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Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is a powerful and talented body dedicated to the service and stewardship of Sierra Nevada University. For a college of its size, the SNU Board is unparalleled in its depth of experience, philanthropy, and worldly success.
Officers and Committees
Chairman of the Board
- Dr. Atam Lalchandani
- Dr. Wayne Prim
Vice-Chairs of the Board
- Janet Lowe
- Roland W. Schumann III
- Dave Collins
- Warren Kocmond
- Dr. Atam Lalchandani, Chair
- Janet Lowe
- Scott Minick
- Dr. Wayne Prim
- Roland W. Schumann III
- Jim Steinmann
Academic Affairs Committee Chair
- Warren Kocmond
Enrollment Management and Marketing Committee Chair
- Janet Lowe
Facilities & Grounds Committee Chair
- Jim Steinmann
Finance Committee Chair
- Scott Minick
Institutional Advancement Committee Chair
- Dave Collins
Long Range Strategic Planning Committee Chair
- Dave Collins
Meet the Board of Trustees
Dr. Lalchandani holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in operations research from Cornell University. Throughout his career he focused on the application of operations-research techniques to a variety of industrial and government problems and operating roles in the high-tech industry, predominantly superconductors, computer systems, and software. His role gradually increased in scope from strategic planner to chief financial/administrative officer and finally as chief executive officer of a venture-backed software company (representative companies are National Semiconductor and Oracle).
For the past 15 years, he has worked as part-time advisor, board member, and general business mentor to a number of early-stage information-technology companies. Representative companies are Juniper Networks, AtHome Corps, and Cerent & Equinix.
Mr. Prim co-founded the San Francisco law firm of Howard & Prim in 1958 and was a partner until 1983. He was also one of the original founders of Hambrecht & Quist. He has served as chairman of the board of the San Francisco Ballet and the Bob Hope Performing Arts Center (McCallum Theater) in Palm Desert, Calif. He was also a member of the board of directors of Menlo College and the Vintage Club (both in Calif.). He is active in venture capital and LBOs and remains the chief executive officer and owner of Prim & Associates.
Mr. Prim holds a bachelor of arts degree from the Naval Officer’s V-12 Program, Iowa State; a bachelor of science degree in law and accounting from the University of Washington, and a doctor of laws degree from the University of Washington.
- BSChE, University of Texas
- MBA, Rice University
Janet began her career with Shell Oil in refinery process and environmental engineering positions, and was soon promoted to become one of youngest engineers in Shell to hold P&L and line management responsibility for a large refinery manufacturing plant in Martinez, CA.
After leaving Shell for business school, she managed several marketing teams for Compaq Computers and also served as a VP for VYVX, the acquisition arm of Wiltel. In 1989, Janet co-founded CPLEX, a software company that she helped operate for 10 years before selling to ILOG, a publicly traded French company. Janet remained with ILOG in a variety of executive positions as that company grew rapidly from under 300 employees to almost 1000 employees, including executive VP positions in marketing and M&A, before successfully negotiating and executing the sale of ILOG to IBM in 2008. Janet remained as an IBM executive for several years under a retention agreement, but since resigning in 2010 offers consulting related to marketing and M&A, with clients including IBM.
Janet and her husband of 27 years, Todd, have lived in Incline since 1991 and have raised twin daughters in Incline Village. Janet has served on multiple non-profit boards related to education and literacy, and remains a trustee at Sage Ridge School, a private 5-12 college prep school in Reno, NV.
- BA. in Political Science, University of Colorado-Boulder
- MSc. in Information Systems, George Washington University (GWU) Graduate School of Business.
Roland Schumann co-founded SwapDrive, Inc. in 2000 to enable businesses to backup and share their mission-critical information online using secure data centers located off-site, creating one of the first consumer Internet ‘clouds’. Mr. Schumann served as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and as a Board member, playing a key role in the development of new products and strategic plans, until the acquisition of SwapDrive by Symantec Corporation in 2008. Mr. Schumann continued to manage day-to-day operations of the cloud storage business unit as an executive at Symantec, overseeing one of the largest data storage infrastructures in the world. In the summer of 2010, Mr. Schumann left Symantec Corporation to concentrate on his investments, mentor students, and advise entrepreneurs.
