University of Vermont

College of

Board of Advisors


The Board of Advisors for the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) consists of leaders in business, education and public affairs appointed for the purpose of advising the Dean of the College as well as the Provost and the President of the University on opportunities for enhancement of the College.

The Board links the College to its alumni, the local community, the state of Vermont, the nation and the world of professional practice. It enables the College and the University to benefit from the experience and counsel of persons external to the University who have a wide range of experience, knowledge and expertise. The Board helps to make the activities and accomplishments of the College more widely known in order to enhance public recognition. It also assists in strengthening financial support for the College.

Steve Arms

Visible Electrophysiology


Steve Arms received his Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Vermont in 1983. Immediately after grad school, he founded MicroStrain, Inc., a Vermont based manufacturer of micro-displacement sensors, miniaturized inertial sensors, and wireless sensing systems for tracking and reporting structural component loads and strains. As President and CEO of MicroStrain from 1987-2012, Steve was awarded 59 US patents, published over 25 journal articles, and contributed to over 50 abstracts in areas of advanced instrumentation, wireless sensing, and energy harvesting. The Lord Corporation acquired MicroStrain in a successful asset transaction in September of 2012. Currently working as a consultant, Steve's planning his next entrepreneurial venture.

William "Buff" Blanchard

Wm. Blanchard Co.


William “Buff” Blanchard is the sixth generation of the Blanchard family to own and operate Wm. Blanchard Co. Wm. Blanchard Co. began operation in 1860 at the beginning of the Civil War in Newark, New Jersey. As specialists in building brick baking ovens, the Civil War allowed the company to grow through increased demand for baking capacity. Industrialization and the growth of Newark, NJ allowed Wm. Blanchard Co. to transition into general building construction and for over 154 years, Wm. Blanchard Co. has continued to operate as a general contractor / construction management firm in the State of New Jersey.


Wm. Blanchard Co. is currently the premier healthcare construction management firm in the State of New Jersey with a special emphasis on acute care facilities.


Buff has 25 years of experience at Wm. Blanchard Co. Prior to Wm. Blanchard Co., Buff was employed as a systems engineer for Electronic Data Systems, (EDS). At EDS, Buff worked in New Jersey and Colorado helping AT&T transition their customer billing information and procedures to the individual Bell Systems.


In addition to his work at Wm. Blanchard Co., Buff is also the managing member of several real estate investment partnerships. Buff is actively involved in all aspects of real estate investment and development. The portfolio includes office, retail, industrial and residential properties.


Buff received a Bachelor of Science in computer science from the University of Vermont and an MBA from Columbia University. Buff was a member of the New Jersey Building Authority for many years and is still a long time member of the Board of Trustee at The Peck School, Morristown, NJ.


Buff and his wife, Michele (UVM class of 1985) live in Morristown, New Jersey. They have three daughters: Baily (Dickinson College), Dylan (University of Vermont) and Devin (Morristown-Beard School).

James Colelli

Project Manager
IBM Corporation


Jim Colelli is a Senior Engineering Manager at IBM’s advanced semiconductor manufacturing and development facility located in Burlington, Vermont. Jim currently manages the engineering organization within IBM’s only photomask fabricator.


Jim joined IBM in 1987 at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, and has also worked at IBM’s advanced development facility in East Fishkill, NY before moving to Vermont in 1993. Jim has worked as a research and development engineer, primarily in the areas of LASER ablation, photolithography and metrology, and holds several patents in these areas. More recently, he has held several engineering management positions across IBM’s semiconductor business, and has been on staff to the Burlington senior site executive.


Jim received a BS degree in Optics from the University of Rochester – College of Engineering, and an MBA degree from the University of Vermont. He has remained active in the UVM community through his connections with the business school; as an advisory board member for both the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences as well as the School of Engineering; and as a recruiting manager. Jim has been an active campus recruiting manager at the University of Rochester, RIT, University of Oregon, and UVM for more than fifteen years.


Jim enjoys many Vermont outdoor activities including hiking, biking, skiing, and photography.

Ron Dechene

Auburn Systems


Ron Dechene founded Auburn Systems more than 30 years ago and continues as CEO. Focused on several entrepreneurial air pollution initiatives, the company continues to innovate and create new ideas and concepts and maintains a large installed base of monitoring and control equipment across the United States and around the world. The company is presently in the process of adapting proprietary Auburn air pollution control technology for the People's Republic of China with the cooperation of several PRC technical institutes.

Ron graduated from UVM in 1966 a pre-med major with a degree in history, lives in Boxford, MA, and has numerous U.S. and foreign patents relating to environmental monitoring and manufacturing process applications. He returns to the CEMS Board of Advisors after serving for several years and on the advisory board of the School of Business Administration.

