Our Team

Board of Directors (outside of founder)*

Dana Beach »

Director

Dana Beach founded the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League in 1989.  Since that time, the organization has grown from two staff members and an annual budget of $90,000 to 30 staff members with offices in Beaufort, Charleston, Georgetown, and Columbia, supported by an annual budget of $3 million.  The Conservation League is recognized as one of the most successful state-level conservation groups in the country, particularly for its work in the field of land use reform.  The Conservation League works with citizens and governments to develop policies that promote sustainable patterns of development for people and the environment.

Mr. Beach graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College with a degree in mathematics.  He earned an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  After working in New York City in investment banking, Mr. Beach moved to Charleston, SC where he served as a Legislative Assistant to Congressman Arthur Ravenel, Jr. 

In 1998, Mr. Beach was named one of ten Heroes for the Planet by Time Magazine’s, Time for Kids.  In March of 2000, he received the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest honor, awarded by the Office of the Governor for outstanding contributions to the state.  He is the author of the Pew Oceans Commission’s publication, Coastal Sprawl: The Impacts of Development on Aquatic Ecosystems.

Thomas E. Brown »

Director

Thomas E. Brown has a long history working on environmental issues as a government official.  He retired as Regional Director of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Department (DEC) in 1998 after a lengthy career there.  During his DEC career he served on a number of boards, commissions, and task forces including the Adirondack Wildlife Program: US Wildlife Consultant to India, Wildlife Society Officer; Great Lakes Commission; Great Lakes Basin Commission; Council of Great Lakes Governors; Adirondacks and Tug Hill Task Forces.  He has served as Trustee of the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy (TNC) and is currently an appointed United States International Joint Commission (IJC) Board Member to the International St. Lawrence River Board of Control; Tug Hill-Adirondack Wildlife Habitat Connectivity Project Advisor; Great Lakes Consultant to DEC; Trustee and Board Chairman to the Black River Environmental Improvement Association.  A former US Army Captain, Mr. Brown received a Master’s degree from Syracuse University where he was also an Adjunct Professor for many years.

Margaret (Peggy) O’Shea »

Director

Margaret (Peggy) O’Shea serves as President and CEO of The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, Inc.  The foundation is a community based, social impact investor, using philanthropy as a tool to strengthen its two-county region.

Mrs. O’Shea is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer on philanthropy and the nonprofit sector.  She also presents on these topics for local not-for-profit organizations and board retreats.

She is a magna cum laude graduate of the SUNY College of Technology at Utica-Rome, from which she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree.  She has also completed the University of Wisconsin’s Certification Program for Excellence in Not-for-Profit Management, the Indiana University School of Philanthropy’s Certificate Program in Fundraising, and the Council on Foundations’ Program on Community Foundation Leadership.  Additionally, she has earned certification and credits in various aspects of nonprofit management and effectiveness through participation in numerous other courses, conferences, and seminars, including a mediation course through The Peacemaker Program.

Mrs. O’Shea has previously served on the Board of the Funders Alliance of Upstate New York, was a trustee of the Sagamore Institute of the Adirondacks, was a past Board President of the Hospice Foundation Board, and is a present member of the Excellus BCBS Advisory Board of Directors, along with other community committees and past board assignments.  She also served as a member of Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council in 2011.

Under Mrs. O’Shea’s guidance, The Community Foundation earned accreditation from the Council on Foundation’s National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations, the most rigorous standard in philanthropy.

Anthony Spiridigloizzi »

Director

Anthony J. Spiridigloizzi has been with Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute since 1982.  He served as Director of Finance until being promoted to Vice President and Treasurer in 1995.  Mr. Spiridigloizzi was made acting President in January 2011 and appointed to President in December 2011.

Before joining Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Mr. Spiridigloizzi held high level accounting positions with several not-for-profit and for-profit organizations.  He is a graduate of Utica College of Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science in accounting.  

Mr. Spiridigloizzi serves on the boards of Black River Outdoor Education Program Inc., Mohawk Valley Health Services, United Cerebral Palsy Parent Corporation (UCP), and the Slocum-Dickson Medical Group Foundation.  He is also a member of the UCP Investment Committee.

Mr. Spiridigloizzi lives in New Hartford, New York with his wife, Mariann, and has two grown children.  He enjoys whitewater kayaking, biking, Nordic skiing, and fishing.