Prior to SwapDrive, Mr. Schumann was a senior associate at Booz Allen Hamilton where he provided technical risk management services to the company’s clientele, and a senior project manager and information systems developer for the Advanced Technologies Group within the Thomson Corporation (i.e., Reuter’s, Westlaw, First Call, Janes’), overseeing complex technical projects for investment banking, research, and publishing firms.
Mr. Schumann attained the rank of captain as an intelligence officer and paratrooper in the US Army for 10 years before pursuing a civilian career in business.
Mr. Schumann frequently lectures to on entrepreneurship to both undergraduate and post-graduate students at leading business schools including Thunderbird School of Global Management, George Washington University, and Georgetown University. In addition, he serves as a judge for multiple university business plan competitions.
Mr. Schumann is an active member of the Angel Capital Association and the Sierra Angels, an angel investing group based in the Lake Tahoe Basin. He is a member of the Sierra Angels Selection Committee, where he screens investment opportunities and chooses companies to pitch to the broader membership. Mr. Schumann is also a mentor in GWU’s StarMBA program, a specialized MBA for individuals with strong personal brands such as professional athletes, artists and musicians. He was recognized by GWU as the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Entrepreneur Award.
He and his wife Karen reside on the north shore of Lake Tahoe in Incline Village, Nevada. They have two grown children.
Li Han is the co-founder and CEO of DynaOptics, an optics company pioneering the use of free-form lens technology in cameras. With almost 15 years of experience in technology commercialization, business development and strategy consulting, Li Han cut her teeth at ST Engineering, Singapore’s largest defense and engineering company, and successfully led sales and business development efforts while based in Singapore and London. Subsequently, she was a strategy consultant at Marakon Associates, a boutique top-tier management consulting firm in London, where she advised Fortune 500 clients in the oil and gas, energy, and hospitality industries. Most recently, she was Vice President of Operations at NIREC, a clean energy technology incubator where she worked with universities and research institutions to license and commercialize early stage technologies.
Li Han is a graduate of Stanford University and Sierra Nevada College (Ski Business & Resort Management), a member of the Sierra Angels and an avid climber/skier/biker. She regularly commutes between Asia, Lake Tahoe, and the San Francisco Bay area.
A graduate of Notre Dame and Harvard Law , David practiced law for two years in New York city before joining the Johnson & Johnson law department. There he stayed for 16 years, the last 3 as General Counsel and member of the Board of Directors. In 1978, he moved to the management side, serving in turn as President of McNeil Pharmaceutical, Group Chairman of several Latin American subsidiaries, member of the Executive Committee, Chairman of the world-wide Consumer Sector, and Vice Chairman of the Board. While at J&J, he was a member of the small senior team of executives handling the 1982 and 1986 TYLENOL poisoning episodes, serving as the face of the company in several early TV interviews. Leaving in 1986, he spent 2 years in venture capital, and 5 years as president of the Health Care Products division of Schering Plough Corporation and member of their Operations Committee. Since retiring, he has done consulting and served on the Boards of several public and private companies.
In his private life, he has been active in the Aspen Institute seminar programs, has taught his own course on Corporate Social Responsibility at several colleges and universities, served on the boards of several non-profits including Fairleigh Dickenson University (Chairman), The Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation, and the Incline Village Community Hospital . He and his wife Judy have been residents of Incline Village for 16 years.
After graduating from Columbia University (BSEE) and Hamilton College (BA -Mathematics) in the joint “3-2” Program, Chuck went on to the University of Rochester, where he received an MBA in Finance and Marketing.. He then went on to a 40+ year career with Fortune 500 manufacturing companies, with a focus on product development of consumer and industrial products.
He held positions of increasing responsibility with Litton Industries, Rockwell International Corporation, Maytag Corporation and Masco Corporation, where he retired in 2007 as Group President – Architectural Products, after having been President of Delta Faucet Company , Division of Masco, from 1988-1999. As Group President-Architectural, he was lead executive in acquiring for Masco and managing companies such as Behr Paint, Milgard Windows, Masterchem Industries Ltd., Vapor Technologies, Inc., and a number of additional consumer durable and related technology companies, domestic and foreign. The Architectural Products Group posted sales of several Billion Dollars per year and operations in North America, Europe, and Asia under his direction. Chuck has held, or continues to hold positions on the Board of Directors of six different private, multi-generational for-profit companies. He was previously a member of the SNC Board of Trustees from 2003-2010, with specialty in Finance and Administration. He has guest lectured at Anderson University, Michigan State University and University of Toledo on Leadership.
