Michelle Personette is the Executive Director of the Challenger Learning Center, a K-12 STEM outreach facility of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. She began her career working on promotions and marketing in the Entertainment & Tourism industries, developing campaigns for The Florida Everblades (an ECHL hockey team), Florida Gulf Coast University Office of Recreation and Leisure Services, Universal Orlando, Holiday Inn Family Suites and others. She received much of her fiscal experience while working for the University of Central Florida College of Arts and Sciences in the Budget Office. When Michelle moved to Tallahassee in 2011, she was hired as the Challenger Learning Center’s marketing, sales and communications manager and in that role planned the pre-opening promotions, marketing, group sales and fundraising efforts of the center. In 2005, she was promoted to the center’s executive director and currently oversees all aspects of the Center’s operation. Michelle has a bachelor’s degree in English from Florida Gulf Coast University and her master’s degree in mass communication with a concentration in advertising and public relations from the University of Central Florida. Michelle is a graduate of Leadership Tallahassee, Class of 25 and is a current or former board member of the Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle, Tallahassee Convention and Visitors Bureau, Kleman Plaza Design & Review Board and others.
Susan Borland received her bachelor’s degree in Health Education and began her masters degree in Science Education at SUNY Cortland and continued her masters program at SUNY Stony Brook. She has over 20 years experience teaching science in New York and Florida. She began her career with the Challenger Learning Center in Tallahassee in February 1999 and was involved in all aspects of planning of the center. Susan has had extensive experience in curriculum and workshop development. She currently serves as Education Manager of the center and is involved in curriculum planning and alignment to standards, workshop preparation and delivery, camp coordination, grant writing and all facets of managing the education department. In addition to her duties at the Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee, Susan serves on the Network Council and as a mentor for the Challenger Center for Space Science Education network. She served as a member of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education board from 2012-2015 and was one of the 2008 Children’s Champions for Kids Incorporated of the Big Bend.
Coordinator of Educational Programs
Originally from the North Florida region, Clay Tomlinson received a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Florida State University; then worked to earn a teaching certificate in middle school grade sciences after graduation. Clay currently serves as the Coordinator of Educational Programs at the Challenger Learning Center. He is responsible for the implementation of educational programming, including the flying of simulated space missions
for students and teachers, the development and presentation of scientific demonstrations, the organization and management of the Challenger Learning Center’s camp programs, and the development and implementation of Learning Labs, all while ensuring the programming is age appropriate and aligned to state standards.
Theatre & Operations Manager
Reed Lambdin was born in Indiana but was raised in Tallahassee. Reed has spent the last 19 years working in the motion picture industry and came to the Challenger Learning Center in 2005. Reed completed a month-long training in Canada to become one of the few Certified IMAX SPP Technicians. His responsibilities include operation and maintenance of the IMAX and Planetarium equipment and theatre, inventory maintenance, data reporting and tracking, as well as building and equipment upkeep and set-up.
A Macedonia native, Nenad (Nick) Pavlovik is a Garnet and Gold Scholar that graduated summa cum laude from the Florida State University, College of Business with Bachelor of Science degrees in multinational business, accounting and finance, as well as an M.B.A. Nick joined the Center over 10 years ago and has brought to this position a broad range of operation management, finance, accounting, and budgeting experience.
Marketing and Communications Manager
Originally from Kissimmee, FL, Christina Amrhein received her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from The Florida State University (FSU) in May 2014. She began her career working in the chemistry research laboratory of Nobel Laureate Sir Harold Kroto, conducting organic chemistry research with focuses ranging from Fullerene chemistry and the creation of novel nanoscale structures to interstellar chemistry of carbon chain molecules. During the same time, she volunteered in Dr. Kroto’s Global Educational Outreach program, GEOSET, a K-12 and post secondary STEM global outreach facility at FSU. Christina was eventually brought on board to the GEOSET team in September 2013 as the Chief Science Officer. Her responsibilities ranged from project management and event planning to outreach and video production, while working on the Grand Opening of the new GEOSET studios facility at FSU. In 2014, Christina was promoted to the studio’s Assistant Director, where she received much of her marketing, public relations, and design experience.
