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Director's Biographies

Directors' Biographies

Robert M. Edsel

Robert M. Edsel is the author of the non-fiction book, Rescuing Da Vinci, co-producer of the documentary film, The Rape of Europa, and Founder and President of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art.

Mr. Edsel was formerly a nationally ranked tennis player. In 1981, Mr. Edsel began his business career in oil and gas exploration. His company, Gemini Exploration, pioneered the use of horizontal drilling technology throughout the early 1990s. Gemini Exploration grew from a company with eight employees to almost 100. By 1995, Gemini had become the second most active driller of horizontal wells in the United States.  In 1995, Edsel sold the company’s assets to Union Pacific Resources Company. The following year he moved to Europe with his family.

While in Florence, he developed a great passion for art and architecture and became curious as to how so many of the monuments and great works of art survived the thefts and devastation of World War II. What began as a question evolved into an impassioned journey to unravel the secrets and heroics of the unsung heroes who saved the world’s greatest art and cultural treasures for the benefit of civilization. By 2001, that journey had become a full-time job. Mr. Edsel has dedicated the last six years of his life to painstaking and far-reaching research about the Monuments Men which first culminated in the publishing of his book, Rescuing Da Vinci, a detailed historical account which includes 460 photographs. In addition to Rescuing Da Vinci, Mr. Edsel is the co-producer of the documentary film, The Rape of Europa, based on the award winning book of the same name by scholar Lynn Nicholas. The documentary, narrated by Joan Allen, was filmed in seven countries and is now playing in select cities in the United States.

Mr. Edsel is also the Founder and President of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, (www.monumentsmenfoundation.org), a not-for-profit entity. The Foundation was one of ten recipients of the 2007 National Humanities Medal, an honor which was presented by President Bush during a ceremony held in the East Room on November 15, 2007. The National Humanities Medal is the highest honor given for excellence in the Humanities field, and honors individuals and groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities. The mission statement of the Foundation is as follows:

“To preserve the legacy of the unprecedented and heroic work of the men and women who served in the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (“MFAA”) section, known as “Monuments Men,” during World War II, by raising public awareness of the importance of not only protecting and safeguarding civilization’s most important artistic and cultural treasures from armed conflict, but incorporating these expressions of man’s greatest creative achievements into our daily lives.”

Edsel speaks frequently about this project and his ongoing journey in its research and telling. He is a dynamic speaker and regularly invited to lecture at prominent institutions including recent appearances at the Eisenhower Institute, Nelson-Atkins Museum and the University of Tennessee.

Edsel has a long history of philanthropic endeavors. He has been a supporter and presence within the Children’s Medical Center, the Dallas Morning News Charities, and the United Way, amongst others. He dedicated nine years to service as a Trustee of St. Mark’s School of Texas, as Chairman of the Development Committee, a member of the Executive Committee and as President of the St. Mark’s Alumni Board (1987-1991). He has also served on the Board of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (Dallas Chapter), the Advisory Board of St. Philip’s School and Community Center, and as a volunteer at the Union Gospel Mission. Edsel founded the Cochran Chapel Homeowners Association in Dallas in 1993, serving as its President for the first three years.  He is also a founding Trustee of Friends of Florence and served as its Vice President for its first two years. Additionally, in 2003, Edsel served as Chairman of a committee working to develop a master plan for the Turtle Creek corridor in Dallas.  In February 2004, the Committee gifted the master plan to the City of Dallas.  It now serves as the City’s master plan for the Turtle Creek greenbelt. Edsel also served on the Advisory Board of the Meadows Museum of Art, Dallas.  In 2004, Edsel became a Board Member of the American Friends of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Other Activities

Edsel has served as a director of Polaris Minerals Corporation, a Vancouver-based company, since July 2002. Polaris Minerals exclusively focuses on supplying construction aggregates from its two properties located on tidewater on the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to coastal urban markets on the western seaboard of North America. He is also a member of the Compensation Committee and Corporate Governance Committee.

C. Thomas Schwartz

C. Thomas Schwartz is the founder and CEO of The BMW Store and Cincinnati MINI. These companies are automotive dealerships specifically marketing the high line BMW vehicle and the sporty MINI Cooper. Both are located in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Tom established The BMW Store in 1979. He was awarded the MINI franchise in 2002 based on his credentials as a successful, productive and profitable owner of a BMW dealership. Currently, he has 144 employees working for him.