Recently widowed of his wife of 48 years, Chuck has two grown daughters and six grandchildren. You’ll see him hiking on the Tahoe Rim trail with his brown and white Dalmatian “Blaze”. Chuck has been part of the Incline Community since 2000
Patricia Engels has spent over thirty years in senior leadership positions, mostly in Fortune 500 companies. Her positions include Executive Vice President of Product and Marketing for Qwest; President of Business Process Management, a $4 billion dollar business unit of EDS; and President and CEO, Directory Operations, a $4 billion dollar subsidiary of SBC (now AT&T). She also held similar positions with Ameritech and United Airlines.
Ms. Engels served on the board of directors of Frontier Airlines, where she chaired the compensation committee and was a member of the audit committee. She is currently Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute; Chair of the Board for Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, and Chair-Emeritus of the Board of Trustees for the Arizona Sonora Desert Muse.
She also serves as Trustee for the University of Arizona Foundation, serving on the Finance and Audit and Governance committees, and is a member of the National Board for the University of Arizona Eller School of Business.
Her previous not for profit experience includes board positions at the Art Institute of Chicago (including the Executive Committee); Steppenwolf Theatre; University of Illinois Business Advisory Council; United Airlines Credit Union; and Denver Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. Engels, who is married and lives in Tucson and Lake Tahoe, is a graduate of the University of Minnesota. She enjoys hiking and skiing, and is an avid supporter of the performing arts.
Vanessa Franking earned her BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Memphis in a heavily male dominated discipline.
She worked for Federal Express to pay for her college education and then continued for eleven years where she helped design and deploy the FedEx worldwide data network. She was responsible for the Eastern half of the US network. She became a private pilot during her tenure at FedEx. Her reputation for strong interpersonal and leadership skills in the networking industry and amongst industry groups during her tenure at FedEx attracted Intel Corporation to recruit her in 1994, at which time she moved to California. At Intel she worked both as a network technologist and worldwide program manager for network education in Intel’s Information Technology division. In 1996 she fulfilled a lifelong ambition by competing in and completing the 100th running of the Boston Marathon.
A person of many and varied interests, Vanessa retired from corporate life in 1997 and moved with her husband and two sons to Lake Tahoe where she supported a number of charitable causes including being elected president of the Lake Tahoe branch of the American Association of University Women and serving on the Computer Science Advisory board for Sierra Nevada College. When not enjoying life at Lake Tahoe, Vanessa spends her time pursuing an MFA in creative writing at Antioch University in Los Angeles and enjoying the Caribbean and New England coast on her sailboat which she and her husband keep in Newport, RI.
As vice president for research and innovation and professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno, Dr. Mridul Gautam leads the articulation and implementation of a shared vision for research and guides the administrative division focused on developing world-class research and discovery, the careers and competitiveness of faculty, and the institution’s capacity as a high-impact research university and economic cornerstone of Nevada. Dr. Gautam also serves as President of the Nevada Research and Innovation Corporation. Prior to joining the University in 2013, he served as associate vice president for research at West Virginia University (WVU) as well as the vice president for the WVU Research Corporation.
Under his leadership, Research & Innovation provides the highest quality of services and infrastructure to enable faculty, students and staff to excel in their research, scholarly and creative endeavors and to advance innovation and commercialization. The division helps build interdisciplinary collaborations, assist researchers in obtaining and managing extramural funding, and maintain a safe, healthy and ethical environment in which to conduct research. The division is committed to facilitating connections with industry and fostering regional entrepreneurship and collaboration through an innovative ecosystem, anchored by the Nevada Center for Applied Research and the University of Nevada, Reno Innovation Center—Powered By Switch.
Dr. Gautam is Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. He serves on several national committees including the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities’ Council on Research Executive Committee and its Research Task Force on Laboratory Safety, Board of Directors of the University Economic Development Association, Board of Directors of the Coalition of EPSCoR/IDeA States, and Board of Directors of the Desert Research Institute Research Park, and he is a member of the National Academies’ Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable. As a member of the President’s Council, Dr. Gautam advises on major policy issues and addresses state and national issues of compelling interest to the University’s research community.