Officers (outside of founder)*

Dhruvika Patel Amin »

Executive VP of Finance & Administration

Dhruvika Patel Amin, CPA, is Vice President of Accounting and Administration at Black River Management (BRM), the administrator of BROEP.  She is responsible for accounting, tax, audit, human resources administration, payroll administration, financial reporting, and investment reporting matters.  She works closely with the founder to ensure his business and investment decisions are executed accurately and in a timely manner across all entities managed by BRM. 

Ms. Amin is also the Chief of Staff and Operations.  As such, she is responsible for the financial close each year for all the partnerships, corporations, and foundations under BRM.  This includes recordation of entries/adjustments/accruals which involves recording investments, determining their unrealized/realized gains and losses, analyzing the accounts, investigating any material differences, and producing annual reports/financial statements.  Ms. Amin oversees the audits for these entities and completes all questionnaires, confirmations, and/or memos that are required by the audits.  She prepares the tax estimate calculations per quarter and assists the tax accountants with the preparation of the annual tax returns.  In addition, Ms. Amin oversees the financial, tax, and administrative matters of the founder’s family trusts.  Ms. Amin prepares budgets, expense analyses, and other schedules requested for BRM.

Ms. Amin is the administrator for BRM’s benefit plans which include health, 401(k), workers’ comp, employee medical reimbursement plan, short-term disability, etc.  She is also the payroll administrator.

Ms. Amin also serves as Grants Officer for BRM.  She monitors and maintains relationships with the cultural, educational, and humanitarian organizations supported by foundations administered by BRM.

Ms. Amin is a Certified Public Accountant who graduated with a degree in accounting from St. John’s University.  She started her career in public accounting by performing and administering financial statement audits for various clients in the areas of private equity, real estate, insurance, and not-for-profit.  Ms. Amin joined BRM in February 2003.

Tomer Inbar »

Secretary

Tomer Inbar is Partner in the law firm of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler.  In this role, he represents U.S. and international tax-exempt organizations in a broad range of structural and operating matters, including tax and corporate issues, regulatory compliance, governance, operational policies and procedures, audits, unrelated business income tax issues, and executive compensation matters.  He regularly advises on an array of corporate transactions, such as joint ventures and the establishment of for-profit subsidiaries, corporate restructuring, private equity fund formation, and licensing and service arrangements.

Among Mr. Inbar’s clients are public charities and private foundations, including many colleges and universities, economic development corporations, museums and cultural institutions, and environmental conservation organizations, many of which are active worldwide.

Mr. Inbar is a regular speaker at programs for tax-exempt organizations.  Recent topics have included corporate governance, charitable investment funds, lobbying by charitable organizations, legal aspects of program-related investments, and board governance considerations and liability concerns.

Mr. Inbar earned a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from SUNY at Binghamton and a Master of Arts in Japanese Literature from Cornell University.  He also received LL.M. and J.D. degrees from the New York University School of Law.  Mr. Inbar holds admissions to New York and the District of Columbia.

Joseph Mancari »

Controller, Director of Budgeting and Planning, & Assistant Secretary

Joseph Mancari, CPA, has been with Black River Management (BRM), the administrator of BROEP, since August 2012.  As a Senior Accountant, he assists in the preparation of cash flow statements, expense schedules, and board materials.  He also performs administrative and business support tasks, as needed. 

Mr. Mancari serves as Director of Budgeting and Planning for the outdoor education programs administered by BRM.  These programs connect school-aged children with the beauty of their local environment through aerobic activities such as mountain biking, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing.   Through daily interaction with each location’s Operations Committee, Mr. Mancari closely monitors various cost and program efficiency metrics.  Moreover, he travels to each location throughout the year to perform on-site observations of the students participating in the program. 

Prior to joining BRM, Mr. Mancari worked for three years as an auditor with Ernst & Young, LLP, demonstrating professional skepticism as he reviewed clients’ financial statements and supporting documentation.  He graduated from the Villanova School of Business in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in accountancy (accounting major) and a Bachelor of Science in business administration (finance major), while also earning a minor in entrepreneurship.  

BROEP Operations Committee

Chad Burdick »

Facilities and Equipment Manager & Operations Advisor

Chad Burdick is the proprietor of Burdick Construction and a long time resident of Forestport, NY.  He has worked for the founder for many years and continues to be a valuable resource for both BREIA and BROEP.

Chad has been with BREIA since its inception in 1984 and has been the constructing force behind the BREIA and BROEP trail systems. 

Chad is in charge of the farm maintenance staff and oversees all capital improvement projects for BREIA and BROEP.  He continues to build trails for new campuses in addition to updating and maintaining existing trails. 