Bonnie, who has a twin sister, grew up in West Orange, NJ, and received a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Boston University. After living in Georgia and Ohio, where she held management positions in operations and HR, Bonnie settled in Tallahassee with her family to pursue her career. One of Bonnie’s two sons, currently living in San Francisco, was an original employee of Wikipedia, while her other son has an active practice in Tallahassee as a financial advisor. When not working in the Challenger program, where her varied responsibilities include HR administration, Bonnie enjoys spending time with her two granddaughters.
Sales and Resource Development Manager
Originally from Long Island, Samantha was raised in Melbourne FL and moved to Tallahassee in 2009. Samantha received her bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida State University in 2013. During her time at FSU, Samantha volunteered with the American Cancer Society, St. Baldrick’s Foundation and served as the president of RENEW, a mentor program within the Florida State University Counseling Center. In 2013, she completed an internship with BowStern Marketing Communications and joined the Challenger staff as the Group Sales and Membership Coordinator. Her responsibilities include scheduling field trips for schools throughout the Southeast, coordinating registration for educational programs, and managing facility rentals, special events and memberships. Samantha is now the Sales and Resource Development Manager and has adopted additional responsibilities including fundraising and grant writing.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Public/Intergovernmental Relations Officer, Leon County Commission
Jon Brown serves as the Public Information Officer for Leon County. He has a background in Civil and Software Engineering and trained at the Kennedy Space Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Mr. Brown created The Midnight Group, a website development outfit. A graduate of FAMU, he served as the Chairman of Midnight Holdings; founded the North Florida Multicultural Marketing Symposium and the Multicultural Marketing Student Forum; and assisted in the creation of the Technical Symposium Development Council. Mr. Brown served as President of the Greater Tallahassee Advertising Federation and is a Board of Directors member for the Fourth District American Advertising Federation.
Director, Office of Articulation, Florida Department of Education
Mr. Clark is a Florida native and a graduate of Palm Beach County Public Schools. After serving as an Engineering Duty Officer for the US Navy, Mr. Clark taught high school science and mathematics in North Carolina as part of the Troops-to-Teachers program. He was selected as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator and worked in that role with science education programs for teachers and undergraduate students for the US Department of Energy. He began working for the Florida Department of Education in 2006 and has served as the Bureau Chief for Curriculum and Instruction and for K – 12 Data Collection before moving to his current assignment as the Director of Articulation. Mr. Clark received a B.S. from Duke University and Master’s Degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Florida.
President, New Capitol IT
Chuck Cliburn is the ACS Senior Vice President and Client Executive for Florida Public Sector based in Tallahassee, Florida. Mr. Cliburn is responsible for business strategy and planning, client and civic relationship management and business growth for the ACS Governmental Solutions Group for state and local government markets within Florida. He also serves as the ACS executive liaison for Florida Public Sector to all ACS lines of business (LOBs) within the ACS Governmental Solutions Group. Prior to joining ACS, he spent over 20 years with Unisys Corporation holding various management positions across the U.S. in both commercial and public sector marketplaces. Mr. Cliburn holds a BS degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Masters degree in Business Administration from the American Graduate School of International Management.
Director of External Relations, Florida Center for Reading Research, FSU
Jimmy Cole directs the external relations, including communications, events, needs sensing & field office operations, for the Florida Center for Reading Research and the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast at Florida State University. During the past ten years, he has also worked extensively with community and university fundraising groups. He is active in the community, serving in leadership and volunteer roles for multiple education and direct service organizations.
Attorney, Hopping, Green & Sams
Brian Crumbaker counsels landowners and developers on matters concerning the financing, construction and management of infrastructure improvements necessary for the development of large-scale residential, commercial and mixed-use projects, including representation before the Florida Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission and local governments in relation to the establishment of community development districts. Mr. Crumbaker provides counsel to indenture trustees, bondholders and community development districts on matters involving land secured, tax-exempt debt including, but not limited to, landowner bankruptcies, foreclosures, distressed/defaulted debt and agreed upon restructurings. Mr. Crumbaker received his J.D. from the University of Miami, School of Law and his B.A. from Florida State University.
