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Speaker Bios

Ray Agnew is vice president for college advancement at Paul Smith’s College, having arrived on campus in April 2011. Previously, he served 14 years as vice president for community relations of Glens Falls Hospital and executive vice president of the Glens Falls Hospital Foundation. Before that, he served with SUNY Geneseo, Binghamton, Empire State College and Potsdam for 18 years. He received his CFRE credential in 1996 and is a graduate of the Crane School of Music and a member of ASCAP. He is a member of Rotary International and was named Rotarian of the Year by the Glens Falls Rotary Club in 2008 and Humanitarian of the Year by Rotary District 7190 in 2008. He was also named a faculty “Heavy Hitter” by CASE and has been a faculty member for the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy at three international conferences. He delivered the keynote address to the NEAHP Conference (AHP New England chapter) in 2010.

Jennifer Aguglia is a graphic designer in the Office of Marketing and Communications at SUNY Plattsburgh. She is a 2010 graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh and has a background in printing/ publishing. At Plattsburgh since 2012, she works alongside the associate director of recruitment communications with the Office of Admissions on student recruitment collateral. Her work is guided by the belief that creative innovation requires a deep understanding of the people who will use her designs and the constantly changing world in which they live.

Nancie Battaglia, an award-winning photographer, lives in Lake Placid and has been documenting Adirondack lifestyle, scenes, themes and sporting activities for more than 25 years. She has been to 11 Olympics, the most recent being the Sochi Winter Games. Her stock and assignment photography has seen credit in editorial publications like Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, Ski, Newsweek, Boys Life, Outside, Adirondack Life, the New York Times and a variety of specialty magazines. Her work has also appeared in books and promotional material for I Love NY, the Adirondack region, many classic Adirondack establishments, businesses and schools. Her photo collection exceeds 200,000 images reflecting nature’s beauty, human energy, rustic charm and life in the mountains. As an active outdoor person, Battaglia is twice an ADK 46er. She is also a Saranac Lake 6er both summer and winter. She has adopted a lean-to and is a loon counter. With cameras in her pack, she can be found paddling, hiking, skiing, adventuring and documenting the scenes around her.

Beth Bellardini joined the SUNY Potsdam Office of College Advancement in 1986 and, since 1993, has served as director of advancement services. In this role, she is responsible for planning and implementing advancement modules (including database management and gift processing) and developing all related office policies and procedures. She has supported advancement efforts during three successful comprehensive campaigns and participated in the college’s conversion to Banner in the early ’90s. Bellardini serves as advancement’s liaison to the SUNY Banner Functional Area User Group and the campus Banner Student Data Committee.

David Belsky is director of marketing and creative services at the State University of New York, the nation’s largest comprehensive system of public higher education. Prior to that, Belsky served SUNY as director of university relations, director of new media and special assistant for strategic communications. In his current role, Belsky drives integrated marketing strategy for the SUNY system, serves as deputy spokesperson for the university and Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher and coordinates the work of the Communications and External Affairs Committee of the SUNY Board of Trustees. He oversees university-wide efforts in Web, social media, multimedia, video production, advertising, emergency communications and shared governance. He holds an M.P.A. in higher education and organizational communication from the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College, and a B.A. in political science from Binghamton University.

Meg Bernier is assistant director of editorial services and social media at St. Lawrence University. She is the content strategist for admissions and alumni publications and plays an integral role in planning the university’s quarterly magazine. In her role as social media manager, Bernier is responsible for St. Lawrence’s social content strategy and maintains the university’s primary accounts. She also guides other departments on how they can best use social media in their work. She has previously presented at a New York Six Consortium conference in October 2013 on how student affairs professionals can use social media in their work and as professional development tools.

Ellen Blaisdell has more than 20 years’ experience in development and fundraising, including working in numerous campaigns. She has been with SUNY Oneonta since 1995 and the director of gift planning there since 2007. Blaisdell works with donors on both planned and major gifts, and directs planned gift marketing at SUNY Oneonta.

Ron Bronson is director of Web strategy for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, comprised of 16 colleges and more than 97,000 students. In this role, Bronson provides strategic vision and leads the digital marketing team. His work in higher education has spanned the nation and includes award-winning website redesign projects and content-management-system migrations and development of social media strategy. He was also an adjunct instructor at the University of Colorado-Boulder and Community College of Aurora. Bronson started his Web career while still in high school with a startup that was acquired by Earthlink in 1997. He is a member of the board of directors and former public policy director of Future Wyoming, a rural technology education nonprofit. He is also a partner at Skov Eliot + Berg.

