Martin Lowenstein - Executive Director
Until joining FOCC as its executive director, Martin had been consulting with non-profit organizations in resource development and governance, and he continues to be a passive partner in a private equity and real estate investment company. Martin also volunteers his time as advancement chair on the board of trustees of Brandeis Marin, a K-8 private school. From 2010 to 2013, he was board chair of the Jerusalem American International School, where he oversaw the growth of enrollment from 65 to 149 students and the doubling of the physical plant. Martin received his MBA from Georgetown University and his BS in Civil Engineering from Tufts University. Martin and his wife, Inbar, have three little children: Tamara, Ben, and Maya. In his spare time, Martin enjoys running at China Camp, reading spy novels and spiritual books, going to farmers markets with Inbar, and making his children laugh.
Sheila Coll- Program Director
Sheila manages the park’s programming, events and volunteer coordination in addition to supporting fundraising efforts within the park.
Sheila has been working with California State Parks for over half a decade and during that time her work has focused on expanding park accessibility among local underserved youth and families within the Bay Area. Sheila holds two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of California, Santa Cruz in Environmental Studies and Art. Sheila has a special place in her heart for the wilderness and in her spare time she likes to paint, play her ukulele, and go for long hikes along the coast.
Steve Deering - Chairman
Steve retired from the Federal government in 2007 after 35 years of service. He held executive positions with several agencies, including that of Chief Operating Officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regional office in San Francisco. He was also a senior program director for the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights’ San Francisco office. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in political science from Seattle University and a J.D. from the University of California, Davis, he holds a Masters degree in Asian Studies from the Dominican University of California. Steve and his wife Sheila are longtime residents of San Rafael and love traveling and spending time with their four grandchildren.
John Muir - Vice Chairman
John has an MA in Cultural Resources Management from Sonoma State University, and was a Board Member of the Museum Small Craft Association for 16 years. He has worked for the National Park Service for 25 years at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, where he is the Curator of Small Craft. He restores, maintains, and interprets the Park’s collection of historic boats, and researches, designs, builds, and sails replicas of extinct historic Bay Area watercraft. John designed and built the Grace Quan, China Camp’s flagship replica shrimping junk, and leads a group of expert volunteers who maintain the Park’s historic village and pier.
Ed Lai - Treasurer
Ed is a retired Industrial Engineer with experience in both the commercial and defense industries. He serves on the boards of the Marin Chinese Cultural Association, the Marin State Parks Association, and the National Estuarine Research Reserve Advisory Board. He is an active volunteer at the Marin Mammal Center where he helps care for seals and sea lions. He has B.S. and M.S degrees in Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese which helps in his docent tours with Chinese visitors. Ed and his wife, Janet, moved from Los Angeles to Marin in 2008 and are fascinated by the rich cultural history and singular beauty of China Camp.
Joyce Abrams - Secretary
Joyce retired in 2010 after a career in intensive care and emergency nursing, followed by a career in medical software development. She has a BSN from Columbia University, and a BS in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley. She has volunteered for research projects in Australia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Spain, France, Mexico, Thailand, and Costa Rica, studying everything from spotted hyenas to Burgundian prisons. When Friends of China camp began operating the park, Joyce became involved organizing volunteer teams building and maintaining trails, and later as a board member. A longtime San Rafael resident, she enjoys birding, hiking, and travel.
Ernie Stanton - Director
Ernie has been running the hills in and around China Camp since his cross country and track days at St. Ignatius in San Francisco. A graduate of Santa Clara University, Ernie is retired from the US Marine Corps Reserve and served for several years as Commander of American Legion Post 179 in San Anselmo. After earning an M.A. in Counseling Psychology at USF, Ernie worked as a high school counselor. Today, Ernie supplements his increasingly slower running with year round swimming at the fishing village. While not at the FOCC Outreach Table, our Membership Chairman can be found every Saturday in the fishing village.
Tom Boss - Director
Tom is the Off-Road and Events Director at the Marin County Bicycle Coalition. He is a Marin County native with a passion for the outdoors. He is founder and director of Film Night in the Park, an outdoor film festival that takes place in community parks around Marin County and San Francisco. He represents Marin County on the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council and volunteers on the Marin County Parks Mountain Bike Patrol and Trail Maintenance Team. Tom was the manager at Seawood Photo when it was voted “Business of the Year” in 2005 by the San Anselmo Chamber of Commerce. He helped transition the camera shop from traditional photography to digital photography and made friends with many of Marin’s leading landscape and nature photographers while working at Seawood. He has enjoyed riding his bike at China Camp for over a decade and looks forward to giving back to the park through the Friends of China Camp.
