Executive Committee

David Fleshler, J.D.,

Chairman, Vice Provost International Affairs, Case Western Reserve University

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David Fleshler arrived at Case Western Reserve University in May 2009, and he now serves as the vice provost for international affairs. In this role, he leads the Office of Global Strategy, which provides university-level vision and leadership for international activities across campus. David works in partnership with faculty, staff, and students to enhance the university’s international focus. He also works to identify and pursue strategic partnerships with local, state, national and international organizations.David received his AB from the University of Michigan and JD from Boston College Law School. He resides in Cleveland with his wife and two daughters.


Keith J. Libman, CPA,

Treasurer; Partner, Bober Markey Fedorovich & Co.

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Keith J. Libman is a partner of Bober Markey Fedorovich, an Ohio‐based regional CPA and advisory firm serving public, private and nonprofit organizations in the areas of tax compliance and planning, accounting and assurance, and business advisory services.Focusing on growth and the continued success of his clients, Keith delivers high level advisory services to the firm’s clients in the areas of financial reporting, strategic planning, business advisory, and holds leadership positions with various professional associations.

Keith is actively engaged within the nonprofit and civic communities. Locally, Keith was an immediate past Vice Chair of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and has chaired the Strategic Planning, Administrative and Retirement Committees. Keith currently serves on the Executive Committee of the United Way, Vice President of the Maltz Museum, immediate past Board Chair of the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation, and is a highly engaged Life Trustee of The Temple Tifereth Israel. His longtime involvement with Menorah Park Center for Senior Living included serving as board chair and a life trustee. Keith has recently joined the Board of Global Cleveland serving as Treasurer.

Nationally, Keith serves as a Trustee of the Jewish Federation of North America, serving as cochair of its Health & Long‐Term Care Committee, a member of its Domestic Policies and Public Affairs Council, and a member of the Audit Committee.

Keith is also a board member of The Private Trust Company, a federally charted national bank, and serves as Chair of the Audit Committee.

Keith has received leadership awards from many organizations, including the American Jewish Committee’s Human Relations Distinguished Leadership Award, Menorah Park Center for Senior Living’s Distinguished Leadership Award, and has been recognized on the Honor Role of Philanthropy by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and was honored by The Cleveland Jewish News as a 2016 Difference Maker.


Oren Baratz,

Secretary & Chair, Policy Committee; Director of International Operations, Jewish Federation of Cleveland

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Senior Vice President of External Affairs at the Jewish Federation, is responsible for overseeing the Department of International Operations, as well as the departments of Government Relations and Community Relations. He also oversees all Security issues for the Jewish Federation and its community agencies. Additionally, he is on the Board of Global Cleveland, a community initiative for welcoming immigrants to Cleveland.Prior to joining the Federation, Oren was Project Director for an organization called Atidim, which focuses on closing the socio-economic gap among youth in Israel. He retired after 28 years of service from the Israeli Ministry of Defense, in which he held a variety of positions commanding special operations units. Oren also served as the Vice Consul of the Israeli Consulate in Toronto for three years.

Oren has an Undergraduate Degree in Middle-Eastern studies from Tel Aviv University. He has an Executive Masters in Business from Kellogg Business School.


Thomas W. Adler,

Chair, Development; Senior Advisor, Playhouse Square Real Estate Services

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Tom started his business career in 1962 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin. He became a Partner at Cragin, Lang, Free & Smythe in 1968 and was Executive Vice President and Chairman of the Executive Committee there when he left in 1979 to be a co-founder of Adler Galvin Rogers, Inc. In 1986 AGR sold to a national real estate company, Grubb & Ellis. Tom served as President of the company’s Investment Services Group and in 1991, tired of extensive business travel, left and co-founded Cleveland Real Estate Partners. Tom was Of-Counsel at the time Deloitte & Touche acquired CREP at the end of 1998. He currently serves in the pro-bono advisory position at PSF Management Company, which he helped form to manage the real estate assets of Playhouse Square Foundation as well as those of other clients.During his real estate career, he was very active in leadership roles nationally, serving on the Boards of the National Association of Realtors, American Society of Real Estate Counselors, National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, and in 1990 as National President of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors. He also served in leadership positions with the Urban Land Institute.

During the mid–1990’s, Tom began to transition more and more of his time into the community and today, other than some real estate investments and a board position with Highwoods Properties, Inc., a large NYSE R.E.I.T., he devotes 100% of his time and energy to community service.

In the general community, his primary focus is the redevelopment of downtown Cleveland. He is immediate Past Chairman of Playhouse Square Foundation ( the largest performing arts center outside of NYC) and previously co-chaired the $27 million capital campaign for Idea Center, a partnership between Playhouse Square Foundation and Ideastream. He served as Chairman of the Downtown Cleveland Partnership (2003-2005) and currently is a member of the Downtown Alliance Board and Executive Committee and chairs its Advisory Committee. Tom is a past trustee of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association and co-chaired their Regional Physical Development Committee. He was very involved with the Euclid Corridor Improvement Project and co-chaired the Stakeholders Committee. He has served on the Visiting Committee of the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University and currently is a member of the Board of Trustees at CSU.

His interest in urban revitalization is also focused in Shaker Heights, where he has lived most of his life. He has been Finance Chair for three school levies and one tax levy campaign and was co-founding Trustee of Friends of Shaker Square. He has served as a real estate advisor, helping the City to implement their strategic redevelopment plan, is a past Trustee of the Shaker Heights Fund for the Future and serves on the Shaker Schools Foundation Advisory Committee.

Other community activities include having participated in the first Leadership Cleveland Class (1977-78) He is currently Chair of Alumni. He is an officer, trustee and member of the Executive Committee of United Way Services where he serves as Co – Chair of the Philanthropist Society( formerly ten Plus) Campaign and as Chair of Planned Giving He is also a Trustee of The Cleveland Red Cross, University Hospital and the Diversity Center of N.E.Ohio( formerly NCCJ ).