Active in numerous community activities, Ron has served as trustee and treasurer of the Shore Country Day School (Beverly, MA), on the Board of Directors of the North Shore Regional YMCA (Northeastern, MA), and a member of the Town of Boxford, MA Conservation Commission.

Karl S. Fessenden

Vice President – Alstom Integration
GE Power & Water


As the Alstom Strategic Planning Leader for GE, Karl S. Fessenden is responsible for creating a comprehensive transition plan the Company can implement once it has received the appropriate approvals to move forward. He works closely with the Power & Water and Energy Management teams to create a detailed approach and plan for the Company’s integration efforts. Karl’s plan is a critical first step in ensuring GE is positioned to meet the performance expectations from the acquisition, which is expected to close mid-2015.


Karl has more than 28 years of engineering, operations and leadership experience. He began his GE career with GE Aviation in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1996 as a senior project engineer. His leadership, operations and businesses skills led to successively larger leadership roles with GE Aviation, including General Manager of Aviation Parts, and Managing Director of Aviation’s engine overhaul facility in Wales, United Kingdom.


He joined GE’s Energy business in 2005 as General Manager of Parts & Repair Services for gas and steam turbines, as well as generators. In 2009, he was promoted to General Manager of the Contractual Services business, leading a team of 1600+ employees in over 100 locations globally and overseeing a portfolio of $35B in long-term services agreements. In 2010, he was promoted to President & Chief Executive Officer for GE’s Power Generation Services business, a $7 Billion business with 7,600 employees in more than 100 countries globally. He led the PGS team to develop and deliver a global services strategy that offers electric utility and industrial customers the technology, knowledge and insight they need to manage the entire lifecycle of their power plants. He was named an Officer of the General Electric Company in 2011 and to his current role in 2014.

Prior to joining GE, Karl held engineering roles with Pratt & Whitney in Hartford, Connecticut, as well as sales & marketing roles with Air Products & Chemicals in Allentown, Pennsylvania.


He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Vermont, as well as a Master’s degree in management from the Hartford Graduate Center of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Connecticut.


Karl is the executive sponsor of GE Power & Water’s Corporate Leadership Staff program and is actively involved in several of GE’s affinity network groups. He is also actively involved with the March of Dimes as an Executive on the Atlanta Leadership Committee, and he sits on the Georgia Board of the March of Dimes. He also sits on the University of Georgia’s Engineering Advisory Board, as well as the University of Vermont Board of Advisors for the College of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences.


Karl, his wife Mary and son Stephen Sang live in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Katharine Frase

Vice President and CTO, Global Public Sector
IBM Corporation


Katharine Frase was appointed Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, IBM Public Sector, in March 2013. As CTO, she provides thought leadership for IBM and its customers on innovation and strategic transformation specific to government, education, life sciences, healthcare and cities, driving the creation of new solutions. Prior to this role, she was Vice President, Industry Solutions Research, working across IBM Research on behalf of IBM clients, to create transformational industry-focused solutions, including the application of "Watson" technologies to business applications and the realization of Smarter Planet solutions. Earlier roles included technical and business strategy for IBM's software business, corporate assignments on technology assessment and strategy, and roles in IBM Microelectronics in the management of process development, design/modeling methodology and production of chip carriers, assemblies and test. In 2006, she was elected as a member of the (U.S.) National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Frase received an A.B. in chemistry from Bryn Mawr College and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the IBM Academy of Technology and sits on numerous external committees and boards.

Mark Manning, Vice Chair CEMS BOA

Vice Chair
Eliza Corporation


Mark Manning is the Chief Revenue Officer for Eliza Corporation, a member and provider health engagement company, focused on improving communications and the quality of care for members and providers that are working with the largest health insurers and drug benefit management companies.


Mark has over 25 years of Senior Management experience in health insurance and healthcare technologies designed to improve the quality of clinical care, create efficiencies in administrative activities and resolve gaps in care.


Mark was CEO of Healthx, a portal for health plans and TPAs to interact with their members, providers and brokers around supporting information processing and management. He was also Vice President and Managing Director of Pegasystems Healthcare Unit. Mark’s unit built applications to support all core functions for health plans and pharmacy companies. This business unit ran applications for all 50 of the largest insurance companies, ten largest pharmacy management companies and Medicare/Medicaid. Mark was involved with the startup and growth of HMO Blue in Massachusetts, as Senior Program Director, growing this HMO to over 1.6m lives under management. He also worked for Solucient HCIA, a healthcare informatics company, as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of the health plan and self-insured employer businesses. Mark was also Senior Vice President at the Codman Research Group.


Mark has presented at several healthcare industry events on many topics including Provider Contracting, Claims Management, Risk Adjustment, Provider Profiling, Healthcare Small Area Analysis, and Disease Management.


