Beacon Leadership Council
Wayne Howell is the Vice President, Design and Engineering, IBM Systems Group, with responsibilities for the development of IBM’s advanced semiconductor chips and systems. Wayne is a member of the Technology Leadership Team focusing on leadership development of IBM’s technical team. Additionally, he is the Joint Program executive for chips, software, and systems to IBM Research with a mandate of introducing leading edge technologies into IBM systems.
Wayne joined IBM in East Fishkill, NY in 1989. He has held a number of positions supporting development and manufacturing in systems, semiconductor and microelectronic packaging technologies. Most recently he was the Vice President, Product Engineering, responsible for the product qualification and manufacturing implementation of IBM’s microprocessors and ASIC chips used in servers and entertainment systems. Prior to that, he was the Strategic Partnership Executive with P&L responsibilities for the microelectronic products used in IBM systems offerings. Wayne was the Technical Assistant to the IBM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He has also managed package engineering, worldwide semiconductor manufacturing, responsible for the development, introduction, and manufacturing of microelectronic packages; business strategy for the worldwide bond, assembly, and test organization; and senior business council for intellectual property strategy.
He is a senior member of the IEEE, served on the IEEE, CPMT Society, Board of Governors and was general chair for the Electronic Components and Technology Conference. He is currently a member of the Engineering Advisory Council, Clarkson University. In addition, he serves on the Advisory Council for the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, Clarkson University. Wayne has been an industrial mentor for Sematech and the Semiconductor Research Corporation.
Wayne was named one of IBM's top inventors and currently holds more than 65 US patents. He holds a doctorate and master of science in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois and a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Clarkson University.
Vincent Caprio founded the Water Innovations Alliance Foundation (WIAF) in October 2008. In this role he created the Water 2.0 Conference series of which he is currently the Chairman Emeritus. As an early advocate for nanotechnology, Mr. Caprio is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the NanoBusiness Commercialization Association (NanoBCA). In 2002, he launched the highly successful NanoBusiness Conference series, now in its 19th year.
A pioneer at the intersection of business and technology, Vincent Caprio possesses a unique ability to spot emerging and societally significant technologies in their early stages. He successfully creates brands and business organizations focused on specific technology markets, and launches events that not only educate, but also connect and empower stakeholders that include investors, technologists, CEOs and politicians.
It is Mr. Caprio’s avid interest in history and background in finance that enabled him to be among the first to recognize the impact that specific technologies will have on business and society. By building community networks centered around his conferences, he has facilitated the growth of important new technologies, including nanotechnology, clean water technology and most recently, engineering software.
Mr. Caprio is also one of the foremost advocates for government funding of emerging technology at both the State and Federal levels. He has testified before Congress, EPA, Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), as well as the state legislatures of New York and Connecticut, and has been an invited speaker at over 100 events. Mr. Caprio has also organized public policy tours in Washington, DC, educating politicians about emerging tech through meetings with high-level technology executives.
In the events sector, Mr. Caprio served as the Event Director who launched of The Emerging Technologies Conference in association with MIT’s Technology Review Magazine. He also acted as consultant to the leading emerging technology research and advisory firm Lux Research, for its Lux Executive Summit in 2005 & 2006. In 2002, Mr. Caprio served as the Event Director and Program Director of the Forbes/IBM Executive Summit.
Prior to founding the NanoBCA, Mr. Caprio was Event Director for Red Herring Conferences, producing the company’s Venture Market conferences and Annual Summit reporting to Red Herring Magazine Founder and Publisher Tony Perkins, and Editor, Jason Pontin. His industry peers have formally recognized Mr. Caprio on several occasions for his talents in both tradeshow and conference management.
Mr. Caprio was named Sales Executive of the Year in 1994 while employed with Reed Exhibitions, and was further honored with three Pathfinder Awards in 1995 for launching The New York Restaurant Show, Buildings Chicago and Buildings LA.
Prior to joining Reed Elsevier’s office of the Controller in 1989, Mr. Caprio was employed at Henry Charles Wainwright investment group as a Senior Tax Accountant. In the 1980’s, he specialized in the preparation of 1120, 1065 and 1040 tax forms, and was also employed with the Internal Revenue Service from 1979- 1981.
