The Arts & Sciences Advisory Board
Sergio Salvatore ’02 (Chair) is Director of Technology for Steinway & Sons. An accomplished pianist who recorded two albums by the time he was thirteen, Mr. Salvatore is an entertainment and information industry executive who has loaned his musical talents to WPI for past events. Mr. Salvatore was lead architect of a start-up while still at WPI; upon graduating, he joined Sony Music’s Mobile Technology efforts, moving to Direct To Consumer engineering, and then moved rapidly to a senior executive position. Before joining Steinway, he also led engineering teams at Barnes & Noble’s Nook Media division. Mr. Salvatore received his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from WPI.
Douglas Borden III ’96 is a Lead Program Analyst in the Office of Workers Compensation Programs, Branch of Planning, Policy, and Performance, at the US Department of Labor in Washington, DC. Before beginning at the Department, Mr. Borden was a Lead Associate with Booz Allen Hamilton, providing program management and quality management consulting services to US Government agencies. Prior to joining Booz Allen Hamilton, Mr. Borden was a program manager for STG International and for InfoPro, Inc., where he supported the US Coast Guard. He previously served honorably in the US Coast Guard and retired with nearly 23 years’ service. Mr. Borden received his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics from Wentworth Institute of Technology, a Master of Science degree in Mathematics for Educators from WPI, a Master of Science in Quality Systems Management from the National Graduate School, and a Graduate Certificate in Change Management from Georgetown University. In 2011, he served as a member of the WPI Provost’s Global Task Force and in 2012 joined the WPI Arts and Sciences Advisory Board.
Ron Cortese ’81 is IT Program Director for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). He has worked as an IT consultant for more than 30 years, providing consulting services in software strategy, design, development and implementation. He has experience working with major corporations such as IBM and Oracle, as well as top universities including Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Dartmouth, UCLA, and NYU. Mr. Cortese has extensive experience consulting in IT for Federal agencies including: ODNI, CIA, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), US Coast Guard, Defense Logistics Agency, USPS, General Services Administration (GSA), and Goddard Space Flight Center. In addition to his career in IT, Mr. Cortese is Founder and President of Legends Sports Leagues, Inc. He founded Legends with 45 players and 6 teams in 2006, and has grown the league to more than 3,000 active adults and youth in 300 teams. Mr. Cortese received his B.S in Computer Science (1981) from WPI, and his MBA (1995) from George Washington University. While at WPI, he was co-captain of the Tennis Team in 1980 and 1981.
Steven Davi ’85 is Senior Vice President at Synacor, Inc. which provides a technology platform to telecom companies that allows end-users to receive digital entertainment services and apps. He was formerly Senior Vice President of Advanced Technology and CTO at SeaChange International, a global multi-screen video software company. Mr. Davi received an Emmy for his work in video software while at SeaChange. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from WPI and his Master of Science degree in Computer Science from Northeastern University. Mr. Davi previously served as a member of the WPI Provost’s Global Task Force. In 2013, Mr. Davi established the Steven M. Davi ’85 Endowed Scholarship to help provide promising students the opportunity to attend WPI.
John Gabranski ’75 is a private consultant who provides guidance to clients in the areas of financial analysis, accounting, contracting, internal controls, external reporting, and financial integrity. Mr. Gabranski recently retired from PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he was an Assurance Partner. He led the Hartford office assurance practice as well as served clients including Yale, UMass Memorial Health Care, and WPI. He graduated from WPI with a degree in computer science and went on to complete his MBA at the Columbia Business School. Mr. Gabranski joined legacy Coopers & Lybrand in 1978 and was admitted to the partnership in 1985. A CPA and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), John is also a member of the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. With his sister, Mr. Gabranski established the Adam and Agnes Gabranski Memorial Scholarship Fund in 1990; the Fund has assisted WPI to attract and graduate bright, promising students ever since.
Arjan “Ari” Giaya, PhD ’01 is the President of LaunchBay LLC, which takes innovative ideas through the development stages into the successful commercial launch. Ari has a diverse business and technical experience in leading teams through challenges of product development and commercialization. Prior to founding LaunchBay, he was Vice President at Triton Systems, Inc., a full service product venturing company. Dr. Giaya received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Tirana University, his MBA from the University of Wales, and his PhD in Chemical Engineering from WPI. Ari is an active member of TAN (Tech Advisory Network) providing advice and networking services to WPI entrepreneurial community.
Maryann Goebel ’73 is a member of the Board of Directors, the Enterprise Risk Management Committee, and Audit Committee for Seacoast National Bank, providing business and technology expertise and insight. She is also an IT Management Consultant who provides insights, assessments, and recommendations regarding IT management issues to senior level company management. In July 2012, Ms. Goebel retired from Fiserv, Inc. where she had served as executive vice president and chief information officer. In this role, she was responsible for all internal Fiserv IT systems, as well as IT infrastructure, operations, engineering, and middleware services for Fiserv clients who chose to outsource the processing of their Fiserv applications. Prior to Fiserv, Ms. Goebel served in the role of CIO for DHL Express (2006 to 2009), General Motors North America (2003 to 2006), General Motors Europe (1999 to 2001), General Motors Truck Group (1997 to 1999), Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile (1995 to 1997), and Frito-Lay (2001 to 2002). She has also held senior leadership positions at Texas Instruments, Aérospatiale Helicopter Corporation, and the Southland Corporation, among others. In recognition of her distinguished career, WPI awarded Ms. Goebel with the Robert H. Goddard Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement in 2008. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from WPI.
