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, 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 and observer since 1987. 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.

Benjamin Turner, Chief Observer, coordinates the daily operation of the Observing Program at Blue Hill, and he joined the staff in 2018. 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.

Matt Douglas, Assistant Chief Observer, assists with coordinating the daily operation of the Observing Program. 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.

Cheryl Cummings, who joined the staff in 2019, is working on a contract basis with the Observatory’s Executive Director, staff and Board to strengthen the organization’s internal systems and processes and raise new funds. Cheryl has extensive Boston-based programmatic and funding expertise in education having worked directly with BELL’s CEO, Earl Martin Phalen, program staff and board to raise $14M in strategic growth funding. Cheryl is passionate about building diversity in STEM fields.

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

Bud Comstock, Chair, is a marketing consultant, entrepreneur, and previous executive to various industries including intellectual property, manufacturing , distribution, and entertainment. He is a member of the Advisory Council for Daniel’s Music Foundation. He is also a principal and serves on the Board of ControlAir, LLC. 

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. 

Robert Thompson, Treasurer, retired as the Meteorologist-in-Charge of the Boston/Norton National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Office at the end of April 2018. He is also an adjunct professor at Anna Maria College. 

Mark Duff, Co-Treasurer, is retired from a 25-year career as Chief of the Hingham Fire Department and is now active with the Boston Amateur Radio Club (BARC). Mark coordinates and annual Skywarn Awareness Day ham radio event at the Observatory. 

Alex Carr 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 UMass Amherst where was a founding member of the UMass Green Building Council. Alex has been involved with multiple projects that have been a part of Boston’s resiliency plan, and he 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. 

Tim Kelley has been a meteorologist with NECN since the station’s launch in 1992. 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, which provides youth with the unique opportunity to explore careers in meteorology—many have gone on to become meteorologists. 

Janice Trebbi Richards has expertise that 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.

Richard D. Rosen, Ph.D., is currently secretary-treasurer of the American Meteorological Society and is a past President of the AMS. He retired from NOAA in May 2014 last serving as Senior Advisor for Climate Research in its Climate Program Office. Prior to that position, he was Assistant Administrator of NOAA for Research, and Senior Science Advisor in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce. He was also senior lecturer in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at MIT for 29 years. 

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.