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.
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).
President, Sapient Capital
Mitchell Dann has over 30 years experience working with healthcare start-ups in various capacities including as a venture capitalist, advisor, entrepreneur and executive; currently, he is a private investor. In 1999, Mitch founded Sapient Capital, L.P. and is Principal of Sapient Capital Management, L.L.C., the management company for the fund. Sapient Capital invested in nine companies and provided the first professional capital for four of them. One company remains in Sapient Capital’s portfolio: ValenTx, Inc., developer of the ePass, a minimally invasive treatment for morbid obesity and its comorbidities; the ePass is currently undergoing clinical evaluation. Over the course of his career, Mitch has served on the corporate boards of over a dozen companies, three of which were public, and he has chaired the board of three companies. He has invested in over 30 privately held development-stage companies, co-founded three companies, and is an active public market investor. Mitch is an inventor or co-inventor on twenty-two issued U.S. Patents.
Currently Mitch serves on the not-for-profit boards of the Friends of the Bridger Teton Avalanche Center and the Center for Jackson Hole. He is also a member of the advisory board of the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Vermont. Previously he served on not-for-profit boards including the Jackson Hole Snow King Ski Patrol and the Medical Technology Leadership Forum. He has been involved with Silicon Couloir, the Jackson Hole start-up business support organization, as a mentor and member of the pitch day selection committee.
He holds a current Outdoor Emergency Care Technician certification, a level three avalanche certification from AAI, and a PSIA certification.
He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering from the University of Vermont.
Mitch has resided in Wilson, Wyoming since 1994.
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.
VP Strategic Innovation
Todd Durniak serves as the VP Strategic Innovation for Becton Dickinson’s Diabetes Care business. Mr. Durniak Joined BD in mid-2016, bringing over 25 years of Medical Device Commercial and Technical leadership to his new role. Prior to joining BD, he held the position of EVP/GM US for DarioHealth, the makers of the DARIO digital diabetes management system. Previous to that role, he served as Vice President and General Manager of Neighborhood Diabetes, a division of Insulet In this role, Durniak also had responsibility for customer service operations across Insulet and Neighborhood Diabetes. Prior to Insulet and Neighborhood Diabetes, Mr. Durniak held a number of positions of increasing responsibility in marketing and General Management over 7 years at Smith & Nephew Orthopaedics, culminating as President, Asia Pacific, based in Sydney, Australia, after leading the integration of Plus Orthopaedics, based in Switzerland.. Mr. Durniak began his career in engineering and marketing with Johnson & and Johnson Orthopedics, leaving to found and manage Texas Direct Medical, an Orthopaedic product distributorship. He later re-joined Johnson & Johnson post the acquisition of DePuy, moving through a series of positions before joining Guidant just prior to its acquisition by Boston Scientific. He holds 3 US patents.
Mr. Durniak holds a BS of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Vermont and an MBA from Boston University.
Karl S. Fessenden
Vice President – Alstom Integration
GE Power & Water
Mr. Fessenden was named president and chief executive officer of CHC Helicopter and a board member of its parent company, CHC Group, in February 2015. He came to CHC from GE, where over 20 years he amassed a track record of strong leadership in building industrial-services businesses, as well as process discipline around resource and capital allocation.
Mr. Fessenden successfully led multiple global-service business units at GE Energy and GE Aviation. Most recently he directed GE’s integration of the Alstom power-generation business, the largest acquisition in GE’s history. Prior to that, Mr. Fessenden managed GE’s $8 billion Power Generation Services unit, the largest industrial-services business at GE. His background includes 15 years in the aviation sector with GE and Pratt & Whitney.
Dr. Katharine Frase
Vice President and CTO, Global Public Sector
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.
Sarah Kalil has served as T2 Biosystems Chief Operating Officer since August 2013. From August 2010 to 2013, Ms. Kalil was Chief Operating Officer of Interlace Medical, a medical device company, which was acquired by Hologic during that time. From April 2009 to August 2010, Ms. Kalil was President and Chief Operating Officer of Boston Endo-Surgical Technologies, a medical device company. From 2002 to 2009, Ms. Kalil was Operations Director of Innovend, a medical molding company. Ms. Kalil has over twenty years of experience in the medical device industry and is a member of the Executive Council for the Susan F Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana Farber and currently a member of the board directors of the Pleiades Foundation and Cadence, Inc. Ms. Kalil received her B.S. in Engineering from the University of Vermont.