Nancy Gray, PhD is the current President and CEO of the Gordon Research Conferences. Prior to joining GRC, Dr. Gray served as the Director of Membership at the American Chemical Society (ACS). The Membership Division included the Departments of Career Services, Membership Activities, Meetings and Expositions, Awards and Divisional Activities, Local Section and Community Activities, and Industry Member Programs. Prior to joining the ACS, Dr. Gray spent nine years working as an industrial research chemist at Exxon Production Research Company in Houston, Texas. She served as Research Specialist in Organic Chemistry working in the Environmental Conservation Section where she was responsible for communicating chemical data and technical results to operations and field management personnel at Exxon as well as to environmental compliance regulators and government representatives. Dr. Gray is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the American Chemical Society. She received her B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Notre Dame in 1981 and her Ph.D. in Fuel Chemistry from The Pennsylvania State University in 1985. She was a Scientific Fellow at the Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, during 1984.
Earl Jones is a Partner at Liberation Capital, a private equity fund that provides project finance for modular, repeatable, and decentralized infrastructure with a focus on clean water, renewable energy, and resource/energy recovery. Mr. Jones is also the Chairman of the New England Water Innovation Network (NEWIN), a 501(c)(6) non-profit, water industry cluster for New England whose mission is to make an impact on the global water challenges by working to broaden and accelerate innovation to market. Prior to Liberation Capital, Mr. Jones was a Senior Executive at the General Electric Company and served in several leadership roles. He was the Global Commercial Leader for GE Water & Process Technologies; he led the Global eHealth Solutions business for GE Healthcare IT; and he was GE’s Lean Six Sigma Leader for supply-chain and manufacturing as part of GE’s Corporate Initiatives Group. Prior to joining GE, Mr. Jones was a Partner and CFO of a Boston-based strategy consulting firm, a supply-chain leader at Dell Corporation, and served with distinction as an Officer in the U.S. Navy’s submarine force. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy, a M.S. in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science from MIT, a M.S. in Technology Management from the University of Maryland, and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
Kenneth Kicia P.E. ’90 is the Vice President of Enterprise Business Systems at Leidos, a Fortune 500 scientific, engineering, and technology applications company. As the Director of Enterprise Business Systems, he is responsible for the management of enterprise applications including acquisition, implementation, maintenance support, continual improvement, and retirement. Previously, Mr. Kicia was a Vice President of IT at SAIC, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at SkyTECH, and a Director at BearingPoint. Mr. Kicia served in the U.S. Navy for eight years as a submarine officer and assistant branch head for Naval Nuclear Reactors. He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from WPI, a Master's degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech, a Nuclear Engineering certification from the US Navy, and a Professional Engineer’s license from the state of New Jersey.
Marilyn Pifer, PhD is Director of Capacity Building Programs at CRDF Global, an NGO promoting science cooperation in developing and transitioning countries in Eurasia, the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. She oversees programs to increase research in higher education, provide training in technical and professional skills, and promote chemical, biological and nuclear security culture. In 2006, she served as the education expert on a National Research Council committee studying the scientific status and potential of Kazakhstan. Prior to joining CRDF Global in 2001, Dr. Pifer served in the US Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs with responsibilities involving cooperation in Russia, South Asia and the Middle East. As a Research Fellow in Policy Research in Engineering, Science & Technology (PREST, University of Manchester, UK), she studied the influence of EU Framework programs on science cooperation with the U.S. She holds BS and MS degrees in Biology from Stanford University and a PhD in Molecular Biology and Genetics from The Johns Hopkins University Medical School. Dr. Pifer previously served as a member of the WPI Provost’s Global Task Force.
Chad Pytel ’02 is the founder and CEO of thoughtbot, a web and mobile product design and development firm with small teams of developers and designers in 9 cities around the world. thoughtbot has launched hundreds of new products, and works with organizations of all sizes, from startups to multinational corporations, to design, build, and grow great products. They are also the creators of many popular open source projects, books, and several of their own products. Chad leads the day-to-day operations of thoughtbot, including human resources, hiring, and growth, and is responsible for overall strategy for the company. He has fifteen years of experience in software development and services, and has co-authored two books: “Rails AntiPatterns” and “Pro ActiveRecord for Ruby”. Chad graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) with bachelor of science degrees in both Computer Science and Humanities & Arts (Drama/Theatre).
Eliza Jane Reilly is Director of Programs at the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement. She is the former Director of the Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College where she also served as adjunct faculty in the American Studies program. Previously she was Director of Programs in the Office of Science, Health, and Student Engagement at the Association of American Colleges and Universities. From 1998 to 2003 she also served as the Executive Director of the American Conference of Academic Deans, a national organization of chief academic officers and other academic administrators committed to improving undergraduate liberal education. Dr. Reilly received an MA in the History of Art and a PhD in US History from Rutgers University. Dr. Reilly has been a Senior Scholar with the NSF funded project Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER) since 2001 and is the general editor of the SENCER Models series and Co-Editor of the journal Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal.
