Board of Trustees
- President, The John and Mary Alford Foundation
- President, OBX Ventures
Ron Alford is president of The John and Mary Alford Foundation, a supporting organization of the Licking County Foundation, which seeks to improve and enhance the quality of life primarily in the Licking County community through the support of educational, social, religious and cultural programs. He is also president of OBX Ventures, real estate development and property management located in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Ron earned a bachelor’s degree from Ashland College in Business Administration and attended the Graduate School of Retail Bank Management at the University of Virginia. In addition to serving on the AU Board of Trustees, he is also a trustee for the Methodist Theological School in Ohio and the Ohio State University Newark Campus. Ron is a member of Worthington United Methodist Church. He has four children: Jennifer, Bryan, Kyle and Heather and currently resides in Worthington, OH.
- CEO, Kent Watersports
Bob Archer graduated from Case Institute of Technology in 1957 and received his MBA from Kent State University in 1960. He began working at The Hoover Company in North Canton, OH in 1957 and later worked for White Motors in Cleveland, OH before joining Brown Group/Eagle Rubber Co. in 1973. He also taught undergraduate evening classes at Kent State/Canton from 1961-65. In 1981, Bob purchased Kent Watersports with five partners from Brown Group. Since then, the company has made 34 acquisitions and divested three. Watersports brands include HO/Hyperlite, Liquid Force, O’Brien, Connelly, Barefoot International, Absolute Outdoor, Onyx, Kidder and Full Throttle. The company also offers Arbor Snowboards and Arctic Shield hunting apparel. Bob and his wife, Janet, have been married since 1957 and live in Ashland. They have three children, Pamela, David and John.
- Assistant Principal/Federal Programs Coordinator, Purchase Line School District
Tom Aurandt practiced law full-time for 20 plus years before answering the call to enter public education. He was a classroom teacher and coach for 10 years with the Central Cambria School District, Ebensburg, PA, leading the golf and track teams to the state finals on several occasions. As of 2014, Tom has served as the Assistant Principal/Federal Programs Coordinator for the Purchase Line School District, a rural, high poverty district in Commodore, PA. Tom is a graduate of Temple University School of Law (J.D.), holds a BA from West Virginia University, a BS from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a MEd from Saint Francis University. He holds numerous and varied State of Pennsylvania teaching credentials and certificates. Tom and his wife, Michelle, are the proud parents of three daughters, two of whom are Ashland University graduates. Michelle is a Certified Nurse Practitioner and School Nurse. Tom and Michelle live in Vinco, PA.
- Family Medicine Physician, University Hospitals Samaritan Medical Center
Dr. Christopher Boyd has been in active primary care in Ashland, OH since 2000. He has served as a medical director for Hospice of North Central Ohio, helped with the co-founding of the Ashland Christian Health Center and has volunteered as the team physician for Ashland High School. Chris has also served as the Ashland University medical director for student health services and the team physician for many years. He has lead teams of AU students to Peru and South Africa to operate clinics through the University’s Department of Religious Life. Chris and his family are active members of the Brethren church.
- Consultant, Packaging Corp. of America
Fred Broad is the former owner of Packaging Specialists, LLC, which he recently sold to Packaging Corp. of America (PCA). He currently serves as a consultant at PCA overseeing operations. Fred has been an Ashland University trustee since 2007 and is currently serving as the Institutional Advancement Committee Chair. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Ashland College in 1975. Fred is a 2010 recipient of the AU Alumni Association’s Special Achievement Award. He is married to Anne (Mainwaring), and they have two grown children. Anne received a Bachelor of Science in Education from Ashland College in 1976 and is a retired speech pathologist. Fred and Anne reside in Pittsburgh, PA.
