The Albert Kahn Legacy Foundation
Learn More About Albert Kahn
The Foundation is governed by a diverse Board of Directors comprised of historians, preservationists, journalists, business leaders, architects, engineers, and other professionals. All have a love of Albert Kahn and believe that the Kahn legacy is worth preserving.
Heidi Pfannes, President
Chair, Executive Committee, and Communications and Membership Committee
Levi Smith, Vice President
Chair, Museum and Exhibits Committee, and Fundraising Committee
John Gallagher, Secretary
Co-Chair, Tours and Education Committee
John is a veteran journalist and author who has published extensively on Detroit, including the books Reimagining Detroit: Opportunities for Redefining an American City, Yamasaki in Detroit: A Search for Serenity, and Revolution Detroit: Strategies for Urban Reinvention. Born in New York City, he attended DePaul University in Chicago and Columbia University in New York. Joining the Detroit Free Press in 1987 as the paper’s urban affairs and economic development writer, John became a leading interpreter of the saga of post-industrial cities and their recovery efforts. In 2017, he was inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame. Now
retired, John continues to write and speak about labor, economics, architecture, urban planning, and media.
Robert Sharrow, Treasurer
Chair, Finance Committee
Robb is Senior Vice President and Principal at Albert Kahn Associates, where he served previously as Director/Corporate Secretary. He continues to lead projects for the firm’s health care clients, including Henry Ford Healthcare System. Robb has led extensive health care facility projects in Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin, including twelve new or replacement hospital projects. He is Past President of the Prismatic Club of Detroit, Former Vice-Chair of the National Planetree Visionary Design Network, Founding Board member of the Grosse Pointe Park Tax Increment Finance Authority (TIFA), and he serves as Elder and Treasurer of Historic Fort Street Presbyterian Church in Detroit.
Co-Chair, Tours and Education Committee
Barbara is active in the Detroit art and historical community, including her role as a docent at the Detroit Institute of Arts, creating new tours of the Detroit Public Library, and providing lectures. She is currently finishing a Masters in Museum Studies at Johns Hopkins University. In addition to journal publications on Detroit Jewish History, she is the co-author of The Detroit Public Library: An American Classic. Barbara has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including the Detroit Public Library Friends Foundation and the American Technion Society. Presently, she serves as the vice president of the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan and on the Dimensions Advisory Board of the Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network.
Aimee is an archivist at the Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs at Wayne State University. Previously, she served as director of the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan for almost a decade, where she edited the journal Michigan Jewish History and curated exhibits at the Detroit Historical Museum. Her publications include books and articles on Detroit history, Jewish history, and art history. She has served on the boards of Michigan Women Forward, Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame, Wayne State University Press, President’s Commission on the Status of Women at Wayne State University, Farmington/Farmington Hills Education Foundation, and Farmington Hills Committee to Increase Voter Participation.
Chair, Grants Committee
Michael G. Smith
Michael is an architectural historian and author. In addition to several published articles on Detroit architecture, he authored Designing Detroit; Wirt Rowland and the rise of Modern American Architecture, an award-winning history of Detroit’s early 20th-century architectural achievements. Prior to 2010, he was self-employed as an executive recruiter, working with nonprofit organizations and corporations marketing business services. Early in his career, Michael worked in the printing and publishing industry.
Mike O. Smith
Mike is the Alene and Graham Landau Archivist Chair at the Detroit Jewish News Foundation. With 30 years as an archivist and historian, he has served as Director of the Walter Reuther Library and Director of the graduate program in Archival Administration, Wayne State University, and as the Principal Archivist at the Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. He has presented and published extensively on archival studies, Michigan history, Jewish Detroit History, the Labor movement, and the automotive industry. Mike has curated numerous exhibits, including the Detroit Historical Museum, and most recently, “The Holocaust Unfolds” and “Aftermath” at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
Chair, Artifacts and Archives Committee
Caitlin is a writer and historian at Albert Kahn Associates, where she has been writing a book in honor of the firm’s 125th anniversary. For several years, she was the editor of academic journals specializing in museum, library, and archive theory and practice called The Museum Scholar and Theory and Practice. Previously, she worked in exhibition and collection management roles at the Brooklyn Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Cranbrook Art Museum. With degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of Glasgow in Scotland, Caitlin has published articles on various museum topics and aspects of the history of Detroit architecture.