Mark received his Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Vermont in 1985, and a Master of Healthcare Administration from the University of Massachusetts in 1989. He currently serves as a Board member for Virtusa Corporation, a public company involved with product development and software project delivery.

Kenneth A. Pidgeon

Engineers Construction Inc.


Kenneth A. Pidgeon, PE is a 1984 graduate of the UVM Civil Engineering Program and the recipient of that years Edward H. Phelps Award for "conspicuous merit and character." Ken received his masters of science in civil engineering from the University of New Hampshire in 1986.


Ken is currently the President of Engineers Construction, Inc. of Williston, Vermont, a second generation family-owned heavy civil contractor. Aside from his executive duties, Ken's leadership is focused on his vision of the future, his role as the lead technical specialist, and maintaining a corporate culture of quality, safety, and integrity. Ken's company is frequently involved in various construction projects on the UVM campus.


Ken is a registered professional engineer in three states but generally limits his practice to design/build construction performed by ECI, including deep foundation systems, ground anchors, temporary excavation support systems, underpinning systems, rigging for crane picks, and other temporary shoring and bracing. He has co-authored seven technical publications, most recently in the 2011 Proceedings of the Rapid Excavation & Tunneling Conference in San Francisco for a paper entitled "Burlington Tunnel Emergency Repairs: A Case History." Ken is a long-time member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (continuous since his student membership at UVM), the American Railway Engineers & Maintenance-of-Way Association, and a director of the Associated General Contractors of Vermont. Ken was also recognized as the ASCE-Vermont Engineer of the Year in 2008.


In 1998 Ken and is father, Alan (UVM BSCE 1960), were awarded US Patent #6,193,440 for their Rail Plow Apparatus which is used to install conduit and cable along railroad lines.


Ken and his wife, Sherry, reside in Essex Junction, Vermont with their 3 dogs. They have two grown children - Beth (currently a UVM Geology Major) and Tommy (recent graduate of USMC Parris Island with plans to pursue Civil Engineering at the University of New Hampshire in 2014 while on reserve duty). Aside from work and engineering, Ken is passionate about UVM sports, fly fishing, salmon fishing on Lake Champlain, and bicycling. Ken is a member of the Vermont 251 Club with the ambition to cycle through all of Vermont's 251 towns. He is currently over 50% complete.


Renee I. Robyor

Sr. Principal Systems Engineer
General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, Inc.


Renee I. Robyor is currently a Supplier Quality Engineer for General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD-OTS) in Williston, VT. In her current position, she functions as the Quality Engineer for suppliers of Hydra-70 rocket components and as a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. In addition to those duties, she implements process improvements and supports domestic and international proposal preparation within her Strategic Business Unit.


Prior to working at General Dynamics, she worked at Fluor Hanford, Inc., in Richland, WA, as a Systems Engineer where she managed requirements and process documentation. While in Washington, she also taught a Systems Engineering course at Washington State University, Tri-Cities campus. Additionally, Renee worked with the Department of the Navy as a Mechanical Engineer for twelve years. Seven years were spent in Corona, CA, working on the Navy Metrology and Calibration program. Five years were spent in Lakehurst, NJ providing support equipment for Navy and Marine Corps aircraft.


She received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1984, and an MS in Systems Management from the University of Southern California in 1994.


She belongs to professional organizations such as the International Council on Systems Engineering and the National Defense Industry Association. She currently serves on the Board of Advisors for both the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences and the School of Engineering at the University of Vermont, and supports the UVM Technical and Society Connection (TASC) planning committee and annual competition.

Greg Santoro, Vice Chair CEMS BOA

Vice President
NII Holdings, Inc.


Greg Santoro is Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer for NII Holdings, Inc., a provider of differentiated mobile communication services for businesses and high value consumers in Latin America. With operations in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile, NII is a Fortune 500 company and trades on the NASDAQ market under the symbol NIHD.


Mr. Santoro is responsible for corporate strategy, product marketing and management, and new service development at NII. He coordinates the development of NII’s long term strategic plan and leads key strategic growth initiatives, such as mobile data, wireless broadband, and the next generation network program.


Additionally, Mr. Santoro oversees product management and development, which comprises the subscriber equipment portfolio, wireless data and enhanced voice products. He also establishes and drives the cross-market marketing, branding, and sales support initiatives necessary to help NII meet its key business objectives.


Prior to assuming his current position, Mr. Santoro was vice president of product innovation at Sprint Nextel Corporation and vice president of products and services for Nextel Communications, Inc., where he was responsible for managing Nextel’s suite of voice, data, digital media and custom network solutions. In this role, he represented enhanced voice services, such as the Direct Connect™ family of Push to Talk™ services, directory assistance and calling features; subscriber units; wireless data services, such as messaging, BlackBerry and mobile office products; enterprise solutions targeted at vertical industries; digital media; and in-building and campus solutions. Mr. Santoro was also responsible for Nextel’s e-business services organization, which oversaw the website, its on-line store and the MyNextel customer self-service center.


