ULC Board of Directors - The Universal Learning Centre

Board of Directors 2006-2009 at Board Retreat Board of Directors 2006-2009 at Board RetreatThe Board is responsible for establishing required operating guidelines and policies, as well as the overall direction of ULC and its key initiatives. The Board shall have up to fifteen and not fewer than five members. The Board receives no compensation other than reimbursement for reasonable expenses. Generally, Board members serve three-year terms, and are eligible for re-election. There are four officers of the Board consisting of a Chairman of the board, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. The Board committees include: Executive, Finance, Strategic Planning, Governance, Human Resources, and Donor Development, with other committees formed as needed. 

Chair: Paul D. Hopkins
Paul Hopkins Paul HopkinsAfter a long career as an executive in Information Technology, Paul retired to focus on non-profit work as well as managing his commercial property business.   At Honeywell, a $37 billion Fortune 100 conglomerate, Paul had global IT responsibility for infrastructure and the Transportation and Aerospace business, providing leadership around a portfolio of strategic, secure and innovative solutions and services in partnership with the business.  He created and implemented a Honeywell cross functional business in Puerto Rico that now employs over 800 employees.

Other business roles at Honeywell include being a certified Six Sigma facilitator; Process Re-engineer for Human Resources based in Paris, France, and IT Talent Officer.    Prior to Honeywell, Paul worked at GE and AT&T.

Paul has a lot of passion for his non-profit work including being a volunteer for Heifer International, traveling to Zambia and Malawi.  Locally he helps young adults to obtain legal residency in the US through the Dream Act/Deferred Action.

Paul is originally from New Jersey and now resides in Arizona. He enjoys competitive swimming, cooking and travelling with his husband. 
Treasurer: Americo DeSantis
Americo DeSantis Americo DeSantisAmerico DeSantis is a senior business and finance executive with a proven track record of success in several top tier financial services and Fortune 500 companies.  Throughout his career, Americo has developed high-performing teams, built successful partnerships with business line heads and regulators, and implement rigorous processes which still stand as his legacies.  His leadership and experience in driving cost saving programs have saved his past employers in excess of one hundred million Euros.

His education includes a Bachelor’s in Accounting, an MBA in Finance, and he is Certified Public Accountant (CPA).  Americo is also a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) granted by the Institute of Management Accounting, and a green belt in Six Sigma. He is currently pursuing certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP) sponsored by the Project Management Institute.

As a personal achievement, Americo obtained an MA in History, a long time passion of his.  His thesis, “The Banking Legacies of the Knights Templar”, represented original research which combined his banking experience with his love of medieval history.  Currently, he continues self-studying new subjects such as String Theory and Art History. 

A world traveler, Americo has walked on six continents and intends to visit Antarctica in the near future.  He possesses dual citizenship (USA and Italy) and a working knowledge of several languages.

Americo’s career goal is to transition from commercial endeavors to a humanitarian one, where he can apply his experiences in leadership, financial expertise, strong process-centric focus, and passion in driving results.

He and his wife of 29 years, Karen Pagonis, divide their time between New York City, Chester, N.J., and Port Grimaud, France.
Secretary: Leon Andrews
Leon Andrews Leon Andrews

Leon T. Andrews, Jr. serves as senior fellow at the National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, where he has led all of the Institute’s youth development work with mayors and other municipal leaders around the country including in areas related to childhood obesity, disconnected youth, youth engagement and leadership, and youth master planning since 2006. Before joining the National League of Cities, Leon completed a research fellowship at The Forum for Youth Investment.  Leon has an extensive background working in government, the community, the private sector, and academia for the last 20 years including the United States Department of Justice, United States Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, the United States Public Interest Research Group, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, YouthBuild Pittsburgh, the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and as an adjunct professor in the Department of Political Science at Eastern Michigan University. He is a published author, a presenter at a number of conferences and other forums throughout the country, and serves on a number of national and local boards. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Howard University, a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University, and is a PhD candidate in the Urban and Regional Planning program at The University of Michigan. Leon is married to an amazing woman, Dr. Kristine M. Andrews, for the last eleven years and they have three beautiful daughters – Jessica Austin, Julia Iris, and Joanna Jonas.  