- Founder, Adena Corporation
David Bush founded Adena Corporation in October, 1982 in a joint venture with Kokosing Construction Company of Fredericktown, OH. In 1996, David and his wife, Linda, took over total ownership of Adena, which went on to become one of Ohio’s largest “merit-shop” general commercial contractors, performing work throughout the United States. In 2007, David and Linda sold Adena to its acting President, Randy Payne. David then served on Adena’s Board of Directors for 5 years until December of 2012, when he retired after more than 35 years in the construction business. He graduated from Wittenberg University in 1970. Before getting into the construction business, David taught and coached at both the high school and college levels, along with managing a small manufacturing plant outside of Wooster, OH. In 1999, David served as the president of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) at both the state and national level, traveling throughout the United States and Canada for the association and the construction industry. David and Linda live on a small farm in northern Holmes County, OH, where they spend time with their 4 children and 4 grandchildren.
- CEO, President and Owner, RCO Sales, Inc.
Mark Camp is a 1969 graduate of Ashland College with a BS in Education. He has worked on his master’s degree in secondary administration at Kent State University. Mark taught seven years at Strongsville High School, Strongsville, OH, and also coached football and wrestling. He left teaching to begin his business career in 1976. Mark started selling in the electronics industry and in 1982 bought into Rockford Controls. In 1996, he co-founded RCO Sales, Inc., and became sole owner of Rockford Controls. Mark has served on four top management councils and developed three like councils. He served on the Ashland University’s Alumni Board for six years and as President during his final year on the board. Mark joined the AU Board of Trustees in 2004. He is a member of the United Church of Christ serving many years as a trustee. Mark has been married to his wife Barbara, for 48 years. They have two children; son, Brandt, a 1992 graduate of AU, and daughter, Abby, plus three grandchildren.
- President/COO, Silver Creek Services
Dan Coffee started his career in the oil and gas industry in 1979. His career began in the field with an independent Wireline company, Eastern Well Services, until he was recruited by Schlumberger Well Services, a multi-national service company. He worked up through the management ranks until accepting the current position with Silver Creek Services. Dan earned his MBA with an emphasis in Operational Management from American InterContinental University in 2005. He is a Board member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (Ohio Petroleum Section) and an Ashland University Trustee. Dan resides in Wooster, OH, with his wife, Barbara, and is the father of Joshua Coffee and Brenda (Ryan) Webster. Grandchildren include Mason and Kendall Webster. He attends Smithville Brethren Church in Smithville, OH.
- Executive Director, The Brethren Church
Steven Cole is the Executive Director of The Brethren Church. He is a native of Texas and has spent time in New Mexico, Georgia and Northern California. As the Executive Director of the Brethren Church, Steven works to communicate the vision and diverse story of The Brethren Church denomination. He is a 2007 graduate of Bethel Seminary with a Masters of Arts degree in Transformational Leadership and is currently working on his Doctor of Ministry degree at Ashland Theological Seminary. Steve and his wife, Beth, have been married since 2001 and are the parents of Maggie and Patrick.
- Vice President, Wealth Management Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
Brenda is a graduate of Ashland University, with a B.S. degree in Accounting and Finance. Brenda has been in the financial services industry since 1979 and joined Merrill Lynch in 2013. Brenda is currently a Member of the Board for I am Boundless (Not for Profit), Ashland University, Recreation Unlimited, Cleveland Clinic Foundation Pyramid Legacy and Nationwide Children’s Hospital Kilbourne Society.
- President, Balanced Asset Management, Westlake, OH
Kevin Doss began his career as a financial advisor in 1993. He joined Balanced Asset Management as President in 2006 from Smith Barney in Westlake, OH where he was a First Vice-President and the Branch Manager. As President of Balanced Asset Management, Kevin enjoys planning for the future of his clients as well as the future of the firm. Having hired, trained and managed over a hundred financial advisors in his career, he thrives in all aspects of managing the firm.