Brian Busher is an award-winning editor and producer with 15 years experience in all areas of multi-media production. As a producer/editor for the University at Albany, he has demonstrated creativity, versatility and excellence in crafting engaging video content to support the university’s mission. Prior to his experience at UAlbany, Busher spent five years as an editor for MadDash E-Media, a media production company in the Boston area that specializes in dynamic online job recruitment videos for a wide variety of Fortune 500 companies and has the distinction of being the exclusive video provider for

Vincent Covello is founder and director of the Center for Risk Communication, is a nationally and internationally recognized trainer, researcher, consultant and expert in crisis, conflict, change and risk communications. Over the past 25 years, he has held numerous positions in academia and government, including associate professor of environmental sciences and clinical medicine at Columbia University. Prior to his joining the faculty at Columbia, Covello was a senior scientist at the White House Council on Environmental Quality in Washington, D.C.; a study director at the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences; and the director of the Risk Assessment Program at the National Science Foundation. He received a B.A. with honors and M.A. from Cambridge University in England and his doctorate from Columbia University. He is on the editorial board of several journals and is the past president of the Society for Risk Analysis, a professional association with more than 2,500 members. Covello has authored or edited more than 25 books and 75 published articles on risk assessment, management and communication.

Sarah Cunningham has led and participated in creative collaborative groups on projects ranging from websites and movies, to ad campaigns and recruitment messaging. At critiques in art school, she learned to say what she thought, draw people’s good ideas out and not let differing opinions stop creativity. Instead, she discovered that all those ideas from the group often lead to something even better. The associate Web editor at SUNY Plattsburgh, Cunningham has worked with SUNY Plattsburgh’s website for more than 10 years and has 20 years of experience in this field. She has a B.F.A. from the College for Creative Studies, a design certificate from the University of California, Los Angeles, and certificates from New York University in movie-making and 3-D animation.

Brenda Dow has been a higher education administrator for more than 20 years, responsible for alumni affairs, development operations, Web management, public relations and marketing in public and private colleges. She also has corporate and agency experience in marketing communications and market research. Prior to her current position as director of alumni relations at SUNY New Paltz, she served as its director of development services. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Cornell University and a master’s degree in human resources management from Chapman University. She previously presented at SUNYCUAD on Facebook strategies for alumni relations, served on the SUNYCUAD conference planning group, and was a SUNYCUAD Class of 2008 Charlton Scholar. She has presented at SICAS Advancement FAUG meetings, the SICAS Summit and the Ellucian Live international conference. Her work has been recognized with education and industry awards.

Tim Farkas became editor of the Watertown Daily Times last September. He also serves as the vice president of news operations for the Northern New York Newspapers Corp. Previously, he worked as executive editor of The Berkshire Eagle, a MediaNews paper in Pittsfield, Mass., where he worked to improve the newspaper’s digital presence and oversaw many award-winning projects. The paper was named New England Newspaper of the Year three times during his time there. His newspaper experience also includes stints at the Albany Times Union; the Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer; the Seattle Times; The San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News; the Orange County (Calif.) Register; the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph and News; and the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal.

Kerry Gotham, director of alumni relations at The College of Brockport, has 13 years of experience in higher education and advancement. Prior to that, he also served as the director of alumni relations at Nazareth College. He received his M.S. in higher education administration from Syracuse University and a B.S. in biology from Nazareth College. Gotham has presented at multiple CASE conferences, the Northeast Annual Giving Conference and the CASE Summit, and was recognized as a CASE District II Faculty Star in 2010 and 2011.

April Grant has been professionally associated with Clarkson University since her graduation in 1995. She has a breadth of experience in donor relations, philanthropy and financial management that she has acquired from the different administrative roles she has served in on campus.

