Maynard Crossland is the president. You’ll hear his laughter before you see him. Maynard’s energy and enthusiasm is contagious, along with his contemporary approach to leading Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. Decades of experience in managing more than 60 historic sites led Maynard down the path to the Village. He thrives on the energy of his staff and is extremely supportive of their new ideas—the more unorthodox the better. Maynard can often be found at programs and events, and he has chatted with many guests incognito, without them realizing that he runs the entire show! A dog lover, he may have his trusty companion Mack by his side. As a talented “baby whisperer,” his office is a welcome place for all youngsters, including his grandchildren, or new additions from his staff.
Aaron Genton is the collections manager. A love of history led him to study and work in the field. Aaron manages the preservation of the collections, archives and The Historic Centre. Our resident history expert (but don’t tell him we called him that), he regularly presents at conferences and symposiums including the Shaker Seminar, the Communal Studies Association and the American Association of State and Local History. If we have a question, Aaron has the answer. His deep knowledge of and care for the Pleasant Hill Shakers has introduced us to many new and unforgettable stories, including Wild Bill Pennebaker’s infamous knife fight, and the discovery of the Shaker Mammoth. Who knows what he’ll uncover next?
Ben Leffew is the preserve manager. A Kentucky Proud product straight out of Boyle County, Ben’s formal and informal education has prepared him to take on any conservation challenge that arises across the 3,000-acre site. His hard work has helped to increase the native prairie to nearly 1,200 acres and grow the Bob White Quail population by an almost unbelievable 150 percent. Don’t be surprised if you run into him on a UTV cruising (we mean maintaining) the nearly 40 miles of hiking trails in The Preserve. As his colleagues like to quote a 2014 magazine article, “You’re in his world now…”
Dylan Kennedy is the farm manager. An avid mountain biker and traveler, he has farmed as far and wide as Foxhollow Farm in Oldham County (Kentucky) to New Orleans and the Teton region of western Wyoming, before returning to his ancestral Kentucky roots. At Shaker Village, he continues to develop a unique style of sustainable agriculture based on building resilience through diversity into managed ecosystems. If you’re taking the scenic route, you might just see his little Ford Ranger disappearing down some back country road, in search of just the right cross-heritage breed to add to our growing barnyard family.
Amber Hokams is the chef. She knew from a young age she loved cooking and how valuable the gift of food could be. Any important event or celebration was surrounded by a feast, and many times, that feast began with her Nana wrapping tamales like tight little presents. Amber is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Austin and began her culinary career in downtown Austin, working in several high-end steakhouses during the week and a funky whimsical food truck on the weekends. She moved to Kentucky in 2014 and found a greater appreciation for Southern cuisine while at Shaker Village. Come see what she’s gonna serve up next at The Trustees’ Table!
Lorrin Ingerson is the retail manager and keeps The Shops full of intriguing products. Her background is just as diverse as our merchandise. From sailing ships to navigating the busy streets of NYC, Lorrin is ready to take on the big crowds of guests that fill the Village each year for the Craft Fair! A talented cook, she enjoys feeding colleagues, friends and family. She blows off a little steam by traveling for rock concerts, and you can definitely see a little bit of an edge in her confident, classy, quirky style.
William Updike is the vice president for natural and cultural resource management. An enthusiastic gardener and outdoorsman, he’s been digging in the dirt for as long as he can remember—and digging in the Pleasant Hill dirt since the early 90s. Formerly with FEMA, he’s no stranger to thinking on his feet and responding quickly to emergencies—which must be why he always backs into his parking spot. A dapper dresser (proven by the coveted best dressed award from a recent croquet match), William has festive apparel for every Shaker Village function and prides himself on being a good steward of the architectural marvels left to us by the Shakers.