Co-chairs: Mike Brubaker and the Rev. Sandra Strauss
Mike Brubaker, Co-Chair
CEO, Blackford Ventures, LLC
Brubaker has over 25 years of experience in leading growing and profitable businesses in the private sector and eight years as a Republican member of the Pennsylvania State Senate, which included chairing the powerful Senate Finance Committee. Since 2015, he has served as CEO of the Lancaster County-based Blackford Ventures, LLC, a private equity and real estate investment firm that invests in innovative ventures. Among Blackford’s primary areas of focus are investments in the acquisition of growing businesses, commercial, industrial and residential real estate, offering finance options that monetize assets and offering private funds for successful public-private partnerships. Mike is an agronomist by training and built several successful agricultural consulting firms prior to his public service. He was a co-founder of the Pennsylvania Legislative Hunger Caucus and currently chairs the Hunger-Free Lancaster County Coalition.
The Rev. Sandra Strauss, Co-Chair
Director of Advocacy & Ecumenical Outreach, Pennsylvania Council of Churches
Sandy joined the staff of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches in April 2004, and her responsibilities include informing, educating, and empowering people of faith on significant public issues, facilitate the work of common ministry and ecumenical relationships, manage external communications, and organize and manage Council events. Sandy received her Master of Divinity degree from Lancaster Theological Seminary and is ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She also holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy Studies from Duke University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Music from the Lindenwood Colleges (St. Charles, MO). She lives in Harrisburg with her husband, David Arnold, a handyman and clockmaker who does many things, but especially miraculous things with wood. Together they have reclaimed a city property on the block behind them for Dave’s clock and watch repair shop, a woodshop, a prolific garden, and a home for tens of thousands of bees.
Richard W. Bryant
Executive Director, Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts
Rick Bryant has been involved with the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts since 1984, when he first volunteered on the Trash Crew. His role grew until he was named Executive Director of the CPFA in 2005. Born in Bellefonte, PA, Rick attended public schools in State College, and afterward the University of Virginia, where he earned a bachelor’s degree from the School of Architecture in 1979. In addition to serving as a long-time Festival volunteer, he has volunteered for many community organizations. He has served on many committees and boards including the board of the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania, the State College Board of Health, the Community Advisory Board for Penn State’s Center for the Performing Arts, and the State College Historic Resources Commission. He currently serves as the vice-chair of the State College Design and Historic Review Board and as the treasurer of the Board of Deacons of State College Presbyterian Church. You can read about Rick’s adventures as a doofus hipster-wannabe at his blog, The Wandering Wahoo.
Jeffrey W. Cooper
Colonel, USAF (retired); Adams County Coordinator, Fair Districts PA
Jeff has been a resident of Gettysburg since 1995. He retired from the United States Air Force in 2001, as a Colonel. In his last assignment he was Chief of Medical Logistics (supplies, equipment, maintenance and support of medical peacetime, aeromedical, and wartime operations). From 2001 to 2017 Jeff was President/CEO of UCP Central PA, a $32M non-profit advocacy and service organization of 1,300 staff supporting children and adults with disabilities. Jeff has a MBA from Florida State University and a MS in Logistics Engineering. He is a graduate of Air War College, National Security Management, and Harvard’s Strategic Perspectives in Non-profit Management executive course. Jeff and his wife Rayna have two daughters who attended Gettysburg schools and are graduates of Penn State University.
Associate Provost & Professor of Psychology, Harrisburg Area Community College
Dr. Doherty is a first-generation college student who was born and raised in Philadelphia. She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and her master's and doctorate degrees in social psychology from the University of Maryland at College Park, Maryland. She previously served on the faculty at Gettysburg College, was Vice-President of Research for Holleran Consulting in Wrightsville, PA, and worked in the drug and alcohol field for Cumberland/Perry Drug and Alcohol Commission and Gaudenzia Concept 90.
President, Customers Bank
Ehst has been President and COO of Customers Bank since 2009. He is an active member of the Berks County community, and is a strong advocate of education. He serves on the Board of Trustees at Albright College and the Reading Health System Foundation.