Tom’s involvement within the Jewish Community is extensive. At the Jewish Community Federation, he is currently serving as a Trustee, member of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Development Committee. He is past Chair of the Endowment Fund Committee, Human Resource Development and Planned Giving Committees. In 2004 he received the Gries Award given for outstanding service to both the Jewish & General Community and he currently Chairs that committee and in 1979 he received the Kane Award for outstanding young leader. He is also a Life Trustee of the Cleveland Chapter American Jewish Committee (AJC) ,a Trustee of The Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation and a member of the Visiting Committee of the College of Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin.

He is a member of The Union Club, 50 Club, Bluecoats ,Oakwood Club( Pres. 1996-98) and The Pepper Pike Club.

Tom and his wife, Joanie, have been married for 47 years and have 3 wonderful and successful children. The oldest, Peggy, received her MFA degree from the University of Michigan and is now teaching writing and writing a novel in Israel. Sally received her graduate degree from the Art Institute in Chicago and is an Art Therapist. Bill, the youngest, President and CEO True Fit Corp.


Mari Galindo-DaSilva,

Director of Language & Community Access, MetroHealth System

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Mari, a native of Mexico City, came to Cleveland as a young child with her family.  Since then she has been very active in sharing, preserving and promoting the Hispanic/Latino cultures.  She has devoted herself to educating Hispanics and non-Hispanics about the beauty and diversity of the Hispanic Culture through multicultural, marketing and business development seminars, presentations, and workshops.A recognized expert on Hispanic issues, she has appeared on syndicated television and radio programs and is a sought after keynote speaker and panelist; highly regarded as a dedicated media advocate for minority and women’s enterprise development.  Her expertise and commitment, as well as her personal mission, is to keep reaching the diverse communities in ways which enhance and enrich them all.

Her background includes being the CEO of the Hispanic Cultural Center; Public Relations and Marketing Director for family owned Luchita’s Restaurants; Inc.; Vice-President of Family First Partners LLC; Human Resources Liaison at McDonald & Co., Investments. She is a graduate of the Universidad Autónoma de México and is a 1998 Cleveland Leadership Alumni. She most recently heads the Language Access and Communication Services Department at MetroHealth System. Active in the community, Mari serves/served the following organizations: Global Cleveland, LULAC, ICC-WIN, Amigas Unidas @ MetroHealth Systems, Ohio Arts Council; Cleveland Museum of Art, Toledo Museum of Art Cultural Series, McDonald & Co., Investments, Diversity Task Force. Galindo believes that the arts should be increasingly looked at as a form of economic and educational development

Mari has been honored by the public and private sectors for her many efforts and outstanding achievements.  Galindo is appreciated as a cultural diplomat and the City of Cleveland has designated and proclaimed May 9 as the Maria Elena Galindo Day.

Mari resides in Strongsville, and is mother of two daughters and grandmother of three. Her mother Maria de la Luz Galindo, Founder and President of Luchita’s Mexican Restaurants, is her role model and inspiration.


Dr. Valarie J. McCall,

Chair, Governance Committee; Chief of Government & International Affairs, City of Cleveland

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Valarie J. McCall was named Chief of Government & International Affairs by Mayor Frank Jackson.  In this position, Ms. McCall serves as the Administration’s primary liaison to local and state governments, and all federal and international agencies and organizations. Ms. McCall oversees and administers the Jackson Administration’s appointments to internal and external boards and commissions.  Ms. McCall is the Mayor’s primary representative to several national organizations, including, but not limited to: the United States Conference of Mayors; National League of Cities and the National Black Caucus of Local and Elected Officials, to name a few. She is also charged with assisting Mayor Jackson with the implementation of his policy initiatives designed to promote regional growth and cooperation, both nationally and internationally.Ms. McCall shares her energy with her community and currently serves as Vice Chair of the American Public Transit Association’s Executive Committee; the American Public Transit Foundation and is currently Chair of the Transit Board Members Committee.  In addition, Ms. McCall serves on the boards of The Cleveland Leadership Center; The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum; Destination Cleveland (CVB); The Downtown Cleveland Improvement District; The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority; PolicyBridge; Global Cleveland; Greater Cleveland Sport’s Commission; St. Vincent Charity Development Foundation Board and the Cleveland 2016 Inc., Board, which is the Host Committee for 2016 Republican National Convention and serves as the Chair of the City of Cleveland’s RNC 2016 Special Events Committee. In addition, Ms. McCall is on the Board of the Northeast Ohio Area wide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), where she was the first African American female President.  She also served on the board of GG9 (2014 Gay Games Host Organization).

Ms. McCall serves as the Mayor’s representative to the Ohio Municipal League’s Board; Cuyahoga County Mayor’s and Managers Association and the Northeast Ohio Mayors & Managers Association. Ms. McCall serves on the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs Visiting Committee; the Government Affairs Committees of the United Way of Cleveland and the Center for Families & Children and has served as a member of the advisory board of Cleveland State University’s Center for Nonprofit Policy & Practice. Ms. McCall serves on the Executive Committees of both the Cuyahoga County & Ohio Democratic Parties and as an Ohio Representative on the Democratic National Committee.

