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There is no division between where we live and what we are.
Scott Russell Sanders

Who We Are


Behind the Scenes at Community Heritage Group

Community Heritage Group is comprised of people from throughout the West who research, write about, and conduct programs on the regionís heritage, politics, social issues, and other matters related to community health, such as environmental policy, urban planning, and economic development. We may not have all the answers, but we think weíre good at asking the right questions, which is often the best place to start.

Depending on the project location and skills required, CHG founder Dan Shilling calls upon an experienced group of associates to identify the person or team thatís appropriate for your community. Hereís a biography of Dan and other CHG associates:

Dan ShillingDan Shilling
Phoenix, Arizona

A native Pennsylvanian, Dan taught high school in his home state after receiving his B.A. from Penn State University. He moved to Arizona in 1980 and eventually earned his PhD from Arizona State University. Dan joined the staff of the Arizona Humanities Council, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, in 1984 as a program officer, eventually developing several projects that received national acclaim. After five years with AHC, he was named executive director in 1989, a position he stepped down from in 2003, so he could devote more time to working with communities. During his nearly 20 years with AHC, Dan oversaw a grant program that awarded more than $6 million for thousands of local projects.

Dan has been involved in many state and national efforts that address community development. He is a former Visiting Fellow of the Kettering Foundation, which fosters democracy through civic engagement. He has served more than 40 boards and committees, including Arizona Town Hall, Maricopa Association of Governments, Phoenix Human Relations Commission, Grand Canyon Association, and the Federation of State Humanities Councils.

Dan guided Arizonaís research on heritage tourism, eventually editing several publications, and he regularly writes and speaks about community building, civil society, and heritage tourism. In 2003 he edited Conversations on Community, which features some of the nationís finest scholars writing on community identity. Dan is the recipient of several honors, including the Arizona Office of Tourism "Person of the Year" Award, and the Museum Association of Arizona "Distinguished Service" Award. In 2005 he received the prestigious "Alumni Achievement Award" from Arizona State University for his many years of service to communities. In 2007, he published Civic Tourism: The Poetry and Politics of Place, the result of a three-year project.

Brian CrockettBrian Crockett
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Brian Crockett is an advocate for excellence among Americaís rural cultural organizations. As such, he is a small museums junkie. Brian is co-founder of Museum on Main Street, a national humanities partnership with the Smithsonian Institution that has taken him nationwide in the support of rural museums. In recent years he has worked with ExhibitsUSA to conduct museum research projects for the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as the Irvine and Knight Foundations. He has also directed in-depth needs assessments for state arts councils in Texas, Nebraska, and Arkansas. Brian acts as humanities consultant to the new NEH on the Road traveling exhibition initiative and is co-director of the Mid-America Arts Allianceís Texas HELP initiative, a Hands-on Experiential Learning Program created to spark improvement with select museums in the Lone Star State. A noted speaker, Brian presents frequently nationwide and conducts workshops in topics as diverse as board development, community relations, advocacy, public programming, and rural cultural development. A native of New Mexico, Brian attended Hanover College in Indiana and graduated with bachelor and masters degrees in English and Arts Administration respectively from the University of Utah. He lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and two daughters.

Nancy Dallett
Scottsdale, Arizona

Nancy Dallett is a public historian at the Arizona State University Public History Program, as well as principal of Projects in the Public Interest, a consulting firm. Nancyís work brings history, art, environmental science, historic preservation, and social issues to the public through collaborative efforts via master plans, exhibitions, events, media, oral histories, and publications. Nancy is a skilled facilitator and planner for museums, historical societies, historic corridors, libraries, arts organizations, neighborhoods, and entire cities. She often collaborates with Freeman/Whitehurst Group, nationally recognized public art planners, to ensure that good history supports public art. In this capacity, Nancy has worked with Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and El Paso, as well as communities in Arizona. She currently serves as a liaison among Arizona museums, heritage sites, and archives with student interns in the graduate program in Public History at ASU. Trained in public history with a Masterís degree from New York University, Nancy is a member of the Scottsdale Historic Preservation Commission, and she is writing historic resources studies and administrative histories for the National Park Service.

Roger W. LidmanRoger W. Lidman
Scottsdale, Arizona

During Rogerís 28 years in the museum profession, he has had the opportunity to work in a number of different capacities. Most recently Roger has been the Director of Pueblo Grande Museum and Administrator of the City of Phoenix's Archaeology Section since 1990. Under his leadership the museum has received numerous awards, was accredited by the American Association of Museums in 1999, has witnessed several expansions, and has become a leading center for heritage tourism in the West. Roger is past chair of Arizona's Archaeology Advisory Commission. He has also served on the board of the Western Museums Association, and he is past president of the Central Arizona Museum Association, as well as the Museum Association of Arizona. Roger received the Museum Association of Arizonaís Outstanding Personal Service Award in 1998 and the Outstanding Leadership and Service award from the Central Arizona Museum Association in 2002. He has served as a peer reviewer for the American Association of Museumís Accreditation and Museum Assessment programs, as well as a grant reviewer for the Institute for Museum and Library Services. Roger serves on the Arizona State Library Advisory Council and is currently the vice-chair of the Arizona Humanities Council. Roger is past chair of ARTability, a coalition of arts and culture institutions that serve people with disabilities, which is dedicated to making the arts accessible to all. He has been involved in cultural heritage tourism in Arizona for more than a decade, and contributed to publications and activities dealing with the contributions of museums to the tourism industry.