Naveen Selvadurai ’02 is Co-founder, Director and Advisor of Foursquare Labs, Inc. He stepped down from day to day operations in March 2012. Founded in 2009, Foursquare is a venture funded smart telephone applications company. The company’s product is a social network friend-finder, social city guide and a game that challenges users to experience new things, and rewards them for doing so. Mr. Selvadurai is now a Partner at Expa, a startup studio working on launching new products. He has also been an Adjunct Professor at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art since 2009. Prior to founding Foursquare, he was Lead Architect and VP of Engineering at Socialight located in New York, NY. Founded in 2005, Socialight is a location-based social media platform for smart phone and web based applications. Previously he was a Senior Software Architect with the Global Digital Business group at Sony Music Entertainment. In this role, he oversaw and developed various applications that dealt with content management and distribution of mobile products and was the lead developer of Sony's Music Box mobile application. Before Sony, he consulted for New York-based Run Tones which was later acquired by Sony in 2002 and worked at Sun Microsystems and Lucent Technologies while at WPI.
Paul Varadian ’75 is the founder and CEO of AlumniBridge. AlumniBridge is an innovative platform connecting Universities, Corporations, and Alumni/Students. Free to use by all parties, AlumniBridge allows job seekers to create multimedia and skills/preference profiles for view by potential employers. Employers use a sophisticated matching tool to find and pre-screen potential candidates, including the ability to search by University affiliation. Successful job placements result in a job placement fee paid to the alma mater of the job seeker no matter how long they graduated. Mr. Varadian has been involved in numerous start-ups and served in the International Olympic Movement for 20+ years traveling to 75 countries and 200+ times to Europe. He competed internationally for the USA in Bobsled and Skeleton, is co-organizer of the USA Indoor Track and Field Championships, and for 20+ years organizer of major Italian car events in New England. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Engineering from WPI in 1975, and is the recipient of the Ichabod Washburn award.
Michael Wallent ’91 works at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington and is a Director of Program Management in the Cloud + Enterprise division. His team develops services to help companies manage employee use of mobile devices. Mr. Wallent joined Microsoft in 1996 and worked on Internet Explorer, Windows and Windows Server. In 2001, he testified in front of Congress (commerce subcommittee) for Microsoft regarding Internet privacy issues. He lives in Seattle with his wife Anh, and kids Peri, John and Daniel. Even though he's been in Seattle for almost 20 years now, he's a die-hard Pats and Sox fan (root for where you are from!). Mr. Wallent grew up mostly in Rhode Island, where his parents taught him about east coast perseverance and how to quickly clean lobsters. He's often found in the mountains, spending time with skis and friends. He graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1991 with a B.S. in Computer Science.
Kristin Deming Wheeler ’93 currently manages the enforcement activities and golf ball patent development for the Acushnet Company, a Fairhaven, Massachusetts manufacturer of golf equipment, shoes and apparel. Prior to her current assignment with Acushnet she managed the golf club patent portfolio for over 5 years, working with the Carlsbad, California office and working extensively with the R&D organization. Ms. Wheeler joined the Acushnet Company in 2004 after 4 years at the Boston IP specialty law firm Wolf Greenfield PC. Her principle work was writing and prosecuting patent applications and clearing new products across several industries including kitchen products, medical devices and sporting goods. Ms. Wheeler started her legal career at Pennie and Edmonds’ Washington, D.C. office working with clients on patent prosecution, clearances and litigation. She has a BS degree in mechanical engineering from WPI as well as a JD from Franklin Pierce Law Center, which has recently merged into the University of New Hampshire system. She also holds a LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law from Franklin Pierce. Ms. Wheeler is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and to practice before the US Patent and Trademark Office as well as various federal and state courts.
David Johnson ’82 is CEO and President of Jenne Distributors, a leading value-added distributor of business telephony, data, audio and video conferencing, and security technology products, including equipment and software for the SMB and Enterprise markets. He previously held many senior executive positions at Avaya, with his most recent role as Senior Vice President of Global Alliances and Channel. Before his work with Avaya, Mr. Johnson was Senior Vice President, International Sales and Service for Lucent Technologies' Enterprise Networks business, where he was responsible for all sales and service operations outside the United States. Mr. Johnson also served as Lucent's Business Communications Systems (BCS) Regional President for the Asia/Pacific region, residing in Hong Kong for three years. Before his assignment in Hong Kong, Mr. Johnson was Strategic Marketing Director for BCS. Mr. Johnson began his communications career in 1982 with New England Telephone, where he worked in the Field Services Organization supporting business customers. Mr. Johnson earned his bachelor's degree in Engineering from WPI in 1982. He previously served as a member of the WPI Provost’s Global Task Force. In 2013, Mr. Johnson established the David P. Johnson ’82 Global Fund to support WPI’s strategic initiatives in Asia.