Board of Directors

The Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals is grateful for the service of the following community professionals who volunteer their time to serve and govern the museum.

Gene Meieran, President

Board member since 2011Gene Meieran, Rice NW Museum Board President
Gene, an Intel Senior Fellow (retired) received his Doctor’s degree in Materials Science from MIT in 1963; he chose this field as his profession directly as a result of starting to collect natural crystals as early as 1948! His undergraduate work at Purdue as well as his Master’s degree and ScD at MIT were on analyzing and characterizing the properties of single and polycrystalline materials. After receiving his degree Gene went to work for Fairchild Semiconductor in 1963, and then for Intel in 1973, where he became Intel’s second Fellow in 1984; he retired from Intel in 2009. Gene is well known in the mineral field for his contributions to many mineral museums (Harvard, Rice NW Museum, A.E. Seaman Museum, University of Arizona, Gemological Institute of America, Tellus Science Museum) as well as for his many fascinating mineral displays (often with Bill Larson) at Tucson and Munich shows. He is Chairman of the Board for the University of Arizona Mineral Museum, and President of the Board of Rice NW Museum, as well as serving on various university boards in his technical profession. He currently resides with his wife Rosalind, a ceramic artist, in Lake Oswego. His son Andrew lives in Los Angeles, and is planning to open a mineral museum (with many donations from Gene’s collection) at the renovated Clifton’s Cafeteria and Natural History Museum of L.A. County in downtown Los Angeles. Gene is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and has an honorary doctorate from Purdue University.

Gail Copus Spann, Vice President

Gail Spann HeadshotBoard Member since 2018
Gail Copus Spann, along with her husband Jim, is an avid collector of fine minerals and gemstones. Her mission is to educate people, especially young people and women, about the importance of minerals and to encourage them to begin collecting fascinating examples of “Nature’s” art. She is a regular visitor at major gem and mineral shows around the United States and Europe. The Spanns also have more than 12,000 pieces in their personal collection that are on display in their home, as well as on loan to several museums.
Gail also serves as an associate photographer and Chair of the board of Directors of the Mineralogical Record Magazine.  Gail and Jim are on the Mineral Hall committee for the Peabody Museum at Yale University in New Haven.  Gail also serves on the board of Dallas’s Perot Museum of Nature and Science and is a Docent there.  The Spann’s also serve on the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy board, which oversees  Gail is also newly elected onto the Society of Mineral Museum Professionals board.
Gail resides in Rockwall, Texas with their various rescue animals including 8 pot belly pigs, 3 goats, 3 parrots, 4 dogs and 2 cats. She is also a League of American Bicyclists Cycling instructor and past Chair of that organization.

Margaret McMillan, SecretaryMargaret McMillan, Rice NW Museum Board Member

Board member since June 2010
Margaret’s parents are Dennis and Mary Murphy whose petrified wood collection is displayed in the Murphy Petrified Wood Gallery. She has been around rocks and minerals all her life where she learned to appreciate their origin and beauty. Even though petrified wood as well as fossils, gems and minerals, were always around she still is amazed by the perfect skin on a palm or the fiery color of an Arizona. It is a wonderful gift from her parents to their children and grandchildren.

Judith McGee, Treasurer

Board Member since 2014Judith McGee, Rice NW Museum Board Treasurer
Judith McGee is frequently recognized as one of the nation’s top wealth managers by leading industry publications. Among them, Barron’s magazine has named McGee to its list of Top 1,000 Wealth Advisors in the U.S. every year since 2009 and has ranked her as one of Oregon’s top ten. In 2013, Judith was once again named on Barron’s Top 1002 national list of women advisors.

In 1979, Judith became one of the first women in the western United States to receive the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™1 certification. In November 1989, Judith joined Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC (“RJFS”). McGee has been on RJFS Chairman’s Council as a top ranked advisor since 1992 and was honored as their top woman advisor3 in 2012. She is Co-Branch Manager of McGee Wealth Management, Inc., and independent firm, one of RJFS’ premier branches.

