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.

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


Alex Weld


Project & Outreach Manager 


Alex joined Wheeling Heritage in 2017 to lead its marketing and communication efforts, as well as run its downtown development initiatives and Wheeling’s Main Street program. Alex runs Show of Hands, CO.STARTERS, Lunchtime Live! and other small business and development programs.


A resident of Wellsburg, W.Va., 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.  She is a member of the boards of YWCA Wheeling, OV Connect, and the Junior League of Wheeling.

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.”


Betsy Sweeny

Historic Preservation Program Manager

A Pittsburgh native, Betsy Sweeny earned degrees in art history and anthropology from the University of Missouri. She also holds a masters in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Prior to relocating to Wheeling, Betsy worked as an architectural historian at James Madison’s Montpelier in Orange, Virginia.


As historic preservation programs manager, Betsy’s work includes history-related projects, facilitating technical assistance for historic building owners, and overseeing the organization’s historic preservation grants and contracts.

Bringing the past into the present is the only way to keep history relevant. Wheeling is fortunate to have so many places, spaces, and communities with stories to tell. Our work helps to tell those stories.”


Travis Henline

Museum Project Manager

Originally from Bridgeport, WV, Travis earned his Master of Arts degree in history from West Virginia University. The former Site Manager at WV Independence Hall, he now serves as the Museum Project Manager for Wheeling Heritage. In this role he works to identify and develop the concept for a Wheeling museum.


Travis has spent a career in public history and museums, working for the National Park Service, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and the WV Division of Culture and History. He serves on the boards and committees of the Wheeling Arts and Cultural Commission, Wheeling 250, Oglebay 100, WV Association of Museums, Preservation Alliance of WV, WVU History Department Visiting Committee and is the chair of the Advisory Board for the College of Liberal Arts at West Liberty University.

Wheeling has such an incredible history with people, events, manufacturing and much more that had an impact not only on our region and state, but also our nation. I am excited that we will celebrate and commemorate our stories and share them with the world.”


Russell Dunkin

Glenn Elliott

Jeanne H. Finstein, Ed.D.

Jay Frey

Wendy Hodorowski

Walker Holloway

Stephen Johnston – Vice chair

Melinda Koslik

Olivia Litman

Zahra Mohebbi, Ph.D.

Joelle Moray

Michael Mistovich

Susie Nelson

Loma Nevels

Don Nickerson

Frank O’Brien

Craig O’Leary – Treasurer

Arch W. Riley – Chair

Erikka Storch

Charles Wood, Ph.D.

Patrick Cassidy, Emeritus

Jack Fahey, Emeritus

G. Randolph Worls, Emeritus

Larry Jones, Ed.D, Emeritus