Her accomplished leadership allowed Ms. McCall to travel internationally to multiple countries and serve as an American Council of Young Political Leaders Fellow to Japan.  Ms. McCall, has traveled to China, where she was a panel member at the United Nations International Development Organization’s Conference on Urban Agglomerations, which took place in Nanning, China and included a tour and meetings with high level officials in both Shanghai and Beijing.  Ms. McCall serves as a member of the Rouen Business Schools International Panel, which is located in Cleveland’s Sister City in Rouen, France.  In 2003, Ms. McCall became an American Marshall Fellow of the German Marshall Fund, which fosters transatlantic partnerships to build international relations. Ms. McCall traveled to the Europe with the German Marshall Fund in the spring of 2003 met with European Union leaders in Prague, Czech, Hamburg and Berlin, Germany, Athens, Greece and other important European cities.  She had the opportunity to tour the Olympic headquarters in Athens before the 2004 Summer Games, which allowed her to examine organizational methods employed to bring about the games, and she was in Berlin at the onset of the Iraqi War, which allowed her to take in initial European views of the war firsthand.  Ms. McCall gained knowledge of Europe’s regional social and economic issues through this experience, which she has been able to incorporate into the ways she assists Clevelanders in achieving their goals.

Prior to being named Chief of Government Affairs to the Jackson Administration, Ms. McCall served as Cleveland City Council’s youngest City Clerk, Clerk of Council in the City’s history. Ms. McCall brought energy and structure to the offices of Cleveland City Council.  Sworn in to the office in May 2002, Ms. McCall streamlined the processing of legislation, installed an effective management team and reorganized the day-to-day operations of the office to maximize efficiency.  As Clerk of Council, Ms. McCall was the chief administrative officer for the Office of Cleveland City Council. Her duties included supervising the recording and retention of all official reports, communications and transcripts delivered to Council and the certification of all legislation.

Prior to becoming the Clerk of Council, Ms. McCall served as the City of Cleveland’s Director of the Empowerment Zone, where she was responsible for a $200 million budget. As Director, she supervised the distribution of funds for job training and placement programs, as well as direct lending programs that assisted businesses in four targeted neighborhoods.

Ms. McCall is member of the “Best Leadership Cleveland Class Ever” of 2007. She was honored as the Woman of Color Foundation’s “STAR” Professional Woman of the Year. She was presented with the International Service Award from the Rotary Club of Cleveland; in addition, her achievements earned her the prestigious Cleveland State University’s 2003 Alumni Emerging Leadership Award. Ms. McCall was also recognized by Ebony Magazine as a 2002-2003 Young Leader of the Future, was featured as one of Crain’s Cleveland Business’ 40 under 40 and elected to Kaleidoscope Magazine’s 40/40 Club in 2002.  Ms. McCall is the Host of an Advocacy show titled, “Government Affairs: A Closer Look” in which she interviews local officials on issues critical to the citizens of Cleveland.  Ms. McCall served as Chairwoman of Mayor Jackson’s 2006 Inaugural Committee, where she oversaw all planning aspects of the Inaugural Activities and Swearing in Ceremony.

A native Clevelander, Ms. McCall grew up in the Glenville neighborhood and graduated from Martin Luther King Law & Public Services Magnet High School. A former licensed social worker, she has a bachelor’s degree in social work from Cleveland State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs. In addition, Ms. McCall’s was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Public Service Degree honoris causa (with all Rights, Privileges and Honors pertaining thereto) by Cleveland State University.

Ms. McCall is a member of The Word Church, with Pastor R.A. Vernon and resides in the beautiful City of Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


The Honorable Dan A. Polster,

Chair, Finance Committee; U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio

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Dan Polster was appointed a federal judge by President Clinton on August 3, 1998. Judge Polster assumed the vacancy created by the assumption of senior status by United States District Judge David D. Dowd, Jr. Judge Polster is stationed in Cleveland, OH. Prior to his appointment, he served as a federal prosecutor in Cleveland for 22 years, first as a trial attorney with the Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, and then for 16 years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, handling a wide variety of fraud and corruption cases. Judge Polster is a graduate of Harvard College (A.B. cum laude, 1972) and Harvard Law School (J.D. cum laude, 1976). He and his wife, attorney Deborah Coleman, have three children.

Albert B. Ratner,

Founding Director; Co-Chairman Emeritus, Forest City Realty Trust, Inc.

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He has been in the commercial and residential real estate industry with Forest City since 1951. He served as the company’s chief executive officer from 1975 to 1995, when he, along with Samuel H. Miller, became co-chairman of the board.Ratner is well-known as a long time community booster for Cleveland and a leader in its Jewish community. He is a life trustee of the Cleveland Jewish Community Federation and a member of the International Council of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

In the company’s hometown of Cleveland, Ratner was the driving force behind Forest City’s dramatic redevelopment of the Terminal Tower and the former Union Terminal into Tower City Center, a mixed-use complex with a multi-floor mall, office space and hotel.

He is currently an honorary trustee of Shoes & Clothes for Kids and is on the advisory committee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Foundation. In the past, Ratner has served as a board member for civic groups, including the Cleveland Initiative for Education, the Greater Cleveland Partnership and the United Way. He has also served on corporate boards for American Greetings and RPM International.

Nationally, he is on the board of governors of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and is an honorary trustee of the Enterprise Foundation.

Ratner is a graduate of Michigan State University, with a degree in forestry. He also holds an honorary doctor of laws degree from Long Island University and an honorary doctor of engineering degree from Polytechnic University, both in Brooklyn, N.Y., Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, from both Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University.

He currently sits on the Governor’s Executive Workforce Board, Board of Directors for QED, Board of Directors for Global Cleveland, and Advisory Board of the Ginn Academy.

Among the many awards that he has received are the Agora Award from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the 2005 Urban Land Institute J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development.