Dawn Grzan joined Farmingdale State College in 2008 and has assisted FSC in securing more than $4 million in funding for this past year. She assists faculty in securing federal and state funding for their research and programs. She has been involved in sponsored programs and developing relations with government agencies since 2001. She previously held the position of director of sponsored programs at Central Connecticut State University where she was responsible for the management of all government and foundation/ corporation grant requests and proposals submitted by Central Connecticut State University resulting in awards of more than $23 million. Prior to that, she was the director of grants and research funding at Dowling College, where she successfully secured and oversaw more than $4.5 million in federal, state and foundation grants. She earned a B.S. in applied mathematics and statistics from Stony Brook University and her M.B.A. in information systems management from Dowling College.

Paul Heaton was named the inaugural director of the Center for Community College Advancement in May 2011. The center is an initiative of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, education’s leading resource for knowledge, standards, advocacy and training. Heaton joined CASE after five years at a community college in Traverse City, Mich., where he was responsible for public relations, marketing and communications, and the school’s public radio station. He also supported the college’s fundraising efforts, which earned a CASE-WealthEngine Award for overall performance in 2007. Heaton also has held leadership positions in marketing, communications, public relations and student media at Eastern Michigan University, the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan and at Ithaca College. Prior to working in higher education, he was an editor for the St. Petersburg Times in Florida. He is a frequent presenter at regional and national conferences.

Curtis Hill currently serves as leadership giving officer for The College at Brockport. Prior to joining the college, Hill served as associate director of development at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester. He previously served both the public and private sectors in client/constituent relationship management. Hill also served on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Genesee Valley Chapter and has volunteered on the chapter’s Annual Conference Committee and chaired the National Philanthropy Day Awards.

Emily Hutchison joined the SUNY Potsdam advancement team as director of development in 2009. In this role, she oversees the following departments: major gifts, planned giving, donor relations, annual giving, advancement services, research and alumni relations. She also works closely with the director of the Take the Lead Campaign and serves as a liaison to the development, collections and trusteeship committees of the Potsdam College Foundation. Prior to joining SUNY Potsdam, Hutchison had more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit social service leadership and fundraising. She also maintains a long-standing grant writing/consulting business with clients throughout the United States.

Gregory E. Kie is a member of the public relations team at SUNY Canton. He writes more than a few words, takes a lot of photographs and spends a lot of time making videos. When the workday ends, he teaches introductory-level photography and advanced photojournalism in the college’s graphic and multimedia design program. Kie is also a former correspondent reporter for the Daily Courier- Observer and a proud SUNY Plattsburgh alumnus.

Darby Todd Knox has served The College at Brockport in the division of advancement since 2008. She is currently the executive director of development communications and campaign. Prior to that, she worked in the field of higher education marketing and branding, helping both private and public colleges and universities increase their visibility and clarify their messaging to achieve institutional goals. She completed her undergraduate work at Keuka College and recently received a Master of Public Administration from The College at Brockport.

Steven Krolak is associate director of recruitment communications at SUNY Plattsburgh, responsible for the execution of recruitment strategy in all media on behalf of admissions and in concert with the college’s wider goals in advancement. He has a background in publishing, freelance writing and strategic communications for corporate and nonprofit clients including Conservation International, The Cousteau Society and others.

Taras Kufel is Web design and content manager in the Office of the Chancellor at the State University of New York. Kufel oversees Webcontent activity on and its associated websites, overseeing all graphic and text update needs, as well as coordinating new material for output via SUNY’s social media networks. He works with content curators to ensure accessibility of Web content, SEO implementation/optimization and website analytics. Kufel holds a B.S in electronic media, arts and communications from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has nine years of experience in multimedia design and Web content management.

Jason Ladouceur is the director of planned giving at SUNY Potsdam. He began his fundraising career at the University at Albany and has led Potsdam’s planned giving program since 2001. Ladouceur chairs the SUNY Planned Giving Group, maintains a planned giving Web resource space on Moodle and also coordinates monthly calls with gift officers and planned giving professionals representing SUNY campuses. Throughout his nearly 17 years of fundraising experience, Ladouceur has empowered donors to make a difference in the experiences, education and lives of college students. Witnessing the impact donors and their gifts have upon students, faculty, the institution, community and SUNY system is the best return on a gift. Seeing how that gift impacts the donor is often times priceless. In 2011, Ladouceur was recognized by SUNY Potsdam with the President’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service. In 2012, he received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service from SUNY.

