Simon Jones, Harvard, is President and CEO at Regenacy Pharmaceuticals, a startup biotech company in Boston, resulting from the successful acquisition of his prior company Acetylon Pharmaceuticals. He is responsible for corporate operations in developing novel therapies in areas of high unmet medical need, defining corporate strategy, and establishing business partnerships. Simon holds a B.Sc. and Ph.D. in chemistry from King’s College, University of London. He moved to the Boston area in the 80s to pursue his career in the biological sciences, initially at MIT, and subsequently, at various biotech companies. His philanthropic activities focus in the areas of conservation, social support services, and cultural activities. His love of music, in particular the classical genre, stems from his father’s pivotal influence, and is shared by his partner Richard.
Board of Directors
“Groton Hill’s mission checks all the right boxes for my personal beliefs and values! They have a unique blend of musical activities through performance, teaching and, most importantly, giving back to those that need most in the community. The organization’s passion, vitality, and dedication to music in all its forms, is simply amazing.”
Miriam Smith, Harvard, is an educator, musician, and writer. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Music from Bates College, M.A. in Applied Child Development from Tufts University, Ed.D. in Early Literacy from Clark University, and is currently pursuing her M.A./M.F.A. in Children’s Literature at Simmons University. A lifelong violinist from a musical family, she performs in various local classical music ensembles, singer-songwriter duo Smith & Ryder, and country band Backyard Swagger. Miriam is devoted to community service, with special interests in supporting nonprofit organizations centered around education and/or music. In addition to Groton Hill Music Center, she has served on the boards of Infant-Toddler Children’s Center, Salt Bay Chamberfest, Parker Charter School, Sounds of Stow Chorus, and Simmons College Children’s Literature Advisory Committee. Miriam has been married to her partner, Mike Acton, for 35 years, and they have three adult daughters.
“I choose to serve on the board of Groton Hill Music Center because it is a mission-driven non-profit organization that supports musicians and music performance, creates meaningful learning opportunities for students of all ages and talents, and provides the community with access to a broad and diverse range of musical experiences.”
Jon Panek, Harvard, is retired from a career as senior design engineer with Hewlett-Packard’s Medical Imaging Systems Group. He brings 20 years’ experience with non-profit organizations to Groton Hill Music Center, including board leadership, strategic planning, capital fundraising, and executive search. He is former Chairman of the Board of the state-wide Massachusetts Audubon Society and has served on the boards of, or provided consulting services to, many other non-profit organizations. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Jon holds a Master’s Degree from Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering. He enjoys playing piano, clarinet, and recorder, and has participated in several adult ensembles at the Center. Jon and his wife Jessie have lived in the Groton Hill region since 1985.
“Through music, Groton Hill welcomes and nurtures our emotional, associative, non-linear, and intuitive selves: our fundamental human-ness. Music is a universal language that connects human beings by bypassing our logic centers and speaking directly to our hearts and souls. It is a language I have been learning all my life and want to share with the world.”
Phil Francisco, Groton, is a lifelong lover of music since his earliest days watching his father play in, direct, and conduct a marching band in Danbury, CT. He is a Core Member at Underscore VC, an earliest-stage venture capital firm, and an advisor/investor to several companies. A technically-trained marketing and product management executive with over 30 years of experience, Phil has successfully built teams and led growth in roles ranging from early-to-midrange start-ups to multi-billion dollar portfolios in major corporations, most recently as VP of Product Management and Marketing for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. He holds an MSEE degree from Stanford University, completed the Advanced Management Program at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, and holds two BSE degrees from the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at University of Pennsylvania. Phil has lived in Groton with his wife Carolyn and their family for over 30 years, and counting.
