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

William "Buff" Blanchard

Chairman, 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 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 New Jersey with a special emphasis on acute care facilities.

Buff has 25 years of experience at Wm. Blanchard Co. Previously, 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 and 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 trustees at The Peck School in Morristown, NJ.

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

Mitch Dann

Mitch Dann

Private Investor

Mitchell Dann has over 30 years of experience working with healthcare start-ups in various capacities including as a venture capitalist, advisor, entrepreneur, and executive; currently, he is a private investor. Mitch founded Sapient Capital, L.P. in 1999 and served as principal of Sapient Capital Management, L.L.C., the management company for the fund over its life cycle. Sapient Capital invested in early stage medical technology companies often providing the first professional capital and early stage management assistance. Over the course of his career, Mitch served on the corporate boards of over a dozen companies and chaired the board of three companies. He 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 Teton Youth and Family Services, including a term as President and Friends of the Bridger Teton Avalanche Center. He is a professional ski patroller at Snow King Mountain and served as Patrol Representative, Board Member and Patroller for the Jackson Hole Snow King Ski Patrol. He is also a part time ski instructor at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. He volunteers with Silicon Couloir, the Jackson Hole start-up business support organization, as a mentor and previously as a member of the pitch day selection committee.

He received his bachelor of science degree in engineering from the University of Vermont.

Mitch has resided in Wilson, Wyoming since 1994.

Ron Dechene

Ron Dechene

Ron Dechene founded Auburn Systems more than 30 years ago and recently sold the company. 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 the University of Vermont in 1966, a pre-med major with a bachelor of arts degree in history. He lives in Boxford, Massachusetts and has numerous U.S. and foreign patents relating to environmental monitoring and manufacturing process applications. He returned to the CEMS Board of Advisors after serving for several years 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 is a member of the Town of Boxford, MA Conservation Commission.

Karl S. Fessenden, Chair CEMS BOA

Karl S. Fessenden

President and CEO of MB Aerospace

Karl spearheads the company’s global growth strategy. He has full functional and operational responsibility for all global operations in North America, Asia and Europe.  Karl’s background includes 15 years in the aviation sector with General Electric (GE) and Pratt & Whitney.

In his previous role as President and Chief Executive Officer of CHC Helicopter, a global leader in offshore transport, search and rescue, and rotorcraft MRO, Karl successfully led the restructuring of the multinational corporation and helped the company generate annual revenue of more than one billion US dollars.

Before joining CHC, he spent 20 years at GE in senior leadership roles and oversaw the integration of the Alstom power-generation business, the largest acquisition in the company’s history.
Karl has a background in engineering and holds a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Vermont and a Master of Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Doug Manchester

Doug Manchester

Partner, Unimed

Doug is an entrepreneur and early-stage investor focused on improving infection control. Approximately 1.7 million patients are infected with HAIs that lead to 99,000 deaths per year and cost U.S. hospitals over $45 billion annually. He has developed a series of innovative infection control products and leads companies that 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, Emplanet, and Fidelity Investments. During this period he launched five 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 his B.S. in Engineering from the University of Vermont in 1980 and an MBA from the Amos Tuck Graduate School of Business.

Mark Manning, Vice Chair, CEMS BOA

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.

Dan Nardi

Dan Nardi

Chief Operating Officer for Carrum Health

Dan recently joined Carrum Health as their Chief Operating Officer. Carrum is an award-winning, digital health company that has built the industry’s first bundled payment platform for healthcare procedures. Through a unique combination of business model innovation and technology they have created a new healthcare model that systematically delivers better healthcare outcomes and lowers cost.

Prior to that Dan was 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 spent 5 years scaling the business and building the team from 13 employees to over 600 with a successful, multi-billion dollar IPO in July. 

Before Livongo, Dan spent 13 years learning the electronic health records business and building his leadership experience with Allscripts. During his time there he was involved with everything from running the Technical Services department to owning strategic partnerships on the Business Development team, as the company grew from 500 employees to over 7,000. 

Dan earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a Master of Science 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”. His 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 son, Zavier, in Chicago; where he is also a board member for JDRF and an advisor for several other healthcare start-ups.

Kenneth A. Pidgeon

Kenneth A. Pidgeon

President, Engineers Construction Inc.

Kenneth A. Pidgeon, PE, is a 1984 graduate of the University of Vermont 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 titled "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. 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

Greg Santoro, Vice Chair CEMS BOA

Senior Vice President, NRTC

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 and cooperatives across the United States.

Prior to assuming his current position, Greg 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.

Greg 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. He was also responsible for Nextel's e-business services organization, which oversaw Prior to joining Nextel, Greg served as vice president of product development at

Greg 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 United States and abroad.

Greg 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

John "Jack" Scambos, Chair CEMS BOA

Owner/President, 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 and water separation and recovery) manufactures a variety of equipment targeting the metalworking 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 a bachelor's degree in engineering management from the 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.

Milo Peavey Werner

Operating Partner at Khosla Ventures

Milo Werner specializes in discovering promising new start-ups and taking them from concept to mass production. After spending over a decade heading up new product introduction at Tesla, Fitbit, and Off Grid Electric (a Tesla funded start-up reinventing the third world electric grid) – she understands what it takes to produce high impact products that "wow" millions of customers. Milo has assembled high-performing engineer teams, led new product strategy, built global supply chains, and launched more than ten game-changing consumer products that range from electric vehicles to residential solar-battery systems to smartwatches. Milo (Class of 2002) sits on the board of the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences and the MIT Leaders for Global Operations Alumni Board.

James C. Wiggans

James C. Wiggans

CEO, McCormick Taylor, Inc.

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 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 11 states, he has more than 30 years of experience with the development, management, and production oversight of design efforts for more than $26 billion 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 graduate of UVM. They have three adult children, living in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Florida.

Larry Williams

Larry Williams

Principal, Redstone Commercial Group

Larry Williams has been active in commercial real estate since he graduated from the University of Vermont in 1982 with a degree in civil engineering. Between 1982 and 1991, Larry worked with a local development company specializing in the rehabilitation of historic buildings.

In 1992, Redstone Commercial Group was formed. As the company has grown, Larry has focused his efforts on development opportunities, involving both new construction and the redevelopment of historic buildings.

Over the past 25 years, Larry has been actively involved in the downtown development of Burlington, Winooski, Shelburne, and Hinesburg. Development projects including residential buildings, offices, retail spaces, industrial, health care, lodging, as well as recreation. We have recently ventured outside of Vermont with the acquisition of a prominent historic building in downtown Portland, Maine.

Larry also devotes time to community organizations and initiatives. He is a long-time supporter and past campaign chair of the Chittenden County United Way. He is a founding and current member of board of directors of Mobius, the Mentoring Movement. He is also a member of the UVM Alumni Council. Larry resides in Colchester with his wife, Leslie, and they both enjoy seeing and traveling to visit their four children.