The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History has announced the addition of three trustees to its board in 2023: Barbara “Bobbie” Evans Kinnear, John Demourkas, and Julie Heider-Gray, as well as a new slate of officers.
Evans Kinnear graduated from Texas Christian University with a B.S. degree in nursing science. Early in her career she became a pediatric nurse burn specialist, and later worked for a number of years as an operating room/recovery room supervisor, and as director of nursing.
Evans Kinnear also founded and operated a small importing/wholesale business with artists in China.
She has served on numerous local boards including Santa Barbara Visiting Nurses Association, Junior League of Santa Barbara, Garden Club of Santa Barbara, Crane Country Day School, National Charity League, Casa Del Herrero, and Westmont Foundation Board of Directors.
Evans Kinnear and her husband John have lived in Santa Barbara since 1973.
In September 2021, Evans Kinnear published the book “Richard Eager: A Pilot’s Story from Tennessee Eagle Scout to General Montgomery’s ‘Flying Fortress,'” co-authored with her father, Col. Richard Ernest Evans.
Evans Kinnear’s admiration for the Museum of Natural History began in 1980 when she became a docent. She said what inspires her is the museum’s mission, which includes research, teaching science, and helping children of all ages understand our relationship with the natural world.
She has served on the board numerous times, including as chair from 2016-17.
Heider-Gray is an intellectual-property attorney with some 20 years of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. She was in-house counsel for 10 years at Genentech, Inc., most recently as associate director, assistant general counsel, and head of the Cancer Immunology IP Group.
She previously worked in the IP Groups of Foley & Lardner LLP and Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox, PLLC.
Prior to her career in law, Heider-Gray worked in the laboratories of Dr. Tom Shenk, studying human cytomegalovirus; and Dr. Maryellen Ruvolo, studying the molecular evolution of primates at the Peabody Museum, Harvard University.
Heider-Gray holds a J.D. from George Washington University Law School, a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Princeton University, and a B.A. in biology from Mount Holyoke College.
Demourkas was born in Santa Barbara to immigrant parents and grew up on the Mesa. He attended Santa Barbara City College and UCSB.
While in college he started his first corporation Sewell/Demourkas, Inc., a professional beauty products distributor.
In 1979, he became a founding employee of Nexxus Products Company, an international producer and distributor of salon professional beauty products, headquartered in Santa Barbara. He ultimately became vice president/operations, COO and CFO, remaining at the company until 2006 when he oversaw its sale to Alberto-Culver, Inc.
Demourkas and his wife Deneen are active with the Santa Barbara Yacht Club and have both sailed competitively throughout the USA, Europe, and the Caribbean. In 2015, he won the Rolex Farr40 World Championship. John served as the yacht club’s commodore in 2006.
The Demourkases support nonprofits and charities including Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, VNA Hospice, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Opera Santa Barbara, CASA, and Santa Barbara Zoo.
The following board members will serve as officers: Brad Willis, chair; Terrence Valeski, immediate past chair; Douglas Drier, vice chair governance; Salvatore Milazzo, vice chair finance; Sarah Sheshunoff. vice chair development;cKeith Reichel, vice chair master plan; Hank Mitchel, secretary; and S. Timothy Kochis, member-at-large.
For a full listing of the trustees and their bios, visit sbnature.org/about/board.