Board of Advisors
The Board of Advisors is a volunteer leadership body comprised of Roger Williams University alumni, parents and friends who embody the RWU spirit and possess the drive to advance RWU’s mission. This non-governing advisory board advances the University’s mission and acts as champions for RWU students and alumni. They serve as informed advisors to the President, Board of Trustees and RWU senior leadership on University priorities, and when requested by the University, provide expertise on strategic initiatives and major programs. Advisors play an active leadership role at RWU by volunteering expertise, advice, and financial support to the University; and are a resource for faculty and alumni in their areas of personal influence and career advancement.
Member List Last Updated: November 7, 2022
William (Bill) Ashworth P’24
Chief Operating Officer, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.
Bill is responsible for executing and implementing Vanasse Hangen Brustlin’s (VHB) regional and office operations efficiently to drive consistency, growth, and effectiveness of the firm’s operations. His leadership is helping to propel VHB’s team of over 1,700 engineers, scientists, planners, and designers forward to strategically evolve and embrace new technologies to meet increasing client challenges, improve the nation’s mobility, and shape communities in a meaningful way.
During his 26-year career at VHB, Bill has played an important role in helping to solve complex challenges across public and private sector markets. He spent 18 years working in VHB’s Providence office and focusing on the Rhode Island market, starting as a traffic engineer/transportation planner, and taking on various leadership roles including the Managing Director for the office. Prior to becoming the Chief Operating Officer role in 2017, Bill served as New England Regional Manager, where he led more than 500 employees in nine offices.
Bill has been active in numerous professional organizations and associations in Rhode Island over the years including the Providence Foundation, Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), and the Roger Williams University Professional Advisory Board. He also served on the Board of Directors for Grow Smart Rhode Island and Rhode Island Consulting Engineers (RICE). He was the recipient of the Providence Engineering Society’s 2019 Humanitarian Award.
President & CEO, Ridgeway Philanthropy
Janet Atkins is a recognized expert in helping families and their charitable entities develop strategic and values-based methods of giving. Among the first in the United States to recognize the need for an organized response to the impact of the $80 plus trillion transfer of wealth over the next 30 years, she left her 20year fundraising career in 1998 to head up an innovative new subsidiary for the Boston based law firm of Goulston & Storrs. As the Founder and CEO of Philanthropic Advisors LLC, she was responsible for $100 million in annual grant making for 25 families. For the last ten years she has led her own independent firm, Ridgeway Philanthropy, focused on creating a personal and philanthropic agenda for the responsible use of individual and family wealth.
Janet’s range of expertise includes structuring philanthropic programs to create maximum impact; creating and managing strategic grant making programs for family foundations; designing foundation governance systems and conducting trustee training; as well as guiding nonprofit organizations and their volunteer boards through campaign planning, strategy, and special initiatives on behalf of her foundation and family clients. Janet’s leadership has guided the commitment of over $3 billion in philanthropic dollars for nonprofits in the US and abroad.
Her fundraising career includes major institutional advancement appointments at Harvard University teaching hospitals, Duke University, Georgetown University, Emory University, the University of Virginia, and the YWCA of Atlanta where she led complex campaigns and managed teams of development professionals. A sought-after speaker, Janet has spoken at many private and public universities as well as numerous private client groups nationwide.
She serves on the World Council of the World YWCA in Geneva, the Board of Directors of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center of the Boston Public Library, the Board of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and has completed her term on Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts Board of Visitors and as Chair of Strategic Planning on the Board of Managers of The Vincent Club of Boston as well as the Board of Invest in Girls. Ms. Atkins holds Master’s and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Emory University.
Anthony Autiello ’74
President & CEO, A. Autiello Construction Co., Inc.
Anthony is the president of the A. Autiello Construction Co., a commercial building firm located in Rhode Island. He has over fifty years of commercial building experience. He is a trustee of St. Eugene’s Catholic Church and Board member of the Alpine Country Club. He previously served as a member of the Foster Glocester School Committee, Glocester School Committee, Board member of Wellone Community Health Centers, President of Glocester Country Club, and Member of the Smithfield and Glocester Planning Boards.
He is a 1974 graduate of Roger Williams University with a BS in Civil Engineering with a minor in Construction Technology and has previously served as a member of the RWU Construction Management Advisory Board (CMPAB).
Kosta Bitsis ’84 P’14
Vice President Special Projects, Dimeo Construction Company
Kosta is currently the Vice President, Special Projects Projective Executive for Dimeo Construction where he leads project teams in the healthcare, life sciences, educational, corporate, industrial, and special project areas of the organization's operations. A 36-year veteran of the Dimeo team, Kosta has managed many of the firm's major healthcare assignments. His work has included major renovations to occupied healthcare institutions including Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, Memorial, Miriam Hospital and Woman & Infants Hospital. Kosta is also a LEED accredited professional.
