Board of Directors Biographies
Jeffrey T. Schulz, Dynamic Harvest Management: Board President
Jeff graduated from Hiram College with a degree in Business in 1985.
His 25 years in the automobile industry, beginning in sales and moving into the areas of finance and management, have given him practical and detailed knowledge of the workings of this industry from the ground up. Jeff’s philosophy for success stresses integrity and dependability, as well as a commitment to providing unparalleled customer service focusing on each individual’s unique needs. In 2006 he started Dynamic Harvest Management, an automobile wholesale company. Beginning in 2010, the firm expanded it’s services to include management consultation. Jeff serves as the president of the board for the non-profit organization, Cleveland Opera Theater and has also served as a volunteer for The City Mission of Cleveland.
Jeffrey Mendrala CPA, CVA JS Mendrala Company: Business Advisors, Treasurer
Jeff has over 30 years experience in all aspects of finance, accounting, taxation, decision support systems, business valuations, and treasury management. He has helped both shareholders and management teams make value-creating decisions by measuring what matters. Before starting JS Mendrala Company, Jeff held senior financial management positions in manufacturing, distribution, retail, and construction industries. He was also a partner with a local CPA firm. Jeff is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Valuation Analyst, and has earned the Small Business Tax Consultant designation from the AICPA. Jeff graduated from the University of Akron in 1978 with a BS in Accounting. In 1985 he received his MBA from Cleveland State University. Jeff is a member of the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants, The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (Tax and Small Business Sections), The National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts. Jeff sits on the following non-profit boards: Geauga Children’s Alliance, Western Reserve Community Development, Geauga Housing Alliance, Cleveland Opera Theater, and is a community resource development volunteer for the Geauga United Way.
Thomas Hill J.D., Secretary
Tom graduated from Hiram College with a BA magna cum laude in 1980 before attending George Washington University to study law. He completed his studies in 1984 and pursued a career in the oil and gas industry as counsel for Captitol Oil and Gas Inc., general counsel and secretary of North Coast Energy, Inc., and since 2001, general council for the Eric Petroleum Corporation. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Ohio Bar Association, Mahoning County Bar Association, Pennsylvania Bar Association, Oklahoma Bar Association, D.C. Bar Association, State Bar Texas, Trumbull County Bar Association, Ohio Oil and Gas Association, Christian Legal Society, Energy Bar Association, Ohio Genealogical Society, Mahoning Valley Hist. Society, Austintown Hist. Society, General Society, War of 1812, Sons of the American Revolution, Order of Arrow, Kappa Delta Pi, Pi Gamma Mu. He is also a Charter Member and legal advisor for the Columbiana County Archives & Research Center, Lisbon, Ohio, which was founded in 2005 as a § 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation to serve as a repository for county court records scheduled for official disposition. he sits on the board of trustees of the Canfield Historical Society and Opera Per Tutti/Opera for All, for which he serves as secretary.
Marci Alegant, Director of Music for I CAN SCHOOLS, Board Member
Marci Alegant leads the exceptional team of I CAN SCHOOLS music teachers and art teachers, who deliver instruction to over 2,000 students in seven schools in Cleveland, Akron and Canton, Ohio. Before assuming her role at I CAN, Marci worked at Oberlin College for 14 years, where she was Director of Conservatory Development, Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs, Executive Director of the Music in America program, and interim Director of Conservatory Professional Development, as well as Assistant Director of the career center. Prior to her career at Oberlin, Marci was the music teacher at Lake Ridge Academy in North Ridgeville, where she taught vocal and choral music and directed concerts and all-school musicals. Alegant was an active choral conductor, singer, and teacher, predominantly in Rochester, New York, and Montreal, Quebec, Canada at McGill University, where she earned a Master of Music in choral conducting. She also holds a Master of Arts degree in music education from the Eastman School of Music, and a Bachelor of Science in music education and voice from Temple University in her hometown of Philadelphia, PA. Marci continued her commitment to public school education in Oberlin, serving as an elected member of the Oberlin city school board from 2004-2012 and was proud to be a part of the renaissance of the Oberlin schools, the first pre-K to high school International Baccalaureate public school district in Ohio. As the first in her family to complete a college education, Alegant credits this accomplishment in large part to the stellar public school music education she received. Marci spends every summer teaching at the Jazz Academy at the Solebury School in New Hope, PA, honoring her lifelong commitment to bring arts education to the kids who need it most.
Dr. Vincent Branca, Board Member
Dr. Vincent Branca is a retired Teacher/Lawyer. Dr. Branca spent the bulk of his career as a criminal defense attorney, and a political consultant. Since his retirement he has lectured on international politics in Rome, offers his time to consult with various innocence projects, is involved with compassionate refugee immigration and is a contributor to The Edith Stein Project.
Richard Fleischman, Advisory Director
Cleveland architect, Richard Fleischman launched this firm in 1961. Before that he had studied architecture in this country and Europe. In fifty years of work his firm Richard Fleischman + Partners Architects has planned and executed more than four hundred works, including seventy educational environments for people of all ages. The firm, which has remained in the Cleveland area, while also opening offices in New York City and Cincinnati, Ohio, is known for a variety of creative designs. From modernist buildings with walls of glass, to timeless buildings with intricate facades. Building designs have been applauded for being "dignified," "restrained" or "sensitive to context" and others have earned the tag "innovative", "daring" or "cutting edge." Richard's pure love for the profession and dedication to design excellence has lead to the sustained success of the firm, evident in the over 250 design awards received. His natural intuition for timeless design solutions has resulted in winning 9 different 25-year awards, for projects whose design and quality are still relevant many decades later. RF+PAis a leader of a new generation of design firms, setting the course for multi-disciplined, responsible architecture that is generated through a team of experts rather than focused on an individual. This approach stems from the firm’s belief in the power of collaborations where teams of individuals intuitively generate more innovative responses than teams working outside the collaborative process. By exploring issues of environment, function, context and community with all the key stakeholders. RF + PA fosters a discovery process that facilitates a solution that ultimately furthers the design expectations. Richard's pursuit of innovation fuses imagination and tradition with technology resulting in creative solutions for a wide variety of projects. He has received such accolades as the AIA Ohio Individual Gold Medal, the AIA Ohio Firm Gold Medal, the Cleveland Arts Prize, and being elected to the College of Fellows in the AIA. Richard received his Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Tech and his Master Degree of Architecture from Columbia University.
