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President: Cathy Salustri Loper
Treasurer: Nicole Spence
Secretary: Amanda Hagood
Board members at large
Bob Bates • Rob Burkhart • Jim Thaler
The board meets at the Gulfport History Museum (5301 28th Ave. S., Gulfport, Florida) quarterly. Paid members in good standing to speak about items on the agenda after the board has discussed the agenda item, but before the meeting chair calls a board vote. The executive board may, from time to time, limit the time of such member discussion. Non-members may also speak during the “public discussion” portion of the meeting, and the board may also limit how long each person may speak. Please note: We do not adhere to Robert’s Rules of Order.
We have one annual membership meeting, every April, at the end of our fiscal year. Anyone who wants to know more about any of the Society’s activities can attend any of our meetings, come to our events or email us. You may also review our constitution and bylaws.
Learn more about your board
About Cathy (President): When she was seven, Cathy’s parents moved to Florida from New York and decided to bring her along. With the exception of college, Cathy has lived in Pinellas County ever since. She grew up in Clearwater and first moved to Gulfport in 2003. Since that time, she has also lived in St. Petersburg and on St. Pete Beach, but now lives in the northeast section of Gulfport. She worked for the local paper for 12 years, in which time she developed a deep attachment to Gulfport’s eclectic community.
In 2011, Cathy logged almost 5,000 miles in a camper as she retraced driving tours from the Works Progress Administration’s Federal One tour guide about Florida, Guide to the Southernmost State, in search of Florida’s overlooked culture, history and destinations. Her book about those travels, Backroads of Paradise, came out in October 2016 and was featured in the New York Times in January 2017. She is currently at work on a second book. Her areas of research include vintage Florida roadside attractions, the WPA’s work in Florida, and Gulfport. She has an MLA with a focus in Florida Studies from the University of South Florida St. Pete, where she studied Florida history and culture under Drs. Gary Mormino and Ray Arsenault. She also speaks about her research, the WPA work in Florida, historic driving tours and vintage roadside attractions, across the state.
About Nicole (Treasurer): Nicole has a B.A. in Art History from Emory University. She lives in Gulfport with her husband and daughter and their dog, Dougal, who sits at the table for dinner and has a penchant for sweaters.
About Amanda Hagood (secretary): Amanda is Assistant Dean of Faculty at Eckerd College, where she also teaches courses in Environmental Humanities. She holds a PhD in American Literature from Vanderbilt University, but she has always been a history junkie. It runs in the family: she can count among her relatives several amateur historians, a couple of living history performers, and one Alabama History teacher. She has published scholarly work in Shenandoah, Environmental Humanities, and Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment. She is fascinated by Florida’s unique environmental history and has recently begun to explore her adopted home through creative projects including and essay published in Salt Creek Journal and “Wood Parade”, a poem honoring the work of St. Petersburg artist Earl Gresh.
Bob Bates: Bob is a former dive captain and landscape expert who specialized in Florida’s natural landscape.
Rob Burkhart is a Seargeant with the Gulfport, Florida police department. His interest in history reaches back to his time in Pennsylvania, when he was active in his hometown’s historical society.
Jim Thaler is a longstanding supporter of Gulfport history and the arts, and he’s also a lawyer and the magistrate for the City of Gulfport.