Kosta graduated from Roger Williams with BS Degree in Civil Engineering and his son; Nick graduated with a BS in construction management in 2014.
Scott R. Blumenfeld ’01
Senior Vice President, Global Financial Planning & Analysis, Dataminr
Anthony M. Brahimsha ’10
CEO and Founder, Prommus Brands LLC
Syrian-American Anthony Brahimsha is the CEO and Founder of Prommus— a manufacturer of a protein enhanced hummus. Anthony is a social entrepreneur who founded the company in 2014 to help fight malnutrition in Syrian refugee children. The company donates a portion of each purchase to fight world hunger. Previously, Anthony was an investment banker in NYC where he gained experience in consumer focused sectors and consumer packaged goods companies.
Kyle Casserino ’13
Vice President, Fidelity Charitable
Kyle Casserino is a charitable planning consultant at Fidelity Charitable®, an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 300,000 nonprofit organizations with $42 billion in grants.1 The mission of Fidelity Charitable® is to grow the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving accessible, simple, and effective. Kyle assumed his current role in 2019 and has been with Fidelity Charitable across multiple roles since 2013. In this role he serves as a premier charitable planning resource to advisors and their clients in Southern California. Kyle educates advisors on current charitable planning trends and strategies, along with leveraging the benefits of Fidelity Charitable’s donor advised fund program, to help philanthropic clients give more to the charities they support.
Prior to assuming his current role, Kyle was a charitable planning associate in the Northwest region, where he worked with advisors to enhance their understanding of Fidelity Charitable’s donor advised fund program and discuss ways to incorporate charitable giving into clients' overall financial and wealth management plans. Prior to that, he worked as a fundraising associate where he supported the national fundraising team. He also worked as client services representative on the Fidelity Charitable Advisor Service Team.
Prior to joining Fidelity Charitable, Kyle worked as a student fund manager at the Center for Advanced Financial Education at Rogers Williams University Gabelli School of Business.
Rebecca Collins ’97
CEO, Collins Construction Co., Inc.
Born and raised in Fall River, Massachusetts, Rebecca Collins is a 1997 graduate of Roger Williams, where she received her bachelor’s degree in construction management and a minor in business.
Currently Rebecca is the CEO of Collins Construction Co., Inc. where she is the fourth generation, and the first female, to the family's construction company, which was founded in 1928. Rebecca came to Collins in 2000 after cutting her teeth in the management side of the business at 2 reputable contractors in the New England area. In 2017 she took over leadership of the Company after her father’s passing getting the Company WBE certification in Massachusetts and Rhode Island as well as a NWBOC national certification.
The two initiatives that Rebecca is most proud of is the Company’s embracing of digitization within Estimating, Project Management and Job Sites. This has allowed all stakeholders to effectively manage schedules, budgets, and productivity, keeping Collins viable and profitable. Additionally, Collins’ push toward conscious business. Collins is working on following the four tenants of Conscious Capitalism: Higher Purpose, Stakeholder Orientation, Conscious Leadership, and a Conscious Culture. We believe that good business creates better value for everyone.
Barrett W. Costello ’99
Financial Advisor, Civale & Associates
With over 20 years of financial services experience, Barrett has spent much of his career customizing financial solutions to the needs of his clients which includes Financial Advisors, Institutions, and now mass affluent and high net worth individuals. Barrett’s team operates as a Private Wealth Advisory Practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. In addition to building his business by referral, Barrett has built a large part of his business through the acquisition of financial planning practices from retiring baby boomers who are looking for a succession plan for their valued clients.
After graduating from Roger Williams University in 1999 with a B.S. Business Management with a concentration in Finance, Barrett went to work at Fidelity Investments which served as the foundation for his career. Over much of his career Barrett was responsible for the distribution of investment solutions through intermediaries in key markets such as California and New England. Starting his career at Fidelity Investments, Barrett then went to FBR Funds which got acquired by Hennessy Funds then Neuberger Berman where he was responsible for distribution of all investment solutions including Private Equity offerings in New England. In 2017, Barrett decided to go into private practice, where he enjoys working with the mass affluent and high net worth individuals and families on retirement income strategies, inter-generational wealth transfer strategies and other financial strategies to accomplish what is most import to them.
