New Faces on HBI Board of Directors and Council of Advisors

New Faces on HBI Board of Directors and Council of Advisors

Historic Boston, Inc is delighted to announce new members of our Board of Directors and Council of Advisors. In June, Cheis Garrus was elected to HBI’s Board of Directors, and John Cannistraro Jr. joined the Council of Advisors.

Cheis Garrus is currently the Director of Finance and Administration for the Museum of African American History. He has been dedicated to promoting human justice through social entrepreneurship for many years. Cheis is a founding investor in Green Jobworks, which since 2011 has found work for more than 2,500 individuals in the areas of worksite labor, demolition and abatement and commercial cleaning in the Metro DC area. Mr. Garrus has also founded and operated several companies in the food supply and distribution chain with the aim of creating wealth for individuals and families in economically distressed environments. In 2012, he co-founded Big City Farms an urban farming company in Baltimore, Maryland with the goal of providing better health outcomes to local communities by growing and distributing local produce in underserved communities. In 2013, he started two new enterprises: Nana’s Soul Sides, a manufacturer of ready-to-eat food products for local retail food companies, and Local 360 Food Brokers and Distributors a distribution, marketing and retail company that encourages local manufacturing of food products in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Mr. Garrus is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Cambridge with his wife Kafi, and son Zaire.


John Cannistraro, Jr. is president of Cannistraro LLC, Mr. Cannistraro provides the mechanical construction firm with its overall strategic direction with a concentration in pre-construction. Mr. Cannistraro has a passion for combining creativity with design and technology, and believes firmly in the ideals of mentorship and collaboration. With his guidance, the company became specialists in the use of building information modeling and prefabrication.

John is a Past President of the Massachusetts Building Congress and the Greater Boston Plumbing Contractors Association, and is a volunteer leader for the Artists for Humanity and the Newton-Wellesley Hospital Charitable Foundation. In 2015, John was awarded the Labor Guild’s prestigious Cushing-Gavin Award for continued excellence in labor and management. He serves as the Chairman of the Board for the American Sanitary Plumbing Museum and holds a Master Plumber?s License in Massachusetts. John is a graduate of Tufts University and the Owner/President Management Program at Harvard Business School.

We are excited to see our Board and Council grow with the addition of two thoughtful individuals committed to HBI’s mission, said Kathy MacNeil, HBI’s Board President. They bring technical expertise to our projects, and great enthusiasm for preservation’s role Boston’s future.