Our Staff

The Wheeling Heritage staff has unique knowledge of downtown revitalization and sustainable historic rehabilitation.


Jake Dougherty 


Executive Director

A Wheeling native, Jake earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in public communication and political science from American University in Washington, D.C. The former communications manager for Taste of D.C. LLC and a member of AmeriCorps, he returned to head Reinvent Wheeling in 2014 and was promoted to lead Wheeling Heritage in 2016.


With knowledge of community engagement and a clear vision for Wheeling Heritage, Jake has developed strong working relationships with others who support historic preservation and economic development. He is a member of the boards of Augusta Levy Learning Center, Generation WV, Wheeling-Ohio County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Regional Economic Development Partnership and is a member of the state’s Abandoned Properties Coalition.


No organization has played a more important role in Wheeling’s revitalization than Wheeling Heritage. Its work is thoughtful and inclusive, focused and deliberate.”

Chris grew up in the Pittsburgh community of Lawrenceville, Pa., and attended Point Park University, where she earned a journalism and communications degree at Point Park University. Chris has worked at Wheeling Heritage since 1999. As program manager, she organizes the organization’s annual Celtic Festival in March and develops programming for riverfront trails such as moonlight walks and yoga on the lawn.


Chris manages the Artisan Center shop and gallery, overseeing inventory and employees at the shop and recruiting artists, curating shows and hosting receptions at the gallery. With an eye for detail, she also handles the Wheeling Heritage finances and audits, and assists with grant-writing.


Engaging the community makes all the difference for quality programming. I love interacting with artists, volunteers and people who visit our shop, gallery, events and workshops.”


Chris Villamagna


Program Manager


Rebekah Karelis 


Project Manager


A native of Short Gap, W.Va., Bekah earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology and sociology and a Master of Arts degree in public history from West Virginia University. She attended archeological field school at Marshall University and obtained her Associate of Applied Science degree in building preservation and restoration from Belmont Technical College.


Bekah joined Wheeling Heritage in 2006, where she manages a variety of projects, including the Mt. Wood Cemetery restoration. She supervises summer interns and AmeriCorps members; writes grants and submits Historic Property Inventory forms; acts as liaison with the state Historic Preservation Office and other entities; and is editor of the Upper Ohio Valley Historical Review. She co-founded the Wheeling Young Preservationists, and is a former project planner for Oglebay Institute.


Storytelling that captures our history can help people discover their personal stories and heritage. Educating people is part of offering guidance and assistance.”

A marketing strategist and former TV journalist, Alex joined Wheeling Heritage in 2017 to lead its marketing and communication efforts; oversee Reinvent Wheeling, the Main Street program that has developed successful community-oriented crowdfunding such as Show of Hands; and assist with related activities including grant writing.


A resident of Wellsburg, Alex graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and minor in business administration and earned her Master of Science in integrated marketing communications from WVU’s Reed College of Media. She is a former social media specialist for The Health Plan, a former reporter and news producer for WTOV-TV in Steubenville, and former communications specialist for Bethany College.  


Wheeling has so much to offer, as a city full of culture, history and passionate people who care about their future. Our work helps families and small businesses here to grow and thrive.”

Alex 1

Alex Weld


Project & Outreach Manager 



Joelle Connors

Russell Dunkin

Glenn Elliott

Jeanne H. Finstein, Ed.D

Jay Frey

Walker Holloway

Stephen Johnston

Orphy Klempa

Olivia Litman

Allison Skibo

Erikka Storch

Brian Wilson

Michael Mistovich

Susie Nelson

Frank O’Brien

Craig O’Leary – Treasurer

Arch W. Riley – Chair

Wendy Scatterday, AIA – Secretary


Charles Wood, PhD – Vice-Chair

Patrick Cassidy, Emeritus

Jack Fahey, Emeritus

G. Randolph Worls, Emeritus

Larry Jones, Ed.D, Emeritus

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