Barrett served on the Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts (FPA) Board of Directors from January 2013-2015 as Public Relations Director. As PR Chair his role was to help guide policy and direction for the 900-member association that seeks to foster the value of financial planning and advance the profession within Massachusetts. In 2013, the FPA of MA PR Committee was recognized by the National Financial Planning Association with an Outstanding Achievement Award for the Public Relations Advances under his Leadership. Barrett currently serves on the Board of Directors for Taunton Kiwanis.
Gordon S. (Chip) Craig III ’94 P’26
President & CEO, Sterngold Dental
Gordon has over twenty-eight years of professional business development, sales, marketing, and corporate communications experience and is the President & CEO of Sterngold Dental, LLC located in Attleboro, MA. Gordon has an extensive affiliation with Sterngold Dental as an independent company and as a subsidiary, with a brief start as a Marketing Analyst for a wire and cable products manufacturer. At Cookson America, he first assumed a Corporate Communications and Public Relations Manager role. Over the years, he steadily worked his way to Director of Marketing and eBusiness, where he successfully launched a fully integrated ebusiness platform for the company. Before assuming the chief executive role, Gordon was Vice President & General Manager of Sterngold Dental.
Under Gordon's leadership, Sterngold Dental has expanded beyond alloys, strengthened its position in restorative supplies and equipment, reinforced the implants and attachments product line, gained a major foothold in the mini-implant category with MOR®, and ventured into digital dentistry. Today, Sterngold has a formidable solution set of restorative supplies, implants, attachments, and digital product offerings. With Vision 2025, a program outlining a 5year progression plan, he has created a blueprint to achieve a sustainable, realistic, year-on-year growth target.
Gordon holds an MBA from the University of Rhode Island and a bachelor's degree in Corporate Communications and Marketing from Roger Williams University. Gordon and his wife Kristen met while attending Roger Williams. They have two daughters and son and live in Tiverton, Rhode Island. Their son Matt started at Roger Williams as a first-year student in the Fall of 2022.
George (Rick) Daubenspeck ’85 P’17
Managing Director Fixed Assets, BDO
Rick is a Managing Director in the Phoenix office of BDO, leading the Valuation & Business Analytics Fixed Assets practice. He has almost 30 years of experience developing valuation opinions regarding machinery and equipment pertaining to a broad range of financial transactions, including leasing structuring and dispositions, mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcies, expert witness, and ASC impairment reviews.
Rick has significant experience providing valuation services globally for asset groups across numerous industries, including manufacturing, telecommunications, transportation, medical and surgical, gaming and entertainment, energy generation and distribution, wastewater and freshwater systems, automated ticketing, and signaling and toll systems. He also had extensive knowledgeable in the renewable energy sector, specifically solar energy, and he has performed inspections and appraisals for a variety of assets throughout the United States, as well as in Mexico, Hong Kong, England, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, France, Austria, Sweden, and the Netherlands. He has presented on numerous occasions at the Equipment Lease Finance Association Equipment Management Conference, as well as at the National Conference of the American Society of Appraisers. In addition, he has published numerous articles on the topic of equipment valuation in The Monitor. He has also authored articles on the topics of solar energy and the financing of solar collection installations and been published in the Second Edition of What’s it Worth: Valuing Oil, Gas, and Alternative Energy Assets.
Rick obtained his Senior Appraiser designation in Machinery & Equipment from the American Society of Appraisers and has provided legal testimony in support of the valuation work he has performed. Rick holds an MBA in International Business from Sacred Heart University and a bachelor's degree in Marketing from Roger Williams University.
Brad Dean ’73
Chairman & CEO, Dean Warehouse Services
Brad Dean, now Chairman, had served as CEO of Dean Warehouse since its founding in 1980. Founded in 1980 by Bradford A. Dean, the Cumberland based logistics company has grown in size and is now among the largest privately held warehouse, distribution, and fulfillment providers in New England. Dean Warehouse Services Inc. has several warehouses in Rhode Island along with locations in Atlanta and near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, for a combined total of more than 2 million square feet of space.
Brad has spent his entire career in warehousing, logistics, transportation, and supply chain management. For 30 years, he has built the organization to be one of the most innovative supply chain management firms. And, he has created one of the industry’s strongest management teams that include a dozen top regional professionals. He is the supporter of numerous philanthropic initiatives in Northern Rhode Island and serves on a variety of business and community boards.
Ryan Fletcher ’11
President and CEO, Fletcher Development LLC
A native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, Ryan has spent the last 16 years immersing himself in all dimensions of residential development and commercial building. Fletcher Development LLC was founded with the vision to transcend common living & workspace to improve the way we live in our lives.