Gregory McNameeGregory McNamee
Tucson, Arizona

A writer, journalist, editor, photographer, and consultant in print and multimedia publishing and communications, Greg is the author or editor of 22 books and more than 2,000 periodical publications, including articles, essays, reviews, interviews, editorials, poems, translations, and short stories. His writings about place frequently appear in popular journals and magazines, and is probably most familiar to the public through his regular articles about land and history that appear in Arizona Highways. Greg is a consultant and contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and he edits the book series Desert Places, published by the University of Arizona Press, where he formerly served as editor. A frequent traveler, Greg is a correspondent for, a London-based syndicate. He is also the literary critic for The Hollywood Reporter and a contributing editor to Kirkus Reviews and The Bloomsbury Review. Greg operates Sonora Wordworks, an editorial and publishing service based in Tucson, and he frequently teaches courses in writing, publishing, and journalism. A long-time student of the way communities grow and develop in the West, he also gives many talks and teaches classes on cultural and environmental issues.

Mary OrtonMary Orton
Las Vegas, Nevada

Mary Orton is a mediator and facilitator, whose practice focuses on environmental and public policy discussions and disputes. She specializes in helping groups solve problems collaboratively. Mary believes that: 1) conflict is a normal part of life that can release our creativity and deepen our relationships; 2) helping people address conflict constructively in one arena can help them improve their approaches to disagreements elsewhere; and 3) when people constructively solve problems together, they are building strong communities and institutions, strengthening democracy, and preventing future conflict. Maryís clients include the National Park Service and the Hualapai Tribe for mediating a boundary dispute; the Bureau of Reclamation for facilitating the work of the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Work Group; Coconino National Forest for an employee satisfaction process; Grand Canyon National Park for developing and executing a public participation plan for a controversial environmental impact statement; Salt River Project; Bureau of Land Management, and Arizona State University. Mary earned a Masterís degree in conflict resolution from Antioch University.

Richard SimsRichard Sims
Helena, Montana

Richard Sims has been in museum work for nearly 30 years, serving five museums as a director, technical editor, archaeology contracts manager, grant writer, educator, video producer, programs innovator, exhibits curator, and capital campaign manager. Currently he is director of the Montana Historical Society. He also has experience as a stabilization technician on prehistoric ruins, as a college instructor in anthropology, and as an oral history researcher in his native state of Kentucky. As an extension of his professional endeavors, Richard consults with many museums and heritage sites, in the West and internationally, including Mexico, England, and Australia. In Arizona, where he served as director of Prescott's Sharlot Hall Museum for a decade, he was instrumental in the start-up of the Lake Havasu Museum of History, co-wrote the master plan for Homolovi State Prehistoric Park, and contributed to the plan for the Hopi Cultural Center. In Caborca, Sonora, Richard is consulting on the development of that cityís first museum. In London, England, he serves on the board of the London Bridge Museum and Educational Trust. For CHG, Richard promotes and guides museums and heritage sites as participators and leaders in the work of building healthy communities and strong regional economies. Richard demonstrates that commitment to a larger community through his personal dedication, serving on many boards and commissions. Richard has an M.A. in English from Northern Arizona University, a B.S. in Anthropology from the University of Oregon, and a Museum Management Certificate from the University of Colorado. 

Joel WrightJoel Wright
Strawberry, Arizona

Founder of Wright Consulting Services (1988), Joel Wright is one of the premier political and public policy research and strategy development consultants in the West. With over 20 years of campaign, public policy, survey, and market research experience, Joel provides insightful analyses, guidance, and support on many policy matters, including education, Native American and First Nations issues, politics, housing, and environmental and transportation topics. Joel is an acknowledged expert in psychographic modeling research, which provides a deeper and richer context for communicating with consumers, residents, and voters than traditional polling. A few examples of Joelís work include: 1) building a model for citizens in Manitoba that is helping First Nations gain public support for their economic and social development strategies; 2) developing a model for Arizona voters that focuses on psychological states and political values as the driving forces of voting behavior; 3) helping an Indian pueblo in New Mexico build broad support in their quest to correct a land survey error and return 10,000 acres to pueblo control. He has worked for many community and cultural groups, including Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix Zoo, The Heard Museum, and The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Even when not using psychographic research techniques, Joel remains acknowledged by many decision-makers as one of the most accurate researchers available, and he has worked on some of the most complex and difficult projects a professional researcher could encounter. Joel received his Masterís degree in research methods and analysis strategies from Arizona State University.

Janell YoutseyJanell Youtsey
Phoenix, Arizona

Janell Youtsey launched JY Consulting in 1991 as an organizational development firm specializing in needs assessment, leadership, teambuilding, and change management. Janell has nearly 20 years experience as an organizational development consultant working with management in a variety of settings. She holds a Masterís degree in sociology from Arizona State University, specializing in social psychology and research methods. She also holds a JD degree. Janell gained extensive experience early in her career as an internal consultant for Intel Corporation, helping design and launch a company-wide Total Quality Management (TQM) process. For the past ten years she has designed and implemented a variety of organizational assessment and developmental projects in diverse, challenging environments, including high technology, education, and government. Janellís approach focuses on breaking down barriers that foster frustration, discontent, and mediocrity Ė often focusing on cultural disconnects. Through a variety of processes, she helps clients identify the root cause of problems that often derail progress. Out of that clarity, she builds the common ground needed to help groups establish effective dialogue and explore new opportunities. Most significantly, she builds capability into teams so that they are self-sustaining. Whether working with a large institution or small community, Janellís mission remains constant: to get seemingly impossible results by bringing people together to create effective change. Janellís role in supporting CHG is to help identify barriers and build support for community development efforts.