Board of Directors

The Harpers Ferry Park Association (HFPA) publishes books, conducts workshops, secures grants, operates a certified guide program, raises funds through bookshop sales, and partners with other organizations to realize the highest quality interpretive support possible. HFPA is a membership organization with supporters throughout the United States. It is governed by an eleven-member board of directors elected by its membership.

Jim Silvia | President

Jim Silvia has been a member of the Harpers Ferry Park Association since 1998 and has served on its board in several capacities over the years. He lives in Massachusetts where his love of history began with the Cape Cod Civil War Round Table. Jim and his wife Suzanne purchased an 1842 former armory worker’s house as a vacation home in Bolivar and plan to retire here. Jim became a certified park guide in 2013 and spends most of his spare time roaming the historic areas and reading all he can about the town and local events.

Ed Wheeless Vice President

Ed is a professional software engineer currently serving on the Harpers Ferry Town Council, Harpers Ferry Budget and Finance Committee, Harpers Ferry Planning Commission and Harpers Ferry Park Association.  For ten years, he served as chair of the Harpers Ferry Historic Landmarks Commission and now serves as the chair of the Harpers Ferry-Bolivar Historic Town Foundation.

Michael Lynch | Treasurer

Mike received his B.S. in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, his MBA from Babson College with a concentration in Accounting, and his ALM (master’s degree) in Finance from Harvard University’s Continuing Education School. In 2016, he received his doctorate (Ed.D.) in Higher Education Administration from New England College. His dissertation was entitled “Financial Literacy Among College Undergraduates Following the 2008-2009 Recession.”

 Jeff Evans | Secretary

Jeff Evans has loved history and nature from early childhood, when he would climb into his grandfather’s lap to explore books about the nation’s past. By high school, the eastern Ohio native was active in several local history organizations and spent his summers uncovering the past with a local university’s archaeology department. Jeff graduated with distinction from Bethany College in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. He currently teaches Geography, Economics, and American History in Raleigh County (WV) surrounded by the wonders of the New River Gorge. He specializes in making important national stories approachable through the lens of local, relatable places and stories brought vividly to life. A longtime senior staff writer for the Battlefield Journal and previous guest editor of the Jefferson County Ohio Genealogical Newspaper, Jeff is a frequent contributor to several publications. He is a sought after lecturer and has developed programs for a variety of organizations.

John Barton | Board Member

John discovered Harpers Ferry 50 years ago and has loved it ever since.  He became a member of the Harpers Ferry Park Association in 2019 and began volunteering there in 2023. He is retired from the Library of Congress where he was responsible for strategic planning, risk management, digital preservation, and many special projects.  He currently serves as President of the Shepherdstown Public Library Foundation.

Laura Clark | Board Member

Laura opened The Outfitter at Harpers Ferry in 1996, and has been an active member of the community here ever since. A Certified Public Accountant, she spent 10 years working in mortgage finance, including three years in audit and analyst positions at Freddie Mac. She subsequently served as a Senior Auditor for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in Washington, DC. She has been an active member of the Harpers Ferry Merchants Association and has served on the Harpers Ferry Planning Committee and Board of Appeals. She looks forward to helping the Association manage its finances to maximize our aid to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

Chris Craig | Board Member

Chris is a certified park guide in Harpers Ferry and a long-time volunteer for the Sierra Club and the Trail and Town Alliance of Harpers Ferry and Bolivar. He operated Laurel Lodge B&B in his home for 10 years and is a semi-retired school teacher. Last year, Chris was featured as a guide to Harpers Ferry and the C&O Canal in the WGBH  production "The Great Ride."

Natasha Dorman | Board Member

Natasha is a Senior Advisor in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at George Washington University. Natasha received her B.A in History from the University of Tampa, and her M.A in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Florida. Currently, she is working on the completion of an M.A in American Studies from George Washington University, with an anticipated May 2022 graduation. She has conducted research and has written about the African American experience in Harpers Ferry.

Mark Elrod | Board Member

Mark retired from the United States Army in 1998 after close to 30 years of active and reserve time in both the Army and Marine Corps, with service as a musician in the 1st Battalion, 3rd Infantry (“The Old Guard”),  the Army’s ceremonial unit at Fort Myer, VA, and the United States Marine Band (“The President’s Own”) in Washington. He is a nationally known military historian with expertise in American long arms used by the Army and Navy in the early to mid-19th century and military music. His passion for the history of Harpers Ferry, both industrial and social, has been a driving force and passion for most of his life.

Susan Journell | Board Member

Susan started her journey at Harper Ferry National Historical Park in 1977 as a volunteer. Since 1979 she has worked on and off as a temporary park ranger interpretation. In her 43-year journey in the park, she conducted tours, worked the visitor center desk, conducted living history demonstrations, worked special events and even collected entrance fees. Susan’s professional career has been with Loudoun County Public Schools. She began her career as a high school history teacher and is currently an Instructional Facilitator of Technology.

Doug Perks | Board Member

Doug is a native of Jefferson County, where he served as an educator for 30 years.  He is currently the Historian of the Jefferson County Museum, director and Historian of the Elmwood Cemetery Association, Historian of the Jefferson County Historical Society, and a Certified Park Guide at HFNHP. A frequent lecturer, Doug is a contributing author of The Magazine of the Jefferson County Historical Society, writes the column "Mr. Jefferson's County" in the Jefferson County Historical Society newsletter The Guardian, and contributes the column “History Matters” to the Spirit of Jefferson.

Patricia Syvrud | Associate Board Member

Pat is a luxury industry and academic executive with extensive global network skilled in organizational infrastructure and leadership, stakeholder engagement, program creation and development, strategic business development, and corporate social responsibility. She has employment and board of director experience in academia, for-profit and non-profit arenas. Her valuable knowledge of governance and due diligence issues complements her ability to simultaneously launch and manage complex initiatives, ultimately furthering an organizations’ vision, mission and goals.