Taking great care and skill in his attention to detail, Ryan believes that if you can’t do the little things well, you can’t possibly do the big things well; a rooted belief that lives in every detail and space of his work. Ryan’s appreciation for the classic and affinity for the contemporary has separated Fletcher Development from the competition and earned the company both local and national praise in several major magazines and publications. Ryan has often described his style as the coalescence of traditional design with accents of modernistic inspiration driven by a natural inclination to push the boundaries of what is the conventional home.
Ryan was a Sergeant in the Infantry Division of United States Marine Corps and holds a B.S. in Construction Management from Roger Williams University.
Charles Floyd ’14
Senior Project Manager, Shawmut Design & Construction
Charles Floyd is a 2014 graduate of the SEECM, construction management program at Roger Williams. Currently residing in Boston, Charles works for Shawmut Design & Construction as a Project Manager. In his role, Charles is responsible for managing complex, phased, occupied infrastructure renovations and various other renovation and new construction projects in Shawmut's New England Academic Group. As an alum he has continued his support for Roger Williams by keeping up with the Construction Management Program and actively participating in the Construction Management Professional Advisory Board.
Gerald Francese ’19
Partner, Locke Lord LLP
Gerald Francese is currently a Partner at Locke Lord in New York City. After graduating from Roger Williams in 1996 with a BA in social science/paralegal studies he went on to complete his JD from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1999.
Gerald has an extensive corporate and financial regulatory practice, focusing on mergers and acquisitions, formation, and representation of investment funds, including venture, private equity, hedge, BDCs and interval funds, fintech and bank regulatory matters. His clients include some of the world's largest financial services institutions, investment advisers, investment companies, public and private companies, and investors. He helps investment advisers sponsor investment vehicles and separately managed accounts and has structured and closed numerous seed and growth investments and platforms. Jerry works closely with investors to achieve investment goals and minimize adverse tax consequences.
Jerry's transactional practice includes domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions; private placements; joint ventures; management buyouts; corporate finance, rights and exchange offers; asset transactions; and going-private transactions. He also has extensive experience helping clients with international transactions and international trade compliance, including export and import laws, economic sanctions regimes, country of origin designations, bank secrecy, anti-money laundering and anti-bribery/anti-corruption laws.
Adam S. Goldman P’24
Senior Managing Director, Mesirow Wealth Advisors
Adam Goldman is a Senior Managing Director in Mesirow Wealth Management. He works extensively with individuals, families and officers and directors of public and privately held corporations to evaluate and implement investment strategies. His practice includes advising on wealth development, preservation, and distribution. This comprehensive approach addresses the full scope of his clients’ needs, including investment management, retirement and estate planning, college, and charitable funding as well as insurance and tax considerations. Adam joined the firm in 2000 and has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry.
Adam is actively involved with several charities and organizations, including the role of President of The University of Michigan James M. Gartenberg Memorial Scholarship Fund, Board Member of Sukkat Shalom Synagogue and Tufts University Alumni Admissions Program, Committee Member for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Fundraiser for The Riverdale Country Day School. Adam earned a Bachelor of Science from Tufts University and his daughter, Jamie, is a freshman studying psychology.
Domenic R. Grieco ’99
Owner/Partner, Greico Automotive Group
Domenic and his wife Jamie currently reside with their three (3) daughters, Layla, Milana and Ilaria in Lincoln, Rhode Island. Domenic is first a family man, but also enjoys spending his free time boating, traveling and real estate investing.
Domenic graduated from Roger Williams University in 1999 with a degree in Business Administration. He also attended the National Automobile Dealers Association Dealer Academy and graduated in 2002. Domenic and his two brothers, Michael and Robert (also a Roger Williams Alumni), launched the Grieco Automotive Group in 1995, formerly known as Metro Motor Group as first-generation franchise dealers. Domenic is also the owner of DRG Realty and MDR Realty Real Estate companies, which include properties in multiple states across the country.
Domenic, along with his two brothers, played an intricate role in growing the Grieco Automotive Group over the past two decades. The group now consists of thirteen dealerships operating in the states of California, Florida, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Many of the Grieco franchises have won numerous manufacturer awards including those for customer satisfaction as well as President's Awards. Annual sales for 2021 in the Grieco organization has exceeded over 23,000 vehicles.
Domenic and the Grieco family are strong supporters of local charities and organizations. They have hosted the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital fundraising event for many years and helped raise over $2 million for cancer research. Aside from St. Jude’s, their philanthropic efforts spread over many organizations such as Special Olympics, The Humane Society, Home and Hospice Care of Rhode Island, Toys for Tots, Feeding America, Water for Cambodia, The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Best Foot Forward Foundation, Hasbro Children's Hospital and other local, southern New England charities.