Founder: Jacques M Jean

Jacques JeanJacques JeanJacques M. Jean is originally from Haiti and left his native country immediately after high school to pursue higher education abroad. He is the founder of Universal Learning Centre and has always wanted to bring quality educational tools to his native country. He is an accomplished business professional with over 16 years of dynamic business experiences.

Currently, Jacques is the Corporate IT Application lead and Sr Director of Global Service Delivery for Invensys. A global technology group, supplying solutions, software, consultancy and equipment to monitor, control and automate processes in a wide range of environments. From oil refineries to power stations, from railways to domestic appliances, helping businesses to optimize their processes and improve their performance.

Prior to that Jacques was the Director Global Service Effectiveness where he was leading the PMO, M&A and continuous improvement across the Invensys Global Infrastructure Technology Organization. Previous to Invensys, Jacques spearheading the Value Based Planning group in Honeywell International. A technology and manufacturing company, which serves the aerospace products and services, control, sensing and security technologies for buildings, homes and industry, turbochargers, automotive products and chemicals etc. Jacques worked with all business unit CIOs to optimize their IT infrastructure services and minimize spending. Jacques was the IT International Manager for Honeywell Consumer Product Group, he was responsible for the business IT planning, services delivery, and team development in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Preceding that, Jacques was the Strategic Planning Manager at the Honeywell Automation & Control Solutions business group where he was responsible for establishing real-time, high-performance analysis and reporting for all levels of business users and optimizing overall business performance through intelligence business puzzling. Prior to that, Jacques served as the IT Six Sigma Leader in Latin America for Honeywell Corporate where he was responsible for the regional Program Management deployment and deployment of Six Sigma across Honeywell Latin America and the Caribbean.  Before joining Honeywell in 1999, Jacques worked for Carnegie Mellon University as a Linguist Technician in the Diplomat project in Pittsburgh, PA.

Jacques earned a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and continued his studies with an Executive Program in Business Marketing Strategy from the Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts. Jacques also holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from La Universidad De Guadalajara, in Mexico.  Jacques speaks Creole, French, Spanish, English and some Portuguese.  Jacques lives in Texas with his wife and three children.

Member: Eric Awerkamp

Eric Awerkamp Eric Awerkamp

Eric C. Awerkamp received his B.A., summa cum laude, in Accounting from Arizona State University in 1986.  he received his J.D. from J. Rueben Clark Law School in 1989 and was a member of law review.  Upon graduation, Mr. Awerkamp joined the law firm of Beus, Gilbert & Morrill as a litigation associate. In 1993, he joined the law firm of Brown, Arenofsky, Squire & Sacco and practiced in the areas of workers’ compensation and personal injury.  In 1997, he opened his own practice and continued his practice in the areas of workers’ compensation and personal injury. He is a certified specialist in workers’ compensation and a member of the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association.  He is the past co-chair of the workers’ compensation section of the State Bar of Arizona.

On a non-professional basis, Mr. Awerkamp is an Eagle Scout and has served many years as a volunteer leader with the Boy Scouts of America.  Mr. Awerkamp has served on Woodbadge staff, which is advanced training for adult Boy Scout leaders.

Internationally, Mr. Awerkamp served a French speaking mission for the LDS church in Belgium and France during 1981 and 1982.  His mission exposed him to a wide variety of people from around the world.  This experience created his desire to help educate and assist people around the globe.  Mr. Awerkamp believes that education and service are what will truly improve this world for everyone.

On a personal basis, Mr. Awerkamp has been fortunate to be married twenty two years to Debra, the love of his life.   He has six children spanning nineteen years.  Mr. Awerkamp lives in Arizona.