Throughout her career, Judith’s passion has been to share her years of experience and financial insight with her clients, with whom she builds strong, lasting relationships based on mutual trust As an ardent consumer finance advocate, her approach has always been consumer oriented and global in focus, specializing in investment management, retirement and estate planning, succession planning, and strategic philanthropy.

Judith is a respected national speaker and writer, and is a member of Great Women Speakers, Portland, Oregon, “where great women speak their minds.” Her topics include personal economics, leadership, and “The Great Wake-Up Call: Shifting Economic Paradigms for Each Generation.” Judith has been a regular columnist and a guest columnist for the Portland Business Journal. She has authored several consumer resource books printed by Simon and Schuster and Random House, includ-ing J.K. Lasser Personal Investment Planner and the Random House Personal Investment Management Guide. Judith is a financial columnist for Boom Magazine and a frequent guest on ABC Affiliate KATU’s AM Northwest.

She contributed to Chuck Whitlock’s CRIMELINE Law Enforcement Training Program sponsored by Experian, Financial Exploitation of Seniors and Investment Fraud. The project became an extended learning program, which won the Platinum Award for Excellence in online learning at Bellevue University in New York in 2007.

In her commitment to the McGee philosophy of giving back to the community, Judith was a founding member of the Board of Directors of Town Center Bank, which was purchased by Columbia Bank of Tacoma, Washington in 2007. She has served on their Oregon Advisory Board. She has also served on the executive committee of the Board of Directors for Metropolitan Family Service and is a Past President of the Board of Directors of William Temple House. In 2009, The Oregon Community Foundation selected her to serve on their Professional Board of Advisors. Judith is a board member of Rice Museum, Multnomah County Library Association, on the Social Entrepreneur Curriculum Committee and President’s Advancement Council for Warner Pacific College.

Judith received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (LHD) from Warner Pacific College in 1993 for her life achievements, published works and service.

Scott Ankenbrand

Board member since 2016Scott Photo
Member and Board of Directors, Pacific NW Friends of Mineralogy
Scott grew up in Spokane, WA and attended Eastern Washington University, where he earned degrees in both Finance and Economics.  Scott also has an MBA from the University of Oregon.  He has spent his professional life in the Financial sector, first working for the US Treasury as a bank examiner and then in the private sector.  Scott is an Executive for US Bank and has worked for this institution for the last 25 years.

Scott has had a lifelong love affair with minerals, and still has the very first specimen that started the obsession.  Like most people, school and career interrupted his collecting for a couple of decades, but Scott has been active for the last 10-12 years.  He appreciates the aesthetics of all minerals, but has a special interest in fluorites and quartz.  However, he will gravitate towards any specimen that he finds visually appealing, from thumbnails to large cabinet pieces.  Scott continues to have a passion for field collecting, and tries to take a trip every year.  Even if he doesn’t find a world class specimen, the adventure, and the friends made, is a major part of the fun.

Lara O’Dwyer Brown

Board member since March 2014Lara Brown Rice NW Museum Board Member
Affiliations: Society of Mineral Museum Professionals, Mineralogical Society of America, Aarhus University (Denmark) Program Coordinator of Niels Bohr Professorship in Geoscience.
Lara received her bachelors degree in geology from Trinity College at the University of Dublin, Ireland in 2004 and her doctorate in geology from the University of California Davis in 2012. Her doctoral work focused on the physical properties, such as viscosity and density, of silicate liquids (magmas) at high pressures. While studying at the University of California at Davis, Lara taught mineralogy lab sessions and developed a keen interest in the teaching and systematic mineral collections. She undertook voluntarily managing the mineral and rock collections for the Department of Geology for three years before graduating. As a volunteer museum scientist she also shared mineral specimens with school groups. Lara served as curator at the Rice NW Museum from January 2012 through March 2014. She is married to fellow geologist, Eric, with whom she has a toddler son, Declan. Eric and Lara’s first-born “fur-child”, Madra, is the museum’s mascot. He is a Glen of Imaal terrier.