Vin Helfrich ’82
President, Helfrich Brothers Boiler Works
Vin Helfrich is the current President of Helfrich Brothers Boiler Works in Lawrence, MA. Founded in 1948 by Vin’s father and uncle, Helfrich Brothers is one of the only companies in the commercial boiler industry that can fully meet fabrication and field service needs, providing construction services, ASME pressure vessel and code tank fabrication, machining, and boiler parts of all types.
While attending high school, Vin learned how to fly at the local airport and worked part time doing sightseeing flights and every summer worked full time at the Boiler Works. As a student at Roger Williams, he worked part time for Atlas Boiler Works in East Providence and for Manney’s Welding in Warwick. Vin also worked part time flying freight out of Boston on the weekends. After graduation in 1982 he went to work full time at Helfrich Brothers. At that time, the company had four employees and did industrial boiler service work in the local area.
In the years since, Helfrich Brothers has expanded and now services the power industry throughout the country, manufacturing ASME pressure vessels and power boiler parts that are shipped all over the world. Currently Helfrich Brothers employs over 400 Engineers, Draftsmen, Machinists, Welders, and Boilermakers at its manufacturing facility in Lawrence Massachusetts and at its field sights across the country.
Vin and his siblings became the first generation in their family to attend college; and as first-generation Americans his parents’ proudest moments where when their children graduated from college. This was their American dream, and they were never prouder than the day he received his diploma from Roger Williams.
Juan Manuel Hernandez ’16
Project Manager, Silicone Valley Glass & Co-Owner of Concreto Ecológico Permeable
Since graduating from Roger Williams, Juan was part of the team at Permasteelisa North America for over 6 years, one of the world's largest glass facade manufacturers, he recently closed out on the outstanding One Vanderbilt Skyscraper located in the heart of Manhattan and topped out the tallest building in downtown San Jose, California. Currently joined the Silicone Valley Glass team as a Project Manager, and at the same time started a partnership in Mexico with an ecological permeable concrete program at the Riviera Maya. Juan was born in Bogota, Colombia, but raised in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. He actively participated in community engagement during his time at RWU and was an RA and an admissions ambassador. In addition to serving on the Board of Advisors, Juan has been a member of the RWU Alumni Board since 2018.
Frank Hood ’97
President and CEO, Kingsdown, Inc.
Frank Hood is President and CEO of Kingsdown Inc., a manufacturer of luxury mattresses, headquartered in Mebane, North Carolina with 9 manufacturing facilities across North America serving leading retailers across the United States, Canada and in more than 20 countries. Previously, he served as senior vice president and chief information officer for Kingsdown, Inc. and its Sleep to Live division. He was responsible for all domestic and international marketing functions and implementing the company’s domestic and international Information Technology. Prior to Kingsdown, Frank held the positions of senior vice president, CIO at Quiznos Subs and senior vice president, CIO at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. He has been featured on TechTV, CNN, and in Newsweek, Business Week, Harvard Management Update, Nations Restaurant News and CIO magazine for his strategic use of technology. Frank was also the recipient of RetailTech magazine's top 10 CIOs and CIO Magazine's Top 100 for two years.
Eugene (Geno) Kennedy ’90
Senior Vice President, Lee Kennedy Company
Geno is Senior Vice President of Lee Kennedy Co., Inc., Quincy, Mass. The company was founded in 1978 by Geno’s father, Lee Kennedy, and it has grown into one of New England’s premier construction firms, widely regarded for its client service, construction expertise and collaborative spirit. Their extensive portfolio includes work in every major sector, including commercial development, academic, corporate interiors, life sciences, technology, retail, residential, hospitality, and historic restoration. Geno utilizes his years of project team experience and construction knowledge to maintain Lee Kennedy Company’s business relationships. Geno started with the family business at a young age and has developed knowledge and experience in nearly every position in the company from laborer, estimator and project management to business development, Geno has a very well-rounded understanding of the business and most importantly, client expectations. As a second-generation owner, Geno is deeply invested in the success of each project and takes personal responsibility for cultivating long lasting client relationships through quality service.
When he is not on the job, he serves on the board of directors for the Francis Quimet Scholarship Fund, which was founded in 1949 and is the largest independent scholarship fund in New England. He also serves on the board of directors for Save the Harbor / Save the Bay, which was founded in 1986 and focuses on restoring and protecting Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay. He was the 2019 Chair of South Shore Habitat for Humanity that takes an approach of working together with families in need to improve their housing situations and has delivered 58 homes since 1986. While a student at RWU, Eugene was a 4-year member of the men’s soccer team and senior year captain. Geno’s wife Nancy is also a member of the Roger William Class of 1990.
Michael La Scala ’83
Vice President Sales and Marketing, Transport Products and Service Enterprises, Inc. Systems and Products, Inc.
