function.  A viable solution needs to be developed for the seasonal/periodic surge (and ensuing bottleneck that results) at the gatehouse.  A entry lane expansion needs to be considered.

Thank you for your consideration.

-Submitted by Gregory Iaconis

Listen to an interview with the candidate:


Ellen Coughlin

I am running for the Seabrook Island Board for a term of one year.  Because I believe in making our beautiful beaches and other amenities accessible for the handicapped and disabled (as getting old is inevitable), as well as responsible growth and spending, transparency, and “no” not being the first reaction, rather finding creative solutions.

Over 20 years ago, my husband’s and I, “came for the weekend,” and ended up buying a Tarpon Pond Cottage that weekend and, “stayed for a lifetime.” Unfortunately, Bill didn’t have the time. We had planned on selling our home in New Hampshire, selling the cottage and buying a do-over permanent home on the Island. And so I did.

Here on Seabrook I was elected to the Nominating Committee; I have been a member/President of the Tarpon Pond Board; a member and Board member of COVAR; member/Board member/trip planner/trip leader and Co-ordinator of all trips for SINGH; and Commodore of the Seabrook Lakes Yacht Club. As to committees: The ARC where I served my own term as well as being an interim appointment filling out the term of another, Legal Committee, Long Range Planning as well as Safety and Security.

My experience is varied running the gauntlet from being Head of Residence in the late 60’s of the first co-ed dorm on the campus of UMass Amherst to surviving twenty plus years of teaching elementary school in New Hampshire. I was the Voter Service person for the Exeter League of Women Voters responsible for arranging debates, speakers and forums for Presidential candidates to vet the various candidates as by the citizens of the coast. I possess strong organizational skills which were beneficial in my tenure as both Chairperson as well as a member of the Selective Service Board for Rockingham County for over 20 years. I also demonstrated my abilities to settle differences of various groups working through labor negotiations during my tenure as School Administrative Unit 21 Teachers Union Representative as well as my service on the Water Commission, Hampton New Hampshire.

We have one of the most beautiful beaches in the country and many of residents came to this Island to enjoy its’ beauty and as they have aged they are no longer able to avail themselves of that beauty. We have continually invested in every aspect of this island short of beach access for those who no longer can enjoy the beaches.  It is time to think out of the box! I may not have the all the answers but that doesn’t mean we can’t work at it.

-Submitted by Ellen Coughlin

Listen to an interview with the candidate:


James Geiger

James (call me Jaime) and Amelie Geiger bought a single family residence on Seabrook Island in 2010, and became full-time residents in late 2013 after Amelie retired from the Theatre and Dance Department of Amherst College and I did also following 35 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service).

Seabrook Island is a special and unique paradise. Our three daughters and son-in-laws, and five grandchildren (with another on the way!) always look forward to spending time here. But paradise also has its own set of challenges. We must advance efforts to get more Seabrookers engaged and involved in governance efforts. We need to make governance more informative and interactive to allow more community input and transparency into decision-making. The community must have confidence in and credibility towards all those who make our community work effectively and efficiently. Our collective community must be forward thinking and proactive in how we deal with the increasing number and intensity of storm events. All engaged jurisdictions (such as SIPOA, the Town, Club, County, State, and other local coastal communities) must work together to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of our community from flooding, habitat degradation, and large-scale rainfall and tidal events. Our aging infrastructure such as water, power, sewage, drainage and telecommunications must be addressed in a thoughtful and proactive manner. Populations will continue to grow and add more pressures to existing old and degrading infrastructure and resources. Timely renovation and replacement schedules must be determined, approved, funded, and built. My background, experience, leadership, and ability to work collaboratively will help ensure these and other challenges are being met in a timely and cost-effective manner.

I have a B.S. degree from Tulane, a M.S. degree from Medical College of Virginia (now VCU), and a Ph.D. degree in Biology from Virginia Tech with specialization in biochemistry, toxicology, and fisheries science and management. My work began as a Fisheries Research Biologist and I have 27 peer- reviewed research and management publications during the course of my career. I have extensive state and national experience in supervision, management, and administrative leadership and in my last position supervised 27 field stations located in 13 Northeastern states with a FY 13 budget of over $18.5 million and over 110 full-time men and women. I was actively involved in new laboratory and Hatchery facility design and construction in Texas and West Virginia and in other positions with the Service. I represented the Service Director on numerous state and federal committees managing inter-jurisdictional fisheries and habitat protection, restoration, and enhancement efforts both in the Northeast and across the U.S. I also represented the U.S. Government on several international committees and was directly involved in Atlantic salmon recovery, restoration, and management across its historic range.