Prior to joining Nextel in 2000 as vice president of Internet and Wireless Services, he served as vice president of Product Development at, where he was responsible for managing and developing BellSouth’s portfolio of Internet products. These included the company’s™ consumer Internet service, business Internet access products, consumer ADSL services, and web hosting.


Mr. Santoro is a founding member of the CTIA wireless association’s Wireless Internet Council, where he has helped foster cross-carrier initiatives to improve the access and breadth of wireless services for all mobile customers in the US and abroad.


Mr. Santoro holds a master’s in business administration from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a master’s in engineering management from Northwestern University. He also holds a bachelor of science degree in computer science (cum laude) from the University of Vermont.

John "Jack" Scambos, Chair CEMS BOA

Aqueous Recovery Resources, Inc.


John (Jack) Scambos founded Aqueous Recovery Resources, Inc. (ARR) in 1990 targeting the emerging market in industrial water recycling and reuse. Initially, a consultancy to Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell and Sun Oil co., ARR, Inc., specializing in oil~water separation and recovery, manufactures a variety of equipment targeting the metal working and finishing, food-service, pharmaceutical, and marine market sectors focusing on reducing process Water Footprint. Jack leads the worldwide licensing operations for Suparator, based in The Netherlands, where all worldwide intellectual property for the technology is maintained. Jack holds 9 patents and several Global Trademarks on the technology used in the separation and recovery of oil and similar contamination from water as well as many liquid-liquid extraction and separation processes. Jack has an Engineering Management degree from University of Vermont and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from Columbia University.


Jack also serves as President of The Friends of Ellisville Marsh, a model private-public partnership for environmental stewardship in the state of Massachusetts. He has worked with MA-DEP, The Under-Secretary of Environment and Energy for the governor of Massachusetts, as well as the Director of Coastal Zone Management and other regulatory agencies in creating this model.

Bill Wallace, Immediate Past Chair CEMS BOA

Chase Card Services


Bill Wallace is the Executive Vice President of Strategic Business Units and Acquisitions at Chase Card Services, the second largest issuer of Visa and MasterCard credit cards. Chase has more than 154 million credit cards in circulation with annual sales volume of $340 billion and over $153 billion in outstanding loans.


Bill is a member of the JPMorgan Chase Executive Committee and the Chase Card Services Executive Leadership Team. He leads the teams responsible for Chase Card Services' eight key partner segments, new customer acquisitions, customer analytics and business development. He ensures Chase remains focused on building and maintaining strong relationships with new and existing customers, including its more than 850 credit card partners, which include many of the world's best brands. Bill works in concert with Chase's Marketing, Operations, Technology and Credit Policy teams to ensure the organization achieves industry-leading growth and profitability. Prior to his current role, Bill was Chief Information Officer for Chase Card Services. As CIO, he oversaw the industry's largest credit card portfolio conversion.


Bill joined First USA, a predecessor to Chase, in 1993, taking responsibility for systems development. During his tenure, he oversaw the deployment of integrated customer service and collection platforms, the creation of the card data warehouse and the growth of the portfolio from the nation's 11th largest to the 3rd largest card portfolio. Bill also led the technology efforts for the 1999 development of Wingspan, First USA's full-service internet-only bank, for which he was named number one CIO of Future Bank magazine's top ten. He was also recognized by Information Week magazine as one of its top ten IT & Business Leaders.


Prior to joining First USA, Bill spent nine years with General Electric in their Aerospace Division and Advanced Concepts Center.


Bill currently serves on the Board of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and coaches youth hockey in Pennsylvania. He received his Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the University of Vermont and currently resides in Pennsylvania.

Steve Wildermuth

Vice President of Semiconductor Client Solutions
IBM Microelectronics.


Steve Wildermuth is the Vice President of Semiconductor Client Solutions for IBM Microelectronics. This organization includes Integrated Supply Chain and Delivery Solutions, World-Wide Packaging and Test, and World-Wide Quality Solutions. Over the course of his career at IBM, Steve has served in a variety of executive, managerial, and technical positions. Prior to his current assignment he was the Vice President of Manufacturing and Technology Development for IBM's Essex Junction, VT Semiconductor Manufacturing Facility (2010 - 2013).


Steve has served on the Board of Advisors for the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at The University of Vermont since 2003 and as an Executive Committee Member since its inception in 2006. He also is affiliated with Sematech's International Sematech Manufacturing Initiative (ISMI), a business consortium for semiconductor manufacturing companies.


Steve and his wife, Debra, live in Essex, Vermont with their two children. They enjoy a variety of outdoor recreational activities including cross country skiing, hiking and biking.