External Advisory Board
To continually improve our programs, curriculum, and delivery strategies, the Close School has established a committee of distinguished external advisors comprised of entrepreneurs, business and industry experts, and community leaders to provide valuable input and service.
Close School External Advisory Board Members
Mr. Altomari is President and Chief Executive Officer of Agile Therapeutics and a member of the Company’s Board of Directors since 2010. Prior to being named President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Altomari served as Agile’s Executive Chairman from 2004 to 2010 in which he closed a $45 million venture round in May 2010. Serving as Chief Executive Officer, he raised an additional $40 million of equity in June 2012 and closed a $15 million financing agreement in December 2012. Mr. Altomari has over 30 years of experience in the industry, with more than 20 years focused on the development and marketing of specialty pharmaceuticals at global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including Johnson & Johnson.
George M. Danko
George Danko is currently an independent business advisor that provides strategy development, marketing, sales, channel development, business development and operational consulting services to companies with diverse business needs; driving the quick return to profitable growth, global expansion or exit. Mr. Danko currently serves as a the board member of Onpoint Medical Diagnostics, UpdateLogic, Reshare Commerce, LLC, SinuGenix, LLC and a board observer for YesVideo, Inc.
Michael F. Doyle
Michael Doyle is a Trustee for the Estate of Charles D. Close and The Charles and Barbara Close Foundation. He is the President and CEO of CDS Analytical, Inc., a designer and manufacturer of laboratory instruments for sample preparation and analysis that has been in business for over 30 years, located in Oxford, Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Advisory Council for the Laurence A. Baiada Institute for Entrepreneurship at Drexel University.
Michael Edwards is the Executive Vice President for U.S. retail merchandising at Staples, Inc. He previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Borders Group, Inc. and had also served as the company’s chief merchant. Prior to Borders, Mr. Edwards was President and Chief Executive Officer of Lucy Activewear.
David Geltzer is the founder and director of the Geltzer Family Foundation, established in 2003 and the retired president of the specialty clothing stores Aéropostale and Chelsea Campbell. He had an extensive business career at Macy’s New York and helped Macy’s develop and start the Charter Club and Aéropostale Specialty Store chains. In 1998, as a principal owner, Mr. Geltzer was instrumental in taking the Macy’s Specialty Store Division business private and then helped the company prepare to go public.
Edward J. Grubb
Edward Grubb was formerly the President and Co-Founder of Network Alternatives, Inc. (NAI). He has most recently served as Vice President with mindSHIFT Technologies, Inc., a Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) services company. MindSHIFT is a leading IT outsourcing and cloud services provider to small and mid-size businesses. Since 1987, Mr. Grubb has provided consulting services within the legal industry, helping firms across the country select and implement technology solutions to address their business needs.
Karen Jehanian has been an entrepreneur since childhood. First with an apple business (before Steve Jobs), then t-shirts, key fobs, children's educational products and now an engineering consulting firm. Entrepreneurship is her passion. Whether it is a product or service, this is what makes her tick.
Karen founded KMJ Consulting, Inc., (KMJ) in 1998 and currently serves as its President. KMJ is an innovative transportation engineering and consulting services firm based in Ardmore, Pa. In her spare time, she serves as an elected member of the Alumni Association Board of Governors and former College of Engineering Advisory Council member. She is a frequent guest lecturer and panelist in the College of Engineering and LeBow College of Business. She is a registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Bonnie E. Richards
Bonnie Richards is a Senior Vice President in Private Wealth Management at UBS Financial Services, Inc. Her group serves as a multi-family office for ultra-high-net-worth individuals and their families. This includes planning and operations in business succession, asset protection, investments, income and estate taxes, insurance (life, health and disability), estates and trusts. Bonnie is member of the Drexel University Leadership Advisory Board, and is the prior Chair of the American Bar Association Estate and Gift Tax Committee.
Stanley W. Silverman
Stan Silverman is the former President and CEO of PQ Corporation, a privately held global company operating in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia Pacific in chemicals and engineered glass materials. He is a director on the boards of Drummond Scientific Company, where he serves as lead director, General Chemical Corporation, Femco Holdings, LLC, Exocor, Inc. and Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Stan is Vice Chairman of the Board of Drexel University, Chairman of the Board of the Drexel University College of Medicine and a Trustee of Friends Select School.
Catherine A. Sohn
Catherine Sohn is Dean’s Professor at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (formerly the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy) and Founder & President, Sohn Health Strategies, LLC. Previously, over 28 years at GlaxoSmithKline and its predecessor, SmithKline Beecham, she held U.S. and global leadership roles in the Pharmaceutical, Vaccine and Consumer healthcare divisions, retiring in 2010 as senior vice president of worldwide business development for GSK’s $8 billion consumer healthcare division.
Wade Charles Barnett
A 1984 graduate of Drexel University, Wade began his career with Philadelphia based investment firm, Butcher & Singer. While retail stock brokerage did not resonate with Wade, he was drawn to working with institutional clients, specifically financial cooperatives, after a chance meeting with a credit union. After some early success developing portfolio strategies for his growing credit union client base, Wade made his way to Wall Street joining Oppenheimer and Company in 1986 to create the Credit Union Financial Services Group (CUFS). Shortly thereafter, Wade became a frequent speaker at credit union conferences and a volunteer educator of regional examiners for the National Credit Union Administration. While a Senior Managing Director at Bear Stearns (1995 – 2008), Wade and the CUFS group created numerous innovative products and services exclusively for credit unions including CUAuto, CUPlus, CUMAC, and the Managed Leverage Program (BSMLS), a registered 40 Act fund and National Credit Union Administration approved investment pilot program for federally chartered credit unions. Now almost three decades later, currently a Managing Director at JP Morgan Securities, Wade continues to pursue his passion for ‘helping credit unions do well, so they can do good'.
Joe Callahan, Founder and CEO of the Ciright Companies is an Internet of Things (IoT) expert. Combining a mix of engineering, programming and creative marketing, Joe specializes in eliminating traditional technology barriers across all industries. He is a highly sought after thought-leader serving the needs of businesses striving for growth, governments seeking efficiency, social service organizations attempting to scale, and manufacturers interested in creating meaningful careers.
As CEO and Founder of The Ciright Companies, Joe oversees more than 100 employees spanning several continents and over 15 brands. Each Ciright Company is focused on developing next-generation tools for small and large entities.
The Ciright Companies also offers a TE (Technology Equity) Program whereby individuals who have a compelling idea for a new product or service can pitch an internal team and ultimately partner and leverage Ciright's technology. This program significantly reduces the amount of time entrepreneurs bring their idea to market.
A native of Philadelphia (aka the "Liberty Valley") and proud graduate of Northeast Catholic High School and Drexel University, he earned degrees in Engineering, Information Systems Management, and Marketing. In June of 2016, Joe was named Technology Entrepreneur of the Year by EY for the Philadelphia region.
Connect with Joe on LinkedIn or read his latest thoughts.