Dr. Gautam is an internationally recognized researcher and expert in the area of heavy-duty mobile source exhaust emissions, aerosol sampling, and particulate matter measurement, characterization, and control. He has over 27 years of experience in initiating and managing large interdisciplinary and multi-institutional programs and has served as a principal investigator and/or co-principal investigator on over $80 million in funded research. Dr. Gautam has published more than 400 technical articles including refereed journal articles, symposia/published proceedings and published abstracts of papers presented at professional meetings. In addition to having a licensing agreement to his credit, he is a recipient of the Outstanding Aerosol Paper Award through the American Industrial Hygiene Association and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, the Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award through the Society of Automotive Engineers, and several Outstanding Researcher of the Year awards at WVU.
Dr. Gautam received his doctorate in mechanical engineering from West Virginia University in 1989 and his master’s in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi in 1984.
Bob Hall has been CEO of five different companies spanning the past thirty years. He is known for corporate turnaround and sales growth results in both publicly-traded and private companies, as well as mergers and acquisitions. He specializes in small to mid-market consumer goods & services entities that are utilizing technology to improve their results. Hall frequently serves on corporate boards of such corporations. Among the companies he has headed are Salomon/North America, world leader in winter sports equipment (Salomon) and golf (Taylor Made); Ride Sports (snowboards, wakeboards, apparel); Allegra (Vuarnet brand apparel and sunglasses); Pan-Optx (“7eye” performance eyewear).
Industry service includes two terms as chairman of Snowsports Industries of America (SIA), one term as chairman of American Ski Federation, and one year as executive director of Outdoor Industry Association. Hall earned his bachelor’s degree (Finance & Marketing) at the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado.
Emmett Hall Jr. is a Financial Advisor with Wells Fargo Advisors. Since 1987, Emmett has held numerous positions in the financial services industry, including Branch Manager, Director of Broker Training, and currently Vice President-Investments.
Emmett is an alumnus of Sierra Nevada College, where he majored in Liberal Arts. He is a former member of the U.S. Ski Team and World Cup competitor. His wife and their youngest daughter, Madeleine, are also alumni of SNC and share a family bond with the college.
Emmett was born and raised in Redding, California. He moved to Lake Tahoe to attend college and pursue his dream of being nominated to the U.S. Ski Team. After marrying his wife, Heather, they moved to San Francisco to pursue their careers and raise their daughters.
Emmett raised his daughters, Gabrielle and Madeleine, with his love of skiing, instilling in them a passion for the sport. Ski racing brought the family full circle back to Incline Village in 2010. Today he still understands the importance of discipline and perseverance, and applies the same processes and principles in his daily life.
When not at work, Emmett likes to keep active. He is an avid cyclist and serves on the Board of The Procrastinating Pedalers of Reno-Tahoe, whose mission is to promote safe, non-competitive, recreational bicycle riding and healthy lifestyles in a fun, social atmosphere. He also helps support the efforts of his wife, who serves on the board of the North Lake Tahoe Demonstration Garden at Sierra Nevada College.
Sandy Hardie was born in Sacramento and graduated from Chico State University. For the past 35 years, she has been a real estate investor and developer in the Las Vegas area. Sandy and Steve, her husband of 11 years, spend their winters in Las Vegas and summers in Incline Village.
In addition to her real estate business, she spends a great deal of her time in service to others. She was a founder of the Nevada Women’s Philanthropic Organization and stays involved with its numerous causes. Sandy is a board member of the Wildlife Images Rehabilitation and Education Center in Oregon, and sits on the event committee for The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
Sandy and Steve have a long history as friends and supporters of SNC Tahoe. Steve is a former SNC trustee, and together Steve and Sandy have made significant contributions of both time and resources. Sandy recently opened her beautiful Las Vegas home for an awareness event in Las Vegas, and looks forward to further helping SNC improve the donor and student recruiting visibility of SNC Tahoe in the Las Vegas area.
Walt Higgins is Chairman of the Board (non-executive) of South Jersey Industries and South Jersey Gas Company. SJI is an NYSE-listed energy holding company headquartered in New Jersey that serves retail utility and wholesale natural gas, transmission, marketing, and storage services in the mid-Atlantic states.
He is the retired President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director of Ascendant Group Limited, a diversified energy and infrastructure holding company in Bermuda. Within the Ascendant Group of companies are BELCO, the electric utility for Bermuda, and AG Holdings Limited, which operates several infrastructure and renewable/alternative energy companies serving Bermuda and Cayman Islands. Mr. Higgins was elected to this position June 1, 2012, and retired at the end of September, 2016.