Radhika Reddy,

Partner, Ariel Ventures, LLC & Ariel International Center

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Radhika Reddy is the founder of Ariel Ventures, Ariel International Center, Ariel Economic Development Fund, Ariel Distribution Center, Ariel Pearl Center—all 100-percent women-owned and minority firms. Reddy provides public-private project finance, combining comprehensive economic development financing incentives, supporting business attraction and expansion, and stimulating economic development in Ohio and nationally. Reddy serves on several boards, including the Ohio Governor’s Asian American Advisory Board, New Markets Tax Credit Coalition, Global Cleveland, India Ohio Chamber of Commerce, The International Entrepreneurs, the Northeast Ohio International Business Network, International Community Council, and Asian Services in Action. Reddy served on the Board of Regents Task Force for Commercialization of Technology, and the Global Markets Advisory Team for the State of Ohio. Reddy was awarded the 2007 Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Cleveland Leadership award and the 2002 International Business Woman of the Year award for Northeast Ohio, among other awards and recognitions, including by Crains as a 2014 Woman of Note and by Inside Business as an Athena Award finalist. Reddy has an MBA in Finance & MIS from Case Western Reserve University and a Masters in Accounting/Taxation from Cleveland State University. In 1997, Reddy co-founded Ray of Light International to provide food, clothing, shelter, medicine, and education to destitute women, children, and the aged, with a focus on third-world countries.

Thomas Tomasula, Jr.,

Chair, Connection Program; Vice President of Human Resources, Bettcher Industries

Board of Directors

Prior to founding Citymark, Mr. Walsh was President, Northeast Ohio for Huntington National Bank, a $60 billion bank headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, joining the company in May 2010. Mr. Walsh was responsible for management and oversight of all Huntington business activities executed by 1000 employees in the Northeast Ohio metropolitan market. During his tenure, the Cleveland region became one of the fastest growing regions in the company, and was selected multiple times as a “Top Workplace.” Prior to Huntington, Mr. Walsh led KeyBank’s Real Estate Capital Markets businesses nationally, including Fund Management, CMBS, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA and Life Company whole loan placement business conducted by more than 100 professionals in 16 offices in major metropolitan areas across the United States. Mr. Walsh was promoted to lead Real Estate Capital Markets for KeyBank in 2008. In this position, he restructured KeyBank’s real estate capital markets businesses (and oversaw portfolio hedging and valuation of $22 billion real estate portfolio.) In 1998, Mr. Walsh co-founded and built KeyBank’s real estate Private Equity Group, a group that invested in real estate projects throughout the United States on behalf of third party institutional equity and mezzanine debt investors throughout the world. The Private Equity Group, which became the Fund Management Group, has invested more than $500 million since inception.In addition to his professional responsibilities, Mr. Walsh also serves on the following boards: Greater Cleveland Partnership, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Orchestra, Destination Cleveland (Chairman), Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, United Way, Playhouse Square, and Group Plan Commission (Mayoral Appointee).

Mr. Walsh received his BA in Management and an MBA from the Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. Walsh also holds a JD from the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law, with a certification in environmental and energy law practice.

Carolyn J. Buller,

Governance Committee Chair, Partner, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP

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Carolyn Buller leads Squire Patton Boggs Chemicals practice and has more than 25 years’ experience in mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, corporate counseling and corporate governance. She is listed in The Legal 500 US, has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 2008 and is recognized as a top rated lawyer in The American Lawyer’s “Women Leaders in the Law.”Carolyn regularly leads large, international mergers and acquisitions. She has served as acting general counsel and corporate secretary for a number of companies including leading chemical manufacturers.

Carolyn leads our Chemicals Roundtables for General Counsels in the chemicals industry in both the US and Europe.

Carolyn has presented on issues in the chemicals industry at various events including the 2012 Squire Sanders and Mergermarket Global M&A Series: Industrial and Chemicals Roundtable. She has also contributed articles to respected publications, including Specialty Chemicals Magazine and CheManager Europe, and has been quoted in notable industry publications including ICIS News and Chemical Week.


Edward J. Bell,

President, Gries Financial, LLC

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Ed has overseen Gries Financial’s wealth management practice since 1994. His responsibilities include serving the financial needs of high net worth individuals and families out of the firm’s Cleveland and Cincinnati offices. Prior to joining Gries Financial, Ed served in client management roles with Coopers & Lybrand (now PriceWaterhouseCoopers) and International Management Group (IMG). Ed is an attorney who received his Juris Doctor from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law and his Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy from Miami University. Ed has the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation and is a CPA (inactive). He is active in the community and previously served as the Chair of Providence House, a crisis nursery located on Cleveland’s near west side.

Douglas Bugie,

President, Antal International Network

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Robert Briggs was appointed president by unanimous vote of NOCHE’s Board of Trustees in April 2014. Under Briggs’ leadership, NOCHE will broaden its focus to include students in preschool through the entire education pipeline. The aim of the expanded mission is to improve student academic success leading to college graduates entering rewarding careers in Ohio.Briggs looks to connect many of his relationships with NOCHE, including OneCommunity, which is expanding ultra-fast broadband and high-speed internet services in Northeast Ohio. OneCommunity has invested $200 million in laying broadband fiber in Ohio, creating one of the most expansive networks of its kind. NOCHE and OneCommunity could improve technological capacities of educational institutions, providing access to curricular content in whole new ways.

Briggs is a nationally recognized expert in foundation leadership, collaboration and team building. As former chair of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Briggs led the foundation through key transitions, including a board restructuring, investment changes and overall directional shifts.

He also led the Akron-based GAR Foundation for 15 years. He is a partner, chairman emeritus and former CEO of Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLP.

His leadership style is decisively collaborative, and throughout his career, he has been credited with helping to build strong and high functioning teams.

An active member of the Northeast Ohio community, Briggs is involved with several regional, state and national organizations. He is a director of FirstMerit Corporation.

He is chair of Invent Now, Inc., parent of The National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation. He is founding chair and member of the Fund for Our Economic Future, an unprecedented collaboration of more than 60 foundations and businesses in Northeast Ohio. He also serves on the board of Independent Sector and is active with numerous other civic and philanthropic organizations.