During the past 10 years, Mr. Caprio has been involved in numerous nonprofit philanthropic activities including: Fabricators & Manufacturers Association (FMA), Easton Learning Foundation, Easton Community Center, Easton Racquet Club, First Presbyterian Church of Fairfield, Omni Nano, FBI Citizen’s Academy, Villanova Alumni Recruitment Network and Easton Exchange Club.
Mr. Caprio graduated from Villanova University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting/MIS from the Villanova School of Business. He received an MBA/MPA from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
In the spring of 2015, Mr. Caprio was appointed to Wichita State University's Applied Technology Acceleration Institute (ATAI) as a water and energy expert. In 2017 he was named Program Director of the Center for Digital Transformation at Pfeiffer University. Mr. Caprio was elected in November 2016 and serves as the Easton, Connecticut Registrar of Voters.
Charles Craig is Senior Vice President - Science & Technology and Director - Administration & Operations at Corning Incorporated. He has 44 years of experience in various technology management positions in the manufacturing, engineering, science and technology fields. Since 1990, Mr. Craig has held leadership responsibilities supporting Corning’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), including strategic planning, portfolio and innovation process management.
Mr. Craig was named to his current position in 2008 where he leads the chief of staff responsibilities for the CTO, the administration and operations of Corning’s global technology community with a focus on Sullivan Park, Corning, NY operations.
He has served on Clarkson University’s Board of Trustees since 2003 and on Beacon Institute’s Leadership Council since 2011.
James Gallagher brought more than 40 years of energy policy and power industry experience to his role as Executive Director of the New York State Smart Grid Consortium. He was Executive Director of the Consortium from April 2013 until July 2019.
As Executive Director, he helped oversee the statewide implementation of a safe, secure, and reliable “smart grid,” and most recently led the consortium’s efforts to assist Puerto Rico in developing a long-term grid roadmap following the devastation of Hurricane Maria. He also served as the co-leader of the Market Design and Platform Technology Working Group for the New York State Public Service Commission’s (PSC) Reforming the Energy Vision Proceeding.
Prior to joining the Smart Grid Consortium, Gallagher served as Manager of Strategic Planning at New York Independent System Operator Inc., and as Director of Energy Policy for the City of New York under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In this role he chaired the New York City Energy Policy Task Force. He also served as Director of the Office of Electricity and Environment for the New York PSC, where he enjoyed a 21-year career.
In the late 1970s, he managed the Tennessee Valley Authority’s pioneering Solar Homes for the Valley Project, that involved the construction of 44 demonstration passive solar homes throughout the Tennessee Valley region.
Gallagher earned a bachelor’s degree in Business and Economics from Lehigh University and a master’s degree in Energy Management and Policy from the University of Pennsylvania.
Before becoming Director, Dr. Riley has had a long association with the Museum as both a curator-at-large and a presenter of lectures in conjunction with the Museum’s exhibitions. As a curator, he contributed to the museum’s Picasso, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionists exhibitions, Dr. Riley has also curated exhibitions in Taiwan, Berlin, Amsterdam, Lausanne, New York and on Long Island.
Recently, Dr. Riley published his latest book, “Free as Gods: How the Jazz Age Reinvented Modernism,” bringing the number of books he’s authored to 32. Other books include “The Jazz Age in France,” “The Art of Peter Max,” “Art at Lincoln Center,” “The Arts and the World Economy,” “Color Codes” and “The Saints of Modern Art.” His next book, a study of Rodin in Chinese and English, will be published by the Chimei Museum. Dr. Riley’s monographs include those on Ben Schonzeit, Fritz Bultman and Peter Max, with most published by Abrams.
As a sought after guest commentator on the art market as well as other topics, Dr. Riley has appeared on CNN, NBC, MSNBC, CBS, ABC and Fox News.
Born and raised in Manhasset, Dr. Riley is a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University and received his Ph.D. from The Graduate Center of CCNY. He and his wife, Dr. Keming Liu, a noted translator of Chinese poetry and a professor at CUNY, live in New York and Cutchogue on the North Fork.
Michelle works as Executive Director of the Hudson Highlands Land Trust. Before serving as Executive Director, she previously served on the organization’s Board of Directors for several years. Michelle has more than 25 years of actuarial and finance experience, as well as many years serving in volunteer roles at environmental nonprofits. Prior to joining HHLT, Michelle was a Managing Director in the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs, where she worked for more than a decade.
