Our People

Meet the Staff

UnknownBob Fernald, President, Publisher, and CEO

Bob started calling Down East “home” in 1977, when his parents bought the magazine. He would paint walls, stuff envelopes, answer reader letters, and otherwise cause trouble. Twenty-five years later, he became president and CEO, continuing Maine’s tradition of great family businesses. E-mail Bob at bob.fernald@downeast.com.

Brian Kevin, Editor in Chief

A transplant to Maine from the wild West (and also Midwest), Brian got to know the state by racking up miles on the Subie as a Down East contributing editor. When he’s not writing for Down East, he’s a sporadic contributor to publications like Outside, Men’s Journal, and Audubon, and he’s the author of The Footloose American: Following the Hunter S. Thompson Trail Across South America, which won the Maine Literary Award for Nonfiction. He likes the outdoors, road trips, the Grateful Dead, and being the world’s greatest dad. Email Brian at bkevin@downeast.com.

DE_Portraits-925-1Virginia M. Wright, Senior Editor

Virginia has traveled to all corners of Maine to write about its people, places, and culture. She has interviewed artists, architects, and scientists, profiled dozens of communities, and covered such diverse topics as Maine-grown oysters, Poland Spring’s controversial expansion of water extraction, and the curious commuting rituals of the Islesboro Island ferry. She has authored five books for Down East Books, including Ultimate Acadia and The Maine Lobster Book. E-mail Virginia at vwright@downeast.com.

WillWill Grunewald, Senior Editor

Originally from Pittsburgh, Will first came to Maine as a Bowdoin student and, after college, always had in mind to move back here someday. Fortunately, that someday arrived sooner rather than later. Following grad school in Chicago and a few years as an assistant editor at Washingtonian, he headed to Down East. When he’s not hiking, skiing, or holing up at a brewery, he edits the magazine’s North by East and Food and Drink sections and writes features. E-mail him at wgrunewald@downeast.com.

DE_Portraits-598Miroslaw Jurek, Creative Director

Born in Poland, Mirek has designed magazine titles both in the United States and abroad. He joined Down East in 2005, and in 2012 led the redesign of the magazine. His former careers include a show jumper in Warsaw and horse-riding instructor in London. When not in front of his Mac, he can be found fishing for squid in Rockport Harbor or tending to his chickens. E-mail Mirek at mjurek@downeast.com.

ben_2016Ben Williamson, Photography Director

Williamson, a native of Mississippi, fell in love with Maine through his grandfather — and moved here with his family 17 years ago. He has been photographing for the magazine for the last four years and his photos have graced the cover on a number of occasions.

MikeMike O’Leary, Senior Designer

Mike grew up in the Boston area and has frequented Stonington where his mother grew up. He has been the art director on a variety of magazines, which span a wide range of interests: writing, the arts, photography, health, business, sports, music, and more. These experiences have now coalesced into his work on Down East magazine. Mike now enjoys skiing, skating, hiking, and boating in his backyard of Maine. E-mail him at moleary@downeast.com.

sarah_2016Sarah Stebbins, Maine Homes Editor in Chief

Stebbins was a freelance writer for more than 8 years with pieces appearing in a number of national titles, including All You, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Family Circle, FoodNetwork.com, Glamour, Ladies’ Home Journal, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, This Old House, Woman’s Day, and Women’s Health. She has also held editorial positions at In Style, Martha Stewart Living, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Maine Home + Design. She lives in Portland with her husband and two sons.

Betsy FrenchBetsy French, Retail Store Manager

Betsy was born and raised in midcoast Maine.  After high school, she moved to Florida, where she enrolled in accounting courses at Edison Community College and worked the last years there for Ethan Allen Furniture. She missed family, the change of seasons, and the safe, simple life found in Maine, so she moved back, married her husband and together they raised their daughter. She loves creating things in her spare time and spending time with her daughter, husband, family, and friends.  E-mail Betsy at bfrench@downeast.com.

Jeff-200Jeff Howland, Digital Director

Jeff was born in northern Maine, attended the University of Maine, and has lived in the midcoast area for more than 20 years. He graduated from the University of Maine with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering Technology, and has held positions in the industrial sector, as a software & design engineer, and the financial & marketing sectors, in a broad range of technology, people management, administrative, and client support roles. E-mail Jeff at jhowland@downeast.com.