NMSC Board of Directors

Board of Directors


Jess Zimbabwe, Chair

Jess Zimbabwe is the Executive Director of Environmental Works Community Design Center in Seattle. Previously, she founded a consulting practice, Plot Strategies, and served for ten years as the founding Director of the Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership—a partnership of the National League of Cities and the Urban Land Institute. Before that, Jess led the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, and was Community Design Director at Urban Ecology in Oakland. She serves on the boards of Next City, the National Main Street Center, and Colloqate. She is a licensed architect, certified city planner, LEED-Accredited Professional, and a member of the urban planning faculties at Georgetown University and the University of Washington.


John Mitterholzer, Vice Chair

John is the Program Director, Climate & Environmental Justice at the George Gund Foundation.  Born and raised in Cleveland, John previously served as a Program Officer at the Cleveland Foundation as well as a Field Representative with the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the Denver office in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Among other responsibilities, he was charged with launching new Main Street programs in Wyoming and Montana, both of whom have programs today. After his time at NTHP, John went on to lead the Nashua, NH Main Street program. 


Darryl Young, Chair Emeritus

Darryl Young is the former Executive Director of the Merck Family Fund. Previously, he was the Director of the Summit Foundation’s Sustainable Cities Program and was the General Manager of the public relations practice at Riester, a national advertising, public relations and social marketing firm. Darryl has served as the Director of the California Department of Conservation, a $1.2 billion agency responsible for recycling, open space and farmland preservation, geological hazards including seismic safety, and oil, gas, geothermal and mineral exploration. He has also been a Member of the California Board of Forestry, and served for ten years in the California State Legislature culminating as the Chief Consultant to the Senate Natural Resources and Wildlife Committee. In the non-profit sector, he currently serves on the boards of the Environmental Grantmakers Association, the Climate and Energy Funders Group and Reloop Platform. He is a past board member of the Funders Network, the TransitCenter Foundation, the Story of Stuff, and President of the National Recycling Coalition.

Samuel B. Dixon, Emeritus Member

Sam Dixon practices law at his firm, Dixon & Thompson, PLLC, and is serving his fourth term as an elected town councilman for Edenton, North Carolina, where he is the chairman of the budget committee. He is a former board member of Preservation North Carolina and a current member of the National Trust Council.

Deshea Agee

Deshea Agee is the Vice-President of Emem Group, a Milwaukee-based design build real estate firm specializing in residential and commercial real estate development services. He recently left his post of more than five years as the Executive Director of Historic King Drive Business Improvement District No. 8 (King Drive BID) and Director of the King Drive Main Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At King Drive BID Deshea oversaw implementation of the organization’s annual operating plan, property owner relations, business engagement and recruitment, and community outreach. He also served as the point of contact for King Drive’s membership in the National Main Street Center’s UrbanMain network.

Kevin Daniels

Kevin Daniels is president of Daniels Real Estate, LLC, which focuses on complex urban real estate projects that combine historic preservation and the redevelopment of landmarked structures. His work has been recognized with two National Preservation Awards and numerous local and state awards. Daniels is a Trustee Emeritus for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and serves on a number of other boards, including the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Seattle Preservation & Development Authority, and Gonzaga University.

Irvin M. Henderson

Irvin Henderson is the principal of Henderson & Company, a consulting firm and development company with particular expertise in the areas of community development, commercial, residential, and enterprise development. He is the former President and CEO of Henderson Financial Services and the former CEO of Gateway Community Development. Irvin is Chair of the National Trust Community Investment Corporation, a Trustee of the CRA Fund, Past Chair and current Executive Committee Member of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Chair of the Capital Markets Collaborative Council, and the Founding President of the Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina.

Thompson M. Mayes

Tom Mayes is Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  He has written and spoken widely on preservation law, the underlying purposes of historic preservation, and the future of preservation. For many years, he taught historic preservation law at the University of Maryland. A recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Rome Prize in Historic Preservation in 2013, Mr. Mayes is the author of Why Old Places Matter (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018). Mr. Mayes received his B.A. with honors in History in 1981 and his J.D. in 1985 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an M.A. in writing from Johns Hopkins University.

Ed McMahon, Chair Emeritus

Ed McMahon is the Senior Fellow for Sustainable Development and Charles E. Fraser Chair for Sustainable Development and Environmental Policy at the Urban land Institute. He is recognized nationally as an inspiring and thought-provoking speaker and a leading authority on topics such as the links between health and the built environment, sustainable development, land conservation, smart growth, and historic preservation. He recently presented “Where am I? The Power of Uniqueness” at TEDxJacksonville.

Michael Wagler

Michael Wagler is the Main Street Iowa Coordinator at the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Downtown Resource Center. Michael has worked with the Main Street Iowa team in different capacities since 2002. Prior to becoming the State Coordinator in 2012, he served Iowa’s downtown districts as a Main Street Design Specialist. He began his Main Street journey in 1996 by investing his time and talents with his hometown Main Street program, Bloomfield, Iowa. Michael has also worked in a consulting role in states throughout the nation including: Oregon, New Mexico, and Wisconsin. He earned a B.F.A. in Historic Preservation and Architectural History from the Savannah College of Art & Design in Savannah, Georgia. Michael earned his Master’s degree in Community & Regional Planning from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

Chris Wilson

Chris Wilson brings more than 30 years of economic development experience and 20 years of Main Street experience to the NMSC Board. In his current role as Director of the Bartlesville Redevelopment Trust Authority, Wilson oversees the Downtown Redevelopment District and administers three Tax Increment Finance districts. A former Main Street Director in Bartlesville, Wilson has also worked for Main Street programs in Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and in consulting roles in other areas. Over his Main Street career, his leadership resulted in 500 redevelopment projects, 80 buildings changing hands, and a net increase of 550 new jobs. Chris serves on Boards for the Bouldin Corporation, the Washington County Affordable Housing Coalition, Churches United for Community Concern, and other community organizations in Bartlesville.


Jenice Conteras 

Jenice Contreras is an established leader in small business, community, and economic development. Currently, she serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Northeast Ohio Hispanic Center for Economic Development (the Center). Under the Center, Jenice is responsible for the NEO Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and community development. Jenice is a driving force around the neighborhood redevelopment efforts in Cleveland’s Latino neighborhood. Focused on cultural preservation, wealth creation and business development, Jenice represents the organization as project owner + co-developer of CentroVilla25, an adaptive reuse of a vacant warehouse and office building. This $12 million project will feature twenty kiosk-style micro-retail spaces, commercial kitchen, business innovation center and co-working space, office space for Latino and neighborhood-serving organizations, outdoor plaza with restaurant, and a community gathering space for arts & culture programming. 


Emeritus Members

David Brown

Joe Grills

Mary Thompson