During her financial career, Michelle also held leadership roles with the Sierra Club and Georgia ForestWatch. She is currently on the advisory board of the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries and a founding member of Renewable Highlands, working to expand the use of renewable energy in the Hudson Highlands area.
In 2017 she was appointed to the Communities Council of the Hudson River Valley Greenway and elected to the governing Members’ Committee of the Terrafirma Risk Retention Group (Note: Terrafirma is the captive insurance company for land trusts nationwide, defending conservation rights through risk pooling.
Michelle has a BSc (Hons) from the University of Melbourne (Australia) and is a Fellow of the US Society of Actuaries and the Institute of Actuaries of Australia.
Eleanor Peck is Climate Smart Coordinator for the City of Beacon, NY and heads the city’s Conservation Advisory Committee (CAC), which advises the Planning Board and City Council on matters affecting the preservation, development and use of the natural and man-made features in the City. In June 2019, the CAC was appointed Beacon’s Climate Smart Task Force by the City Council. The Committee advises on major environmental threats and maintains an inventory of natural resources and an index of all open spaces.
Peck is also Science Communications Manager for Foundation & Corporate Relations at Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies, based in Millbrook, NY. Cary Institute is an independent non-profit that supports basic environmental research with the potential for transformative impact.
Elizabeth O’Raffity is President of Growing STEMz, Inc., Co-Founder of STEAM Urban and Co-Owner of The Wise Owls Factory, based in Poughkeepsie, NY. Growing STEMz is an organization dedicated to empowerment for youth through STEM/STEAM education via consulting, program development, professional development, tutorials, parent engagement and more. Collaboration with others and Expressive Arts meet Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, are the hallmarks of the Growing STEMz mission to prepare students with 21st Century Skills for a competitive global marketplace.
O’Raffity is a career educator, spent 13 years as a teacher of Physics, Chemistry, Biology and General Science, and 18 years as an Assistant Principal supervising Science, Technology, Math and K-8 education in the New York City Department of Education.
John Albert works as the Chief Research Officer at the Water Research Foundation (WRF). Albert contributes to the strategic direction of WRF as part of the Senior Management Team and as director of Research Services and Subscribers Services. He joined Beacon Institute’s Leadership Council in 2020.
Albert is a 20-year veteran of the water and wastewater industry. Joining the Water Research Foundation in 2005, Albert has previously served as Subscriber Services Manager, Regional Liaison, and Research Manager. In the last year, he led the development and launch of WRF’s wastewater subscription program, which has already enlisted almost a dozen wastewater utilities as WRF subscribers. Albert has also been instrumental in ensuring that WRF subscribers continue to receive personalized service and substantial value for their investment.
Albert is a Miller Award recipient for enhancing the education and outreach programs within the American Water Works Association Rocky Mountain Section. Prior to WRF, Albert worked as a research associate focusing on on-site wastewater systems and bacterial source tracking. Albert holds an MPA with a concentration in non-profit management from the University of Colorado–Denver, as well as an M.S. degree from the Colorado School of Mines and a B.A. in biology from Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH.
Clarkson University alumna Kathi Helmer Cline '85 of Marco Island, Fla., serves on the University’s board of trustees with the Academic Mission and Financial Affairs committees. In 2020 she joined the Beacon Institute Leadership Council.
Cline is the founder and president of KTC Construction and the founder of Cline and Co., a real estate development and construction company.
She has more than 35 years of experience in construction and real estate development. Cline launched her career at Helmer-Cronin Construction in Stony Point, N.Y., in 1976, marking the third generation of her family to join the company
Her career progressed from working in the field to positions including meeting coordinator, controller, job supervisor and project manager. She also participated in and supervised two productions of "Extreme Makeover Home Edition.
Cline joined her father, William F. Helmer ’56, in his devotion to all things Clarkson. She has been a passionate spectator of Golden Knight sporting events for more than 35 years, especially those of her children. Her daughter, Kerrie Cline ’13, was captain of the women’s lacrosse team and her son, Tyler Cline’15, was captain of the men’s golf team.
She has served on the Clarkson Parents Committee and Clarkson Athletics & Recreation Advisory Council. Cline and her husband have hosted multiple freshman send-off events at their home and she is a member of the Annie Clarkson Society.
She resides in Marco Island, Fla., with her husband, Ted Cline '85, whom she met while attending Clarkson.