Kevin earned a bachelors degree in business from Taylor University. He has attended numerous professional and educational programs during his career, including an executive program at the Wharton School of Business. He serves as a Trustee on the Board of Ashland University as well as a Trustee on the Board of Westside Christian Academy. Kevin lives in Avon, OH with his wife, Tanya, and their sons, Caden and Luke. Kevin and Tanya are active in their church and enjoy many family activities with their two energetic young boys.
- Founder/CEO, The Strategy Group Company
Rex Elsass is the Founder and CEO of The Strategy Group Company, located in Dublin, OH. He is the visionary and driving force leading The Strategy Group Company from its foundation as a political consulting firm, to its creation as a full-service post-production house and media buying company serving clients across the nation. Rex has produced thousands of ads, including many national award winners in creative excellence. He is an accomplished director, producer and political strategist. Rex has been a candidate, officeholder, Republican Party leader, campaign manager and public affairs professional. He formerly served as Executive Director of the Ohio Republican Party and has managed both local and statewide elections. In addition to being a board member, Rex serves on the Board of Advisors to The Ashbrook Center at Ashland University. He is also on the Executive Committee to Ohio Independent Colleges and Universities and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. Rex earned his BA degree from Ashland College in Radio and TV Production and Performance.
Dr. Arden Gilmer has served as a Trustee of Ashland University since 2000. Both he and his wife, Roberta (Bobbi), were born and raised in Indiana. They both earned Bachelors and Masters’ Degrees from AU. Hers was in education and his was a Masters from Ashland Theological Seminary. Dr. Gilmer has served in church ministry for 45 years, 41 of them as a pastor. He served Brethren Churches in Pennsylvania and Ohio, including 30 years as the Lead Pastor of Park Street Brethren Church in Ashland. He also served the Brethren Church denomination for four years as the Director of Home Missions and Church Planting for the Missionary Board of the Brethren Church. In addition, he served Brethren ministries for many years as president of the Missionary Board, on the denomination’s Executive Board, as Moderator of the Brethren General Conference and as originator and facilitator for “Laymen ALIVE,” a denomination wide initiative. Dr. Gilmer is also a published author of one book, several magazine articles, and contributed a chapter in the recently published book Brethren Values for the 21st Century. He also earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. AU Eagle pride includes not only Dr. Gilmer and his wife. Their three sons are AU grads as are two of their daughters-in-law and three of their grandchildren.
- Director, Workforce Innovations Network
Wayne Girbach works for the Wayne Economic Development Council (WEDC) in Wooster, OH. He leads the workforce development efforts in Wayne County. Prior to joining the WEDC, Wayne was a leadership and sales trainer for Gordon Food Service. He is a graduate of the Ashland Theological Seminary and the University of Toledo. Wayne has a diverse professional background and is passionate about leadership and organizational development.
Pat Gravatt is a retired corporate human resources professional in a Fortune 400 company. She is a graduate of McDaniel College where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. She received her MBA from James Madison University. Pat has been a very active member of Mt. Olive Brethren Church in Virginia for 30 years and currently serves on the Executive Board of the Brethren denomination. Pat has been married to Doug for nearly 45 years. They have two married daughters and three terrific grandchildren who keep them very busy.
- Owner/Co-Founder, Whitcomb & Hess, CPAs & Financial Advisors
Jim Hess is president and co-founder of Whitcomb & Hess, CPAs & Financial Advisors. Whitcomb & Hess is a CPA and Wealth Management firm that uses an integrated services model to offer a wide variety of financial services to businesses as well as individuals. Jim graduated from Ohio Northern University with a BS degree in Accounting and became a certified public accountant in 1982. He and his wife, Margaret Ann, raised two sons, Timothy and Mark. They are also the proud grandparents of three grandchildren: Sophia, Alexander and Charlotte. As an Ashland native, Jim has been very active in the community for many years, serving on a variety of boards including Ashland University, Ashland County Community Foundation, YMCA, First National Bank, Community Improvement Corporation, Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce and Lifework Leadership and City Gates through Ashland Theological Seminary. Jim and Margaret Ann are long-time members of Park Street Brethren Church where he has served in various areas of ministry including the church board and as a youth leader.
