JIM WERMERS, President
A native San Diegan and enthusiastic philanthropist, visionary, and volunteer, Jim is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and has lived part-time in Borrego Springs with his wife Anne for 20 years. He is the retired President and CEO of Wermers Construction Company, a prominent San Diego firm founded by his father. Jim has been actively involved in a number of San Diego civic organizations and is a founding member and Secretary of the Borrego Village Association. He owns The Mall in Borrego Springs and has served as President of de Anza Country Club and on the Borrego Water Coalition. In 2011, Jim purchased the former Borrego Valley Foods building, donated it to the BAI, and spear-headed its stunning renovation.
KAY LEVIE, Vice President
One of Borrego Springs' long-time residents, Kay has been involved in the community since 1979. Currently serving on the Board of the Borrego Art Institute, she also served on the Board of the Borrego Village Foundation and seven years on the Board of the Borrego Springs Unified School District.She also worked as Advertising Manager and photographer for the Borrego Sun for 27 years. After attending San Diego State University with a medical career in mind, Kay changed paths to pursue her passion for photography at Grossmont College where she earned an Associate’s degree. Her first clients were professional artists and galleries, and to better serve that clientele, she continued art education at Grossmont, San Diego State University, Mesa College, and San Diego City College. With years of experience hanging shows and taking photographs for gallery brochures and advertising, Kay brings a strong background in gallery operations and knowledge of art to the BAI.
ROBERT WRIGHT, Director
Robert was the co-founder of McCormick & Wright Interior Design and attributes the success of his firm to his commitment to his profession, service to the community, and the importance of education, all of which he now brings to the BAI Board. He holds a B.S. from Texas State University and has taught at San Diego State University in the Department of Art, Design and Art History. He currently serves as board chair of the Design Institute of San Diego, a private college offering a BFA in Interior Design. He has served as national president of the American Society of Interior Designers as well as chairman of the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. He is a long time advocate for the arts and has served as art advisor for many clients throughout his forty-two year career as a designer. Robert is a resident of Borrego Springs. His experience as a business owner, educator and his participation in the arts will continue to contribute to the success of the BAI’s mission and to the community in which it serves.
BOB BLUM, Director
Bob resides in Borrego Springs and Portland, Oregon, with his wife Carol. He holds a B.A. from the University of Northern Colorado and a D.Ed. from Texas A&M University. He is a founding Director and President of both the Borrego Village Foundation and the Borrego Springs Educational Foundation and serves as a Director of the Borrego Village Association. Prior to retiring in 2009, Bob enjoyed a 40-year career in education– teaching, school administration, and educational research and development. As Deputy Executive Officer at Education Northwest, a large non-profit corporation, he led an initiative to update corporation documents including Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, policies, and procedures. Committed to the arts as a way to enrich lives, Bob brings invaluable executive, leadership, and administrative skills to the BAI.
DIANE JOHNSON, Director
Diane has lived in Borrego Springs for more than a decade. She grew up in the Northeast and earned a B.A. from Brown University, and a Library Science master’s degree from Simmons University in Boston. Prior to retirement, Diane held positions at a number of public and private institutions focusing on the use of online systems to access information, especially in the area of medical research. As a BAI volunteer, she has led a development drive, organized events to bring Borrego’s Hispanic and Anglo communities into closer touch, and coordinated housing and hospitality for several Plein Air Invitationals. Diane also serves or has served on the Boards of the Anza-Borrego Foundation, the Borrego Village Foundation, and the Borrego Springs Rotary Foundation and was a co-founder of the Literacy Center in Ocotillo Wells. A committed community booster, volunteer, and savvy art collector, Diane brings expertise in fostering connections between people and resources to the BAI Board.
BEN NOURSE, Treasurer
Ben owns and manages the popular Borego Outfitters store with his partners, wife Donna Nourse and Corie Loera, and is considered one of Borrego Springs' most respected entrepreneurs. Before moving to Borrego Springs in 2000, Ben founded and ran GreatFood.com, a highly successful retail business which he sold to 1-800Flowers.com in 1999. Ben holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and brings a wealth of informed consumer marketing, financial, operational, and technical expertise to the Institute. He is is passionate about the vital role of the BAI in the Borrego Springs community.