Board of Directors

Paul Littler, Chair 
Associate Principal
Holmes Structures

Mr. Littler has over ten years of experience as a structural engineer working in the UK, Middle East and Bay Area. He is devoted to rehabilitating and preserving the city’s existing buildings, especially those of historic merit. Paul is an expert in developing seismic retrofit and rehabilitation schemes that preserve historic architecture. He has a passion for finding and implementing designs which can contribute to historic preservation including innovative analysis techniques, such as Performance Based Engineering, and cutting-edge building materials, such as Fiber Reinforced Polymers (FRP). His work with the Presidio Trust’s Building 101 & 103 and The Battery has been highly regarded, leading to his award as Young Engineer of the Year from Structural Engineers Association of California. Mr. Littler holds a Master’s degree of Engineering in Civil and Architectural Engineering from the University of Bath, UK.

Elisa Hernández Skaggs, AIA, Vice-Chair 
Associate Principal
Page & Turnbull

Elisa Hernández Skaggs has over 16 years of experience working on the rehabilitation and preservation of historic buildings. Her professional experience ranges from large scale rehabilitation projects to accessibility improvements in landmark buildings. Ms. Skaggs’ expertise includes Historic Preservation Tax Credit and entitlement consultation, interpretation of the California Historic Building Code, and evaluations for compliance to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards. Her professional interest lies principally in the adaptive reuse of our historic resources. As a member of the AIA San Francisco Historic Resources Committee, Elisa has been the leader of seminars, tours, and panel discussions designed to provide awareness to San Francisco’s historic resources. Ms. Skaggs meets the Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualification Standards for Architecture and Historic Architecture.

Matt Adams
Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell

Matt has nearly 20 years of experience in preservation law.  He advises on a full range of regulatory and litigation matters, with a specialized focus on issues arising under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and other environmental impact assessment laws.  Matt also counsels tribal governments on environmental issues and matters relating to the protection of indigenous cultural and historic resources.  In 2018, Matt was awarded the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Peter H. Brink Award for Individual Achievement in Historic Preservation.  He holds a JD and an MCP in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and a BA in Political Science and Urban Studies from Northwestern University.

James M. Buckley, Ph.D
Associate Professor and Venerable Chair in Historic Preservation
University of Oregon

James Buckley is the Director of the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Oregon, Portland.  He has over twenty-five years of experience in the development of affordable housing in the Bay Area, including the adaptive reuse of several historic buildings for residential uses.  Mr. Buckley previously taught at MIT and UC Berkeley and holds a Master’s degree in city planning and a Ph.D. in architectural history from UC Berkeley.  He has been a member of the board of directors for the Vernacular Architecture Forum (VAF) and the Society of American City and Regional Planning History (SACRPH).

Taryn Ching
Director of People

Ms. Ching is a senior Human Resources professional with 10+ of experience working in rapidly growing tech, media, and ecommerce start-up companies in the Bay Area. As Director of People, Ms. Ching leads the People Operations and Talent Acquisition functions in her current role at Sense. She is passionate about company culture, DEI initiatives, adhering to company values and building organizations that are considered best places to work. As the first HR professional at her last four companies, Taryn has built Human Resources infrastructure from the ground up and manages employee life-cycle programs, implements HR systems, and creates enriching employee experiences. She is skilled in HR business partnership, conflict resolution, comp and benefits, HR metrics, and management of winning teams. She holds a Master’s degree in HR Management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, CA.

Leo Chow, FAIA
Design Partner
Skidmore Owings and Merrill

Leo Chow has led a broad range of projects in the United States and Asia. His work demonstrates his passion for the collaborative integration of diverse disciplines, particularly structural engineering, building services, environmental engineering, historic preservation, and digital analysis to address complex functional and performance challenges to produce innovative works of architecture that are responsive to the client’s needs, sensitive to the creation of inspiring places, and carefully consider climate, local ecologies, and the social context. His award-winning projects include the Harvard University Northwest Science Building, St. Regis Hotel and Residences, and the San Francisco Civic Center Complex. Leo created the SOM Integrated Design Studio, which has been taught at the University of California at Berkeley, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the California College of Art, and Stanford University. He is a former member of the San Francisco Arts Commission, serving on the Civic Design Review and Executive Committees. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and his Master of Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

Deborah J. Cooper, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C
Architectural Resources Group, Inc.