- CEO. Demeter, Inc.
Terry Hofecker is the Chief Executive Officer of Demeter, Inc., in Springfield, OH. Demeter, Inc. beats “swords into ploughshares” by adapting military technology for agricultural purposes. After decades of work in archaeology in the Mideast, Terry was recruited by the Trident Group to develop unmanned aerial vehicles for first responders and the military before spinning off Demeter, Inc. in 2015 to use these and other military technologies for peaceful purposes. As a bi-vocational pastor in the Brethren Church, he founded Agora Church in Dublin, OH, in 2012 with his wife, Deborah, and continues to serve as its Teaching Pastor. Terry holds degrees from Liberty University, Grace College and Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary with additional studies at Jerusalem University College and research with Tel Aviv University and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
- Chairman, Bay Corporation
Brooks Hull is the Chairman of Bay Corporation in Westlake, OH. He earned a dual major in Business Administration and Marketing with a dual minor in Economics and Psychology from Ashland College in 1970. Brooks has been a financial support of every AU campaign since graduation. He has devoted many hours volunteering, serving as a trustee since 1993. Brooks was awarded the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year in 1997 and the Distringuished Service Award in 2016.
- Lead Pastor, Cheyenne Brethren Church
G. Emery Hurd graduated in 1979 from Ashland University with a Bachelor of Arts in Family Services and Religion. He received a Master’s of Divinity and Master of Arts in Pastoral Clinical Psychology in 1983 from Ashland Theological Seminary. In 2002 he received a Doctorate in Ministry Transformational Leadership from Ashland Theological Seminary. He is currently the Lead Pastor of Cheyenne Brethren Church and National Moderator of the Brethren Church. He and his wife, Susan, were married in 1980. They have two daughters, Crystal Hurd Graf and Tiffany Hurd Jones. Emery enjoys reading, racquetball, motorcycle riding and woodworking.
- Educator (Retired)
Deborah Liebert Karl graduated from Ashland College in 1972 with a BS in Education. After graduation, she taught at Pioneer Career and Technology Center in Shelby, OH from 1972-1983. Deborah served on the Ashland University Alumni Board of Directors from 2003-2008, and currently serves on the Recreation Unlimited Board of Trustees, a non-profit organization serving individuals with physical and developmental disabilities and health concerns in Ashley, OH. Deborah and her husband, Ron, have a blended family of five daughters and eight grandchildren. Deborah and Ron live in Powell, OH.
Joyce Lamb is a practicing attorney in Stark County, OH, and a graduate of Ashland College. She is the Chairman of the Alliance Civil Service Commission and serves as Magistrate in the Hartville Mayor’s Court. Joyce’s home church is Trinity Brethren in North Canton, OH. She and her husband, John Morris, are avid readers and enjoy traveling.
- Nurse Manager (Retired), MedCentral Health System
Billie Massie has been a member of the Ashland University Board of Trustees since May 17, 2013. She has a deep commitment to AU and takes every opportunity to support and attend events at the University and Ashland Theological Seminary. Billie is honored to be a trustee and currently serves on the Academic Affairs committee and Retirement Plan subcommittee. She works closely with the AU Dwight Schar College of Nursing. Billie graduated from the MB Johnson School of Nursing, Elyria, OH, and 12 years later received her BS in Professional Arts from St. Joseph’s College, North Windham, ME. She formerly worked in Nursing Administration at Tampa General and MedCentral Health System. Billie is past president of the American Association of Spinal Cord Nurses. Currently, she is very active in the Ashland Medical Reserve Corps and local and state nursing associations. Billie also serves on the board at Albion Brethren Church.
