Leadership & Key Staff

Charles Orloff, Executive Director, has overseen the Observatory’s important scientific assets for over twenty years since joining the staff in 1998. He was instrumental in establishing the Observatory’s nonprofit Science Center in 1999 and has utilized his background as a former middle school principal to develop high-quality educational programs. Charles holds degrees from Boston University and the University of Hartford and has a “Special Studies in Education” certificate from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Don McCasland, Director of Operations and former Program Director, is an educator and kite historian who joined the staff in 2000. He received his BFA in Visual Design for the Communication Arts from Emerson College and has taught about harnessing the wind with kites and sky appreciation for over 35 years. When not flying kites or teaching others to fly them, Don works with teachers and students to develop educational programs covering all aspects of Atmospheric Science and leads after-school enrichment and summer camp programs.

Michael Iacono, Chief Scientist, leads climate research at the Observatory and has been a part-time volunteer since 1987. He was a part-time observer from 1987 until 2020. He conducts and presents studies on local climate change, and he is leading an effort to prepare a digital archive of the extensive Blue Hill daily observations. In addition, he manages and is a primary developer of the organization’s website. Mike has a M.S. in Atmospheric Science from the State University of New York at Albany, and he is also a Senior Staff Scientist at Atmospheric and Environmental Research where he conducts research on atmospheric radiation modeling.

Matthew Douglas, Chief Observer, coordinates the daily operation of the Observing Program at Blue Hill. Matt has had a life-long interest in meteorology, which has culminated in him becoming an experienced forecaster and weather observer. He has previous experience working as a forecaster for a private weather firm in the early 2000’s. Matt rejoined the team at Blue Hill in August 2019, after previously working at BHO as an observer from 1997-2005. He became Chief Observer in early 2023.

Cheryl Cummings, Director of Strategic Partnerships, is passionate to build lasting organizations focused on positive social change. Cheryl has a  20-year management background supporting CEOs and Leadership Teams of esteemed organizations (nonprofit and for profit) seeking to establish effective management practices and growth strategies that strengthen service delivery and gain market share.

Kaitlin Geagan, Observer and former Chief Observer (2017-2018), is currently an essential volunteer. As a former Chief Observer and program educator, she has had many responsibilities over the years. From volunteering, observing, guiding hikes, organizing and buying products for the gift shop, leading tours, planning events, fundraising, and assisting in education programs to taking notes during board meetings, she does it all. Kaitlin has a B.A. in Biology and a Minor in Chemistry from Rhode Island College, and she currently works at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals as a Materials Management Operations Specialist.

Benjamin Turner, Observer and former Chief Observer (2018-2021), joined the staff in 2018 as an observer, and he was Chief Observer from 2019-2023. Ben began his interest in the Observatory as a student intern in 2015 while pursuing his B.S. in Meteorology at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, which he received in 2016. Ben is also continuing his education through an emergency management certificate program at Community College of Rhode Island. He has recently started a position with Summit Solar in Mansfield, MA.

Robert Skilling, Chief Observer (Emeritus), began working at Blue Hill as a part-time observer in 1960. He became the Chief Observer in 1978 and served in that role until his retirement in 2015. As a part-time volunteer, Bob continues to contribute to preserving the continuity of the Observatory operations.

Dr. William Minsinger, President (Emeritus), recently retired from his 30-year full time practice of orthopedic surgery and has volunteered his time to the Observatory for over 40 years. He has authored six books on New England hurricanes and floods as well as numerous articles on historic weather events and the history of the Observatory. In 1980, Bill was instrumental in establishing the non-profit organization that now runs all aspects of research, teaching, and programming at Blue Hill Observatory.

Board of Directors

Bob Thompson, Chair, retired as the Meteorologist-in-Charge of the Boston/Norton National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Office at the end of April 2018 after a 45 year career with the NWS.  He started his career at the Boston Weather Forecast Office as a Student Trainee in the early 1970s and served in various NWS locations including Alaska, Maryland, and Nevada before returning to the Boston area in November 1989 as manager of the Boston office.  He has also taught as an adjunct professor at Anna Maria College.  Bob holds a B.S. in meteorology from Florida State University and a M.S. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington.

