League Officers and Committee Chairs
Executive Director Charles C. Bingaman
Executive Director Chuck Bingaman has served as a Director, Secretary and Treasurer of Sonoma League for Historic Preservation prior to becoming ED in September 2017. Previously he served as Executive Director and CEO of Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music. He has also served on multiple not-for-profit boards.
President Alice Duffee
Trained as an architectural historian and historic preservation planner, Alice specializes in evaluation, recordation and inventory of historic resources, and provides consulting services through her company, APD Preservation, to satisfy cultural resource compliance requirements at the federal, state and local levels. Architects, contractors, and home owners retain her when they have a vision for their property and can't wait months or years of trying to navigate the complex business of city planning and environmental compliance.
Vice President Gina Cuclis
Gina Cuclis represents Sonoma Valley as the Area One Trustee on the Sonoma County Board of Education and also serves on the Sonoma County Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health Advisory Board. She is a former Sonoma Planning Commissioner and served on a strategic planning committee for the Sonoma Valley Health Care District. Her professional background is in public relations.
Treasurer Mary Szykowny
Mary Szykowny is a licensed Real Estate Agent working at CENTURY 21 Wine Country, focusing on residential real estate since 2009. She earned her A.A. from College of Marin and worked as a Certified Dental Assistant in the Bay Area for 4 years before moving to Sonoma in 1988 with her husband, Mike, to raise their two children. She was drawn to the rural and historic town of Sonoma and joined the League in an effort to do what she can to help others appreciate and preserve these properties. She has been the bookkeeper for her husband's construction business since 1994 and was also a bookkeeper for a local attorney from 2011-15. Szykowny worked as the Health Tech at Flowery School from 1995-96 and from 1990 until 2005, served as a volunteer at Presentation School and in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District, serving on various boards and fundraising committees at both.
Secretary Amy Alper
Amy A. Alper, AIA founded her practice in Sonoma in 2005 after working on high profile projects such as the Getty Center and the Carneros Inn. She now works exclusively on custom residential projects in Sonoma and Napa counties.
The firm received an Award of Merit in 2012 from the League for the renovation of and an addition to the McCartney Residence, formerly the Andrews Residence built in 1938. In 2013, Alper served on the Awards Committee for the League. A complete listing of her awards and publications can be found on her website at www.alperarchitect.com.
Prema Behan – Immediate Past President
Residing in Sonoma, Prema Behan serves as Chief Operating Officer of Three Sticks Wines and Head High Wines. Behan received her MBA in 2013 from Sonoma State University, one of the first Wine Executive MBA graduates in the country. She has served as a Director at the League since 2013 and served as President for two years. Behan headed the renovation and preservation efforts at the historic Vallejo-Casteñada Adobe in Sonoma, where Three Sticks Wines operates their hospitality. In addition to her work with the League, she serves as President of the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers' Alliance. Her first name means "giver of love" in Sanskrit and her nature embodies the name, especially in the caring of her two boys, aged 21 and 8.
Shari Kamimori is a Design Professional and Founder of 3D Virtual Design Technology, Inc. (3DVDT), creating 3D and 2D as-built documentation using 3D Imaging technology for the architectural, engineering and construction industry. She holds a B.S. degree in Interior Architecture and has over 30 years industry experience in the United States and Germany. She is actively involved in historic preservation, serving as a Board Director for Napa County Landmarks and Sonoma League for Historic Preservation. 3D imaging technology is invaluable for the digital archival of cultural heritage sites and historic buildings at risk of destruction and/or deterioration as well as ongoing conservation/preservation efforts.
The fascination with architectural design at a very early age led Nina to pursue a degree in art from West Chester University in Pennsylvania and subsequently a successful career, not as an architect but as an art director. She worked with many high profile companies and clients in the healthcare, automotive, retail, financial, tech and pharmaceutical sectors. She has also served as a Human Resources professional for Nason Construction, a design build firm on the east coast. She holds two professional certifications in Human Resources and is currently on the board of the Northern California Human Resources Association representing the North Bay Region. Formerly she served on the Arts Guild of Sonoma board and has been an active volunteer in many of the non-profit outreach programs to advance art programs in Sonoma Valley. Currently she is working in customer relations at the corporate offices of Restoration Hardware.
Gérard Bessat retired in 2007 from a long career in information technology working for financial services companies, Credit Agricole Bank in France and Visa International in the US since 1984. Gerard held a variety of technical and senior managerial jobs covering the full range of IT functions in large IT organizations. Gerard earned an aeronautical engineering degree in Toulouse France (home of the Concorde and Airbus planes), and a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Arizona in Tucson. Gerard has been a resident of Sonoma since 2011.
Mary Piasta holds the distinction of being the first woman partner of Sonoma’s historic law firm Haeuser, Valluzzo & Piasta. Serving Sonoma since 1893, the firm’s deep roots reach to the administering of General Vallejo’s estate and Sonoma’s incorporation. Piasta offers big-city, big-firm lawyering in the heart of Sonoma. She brings her wisdom and experience gained from 13 years in complex litigation, which includes 2014’s top California real estate jury verdict, and a prior role in the Governor Gray Davis administration. From her plaza office, Piasta counsels in estate planning, real estate, business strategy and brand protection. www.hvplawoffices.com
I remember that I always had a camera. My father, who documented World War II, taught me how to photograph when I was still a child. Winning First Prize in a youth photography competition when I was twelve steeled my resolve to become a photographer.
After I finished school I had the opportunity to apprentice as the assistant to the well-known architecture photographer Hans Schafgans in Bonn Germany. This technically challenging education threw open the doors of the elite art school Folkwangschule in Essen for me, where for six years I honed my visual horizons by studying photography and design.
During the ensuing years I traveled the world as fashion and advertising photographer, my clients
encompassing international magazines and ad agencies.
Directing commercials and documentaries lent itself as a natural progression, which led to my work with the renowned Filmhaus production company, where our advertising clients included such international brands as Volkswagen, Beck’s Beer, Sony, Philip Morris and many others.
Anticipating the emerging internet media platform, I later founded NEWTECMEDIA with two partners.
I served as its CEO in Hamburg, Germany until 2001, when I moved to the United States. After having put my camera down so many years ago, I slowly begun to enjoy my old love photography again. First photographing Landscapes, and then, in 2015 through introduction, I begun photographing architectural exteriors and interiors for professionals in the building industry, coming full circle.
Keisha Beane is a creative director, and founding partner of CheshireBeane — with over ten years experience influencing and strategizing branding, marketing, and visual identity systems for a wide range of companies — with a focus of bringing mixed-used real estate developments to market. Keisha’s passions include brand storytelling and creative problem solving - identifying a project’s audiences and communicating through message development, organization, typography, photography, and color. She is looking to continue to use her creativity and passion for architecture, design, and history to positively affect communities.
Is a Sonoma based Landscape Designer, author, entrepreneur, and preservationist. Her love of history and landscape architecture fosters her devotion for preservation in Sonoma Valley. Her company From the Ground Up, works to ingrate the unique characteristics of our valley into each design. Her capstone project delved deep in the history of our wine industry and it impact on the valley. Bassett is bringing her expertise to support the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation.
After years of work, our Historical Resources database is now online. The Preservation Guidelines are available on this site.
Address & Map
291 First Street East
Sonoma, CA 95476