Colleen Lemza is an assistant professor in the public relations program at SUNY Plattsburgh, where she teaches introductory and advanced courses in public relations. She serves as faculty adviser to the award-winning student-run PR agency, Cardinal PR. She is also the founder of the Shine On! conference designed to build resiliency in elementary school girls. With more than a decade in the corporate world, handling various facets of public relations for International Paper, her experience covers crisis communication, labor relations, employee relations, building cohesive community partnerships, large-scale event planning and public affairs and environmental lobbying. Lemza has launched a small business of her own and enjoys sharing the trials and tribulations of being an entrepreneur as examples for her students. Her research interests have included the use of social media as an election tool in rural politics and the use of social media in rural small businesses. Lemza is actively engaged in the community, serving on several community boards. She holds a master’s in public relations from the Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University as well as a second master’s degree in mental health counseling from SUNY Plattsburgh.

Ron Lombard is the general manager and news director of YNN, “Your News Now,” Time Warner Cable’s 24-hour local news channel serving Central New York, Northern New York and the Southern Tier. Lombard was hired to oversee the November 2003 launch of the channel, then known as News 10 Now. He leads a team of nearly 70 journalists and technicians who cover the news and weather in a 24-county, 15,000 square mile viewing area from Steuben County to Lake Champlain. For 15 years prior to joining Time Warner Cable, Lombard worked at WIXT (now WSYR) NewsChannel 9 and was news director there from 1991 to 2001 after having served as assignment editor and assistant news director. As part of his duties, Lombard was director of news development, overseeing news operations for that company’s six upstate New York stations. He also served as acting general manager of WUTR-TV in Utica. He also has experience as a radio news reporter and anchor, including four years at WSYR Radio, where he won a number of local and statewide awards for spot news coverage and investigative reporting. He is past president of the New York State Associated Press Broadcasters’ Association and remains on its board of directors. In 2005, the Syracuse Press Club honored Lombard with its Career Achievement Award. He holds a B.A. in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School. In 1994, the university named him an Outstanding Young Alumnus.

Dr. Michael F. Luck is executive consultant for the Maple Leaf Management Group. He is a faculty member of the University of Indiana Center on Philanthropy’s Fund Raising School. He has professionally planned and successfully executed more than seven capital campaigns raising from $50 million to more than $1 billion. Luck is a seasoned professional leader in the field of institutional advancement with more than 35 years of experience. His career spans health care, education and dozens of consulting assignments for nonprofit institutions. Luck has been vice president for philanthropy and alumni affairs for the 64 colleges and universities of the State University of New York and the Research Foundation of SUNY. He helped guide the campuses through the SUNY $1 Billion Campaign. Fundraising on the campuses increased more than 70 percent from $176 million annually to more than $300 million. Following the successful $1 Billion Campaign, a new fundraising effort was launched called The SUNY $3 Billion Challenge — 64 Campuses — One Vision. The Challenge will successfully concluded several years before the 2012 deadline. Luck also served as vice chancellor for institutional advancement at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where he was responsible for the planning and implementation of the first fundraising campaign in the institution’s history: the $50 million UMass Boston First campaign was completed one year early.

Max Morgan is coordinator of digital engagement in the Office of the Chancellor at the State University of New York. Prior to that, he served SUNY as an undergraduate social media student assistant. In his role, Morgan supports the Office of the Chancellor in the design, research and development of major speeches and presentations, as well as university communications initiatives. He curates the system’s Web presence on a day-to-day basis, including social media and the Generation SUNY blog. Morgan holds a B.S. in economics and political science from the University at Albany and is currently pursuing his M.P.A. in finance from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School.

Michelle Marasch Ouellette is SUNY Plattsburgh’s director of public relations and publications. She has been involved in the college’s social media efforts since the college first signed on to Facebook in 2009. She has also served as a member of the college’s Emergency Management Advisory Committee, taking charge of the college’s crisis communication efforts, working with the health department’s joint information center and taking part in homeland security training, tabletop drills and a full-scale drill. Prior to becoming a director in SUNY Plattsburgh’s Office of Marketing and Communications, Ouellete was public relations director at an agency that serves people with developmental disabilities, in addition to serving as a service-learning coordinator and a teacher.