Leon County Commission
Commissioner Dailey began his professional career at the Florida League of Cities where he worked on legislative and regulatory issues involving local governance. In 2001, he went to work for the National League of Cities in Washington, DC. While earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Florida State University, he gained valuable experience as the President of the Student Government Association and worked at the Leon County Office of Management and Budget. John also earned a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from The London School of Economics, while simultaneously working as a legislative aide to a Member of Parliament. Currently, Commissioner Dailey is President of JDA Strategies, LLC a public policy research and development consulting firm. He is also a licensed Realtor with Ketcham Realty Group.
Vice President, University Relations, FSU
Kathleen Daly, Interim Vice President for University Relations, directs the Office of Governmental Relations for Florida State University. Ms. Daly served as the Director of the office for 9 years before being named Assistant Vice President in December 2003. As the Chief lobbyist at the State Capitol for FSU, Ms. Daly is the face of the university to the state governing body. On a daily basis, Ms. Daly and her office staff work as a liaison between all levels of government and the FSU community. Some of her responsibilities in this position included, working with constituents, facilitating legislation and working with other legislative staff and lobbyists on a myriad of issues. Ms. Daly is a 1982 graduate of Florida State University’s College of Communication.
Chief of Staff to the Office of the Mayor and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, City of Tallahassee
Dustin R. Daniels serves as Chief of Staff to the Office of the Mayor and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the City government of Tallahassee, FL. He is an alumnus of Florida State University, where he served as Student Body President and University Trustee, and graduated with distinction as a member of the Faculty-Student Steering committee at the London School of Economics. Dustin has worked in the public, private, and non-profit sectors in over 10 countries, and continues to serve in various other volunteer and advisory roles with several international nonprofit and non-governmental organizations.
Senior Software System Engineer, MITRE Corporation
Dr. Davis is a Senior Software System Engineer for the MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit organization that manages federally funded research centers for the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Internal Revenue Service. His research interests include GPS, information assurance and wireless networks. Additionally, he currently leads a forward looking taskforce that helps the military land aircraft using GPS. Dr. Davis was awarded the 2007 Black Engineer of the Year Award in Community Service in Industry and he also serves on the Space Florida Board of Directors. He holds a Ph.D and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, a M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a B.S. of Electrical Engineering from The Georgia Institute of Technology and a B.S. in Math and Physics from Morehouse College.
Dean, FSU College of Education
Marcy P. Driscoll is Leslie J. Briggs Professor of Educational Research and Dean of the College of Education at Florida State University. She is Past-president of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) and author or co-author of eight textbooks and numerous articles on learning and instruction and research methods. She has recently focused her effort on issues related to education policy and teacher education because of her role as dean. Professor Driscoll has been the recipient of teaching awards at the department, college, and university levels, earned for excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching. Professor Driscoll received her A.B. magna cum laude from Mt. Holyoke College and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Educational Psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Allie Merzer Fleming
Aide to Commissioner Scott Maddox, City of Tallahassee
Since moving to the Capital City in 2000, Allie has served as spokesperson for several statewide organizations and political campaigns, including the Florida Democratic Party, and worked for powerful entities such as The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce and Ron Sachs Media Group. In her various roles she has coordinated numerous advertising and marketing campaigns, held statewide and national press conferences and organized events of various scales including conferences, charity dinners and expos. In addition, she owned and operated The Fleming Agency and Good Friends Group Fitness, giving her the unique perspective of sole-proprietorship and service-oriented management. Allie currently serves as Aide to City Commissioner Scott Maddox. Allie holds a BA from American University, an MA from University of York, England and is struggling to earn her PhD in “working-mother-of-two-and-supportive-wife” with an emphasis on keeping her head above water and her humor intact.
J. Murray Gibson
Dean, FAMU-FSU College of Engineering
J. Murray Gibson was appointed Dean of the FAMU/FSU College of Engineering July 1st 2016. Previously he served five years as the Founding Dean of the Northeastern University College of Science where he developed the foundational strategic plan working hand in hand with faculty, staff, students, other deans and external stakeholders. The plan became the blueprint for the hiring of more than 40 tenured/tenure-track faculty, including 10 joint appointments with other colleges. He managed a 50% increase both in the College’s research funding and its undergraduate enrollment, the latter simultaneous with a substantial improvement in the quality of incoming undergraduates (an increase of 100 SAT points in five years).
