Alumni Notes Fall 2012
Danielle Smith is the director of corporate and market development for the V
Foundation. She is tasked with building, managing and executing events for The V
Foundation as well as assisting in the creation of new individual and corporate
prospects in key markets. Smith is also the liaison for all community events nationwide.
She specializes in marketing strategy, event management and new market development.
Prior to arriving to The V Foundation, Danielle served as the Retail Market Manager
at Parata Systems, as well as Marketing Consultant for Wasserman Media Group, a
sports and entertainment marketing firm. She and her husband Chris are kept occupied
with their puppy, Jada.
Sharon Smith Donahue ’96 is senior project staff engineer with Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, overseeing the development of the optical telescope element
simulator for the James Webb Space Telescope. The NASA project launching in 2018
will find the first galaxies that formed in the early universe. Prior to joining
Stinger Ghaffarian in 2007, Donahue worked 15 years with Orbital Sciences and across
other contracts collaborating on NASA’s unmanned scientific spacecraft program.
Demetris Cheatham, JD ’06, MBA ’07 has been appointed the first female
executive director of the National Bar Association (NBA). Prior to her appointment,
Cheatham fulfilled senior management positions within the organization, serving
most recently as interim executive director.
Pete Plotas, EMBA ’10 launched the Be Great Foundation with his wife
Alison in honor of their son Alexander James Plotas. He died on Sept. 21, 2011,
at 13 months of age due to respiratory complications from a severe form of immune
deficiency after a bone marrow transplant. The charity enables advancements in curative
treatments for children with immune deficiency by supporting improvements in bone
marrow transplantation, medical equipment and educational programs for parents.
Matthew Ritsko ’12, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt,
Md., was the 2011 winner of the White House SAVE award. He accepted his award from
President Obama on Jan. 9, 2012. The Securing Americans' Value and Efficiency (SAVE)
award gives front-line federal workers the chance to submit their ideas on how their
agencies can save money and work more efficiently. "Spending time with the president
was a unique experience," said Ritsko, financial manager at NASA Goddard. "President
Obama was very welcoming and easy to talk with. It will be a highlight of my career
that I will always remember."
Richard Ruff "Dick" Stanfield ’56, founder and president of Edrich
Lumber Inc., died Feb. 15 of heart failure at Northwest Hospital Center in Randallstown,
Md., at the age of 77. Born in Baltimore and raised on the family dairy farm in
Randallstown, Stanfield began working in 1956 as treasurer of Edrich Farms Inc.
on Old Court Road in Windsor Mill and was also treasurer of Edrich Farms Nursery
Inc. In 1962, he established Edrich Lumber Inc. and began the operation with a small
mill cutting logs into lumber, with the sawdust and shavings being turned into mulch.
He became one of the largest producers of mulch in the area.
Donna Miller Thibault ’71, past president and current treasurer of
the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors, died of cancer on Dec.
24, 2011, at the age of 69. She was a certified public accountant and certified
investment planner in Virginia. Her professional career included 25 years of federal
service as director of investigative support at the IRS and the General Services
Administration. In 1991, she formed Donna Miller Associates, a CPA firm in Reston.
That firm is now called MillerMusmar.
Patti Shafer ’75, an environmental management consultant with SRA International,
died of lung cancer on Mar. 27, 2012, at the age of 58. She had been with SRA and
the Marasco Newton Group. Much of her work involved contracting and consulting with
the Environmental Protection Agency. She began her environmental consulting career
with the Synectics Group in 1982 and later worked for Weston Solutions. Her specialties
included safe drinking water. She lived in the District and enjoyed dancing and
reading. Survivors include her partner of nine years, Art Achilles of Bethany Beach,
and a brother.
Jeffrey Van Son, MBA ’04, of Winter Park, Fla., died peacefully on
June 15, 2012, surrounded by the love of his family at the age of 41. During his
time at Smith, Jeff and wife Michele Walker Van Son enjoyed living with the women
of the Alpha Chi Omega Sorority as their House Parents. With a desire to help others,
Van Son donated his brain to the Mayo Clinic for medical research. He is survived
by his wife of 10 years, Michele, and their children; Joshua (7), Nicholas (7),
and Lillian (5), who will greatly miss his love and devotion.