- Senior VP (Retired), Emerson Electric
Paul McKnight is a retired Senior VP from Emerson Electric in St. Louis, MO. In this role, he was responsible for global executive succession planning and leadership development. He is an Ashland College graduate and has an MBA from Xavier University. Paul is married to Lani, who is also an Ashland College alumni, as are their son and daughter. He also serves on the Junior Achievement USA Board of Directors. The McKnights reside in Columbus, OH.
- Director of International Business Development
- Team NEO
Mindy McLaughlin is the Director of International Business Development at Team NEO, the lead economic development organization responsible for helping create jobs and attract new capital investment for the Northeastern portion of Ohio, which includes Cleveland, Akron, Canton and Youngstown, among others. In this role, she manages the Region’s international sales portfolio, including international lead management, investment missions and events, and crafting the Region’s international investment strategy. Prior to joining Team NEO, she spent more than five years at JobsOhio, the State of Ohio’s privatized economic development entity, also focusing on international investment into the State. Other roles include Director of Scheduling and Operations for Ohio Governor John R. Kasich from 2009-2011, the U.S. Department of State as a diplomat from 2007 to 2009, and in The White House from 2005-2007. A native of Ontario, Ohio, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Ashland University. Mindy resides in Cleveland, Ohio.
- Director of Law, City of Barberton
Lisa Okolish Miller is the Director of Law and Chief Prosecutor for the City of Barberton. In her role, Lisa is responsible for the chief legal officer for the City of Barberton as well as chief prosecutor for several communities within the court’s jurisdiction. Lisa has served the Ashland University Board of Trustees since 1996, including her service as chair of the Board. Additionally, she is very active in her community chairing many city-wide ballot initiatives and receiving the Barberton Community Foundation’s Game Changer Award in 2014. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Akron Bar Association and has chaired several committees for the organization. Lisa is married to Brian Miller, an AU alumni, and they have been members of The Chapel, Akron, OH, for 26 years. They have two sons, Logan, 16, and Bennett, 13.
- Past President/Owner, Jim Moore Motors, Inc.
- Moore Custom Trailers
John Moore, after graduating from Ashland in 1987 with a B.S.B.A., went to work for his family’s business in Nappanee, IN. John and his wife Kim (’89) currently reside there in addition to time spent at their home in Fort Myers Beach, FL. John has spent most of his time serving on the Student Affairs Committee and has enjoyed seeing two nieces (’13, ’15), a nephew (’20) attend and the recent graduation of his daughter Brooklyn (’16). John and Kim also have a son, Brenan, who currently resides in Pittsburgh. John is a member of the Nappanee First Brethren church, and serves as a Brethren Trustee.
- Managing Partner, Eads, Murray & Pugh, P.C.
Tom Murray founded the law firm Eads Murray & Pugh. P.C., in 1994 and currently is its managing partner. The firm focuses its practice in representing hundreds of condominiums and homeowners associations throughout Indiana. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University at South Bend, and his JD from the Valparaiso University School of Law. Tom and his wife, Kelly, have three children and four grandchildren. They have lived in Indianapolis since 1986. Tom and Kelly attend the Fountain Square Community Church and are active in the Indianapolis Great Banquet community. They also volunteer for Operation Find & Feed, a ministry that provides breakfast, clothing and encouragement for homeless men every Sunday morning. Tom and Kelly have a passion for the mission of the Ashland Theological Seminary.
- Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management
Dustin prides himself on being an active community leader in both the Sandusky and Ashland areas. In addition to being on the Board of Trustees for Ashland University, he is a member of the Business Advisory Council at AU for the College of Business and Economics, an Advisory Board member for AU’s Eagle Investment Group, a Board member of the Ashbrook Center, president of the Board for Ability Works Incorporated and vice president of the Board for the Sandusky Area YMCA. Dustin is a 2004 graduate of AU with dual majors in finance and accounting and he was also a member of the indoor/outdoor track & field teams. He was awarded the Ashland University Alumni Association “Young Alumnus Award” in 2010. Dustin, his wife, Lori, and their three children live in Huron, OH. He enjoys hunting, fishing, boating, athletics and spending time with his family.