Peter Ashton, Acton, is semi-retired and the former President of Innovation and Information Consultants, Inc., an economics and management consulting firm he co-founded over 30 years ago. As President he testified before the U.S. Senate, Federal, State, and Tax courts on economic issues related to gasoline and crude oil pricing. Peter holds an A.B. in economics and government from Colby College and a Master’s in economics and business from Columbia University. In addition to his professional career, he served as a Selectman in Acton for 9 years, and was Chair of the Open Space Committee, Community Preservation Committee, and Senior Tax Relief Committee, and was Co-Chair of the Regionalization School Study Committee. Peter has also served as Treasurer and a Board Member of several non-profit organizations, including Change Better, Infant-Toddler Children’s Center, Acton-Boxborough United Way, and Cambridgeport Children’s Center.
“I am thrilled to be a member of the Groton Hill Music Center Board as it offers me an opportunity to contribute to an exciting and vibrant organization that provides music to a diverse and appreciative community. I truly believe in the transformative power of music, and the exciting prospects of our new facility, which will bring world class music performance and education to central Massachusetts and far beyond. It is truly a privilege to be part of this organization.”
Peter Bentinck-Smith, Concord, is a former educator and business executive. After growing up in Groton, he attended Lake Forest College where he received his B.A. in History. For the next seven years he taught in both the Brookline (MA) Public Schools and the Park School in Brookline. Before transitioning into a business career he received an M.Ed. from Boston University and an MBA from Boston College. Peter joined the Charrette Corporation in Woburn(MA), where he spent his entire business career. Starting as Manager of Corporate Planning, he ultimately became President of the Charrette ProGraphics Division and one of the Company owners. He is presently retired.
“As a child, I played in the fields surrounding Indian Hill in Groton. Our farm was located on Peabody Street, and my attachment to the area runs deep. It is a wonderful to see such a beautiful facility built on a piece of ground I loved so much. I feel as though I am coming home again.”
Kirsta Davey, Groton, is an educator and a photographer. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire, Lesley College, and from the Boston University Center for Digital Imaging with a Professional Digital Photography Certificate. Kirsta is a literacy specialist at Nashoba Brooks School and owner of Kirsta Davey Photography. With both teaching and photography as passions, she often combines the two, where she enjoys telling stories through images. Kirsta has served in numerous capacities in the local community and beyond, including as head of the alumni strategic planning committee at Northfield Mount Hermon School, co-chair of the senior parent gift committee at Lawrence Academy, parent leader for the squash team at Connecticut College, and strategic planning committee member for Nashoba Brooks School. She is the photographer and a board member for Operation Delta Dog, which pairs veterans with service dogs.
“As a true neighbor to Groton Hill Music Center, I am thrilled to support the new directions of the organization. I feel this is an amazing community asset and hope that I can be an advocate as an active member of the board and a Groton community member.”
Jeff Fuhrer, Littleton, is Executive Vice President/Chief Strategy Officer at MassDevelopment. Previously, he served as Executive Vice President and Senior Policy Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, where he first oversaw and then advised the Bank’s research, regional and community outreach, and diversity and inclusion functions. Jeff has been active in economic research for more than three decades, and has served as an associate editor for the American Economic Review. He holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University and a B.A. summa cum laude from Princeton University. Married for 35+ years with three grown children, Jeff has served as President of the Boxborough Conservation Trust, Captain of the Boxborough Minutemen, and President of the Church Council at St. John Lutheran Church, Sudbury.
Janet Nicholas, Stow, is recently retired from a career in strategy consulting and senior leadership roles in marketing and operations with a number of technology companies including Dassault Systèmes, IBM, Digital Equipment Corp., and Nixdorf Computer where she helped drive growth strategies often in uncharted waters. She is a past Board Co-Chair of Community Action Partners (CAP), a pro-bono consulting organization of the Harvard Business School Alumni Association. It was in the context of one such CAP engagement that she was first introduced to Groton Hill Music and developed a passion for the organization, its mission, and its bright future. Janet holds a B.A. in Math and Administrative Science from Colby College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She and her husband Paul live in Stow.
“It’s a privilege to join the Groton Hill Music Center Board at this exciting time for the organization. It’s been said that music is the strongest form of magic and I look forward to being part of the magical community that is Groton Hill.”
