Neil Romano, Chairman Taylor Hooton Foundation, President, The Romano Group
Considered one of the nation’s leading authorities in the field of media and public advocacy, Romano has dedicated his career to the marketing of ideas and messages to help save lives and promote public policy. He founded Romano & Associates Inc., which produced highly visible, and effective public awareness programs, as well as America’s Strength, a not-for-profit organization that works to promote the importance of hiring individuals with disabilities. Romano’s extensive professional background includes tenure as director of communications for the White House Office of Drug Abuse Policy. In that role, he worked on campaigns such as “Just Say No” and “America Responds to AIDS.”
In 2007, Romano was nominated by President George W. Bush to be the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. As head of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Romano advised the Secretary of Labor and worked with all DOL agencies to lead a comprehensive and coordinated national policy regarding the employment of people with disabilities in the United States. His innovative work as a member of the Committee for Purchase from People Who are Blind or Severely Disabled, has been described as having generated historic improvement in the quality of life for workers with disabilities. In 2010, Romano’s work as a member of that committee was recognized by the full committee with a special leadership award.
A noted producer/director, Romano’s film, “Youth Homicide: A Public Health Crisis,” earned an Emmy Nomination for him in the category of Best Director. And his 2010 film, “America’s Strength,” which documents the inspiring stories of people with disabilities in mainstream employment, received national acclaim following its release. He has served as a member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, and presently serves on a number of diverse national boards of directors. He has advised the Association for People in Supported Employment, the U.S. Business Leadership Network, and other disability employment groups that use a “business to business” approach to promote the imperative of hiring people with disabilities.
A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Romano currently resides in Clarksville, MD, with his wife, Barbara, and his daughters, Bianca and Christina.
Jim R. Whitehead, Vice Chairman Taylor Hooton Foundation, CEO, American College of Sports Medicine
James R. Whitehead is the CEO of the American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. With more than 45,000 members and certified professionals worldwide, ACSM is dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.
Stratton Nicolaides, Treasurer Taylor Hooton Foundation, CEO, Numerex Corp.
Stratton Nicolaides is the Chairman and CEO of Numerex Corp., a publicly-traded company and a leader in the delivery of wireless networks and machine-to-machine (M2M) data communications. Over his career, he has worked with several technology-based businesses primarily in the information technology and security industries. Stratton was recently named as an ‘M2M Pioneer’ by M2M Magazine with over 15 years of industry experience. In addition, Nicolaides has an extensive entrepreneurial and finance background that he has used to successfully serve several charities and nonprofit organizations over his lifetime. He has been married to his wife Maria over 32 years, has three children and one grandchild.
Gary I. Wadler, M.D., Chairman Emeritus Taylor Hooton Foundation, Associate Professor of NYU School of Medicine
Gary Wadler, M.D., is an internist with special expertise in the field of drug use in sports. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, the American College of Sports Medicine, the American College of Preventive Medicine and the American College of Clinical Pharmacology. The lead author of the internationally acclaimed book, Drugs and the Athlete, Dr. Wadler currently serves on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Prohibited List and Methods Committee and has served on its Health, Medicine, and Research Committee.
Additionally, Dr. Wadler has served as Medical Advisor to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, as a Trustee of the American College of Sports Medicine and the Women’s Sports Foundation. Among his other sports medicine activities, he has served as Tournament Physician of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships. Dr. Wadler also received the International Olympic Committee’s President’s Prize in 1993 for his groundbreaking work in the field of drugs in sports.
He is a frequent lecturer and his opinions are widely sought by the national and international print and electronic media. In addition, he serves as Chairman of the American Ballet Theatre’s Medical Advisory Board and is the Chairman of the College Council of the State University of New York at Old Westbury. He is Chairman and President of the Nassau County Sports Commission in New York. Dr. Wadler maintains a private practice in Internal Medicine and Sports Medicine in Manhasset, NY, and is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine.
Gene Gieselmann, Secretary Taylor Hooton Foundation, Head Athletic Training for St. Louis Cardinals (Retired)
Gene Gieselmann was raised in Lindsborg, KS, and graduated from Wichita State University. He joined the St. Louis Cardinals organization in 1968 with the Cards’ Class-A St. Petersburg club. He was promoted to assistant trainer for the Cardinals’ parent club in 1969 and named head trainer in 1971. During his 29-year tenure with St. Louis, “Geno” was part of three National League pennants and a World Series Championship. He served as National League trainer for the 1982, 1987, and 1993 Major League Baseball All-Star Games and served as the National League Representative on the PBATS Executive Committee.
During the 1986 off-season, Gieselmann was the trainer for the Major League All-Star team that toured Japan to play a seven-game series against a team of Japanese All-Stars. He then traveled to Sydney, Australia, to serve as trainer for the Survival of the Fittest competition. Gene also served as the event trainer for “Superstars,” “Superteams” and the “Battle of the Network Stars” television programs. He is a certified trainer by the National Athletic Association and is licensed by the state of Missouri in athletic training.