Nothing requires more passion than taking a vision from a small seedling organization to a large thriving business. His company’s growth required a lot of dedication, risk-taking, long intense hours of work and a genuine commitment to safeguard not only the business, but also all the families who are dependent upon Tom’s implementation of his vision.

In his nearly thirty years in business, Tom has graduated from being merely the owner of his own dealership to regional, national, and international BMW and MINI forums and conferences. His participation in these events keeps him quite busy.

Tom and his wife Kim reside in Telluride, Colorado and also in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the father of four adult children, all of whom live in various cities within the United States. He is a major patron to numerous organizations that support either Arts, including city symphonies and museums, or organizations that work diligently to improve the quality of life for those individuals who have special needs. On a lighter side, he still is involved with the Bedlington Terrier Rescue Club and is also the loving “father” of two Bedlington Terriers and one Dachshund Terrier.

Tom is as passionate today in his business and personal philosophies as he was back in 1979 when he started his company. One of his favorite expressions has always been “Passion Loves Company!” It is impossible to know or work with Tom Schwartz without experiencing that same sort of passion that he exudes.

Allen E. Cullum

Allen Cullum is President of Cullum Interests, Inc. Cullum Interests is a Texas corporation that was established in 1991 to invest in, develop, lease, and manage real estate in the United States and to provide real-estate development consulting services on hotel, office, industrial, and apartment developments and renovations throughout North America. Cullum Interests is the managing general partner of a number of partnerships that own commercial and industrial real estate in Texas and South Carolina.

From 1979 until 1990, Allen Cullum was President of Trammell Crow Design and Construction Company which designed, constructed, and furnished all of the hotel, mart, and specialty buildings in which Trammell Crow was involved. As President, Allen Cullum oversaw divisions of architectural design, interior design, construction management, purchasing, and installation.

After 1990, Allen began acquiring industrial real estate in Dallas, eventually owning, leasing, and managing over 600,000 square feet in multiple buildings, predominantly in the Brookhollow area. In addition to his on-going involvement in commercial and industrial real estate, Allen Cullum oversaw the renovation and conversion to Wyndham Garden Hotels of properties located in Monrovia, Culver City, and San Rafael, CA, and Newark, NJ between 1995 and 1997; oversaw the design and conversion of the Wyndham Hotel in Boston in 1998; managed the development of a 108,000 sf office building in Plano, TX in 1996-97; and oversaw the construction of a $20M airline terminal and garage in Dallas, TX in 1999-2000.

In 2001-02, Allen assisted the owners of American Airlines Center with the resolution of certain claims related to the development of that arena. More recently, Allen oversaw the development of the J. W. Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson, AZ, on behalf of the Yale University Investment Office from 2003 through early 2005. He also managed the development of a 65,000 sf, high-tech, raised-floor, single-tenant office building for ExponentHR in Addison TX, from 2005-07.

On a volunteer basis, Allen oversaw the construction of 3 buildings at St. Mark's School in Dallas in 1999-2000: Nearburg Hall, a new administration building; the Tom Hicks Athletic Center; and the Mullen Fitness Center. Over the summer of 2005, Allen supervised the development of new athletic fields at St. Mark’s, including the Norma & Lamar Hunt Family Stadium.

Allen Cullum holds the following advanced degrees:
- Stanford University, Bachelor of Arts, 1969.
- University of Texas at Austin, Bachelor of Architecture with Honors, 1971.
- University of Pennsylvania, Master of Architecture, 1974.
- University of Pennsylvania, Master of City Planning, 1974.

Allen and his wife Sissy live in the Preston Hollow area of Dallas. Their older son is a graduate of Stanford and MIT and attends Stanford GSB. Their daughter is also a graduate of Stanford and teaches 5th grade History and English at a private school in Austin, TX. Their younger son has completed fire academy and paramedic training and is currently a senior in Public Safety Management at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX.

Allen is a Past President of the Board of Trustees of St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas and remains active in development and admissions efforts on behalf of St. Mark’s and Stanford University.

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