Our Team

Northern Friends of Haiti, Inc. works in partnership with our Haitian neighbors to develop sustainable solutions for clean water, sanitation, medical services and soil conservation and reforestation.

Founders


Gilbert

Mark Gilbert

Co-founder, Treasurer

               

Mark Gilbert made his 1st trip to Haiti in January of 2013 with his wife, Theresa, as part of a medical mission team. Since then Mark has spent more than 2/3 of his time in Haiti and has been actively involved in learning the language, the culture, developing relationships and working to understand the needs of the people. He is collaborating with Haitians to develop approaches to meet their needs and is working with them to implement solutions.

Mark’s career background is primarily in the construction and development industry, initially as an independent contractor. Subsequently, he became involved in developing health care, business and housing facilities. In the latter part of his career, Mark focused on nonprofit, affordable housing organizations; provided strategic and project specific planning, design assistance and review; permitting, cost estimates and construction administration for large multifamily housing projects. He specialized in housing for aging seniors. Several members of his family, including his parents, now reside in facilities he helped to develop.

Mark has served on several Boards for nonprofit organizations assisting with strategic planning, fundraising and operations. He has coordinated the building of multiple “Habitat for Humanity” homes including “one week builds” with high school and college age workgroups. When Mark is not in Haiti, his home is in South Burlington, Vermont where he and Theresa enjoy occasional visits from their children and grand children. Beyond family, when Mark is in the USA, he continues to consult on a pro bono basis for several nonprofit housing groups. However, he spends the majority of his time on Northern Friends of Haiti initiatives; coordinating ongoing programs and projects, planning for new initiatives, developing educational material and raising funds to support Northern Friends of Haiti’s growing efforts. Mark is also becoming fluent in Haitian Creole, the common language of Haiti.


Theresa

THERESA FORTNER

Co-founder, Chairperson

               

Theresa is a Registered Nurse with over 29 years of health care experience focused primarily on critical care and procedural nursing. She has extensive experience in health care management, medical coding, medical record systems, strategic planning and contract negotiations. Theresa has been with the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, Vermont for most of her career.  She has managed the Invasive Cardiology Department for nearly 20 years, managing three cardiac catheterization and two electrophysiology laboratories, a staff of thirty, plus twelve physicians. She is also manager of a consulting business which supports the nationally recognized “Vermont Blue Print for Health” program. In this role, she consults with multiple primary care practices and assists them with transforming their patient care approach to meet the National Health Care reform requirements for providing high quality care and managing health care expense.

Theresa travels to Haiti two or three times a year, focussing primarily on medical issues and supporting the Elaine Harrington Medical Clinic NFoH developed in 2015. She also works with Mark on other important initiatives. She is also learning the language and culture, and is developing relationships and an understanding of the people’s needs throughout the region in which she and Mark are working. She is also actively involved with fund raising initiatives to support the efforts of Northern Friends of Haiti.

Theresa has a particular interest in helping to develop better medical services and health care record keeping for the mountain villages of northern Haiti where medical attention is minimal. Her goals towards these efforts include continuity of care, improved communication between patients and care teams, utilization of medications easily available in Haiti and most importantly, the development of consistent access to health care for all Haitians in these remote areas.

Board Members


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NIKOLAI BARLOW

Board Member

               

Nikolai is a proud father of two wonderful young men, Curtis and Zachary.  Nik owns, and with the help of his sons, operates the family business, Superior Painting Co. Inc.  Superior is an industrial painting company dealing in a myriad of cleaning and painting solutions, working in commercial and industrial buildings as well as highway structures, bridges and concrete structures.

Nik made his first visit to Haiti in 2014.  It was this first visit when he had the pleasure of meeting and working with Mark Gilbert.  During this visit Nik was inspired by the beautiful spirit of the Haitian people and wanted to become active in any way possible.  After several visits to Haiti while observing, learning and interacting with the Haitian People, he has grown to respect and love the people of this beautiful country.

Nik believes that it is incumbent upon all of those that live in abundance to educate themselves about their fellow humans and offer love, compassion and education as to hopefully inspire others to do the same and make the world just that much better.


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Wayne Nelson

Board Member

               

Wayne Nelson is a founding partner and lead designer of LN Consulting, Inc.; a highly successful mechanical, plumbing and electrical engineering firm in Winooski Vermont. Wayne’s extensive background in energy efficiency, systems modeling and renewable energy development has helped his firm gain a well-known reputation for designing and integrating holistic, highly efficient building systems that are cost effecting and durable.

Wayne Nelson is a resident of Colchester, Vermont where he has created an energy efficient, “off grid”, self-sustaining homestead.  He thoroughly enjoys outdoor activities such as biking, skiing and snowboarding. Wayne also enjoys any opportunity to share enlightening discussion with fellow humans as well as spending time with the animals he raises at his homestead or any living being.  Wayne is very passionate about developing creative solutions for diverse situations including and beyond engineering.  He appreciates being a member of motivated and collaborative teams developing methods to overcome challenges and learn from the process.


Seth-Blanchard

Seth Blanchard

Board Member

               

Seth Blanchard is partner in a successful financial planning and wealth management firm in Colchester, Vermont. Since 2001, he has worked with his clients to achieve retirement goals, education, tax planning, estate and wealth preservation strategies to bring them financial security. Seth’s passions are traveling, trying new cuisine, gardening, cooking, fly-fishing and anything outdoors. Giving back is important to Seth and his family. He has been a mentor at the King Street Youth Center, supports Vermont Foodbank, COTS and feeding America.

He and his family provide support to children in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. He created and hosts an annual fund-raiser event with family & close friends called the “Vermont Summer Games”. The event raises money for a different charity each year.

He holds a B.S. From the University of Vermont and lives with his wife Leanne and their children, Emma and Noah in Georgia, Vermont.


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TYLER SCOTT

Board Member, Secretary

               

Tyler Scott is the principal and founder of Scott + Partners, Inc.  He has been involved in the field of architecture since 1978, and has worked on health care, housing, education, and commercial projects in Washington, Alaska, Montana, Vermont, and Virginia.  Tyler is responsible for the direction and management of the firm as well as various projects, primarily in health care laboratories and affordable housing.

Tyler has lived in Essex, Vermont since 1984, where he raised his two children, Peter and Laurel, and currently lives with his wife, Dottie. Over the past three decades, Tyler has been involved in several community groups and efforts including the Essex Junction Planning Commission for ten years, the Essex Economic Development Corporation for several years and assistant coach of the Women’s Rugby Football Club at Essex High School for seven years. Currently, Tyler is involved in the mentoring program through Spectrum Youth Services in Burlington.

When he finds time to relax, Tyler can be found fly fishing and hiking with Dottie, and skiing and snowshoeing in the Vermont mountains in the winter. Tyler has a Bachelor of Science from Kent State University and Master of Architecture from Montana State University, and is a licensed architect in Vermont.


Rycki

HENDRIKA MALTBY

Board Member

               

Rycki Maltby is a Registered Nurse and has a PhD in public health.  She has taught in Canada, Australia, South Korea, and Malaysia, and has been at the University of Vermont since January 2000.  She is a Professor in the Department of Nursing and teaches Cultural Health Care, Public Health Nursing and Global Public Health at the graduate and undergraduate levels.  Rycki has been taking senior nursing students on study abroad trips to Bangladesh, the Netherlands and Belize since 2008.  She is currently working with colleagues to bring students to Haiti!  Her husband of 40 years, Jan Maltby, is an ESL specialist and accompanies her on student trips.  Rycki researches, publishes and presents studies related to community-based issues, cultural competency, and cultural immersion.  She is a Co-Editor for the International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship.

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