Ms. Cooper is a registered architect with over 25 years’ experience whose work has focused on high profile historic building rehabilitation projects. She led ARG’s team for the restoration of the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, a Save America’s Treasures Grant and a National AIA Honor Award winner.  She also led the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of Cavallo Point – The Lodge at the Golden Gate, creating the only new National Park Lodge in the last decade.  As a passionate advocate for sustainable preservation, she has presented widely on the topic and spearheads ARG’s sustainable practice group.

Courtney Damkroger
Ms. Damkroger has over twenty-five years of experience in historic preservation. She is the former Historic Preservation Officer for the City of San Jose, California; Assistant Regional Director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Western Office, and worked as a writer and zoning analyst for the Chicago Office of Skidmore Owings & Merrill. In a volunteer capacity, Ms. Damkroger served on the Fort Mason Center Board of Trustees, the board of the California Preservation Foundation and was the former Vice President of the San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission. She holds a BA in Art History and a BBA in Business from Southern Methodist University as well as an MA in the History of Art and an MCP in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

Moe Jamil

Mr. Jamil has over 18 years of experience as an teacher, attorney, and neighborhood advocate.   He is the former Chair of the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association and is Co-founder of the Van Ness Corridor Neighborhoods Council comprising of ten neighborhood organizations along Van Ness Avenue focused on issues relating to planning, land use, and transportation.  Mr. Jamil previously served as an economics, history, and forensics teacher in San Jose, California while attending Santa Clara University School of Law where he graduated with a JD.  He also holds a BA in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley where he participated in a year-abroad program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.  Mr. Jamil is a tax attorney for the San Francisco City Attorneys Office and is the Co-Chair of the California County Counsels Association Taxation Section.

Karen Kai

Karen has been involved professionally and personally in projects related to protecting and preserving the legacy of Japanese Americans since the 1980s. An attorney by profession, she notably worked on the legal team that challenged Fred Korematsu’s conviction in the landmark civil-rights case, Korematsu v. United States. Other accomplishments in historic preservation include co-authoring Japantown’s Cultural Heritage and Economic Sustainability Strategy (CHESS), engaging in efforts to return 1830 Sutter Street in San Francisco to Japanese American community ownership (see her Community Voices column in January—March 2021 Heritage News), and serving as vice chair on the board of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Historic Preservation (APIAHiP).

Ted Lieser
Equity Community Builders

Ted has been working with ECB since 2001, and specializes in multi stakeholder, nonprofit, and public-private partnership projects that emphasize environmental sustainability, historic rehabilitation and educational uses.  He became a partner in the firm in 2012. His current projects include:  Marin Horizon School (Mill Valley), a new Library, Multi Use Building and various site improvements, the Marin Farmers Market, design and development of a proposed new permanent pavilion and multi-use community facility for the Agricultural Institute of Marin, to be located at the historic Marin County Civic Center, and Cavallo Point Lodge, Phase II (Sausalito/Fort Baker), including the extensive remodeling of the commercial kitchen, and conversion of an historic jailhouse into a new bakery and café. Ted earned his J.D. in 1995 from Golden Gate University School of Law, specializing in environmental law and policy. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1988 from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He currently serves on the board of California Heritage Council.   He is a member of SPUR and ULI.  He lives in Marin County.