Dave Riggert, Groton, has served as CFO of Bemis Associates Inc. based in Shirley, MA, for over 23 years. He is the Chair of Groton Hill’s Investment Committee. Dave also serves on the Board of Southworth International Group Inc. of Portland (ME) and as a Trustee of the Groton Public Library Endowment. He holds a B.S. in Finance from Boston College and an M.B.A. from Northeastern University. Dave’s wife Karen is a past Groton Hill Board member and their three (now adult) children all attended Groton Hill Music School.
Deb Verner, Acton, has had a life-long passion for music and has been involved with Groton Hill since 2005. Raised in Georgia, she started piano lessons at age four. Throughout her youth she played the flute, played bass drum in her high school marching band, competed in state-level piano competitions, and attended three summers at the Brevard Music Center. She holds a M.S.W. from Smith College and B.A. degrees in Music and Psychology from Bates College. Deb currently works at an elementary school in the Acton-Boxborough School District. She has served on the boards of the Acton Family Network and Acton Barn Preschool, and has been significantly involved in volunteer activities with Bates College, Acton-Boxborough Youth Soccer, Acton-Boxborough Schools and the Acton Food Pantry. She and her husband Jason have three children, each of whom have been involved in various programs at Groton Hill Music School.
Bob Anderson, Groton, is a Past Board Chair of Groton Hill Music. A former CEO of GenRad, Inc. and a former Director of LeCroy Corp., he co-founded a startup electronics company, and for over 25 years has been a director or advisor to multiple startups and emerging companies. His B.S. degrees in E.E. and Industrial Management are from MIT. Bob has an avid interest in classical music and is a piano jazz student at Groton Hill Music School. He and his wife Judy have lived in Groton for 28 years.
“It has been a pleasure to serve on the Board to help Groton Hill Music Center grow into a premiere organization providing outstanding professional performances, teaching music skills to thousands of adults and children, and donating both to underserved communities.”
Ralph Brown, Watertown, is a Past Board Chair of Groton Hill Music Center. He presently serves as Board Chair for the Native Plant Trust, which helps conserve and promote New England’s native plants to ensure healthy, biologically diverse landscapes. After working as a Mainframe Operating System Engineer for International Computers Ltd. in England, Ralph founded Paxton Computers Ltd. and developed a popular accounting system for small businesses. While managing software projects for British Telecom he created Ships Fund Accounting for the Royal Navy. Lotus Development asked Ralph to build their first software development laboratory in Europe for UNIX versions of 1-2-3 and in 1993 he moved to the U.S. to develop Lotus Notes for IBM and HP. Following his passion for music he joined the Groton Hill board and began to understand the striking similarities between board leadership and software leadership. Ralph was delighted to serve as board chair and also continue to lead cutting edge software development, including predictive analytics for United Health and consulting about business strategy related to the Internet of Things. After retiring from the software world Ralph remains committed to non-profit leadership and is excited to be part of the organization’s future.
Dave Moulton, Groton, is a Past Board Chair of Groton Hill Music. A retired educator and musician who specialized in music production, acoustics, and loudspeaker design, he holds degrees from Bard College and the Juilliard School of Music. Dave chaired audio programs at the State University of New York and Berklee College of Music. He also helped to invent Acoustic Lens Technology (ALT) for loudspeakers, which was sold to audio firm Bang & Olufsen, featured on the cover of Time Magazine, and adopted by automakers Audi, Aston-Martin, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW. He created Golden Ears (ear-training for audio engineers) and the textbook Total Recording. He has also written for Recording Magazine and TV Technology magazine. In 2000, Dave was nominated for a Grammy Award and in 2014 was made a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society. He has taught at numerous colleges and served as a trustee/director for several institutions. In retirement, he has become active in natural music and landscape art.
“Music took over my life at about age 13, when I discovered the recordings of Count Basie. I have since learned more about life, love, health, and joy from music than from any other subject. Groton Hill has been a wonderful place to devote my energies since I came to Groton in the 1980s, and I have been honored to serve, however I can, ever since.”