Paul has been a certified financial planner and franchise advisor with Ameriprise for over 20 years. He recently sold his franchise practice in order to devote more time to consulting with advisors on incorporating Sustainable and Responsible Investing (SRI) into their practice growth model.
Over the past 10 years Paul Ellis has become a nationally recognized expert on sustainable investing. He has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and his article on integrating sustainable investing into advisor practices was recently published in Financial Advisor Magazine. A full-length profile of Paul was featured in UNUM/Calvert Group Annual Report of 2008.
Paul has established a wide-ranging and deep network within the sustainable investment community, and is regularly called upon to provide the financial advisor’s perspective on investor relations. He communicates regularly with the CEO’s and senior analysts of the largest sustainable investment firms, ensuring that his knowledge of the industry is both cutting edge and personal.
His in-depth study of sustainable investment strategies and other sustainable industries and his attendance at the most important conferences across the country give Paul a comprehensive understanding of how sustainability impacts the larger financial markets.
Paul has been a member of US SIF, The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, since 2003. He is also a member of the US SIF Foundation Education Committee, which developed the Fundamentals of Sustainable and Responsible Investing, US SIF Foundation's first online course for financial advisors and other investment professionals.
Amber Mooney is the Director of Workforce Development at The Business Council. She is responsible for advocacy and programs in education and workforce development. In 2020, Amber joined Beacon Institute’s Leadership Council.
Her diverse background includes economic development, workforce development, education, and she has been involved with the entrepreneurial ecosystem in New York State in a number of capacities. Most recently, as the industry engagement manager at FuzeHub, the statewide Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Center, she launched the Jeff Lawrence Manufacturing Innovation Fund, designed to spur technology development and commercialization throughout New York State.
Prior to FuzeHub, she cultivated business and education partnerships for the Ballston Spa Central School District, particularly for its industry- and technology-focused NYS Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program. As a program manager at the Center for Economic Growth, the MEP affiliate for New York’s Capital Region, Amber crafted and implemented workforce development initiatives aligned with the region’s tech-led economic strategies.
In August 2017, she was selected by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) for their Fellowship for Education Attainment, an immersive executive development program that provides chamber of commerce professionals with education and tools to improve the cradle-to-career education pipeline in the communities they serve. Throughout the year-long Fellowship for Education Attainment, she will work to develop a regional action plan to advance The Business Council’s education attainment and workforce development goals.
In July 2019, she received ACCE’s “40 Under 40” award, a new honor presented by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives meant to highlight the brightest men and women under the age of 40 in the chamber industry across the country. She was also honored by City and State Magazine with their “40 Under 40” award recognizing influential people in New York State politics.
Previously, she was a 2016 Albany Business Review “40 Under 40” award honoree, a recognition of up-and-coming business leaders in New York’s Capital Region.
Amber received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and Literature from the University at Albany.
Brian Ruder served as the chair of the Beacon Institute Leadership Council from the early 2000s until 2019. He is founder and CEO of Skylight Counselors, a strategic marketing and business development consulting group. He founded Skylight Counselors in 2001 after a 23 year career of increasingly senior management leadership positions with Citigroup, the H.J.Heinz Company and PepsiCo.
Skylight Counselors has enjoyed a broad range of engagements in consumer products and services. Recent work includes LexisNexis, GE Financial Services, AOL, JP Morgan Chase, Jazz @ Lincoln Center, Guideline Research, Seniorbridge Healthcare, Grindmaster, BNY Mellon/Alcentra and Edison Schools.
Mr. Ruder is executive-in-residence in the Dept. of Management and Organization at the NYU Stern School of Business. He also chairs and leads a capstone second year MBA program for high performing Leadership Fellows students. The program delivers hands-on leadership insights from practicing CEO’s along with a broad range of skills development exercises in personal branding and differentiation, smart risk taking and effective leadership styles.
Prior to Skylight Counselors, Mr. Ruder served most recently as Executive Vice President of Global Marketing for Citigroup. Over five years he built a worldwide capacity for Citigroup encompassing product development, segment marketing, customer knowledge and insights, customer relationship marketing, branding and advertising.
Mr. Ruder also served at the H.J. Heinz Company for over 16 years in a range of positions including President/CEO of Heinz USA, President/CEO of Weight Watchers Food Company and corporate VP of Worldwide Infant Feeding where he established the company’s first globally integrated marketing and manufacturing operation. While at Heinz, he led the development of the first plastic ketchup bottle, the creation of Smart Ones meals and desserts from Weight Watchers and a number of other significant marketing and operational innovations.