Ed Westbrook - Director
Ed is an entrepreneur whose career has ranged from training the Hamm’s Beer bear and Hartford Insurance elk, to creating stonework for Alcatraz. Ed has over 33 years in the construction industry under his belt, including landscape design, stone design and stone detailing. He has collaborated with the architect Lawrence Halprin on the Agave Trail at Alcatraz Island, a permanent amphitheater for Stern Grove’s summer concert series, and the restoration of Yosemite’s Lower Falls. He has traveled extensively in China over the past 18 years to develop profitable stone quarries in small, underdeveloped villages in the Shandong Province and reclaim antique stone in the Yangtze River Valley. Ed is now using his construction expertise as a FOCC volunteer, working with the California Conservation Corps on China Camp’s trail improvement project. On his rare days off, he can be found on his mountain bike, somewhere on the park’s 15 miles of trails.
Helen Sitchler - Director
Helen moved to San Anselmo at the age of one year, attended local schools and graduated from Dominican University. She worked at the Emporium/Capwell Department store and Macy’s at Northgate San Rafael while her children were in school. She was active in Girls Scouts of America on the Heritage Committee, and held positions of troop leader and national delegate. She began to volunteer in China Camp museum in 1996, and became Head Docent in 2005. She was Board Secretary from 1998 until 2015. She remains an active board member and chair of our annual Heritage Day event.
Richard McCombs - Director
Richard McCombs recently retired as CEO of MBA Polymers, Inc. (MBA), after the sale of the company to an EU private equity fund. MBA was the global leader in recycling durable plastics at its three locations globally (China, Austria and UK). Richard continues to advise and assist western companies expanding into Chinese markets (www.Asiawestfunds.com). Prior to MBA, he started a JV processing and exporting rice as the first American Company to operate in Vietnam after President Clinton lifted the embargo. Richard was a board member of Island Conservation and The Terwilliger Foundation. Living close to China Camp and hiking and biking on the China Camp trails has given him a unique and committed relationship to preserving this wonderful park.
Shirley is retired from a varied background in the public, private and non-profit sectors including Advancement Research Director in Institutional Development; Information Consultant with a firm dealing in regulated industries where she was co-editor and chief researcher for a book on the alternative energy market; Resource Manager and Projects Manager at a non-profit providing educational programs in alternative energy and natural resources; Project Manager for training programs/workshops/special events; Supervisor for two units of child protective services for Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Services. She holds a B.S. degree in Applied Arts from the University of Cincinnati and a M.S.W. in Social Work from the University of Southern California. She enjoys hiking at CCSP which led to her starting the Trail Ambassador Program at the park.
Andy is FOCC’s webmaster, and an apprentice trail builder. He is retired from a 30-year career in emergency medicine. He received his MD at the University of Michigan, was stationed in the Bay Area by the Navy, and never left. He practiced at the trauma center at Muir Medical Center for 25 years, and as Medical Advisor for California Shock Trauma Air Rescue. He served on the compensation and pension committees for CEP America Medical Group, as assistant director of Muir Medical Center Emergency Department, and as board member and president of Muir Medical Group IPA. He has served on the board of the Marin AIDS Project, and currently volunteers as a tutor in the AVID program at San Rafael High School. He enjoys hiking, biking, and travelling.
Frank Quan 1925-2016
Frank was a shrimp fisherman and life-long resident of China Camp Village, a tenure interrupted only by his service in the US Navy during WWII. He saw the Village transition from a thriving fishing operation to a state park. He was the chief ambassador for China Camp State Park and specialist on its cultural and marine history, and was a board member of the Marin State Parks Association. As a Board member of Friends of China Camp, Frank kept us all aware of the natural and cultural treasure we are working to protect, and the community we serve.
Carl Holmes 1935-2018
Carl graduated from SF State with a degree in marketing. He worked for McCormick Spice Company at the corporate offices in Baltimore, Md. as Regional Sales Manager. After returning to the bay area he worked for a steamship company in San Francisco. Upon retirement he joined Friends of China Camp and was its board president for many years. Carl loved being a docent and was active in our cultural history program since it began in 1996/7. He shared the history with visitors and he particularly enjoyed children and school
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