Michael La Scala graduated from Roger Williams College in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. A longtime member of the RWU Alumni Board he served as president from 2014-2016. Currently Michael is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Transport Products and Service Enterprises, Inc., a global leader in the sales and service of unique heavy load specialized transportation equipment. Michael has more than 35 years of experience in marketing and sales in a wide variety of industries including Marine, Specialized Transportation, Aerospace, Power Generation and Wind Energy, Security, and Communications. His understanding of both domestic and international sales channels includes Government/Defense, Wholesale, OEM, Catalog, Retail, and Online sales markets. Michael has a great respect and attachment to his alma mater always enjoys not only alumni reminiscing but introducing current and future students and alums into the RWU Community.
Deborah Marchini P’23
Currently a freelance media consultant and speaker, Deborah has also anchored live early morning business programming at CNN and served a business correspondent in New York and then Washington. Deborah received her BA in Journalism from The George Washington University and her son Devon is currently a sophomore at Roger Williams.
Elizabeth McGraw ’10
Ex. Assistant to the President, Radius Financial Group
Elizabeth McGraw graduated in 2010 from Roger Williams with a BA in Communications and a minor in Marketing. After she graduated, she spent another year and a half in Rhode Island working at Ormonde Productions, an event production company. She then moved to Quincy where she worked in Boston in the financial industry as an Executive Assistant at HarbourVest, Saturn and Crescent Capital. In 2010, she decided she was ready to make a change and started working at radius financial group, inc. where she is the Executive Assistant to the owner. Elizabeth currently resides in Pembroke with her husband Phil, who she met at RWU and their two‑year‑old daughter, Izabella. Liz enjoys spending time with her family, doing yoga and spending time on the Cape with her parents and two siblings.
Stephanie L. Noris ’92
Stephanie is the President/Founder of Norbella, an independent media agency in the Boston market. Norbella manages and partners with clients such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cumberland Farms, Athenahealth, Mass State Lottery, Cybereason and many more. Stephanie founded Norbella in 2009 where she built the business from the ground up and now employs over 30 people. The agency manages over $100 million in regional and national media budgets across all media channels. Stephanie recently brought on a new CEO to manage the day-to-day operations of the agency. Her focus will move to new business development and growing revenue and capabilities for the agency.
Prior to starting Norbella, Steph worked in both Boston and New York City as some of the largest global advertising agencies in the country including Saatchi and Saatchi and Arnold Worldwide. Over the years, she managed many noteworthy media accounts including Volkswagen, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, The Hartford Insurance, and AT&T.
Stephanie earned her bachelor’s at RWU in 1992. She and Norbella spend time mentoring and teaching occasional classes to the business and marketing students at RWU.
Tom Olsen ’11
President and CEO of Plymouth Savings Bank (Retired)
Tom Olsen retired as President and CEO of Plymouth Savings Bank in 2005. Prior to retirement he was President and Chairman for approximately 20 years. During his later tenure at the bank merged with Eastern Bank Corp where he served as Vice Chairman for 7 years. Mr. Olsen has served on numerous boards and has done a considerable amount of non-profit work including serving on the board for Cape Code Health Care, which is the Cape Cod Hospital and its various subsidiaries.
John Puniello ’97
President, Arden Engineering, LLC
For more than 30 years, John Puniello has played an integral part in the success of Arden Engineering Constructors, from his initial position as a project engineer to his current role as company President. In addition to overseeing day to day operations, internally and in the field, he supports several divisions covering project management for mechanical, fire protection, and electrical construction, building automation, as well as the service/maintenance and traffic divisions. John also has a passion for training and education. He is an instructor for the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) Institute for Project Management along with being a Cochair for the UA Local 51 Apprenticeship Committee. He also has been on the Roger Williams Construction Management Professional Advisory Board (CMPAB) for over 10 years and recently concluded a term as the Chair of that board.
James Reardon ’13
Senior Security Solutions Engineer, Rapid7
James Reardon is a 2013 graduate of Roger Williams with a Bachelor of Science in Forensics, Networking and Security. Today, Jay is a Senior Security Solutions Engineer at Rapid7, a Cybersecurity & Compliance Solutions & Services company that has been continuing to grow, headquartered in Boston. Jay maintains an extensive knowledge of Rapid7’s enterprise security solutions & service offerings, competitor technologies, and information security concepts. He manages the full technical sales cycle to secure a technical win for all sales opportunities while engaging executive level and technical prospective customers.