Recognition and honors for his service to his profession and community include the following:

  • Project Love/Purple America’s Gordon E. Heffern Award for Values, Ethics and Community; induction into the Inside Business Magazine Business Hall of Fame;
  • Philanthropist of the Year from the Ohio Grantmakers Forum;
  • Distinguished Service Award from the Akron Community Foundation;
  • Hope Award from the Northeastern Ohio Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society;
  • Honorary Alumni Award from the University of Akron;
  • Community Service Award from both the Great Trail Council of the Boy Scouts and the Northwest Summit County Rotary;
  • the first Team NEO H. Peter Burg Regional Vision Award;
  • Northeast Ohio Regional Leadership Task Force 2006 Regional Vision Award;
  • Sir Thomas More Award from the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Foundation and the Akron Bar Association;
  • Harold K. Stubbs Humanitarian Award;
  • and honorary doctorates from The University of Akron and Baldwin Wallace University.

Briggs received his bachelor’s degree from Duke University and his law degree from The Ohio State University. He and his wife, Alyssa Lenhoff, live in Ohio City and also have a home in Canfield, near Youngstown. He has three children and five grandchildren.


Dr. Hiroyuki Fujita,

Ph.D., Founder, President, and CEO Quality Electrodynamics, LLC

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Dr. Fujita’s 20­year career history illustrates his exceptional technical and professional expertise in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology development and productization. His cutting­edge research experience includes MRI radiofrequency (RF) coil research and coil product development for major global original equipment manufacturers (OEM) which, when combined, capture the majority of global market share in MRI systems. Dr. Fujita is the author of 16 patents and has published more than 40 technical papers and abstracts over the past 10 years. He is a Fellow and respected leader in the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM). Dr. Fujita serves as Adjunct Full Professor of Physics, Department of Physics, and Radiology, Department of Radiology, School of Medicine, at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, and Adjunct Full Professor, School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering at The University of Queensland, Australia. He serves on the Board of Directors/Trustees for numerous organizations, including The Cleveland Orchestra, The Cleveland Foundation, Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest Hospital, Global Cleveland, Hawken School, and the President’s Visiting Committee and International Visiting Committee at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Fujita currently serves on the U.S. Manufacturing Council for the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and is the Co­Chair of the Energy Policy Subcommittee. After attending Waseda University in Tokyo, Dr. Fujita came to the United States of America, received a BA in mathematics and physics from Monmouth College, and a PhD in Physics from Case Western Reserve University. Forbes named QED and Dr. Fujita the 11 th in the Top 20 list of 2009 Forbes’ America’s Most Promising Companies. Dr. Fujita was the winner for the 2010 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Northeast Ohio in the category of Industrial Manufacturing. In recognition of growing a successful, high­tech manufacturing company in the United States of America, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama invited Dr. Fujita to be an honored guest and sit in the First Lady’s Box at the 2012 State of the Union Address. Dr. Fujita received the 2013 Presidential Award for Export (“E­Award”) from the U.S. Department of Commerce. He was named one of the most influential 100 people for Japan in NIKKEI Business, January, 2014. In 2015, Dr. Fujita received the Consul General’s Commendation from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his contribution to enhance the relationship between Japan and the United States of America.

William H. Gary, Sr.,

Executive Vice President, Workforce & Economic Development, Cuyahoga Community College

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William H. Gary, Sr. has over 30 years experience in private and public sector management. His private sector experience includes operations management, human resources management, business development, government relations and legislative affairs in industry sectors such as steel manufacturing, health care, information systems, telecommunications, aviation and manufacturing.On July 1, 2014, William joined Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) as Executive Vice President, Workforce and Economic Development, reporting to Dr. Alex Johnson, Tri-C’s President. His responsibilities include managing and coordinating all college policy and programming pertaining to Workforce Training, Education, Community and Economic Development, community based partnerships and activities, and assisting Tri-C’s President with community and business outreach initiatives.

Since joining Tri-C, William has completely restructured Tri-C‘s Workforce Division and changed the paradigm of program development and delivery to ensure alignment with the business needs of employers and individuals seeking jobs at sustainable livable wages.

Tri-C’s current areas of focus include the establishment of six Centers of Excellence, designed to offer high-quality, industry-relevant courses and training that use state-of-the-art facilities to provide the comprehensive, hands-on training students need to gain a competitive edge in today’s market. The College’s six Centers of Excellence are the Division of Nursing Education, the Public Safety Training Institute, the Center of Creative Arts, the Hospitality Management Center, the Center for Information Technology, and the Manufacturing Technology Center.

Prior to joining Tri-C, he served, for 14 years, as Vice President, Workforce Development for Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), the nation’s second largest community college, and Virginia’s largest institution of higher learning. Reporting to the President, he was responsible for overseeing and coordinating NOVA’s Workforce and Economic Development organization with annual revenues in excess of $12 million, including providing support to regional workforce investment board and economic development initiatives, and strategic, college-wide leadership for the development and delivery of workforce training and development programs to government, business and industry clients. He was a Founding Member of the Northern Virginia Workforce Investment Board, and served as Chairman of the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce, the largest Chamber of Commerce in Northern Virginia.

Before joining NOVA, William served as Vice President/Chief Operating Officer for NavCom Systems, Inc., an aviation, telecommunications and manufacturing company; Computer Sciences Corporation as Director of Human Resources and Director of Government Relations/Legislative Affairs; and held senior management positions with Johnson and Johnson, as Director of Personnel, and Lukens Steel Company as Technical Recruiter and Labor Relations Representative.

His board memberships include the Ohio Means Jobs Workforce Development Board, Fund for Our Economic Future, Global Cleveland, Tri-C Board of Visitors, and numerous Community-Based Organization initiatives to assure the economic and social vitality of Northeast Ohio. In December, 2014, William was selected by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as one of its 2015 People to Watch in North East Ohio, and most recently selected as a North East Ohio “Game Changer” by Who’s Who in Black Cleveland, 2016 (Eleventh Edition).

Mr. Gary earned his B.A. Degree from Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia, and his M.A. Degree in Industrial Relations from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.