Several years prior to moving to Bermuda, Walt had retired as Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of NVEnergy (formerly known as Sierra Pacific Resources) the electric and gas utility holding company for most of Nevada. Walt was elected to that position in August 2000, and retired as Chief Executive Officer in July 2007. He remained chairman of the board (non-executive) for one year and retired from that position in July 2008.
He was previously the Chairman, President and CEO of AGL Resources, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. AGL is the holding company of Atlanta Gas Light, one of the nation’s largest natural gas distribution companies and the first deregulated natural gas utility in the United States. Prior to AGL, Walt was the Chairman, President & CEO of Sierra Pacific Resources, which he joined in 1993 and served until January 1998. In the early 1990’s he was President & COO of Louisville Gas and Electric Company. Earlier he was a senior executive with Portland General Electric Company in Portland Oregon, where he had various responsibilities the last being as senior vice president over transmission, generation, and power marketing.
Walt graduated with distinction with a nuclear science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 1966. He completed postgraduate nuclear engineering and submarine training with the U.S. Navy and served as a commissioned naval officer in nuclear submarines. He is a graduate of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Executive Program and the University of Idaho Public Utility Executive Course, and completed additional graduate business studies at The George Washington University.
Walt also serves on the board of directors of Aegis Insurance Services, a mutual insurance company. He was previously a member of several corporate boards of directors, including a geothermal power development company, a specialty insurance company, a meter and smart grid manufacturing company, and a heavy industrial manufacturing company providing specialized cooling processes. Walt also serves on the advisory board of an Investment Fund which invests in Clean Tech and Energy Technology.
Walt is an avid boater and golfer. In 2008, 2011 and 2016, he and and his wife Jacqueline took their boat on three month voyages to Alaska. Walt and Jacqueline also enjoy travel and their grandchildren. In 2017 they spent nearly two months in Italy, Croatia and the UK.
Walt was born in Washington, D.C. and reared in Medford, Oregon. He and Jacqueline live in Reno, Nevada. They have a daughter who is a physician, college professor, and dean of students in Nashville, Tennessee (three granddaughters) and a son who is a branch general manager in Portland, Oregon (one granddaughter and one grandson).
Jen is a co-founder and Managing Principal of the KAP Group (KAP), which provides investor relations and fundraising services to private equity managers at all stages of the firm’s lifecycle. Prior to founding KAP in 2009, Jen was a Vice President in the Real Estate Private Fund Group at Credit Suisse, responsible for raising capital from institutional investors for private real estate managers globally. Before her distribution role, Jen advised and prepared real estate managers through each stage of the capital raising process, including real estate private fund and joint venture opportunities in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia representing over $5 billion in equity raised. Prior to that, Jen was a founding member of DLJ Strategic Partners, a private equity fund focused on secondary limited partnership opportunities in private funds globally. Jen started her career in the Real Estate Finance and Securitization Group at Donaldson, Lufkin, and Jenrette.
Jen earned a Masters of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School, where she continues to be involved in alumni fundraising initiatives. She graduated magna cum laude from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor of Business Administration.
Jen serves as a Board Member for Civic Builders, a non-profit real estate firm that builds charter schools in underserved areas in and around New York City; she is also a Board Member of the Harvard Club of Northern Nevada.
Jen lives in Reno, Nevada, with her husband, Karl, and their two daughters, Hannah and Marley.
Bruce James served as the 24th Public Printer of the United States and CEO of the United States Government Printing Office (GPO) from 2002 to 2007. In 2006, he was named Federal civilian executive of the year in recognition of the transformation of the Government Printing Office from a traditional heavy-metal printing operation into a multidimensional digital information organization serving the three branches of government.
Additionally in Washington, he served as a member of the National Digital Strategy Advisory Board and as chairman of the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine. He currently serves as a member of the U.S. Comptroller General’s Advisory Board.
Bruce served as a Sierra Nevada College trustee from 1997 to 2005. He first served on the Finance and Executive Committees. He was elected chairman of the board of trustees in 1999 and became chairman-emeritus in 2002. Since 2012 he has served on the SNC advisory board.
Bruce graduated from the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology in 1964. He has served as a member of RIT’s board of trustees since 1994 and is now chairman-emeritus. He received the University’s Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1996, was the commencement speaker in 1998 and was elected chairman of the board of trustees in 2002. In 2005, RIT created the Bruce R. James Distinguished Public Service Award which annually recognizes a student for exemplary public service.