Bruce Carter

Board Member since Spring 2013Bruce Carter, Vice President of the Rice NW Museum
Member, Geological Society of America
Member, Directors Guild of America
Bruce is a life-long mineral collector. Growing up in Connecticut, he scoured the local pegmatites and garnet-rich metamorphic rocks for crystals. He did his undergraduate work in geology at Earlham College then earned his Masters degree from the University of Montana, where he mapped volcanic rocks in the mountains of the northern Rockies. After college Bruce worked for years in minerals exploration in the Western USA and Mexico, as well as mapping coal reserves in the Illinois Basin. His final 3 years of exploration were in helicopter-supported remote camps in the Alaska Range.

In 1986 he was accepted into an apprentice program at the Directors Guild of America, in Los Angeles. After graduation from the program he worked for many years in Film & TV production. He is currently the Producer of the NBC series “Grimm”, filming here in Portland, and maintains an avid interest in rocks, minerals, and all things geologic. In 2010, his collection was exhibited at the world-renowned Tucson Gem & Mineral Show. Bruce is proud to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Rice Mineral Museum.

Paul S. Harter

Board member since 2014
Advisory Board for the University of Arizona Mineral Museum
Show Chairman, Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, 2011 through 2015.
Paul’s interest in minerals and geology was nurtured at an early age by his grandfather, a mining engineer graduate from the University of Utah.  As with many collectors his early collecting was worldwide in nature and has gradually evolved to minerals of Arizona and a suite of 100 mineral specimens from the Sweet Home Mine.  His active practice of law includes representation of small mining companies involved in mineral collecting projects and also represents mineral dealers in the acquisition of major mineral and gem collections.

Paula Stewart

Board Member since 2016stewart-paula_mg_3816-crop-copy
Paula Stewart, a native of Massachusetts, received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art Education from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), post graduate work in Art Therapy at Pratt Institute in New York and a Master of Arts degree from the George Washington University in the District of Columbia, with a Therapeutic Recreation major
and a concentration in Gerontology.  Prior to managing both the Sherwood Senior Center in Sherwood and the Juanita Pohl Center in Tualatin for the Meals on Wheels People, Paula was the Director of Adult Services for the Mittleman Jewish Community Center in Southwest Portland and had also worked for the Urban League of Portland to establish their first Senior Center in Northeast Portland.  She is currently employed by the City of Hillsboro as the Manager of the award winning Hillsboro Community Senior Center. Throughout her career with older adults, she has consistently demonstrated great leadership along with innovative partnership. She has a talent for addressing difficult situations while strongly advocating for equitable outcomes.

Since relocating to Oregon many years ago, Paula channeled her creative energies into her work as a Fiber Artist with specific interest in liturgical handweaving. She has received well deserved recognition locally and internationally for her exhibited work and has been a published author as well as a commissioned artist. You can often see how her creativity transcends into her everyday career and personal life. She is excited to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Rice Museum.

R. Scott Werschky

Board Member since 2018
Upon completing undergraduate and graduate studies in economic geology at the University of Colorado, Scott worked as an exploration geologist for 16 years. During this time, he explored for gold in the Western Hemisphere from Northern Alaska to Southern Chile. He has worked in grass-roots exploration as well as pre-mining resource development of a multimillion ounce gold deposit. In the mid 1990’s, a downturn in the mining industry allowed Scott to change focus and pursue his hobby of mineral collecting. What was once avocation, became vocation. Scott is now owner of Miner’s Lunchbox, Inc., a company specializing in investment quality mineral specimens. Scott’s home base of Reno, Nevada, places him in the center of the gold producing regions of California and Nevada. This fortunate geographic location combined with previous scientific interest prompted a focus on gold specimens.  Scott is now one of the leading gold specimen dealers in the world.