Fred Geis,

Investor and Developer

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Sam McNulty is one of 7 children of a refugee mother and first generation father. Sam McNulty has opened 5 restaurants on West 25th Street in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland’s Near West Side. Two of these concepts are brewpubs of vastly different scale: one a nano brewery where experimental beers are concocted, while the other is a full brewpub with close to five hundred seats. The next step in Sam’s yeasty adventures just opened in early 2016. He rebuilt a 43,000 square foot warehouse that dates back to the 1800’s and has launched a full-scale production brewery sending Market Garden Brewery beers out across Northeast Ohio.Sam began his career in food, beer and community at CSU in his junior year after studying abroad in Krakow, Poland and after attending a class in proposal writing. He put his new skills to work responding to a Request for Proposal to fill restaurant space on campus. The proposal was accepted and at 21 years of age, Sam opened Cafe 101 in the old University Center. Sam operated the restaurant-bar on campus for 8 years while employing many dozens of students. And he graduated in 1997 with a degree in Urban Planning, Design and Development.

When the university planned to tear down the University Center building, Sam purchased a building in the Ohio City neighborhood long before it was foodie central. Sam learned about the neighborhood as an undergraduate intern at the Ohio City Near West Development Corp. The internship was a requirement of his Urban Studies major at the Levin College of Urban Affairs. He fell in love with the historic neighborhood and opened McNulty’s Bier Markt in 2005 in the former Fries and Schuele Department Store building across from the West Side Market. This began a two-year flurry of openings: in 2007 Bar Cento opened, followed by Speakeasy in 2009 and the Market Garden Brewery in 2011. The pace quickened with the 2012 opening of Nano Brew Cleveland.

Many people worried that opening all these restaurant, bars, and breweries on the same street would result in his newer creations cannibalizing his earlier places. Instead, they flourished. Each opening was different. And each brought more visitors Cleveland’s burgeoning beer district; demonstrating the truth in the urban planning ideal of having the highest amount of choice in the smallest amount of area. Yes, Sam and the Great Lakes Brewery’s Conway Brothers invented a beer and food district.

Sam’s immigrant parents raised their seven children with a strong work ethic and encouraged curiosity and experimentation. Starting with organic farming in their back yard and classes ranging from pottery to origami and belly dancing. That curiosity inspired a wide-ranging and very rewarding assortment of studies at Cleveland State University over the course of 8 years.

Sam has been living car free in Ohio City for the past decade. And one of his guiding investment principles is to nest his businesses with a 15-minute bike ride from the Market Garden Brewery.

Sam is in the final planning stages of a 7-unit town home development a short 3-minute walk from the West Side Market in the up-and-coming Duck Island neighborhood.

Sam is CSU’s beerentrepreneur fermenting the rise of a post-industrial frontier with opportunity galore. Sam is building on the Pride of Cleveland.


Neil Mohney,

Executive Coordinator, Forest City Realty Trust, Inc.


Ronald B. Richard,

President & CEO, The Cleveland Foundation

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Ronn Richard has led the Cleveland Foundation since 2003. Within the last 30 years, he has held senior management positions in government, private enterprise and the nonprofit sector.Early in his career, Mr. Richard was a diplomat, serving at the American consulate general in Osaka/Kobe, Japan, and at the U.S. State Department. He believes this background positioned him well for his work at the foundation, where diplomacy is key to collaboration. Mr. Richard’s 13 years at Matsushita Electric (Panasonic) included stints heading the company’s North American research and development operations and one of its largest sales companies, which taught him that achievement and learning come only with risk and, sometimes, failure.

Just before joining the foundation, Mr. Richard was managing director and chief operating officer of In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital fund.

Mr. Richard serves on the board of directors of Global Cleveland, NewBridge Cleveland Center for Arts & Technology, Hispanics in Philanthropy and the Cleveland School of Science and Medicine. He is board chair of Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation and Evergreen Cooperative Corporation, and lead director of the board of directors of Emergent Biosolutions, a public biopharmaceutical company.

He holds a master’s degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University and honorary doctorates from Baldwin Wallace University and Notre Dame College. In 2012, he was a scholar in residence at the University of Arkansas’ Clinton School of Public Service Center on Community Philanthropy.


Robert Rosing,

President & CEO, Dwellworks, LLC

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With more than 30 years of executive experience in global relocation management and mortgage services, Bob Rosing is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Dwellworks, LLC, a provider of support solutions to the global employee mobility industry. Mr. Rosing has the responsibility of providing leadership and strategic direction to the Cleveland-headquartered organization, focusing on meeting diverse needs of a Fortune 1,000 customer base in the Americas and Europe, through offices and operations in seven countries. Prior to Dwellworks, Mr. Rosing spent more than a decade in executive roles with Cleveland-based subsidiary companies of SIRVA Inc., beginning in 1995 as President of Cooperative Mortgage Services, Inc., and later as President of SIRVA Relocation from 2002-2006. As President, Mr. Rosing was responsible for overseeing all business operations, and was accountable for the integration of operations and services globally.Mr. Rosing earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Xavier University (Cincinnati) and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Cleveland State University. He is passionate about championing innovative solutions in the service sector, and is an active participant in various panels and mobility industry groups, including serving as a member of the Board of Directors for Worldwide ERC®, the mobility industry’s global trade organization. A native and lifelong Clevelander, Bob’s commitment to building a stronger community is demonstrated through his involvement in several civic, cultural, and philanthropic organizations. His particular interest is education and civic support, as evidenced by his role on the Cleveland State University Foundation board, and as a member of the Board of Advisors for Cleveland Central Catholic High School, which serves a population primarily of inner-city students with a challenging and inclusive educational program, and is known for having exemplary graduation rates and post-secondary achievement.