During a business career spanning more than 30 years in San Francisco, he founded and led 13 technology-driven printing and publishing organizations operating throughout the world. In addition to numerous business boards, Bruce has served on and chaired more than 20 governmental, charitable and educational boards, commissions and task forces. For his contributions to his home state, the Nevada System of Higher Education awarded him an honorary degree and in 2013 gave Bruce its highest honor, naming him a Distinguished Nevadan.
Bruce and his wife Nora reside in Crystal Bay. They have three grown sons and six grandchildren, all in San Francisco.
Roger is a longtime North Tahoe native, having lived in Tahoe City, CA for 56 years. He joined the family retail business, Porter’s Ski & Sport, shortly after graduating from UC Berkeley. He grew the business from a single retail store to a chain of four, which he ran for thirty years until selling in 2002. The business received many industry and local awards over that period. Roger currently owns & manages several north shore commercial buildings, including some of which house Porter’s stores.
Roger has served on several community & ski industry boards of directors, including the Tahoe City Public Utility District, the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, the Tahoe Truckee Excellence in Education Foundation, the Placer County Economic Development Board, the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, Sports Specialists Limited, the Tahoe Fund, the Tahoe Forest Hospital District, and currently the Tahoe Prosperity Center.
Roger was named Citizen of the Year by the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association in 2002 and was an Olympic relay torch bearer prior to the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. He has been married to his wife, Vicki, for 37 years. They have two children, S. Victoria Kahn and Alexis Kahn. Roger is an avid skier, hiker and kayaker.
Representing Senate District 16
First elected to the Nevada State Senate in 2010, Ben Kieckhefer was re‐elected in 2014 to represent a district that covers southern Washoe County and the entirety of Carson City. Ben was elected into Senate Republican Caucus leadership following the 2012 elections, and in 2015 was chosen as the Senate’s Assistant Majority Leader and Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
Prior to his election, Ben served the State of Nevada as communications director for Governor Jim Gibbons and public information officer for the Department of Health and Human Services. He is also a former journalist, having worked for the Reno Gazette‐Journal and the Associated Press covering government and politics.
The majority of Ben’s work in the Nevada Legislature focuses on budget and tax policy, healthcare, and education. His accomplishments include the creation of Nevada’s first need‐ based scholarship program for community college students, the development of alternate routes to licensure for Nevada teachers, the creation of a statutory sunset committee to review state government operations, and legislation cracking down on child sex offenders.
Outside of the Legislature, Ben works full‐time as the Director of Client Relations for the statewide Nevada law firm McDonald Carano Wilson LLP, and also serves on numerous charitable boards in northern Nevada.
Among Ben’s numerous honors, he was recognized as a 2011 winner of Reno‐Tahoe Young Professionals Network’s Twenty Under 40 awards, he was selected as a Fellow in the 2013 class of the Aspen Institute’s Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership, and he was recognized by the Builders Association of Northern Nevada as the 2015 Outstanding Public Official.
Ben completed his undergraduate studies at DePaul University in Chicago, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He also received a Master of Arts in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois – Springfield.
Despite Ben’s enthusiasm for public policy, his family remains his first priority. Ben and his wife April have two sets of boy‐girl twins: Aspen, Austin, Lucy, and Lincoln. In what little free time he can find, Ben likes to fish, ski, hunt, and cheer tirelessly for the Chicago Cubs.
Barry M. Klein received his Ph.D. in condensed matter theory from New York University in 1969 following an undergraduate degree in Engineering Physics from NYU in 1962. From 1969-71 he held a postdoctoral appointment at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). In 1971 he became a member of the NRL staff working in condensed matter theory and in plasma physics on the theory of x-ray emission from laser-produced plasmas. In 1978 he became head of the NRL Electronic Structure of Solids Section, leading a theoretical effort in electronic structure studies of a wide range of solid systems, with particular emphasis on fundamental investigations of superconducting properties and point defects. In 1984-85 he was Program Manager for Condensed Matter Theory and Acting Section Head for Condensed Matter Sciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Returning to NRL in 1985, Dr. Klein became Branch Head for Condensed Matter Physics, supervising efforts in experimental x-ray physics, plasma spectroscopy and synchrotron radiation, in addition to theoretical condensed matter research. In 1989 Dr. Klein became Branch Head for the Complex Systems Theory Branch, leading a theoretical effort involving over 20 scientists engaged in studies of a wide range of condensed matter properties from electronic structure theory, to many body theory, to atomic physics. In 1992 Dr. Klein became Professor of Physics and Chair of the Department of Physics at the University of California, Davis. In 1998 he was appointed to the position of Vice Provost for Academic Personnel at UC Davis, a position he held for three years. On July 1, 2001 Dr. Klein was appointed Vice Chancellor for Research at UC Davis, a position he held until September 2010. He is currently Professor of Physics and Director of the McClellan Nuclear Research Center at UC Davis.