Christoph Lohmann
Senior Vice President
City National Bank

Mr. Lohmann has over 15 years of experience in the real estate industry and has underwritten well over $3Bn in real estate projects, ranging from small urban infill projects to large suburban office developments in Silicon Valley. Prior to his current role as a Sr. Relationship Manager for City National Bank’s Commercial Real Estate group in San Francisco, he held positions as a Lender, Credit & Asset Manager at various financial institutions, and also served on the management team of a real estate private equity firm as Vice President of Capital Markets & Head of Real Estate Investment Advisory. In that capacity, he was responsible for sourcing, underwriting and structuring equity investments, managing investors and clients, as well as managing the company’s capital raise efforts in Germany. Prior to that, Mr. Lohmann worked for a Real Estate Investment Company, overseeing Acquisitions, Operations, Finance, HR and IT. Before moving to the United States, Mr. Lohmann served over 2 years in the Germany Navy in the Communications and Naval Intelligence field with various land and sea deployments. After the Navy, he attended Philipps University of Marburg’s law school in Germany, and ultimately made the decision to move to the United States, and pursue a degree in Finance. He graduated from CSU Sacramento with a Bachelor degree in International Business & Finance, and subsequently earned a Master’s degree in Finance from Saint Mary’s College of California. In addition to serving on the Board of San Francisco Heritage, Christoph sits on the Advisory Board of Saint Mary’s Business Graduate School for Finance.

Katherine Petrin

Katherine is an Architectural Historian and Preservation Planner.  With over twenty years of professional experience since completing her Masters Degree in Historic Preservation of Architecture at Columbia University, Katherine has worked on a wide range of project types surveying, assessing and documenting the historic built environment: at the Fundacion Casa Ducal de Medinaceli in Seville, Spain; in New York City; at the firm HOK in London; and, at Architectural Resources Group in San Francisco. Katherine is active in local, national, and international circles focusing on historic resources, as a public speaker and contributor to various publications. Katherine is Vice President of the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation, which has advocated for the City’s historic theaters since 2000.  She is a founding member of Save New Mission and authored landmark legislation for the New Mission Theater, now the Alamo Drafthouse. In 2013, she launched a private consulting practice with offices in the historic Maybeck Building in North Beach.  In addition to multiple projects, she is currently serving as the Project Manager for the planning phase of the U.S. Old Mint Restoration Project in collaboration with the California Historical Society and the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

Tara Sullivan
Attorney, Reuben, Junius & Rose, LLP
Land Use, Zoning, and Historic Preservation

Ms. Sullivan has over 15 years of extensive land use and policy experience in urban planning, historic preservation, and zoning in San Francisco. She worked at the San Francisco Planning Department for seven years before going into the private sector. While at the Department, she was a Legislative Liaison and Policy Analyst for five years, where she worked with the decision makers at City Hall and helped draft the charter language to establish the Historic Preservation Commission as well as to amend Articles 10 and 11 of the Planning Code. Ms. Sullivan was trained in both urban planning and historic preservation and has worked as a preservation planner at the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and at the San Francisco Planning Department. She has evaluated projects for conformance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and with the California Environmental Quality Act, drafted landmark designation reports, as well as provided technical assistance on historic building materials. Ms. Sullivan received her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School and her Masters in Science in both Historic Preservation and Urban Planning from Columbia University.

Michael Tzortzis
Vice President / Construction Manager
Plant Construction Company, L.P.

Mike has more than 20 years of experience working on both new construction projects and the renovation of existing buildings. His strength lies in managing complex projects with demanding schedules and dealing with the complexity of construction in occupied facilities. Mike maintains a strong focus on client needs with exceptional attention to detail and quality and excels in coordination and communication as a way of optimizing schedules. Prior to Plant, Mike worked with Woodward Clyde Consultants (now URS) as a geotechnical engineer. He also worked for an architectural office in Zurich, Switzerland, and for a construction management firm in Berlin, Germany. He managed residential developments in and around Berlin and is fluent in German. His experience successfully representing German, British, and American owners to construct projects on time and within budget was a proper warm-up to his current role at Plant where he works closely with owners and design teams to prepare for, analyze, budget, and then execute successful projects.