Mike Paestella did his undergraduate work at SUNY Potsdam where he was involved in Greek life and student governance, serving as the vice president and president of SGA. After Potsdam he attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania for student affairs and higher education while working as a hall director and assistant Greek adviser at Thiel College. Paestella then worked in residence life and then with student organizations at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he gained a new perspective on affinity development. In 2001, SUNY Oswego brought Paestella back to New York, where he serves as the administrator of The Point in the Campus Center, works with student organizations and instructs leadership classes. Since returning to SUNY, he has completed an executive certificate in leadership and management from the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business and a certificate in advanced intercultural management. Currently, Paestella is serving as the vice president of SUNY Potsdam’s Alumni Board of Trustees and various community boards.

Sherry Paradis has been a member of the college advancement team at SUNY Potsdam since 2001. For the past five years, she has served as director of donor relations, as well as the director of the college’s $27 million Take the Lead Campaign. She coordinates all donor acknowledgment, recognition, communications and reporting. As campaign director, she oversees all procedures, policies, communications, events and volunteers related to the campaign. Previously, she served as the college’s director of alumni relations. Paradis and her husband are both proud graduates of SUNY Potsdam.

Teresa Planty has worked in alumni relations and development at Clarkson University for eight years. Planty has significant experience in volunteer recruitment and management. The volunteer positions that she has managed range from regional chapter presidents to affinity group leaders. Planty’s experience in development, where she served as a major gifts officer for six years, enables her to have a broad perspective and understanding of the role alumni relations plays in engaging, cultivating and stewarding alumni. She was awarded the Clarkson University Alumni Association Staff Appreciation Award in July 2011 after successfully leading its Alumni Leadership Board through its first fundraising project, which raised more than $350K in 18 months.

Bill Pyke has been making videos since 1989 when he first started producing local commercials as a “one man band” in Jackson, Mich. Then, as a line producer in Washington, D.C., Pyke worked on films for high-end clients like MCI Telecommunications and the United Way of America. After D.C., the next 12 years were spent editing video in New York City for clients like ABC, NBC, MTV and FUSE. Over the years, Pyke has held many different production job titles, but “editor” is still his favorite. He has enjoyed shooting, producing, editing and collaborating with the University at Albany Digital Media Department since he joined in late 2013.

Sarah Richard is a 2002 SUNY Plattsburgh graduate with a bachelor’s degree in art and a concentration in graphic design. In 2009, she joined SUNY Plattsburgh’s staff and currently acts as the lead graphic designer for the Office of Marketing and Communications. She is also the art director for Plattsburgh Magazine.

Ellen Rocco has been station manager of North Country Public Radio since 1985 and with NCPR since 1980, serving as the station’s first development director from 1980 to 1985. Under her direction, WAMC has grown into a highly respected regional station. Early in her career, she served as a caseworker for the New York City Department of Social Services. In 1971, she moved to the North Country, bought an old farm and took on a wide array of jobs, ranging from substitute teacher to project manager for a senior-citizens low-income block grant. During this time, she also served as president of a regional alternative energy organization and was active in the women’s rights movement. From 1976 to 1980, she worked as a weekly environmental issues columnist for Gouverneur Tribune Press, an assistant editor at Rootdrinker Magazine and a grant writer for a low-income advocacy organization. She serves on the board of the Seaway Private Equity Corporation and the New York Council for the Humanities and is on media panels for the New York State Council on the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts. She holds a B.A. in political science.

Jessica Rood, an experienced and award-winning higher education professional, serves as New College of Florida’s director of communications and marketing. Rood has received 15 awards for excellence in the design and production of college publications such as from AMR, CASE and SUNYCUAD. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and women’s studies from SUNY Oswego in 2001. Prior to New College, Rood served as director of creative services at St. Lawrence University, where she helped launch a comprehensive brand-messaging, visual-identity project for the college. She designed publications for the college’s alumni relations and admissions departments, donor relations, annual fund and other programs. She previously served as director of publications and creative services at SUNY Potsdam from 2006 to 2011 and as graphics coordinator for the SUNY Geneseo Student Association from 2005 to 2006. She also worked in private industry for a graphic design firm from 2003 to 2005.

John Sheedy is a seasoned marketing expert in the space of new/cross media communications with a broad spectrum of knowledge, skill, experience and formal education that combines technology and strategy with today’s new wave marketing. He has spent the last 20 years in an environment that is constantly changing and evolving and found that working on the cutting edge of the marketing world is exciting. His unique blend of sales and management experience has helped organizations on a local, regional and national level understand and capitalize on these changes. As he is fond of saying, “Applying old marketing tactics in a new media age doesn’t work as new strategies are required.”