Member: Ketaki Desai
Ketaki Desai Ketaki Desai
Dr. Desai is a Subject Matter Expert in healthcare and education practice areas at Fino Consulting, a boutique consulting firm in Manhattan.  Her expertise is in policy development, product and project management, data analysis and interpretation, and scientific writing and presentations.  She earned an MS in Public Management from Carnegie Mellon University, and a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from Texas A&M University. She is a passionate entrepreneur and founded a company - LeSyn Labs - for changing educational practices in the United States. Dr. Desai also holds a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from Pune University, India.  Prior to joining Fino Consulting, she held project management positions at UNICEF and the Dept. of Biomedical Informatics, University of Pittsburgh.  She is responsible for conceptualizing, designing and marketing an iPhone application, “What’s My Size?”, which was downloaded over 35,000 times in two weeks and listed on the Top 15 in Utility apps for the iPhone. She is also the 2012 Global Winner of the $1M Hult Global Case Challenge, where her work was judged by Pres. Bill Clinton and Nobel Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus.
Member: Patricia Ryan
Patricia Ryan Patricia RyanAn accomplished Human Resources Executive with Strong Fortune 500 company background and international experience, Pat has a history of leveraging human capital through culture building and creating organizations capable of attracting, retaining and developing top talent, primarily in the Information Technology function.  She is a resourceful team player able to bring diverse viewpoints to a productive consensus.

As an HR Consultant, she provided comprehensive HR management advisory and consultancy service to staff and management to include development and communication of human resources processes, strategic organization design, competency-based career path development and implementation, and change adoption and communication planning and implementation.
Pat’s areas of expertise include:
Leadership Development
Career Path Development
Strategic Organization Design
Change Adoption
She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Philadelphia University in Pennsylvania, and a Master of Human Resource Management from the Keller Graduate School of Management.

Advisor to the Board: David L. Van Vactor Jr.
David Van Vactor David Van VactorDr. Van Vactor is a Professor in the Department of Cell Biology at the Harvard Medical School (HMS) and a member of the Program in Neuroscience and the DFCI/Harvard Cancer Center. In 2007 he became Director of the Graduate Programs in Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) in Harvard's Division of Medical Sciences. He is also Director of Basic Science Partnership (BSP), an educational outreach program for middle and high school children. Dr. Van Vactor received his B.A. in Behavioral Biology at the Johns Hopkins University, and went on to receive his Ph.D. from the Department of Biological Chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He has been an instructor for Neurobiology courses at the Marine Biology Laboratories in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, a course Director at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories on Long Island, and is co-Director of a new course at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technololgy (OIST). Dr. Van Vactor has been the recipient of a Medical Foundation New Investigator award, as well as Scholar awards from the Klingenstein Foundation, the McKnight Foundation and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He is currently a Partner in Research with Nikon Instruments.

Dr. Van Vactor served as the ULC Board Chair from 2011-2013, and now continues to offer his expertise as a treasured Advisor to the Board.  
Advisor to the Board: Alex Westerband

Alex Westerband Alex WesterbandDr. Alex Westerband was born in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, to parents who believed that early childhood investment was crucial for long-term development. Following his completion of an M.D degree from the Universite d’Etat d’Haiti, Alex went on to pursue advanced studies and surgical training in France and the United States. He holds a Diploma in Surgery from the University Louis Pasteur of Strasbourg, France. He is also Board-Certified in Surgery and Vascular Surgery by the American Board of Surgery. Dr. Westerband spent many years working as a clinician researcher and educator for graduate and postgraduate students at the University of Arizona, where he became an Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery in 2002. He served as Clinical Director of Vascular Surgery at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System from 1997 to 2004. Throughout the years, Alex has authored and co-authored more than thirty peer-reviewed articles and several book chapters. He is a member of numerous surgical societies, such as the American College of Surgeons, the Society for Vascular Surgery, the Association for Academic Surgery, the Western Vascular Society, the International Society of Endovascular Specialists, among others. While he remains devoted to being a full-time vascular surgeon with Northwest Allied Physicians of Tucson, Alex recently completed an MBA degree in Healthcare at George Washington University. He believes that this supplementary knowledge will help him to contribute to the development of his native country; particularly in the field of education, economic growth and healthcare. Alex and his lovely wife Catherine, a French gynecologist, are the proud parents of two wonderful twins, Eric and Alexandra.  


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