Jayne W. Edge MBA ’76 has joined Jenzabar as vice president of marketing. With
more than 30 years experience in the higher education industry, Edge has held various
positions overseeing strategic planning, business development, professional services,
product management and corporate marketing.
Jack Faer ’78 has joined Iron Mountain Inc. as chief security officer. Faer leads
the global security team, responsible for all aspects of Iron Mountain’s corporate
security and safety, fraud prevention, information security, crisis management and
disaster recovery programs as well as the vital security interests of customers.
Patrick Fisher ’79 has joined Flightcom Corp. as director of federal programs.
Fisher is using his more than three decades of experience providing technology solutions
to military and federal agencies to broaden the presence of Flightcom’s wireless
team communication solutions.
Robert Waltz ’71 was elected chairman of Woodsboro Bank in Woodsboro, Md.
David Citron ’82 has been elected to the board of directors for the Network for
Teaching Entrepreneurship. Citron is a CFA, partner and chief investment officer
and principal of WMS Partners, LLC. He is serving a three-year term. Prior to joining
WMS Partners in 2002, David Citron served as director at Carret and Company and
vice president and portfolio manager at Wagner Citron Management Corp.
Lee Jacobs MBA ’87, president of Lescoja Corporation and developer of the Matte
For Men skin care line, launched of Startup Warfare , a website that's sole purpose
is to simply share critical lessons and experiences that he has learned by building
a business from the ground up.
Stephen Kardon ’89 has been named a principal at North Highland Company, an Atlanta-based
business consulting firm.
James C. Kokolas ’83 has been elected managing partner of Calibre CPA Group,
PLLC. He leads the firm's 14 partners and more than 80 employees in Washington,
D.C., and Chicago.
Michael Madia MBA ’86 has joined RREEF Infrastructure Americas as an operating
Rajeev Mehta ’87 was promoted to group chief executive for Cognizant. He joined
Cognizant in 1997 and most recently served as chief operating officer, Global Client
Services. Mehta earned his MBA from Carnegie Mellon University.
Claude Pupkin ’84 is CEO of Genie Energy Ltd, a New York Stock Exchange-listed
company spun off from IDT Corp. in 2011. Genie Energy is one of the largest competitive
retail energy providers in the Northeast.
Jim Bell MBA ‘97 was promoted to executive vice president for Coldwater Creek.
Chris Blade ’98 has been promoted from business manager and human resources director
to general manager at Post-Bulletin Co. in Rochester, Minn. She has worked at the
Post-Bulletin for 11 years and has more than 20 years of accounting management experience.
She was also a Russian linguist and intelligence analysis team leader in the U.S.
Debra Bloom ’90 joins Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Ridgewood, N.J.,
as a sales associate. She is also an advocate for children with food allergies and
in 2007 launched SnackSafely.com, which provides resources to accommodate the needs
of children living with food allergies.
Dana Chen ’91 was promoted to division general manager for the Dallas division
of the Foundation Financial Group.
Laura Freeland MBA ’94 has joined the board of MBA Women International as treasurer
and finance director. Freeland is vice president of American Airlines Cargo Revenue,
and has held a wide variety of management roles in finance.
Matt Raydo ’97 is president and CEO of Valiant Solutions, a federal government
contractor providing IT services and solutions. Raydo, who played on the Terps men’s
basketball team, resides with his family in Wake Forest, N.C.
Michael A. Strauss ’98 is director in the audit, accounting and consulting department
at Ellin & Tucker, Chartered. He also chairs the audit and accounting technical
Debbie-Jo Zarnick ’97 has been promoted to vice president for human resources
of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine Inc.
She joined HJF as assistant director of human resources in 2001 and was promoted
to director of human resources six years later.
Sidra Berman MBA ’01 has been appointed as vice president of international marketing
from Commtouch. Berman has more than 15 years of experience in all aspects of software
and IT services marketing.
Daniel Bernstein MBA ’04 is lead analyst for health-care real estate stocks at
Stifel Nicolaus. He previously served as an associate analyst at Stifel and for
a multiline real estate developer in Bethesda, Md., and as a financial journalist
for Dow Jones Newswire.