Dr. Klein is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), a Fellow and Chartered Physicist of the Institute of Physics, and he is a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He has also been Chair of the APS Division of Computational Physics. He was the recipient of a New York City Mayor’s Committee on Scholastic Achievement undergraduate scholarship, a NASA Graduate Fellowship, and a National Research Council Postdoctoral Associateship. He has received several government awards including a Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1992. He has been a member of numerous NSF, DoD and DoE and DOE Laboratory committees including: the NSF Supercomputing Center Peer Review Committee; the High Performance Computing Advisory Board for Los Alamos and Oak Ridge National Laboratories; the Advisory Committee for Physical Sciences and Space Technology and the Director¹s Advisory Committee at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; and the Materials Science and Technology Advisory Committee at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He has been involved in developing and supporting numerous major research initiatives at UC Davis, and he has served on many committees and boards in support of UC Davis, the UC system, and the international scientific community.
Dr. Klein’s condensed matter research efforts have been in electronic structure theory and applications, studying the fundamental properties of condensed matter systems using theoretical and computational approaches. He has over 140 research publications.
Warren C. Kocmond, Chairman and CEO of BG Radia Corporation, Research Professor of Atmospheric Physics. Prof Kocmond brings extensive senior-level management experience to the SNC Board and has directed operations of companies ranging from a few scientists and engineers to several hundred professionals. With a mathematics degree from the Univ of Arizona and a masters in meteorology from Penn State University, Kocmond went on to become Head of Atmospheric Physics at Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory when he was 29.
In 1978 Kocmond was named Executive Director of Atmospheric Sciences at the Desert Research Institute and later Acting President of the Institute in 1983. While at DRI he was honored as one of a handful of scientists to have his experiments chosen for flight on board space shuttle’s Atmospheric Cloud Physics Laboratory (ACPL). In 1984 Prof Kocmond became President of Sierra Nevada Corp, a navigation and avionics firm specializing in proprietary product development. SNC is now the largest defense contractor in the state of Nevada. Currently he is Chairman and CEO of BG-Radia Corp, an award winning designer and manufacturer of high performance loudspeakers that qualify as some of the finest audio products in the world.
He is a 36 year resident of Incline Village and is married to Janet Pahl, recognized as a long time friend of Sierra Nevada College.
Mr. Minick is Venture Partner at the venture capital firm ARCH Venture Partners, and was instrumental in the startup, development and financing of numerous ARCH portfolio companies, including BIND Therapeutics.
Mr. Minick served as the President and CEO of BIND Therapeutics, Inc. from 2009 to 2014, where he built a broad cancer clinical pipeline and completed a successful IPO in 2013.
From 1995 to 1998, Mr. Minick was Director, President and Chief Operating Officer of SEQUUS Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing cancer therapeutics Doxil® and Amphotec® it was acquired by ALZA Corporation in 1999 for $580 million.
Mr. Minick received his postgraduate training in neurobiology at the Salk Institute, an MBA from Northwestern University and a BA from the University of California at San Diego.
Currently, Mr. Minick serves on the for-profit boards of Alzheon, Chiasma and Aira and the non-profit boards of Northwestern University Invo Board, Beth Israel Deaconess and Classical Tahoe.
Richard Offerdahl began his first business, a paper route, in 1953 at age 10. He was granted a BSEE in 1965, and worked in the computer industry until 1981.
In 1981 he co-founded Zycad Corporation, serving as its President until 1986. Zycad’s 1984 IPO raised $30 million. While he was President of Zycad, sales rose to $25 million per year.
In 1987 he purchased majority interest in DigiBoard (which became DGII, Digi International), a maker of computer serial cards and ports for connecting peripherals to networks, and became its first outside Director. While Mr. Offerdahl was associated with DGII, sales rose from $3 million to $160 million per year.