As Director of the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago between 2001 and 2010, Gibson developed the billion-dollar synchrotron x-ray source into the Western Hemisphere’s largest scientific user facility (based on the number of users and publication output). His success was contingent on working to bring together academic and government stakeholders and ensure that creative experimentation was facilitated.
Before joining Argonne as the Director of the Materials Science Division in 1998, Gibson spent seven years as a Professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Gibson began his career at IBM Research, and then moved on to Bell Laboratories where he led the Electronic and Photonic Materials Research Department in Murray Hill, NJ.
Gibson holds a PhD in Physics from the University of Cambridge in England, and researches in Materials Science and Engineering. He has developed advanced microscopy and diffraction techniques to study structure at the atomic scale in materials, and to illuminate the relationship of important materials properties to structure. He has published over 200 journal papers, has five patents and has over 17,000 citations to his published work. In his spare time he loves playing the piano, and has written, lectured and performed the “Physics of the Blues” which aims to illuminate the intimate connections between art and science.
President, The Greenstein Group
Ron Greenstein is a highly respected and successful governmental affairs consultant that is active in both state and local politics. He is routinely consulted for advice and assistance from candidates and elected officials at the local level as well as legislative and state cabinet levels, and has long-lasting professional relationships with policy makers, lawmakers and regulators. Greenstein served as Mayor of the City of Coconut Creek for 10 years. He served as a legislator in the Florida House of Representatives for 8 years. As a state legislator, he developed an expertise in the state budget process and was respected for his ability to transcend partisan politics to achieve consensus and results. Greenstein served as a special consultant to the Florida House of Representatives under Speaker Marco Rubio for several years after terming out of office. In this role, he instructed and advised newly elected legislators on the state appropriations and legislative processes. Greenstein has remained active in local government matters as well, including consulting for the Florida League of Cities, serving as Executive Director of the Broward Resource Recovery Board and on the Airport Advisory Board for the City of Tallahassee. His client base covers a broad range of issues, including land, residential and commercial development; health care; utilities; water supply; solid waste and recycling; retain; and gaming.
Assistant Superintendent of Academic Services
Gillian Stewart Gregory began working in public schools almost twenty years ago. She has been a teacher, reading coach, assistant principal and Principal in traditional schools in multiple districts across the state. Ms. Gregory has also been an Instructional Leader at Florida Virtual School, the state’s public online high school and is the founding Principal of Leon County Virtual School. Most recently she has served as a Director for Testing, Research, and Evaluation as well as a Divisional Director for Testing, School Improvement, and Research. Her current areas of supervision as Assistant Superintendent of Academic Services, include Testing, Technology, School Improvement, Professional Learning, and Curriculum Services.
Director of Marketing, Capital City Bank
Brooke Hallock joined the bank in 2005 and is responsible for its advertising efforts as well as internal and external communications. A graduate of Florida State University, Ms. Hallock began her career as a fund raiser for the March of Dimes. She then spent nearly 10 years at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital in the public relations department. Active in the community, she is involved in many organizations including Big Bend Hospice, the United Way of the Big Bend and Junior League of Tallahassee.
President, Paragon New Media
Alan Hanstein is past chair president and chair of the development committee of the Challenger Learning Center board of directors. As president and founder of Paragon New Media, recognized as one of the first companies to provide online services for event promotion and registration, Mr. Hanstein has generated more than $20 million in online registration revenue and pioneered technology that has become the industry standard. He is an active community member, serving in leadership positions for several charitable and economic organizations.
Director of Research; Fla. Police Benevolent Assoc.
Ken Kopczynski is the president of the Tallahassee Astronomical Society, a local group of amateur astronomers who share their love of the Universe with others. Ken is a master observer having completed at least 10 observing programs offered by the Astronomical Society for amateur astronomers. He most enjoys sharing his knowledge of the sky with others. Mr. Kopczynski writes the monthly Sky Guy column for the Tallahassee Democrat and he also is a monthly guest on the Your Voice program on V89 FM. He is the recipient of the 2013 Partners in Excellence Award presented by the Big Bend/Leon Association for Science Teaching in recognition for his community leadership and his contributions in the field of science.
