Board Elects Maja Wessels Chair Of Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation | Apr 27, 2017
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Board of Trustees voted to elect Maja Wessels as its new board chair during a meeting of the Trustees at Florida Southern College this past weekend.
The announcement of Wessels’ new leadership position coincides with the Foundation’s efforts to greatly expand its reach and offerings. With extensive experience in corporate leadership and on non-profit boards, including leadership positions on the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, as Board Chair Wessels will help strengthen the Foundation’s efforts to continue preservation, encourage innovation, and expand K-12 STEAM education programming and curriculum.
“Many years ago, I fell in love with Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture. As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth this year, his work is more relevant than ever before,” Wessels said. “I am thrilled to be able to support the preservation of Wright’s legacy as we introduce his designs and principles to a new generation.”
Recently retired from her position as executive vice president for Global Public Affairs for First Solar, Wessels first became involved with the Foundation when First Solar donated a solar array to Taliesin West in 2012. She joined Taliesin West’s Board of Stewards in 2015 and the Foundation Board of Trustees in 2015.
While serving as vice chair this past year, Wessels and her husband Charles Covington, a member of the Taliesin West Board of Stewards, established Bike Wright, a fundraising challenge that led them on a coast-to-coast bike ride to raise much-needed funding for the preservation of Taliesin and Taliesin West.
“Maja’s steadfast commitment to the Foundation over the years has been inspirational and invaluable. We appreciate her creativity, leadership and experience which will help propel the Foundation forward with our new mission and vision,” said Stuart Graff, president and CEO of the Foundation.
The Foundation has been intentional about expanding the Board with an array of expertise, beginning with Wessels’ corporate leadership experience, and extending to new additions to the Board. Joining this year are Michael Desmond, Bob Skerker and Christopher Thompson. “Our newest trustees complement the existing roster with a diverse set of skills. Each brings talent and an energy that is supportive of the Foundation’s forward-looking mission,” added Graff.
Desmond is a licensed architect, published author, and Wright scholar. He holds a Ph.D. in History, Theory & Criticism of Architecture from MIT, and a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard University. Skerker brings more than thirty years operating a manufacturing and marketing company selling housewares products, and is positioned to support licensing and branding efforts. After selling his business, he was co-chair of the national preservation conference in 2011 and currently serves on the board of the Darwin D. Martin House in Buffalo, New York. Thompson, a world-class architectural lighting designer, is known for marrying the fundamentals of engineering with the emotional exploration of fine arts in his work on historic and important structures and art exhibitions throughout the world, including past and current work at Taliesin West.
Graff also expresses the Foundation’s gratitude to Alanna Mack, outgoing Board Chair, and who will now become Vice Chair, for her continuous dedication and leadership. “Alanna has brought a fresh perspective to new programming and events as we work to inspire and engage future generations about Frank Lloyd Wright. We look forward to her continued guidance and insight,” says Graff.