Sharon McKenna Chidsey (Educ ’83) has opened a bed and breakfast in Ashland, Virginia, called The Tinder Guest House. The house is unusual in that it hosts only one group at a time in more than 2,000 square feet.
Robert J. Conrad Jr. (Law ’83) received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the Clemson University Alumni Association. A U.S. District judge for the western district of North Carolina, Judge Conrad serves on the board of directors for Clemson’s Tiger Letterwinners Association and mentors law students who are Clemson graduates.
Eric Davis (Arch ’83 L/M) has joined the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies at the University of Chicago as adjunct faculty. He is also a lecturer in architecture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has his own firm, Public Design Architects, and is a member of the Cook County Zoning Board of Appeals. He also recently completed eight years of service on the board of the American Institute of Architects’ Chicago chapter. Mr. Davis and his wife, Suzanne, an assistant Cook County public defender, live in Oak Park, Illinois, with their two sons.
Jeffrey Elkin (Col ’83 L/M) has been named litigation practice group leader for Porter Hedges in Houston, where he focuses his practice on complex commercial disputes, partnership and LLC dissolutions, federal and state securities laws, and business torts.
Kim A. Viti Fiorentino (Col ’83 L/M) has been appointed general counsel of the Archdiocese of Washington, to oversee all legal affairs for the archdiocese. She was previously a shareholder and a member of the board of directors of Shulman Rogers Gandal Porty & Ecker in the Washington, D.C., area.
Elizabeth A. “Betsy” Flanagan (Grad ’83) has been named vice president emerita by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. A retired vice president of development and university relations, Ms. Flanagan came to Virginia Tech in 2000 and immediately set to work outlining an aggressive fundraising campaign that ultimately sought to raise $1 billion, even though consultants recommended a lower goal. In November 2011, the campaign exceeded expectations thanks in part to Ms. Flanagan’s efforts. She also served as a member of the Legacy Society and the Ut Prosim Society. She created the Women in Leadership and Philanthropy initiative, served on a number of boards and was honored with the Crystal Apple Award for Teaching Excellence from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
Donna Garban (Com ’83 L/M) has opened a bookstore in Hoboken, New Jersey, called Little City Books, named “best new business in Hoboken” by the Chamber of Commerce.
Stan M. Haynes (Law ’83) has published President-Making in the Gilded Age: The Nominating Conventions of 1876–1900 (McFarland & Co.). The book analyzes the U.S. presidential nominating conventions at the turn of the 20th century, discussing their pageantry, drama, deal-making and often surprising outcomes. Mr. Haynes practices law at Semmes, Bowen & Semmes and lives in Ellicott City, Maryland.
John Howard (Col ’83 L/M) has released White Sepulchres: Palomares Disaster Semicentennial Publication (Publicacions de Universitat de València). The book is a collection of recent photographs of the Spanish town of Palomares, the site of a 1966 American military plane crash and nuclear disaster. Mr. Howard is a professor of American studies at King’s College London.
Claudia DePaola Kousoulas (Arch ’83) created three lectures on plan writing, editing and document production for Planetizen, a public-interest information exchange for the urban planning, design and development community. The lectures are intended to help students and professionals better develop and present urban planning and design concepts.
Robert “Bob” Landis (Arch ’83) joined the Community Affordable Housing Equity Corporation in Raleigh, North Carolina, as senior vice president in September 2015. It is a nonprofit syndicator of affordable housing, new markets and energy tax credits.
Lois Meade Lea (Col ’83 L/M) and Thomas Edward Paalman were married Nov. 1, 2014, at First Presbyterian Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The couple lives in Santa Fe, where Ms. Paalman serves on the liturgical arts committee and the 150th anniversary task force at First Presbyterian Church and is involved with many community charities.
Geoff Lewis (Law ’83 L/M) has been named president of Re/Max Holdings Inc., based in Denver. He previously was executive vice president and chief legal officer.
Michael McLernon (Engr ’83) has spent 15 years working with MathWorks, makers of the MATLAB technical computing language and the Simulink model-based design environment. He oversees the company’s development of communications and software-defined radio products. Mr. McLernon is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a co-author on seven patents. He and his wife, Patty, have been married for 31 years and have six children: Nicole, Luke, Siobhan, Bailey, Connor and Kelsey.