Tamara Shapiro Ledley, Ph.D., Clerk, is President and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Earth Science Information Partners, Secretary of the Education Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a STEM Education Consultant, and Adjunct Professor at Bentley University. Dr. Ledley was a 2017 Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow and the 2013 recipient of the Excellence in Geophysical Education from the American Geophysical Union. She has also served as Chair of the Center for Teaching and Learning at TERC.

Alex Carr, Assistant Treasurer, is a Construction Project Manager for Consigli Construction managing projects ranging from $30M to $150M in Boston. Alex received a Bachelor of Business Administration, Finance, General at U’Mass Amherst where was a founding member of the U’Mass Green Building Council. Alex has been involved with multiple projects that have been a part of the Boston’s resiliency plan, and has been a part of resiliency studies that the Consigli company has created for working near the water. He also participates in the ACE Mentor program that works with local high school students interested in pursuing careers in the construction, engineering, or architectural fields.

Bruce T. Anderson is Professor & Associate Chair of the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University. Professor Anderson’s research interests include  global and regional climate variability and change; atmospheric dynamics and hydrology; large-scale ocean/atmosphere interactions; climate/land-surface/vegetation monitoring and forecasting. Professor Anderson is serving on The Observatory’s program committee where his teaching expertise and scientific background is supporting new educational content development.

Christine Caswell is the Director of Internships & Career Readiness, Academic Advisor, and Assistant to the Chair at Boston College. Christine has taught thousands of undergraduate students at Boston College during the past 20 years, and ignites the storytelling passion within them to go and cover the stories of our lives. Dozens of her former students are local, national and international journalists at network and major market affiliates. Christine has 3 decades of professional experience as a television and radio news journalist; most have been spent in the major market of Boston, MA.

Tim Kelley is a weather historian and TV Meteorologist with various channels thirty-five years. is Tim has logged the weather every single day since his first air date with NECN on March 2, 1992. For the past ten years Tim played an instrumental role in Blue Hill Observatory’s Summer Meteorology Program that provides youth with the unique opportunity to explore careers in meteorology—many have gone on to become meteorologist.

Kellyanne Mahoney is the Youth Program Specialist at Autodesk, Former: Boston Public Schools Teacher and Boston Globe Journalist. She is an experienced Curriculum Developer with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. Skilled in Edtech, Lesson Planning, Educational Technology, Team Building, and Journalism. She has a Master’s degree focused in Education from University of Massachusetts Boston.

Janice Richards expertise spans corporate and non-profit marketing, strategic planning and development. After holding several senior marketing positions at CBS Publishing and CBS Inc, Janice founded a marketing consulting firm providing services to corporations and non-profit organizations including ACGT, a cancer gene therapy research foundation, Audubon Greenwich, and an orthopedic and neurology group. She has been actively involved as a volunteer in the Greenwich (CT) community, serving as an executive vice-president of the Greenwich YWCA, president of several PTA organizations for Greenwich Public Schools, and president of the Greenwich Land Trust, a conservation organization. Janice has active interests in meteorology, climate change and geology.

Samilys Rodriguez is Director, Center for Women in Enterprise, Eastern, MA. She is a business operations, administration, project /program management and equity and inclusion professional with deep knowledge and understanding of the procurement practices within the vertical construction in the public and private sectors at all levels of engagement.

Volunteers

The Observatory operates with support from a small group of volunteers—all ages and stages— throughout the year. We currently have four high school students who contribute on a regular basis by working in the gift shop, leading tours, helping with cleaning and landscaping and other projects. We also support high school and college interns during the summer who receive training on all aspects of the Observatory operations including Observing, Tours, Educational Programs, Gift Shop Management, Building Maintenance and Landscape Work. These internships are mutually beneficial as the Observatory gets crucial work done and the students learn a variety of skills and develop understanding about the history of Blue Hill. They also gain experience by participating in the one-day corporate volunteer events hosted by the Observatory.