Dwellworks has built a strong local reputation as an employer of choice, earning multi-year honors among the Plain Dealer’s “Top Workplaces” and recognition for its innovative and extensive internship program, which develops a dozen local college students annually through meaningful, fun, high-contribution internships across the company’s multiple service lines. The corporate headquarters in a historic Playhouse Square building reinforces the company’s commitment to fostering the growth and revitalization of the city of Cleveland, and to providing opportunities to a growing number of knowledge workers attracted to the stimulating and entrepreneurial atmosphere an of a rejuvenated downtown marketplace.


Baiju R. Shah,

CEO, BioMotiv, LLC

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Baiju R. Shah is Chief Executive Officer of BioMotiv and co-leader of The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development.  He has extensive experience in supporting the launch of early-stage biomedical companies. Prior to BioMotiv, Mr. Shah was President and CEO of BioEnterprise, a partnership of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, Summa Health System, and University Hospitals. BioEnterprise is a business formation, recruitment and acceleration initiative that directly assists client companies in securing resources and funding to support their growth, and also serves as a catalyst for major industry initiatives such as new capital sources, translational centers, and real estate projects. During Mr. Shah’s decade long tenure, the initiative assisted in the creation, recruitment, and acceleration of more than 110 bioscience companies in Cleveland that collectively attracted $1.3 Billion in new funding, primarily from venture capital and private equity sources. The initiative’s success has been recognized with several national awards and has helped establish the region as a recognized center of bioscience innovation.Shah serves on the Board of Invacare (NYSE: IVC) and on an Advisory Board of Citizens Bank (NYSE: CFG). Prior to founding BioEnterprise, Shah was a consultant with McKinsey & Company, where he played a leading role in its Growth and Business Building practice.  In the community, Shah serves on the Boards of Global Cleveland and Destination Cleveland. He was also the founder and Chair of TiE Ohio and Summer on the Cuyahoga.

Shah has been named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and has been recognized as one of Cleveland’s most influential leaders. He received a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from Yale University.


Norman Steiner,

Vice President of Business Development, Medical Mutual of Ohio


Daniel P. Walsh, Jr.,

CEO, Citymark Capital, LLC

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Margaret W. Wong,

President & Managing Partner, Margaret Wong & Associates, Co., LPA

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In more than 35 years of practice, Margaret Wong has built Margaret W. Wong & Associates LLC into a firm nationally and internationally renowned for its knowledge in immigration and nationality law. She is the current co-chair of the Immigration Law Committee for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and chair of the Cleveland Bar Association’s Immigration Law Section.Ms. Wong, the author of The Immigrant’s Way, has received the highest rating, AV, from Martindale-Hubbell, based on both legal ability and general-ethics standards. Her peers have named her a “Leading Lawyer,” and a “Super Lawyer,” distinctions reserved for the top 5% of lawyers. She has also been listed as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” and was named the Honor Professor of People University of China which is the # 1 law school in China.

Because of her personal experience as an immigrant, Margaret Wong combines qualities Americans admire: an immigrant’s work ethic, an entrepreneur’s drive, a keen sense of resourcefulness, and the utmost compassion for those in need. In 1950, Margaret Wong was born in the former British Colony of Hong Kong. Months earlier, her Chinese parents fled the political repression and civil war caused by the Communist takeover of China.

Based on her own experience of obtaining a Green Card and U.S. citizenship under U.S. immigration law, Margaret Wong recognized that companies and individuals need sound guidance in this highly regulated, seemingly arcane, and sometimes frustrating regulatory area. She founded Margaret W. Wong & Associates with one desk and no secretary. Her practice now includes nine attorneys and 35 other staff members.

Over the last two decades Margaret Wong has helped employers obtain work permits for their executives and has assisted thousands of people in coming to the United States to become permanent residents, advance their educations, work, and pursue opportunities. Her clients come from every country around the world, from every walk of life, and range from governmental and corporate to ordinary people. The law firm’s talented team handles every kind of immigration problem; its staff is multilingual, with proficiency in languages including Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Spanish, Russian and Albanian. Executives and large law firms seek her help when they have tough immigration problems. She is known for speed, quality, honesty and persistence.

She has won numerous awards, including two for philanthropy – the Margaret Ireland Award from the Cleveland Women’s City Club and the 1997 Creative Philanthropy Award from the Women’s Community Foundation. Crain’s Cleveland Business has named her to their “Women of Influence” list and Cleveland Magazine has included her with its “Most Interesting People.” Margaret Wong also received the highly coveted Ellis Island Medal of Honor in May 1998 for her outstanding achievements and contributions to the multicultural fabric of the United States. She was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in 2000. Other honors and awards include an Outstanding Alumni Award from State University of New York at Buffalo, the Trailblazer Award from NAPABA, Kent State University’s Social Responsibility Award, and the Leadership Award from the United Black Fund. Her work has also earned her recognition in books such as Profiles of Ohio Women 1803-2003 and People: Cleveland’s Most Valuable Resource, Millennium Edition. Margaret is also an Urban League Board Member and VP.

Margaret Wong is a civic leader who educates and inspires others. While she was serving as the first Asian-American president of the Cleveland Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, the Cleveland chapter won the coveted Chapter Activity Award. The Ohio Supreme Court appointed her a charter member of the Continuing Legal Education Commission for attorneys, where she is currently serving as a member of its Racial Task Force. She has presented numerous seminars on immigration and naturalization law for bar associations and the public.

Committed to giving something back to the community and to mentoring young professionals, Ms. Wong has volunteered her time and expertise on boards of diverse organizations, including Notre Dame College, Cuyahoga Community College Foundation, Northeast Ohio Commission on Higher Education, Cleveland Bar Foundation, Ohio State Bar Foundation, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Asian Bar Association, Town Hall, University Hospitals Health System, St. Vincent Hospital Health Care System, United Way Services, and the Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University Law School Advisory Boards. Ms. Wong is also a life member of both the Eighth Judicial District Court and the Federal Sixth Circuit Court.

