Alcatraz Spokespersons: Biographies

For Immediate Release
July 27, 2009

GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL PARKS CONSERVANCY

GREG MOORE
Executive Director

Greg Moore has served as the Executive Director of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy since 1985. The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit cooperating association that works in partnership with the National Park Service and Presidio Trust to preserve and enhance the Golden Gate National Parks. Under Moore’s leadership, the Parks Conservancy has become the most successful nonprofit organization supporting any area of the national park system, providing more than $100 million in aid to date for interpretation, conservation, and park improvement projects. During his tenure, the Conservancy has received numerous national awards for excellence in interpretation, conservation and park improvement efforts.

Moore’s early career involved various positions with the National Park Service including park planning, management, and interpretation. His work has focused on partnership development between the public, nonprofit, and private sectors.

Moore holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Conservation of Natural Resources from U.C. Berkeley and completed a Mid-career Fellowship in Environmental Planning at the University of Washington. He currently serves on the Board of the Association of Partners for Public Lands and is a past Board President. Moore has served as an advisor to various park projects throughout the country and internationally, most recently assisting the Australian, New Zealand and Italian national park systems in developing broader avenues for public involvement.

NICHOLETTE PHELPS
Director of Visitor Programs and Services

Nicholette Phelps began developing historical programs in the National Park Service in 1974. While doing graduate work in American history at San Francisco State University, she accepted a seasonal job at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, and has been working for or with Golden Gate National Recreation Area ever since. In 1987, she began working with Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to implement the award-winning Alcatraz Cellhouse Tour. As the Director of Visitor Programs for the Parks Conservancy, she has produced and operated a number of fee-based personal and recorded tour programs for Golden Gate National Recreation Area. In 1998, she assumed directorial responsibilities for the park’s fee-based conference and meeting facilities; recently, she has undertaken direction of the Parks Conservancy’s cafes at the Warming Hut and Crissy Field Center. As a founding member of the Association of Partners for Public Lands Training Corps, Phelps develops, coordinates and conducts industry trainings in the areas of customer service, public/private partnerships, exceptional business practices and employee management and recognition. She is the sole owner of Phelps Consulting, with clients including Arizona State Parks System, Boston Harbor National Parks Association and Training Network Associates.

ROBERT LIEBER
Director of Retail, Publications, and Product Development

Robert Lieber is an award-winning author and product developer, store designer, and museum store retailer. Trained in New York City at the School of Visual Arts, Lieber spent 20 years managing the museum stores at the Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and has consulted with parks and museums around the country. Lieber joined the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in 1996 where he has created over 400 historic reproductions, books, stationery items, apparel, children’s products, and commemorative products sold locally and nationally. Among his notable children’s titles are perennial favorites, Tallest Tree stacking blocks, Lighthouse Saves the Day, The Flying Circus, and a 6-foot tall Redwood Tree Growth Chart. Recently, Lieber won top honors from the National Park Service as author of Alcatraz: The Ultimate Movie Book, a study of the Island as seen through the Hollywood lens.


NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

RICH WEIDEMAN
Chief, Office of Public Affairs and Special Events-Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Rich Weideman is a recognized expert on Alcatraz, having started his career with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1981 as a seasonal Ranger on the Island, receiving permanent status the following year. In 1983 he was appointed the Lead Ranger on Alcatraz, promoted to Site Supervisor, and by 1988 was named Alcatraz Operations Supervisor. Subsequent District Ranger appointments included posts at Muir Woods National Monument, Fort Point and the Presidio. In 1986, Weideman was named South District Ranger for Interpretation at GGNRA, became Chief of Interpretation and Education, and was named to his current position in November 2000. A skilled and engaging spokesperson, his many accomplishments include overseeing the award-winning Alcatraz Audio Tour, assisting in the development of the Presidio General Management Plan, and serving on the Crissy Field Restoration and Implementation Plan.


FIRST-PERSON EXPERIENCE

DARWIN COON
Former Alcatraz Inmate

Darwin Coon was a convicted bank robber who spent four years in USP Alcatraz. He was incarcerated on The Rock from 1959-1963 and was a member of the last group of inmates to leave the Island. He is the author of Alcatraz: The True End of the Line, recounting his compelling life story of how he came to reside on The Rock, and an account of his daily struggles to survive in one of America’s harshest prisons. He lives in San Francisco, and is a frequent participant in the Alcatraz Author Program.

JOLENE BABYAK
Former Alcatraz Resident

Jolene Babyak was at home on Alcatraz with her father, Arthur M. Dollison, an administrator and acting warden, when the first call announcing the 1962 escape came in from the prison. She is the author of the newly published Breaking the Rock: The Great Escape form Alcatraz, which through eye-witness interviews, FBI documents and crime scene analysis exposes the story of the most famous prison escape attempt in U.S. history. She has published two best-selling volumes about her life growing up on The Rock: Eyewitness on Alcatraz and Birdman: The Many Faces of Robert Stroud. A Bay Area resident, she has interviewed more than 175 people associated with Alcatraz, and is recognized as one of the Island’s foremost authorities.