Michael Salkind, Founder Business Tech Network, Advisory Director
Michael Salkind is a former executive with United Technologies, NASA, The Air Force, and the Ohio Aerospace Institute. He is Principal of Indus International, supporting business marketing by US companies in India. Dr Salkind brings over 40 years of experience in developing and facilitating collaborative teams, managing technology, funding R&D, research and teaching. In his 13 years as President of the Ohio Aerospace Institute (OAI), he developed and managed nearly $200 million (primarily federal and private funding) in collaborative R&D, education and workforce teams among businesses, universities, and federal agencies. In the 1980s, he headed a national task force to promote industry-university-government collaboration. In 2000, he organized and hosted a successful major national conference in Knowledge Management. In 1998, at the request of the Ohio Department of Education, he created the 30 (now 50) Public School District SMART Consortium, which has demonstrated significant improvement in student learning. In 2001, he helped found the India-USA Foundation for Industrial Technology Collaboration. At OAI, he managed over 100 collaborative programs with more than 300 companies, universities and government agencies in aerospace, materials, structures, fluid mechanics, propulsion and energy, information, manufacturing, bioengineering, and automotive technologies. These programs have resulted in improved productivity, reduced development times, and enhanced healthcare valued at several billions of dollars per year. As a manager for the Air Force and NASA, he managed several hundred engineering programs in industry, federal laboratories, and universities. Much of his career has involved either obtaining or providing R&D funding. During his 26 years at United Technologies and OAI, he successfully obtained more than $200 million in contracts and grants from the Departments of Defense (and Air Force, Army, and Navy), Commerce, Energy, National Science Foundation, NASA, NIH, as well as private foundations and state agencies. During his 15 years with the Air Force, NASA, and the Army, he funded more than $500 million to industry, universities, and federal laboratories, and developed strong collegial relationships with the other federal funding agencies. He is the author of 47 technical articles, one book, Applications of Composite Materials and a major contributor to MATERIALS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, Wiley, 2010. He has been an Adjunct Professor at The Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, Trinity College, and Kent State University, a Distinguished Lecturer for Sigma Xi and ASME, and received the Cleveland Technical Societies Council Leadership Award in 2002. He chaired the Kent State University Technology Industry Advisory Board.
Barbara Smith Conrad, Artistic Advisor
Barbara Smith Conrad is an American operatic mezzo-soprano of international acclaim. Born Barbara Smith, she was raised in Center Point near Pittsburg, Texas In 1957, Barbara Conrad became the focus of a racial controversy revolving around her role in a student opera at The University of Texas in Austin. Pressure from the Texas Legislature forced her removal from the cast, and her story received national media coverage. Barbara continued her education at The University of Texas at Austin and received her Bachelor of Music degree in 1959. Barbara Conrad went on to perform with the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Teatro Nacional in Venezuela, and many others. Today Barbara continues to complement her performing activities with artist residencies and master classes, establishing herself as one of the foremost builders of voice both in the U.S. and abroad. She is the co-director and co-founder of the Wagner Theater Program, and maintains a private vocal studio in Manhattan. Barbara works closely with The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin, which is the home of the university's Endowment for the Study of American Spirituals. Barbara Smith Conrad is the subject of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History's produced film When I Rise, directed by Mat Hames.
Timothy Mussard, Artistic Advisor
Timothy Mussard is one of America's most distinguished Heldentenors with a lengthy opera career which has taken him throughout the world in roles such as Siegfried in Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, Lohengrin in Lohengrin, Eric in Der Fliegender Hollander, Tannhäuser in Tannhäuser, Florestan in Fidelio, Radames in Aida, Turridu in Cavalleria Rusticana, Canio in Pagllacci, Stiffelio in Stiffelio, and Don Carlos in the French version of Don Carlos. Last year, Mussard was awarded the Prix Lauritz Melchior by the Academie Du Disque Lyrique at the Bastille Opera House in Paris. This prestigious international award recognized Mussard as the outstanding Heldentenor commercially recorded in the year 2009. His performances and recording of Götterdämmerung were admired by critics around the world.
Mussard earned his Doctorate in Vocal Performance Practice at the University of Washington in 1985. While maintaining an active singing career, he also was appointed Full Professor at UCLA as head of the voice department for almost 20 years. Mussard also travels extensively to teach master classes from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music to the National University of Korea at Seoul and Pusan. In 2003, Mussard joined the faculty at the Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music as Professor of Voice. Some of Dr. Mussard's students' successes include principal roles in the NY, LA, and Toronto productions of Phantom of the Opera, Lyric Soprano with NYC Opera, Tenor with Staatsoper Berlin and La Scala, NYC Richard Tucker Award, Marilyn Horne Award, and numerous other honors and placements. He is the co-founder and co-artistic director of the Baldwin-Wallace University Conservatory of Music Wagner Intensive.