Doug is an entrepreneur and early stage investor focused on improving infection control. Approximately 1.7 million patients are infected with HAIs which lead to 99,000 per year and cost U.S. hospitals over $45 billion annually. He has developed a series of innovative infection control products and leads companies which distribute Best-In-Class solutions to Healthcare, Government, Laboratory, Animal, Dental and Jan San Markets. In addition, Doug is a member of Mass Med Angels an early-stage investor group exclusively focused on life-science and healthcare investments.
Earlier in his career Doug was in the Investment Management and Retirement industries. He led businesses for Goldman Sachs, TD Waterhouse and Emplanet and Fidelity Investments. During this period he launched 5 new businesses and developed several new products including the Fidelity Freedom Funds (the largest mutual fund series). The companies he started now generate over $1 billion in revenue.
Doug received an B.S. Engineering from the University of Vermont in 1980 and an MBA from the Amos Tuck Graduate School of Business.
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.
Operations at Livongo Health, Inc.
Dan Nardi is the Vice President of Operations at Livongo Health, a healthcare start-up with a mission to help individuals with chronic conditions live their lives better. Dan has over 15 years of experience in healthcare & technology services, much of this time spent in leadership.
Dan earned a B.S. in Mathematics and a M.S. in Computer Science at the University of Vermont, culminating with the completion of his Master's Thesis titled “Finding Every Occurrence of a Given Device in a VLSI Layout”. This Thesis included the development of a unique pattern matching algorithm and was completed with assistance from UVM, IBM, and St. Michael's College.
In the summer before his junior year Dan earned an internship with IDX Systems which turned into a part-time Operations role at Allscripts and began his interest in the budding world of healthcare technology.
Currently Dan lives with his wife, Ami, and young son, Zavier, in Chicago where he is also a board member for JDRF and an Advisor for several other healthcare start-ups through the Healthbox program.
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 his 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.
Greg Santoro, Chair CEMS BOA
Senior Vice President
Greg Santoro is Senior Vice President, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer for NRTC where he is responsible for marketing; IT services; new product and service innovation; corporate strategy; business development, partnerships, and acquisitions. NRTC provides ISP, Video/OTT, Broadband, Wireless, SmartGrid, and Solar and Renewable Energy solutions to telecom and electric companies & cooperatives across the US.
Prior to assuming his current position, Mr Santoro was executive vice president of NII Holdings, a provider of mobile communication services in Latin America. With operations in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Peru and Chile.
Mr. Santoro was also 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. Mr. Santoro was also responsible for Nextel's e-business services organization, which oversaw www.nextel.com. Prior to joining Nextel, he served as vice president of Product Development at BellSouth.net.
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
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.
Director of New Product Introduction
Milo Werner is the Director of New Product Introduction for Fitbit, were she is responsible for the successful operational launch of all new products. Prior to Fitbit, Milo lead New Product Introduction for Tesla Motors, where she managed all product launches into the Tesla factories. Key projects of hers included Dual Motor, Autopilot, European Model S, Right Hand Drive as well as powertrains for the Model S, Toyota Rav4, and Daimler B-class. She played an instrumental role in shaping Tesla Motor's launch strategy by integrating product development with launch operations to reduce product time to market.
James C. Wiggans
Jim Wiggans joined Philadelphia-based McCormick Taylor in 1983, following brief assignments with consulting engineering firms in Vermont and the Washington, DC/northern Virginia area. McCormick Taylor provides a variety of engineering, planning, environmental, permitting, and communication services to a broad spectrum of public-sector transportation and energy/utility clients along the eastern seaboard from New Jersey to Ohio to Florida.
Initially serving as a design engineer, he later assumed project management and client relationship responsibilities on a diversified portfolio of highway, bridge, transit, and aviation projects. A registered professional engineer in eleven states, he has more than 30 years of experience with the development, management, and production oversight of design efforts for more than $26B of major civil engineering and heavy construction projects in the mid-Atlantic area.
In 1987, he led the effort with the opening of the firm’s first branch office in New Jersey. He later returned to the main office in Philadelphia, assuming COO responsibilities for the entire organization, which currently totals 19 office locations and over 450 employees. Today, he serves as the CEO and oversees all aspects of operations, marketing, and client delivery services.
He is a member of several professional organizations including the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Highway Engineers, the American Consulting Engineers Council, the Design Professionals Coalition, and the Design Build Institute of America.
Jim graduated from UVM in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. He later completed a master’s degree in Engineering Management from Drexel University. Jim is active in numerous community, youth, and environmental stewardship organizations within the southern New Jersey and Philadelphia areas. Currently he resides in Moorestown, NJ with his wife Carol Rusk, also a 1981 alumnus of UVM. They have three adult children, each living in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Florida.