I am Wayne Brew, and I am honored to be the Executive Director of The International Society for Landscape, Place, & Material Culture. I am originally from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, located in the Anthracite Coal Region. Both of my grandfathers were coal miners. I moved to Philadelphia in 1981 and have resided there since. I attended the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) for five years earning a B.S. in earth science (Geology) and a B.S. in geography. As an undergraduate, I found that geology satisfied my love of history, travel, field trips, and appreciation for the outdoors. It was my great fortune to be a student of geographer, Peirce Lewis, who taught me that the cultural landscape can be ‘read’ like the physical landscape. This inspired my passion for studying vernacular architecture and cultural landscapes. When I moved to Philadelphia, I continued my education in geography earning a Master's Degree from Temple University.
My first professional experience was in the summer of 1979 working as a coal geologist in Craig, Colorado. In 1984, while I was still in graduate school, I started working at Roy F. Weston, an environmental consulting firm, as a geologist. Over my 16 years as a professional geologist, I traveled widely in the United States, organized projects, and wrote many technical reports. Since my undergraduate days, I had a strong desire to teach at the college level. I finished my Master’s degree in 1991 and started teaching night courses in 1999. In 2000, I was hired by Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) as a full-time instructor, earning tenure and the title Assistant Professor of Geography in 2005. I teach cultural, physical, urban, and world regional geography. I also co-teach Food and Culture and several colloquia for the Honors Program.
I first became familiar with The Society in an email I received in 2004 inviting me to attend the annual meeting held at Bucks County Community College, in Newtown, Pennsylvania. I had never heard of the organization, but became very enthusiastic when I read more about its mission. It was like finding a welcoming home filled with kindred spirits who shared my enthusiasm for vernacular architecture, cultural landscapes, and artifacts. I joined and gave a presentation at the 2004 conference; I have not missed a conference (or a presentation) since.
There are many things I love about this organization. First, it is a ‘big tent’ organization collecting many different people, professions, and approaches. Second, there is an eclectic mix of papers presented at the conferences. Third, the members are friendly, passionate, and supportive of the many varied interests of the people who belong. Last, but not least, the field trips at the conferences are informative, fun, and a great time for all participants.
As Executive Director, I am focusing on supporting the capable officers, board members, committees, and members to maintain the proven strengths of The Society. I ask for all your continued support as we move forward.
Please feel free to contact me with any suggestions or concerns that you might have.
Wayne Brew, Executive Director