- Magistrate and Judge (Retired), Mansfield Municipal Court
Jeff Payton is a retired magistrate and judge, having served in juvenile and municipal courts in Mansfield, OH, for over 28 years. Jeff graduated from Ashland College in 1969 and the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1975. While no longer active in legal services, he remains involved in various community/service organizations. Jeff is married to Carol, and they are the proud parents of 2 children, Erin and Jeffrey.
- Volunteer Mentor/Associate Pastor, Casa de Restauración
Tim Solomon is the volunteer mentor and associate pastor of a Latino congregation, Casa de Restauración, in Bradenton, FL. As a USCG licensed boat captain, Tim also works with his wife, Jan, in their sailing charter business, Key Sailing, in Sarasota, FL. He has also worked as a radio announcer/producer, as the manager of a chain of Christian bookstores (Bethel Bookstores) and in the president’s office at Campus Crusade for Christ at their world headquarters in Orlando, FL. He later served as the senior pastor of the Iglesia de los Hermanos in Sarasota, FL, for over 10 years. Born in Ashland, OH, Tim grew up on the mission field in both Argentina and Colombia. He and his wife also served in Colombia as missionaries for three years, and they continue to be involved in short-term mission trips overseas. He is a graduate of Ashland Theological Seminary, and his wife is alumnus (M.Ed.) of AU. Both sets of Tim’s and Jan’s parents were also alumni of Ashland College, and both of their maternal grandfathers served on the faculty and administration at AC. Tim and Jan have two children and three grandchildren. Tim has served on the AU Board of Trustees since 2000.
Dale R. Thomae, DO is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and specializes in Gastroenterology with University Hospitals Samaritan Medical Center in Ashland, Ohio. He is a Fellow in the American College of Osteopathic Internists. He is a 1992 graduate of Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine and a 1988 graduate of Youngstown State University. He serves as the Ashland County Coroner and is a member of the Board of Trustees of Ashland University.
He has been married to his wife Jody for 25 years and has two young adult children. He is an avid boater, water-skier, snow-skier, and bicyclist.
- President/Co-owner, Coldwell Banker Ward Real Estate, Inc.
Rob Ward is the 3rd generation of family ownership at Coldwell Banker Ward Real Estate, Inc. He graduated from Ashland University in 1987, with honors magna cum laude, with a finance major and accounting minor. Ward Real Estate, Inc. is the leading local real estate company as well as ranking among Coldwell Banker’s top 20 offices of similar size nationwide. Rob became a licensed realtor in 1984, a licensed broker in 1988, and holds several real estate designations from additional specialized training. He has served in various leadership capacities with the Ashland Board of Realtors and is active at the state level as well. Rob has been a leader for numerous civic and service organizations including Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce, YMCA, United Way, Salvation Army, Ashland University, Ashland City Schools, Ashland Economic Development, and is a Charter Founding Member of the Ashland County Community Foundation. Currently Rob is involved with the Ashland Main Street Board, Ashland University School of Business Advisory Board, Trinity Lutheran Church, Rotary Club and Young Men’s Business Club. He is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church. His passion is spending time with his wife Mindy, an Ashland University graduate and local teacher, and their three children while giving back to the community in which they reside.
- Partner, Barnes Wendling CPAs, Inc.
Mitch Zunich has been a partner with Barnes Wendling CPAs, Inc., a regional firm in northeast Ohio, since July 1, 2001. He is a 1979 graduate of Ashland College where he majored in accounting and finance. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Ohio Society of CPAs. Mitch has been involved on numerous boards over the years and was president of the AU Alumni Board, Lorain Rotary Club, Lorain Palace Theater, and served as treasurer of Lorain County Visitor’s Bureau, Lorain County Heritage and the Amherst Salvation Army. Mitch has two sons, Dane, a recent graduate of AU, and Neven, a graduate of Kent State University.