He also served as Director of Marketing for Pepsi Cola USA in the mid-1980’s.
Mr. Ruder earned a BA in American History from Washington University in St. Louis and an MBA in marketing from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College.
In 2000 Mr. Ruder was appointed Vice Chairman and Audit Committee chair of the New York State Board of Science, Technology and Academic Research by Governor Pataki and the NY State Senate. In 2004 he was appointed a commissioner of the Dormitory Authority of New York State where he was also chaired the Governance Committee. In addition, he recently chaired the Board of the Metro New York chapter of YPO Gold (Young Presidents’ Organization) and served on the advisory board of PNC Private Client Advisors. He was featured in a Fortune Magazine 1996 cover article entitled “Top Executives in their Forties” and the cover article of the New York TimesSunday business section on Heinz acquisitions and expansion into organic foods.
He has served on the boards of publicly traded companies Saks (NYSE) and Guildeline Research (NASDAQ).
Mr. Ruder lives in Scarsdale, New York with his wife, Ginny. They have two grown sons, Adam and David as well as two grandchildren. They enjoy their country home in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York.
Clarkson University welcomes Dr. Anchala Sobrin to the Beacon Insitute’s Leadership Council.
Dr. Sobrin holds a B.S. in Physics from Fordham University, a M.A. in Educational Psychology from Marist College, a M.S. in Educational Administration from the University of Scranton, and an Ed.D in Educational Leadership Administration and Policy from Fordham University. The focus of her doctoral studies was a historical analysis of education reform through the lens of learning theories, particularly in the areas of science and math. She has contributed to various publications and has presented at numerous conferences.
Dr. Sobrin is a life-long learner who believes that learning never stops and everyone we meet teaches us something new. In her over 17 years of professional experience in public education, she has committed to taking lessons outside of the classroom, whether it be in her role as a Mathematics teacher, Dean of Students, or Assistant Principal in the Wappingers Central School and Spackenkill Union Free School Districts.
Dr. Sobrin currently serves as the Vice President of the New York State Mathematics League, Secretary of the American Regions Mathematics League, and past President of the DUSO Math League. She has led workshops and Professional Learning Networks for teachers and school leaders on Next Generation Science standards, instructional design, assessment frameworks, and inquiry based classroom practice. Additionally, she is the Secretary for the World Hindi Foundation, was Director of the Hudson Valley Hindi School for many years, and has served on various community and county committees that focused on youth involvement in cultural education and community service.
Elizabeth Mirra is an educational consultant, and is the Math and Science Instructional coach for the Springfield School District in Springfield, VT. She has been a middle and high school science educator for over 15 years. As a classroom teacher, she had remarkable success boosting student motivation and achievement in her classes.
Mirra was involved in reviewing and providing feedback on the national Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) throughout their development. Liz has worked with numerous school districts providing professional development on science best practices and assistance with aligning curriculum to the new standards. She is a national presenter facilitating workshops on the NGSS. Liz was the 2011 recipient of the prestigious President’s Award for Excellence in Science Teaching. She is author of Help Your Students Master the NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS: Practical Strategies and the Best, New Tools (Grades 6-12).
Dr. Alan Christian is Professor of Biology in the Department of Biology and Director of Assessments for Student Learning Outcomes in the School of Arts and Sciences at Clarkson University. Dr. Christian concentrates his research on investigating pure and applied life history, ecology, evolution research in freshwater ecosystems, especially freshwater mussels, and analyzing the effects of natural and anthropogenic perturbations (e.g. land use land cover change, urbanization, restoration) on freshwater organisms, populations, communities, and ecosystems.
His research spans local, state, regional, and international borders and helps move both science and conservation management forward. While maintaining a focus on freshwater mussel ecology and conservation his work contributes to the study of pure and applied watershed environmental issues. His research addresses critical issues of the aquatic ecosystem function in urbanized and rural communities facing emerging threats of global change as well as the loss of ecosystem services.
He received his Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, his Master of Science in Biological Sciences from Arkansas State University, and his Ph.D. in Zoology from Miami University. Prior to coming to Clarkson, he spent a decade at the University of Massachusetts-Boston as an Associate Professor of Biology, before that, he was an Assistant and Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Arkansas State University.