George W. Morrow Jr. (Engr ’19 L/M) was named deputy director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center on April 1, 2015. He was previously director of flight projects at Goddard. In 2014, Mr. Morrow received the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive, the second-highest annual award given to career federal government executive service members.
Eric Paltell (Col ’83, Law ’87 L/M) was inducted into the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers in November 2014. Mr. Paltell is a partner in the labor and employment law group at Kollman & Saucier in Baltimore, where he represents public and private employers and mediates employment disputes for both private litigants and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He and his wife, Kristina Auth Paltell (Col ’83 L/M), have two daughters, Skyler, a senior at the College of William and Mary, and Katherine Charlotte “K.C.” Paltell (Col ’17 L/M).
Jacquelyn Perry (Educ ’83) received the General Colin L. Powell Service Award at the inaugural Our Community Salutes of Central Virginia award ceremony in April 2016. The award recognizes a high school educator for providing guidance to students exploring options for serving in the armed forces. Ms. Perry is a guidance counselor at Albemarle High School in Charlottesville.
George R. Pitts (Law ’83 L/M) has joined the McLean, Virginia, office of Sands Anderson, where he will maintain a practice in bankruptcy and creditors’ rights and commercial litigation. Previously, he was a partner with Wiley Rein in northern Virginia.
Robert F. Preston (Col ’83 L/M) has joined the litigation group of Sullivan & Cromwell in its New York City office as litigation analyst, focusing on multilingual litigation (Spanish, French and Portuguese). This move follows years in-house as senior attorney at Wyeth Laboratories and assistant general counsel at CDNow.com.
Elizabeth “Beth” Rilee-Kelley (Col ’83 L/M) has been named president of The Martin Agency in Richmond, Virginia. She has worked at the agency since 1983, when she joined as an account executive. She was named partner in 2005 and has worked as chief operating officer since 2011. As president, Ms. Rilee-Kelley will retain her COO duties and title, and will take on an expanded role, partnering with clients and participating in the agency’s business development initiatives. Ms. Rilee-Kelley also serves on the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ finance committee and the Virginia Film Festival’s advisory board. In January, she was named chairperson of the advisory board for Virginia Commonwealth University’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture.
Karen Abraham Snyder (Col ’83) received the Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association. The designation is conferred on professional speakers with a strong record of speaking experience, as well as a commitment to ongoing education, outstanding client service and ethical behavior. Ms. Snyder is the founder of Concordia Consulting, a human resources consulting firm based in Washington, D.C.
Elizabeth J. Stewart (Col ’83, Law ’86) received a 2016 Professional Excellence Award from the Connecticut Law Tribune in recognition of her achievements in her 30 years as a trial lawyer. Ms. Stewart works in the New Haven, Connecticut, office of Murtha Cullina, where she is a partner and the chair of the firm’s complex litigation department. She served as the firm’s managing partner from 2009 through 2014 and as chair of the litigation department from 1998 through 2006; she is the first woman to hold either position in the firm. Ms. Stewart’s practice focuses on policyholder-side insurance coverage and complex commercial litigation.
Stephen Thorson (Res ’83) has written Joy and Poetic Imagination: Understanding C.S. Lewis’s “Great War” with Owen Barfield and its Significance for Lewis’s Conversion and Writings (Winged Lion Press). The book explains a part of Lewis’ conversion to Christianity that is often misunderstood or ignored by Lewis scholars.
Mary Wayne Watson (Grad ’83 L/M) is giving a series of lectures about the Sandhills region of North Carolina at the St. Joseph of the Pines retirement community in Southern Pines, North Carolina. The series began in July 2016 with a lecture about women’s attitudes toward secession and the Civil War. The other presentations are about John Charles McNeill, the first poet laureate of North Carolina; traditions and rituals in Scotland County and their relation to those in the country of Scotland; and journalist and historian Gerald White Johnson. Ms. Watson is professor emeritus at Nash Community College and a Road Scholar with the North Carolina Humanities Council.
Richard A. Wayland (Col ’83, Grad ’85 L/M) received the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive in December 2015 from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for his work in the senior executive service at the Environmental Protection Agency. Mr. Wayland is the director of the Air Quality Assessment Division in the agency’s Office of Air and Radiation and was recognized for his efforts in leading the nation’s technical air quality management programs.