Board of Directors
President & Director of Juniors
Will began his rowing career in high school at T.C. Williams in Alexandria, Virginia, the oldest public rowing program in the state. He competed at national and international regattas and won the MVP Lightweight and the Team Coaches Award his Senior year. He joined and rowed at Tulane University where he held various leadership roles with the team, including club president. On water, he competed at national events and medaled in the lightweight 4+ at the Head of the Chattanooga and SIRAs.
Post-college, Will initially moved to indoor-only rowing until joining the New Orleans Rowing Club (NORC) in 2017, where he began sculling in addition to sweeping. Highlights have included gold in the mixed 8+ and men’s 4+ at FISA Master Worlds in 2018 and multiple medals at Master Nationals over the past four years. Since joining NORC he has helped grow the Masters’ team from fewer than 20 adult members to over 70 in 2022. As President of the club, he is excited to watch those joining the sport for the first time and help bring rowers back to the water after any length of hiatus. When not on the water or coaching at practices, Will is at home with his wife Megan and dog Acadia. Following his love for the environment, he works as a Product Manager with Clean Choice Energy out of Washington, DC.
Born and raised in Pensacola, Florida, Rachel enjoyed the benefits of saltwater living, which involved boating, fishing, sailing and water skiing. Her involvement with the New Orleans Rowing Club (NORC) began when her daughter joined the program in 2019 as an after-school enrichment activity. NORC's team-building, goal-setting, competition-level training, and peer support made transitioning her daughter to this freshwater sport a foregone conclusion.
After growing up in Florida, Rachel moved to Los Angeles where she earned a B.S. Magna Cum Laude in Management Information Systems from Vanguard University of Southern California (VUSC), noted as one of the top ten colleges in the West by U.S. News and World Report. Since graduation she has held various positions in the financial services industry.
Her outside successes include several leadership roles with the Junior League of Los Angeles, including the Development Council, Women’s Internship Network, the USC Violence Intervention Program, and multiple chair positions for major fundraising events held at Sony Studios and Jim Henson Studios. She has also served as Marketing Chair with the Pensacola Junior League, was a member of the Pensacola Civil Service Board, and served on the Pensacola Women’s Civic Forum Leadership Committee. She has lived in the Greater New Orleans area since 2013, lending her fundraising skills to Ecole Bilingue de la Nouvelle-Orléans, Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans, and Upturn Arts. In her free time, she enjoys snow skiing, books, as well as travel and event planning.
Edward started rowing with his entire family back in 2005 at the Craftsbury Sculling Camp in Vermont. Since then, rowing with the NORC has been his main focus. He remembers when the club was composed of only three to four individuals who rowed on the Marconi Canal for about ten years before relocating to its present beautiful location on Bayou St. John in 2015. Edward has held several positions with NORC including Commodore (2012-2015), Co-Commodore (2015-2017), and Treasurer (2017-Present).
Rowing has been a family activity for the Karps. Edward’s son Benjamin rowed at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire as well as for Tulane University, and his daughter Nina is currently rowing at the Groton School in Groton, Massachusetts. Besides rowing, Edward enjoys reading, fencing, sailing, and classical music.
A relatively recent convert to rowing, Beth grew up in the seacoast area of New Hampshire and spent nearly all her time at gymnastics practice. She competed at the Division I level for the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a double major in History and Latin American Studies. She moved to New Orleans in 2000 to attend Tulane University, receiving her Ph.D. and starting a position at Xavier University in 2008. Currently, she is the Kellogg Endowed Professor of History and teaches classes in Caribbean history, women and gender studies, and historical theory. She is an active member of the Xavier community as well as a long-time supporter of and fundraiser for the Roots of Music program. In addition, she supports a number of non-profits throughout the city and beyond including the Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans, the Historic New Orleans Collection, and the Equal Justice Initiative.
After taking her first Learn-to-Row class in 2017, she realized she had finally found something she loved as much as she had gymnastics. Since then, she has enjoyed practicing and traveling with NORC, including attending her first regatta in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for Masters’ Nationals in 2021. She has her Level II U.S. Rowing coaching certificate. She also enjoys traveling and rowing with other clubs, most recently spending nine months with the CHAOS Rowing Club in Apex, North Carolina. She is excited to help keep NORC growing and introducing more people to the sport.
Director of Coastal
John started rowing in 2007 at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Since then, John has been a member for several clubs including NORC, Potomac BC, Capital RC, and Ruderclub Schaffhausen. In 2021, John won a Bronze Medal in the Quad at the World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals as a member of the US National Team. John has also raced for the Swiss Rowing Federation in international competition.
Between 2014-2022, John served as the President of NORC, leading the club through a full rebuild including relocating the boathouse to Bayou St. John and launching the state’s only active junior program. Currently, John is serving as the Director of Coastal Rowing and is focused on the development of coastal rowing on Lake Pontchartrain and the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, in 2021 he was appointed the Head Coach at Tulane University, which is a co-ed club sport program.
John’s coaching highlights include winning medals at Dad Vail, SIRAs, WRMR, US Rowing Masters Nationals, and Head of the Hooch. John has helped many athletes be recruited to top collegiate programs and qualify or be selected to international squads including the US and Australian National Teams.