Jay’s technical expertise and business insight which started at Roger Williams has continued to develop and keep up to date with the ever-evolving cybersecurity industry. The RWU NETSEC curriculum gave him the start to help launch his security certifications in which he’s added to as the years go on. From RWU classrooms to across the United States and Canada, he has been able to advise companies of all sizes and sectors on their security program.
Adam Risman ’16
Commercial Risk Advisor | Licensed Broker, Risman Insurance Agency, Inc.
Adam Risman is a Risk Advisor with Risman Insurance out of Medford Massachusetts, founded in 1925 by his great grandfather. Risman Insurance is a group of Property and Casualty Insurance agencies that has grown to 11 agencies in 9 brick and mortar locations around the state. Licensed in over 35 states, Risman Insurance helps individuals and business owners with all their insurance needs.
Adam joined the family business 3 years ago and is tasked with producing new business and building a network around him and the agencies. He is extremely involved in his local Chambers of Commerce, real estate groups, and trades groups in multiple industries. He specializes in working with business owners in the manufacturing, construction, and transportation industries, and takes pride in his involvement with his clientele.
Adam also prides himself on his involvement with the growth of the insurance agency as a whole. Serving on the Young Agents Committee, he is tasked with helping increase the involvement in those just coming into the industry, as well as having more young people get involved.
Mark Saccoccio ’93 P’12
President of Saccoccio & Associates Architects
Mark Saccoccio, AIA, NCARB, is the President of Saccoccio & Associates Architects, a Rhode Island architectural firm established in 1973. The firm is a leader in educational, industrial, and commercial design, with its primary practice in New England.
Mark joined the firm in 1980 took over as the firm as President in 1998 from the founder Salvatore Saccoccio. Mark remains actively involved in the firm’s projects, personally overseeing the design decisions. Mark has designed award winning commercial, academic, and public use facilities during his 30+ years of practice. Nationally, his design work in public safety and education has been recognized several times.
His service to the profession of architecture was recognized nationally with the NCARB President’s Medal in 2007. For several years Mark served on the National Architectural Accreditation Board as visiting Team Chair and Team Member. He participated in the accreditation of Columbia University, Drury University, and several other Schools of Architecture throughout the country. Mark is an active member of AIA Rhode Island and served as past President of the chapter.
He is an active member of many communities and professional associations, including the National Council of Architectural Registration (NCARB), Providence Art Club, Cranston Historical Society, and the Independence Square Foundation. For several years he was on the Board of Directors for the Greater Providence YMCA and served as Board Chair in 2014.
Mark A. Schiller ’89
Former President and CEO, The Lane Construction Corporation
Mark A. Schiller is the former President and CEO of Lane Construction. Lane has served the heavy civil construction industry needs for 130 years. Rising to meet the infrastructure and transportations demands of our country, Lane has delivered on numerous diverse projects for a variety of local, state, and federal agencies. Core sectors of work include roadway systems, rail systems, airports, tunnels, and dams. In 2016, Lane was acquired by Italian international contractor, Salini Impregilo – now named Webuild. Through this support, Lane has increased its resources and further expanded its pursuit and portfolio of complex projects while maintaining a steady backlog of work in well-established core US markets.
A graduate of Roger Williams University, Mark was a career employee with Lane spanning 33 years. Early in his career, Mark was assigned to multiple projects in the Washington DC metro area and ascended through the ranks of the organization in response to Lane’s growth and expansion taking on the responsibilities of District Manager and Reginal Vice President overseeing multiple projects and operations. Mark later became the Vice President of Lane’s asphalt plant and paving operations while leading the company through several acquisition opportunities making this segment one of Lane’s most successful. In 2018 Mark joined the ranks of the executive team as COO and in 2019 was promoted to President and CEO.
Currently, Mark is pursuing opportunities in the market and enjoying some “make-up” time with his wife and family.
Mark is an active board member of several industry associations including The Moles, The Beavers, Construction Industry Round Table (CIRT), Construction Industry Ethics and Compliance Initiative (CIECI), Construction Industry Safety Initiative (CISI) as well as the American Road and Bridge Transportation Association (ARBTA) and previously sat on the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) board. Mark and his wife Kathy have been married for 29 years and together have 2 children.
Executive Vice President / Education Market Leader, Shawmut Design & Construction
With over 33 years of construction industry experience, Ron Simoneau has spent the past 27 at Shawmut focusing almost exclusively on delivering challenging projects utilizing innovative delivery models for Higher Education clients. Ron has developed many important long-term client relationships and has been instrumental in expanding Shawmut’s portfolio to become a Top 10 Nationally Ranked Education Builder. As a member of Shawmut’s Executive Management Team, Ron’s responsibilities include further developing existing and new client relationships, procuring work, executive operational oversight, P&L management, and innovation. Ron is a graduate of the Wentworth Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Construction Management and an A.D. in Architectural Engineering. He holds an Unrestricted Builders License in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is a LEED Accredited Professional and holds certifications from the DesignBuild Institute of America and CMLean from the Association of General Contractors.