Robin Smail bills herself as having an authentic voice, never being afraid to dissent and being a powerful observer who loves to try things a different way and enthusiastic in that infectious way you can’t escape. Smail is also a user experience specialist, technology advocate and people person.

Jerry F. Smith is an author, lecturer, teacher and fundraising consultant and founder of the J.F. Smith Group. His mission in fundraising — to enable clients to fulfill their fundraising dreams through a unique, educational, professionally directed development partnership — has proven successful in his now more than 23 years of business. Smith has authored three books on fundraising. His most recent, “SuCCCess is Spelled with Three C’s,” was published in 2013. He is a popular and respected convention presenter and has presented for Association of Healthcare Philanthropy, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Association of Christian Schools International, SUNYCUAD, National Association of Athletic Development Directors, Blackbaud and the Catholic Fundraising Institute in Germany. He has taught fundraising courses at Troy State and Auburn University.

Joseph Storch is an associate counsel at the SUNY Office of General Counsel and chair of the Student Affairs Practice Group. In addition to comprehensive representation for Oswego, Cortland, Morrisville and SUNYIT, he concentrates on intellectual property and student affairs. Storch graduated summa cum laude from SUNY Oswego where he served as vice president of the Student Association and received a Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. After working as an Oswego admissions counselor, he attended Cornell Law School where he served as chancellor of the Moot Court Board. After graduating, he clerked for the New York State Appellate Division, 3rd Department. His writing has appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, the Orlando Sentinel, the Albany Times Union, the Albany Law Review, the Medical Trial Techniques Quarterly, Court Review: the Journal of the American Judges Association and as a NACUA Note.

Bill Sachman has been in the higher education setting at The College at Brockport for six years, including four years in the division of advancement. Bill is the coordinator of alumni relations and the social media expert for the advancement team. He received his M.S.Ed. in inclusive science education from The College at Brockport and a B.S. in earth sciences and broadcast communications from The College at Brockport.

Keith Tyo is executive assistant to President John Ettling at SUNY Plattsburgh. He began his career at Plattsburgh in 1995 as director of communications. In addition to currently serving as the college’s Start-Up NY campus coordinator, Tyo is its community and government relations officer. He serves on numerous campus committees and is a staff member assigned to the North Country Regional Economic Development Council. Prior to joining SUNY Plattsburgh, he did a five-year stint as director of public relations at Paul Smith’s College and had previously worked with the Adirondack North Country Association, for N.Y.S. Assemblyman John O’Neil and at WPDM/WSNN-FM in Potsdam. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies from SUNY Oswego. A member of the Rotary Club of Plattsburgh, Tyo is also a recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service.

John M. Wicke is director of strategic alliances at SUNY Potsdam. He has been very active in community organizations and small business for more than 20 years. Wicke attended SUNY Potsdam as a student prior to graduating with distinction from Clarkson University’s business school. He joined SUNY Potsdam’s Advancement Office in 2011 but had been affiliated with the college for many years prior, serving as a volunteer and a member of the SUNY Potsdam College Council, appointed in 2007. He previously owned and operated several small businesses and was a past president of the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce; a Massena, N.Y., elected official (1995-2011); a board member of the Small Business Development Center; a board member of a variety of economic development boards; and a recipient of numerous awards and citations for his community involvement and contributions.

Alexandra Jacobs Wilke is communications and government relations associate at SUNY Potsdam. Prior to joining SUNY Potsdam, she was the higher education reporter for the Watertown Daily Times and won an Associated Press Award for her writing. She has also written for the Staten Island Advance and Time Inc. Jacobs Wilke is a graduate of Wagner College, where she studied English and journalism. She has served as an on-camera moderator for the “North Country Matters” series at WCKN TV, the student-run station at Clarkson University.

Peter Winters is an integrated marketing specialist with MSP Digital Marketing. Over the course of his career, he has become a passionate expert in the evolving field of integrated cross media marketing. He works with organizations to help them establish and implement new communications strategies commensurate with the 2014 world. He has travelled the country having written and spoken nationally on the subject of how organizations can augment their approaches to increase levels of performance and customer rapport.