-Submitted by Jaime Geiger

Listen to an interview with the candidate:


Michael Grabman

I hope to offer SIPOA members my experience as a Board Certified Building Inspection Engineer recognized by the National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers and as a Michigan Registered Professional Engineer with a 50-year background in the design and construction of large, complex building projects. This coupled with my SI involvement on its General Operating and Maintenance Committee could allow me to present for the Property Owners to its Board perspectives, questions and opinions that might otherwise be not comprehensively considered.

SI is facing issues and challenges, which could potentially benefit from my background. For example, SI’s staff South Carolina Licensed Professional Engineer, Steve Hirsch, recently advised island roadways will need to be repaved within next few years, estimated cost, several million dollars. Steve confirmed estimate does not include the cost to design or construct roadway improvements. As the island community, we need to decide if we wish to have roadway repaving consider sea rise and land settlement which has occurred over the nearly 50 years since roads were first established. (Sea rise and land settlement, as several sources report, has been measured elsewhere and in Charleston Harbor consistently at 1/8” per year over the last 100 years thus 6” over 50 years).

Most on Seabrook have observed flooding at lower spots on our road system as recently as the Saturday after this Thanksgiving’s high tide event, as well as in the recent past during other high tide and storm events; need to consider this is no surprise. The SI Draft 2019 Comprehensive Plan, which outlines short and longer term (up to 20 years) goals include this concern, but is absent specific action plans. The Sept 4, 2018 DRAFT “Flood Mitigation and Sea Level Rise Adaptation for Kiawah Island, SC” prepared by Town of Kiawah Island suggests sea rise an order of magnitude greater than the measured yearly 1/8” rise, but also cautions “…rate of sea level rise and its impact on Kiawah are uncertain…” Point is, we need to decide what things, if any, beyond current efforts (like improving of island’s drainage systems), we wish to fund and undertake and/or which we don’t.

As further comment, over the last 14 years during which we have owned a single family free standing house on SI (SI residents since mid 2015, per my driver license) during every Board election SIPOA candidates, including me, have consistently advocated better communication between island governance and island residents. Appreciating and agreeing with this need but not knowing how to make it happen, please send me your suggestions, which I will share with the Board whether or not elected.

Finally, I’m asked to explain why I am running. Simply, I was recommended by current and past chairs of the General Operating and Maintenance Committee and was invited and approved to run by the Board’s Nominating Committee.

-Submitted by Michael Grabman

Listen to an interview with the candidate:

Ray Hoover

My wife, Lucy, and I have been home owners on Seabrook Island for the past twelve years and full-time residents since May 2014. However, our history here goes back much further; to our first visit in the Lowcountry 37 years ago.

As a community we have a collective responsibility to actively maintain and enhance our island’s most cherished assets; whether environmental, real estate, recreational or the lifestyle we all enjoy.

Therefore, I am seeking a position on the SIPOA Board to further contribute to the island’s responsible, thoughtful planning and development; while sensitively respecting the magnificence of its natural environment. I believe my professional experience, as a licensed architect, prepares me to effectively serve in that role.

After 45 years, I retired from tvsdesign, a large internationally recognized architectural practice based in Atlanta. I joined the firm in 1972, after graduating from The School of Architecture at Georgia Tech. I served in multiple senior management and design roles including as a member of its Board and Managing Principal overseeing the firm’s global practice and as General Manager of Mid-East/North African Operations. My colleagues and I lead the firms rapid growth to become a global presence acknowledged as celebrated international design and planning leaders.

After designing and building our new home at Dove Nest Court, I began to serve and remain on the Architectural Review Committee in 2017 and the Long-Range Planning Committee in 2018. These experiences have provided insight into the great opportunities we enjoy on our island, while defining the current challenges we must constructively address, including:

The effects of global warming and the rise in sea level (effecting flooding and drainage issues)
The maintenance of an aging inventory of older homes
Increased Johns Island development and traffic which adds additional strain on our local infrastructure
Evolving market and lifestyle desires of a younger generation
The viewpoints of Seabrook’s owners are as diverse as the properties they own. Since 1986, Lucy and I have owned multiple property types in the Lowcountry; including a villa in a large regime, a home in a planned unit development, a single-family home, and a vacant lot. We have been both full time and part time residents. Therefore, the experience of owning a wide variety of properties tremendously helps better understand the diverse viewpoints of Seabrook’s owners.

I also currently serve on the Board of the World Affairs Council of Charleston, Kiawah-Seabrook Exchange Club, the Turtle Patrol and have chaired a committee on Global Fluency for the Charleston Regional Development Alliance and Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce.

