Coastal Neighbors Network Board of Directors & Staff
Executive Director, Andrew Pollock
Andy was born in Dartmouth and is the owner of Silverbrook Farm on Chase Road. Andy has an MBA from University of Maine and operated a medical billing business until he decided to farm his family land in 2000. He is also a gay rights activist who helped found and then co-chaired the Marriage Equality Coalition in 2003. Andy retired from farming in 2015 and is currently working for Home Instead, a Home Health Care Agency, and pursuing certification in this field. Andy’s experience in running a small business, farming and community organizing bring a wide range of valuable skills to Coastal Neighbors Network.
Steve Kiechel: Board President
Steve moved to Dartmouth in 2010 from Toledo, Ohio where he practiced orthopedic surgery for 40 years. He specialized in the challenges of geriatric orthopedics and was also involved in setting up a foundation to provide affordable medical/hospital care for the Amish/Mennonite community. His experience in the changing landscape of healthcare is valuable and we are thrilled to have him chairing the Health Connections Committee.
Chris Strasser: Treasurer
Chris moved to the beautiful SouthCoast from Philadelphia in 2017 after he retired from a career in hospital administration. With a Masters in Public Administration, Chris led supply chain operations in a number of southeast Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems for nearly 40 years. In addition to his volunteer work with Coastal Neighbors, he enjoys being a member of DNRT, the YMCA, the Allendale Country Club and the New Bedford Yacht Club. Along with his wife, Mary, Chris especially enjoys hosting their three adult children and their families.
Margot Hand: Secretary
Margot is a freelance copy editor for General Reinsurance Corp., where she delights in untangling sentences in articles translated from German and Korean, and leans on a background in marketing/communications primarily in the financial industry, an MS in Educational Psychology and paralegal work in Litigation. She served for a decade on the board of trustees at the Darien Library and the Darien Land Trust in Connecticut.
Jed is a Certified Public Accountant living in north Dartmouth. He has a Master’s Degree in Accounting from the University of Rhode Island and a Master’s Degree in Education from Boston University. He was founder and president of Jed Cohen CPA, P.C. Jed sold his practice in 2016 and started JCohen Consulting, Inc. Jed is the Assistant Treasurer for Coastal Neighbors.
Kate has a Masters in Social Work from Boston University (1978). She was the first employee of the Women’s Fund at the Community Foundation, where she and a group of dedicated volunteers built the organization from the ground up. Before starting the Women’s Fund Kate was the Development Director at the Lloyd Center for the Environment, and for the Inter-Church Council of Greater New Bedford. Her first job in the Southcoast was with Psychiatric & Psychological Associates where she was a clinician from 1983 - 1998.
Gay Gillespie grew up in Colorado, but spent every summer visiting grandparents in Westport and outside Toronto. Moving permanently to Westport in 1973, Gay involved herself with numerous organizations. With her love for the Westport River and coastal environment, the Westport River Watershed Alliance was her “home” for over 30 years where she was the Executive Director and more recently Development Director, leading the Capital Campaign for the new River Center. Gay is a graduate of UMass Dartmouth and Leadership South Coast. With a passion for the arts and her community she is currently serving on the boards of the Westport Cultural Council and Westport Friends of Council on Aging.
Gretchen has worked extensively with families throughout her professional life, first as a psychiatric social worker and then as a family law attorney. She worked at The Children’s Hospital in Boston for more than 20 years, helping families manage the challenges of physical and mental illness. As an attorney, Gretchen served as an Assistant District Attorney in Norfolk and Suffolk Counties (Massachusetts) specializing in Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault cases. She then joined the law firm of Verrill Dana in Boston where she handled high conflict family law cases. Gretchen retired in June of 2015 and is now mentoring recent graduates of UMass Dartmouth Law School who are involved in a pro bono project in New Bedford, MA.
Margaret has worked in Local Government, Banking, Financial Planning and for an Elder Law Attorney both in the UK and New England. She was office manager for Mass Audubon’s Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary for nine years and together with her husband she owned & operated the Henley House B & B in Padanaram for 14 years. Amongst many other hobbies & interests she is a very active volunteer for the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and sings in the South Dartmouth Congregation Church Choir & the Greater New Bedford Choral Society. Margaret lives in Padanaram Acres with her husband & is owned by her West Highland Terrier Wally!
Mia is an attorney in the Trust & Estate department of Fletcher Tilton, PC. She formerly worked as a Legal Aid Attorney in New Bedford, and then represented parents in special education and guardianship matters while living in Chicago. Mia has lived in Dartmouth for 25 years, and is a member of Dartmouth’s Sister City Delegation Committee. She is a graduate of Vassar College and Suffolk University Law School.
Lisa began her career as a geologist in the oil industry in New Orleans and then moved into working with computers. She worked as a systems analyst and database programmer, spending 15 years with a hospital and a medical education company in southern Connecticut. For nine years, she enjoyed the adventure of living as an expat in England and Switzerland with her family. Now she and her husband live on an old Dartmouth farm where she is a beekeeper and works in the garden. She participates in the community as a volunteer with the YMCA Sharing the Harvest Farm, the Second Half, the DNRT and the Garden Club of Buzzard's Bay. She is assisting Coastal Neighbors with a variety of technology issues.
Dock Murdock, President of Murdock Associates, has served nonprofit organizations for 35 years developing fund raising and direct marketing programs. Dick has been a frequent speaker for the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation and Women in Development. He taught direct marketing at the Fletcher School of International Business at Tufts University. He is a graduate of Colgate University, and a member of several bluegrass bands.
Sarah Van Vleck
Sarah has over twelve years in fundraising at small nonprofits, including four
years at the Lloyd Center for the Environment. She has lived in Dartmouth for ten years
and currently works as Development Director at the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra.
Sarah has a BA from Mount Holyoke College and a Masters in Education from Lesley
University. She is a Big Sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters youth mentoring program.
Her recent experience with her aging parents piqued her interest in helping to grow
Coastal Neighbors Network.
Paula, a geriatric nurse practitioner, is a Clinical Assistant Professor at UMass Dartmouth College of Nursing and works at Hawthorn Medical Associates. She is a graduate of Simmons College and completed her Masters in Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. A long time resident of Dartmouth, Paula is an active member of St Marys Church, currently serving on the Parish Council, and was a member of the Board of Directors at the New Bedford Yacht Club, chairing the junior regatta for several years.