Outside of rowing, John is a full-time real estate development professional and faculty member for the real estate program Tulane University. In this capacity, John is consistently engaged in community development activities including work in affordable housing, consulting for the Mardi Gras Indian Council, and multiple other similar projects.
Director of Masters
Colleen discovered her love of rowing at the University of Rhode Island where she rowed for their novice and varsity teams from 2002-2004, helping the team come in 2nd at A-10s. She rejoined the rowing world in 2019 with NORC, where she has been able to enjoy being competitive again.
Outside of rowing Colleen has two kids ages 9 and 6 and works as a premium auditor for The Hartford. She is currently an Assistant Lieutenant for the Krewe of Iris. As an active member and former Captain of the 610 Splits she served as the Deb Ball chair twice, helping to raise substantial funds for community non-profits. She and her family are engaged parishioners and parents at the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church and School. Colleen was also named one of Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s ‘New Orleans Finest’ for her community engagement.
Valerie is the proud, grateful parent of one graduate and two current members of the NORC junior team. In her previous life, many moons ago, Valerie was a special event logistics coordinator in Washington, DC. Retired since 2017, Valerie is a devoted member of her faith community at St. Joseph’s Church on Tulane Avenue where the entire Finch family serves monthly as altar servers, eucharistic ministers, and lectors. She has also spent two decades volunteering at her children’s schools: Academy of the Sacred Heart, Stuart Hall School for Boys, and Jesuit High School. She hopes to dust off some of her professional experience and add them to her volunteer skills for the benefit of the entire NORC community.
Marsha Ferguson, mother to Lee (Coxswain, Class of 2024), was introduced to rowing in 2018. Lee and their classmates learned about the sport when NORC started a middle school program and recruited through their school. Marsha began her volunteer efforts with the club out of gratitude and a desire to give back to the coaches and club that has profoundly influenced her child's life. Marsha's previous “volunteer-mom” activities include swim-mom/merch-mom and Academic Games coach. Professionally, Marsha is a Product Manager and Vice-President of Digital Strategy at Hancock Whitney Bank.
Max joined the New Orleans Rowing club in 2019, and after watching the club’s impressive growth in both the Masters and Juniors categories, he decided that he wanted to contribute to the organization by taking on the role of Boathouse Manager. One thing he especially admires about NORC is the precise detail involved in caring for all the club’s valuable, and often delicate, equipment. Max knows that there are many moving parts, but just like bringing a boat up to speed he believes that everyone together can learn, step by step, what it takes to be an excellent rowing club. What he wants to bring to this group is a sense of security and support. He knows that if we all can trust that there is someone charged with the care of all this amazing equipment, and who appreciates our precious Bayou St. John, then he knows that as a club we can build a stronger, smarter, safer community that competes as a stronger, smarter, faster team!
Head of Merchandise
Caitlin is a lifelong lover of all things water. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, she spent her summers navigating the wild rapids of Oregon and enjoying the rugged coastline. She is also a lover of all things team sports – she was on swim team from age 5 to 23 and dabbled in just about every other sport under the sun from soccer to dressage. After busting three ACLs, she decided it might be time to find a sport that was a little nicer on the knees. After attending a learn to row with NORC in the spring of 2018 she immediately fell in love with rowing - sunrises on the bayou, amazing teammates, getting fit, and, of course, the merch. Caitlin’s enthusiasm for water and sports can only be matched by her love of merch - and being on a committee. So, when the opportunity to help the club with merchandise arose, she naturally jumped (very gingerly) on the opportunity. Outside of rowing and managing merchandise, Caitlin has been working in New Orleans hospitality for eight years and loves volunteering with local organizations like Hotel Hope, City Park, and Habitat for Humanity.
Drew began rowing as a student at Spring Hill College where he graduated with honors in Business Administration. He went on to receive an MBA with honors from Loyola University of New Orleans. He founded America’s Mortgage Resource and has more than 30 years of diversified financial sales background and investment history in the local real estate market. He is committed to the highest levels of customer service, professionalism, and individual attention to each client. During this time he has also been actively engaged in the community with a focus on homelessness and hunger issues across the New Orleans Community. He is an regular supporter and volunteer for My House, a Learning Center for at-risk young people, New Orleans Artists Against
Homelessness and Hunger, Just the Right Attitude Community Food Pantry, and
In 2019, Drew returned to rowing after connecting with a NORC board member through his business. He has since become an integral member of the club’s leadership, helping it grow and diversify. He is always willing to take on any role in a boat, from sculling to sweep, port to starboard, and even coxing, although he also loves taking out his Hudson single in the earliest of morning hours.
Director of Learn-To-Row
A sign on a lamppost at the beautiful UC San Diego led Kate to the rowing team her freshman year and despite a fear of water, she fell forever in love with the sport on the San Diego Bay. She earned a BS in Biology, then went on to nursing school in Maine and became a critical care nurse. After a visit to New Orleans in 2013, Kate was caught up in magic of the city and moved here with her husband at the end of that year. They joined New Orleans Rowing Club in 2019 together and have been racing in the mixed double ever since. Kate has been coaching Learn-to-Row since her return to the water and loves empowering adults to become athletes, grow, and take risks. She recently joined the Louisiana Department of Health's Emergency Planning Team which supports her desire to be on the water every day.