Commonwealth Professor of Law and Government, Widener University Commonwealth Law School
Prof. Family is a member of DTL’s Central Pennsylvania Steering Committee and is the project’s liaison with the Widener University Commonwealth Law School, which is DTL’s host organization for its central region. At Widener, she directs the Law and Government Institute and is the Commonwealth Professor of Law and Government. She is an internationally-known expert in immigration law, her scholarship focusing on the procedures used to adjudicate immigration issues. She brings her expertise into the law school classroom in courses on civil procedure, administrative law, and immigration law.
Paula Holoviak, Ph.D.
Professor of Political Science, Kutztown University
Dr. Holoviak received her B.A. in Politics and Government and French from King's College in 1985, completed the Master of Public Administration degree at Penn State University in 1987 and earned the Ph.D. in Public Policy and Public Administration from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1994. Dr. Holoviak specializes in public administration, methodology and statistics, and state and local politics. Her current research interests include rural economic and community development and Pennsylvania politics and policy. Dr. Holoviak is currently the program coordinator for the Kutztown University Master of Public Administration program. Dr. Holoviak is the Chairperson for the Pennsylvania Policy Forum and Immediate Past President of the Northeastern Political Science Association. She is also a past president of the Pennsylvania Political Science Association (PPSA) and the current secretary and webmaster for the PPSA. She is writing a book published by Pennsylvania University Press titled Pennsylvania Government and Politics, Unlocking the Keystone State.
Director of Secondary School Services, Programs & Partnerships, Harrisburg University
Korn focuses on providing secondary school students with the opportunity to engage in STEM-related curriculum and activities through Harrisburg University’s Dual Enrollment Program, Early College Program, and Summer Exploration Camps. Ryan also concentrates on creating experiential opportunities in STEM throughout the entire K-12 space, engaging students at a younger age to build an educated 21st-century knowledge-based workforce. Ryan has experience in designing alternative education programming, as a former member of the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Alternative Education Team. Ryan was one of the lead presenters for the PDE Team and has conducted presentations on the state and national level concentrating on best practice models for student education and services. Prior to working in education, Ryan worked as a Forensic Intensive Case Manager within the court system and social worker throughout Dauphin County. Ryan has an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Bucknell University and a Masters in Criminal Justice – Forensic Science from Boston University. He resides in Elizabethtown with his wife, Angie and three boys, Ryan, Xander and Anthony.
Senior Director, Media Relations, Bravo Group
Krebs guides the Bravo Group's media relations team in developing effective media strategies, storytelling and digital-channel amplification. She has a distinguished background in media relations and journalism and was the long-time editorial page editor of The Patriot-News in Harrisburg. She graduated from The Pennsylvania State University and was a member of the Marching Blue Band.
Dan Mallinson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Administration School of Public Affairs, Penn State Harrisburg
Dr. Mallinson has experience as both an academic and public sector practitioner. His expertise is in state and local government, with a primary research focus on how new policy ideas spread among the states. He has also done specific research on medical marijuana, opioid, criminal justice, energy, and environmental policies. Prior to working at Penn State, he was an assistant Professor at Stockton University in New Jersey. Dan previously was a program analyst for the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and an information specialist at the PA Public Utility Commission.
John L. Micek
Editorial Page Editor, PA Media Group, PennLive.com
An award-winning journalist with 25 years' experience working at news organizations across the country, John L. Micek has been PennLive's Opinion Editor since January 2013. Prior to that, he spent 13 years covering Pennsylvania politics for The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa. Micek's work is syndicated nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He's a regular panelist on "Face the State" on CBS21 in Harrisburg and a political analyst for CTV-News in Canada. The Connecticut native is a graduate of Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y., and holds a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Follow him on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek.