Mr. Offerdahl helped start Harbor Medical in 1989. As Lead Director he merged Harbor with American Biosystems, which became Advanced Respiratory and was sold to Hillenbrand (HI) for $129M. He has also been a Director and/or investor in a variety of small companies, most of which failed or are not yet successful. His experience ranges from starting companies, financial management, and boards of directors, to building renovation and both residential and commercial construction.
He has been a donor to and friend of SNC since 1997, including Board membership (and briefly Chairman) during troubled times.
Robert Preger’s career spans over 25 years in the Software Industry. After graduating with a BSEE from Carnegie Tech in 1962, Bob held a number of positions in the formative years of the Software Industry and eventually became part of the original management team at Oracle in 1980. Bob retired from a sales and marketing position shortly after Oracle’s successful IPO in 1986. As an independent investor, he has been instrumental in the development of several small companies in Northern California. Bob has supported a number of initiatives at Carnegie Mellon University, including an Architectural CAD Lab, The Intelligent Workplace Facility, and most recently, the Entertainment Technology Center. Bob’s support of the Intelligent Workplace Facility resulted in the facility being named for him.
Bob and his wife Eleanor have resided in Incline Village since 1987 and have served on the Board of SNC for over 10 years. In 2000, Bob and his wife provided the lead funding for establishing a Computer Science Major at Sierra Nevada College, and chaired the Computer Science Advisory Board at the college.
Ben Solomon earned a BA in Mathematics at UC Berkeley where he lettered in gymnastics, and an MA in Mathematics from UC Davis. He received an honorary Doctorate in Education from Sierra Nevada College (SNC). His teaching career included positions at UC Davis, the University of Victoria, LA State University, and SNC. Ben’s primary subject was mathematics, but he also taught literature and alternative energy and coached gymnastics.
He was the CEO of SNC for 25 years, holding the titles of Administrative Director (1970 – 1980), President (1980 – 1993 and 2003 -2005), and Chancellor (1993 -1994). During his tenure the College grew from 23 full time students and three converted buildings to several hundred students and an energy efficient campus with five buildings, two utilizing passive solar heating and one which received an LEED “Platinum” rating.
Ben also owned and managed TranSierra Capital which was the highest ranked “fixed income” investment firm in the US from 1995 to 2003. He lives in Incline Village with his wife Margaret in a “net zero” house which incorporates devices patented by Ben. The 1,500 watt PV system produces enough surplus electricity to power their converted plug-in Prius.
Jim was raised in rural Wisconsin farm country and graduated from Purdue University with degrees in Engineering and Industrial Management in 1967. He was a resident of Beverly Hills, California for 22 years, and relocated to the Brockway area on the North Shore of lake Tahoe with wife, Jan in 1990.
Jim was employed by North American Aviation and Computer Science Corporation to plan and develop facilities for the military and space program systems including B-1, F-111, and Apollo and seven data centers around the world prior to starting his Facility Planning and Development Consulting firm in 1973. Recent projects include convention centers, public libraries, the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, projects in Germany, courts in Kuwait, and buildings for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Military Intelligence Agencies, and a number of state and local government/office buildings.
Jim guided the design and construction of the Prim Library and The Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences. He is now semi-retired with projects in San Diego and occasionally overseas. Jim and Jan enjoy skiing, the social life of the North Shore, and travel extensively.
Roger Wittenberg’s background as a scientist, entrepreneur, and inventor has led him to found several companies that focus on recycling materials into reusable products. His most successful venture, the Trex Company, has turned billions of pounds of recycled and reclaimed plastic, including 1.3 billion grocery retail bags and waste wood each year, into alternative wood products. After retiring from Trex, Wittenberg founded International Supply Consortium LLC, which takes on projects that use innovative building technologies and real estate projects that utilize these same sustainable materials.
Wittenberg’s passions for recycling, green technology, and innovation are now being applied to projects in his own backyard, North Lake Tahoe. As a Foundation board member of Sierra Nevada College, Wittenberg helped move the campus’s Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences to a Platinum LEED status through the use of Trex products and other innovative green strategies. And, his passion for sustainability now drives the mission of a local Crystal Bay project: Boulder Bay Resort, through which he aims to create a new model for the resort/community experience that embraces innovative green technologies and provides a sense of place for visitors and locals. Roger lives with his wife Beatrice in Incline Village, with his extended family nearby.