We have an obligation to responsibly and rationally enrich the lives of all those who live, invest and visit Seabrook; all while serving as sensitive, selfless guardians of our unique barrier island environment.

Lucy and I have invested our future here. Seabrook Island is not only our cherished home it is beloved by our three children and six grandchildren. Lucy and I are incredibly proud and grateful to be members of our Seabrook community.

-Submitted by Ray Hoover

Listen to an interview with the candidate:

Tom Pinckney

Joyce and I have owned property on Seabrook Island since 1995. We became full-time Seabrook residents in August 2007 when we began building our home. We moved into it in 2008.

I retired from the practice of law in 2015 and have done a limited amount of legal consulting work since then. I was born and raised in Charleston and graduated from the Citadel in 1966. I have Master’s and Ph.D. (1971) degrees from the University of Tennessee. I taught at Austin Peay State University from 1971-1984 where I was a full professor beginning in 1976. I attended Vanderbilt Law School from 1981-1984 passing the bar in 1984. I clerked for a federal judge from 1984-1985. I joined the law firm of Howell & Fisher in 1985 where I practiced mostly civil defense work until I retired. I have been a lawyer (litigator) for 30+ years.

I am currently the treasurer for 3 non-profits. At my church, I have been a member of Church Council and its vice president and treasurer. I was a managing partner for 11 years for a partnership which owned an office building in Nashville, TN, During my career, I have counseled and litigated on behalf of construction companies, medical practices, hospitals, and Wal-Mart/Sam’s Clubs among others. I have negotiated contracts and settlement agreements. My experience includes critical examination of contracts at issue in litigation.

At Seabrook, I have served on the legal committee since February 2017. I was on an ad hoc committee which examined SIPOA’s employment practices and policies from mid 2017 to February 2018. I volunteer as a substitute on the Turtle Patrol and have worked with Backpack Buddies since its inception. I have been active in Tri-County Ministries, Next Steps of SC, and St. Johannes Lutheran Church. I have been a docent for the Historic Charleston Society.

Living at Seabrook has been a dream of mine, perhaps since 1952, but certainly since 1965. Seabrook has been our paradise. I feel that I have many friends here, whether in social or duplicate bridge clubs, Men’s Book Club, Cigar Club, the Club at Seabrook, or any of the informal groupings. The main reason I want to serve is to maintain the high quality of life here. If elected, I hope to help resolve legal disputes between SIPOA and The Club.

-Submitted by Tom Pinckney

Listen to an interview with the candidate:

Gordon Weis

Mollie (my very good friend and spouse of 49 years) and I moved to Seabrook on May 22, 2018.

A little history… We both retired in 2009 and moved to downtown Chicago where we thoroughly enjoyed the city and all that it had to offer. However, looking for a new adventure, we decided to move to the Charleston SC area, a place where we have visited frequently since 1989.

We found Seabrook Island quite by accident, but after a few visits looking for our new home we fell in love with both the place and the people. We purchased our home on Coon Hollow and we are now fulltime residents.

I haven’t been in Seabrook long enough to participate in any committees, however during my time in Chicago, I was president of our condo association for seven years. Our condo was in downtown Chicago and consisted of 303 residential units and 315 deeded parking spaces. I believe that my experience as a condo board member where I worked with our various committees and other board members could contribute to the SIPOA Board as they advance both their short and long-term goals.

My background is technology. I created my first website in 1997 and now in retirement, I still maintain about seven active websites in downtown Chicago. My websites deal in communication using email, text or voice between a condo building’s management staff and their owners and residents. I would like to make my experience in technology and computers available as a member of the SIPOA board.

If elected to the board, my goal would be to keep Seabrook as a community and not a resort, while at the same time allowing owners and residents to enjoy the many amenities offered on our island. To protect the short and long-term nature of our community, I would also work with the rest of the board to maintain the current positive fiscal position of SIPOA and the beautiful green space that exists in the island. Being new to the island and still learning, if elected I would listen, learn, analyze and then respond.

Summary… One summer evening we were sitting on the veranda at the club having dinner with some friends when our attention was drawn to the ocean. Our friend waved her arm out toward the water and very simply said “and we live here”. Looking at Seabrook, what more really needs to be said? It is truly a beautiful place, great beaches, many amenities, lots of green space, birds and wild life. Seabrook is truly a great “community”… what more could we ask for?

Thank you for your consideration and I would appreciate your vote.

-Submitted by Gordon Weis

Listen to an interview with the candidate: