Rhonda Bissell, Director of Development, Guide Dogs of America

Rhonda Bissell is the Director of Development at Guide Dogs of America and Secretary-Treasurer on the GDA Board of Directors.

She has been involved with the organization for over 20 years including serving as a trustee on the Guide Dogs of America Foundation board.

Rhonda started volunteering as a puppy raiser where she began fostering puppies in training. She subsequently joined the staff and was appointed as Volunteer coordinator where she solicited and assigned volunteers to assist and supplement the GDA staff. During this time, she has filled multiple roles within the organization including fund raising, travel coordination and as Executive Assistant to the President.

Her primary role today is as Director of Development where she manages the Wills, Trusts and Bequests program. She has successfully collected over 40 million dollars for the organization during her time.

Rhonda is most proud of the six puppies she and her husband have raised for GDA, two of which went on to become guide dogs. They presently have three Labrador Retrievers, Harvey, who is a breeder for GDA, Haden, who is a retired Guide Dog and Bomar, a “career change” pup.

Timothy J. Ryan, Vice President of Benefit Relations, Free College Benefit

Timothy Ryan is the Vice President of Benefit Relations and a higher education onboarding strategist for the Free College Benefit.

After spending nearly 2 decades in marketing and consumer awareness, Tim knows what truly motivates people to engage in the Free College Benefit. It’s how well you connect with the hard-working union members you’re trying to help and communicating your understanding back to them.

Tim comes to the Free College Benefit program on recommendation from the Rhode Island Institute for Labor Studies and Research and spent his first two years as director of the Free College Student Resource Center.

Since leaving that position in 2017, Tim has been traveling the country meeting with Union leadership and general membership to help expand awareness and listen for new ways to improve and excite your Free College Benefit.

Todd Shrader, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Environmental Management, DOE

Mr. Todd Shrader is currently serving as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (PDAS) in the Office of Environmental Management (EM). In this role he works to enable the safe and successful execution of the EM mission, while providing management oversight of activities, operations, and program integration across DOE field sites.

Prior to becoming the PDAS he served as the Carlsbad Field Office (CBFO) Manager from October 2015 until June 2019. Under Mr. Shrader’s leadership, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) successfully restarted waste emplacement operations and the shipping of waste from around the DOE Complex to WIPP after a nearly three-year recovery effort. The CBFO provides federal oversight to the National Transuranic Program (NTP) and WIPP, the nation’s only geological repository for the disposal of defense related nuclear waste. During this time, he was awarded a Meritorious Service Presidential Rank Award.

Mr. Shrader previously served as the Director of the DOE headquarters office responsible for supporting Hanford’s Office of River Protection and held a leading role in developing a path forward that allowed for accelerated treatment of Hanford tank waste. Prior to that, he was assigned to DOE’s Office of Loan Programs, where he led technical reviews of over twenty energy generation projects that eventually received over $13 billion in loan guarantees. Earlier, he was a project manager for the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, leading key components of the NRC licensing process for the Yucca Mountain Project.

He began his DOE career at the Hanford Site and held various positions including service as the Hanford Site TRU Program Manager and the Facility Area Engineer for the Pretreatment Facility at the Waste Treatment Plant.

Mr. Shrader earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida and a Master’s degree in Engineering from North Carolina State University. He is registered Professional Engineer. He was appointed to Senior Executive Service in November 2012.

Paul Shearon, International President, IFPTE

IFPTE © Eleanor Kaufman 2015

Paul Shearon was unanimously elected to serve as the International President of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), AFL-CIO & CLC, at IFPTE’s 59th Convention in June 2018. Prior to that, he was unanimously reelected to serve as Secretary-Treasurer of the IFPTE from 2006 to 2015.

Shearon served as Organizing Director for IFPTE’s largest Local, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA/Local 2001) from 1996 until being elected as the Union’s Secretary-Treasurer. He ran successful organizing drives in Seattle and Wichita bringing union representation to over 5,000 employees. During SPEEA’s famous 40-day strike in 2000, Shearon was charged with developing the strike plan and actively supported strike line activities. He also taught as a teaching fellow for the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute and was a guest speaker at the Third International Conference for Professional Engineer and Scientist Organizations in Copenhagen Denmark in 2003.

During his career, Shearon worked for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Lockheed Missiles and Space Company Advanced Systems Development, Stanford Research Institute and the Boeing Company. He worked as a Numerical Control Programmer, heading up the programming for Boeing’s new Six-Axis Waterjets used to cut the composite empennage for the first 777 aircraft.

Shearon was born in Liverpool, England and grew up in the San Francisco Bay area before moving to Seattle, Washington. He currently resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife Sue.

Rear Admiral Scott Brown

Rear Admiral Scott Brown is a second-generation naval officer who joined the Navy through the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program. He is a 1991 graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he achieved a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics. He also holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University at Albany, and a Master of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering and an Engineer Degree in Nuclear Engineering, both from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He served as a nuclear-trained surface warfare officer for seven years with tours as Machinery Division Officer and Chemistry and Radiological Controls Assistant onboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), and as Plant Evaluation Officer at Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit, Ballston Spa where he supervised propulsion plant operational performance and maintenance.

In July 1998, he was selected for lateral transfer to the Engineering Duty Officer (EDO) community, serving as a nuclear qualified EDO (EDO-N). He served onboard USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN 69) as Reactor Electrical Assistant during the ship’s Refueling Complex Overhaul. Rear Admiral Brown then completed tours at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery Maine, supervising and managing depot level submarine maintenance, and U.S. Fleet Forces Command Ship Maintenance Directorate (N43) as Carrier Maintenance Branch Head and Norfolk Naval Shipyard Program Manager. He then served as Reactor Officer aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), leading the ship through a combat deployment and refueling overhaul; and as the Production Resources Officer for Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY). Brown served as NNSY’s 107th Shipyard Commander, then Executive Assistant to Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command.

Rear Admiral Brown was selected to flag rank in January 2019. He is presently assigned as Director of Fleet Maintenance, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Hawaii.

Rear Admiral Brown is authorized to wear the Legion of Merit (2 awards), Meritorious Service Medal (3 awards), Navy Commendation Medal (4 awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2 awards), Armed Forces Service Medal (2 awards) and a number of unit and campaign awards.