FRANK HEANY
Former Correctional Officer

Born and raised in Berkeley, as a boy Frank Heany was fascinated by tales of the notorious gangsters who were making headlines. Following service in WWII, he returned home to the Bay Area and signed up to be a correctional officer on Alcatraz, the youngest officer to ever serve on the Island. He is the author of Inside the Walls of Alcatraz, which relates some of the fantastic stories and personalities he experienced behind The Rock. He is currently a consultant to the National Park Service on the history of Alcatraz.

PAT MAHONEY
Former Correctional Officer

Pat Mahoney is the narrator of the new Alcatraz Cellhouse audio tour. He started with the Bureau of Prisons in 1956 and eventually served seven years on Alcatraz. He was on the Island during the 1962 escape and presents a fascinating retelling of the infamous still-unsolved prison break.


ALCATRAZ HISTORIANS

MICHAEL ESSLINGER
Researcher and Author

Michael Esslinger’s work has appeared in several major publications and film documentaries, including segments on the Discovery, National Geographic and History channels. He is the author of Alcatraz: The Defining History of the Penitentiary Years.

JOHN MARTINI
Author

A fourth-generation San Franciscan, John Martini is recognized as an authority on Alcatraz Island during its military years and an expert on coastal defense and fortification. He worked as a National Park Ranger for over 25 years at Fort Point, Alcatraz, the National Maritime Museum, the USS Arizona Memorial, and the Presidio of San Francisco. He is the author of Alcatraz at War.



ANTENNA AUDIO/DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS

CHRIS TELLIS
Founder and Vice Chairman, Antenna Audio

Chris Tellis founded Antenna Audio in 1984 and is responsible for developing the original hardware and production techniques that established Antenna Audio as the leader in museum audio tours. Over the past 20 years, Tellishas managed the evolution of Antenna Audio from a small team of audio artists to a worldwide organization with more than 300 employees who now producing 60% of the audio and multimedia tours distributed at museums around the world. In the spring of 2006, Antenna Audio was purchased by Discovery Communications. Tellis’s first project in 1986 and most recent project in 2006 was providing creative direction to the Alcatraz “Doing Time” Audio tour. He consults frequently to museums and other institutions on visitor services and education programs. He holds a graduate degree in Administrative Science from Yale University.

ANDREW NUGÉE
Chief Executive, Antenna Audio

Andrew Nugée has worked in media for more than 15 years for companies including The Economist Group, The Financial Times and United Business Media plc. An engineer by training, Nugee also holds an MBA from Insead, and spent several years working for The Boston Consulting Group in London and Munich. In the 10-year period prior to joining Antenna Audio in September 2001, Andrew led a number of businesses, most recently as chief executive of United Business Media's UK business publishing division. In 2000, he created and managed United's new media division, and was chairman of the Internet service provider LineOne until its sale to Tiscali in 2001. In addition, Andrew served as Chairman of Trivanti, a mobile Internet joint venture between United and Psion plc. Previously, he was chief executive of the Visual Communications Group, where, with Michael Wolfson, he was responsible for the turnaround, reengineering and eventual sale of the business in March 2000.

PETER STEINBACH
Producer, Antenna Audio

Peter Steinbach has worked in the Bay Area as a Sound Designer/Producer for 20 years. At Antenna Audio, he has produced audio tours for more than one hundred exhibitions, including the USS Midway School Tour, which won first place in the 2006 Interpretive Media Awards Competition sponsored by the National Association for Interpretation. Peter's credits include more than 400 national and regional TV commercials. Feature films include "The English Patient", "The Rainmaker", and several IMAX films. His music engineering credits include Brian Eno, The Neville Brothers, and Blue Oyster Cult.

Given the high level of interest in the Alcatraz story, interviews with Alcatraz spokespersons are not guaranteed and must be arranged in advance. Please note that some people may only be accessible via telephone. To schedule an interview, please contact:
David Shaw
Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
(415) 561-3064
dshaw@parksconservancy.org

Kathryn Pellegrini or Cindy MacKenzie
MacKenzie Communications, Inc.
(415) 403-0800
kpellegrini@mackenziesf.com 

###

About the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
The Parks Conservancy is the nonprofit membership organization created to preserve the Golden Gate National Parks, enhance the experiences of park visitors, and build a community dedicated to conserving the parks for the future. The Conservancy is an authorized “cooperating association” of the National Park Service, and is one of more than 70 such nonprofit organizations working with national parks around the country. To learn more, please visit www.parksconservancy.org or call (415) 561-3000.

About the National Park Service
The National Park Service (NPS) is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior charged with managing the preservation and public use of America’s most significant natural, scenic, historic, and cultural treasures. The NPS manages the Golden Gate National Parks, as well as 394 other park sites across the U.S. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/goga or call (415) 561-4700.