At Roger Williams, Ron has served as a member of the Construction Management Professional Advisory Board (CMPAB) where he has actively supported student competition teams, helped with the group’s strategic planning and served as a jury member for senior capstone projects. In addition to his involvement at Roger Williams, Ron has also served as a board member for Amos House and the Providence Foundation.
Ernest (Ernie) Smith P’11
Managing Partner, Nawrocki Smith LLP
Since 1989, Ernie has focused his career entirely on internal auditing, investigative auditing, measurement of damages, business valuation and dispute resolution services. He has diversified experience in matters pertaining to loss of earnings, business valuation, bankruptcy, fidelity losses and fraud. Ernie has participated in over one thousand intensive investigations regarding fraud, embezzlement, loss of earnings, business valuations and other related issues. He has provided assistance to counsel, deposition testimony, grand jury and trial testimony in all aspects of litigation related matters including mediation, arbitration and litigation. He has been recognized as an expert witness in accounting/ auditing related matters in both federal and state courts.
Ernie’s son, Andrew, graduated from RWU with a major in accounting.
Judith Vigar P’23
VP R&D, Global Beverages Technology, Engineering and Operations, PepsiCo
Judy is a passionate and hands on Engineering leader in PepsiCo R & D, with 39 years experience in the food industry. In her current role, Judy is responsible for Global Beverages R & D Process Engineering, Water Technology, Equipment Development, Digitalization, Facilities and Operations and she has a large global team of Engineers and Scientists. She has led R&D for the development and launch of many new beverage products around the world for Carbonated Soft Drinks, Gatorade, Tropicana, and other PepsiCo beverage brands. She has expertise in Engineering and Manufacturing of Carbonated and Non-Carbonated Beverages, particularly, in juice-based beverages.
While at PepsiCo, Judy and her family spent close to 4 years in Europe, where she created and led a Beverages R&D satellite lab and was part of the acquisition team for two large Eastern European beverage companies. Judy joined PepsiCo in 2002, following almost 19 years with Procter and Gamble in Food and Beverage Manufacturing, Process Engineering and Product Development. She holds two patents in the area of chelating agent technology. She graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 1983, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and is a member of Tau Beta Pi.
Judy is a certified Project Management Professional through PMI and is currently working towards her Masters in Food Science at Rutgers University. Judy is Secretary on the Board of Trustees at Saint Elizabeth Community in Rhode Island and chairs the Philanthropy Committee. She is also a member of the vestry at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. In addition to her involvement with the Board of Advisors at Roger Williams she is also an active member of the RWU Parent and Family Leadership Council.
Judy has one son, James, who is in his fourth year at Roger Williams University, studying architecture.
Eric N. Zuena ’01
Principal & Founder, ZDS Architecture & Interiors
Eric is the founding Principal of ZDS and a lead contributor to the firm’s continuing success. He carries over two decades of project management experience in the hospitality industry. Eric’s keen ability to direct his staff of talented architects and designers through the successful completion of all of the firm’s projects produces outstanding results for the assignments in which the firm is engaged. Eric is impassioned with providing stellar design solutions that are lucrative for the entire project team. His hands-on, learned, and enthusiastic approach from the onset of a project instills a perpetual forward motion, affording immediate results.
Eric has led the design and project management of numerous luxury hotels and mixed-use properties through the United States, Middle East, China, and Southeast Asia. Some of his greatest works include luxury hotels for clients and major operators in India, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Riyadh. His veteran work experience in both the domestic and international markets equip him with the ability to foresee a myriad of practical and innovative design and business solutions. A strong business sense paired with his innate design talent makes certain for solid project success.
After 15 years as a Principal, Director of Operations, and Lead Project Manager at his previous firm, Eric pivoted his focus to building his firm that threads those international experiences into the more regionalized fabric of the United States. Eric’s daily quest for a successful balance between creative thinking, exceptional design, and efficient execution, reinforces his passion for the design industry and his persistent desire to provide his clients with profitable and successful properties.
Eric is a mentor for young architects and designers in the industry. Eric frequents universities offering his skillful knowledge in portfolio reviews and is a champion of ensuring an optimistic future for the next generation of architects and designers. He received his B.Arch from Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island. He is licensed to practice architecture in multiple states, is NCARB certified, and is LEED accredited. Eric also served as Past President on the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Rhode Island Board of Directors in 2018/19. He was born and still a proud resident of the State of Rhode Island.