President and CEO, Berks County Community Foundation
Kevin Murphy joined Berks County Community Foundation as its first employee in 1994. He is immediate past-chair of the board of directors of the Washington D.C.-based Council on Foundations. Previously, Kevin served two terms as president of Community Foundations for Pennsylvania, and as chair of the board of directors of The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. In 1990, Kevin was named Special Assistant to the Pennsylvania Secretary of Aging. After leaving the Department of Aging in late 1991, he worked as a consultant in the retirement and nursing home industries. A State College native, Kevin graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication and Business. He holds a master of science degree in community leadership from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
R. David Myers
Founding Director, O’Pake Institute for Ethics, Leadership, and Public Service, Alvernia University
Myers has held numerous positions in higher education and state government, having served as the Chief of Staff for the President of Bucknell University and as a major adviser to two Pennsylvania Governors. A graduate of Cornell University, with graduate work in American history at the University of Massachusetts and Rutgers University, he has also served on numerous boards and commissions, including a local school board, a county planning commission, a community hospital board and the boards of several state agencies: the state system of Higher Education Board of Governors, the State Employees Benefit Trust Fund, the State Employees Retirement System and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Dickinson College
Niebler’s research and teaching interests are in American politics, specifically political behavior, campaigns and elections, and public opinion. Her research and analysis has been featured on NPR’s “Hidden Brain”, and in The Hill and Roll Call, among others. Sarah earned her Ph.D. from the Political Science Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During academic year 2012-2013, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee where she worked with a team of researchers conducing statewide public opinion surveys of TN voters. As an undergrad, Sarah attended Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, where she double-majored in Political Science and Philosophy.
President & CEO, WITF
After nearly two decades of leading WITF as President and CEO, Kathleen A. Pavelko is retiring at the end of 2018. During Pavelko's tenure, WITF's journalism has been awarded 13 national Edward R. Murrow Awards and the duPont-Columbia Silver Baton for Multimedia Excellence. Pavelko conceived and led the $21 million capital campaign to build WITF's Public Media Center, which opened in 2007. She also negotiated two spectrum agreements that have generated more than $65 million in assets to WITF. Pavelko launched WITF's first daily interview program (Smart Talk) in 2008 and three multimedia collaborations as well: Transforming Health (begun 2012), StateImpact PA (launched 2013) and Keystone Crossroads (from 2014). Prior to WITF, Pavelko served as president of Prairie Public Broadcasting (1996-99), where she created Prairie Public Radio, North Dakota's first statewide public radio network. In addition to significant national service within public media, Kathleen has also served on boards including Penn State Harrisburg's Advisory Board, the Harrisburg Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Advisory Board of the Harrisburg Corps of the Salvation Army.
Assistant Professor of Political Science, Penn State Altoona
Pyeatt earned his doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In his dissertation, titled "Ideology and Candidate Emergence: Entrants Against Congressional Incumbents," he explores the direct and conditional effects of ideology on candidate behavior. His research interests include U.S. congressional nominations, candidate entry behavior, congressional behavior and representation, Canadian and European elections, race and representation, and macro politics.
Pro Bono Coordinator for Legal Services, Pennsylvania Bar Association
David Keller Trevaskis, Esquire, is an attorney and former third grade teacher with a Master’s Degree in Education. Trevaskis is responsible for assisting local bar associations, legal services programs and other groups who offer pro bono legal services across the Commonwealth to help improve the access to justice for the neediest among us. Trevaskis has long been a champion of non-violence, having been the designer of and original trainer for Project PEACE (Peaceful Endings through Authorities, Children and Educators), a peer mediation, anti-bullying and youth court program jointly sponsored by the PBA and the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General. David is an expert on school law and school crisis. Trevaskis has contributed chapters on bullying and the law, law review articles on youth court and breaking the school to prison pipeline, and pieces on civic education among his other writings. He teaches in the classroom and online at Community College of Philadelphia, Gratz College, Arcadia University and the University of New England. He is also a Past President of the Pennsylvania Council for the Social Studies. Trevaskis is married with two children and two grandsons.
Professor, Communications, Penn State Altoona
Trumpbour is co-author of The Eighth Wonder of the World: The Life of Houston’s Iconic Astrodome (Nebraska University Press), winner of the Society for American Baseball Research’s Seymour Medal and Pete Delohery Award for Best Sports Book in 2017. He is also author of The New Cathedrals: Politics and Media in the History of Stadium Construction (Syracuse University Press) and co-editor of The Rise of Stadiums in the Modern United States: Cathedrals of Sport (Routledge). In addition, Trumpbour has authored numerous book chapters and articles in a variety of venues. He has taught at Pennsylvania State University, Southern Illinois University, Saint Francis University, and Western Illinois University. Prior to teaching, Trumpbour worked in various capacities at CBS for the television and radio networks. He is active with the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the North American Society of Sport History, and the Society for American Baseball Research.