Steve Blazejewski MBA ’05 joins Prudential Real Estate Investors as a principal
on the senior housing team. Before joining PREI, Blazejewski worked for Health Care
REIT Inc. where he was vice president of senior housing, and as a vice president
with CSH LLC, an affiliate of the Carlyle Group.
Jason Brager ’04 has been appointed as general manager of the Sofa Store. Brager
is responsible for all hiring and training, customer service issues, vendor relationships,
strategic planning, digital marketing, and website development/maintenance.
Christopher X. Groshko MBA ’05 has been named senior manager of retail banking
by SECU. Groshko most recently was senior vice president of retail banking and insurance
performance at Union Bankshares Corp.
Karan Gupta MBA ’07 was named director of finance and revenue planning at Roadnet
Paul Lang MBA ’06 has been accepted as a member of the American Inns Court of
Bucks County, Pa. Lang practices law for Young, Klein & Associates and is the founder
of the Bucks County Bankruptcy Law Firm, where he assists financially struggling
individuals and families.
Stephen Lehner MBA ’01 has been appointed to the board of directors for Baja
Patrick Maggitti PhD ’06 was appointed dean of the Villanova School of Business.
He is an associate professor of strategic management and entrepreneurship and directs
the Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship. Prior to entering academia,
he spent nearly 15 years in the steel and mining industries.
Robert Malone MBA ’05 has been appointed chief business development officer of
Volunteers of America Chesapeake. He is responsible for identifying and managing
strategic alliances and collaborations with other nonprofit and corporate partners
and leading the expansion of Volunteers of America Chesapeake into additional communities.
Luke J. McCormack MBA ’05 is the new chief information officer of the U.S. Department
of Justice. McCormack will provide leadership and oversight of the department's
information technology programs and services.
Dan Moss ’03 has joined Avante Mezzanine Partners as a senior associate in the
firm’s Los Angeles offices. He worked previously as a senior associate with Amalgamated
Capital in New York and as an associate at MetLife Investments.
Philip B. Nathan ’05 has been promoted to director in the Washington,
D.C., office of FTI Consulting. A forensic accountant in FTI's core litigation practice,
he has been an integral part of a high-profile Ponzi scheme investigation and is
helping to prepare a major international hospitality company for its IPO. In his
free time, he serves the as CFO of the Israeli Bobsled and Skeleton Federation,
which features athlete Brad Chalupski ’06.
Shane L. Newell ’05 was recently promoted to vice president at Valuation Research
Corp. Newell works in VRC’s portfolio valuation practice in Princeton, N.J. and
New York City, focusing on private debt and equity and CLO security valuations.
He also recently co-wrote a published article in a professional journal.
Bettina M. Stopford MBA ’09 has been named vice president of line management
and division manager of the Intelligence Training and Services Division at Science
Applications International Corp. She has also published in the area of all-hazards
emergency preparedness and response.
Laurie Trifoso ’08 has been promoted to client services manager and sales at
Dream Local Digital. She is based in the Bangor, Maine, offices.
Venu Venugopal, MBA ’00 joins Knovel as vice president of product management.
Brett Wilson MBA ’07 has been appointed vice president of products of Commtouch.
Amy Anda MBA ’11 was recently named a director at Credence Management Solutions
LLC. She joins other Smith alumni at the firm, including CEO Prashant Gaur MBA ’88
and Kathryn Goldsmith MBA ’12.
Zachary Chissell ’08 was profiled in The Baltimore Brew for his business,
Real Food Farm.
Johnny Graham ’09, MBA ’12 has been accepted for a Future Faculty Fellowship
at Temple University as a doctoral business administration candidate. A jazz-soul
artist and musical entrepreneur known on the D.C.-Baltimore music scene, Graham
performed in August 2011 at the Kennedy Center. He also has recorded two albums
of original songs.
Brad Kirkes ’07, MBA ’10 has been promoted to vice president of Bayhealth Medical
Michelle Lacey ’10 has been appointed major gifts officer for the American Red
Cross of the Chesapeake Region.
Lynn A. Norris MBA ’10 has been appointed vice president of Human Resources of
Maryland Live! Casino in Hanover, Md. Previously, Norris worked in human resources
management with McDonald's USA for more than 18 years and earned the company's "Best
in Class" award, an honor reserved for the top 5 percent of all McDonald's corporate