Board of Directors

Neil Romano, Chairman Taylor Hooton Foundation, President, The Romano Group
bod-romanoConsidered 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

bod-whiteheadJames 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.
bod-nicolaidesStratton 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
bod-wadlerGary 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)
bod-gieselmannGene 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.

Jeff Cooper, MS, ATC, Philadelphia Phillies – Athletic  Training ConsultantJeff Cooper

Jeff Cooper’s athletic training career spans over four decades in professional baseball.   He was promoted to Philadelphia Phillies Major League staff as an Assistant Athletic Trainer in 1976.  In 1981, Jeff was named Head Athletic Trainer, a position which he held for the next twenty-six years–the longest service tenure held by an athletic trainer in the history of Philadelphia professional sports.   He now serves as an independent Athletic Training Consultant to the Phillies.  Furthermore, Jeff is a founding member of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society, where he served on the Executive Committee for eighteen years.  Jeff was also president of this organization for two terms.

Jeff has served on numerous committees. The Major League Baseball  Medical Advisory Committee,  the Steering Committee of the Baseball and Spitting Tobacco Initiative of Major League Baseball, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Dental Research, the National Advisory Board of the National Spit Tobacco Education Program, as well as Oral Health America.

Jeff was selected to serve as the National League Athletic Trainer for the 1985, 1991 and 1996 MLB All-Star games as well as the 2002 MLB All-Star Japanese Tour.  His PBATS honors include the Major League Athletic Training Staff of the year in 1994, a Major League Service Award in 1997, and the President’s Distinguished Service Award in 2009 and PBATS Hall of Fame in 2013.

Along with these numerous Major League Baseball accolades, Jeff was inducted into the Delaware Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame in 2004, the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers’ Society Hall of Fame in 2008, the Delaware High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2010, National Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.

Pat Fox, Managing Member and General Counsel of Rockpoint Group

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Pat Fox is a founding member of Rockpoint and is responsible for the overall operations and management of Rockpoint, with particular focus on risk and liability management. Mr. Fox resides in and manages Rockpoint’s Dallas office. In addition to his responsibilities at Rockpoint, Mr. Fox continues to be a managing member of Westbrook Real Estate Partners, L.L.C. (“WREP”). Prior to joining

In 1996, Mr. Fox was a partner at the law firm of Jones Day where he spent 13 years practicing in the area of commercial real estate, with extensive experience in complex and tax sensitive structures and transactions. Mr. Fox received a B.S. from Texas A&M University in 1980 and a J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1983

Mike Guidry, CEO of The Guidry GroupMike

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.

Doug Haeussler, President, Home Team Insurance  Doug Haeussler

Doug Haeussler is the President of Home Team Insurance.  He has been with Home Team Insurance since 2005 and has over 20 years of insurance industryexperience.  Doug was voted one of D Magazine’s best Insurance Agents in 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015.  He began his career working in the medical insurance field with Prudential and New York Life. Later he made the transition to personal, commercial and life insurance as a captive agent.  He was recognized as top producer in Life and Property & Casualty while working at Farm Bureau.

Doug sits on several advisory councils for insurance carriers that Home Team Insurance works with. These councils help improve claims service, customer service, and coverage’s.  At an early age, Doug spent time as a volunteer firefighter; this experience proved to be a driving force behind his commitment to selflessly help improve the lives others.  Doug and his family are from Michigan; however, he grew up in Texas.  He has lived in the DFW Metroplex most of his life. He currently resides in Prosper with his wife and three beautiful young daughters.

James Iley,  EVP National Production, First Choice Loan Servicesimage1

Having been with First Choice Loan Services Inc. since 2012, James Iley serves as the Executive Vice President of National Production.  In this role, he supports the recruiting, production, operation and marketing efforts of the over 200 Loan Originators representing First Choice Loan Services across the nation.  In 2015, the 16 loan offices produced 2.5 billion in loan volume.

Having worked with some of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, James has more than 25 years of experience in the mortgage industry, the majority of which has been spent responsible for the growth, expansion and maintaining the company’s national footprint. James has twice been named one of the 100 Most Influential Mortgage Executives in America Mortgage Executive Magazine.

In this free time, James enjoys traveling with his beautiful wife and seeing his son play football at Texas A&M – Commerce.

Randy Levine, President, New York Yankees
bod-levineRandy 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.

Mark Thompson, President, Smith Thompson Home Security

Mark Thompson Head Shot (3)Mark Thompson is the founder and President of Smith Thompson Home Security headquartered in Plano, Texas. Smith Thompson was started in 1978 and is now the largest independent security alarm company in Texas with operations in Dallas Ft. Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and Phoenix. Smith Thompson was recently ranked # 3 in the Dallas Morning News ‘Best Places to Work’ plus Top CEO in the Small Business Category.  Mark, along with his wife Lynda, and best friend Jim Smith started the company as a result of a sudden interest in home alarm systems after his family suffered a cruel home burglary while out of town, on the very day Mark’s father was buried.

Mark spent several years after Plano High School in FAA Flight training and is a commercial rated pilot and Flight Instructor. He is a member of National Electronic Security Association, Texas Burglar and Fire Alarm Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Dallas Gun Club, and Gleneagles Country Club. Mark currently serves as a director of the Taylor Hooton Foundation, SMU Athletic Forum and was a past director of the Coppell YMCA.

Married for 31 years to Lynda and both native Texans, they have three grown children, son Ryan who is Vice President of Sales for Smith Thompson, son Jordan, a student and also active in the business, and daughter Sydney, who lives in Houston working in the retail industry. The Thompsons are huge Dallas Mavericks fans as well as enthusiastic corporate sponsors. His hobbies include bird hunting, sporting clay shooting, flying, and golf.