President & Chief Operating Officer, Flightline
Daniel Langston is President and Chief Operating Officer of Flightline Group, Inc. a regional aviation sales and service company. Member companies under his management include Flightline Tallahassee, Flightline Okaloosa, SouthEast Piper, SouthEast PiperJet, Flightline Development Corporation, HondaJet SouthEast, HondaJet East and P3 Piper Parts Plus. He is a Florida native and graduate of Tallahassee Community College and Florida State University.
Former Telecommunications Executive for over 30 years in Florida and Illinois
Also served as Development Director Resource & Program Development Consultant, for both Florida’s Foundation and Volunteer Florida
K.C. McWilliams has served on the Leon County Challenger Learning Center Board of Directors since August, 2004. She also serves on various community Boards and State Associations. KC has been the proud “Big Sister” for a 13 year old “Little” for the last 3 and half years.
Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, FAMU-FSU College of Engineering
Dr. Carl Moore is an associate professor at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. He earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Dr. Moore worked for 3 years as a research engineer and as a manufacturing engineer for Eastman Kodak Company in the Copy Products and Single-Use Camera departments. He also has professional experience with Ford Motor Company’s Interactive Conceptual Design and Applications lab. Dr. Moore was instrumental in the development of COBOT technology – a human-robot collaboration technology, and is a pioneer in mobile robot terrain classification research. His other research interests include robot design and control.
Russell Perkins, CPA
Certified Public Accountant, Thomas Howell Ferguson, P.A.
Russell Perkins is a shareholder at Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A. with experience in providing accounting, auditing, dispute resolution, expert testimony, and consulting services to for-profit and not-for-profit entities. Mr. Perkins received his B.S. degree from the University of Florida and his Master’s degree from Florida State University.
Floyd R. Self
Partner, Berger Singerman LLP
Floyd R. Self has been a member of the Challenger Learning Center Board since 2004. He is a frequent speaker and facilitator for leadership and team building programs and a community volunteer for the Boy Scouts, Leadership Tallahassee, and Grace Lutheran Church. He is an attorney with the Florida business law firm of Berger Singerman LLP and has a diverse state and local government and regulatory practice in the energy, telecommunications, water, and technology sectors.
External Affairs Manager, AT&T
MaryRose Sirianni serves as an External Affairs Manager for AT&T working with legislative teams to develop and implement sound legislative and regulatory strategies and policies; lobbying legislative, state government staff and community stakeholders on federal, state and local issues in Florida, Puerto Rico and USVI. She has 28+ years’ experience in telecommunications policy, regulatory and legal affairs, internal and external relations, and visionary programs for community involvement, with 18 of those with AT&T. In addition to her involvement with the Challenger Learning Center, she is involved in various community organizations including Leadership Tallahassee, the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, and a leader with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend. Ms. Sirianni holds a BS in Mineral Processing Engineering from West Virginia University and an MBA from FSU.
High School Senior, Florida State University Schools
Melissa is a senior at Florida State University Schools. She is a part of their SGA, NHS, Rho Kappa, swim and flag football teams. She is hoping to Pursue a major in bio-chemistry or chemical engineering at FSU or UWF. In her spare time she loves to travel and when she’s not busy with school or sports, she is busy with volunteering at the humane society or clean the forest events. she has participated in Youth Leadership Tallahassee and The Talquin Youth tour.
President, Uhlfelder & Associates
Steve Uhlfelder is a Tallahassee lawyer. He is currently chair of the prestigious J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and is the former chair of the Florida Board of Regents, as well as a former member of the Florida Board of Governors and the Board of Trustees for Florida State University. Mr. Uhlfeder chairs the Florida Mentoring Partnership and is the voluntary CEO of the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund. He was recently awarded the National Points of Light Award.
Member, Florida House of Representatives, District 8
President, M.W. Land Investing
Representative Alan B. Williams, president of M.W. Land Investing, is a graduate of Florida A&M University. The youngest participant ever in Leadership Tallahassee, he now serves as the youth program chair and on the Board of Governors for Leadership Tallahassee. A recognized community leader, he recently was selected as a finalist for the Leadership Tallahassee Distinguished Leadership Award. Mr. Williams is married to Attorney Opal M. Williams, a FAMU Graduate of Miami Fla. They are the proud parents of Adrianna Williams and their newest addition, Alan-Louis Portlock Williams.