Margaret W. Wong & Associates has offices in Cleveland, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Columbus, Ohio; New York, New York; Atlanta, Georgia; Los Angeles, California; and Nashville, Tennessee. Ms. Wong is admitted for practice in Ohio, New York, Illinois, Georgia, District of Columbia and Michigan.


Sheila Wright,

Director of Community Affairs, The Good Communities Foundation

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Sheila M. Wright is the Vice President of Community Engagement for The Good Community Foundation. She also serves as a Policy Advisor to Albert B. Ratner, Co-Chairman Emeritus of Forest City Realty Trust Inc. Ms. Wright leads projects designed to advance and strengthen systems. She offers strategies to a wide array of decision makers including elected officials, foundation leaders and corporate executives on a variety of critical topics such as cultivating viable workforce systems, aligning socially responsible investments, reorganizing existing assets and fortifying emerging ecosystems to refine processes. Ms. Wright leverages her convening ability to ensure that the right people are discussing the right topics at the right time. Her work involves thoughtful research and synthesizing disjointed discussions to push relevant conversations forward. Ms. Wright occasionally serves as a loaned executive to local governments and nonprofit organizations where she provides professional guidance and assistance in effective collaboration, change management, program implementation,  strategic planning, organizational management, fundraising, board development and crisis management. In addition to her professional endeavors, Ms. Wright serves on various boards throughout Northeast Ohio including the Center for Population Dynamics, Global Cleveland and Karamu House Theater. Ms. Wright also serves as committee member with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank Advocacy Committee and the statewide Healthier Buckeye Advisory Council.   Ms. Wright received her Bachelor and Juris Doctorate degrees from Cleveland State University and Cleveland Marshall College of Law, respectively. She also received her Masters in Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management.

Advisory Board

Armond D. Budish,

County Executive, Cuyahoga County

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Armond D. Budish is an American politician currently serving as Cuyahoga County Executive. A member of the Democratic Party, he represented Ohio’s 8th District in the state House of Representatives, and served as Speaker of the House from 2009 to 2011. He was the first Jewish representative to hold that office. He was re-elected to the House in 2010 and 2012, and thereafter was term-limited.Before his entry into politics in 2006, he was an attorney specializing in consumer and elder law with Budish, Solomon, Steiner & Peck and has written on the subject. He resides in Beachwood, Ohio


Frank G. Jackson,

Mayor, City of Cleveland

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Cleveland’s 56th Mayor, Frank G. Jackson, took office January 2, 2006. He has since been re-elected twice – in 2009 and 2013. As Mayor, Jackson is focused on ensuring that the city offers an excellent quality of life for every resident, business and visitor and is addressing every aspect of City operations and policy to guarantee that he reaches that goal, including:

  • City Finances and Operations
  • Managing a citywide operating budget of $1.2 billion, using five year budget projections and strict fiscal controls to reduce costs while maintaining service levels
  • Developing a performance management program, a management training academy and a mentoring program for City employees to improve performance and accountability
  • Quality of Life
  • Creating Cleveland’s Plan for Transforming Schools, a plan that will lead to systemic change in Cleveland’s schools and dramatic improvement in educational outcomes
  • Bringing together Ohio colleges, universities, Cleveland Metropolitan School District and stakeholders to form the Higher Education Compact to help students succeed in college
  • Improving the health of Clevelanders through the Healthy Cleveland Initiative, in partnership with Cleveland City Council and the four major local hospital systems
  • Public Safety
  • Building partnerships with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and community organizations to address the causes and impacts of gun and youth violence
  • Using crime data analysis to target crime hot spots and drive down violent crime rates in nearly all major categories since 2006
  • Integrating the Divisions of Fire and Emergency Medical Service to enhance emergency response, increase accountability and maximize existing resources
  • Development
  • Investing more than $265 million in Cleveland’s neighborhoods since 2007, on streetscapes, recreation facilities, and other capital improvements and working with the public sector to encourage more than $7 billion in private development in Cleveland
  • Collaborating with business leaders and labor unions to implement Community Benefits Agreements for private development projects, creating opportunities for Cleveland residents and businesses to benefit directly from investment occurring in the City
  • Transforming the economy through Sustainable Cleveland 2019, a 10-year initiative to build a sustainable regional economy, encourage sustainable business practices and reduce environmental impact
  • Advancing Cleveland’s Downtown Lakefront Development Plan to encourage 3.5 million square feet in new development that encourages recreation, entertainment commercial maritime activity and economic development.

Mayor Jackson is a Cleveland Public Schools graduate and Army veteran. He earned an associate’s degree from Cuyahoga Community College and his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and law degree from Cleveland State University. He began his public service career as an Assistant City Prosecutor in the Cleveland Municipal Court Clerk’s Office. From 1990 through 2005, Jackson represented Cleveland’s 5th Ward on Cleveland City Council. From 2002-2005, Jackson also served as President of Cleveland City Council


Richey Piiparinen,

Director, The Center for Population Dynamics, Cleveland State University

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Mr. Thomas Vitale, Tom is Co-Founder of Veebow.com, LLC and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Vitale’s expertise includes over 17 years of successful financial investment advisory experience. Mr. Vitale marketed private equity offerings to limited number of accredited investors, typical offering size ranging between $0.35 million to $4.5 million. He also helped raise money for a $100 million private placement for secondary mortgage note offering. Mr. Vitale has an exceptional knowledge of mutual funds and variable and fixed-rate annuities and is well-versed in retirement and estate planning and securities trading procedures including stock options. Previously he worked at Banc One/Chase, where Mr. Vitale managed 110 licensed bankers and 27 financial consultants achieving annual budgets of 140 percent for three consecutive years. He was also responsible for implementing and maintaining the hub and spoke investment program for local and national markets while adhering to strict compliance issues. Mr. Vitale serves as the Director at Pacific Investment Partners, Inc. Mr. Vitale earned a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Cincinnati.

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