Additionally, Gieselmann was a member of the Head First National Organizational Advisory Board, a program designed to prevent head injuries. An avid dog lover, too, he has also served on the Advisory Board of the Missouri Humane Society. Gene owns several thoroughbred racehorses and is the co-founder of Rehab 1 in St. Louis along with partner, Bill Hopfinger. Gene and his wife, Roseanna, live in the St. Louis area and have one son, Jonathan.
Ron Arp, President, Amplify Group, Inc.
Ron Arp is president of the strategic communications practice Amplify Group, Inc., where he provides support to clients during times of change or controversy. He works closely with NFL legend Dick Butkus in directing the I Play Clean program encouraging high school students to embrace proper nutrition, training and attitude, instead of resorting to illegal steroids.
Arp previously was Sr. Vice President of the fitness company Nautilus, Inc., where he directed corporate, brand marketing, investor and philanthropic communications. He served as senior partner and general manager of the Portland, OR, office of public relations giant Fleishman-Hillard. During 16 years there, he counseled clients ranging from upstarts to Fortune 500 companies in manufacturing, technology, financial and food industries. His work has been honored with seven Silver Anvils, the communications industry’s Oscar. He also was a radio news broadcaster in Nebraska and the Pacific Northwest. Arp received degrees in economics and journalism from the University of Nebraska, and was honored in 2004 as one of that institution’s six Masters for excelling in their chosen career.
Matt Butkus, Insurance Broker, The Horton Group
Matt Butkus currently serves as President of Team Butkus. Matt created Team Butkus, joined in the venture by his father, Dick Butkus, and the two doctors who saved his father’s life, Dr. Larry Santora, M.D., F.A.C.E., and Dr. Steven Armentrout, M.D., F.A.C.E.
Team Butkus delivers life performance programs and products to health conscious consumers worldwide. Butkus also serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for Cardiovascular Wellness, a California 501c (3) dedicated to providing cardiovascular screenings to young athletes and at risk populations across the country. Butkus attended the University of Southern California on scholarship, where he played football from 1989-94. He was a member of the 1990 Rose Bowl Championship team. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. Butkus is single and resides in Chicago, Illinois.
Mike Guidry is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Guidry Group, a security and risk mitigation consultancy which operates in 115 countries worldwide and began in 1986. He is recognized as a leader and innovator in the field of security, having solved security issues for many of the largest and most prestigious companies in the world.
He is also renowned as a hostage negotiator in the field of Kidnap for Ransom, having handled 70 kidnappings successfully as well as 39 extortions. His work in the communications and network security field pioneered numerous innovative techniques which saved literally hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues for Fortune 500 clients.
Randy Levine, President, New York Yankees
Randy Levine was named President of the New York Yankees in January of 2000, becoming the first person to hold the post with the club since 1986. Under his supervision and guidance, the franchise constructed the state-of-the art Yankee Stadium. The facility was completed on time for the beginning of the 2009 season, which culminated in the franchise’s 27th World Championship. Levine was a principal founder of the YES Network, which was recently named the most-watched regional sports network in the United States for the ninth consecutive year (2003-11). In 2008, he was instrumental in creating Legends Hospitality, LLC, a new concession and merchandising company with the Dallas Cowboys, which currently operates at the Yankees’ and Cowboys’ new stadiums. In 2004, he helped organize Yankees-Steiner, a leading sports memorabilia company.
Levine has served on the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Nets and New Jersey Devils and is a member of the Board of Directors of the YES Network and Legends Hospitality, LLC. He is also an officer of Yankee Global Enterprises, LLC. Levine serves on the International, Diversity and Labor Policy Committees of Major League Baseball.
Levine has been a partner in the New York law firm of Proskauer Rose Goetz & Mendelson and is presently Senior Counsel at the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from George Washington University in 1977, and in 2011 was named as Chair of the school’s athletic committee. He received his J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law in 1980. Levine and his wife, Mindy, reside in Manhattan.
Jake Schroepfer, President, Crowdsourcing at The Marketing Arm
Jake Schroepfer is a marketing and marketing communications executive with extensive experience in brand strategy, integrated marketing communications, and campaign optimization. An experienced entrepreneur and “intrapreneur,” Schroepfer’s specialties include business start-ups, mergers and acquisitions, company/brand revitalization, service innovations and business development. He also has plenty of broad-based category experience in retail, restaurants, CPG, beverages, financial services, hospitality, travel and sports. Schroepfer is the only executive to lead agencies to Agency-of-the-Year status in two different marketing communications disciplines: sales promotion (Tracy-Locke) and advertising (DDB Dallas). He has more than 25 years of experience with leading agencies – BBDO, DDB, Euro RSCG, Tracy-Locke – and co-founded SWJ, acquired by Euro RSCG.