Chad understands the mission of the program and keeps it in mind when creating new trails for visiting students.

Cynthia Damsky »

Scheduling Coordinator

Cynthia Damsky joined the Black River Outdoor Education Program in October 2009.  She works part-time as Scheduling Coordinator and provides a wealth of support which includes scheduling school visits to BROEP’s campuses and assisting with BROEP’s inventory management.  

Cynthia worked 17 years in the Lowville Academy and Central School district, predominantly serving as Secretary to the High School Principal.  She also worked 22 years in the Adirondack Central School district as General Secretary and Secretary to the Athletic Director.  These roles have provided her a great deal of experience working closely with teachers, parents, students, and vendors.

She graduated from Jefferson Community College with an Associate’s degree in secretarial science.

In her spare time, Cynthia enjoys flower gardening, walking, and volunteering at her church.

Lisa George »

Office Manager

Lisa George joined the Black River Outdoor Education Program (BROEP) as a coach in September 2008.  In May 2009, she was promoted to the position of Day Manager at Potato Hill Farm, and in December 2011, she became Assistant Program Director.  In this role, Lisa is responsible for coordinating school visits to BROEP’s campuses.  She also works closely with BROEP’s coaching staff and assists in the continuing development of BROEP.

Prior to joining BROEP, Lisa worked as Sales and Marketing Director for Johnstown Property Management Company in upstate NY.  As a Black Belt in Taekwondo, Lisa taught martial arts to children and young adults at Karate for Kids, an entity she owned and operated in New Hartford, NY for 20 years.

Lisa studied Business Management/Marketing and Travel & Tourism at Mohawk Valley Community College.

Lisa is certified in CPR, AED, and Wilderness First Aid.  She is a Level 1 kayak instructor with the ACA and a Third Degree Black Belt with the American Taekwondo Karate Association.

Nick Heintz »

Adventure Sports Manager

Nick Heintz first joined the Black River Outdoor Education Program (BROEP) in April 2009 as a hiking, biking, snow shoeing, and cross-country skiing coach.  After a brief time away in 2011, he came back as a senior coach and has since helped start and oversee BROEP’s kayak program.  

Nick currently serves as BROEP’s Trail Master, Adventure Sports Manager and the Chairman for the Adventure Sports Committee, whose responsibilities include yearly maintenance and the organization of BROEP’s  bicycles, kayaks, and skis.  He also assesses the trails and rivers to ensure they are ready for students’ use, organizes staff and staff training, as well as publishes BROEP’s newsletter.  Nick is the moderator for the Black River Environmental Improvement Association’s blog and message board.

Nick graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a BA in Adventure Learning for Special Populations, an Individualized Study Major that he designed.  This major consisted of taking Expeditionary Studies, Psychology, and Counseling courses from SUNY Plattsburgh, as well as Outdoor Recreation Management courses from the University of Maine at Machias (UMM).  Nick studied at UMM for 2 years before transferring to SUNY Plattsburgh.  He also studied Group and Addiction Counseling at Hawaii Pacific University for 1 year.  

When Nick is not working at BROEP, he enjoys mountain biking, canoeing, rock climbing, cross-country skiing, hiking, sailing, as well as playing golf, hockey, and squash.  He is a Level 2 ACA kayak instructor and also works part time for William Owens & Sons: Plumbing and Heating, in the Village of Clinton, where he was raised.  His favorite part about being on the BROEP team is providing kids with new life long activities and exposing them to the many benefits of the outdoors.

 

Web Design

Divya Sood »

Handbook & Web Content Writer & Creator

Divya Sood is the Handbook & Web Content Writer & Creator for Black River Management (BRM), the administrator of BROEP.   In this role, it is her responsibility to gather descriptions, mission statements, and biographies from employees, trustees, and affiliates and compile them into an organized, user-friendly platform.  She is also responsible for designing and managing the content of the websites administered by BRM.

Ms. Sood graduated with highest honors from New York University (NYU) with a Master’s in English.  Prior to NYU, she graduated valedictorian from Rutgers University where she studied English, French, and creative writing.  She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and the Golden Key Honor Society.   

Apart from the writing she does at BRM, Ms. Sood is a novelist, her first work being the novel Maya.  She also enjoys the great outdoors, especially the Northeast United States during the fall season.  Activities she partakes in include long leisurely walks, hiking, and biking. 

*This excludes the founder for reasons of privacy.

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