Kathleen Basmadjian, PhD
Kathleen (Kathy) and her husband, Robert, are co-authors of the recently released children’s book, Abraham’s Journey: A Celebration of the American Dream. The book has led to the creation of the couple’s Inspiring the American Dream Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to helping children and young adults to achieve the American dream.
Kathy has been involved in charitable activities throughout her entire life, in particular those that focus on children with mental or social impediments. Her volunteerism started at a young age, working with mentally-disabled children as part of a local Knights of Columbus initiative.
Kathy later continued such work by being one of the initial volunteers for K.E.E.N. (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now), a non-profit group founded in 1992 in the Washington D.C. area, to provide recreational opportunities for children and young adults with mental and physical disabilities. While in D.C., she also has donated her time, passion and talents with grade school students through a D.C. Cares after school mentoring and tutoring program in support of urban students from low-income, single parent families. After moving back to New Jersey, Kathy coordinated employee community engagement initiatives with the Midland School’s Adult Services program, an extension of the non-profit, special education school supporting career needs of children and adults with developmental disabilities.
In addition to her volunteer activities, Kathy has over 25 years of regulatory experience in the pharmaceutical industry in both the public and private sectors. Kathy is currently Senior Director, Global Policy and Intelligence for Global Regulatory Affairs at Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of J&J, where she is responsible for development and implementation of global policy processes and advocacy positions.
Prior to joining J&J, Kathy spent 5 years at Novartis Pharmaceuticals as an international regulatory leader. She spent the first decade of her career in public service at the US Food and Drug Administration, where she began as a project manager in the Anti-Infective Drug Product Division, followed soon after as a Microbiology/Chemistry reviewer in the same Division. Kathy continued her public service for another 2.5 years as a project manager at the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, managing product formulation and clinical supply contracts to develop drugs intended for treatment of drug abuse.
Kathy earned her PhD in Biology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. She completed her Master of Science degree in Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and her Bachelor of Science degree (Summa Cum Laude) in Biology and Chemistry at Marietta College, Ohio.
Robert is co-founder of Inspiring the American Dream Foundation.
Robert’s career in the private sector spans over 30 years, including 12 years in the publishing industry, where he represented a wide variety of consumer, business to business, and trade media organizations. For the past 20 years, as founder and principal of Spectrum Marketing & Communications, a public relations and advertising firm specializing in the information technology industry, Robert has grown the company to become the leading communications consultancy in the automatic identification and data collection (AIDC) technology sector.
In addition to his private sector experience, Robert also served as vice president of the New Jersey Taxpayers’ Association (NJTA), a statewide nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to achieving real and sustainable tax reform in New Jersey. During his tenure, he was responsible for research, strategic planning, and coordination of NJTA’s communications and coalition-building activities. Robert’s work in helping to establish the New Jersey Taxpayers Alliance, a coalition of state business, civic and professional associations, received national notoriety at the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) 2009 Conference, where he presented NJTA’s positioning, branding and outreach strategy to a group of regional, state and national taxpayer organizations.
Robert has a B.S. in Business Management from Farleigh Dickinson University and a M.A. in Communications from William Patterson College.
Stephanie A. Burns
Stephanie is a member of the Board of Directors for Inspiring the American Dream Foundation.
Holding various executive level positions during her twenty eight year career at Dow Corning Corporation, she is a business and technical leader who has focused her career on innovation and the creation of new materials and applications that help solve many of the world’s challenges. Recently retired as the CEO and President and Chairman of the company, Stephanie has been active with Congress and the Administration on matters relating to business competitiveness, trade, renewable energy and STEM education.
Under Stephanie’s leadership, Dow Corning made more than $5 billion of investments in research and manufacturing related to solar technology, expanded operations in China (including R&D), initiated research programs in SiC compound semiconductors, LED encapsulants and new silicon-based battery technologies. From the years 2003 to 2010, the company doubled its revenues and increased profits fivefold.
In addition to her work with Inspiring the American Dream Foundation, Stephanie currently serves on the Board of Directors for Corning, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline, plc and the Kellogg Company. She has also held a variety of leadership positions with the President’s Export Council (PEC), Manpower, Inc., American Chemistry Council, Society for Women’s Health, and the Charles J Strosacker Foundation.
Stephanie earned her PhD in Organic Chemistry from Iowa State University and her Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry at Florida International University. She completed her post doctorate research in Organometallic Chemistry at the University of Montpellier2 in Montpellier, France.
Currently residing with her husband, Gary, in Upstate South Carolina, Stephanie is a mentor at AR Lewis Elementary School in Pickens, South Carolina.
Kathy is a member of the Board of Directors for Inspiring the American Dream Foundation.
Kathy has been in education for 32 years as a classroom teacher, teacher of ‘gifted and talented’ students, assistant principal, coordinator on the district level and building principal. From 1998 to 2010, she was principal at A. R. Lewis Elementary School in Pickens, South Carolina. Over the years, she has also taught graduate level classes for Clemson University, Furman University and Converse College.
During her tenure as principal at A.R. Lewis, the school received numerous awards including, meeting Adequate Yearly Progress eight years, seven years in a row as a Title 1 school, Palmetto Silver Award for achievement, Red Carpet Award twice, SC Service Learning Award, PTA School of Excellence, Safe Kids School for 4 years, and TAP (Teacher Advancement Program) School. While at A.R. Lewis she wrote the 21st Century Learning Center Grant to provide an after school learning program with bus transportation for 12 years at no cost to parents.
In addition to her work in education, Kathy is active in her church, is a member and past President of Pickens Rotary Club and Prevent Child Abuse, Pickens County, and is co-founder of Feed a Hungry Child, Pickens County. She also has been appointed by County Council to the Pickens County Cultural Commission, as well as serving on the school board of St. Anthony Catholic School as Curriculum chair.
Kathy has been chosen Pickens County Career Woman of the Year in 1997 and in 2009, and was runner-up for State Career Woman of the Year 2010, an honor she cherishes very highly. She has also won the Advocate for Children Award in 2009-2010, and Administrator of the Year in 2010.
Kathy graduated with an AA degree in Pre-law. In addition, she has a degree in Elementary and Secondary Education from the University of South Florida and an EDS degree from Clemson University in Educational Administration. She has also received a Certification in Gifted Education from USF and is certified to teach teachers in Talents Unlimited and Project Success Enrichment through the National Diffusion Network, a federally funded program. Kathy was also part of a Jacob Javits grant through Lamar University in Beaumont Texas. This grant allowed her to teach teachers in the summer in 3 distinct populations; the Native Americans in Arizona, African – Americans in Alabama, and the Hispanic population in Florida.
Rick is a member of the Board of Directors for Inspiring the American Dream Foundation.
Rick, an Ohio native, holds a B.S. in Mathematics and an MBA with a specialization in finance from The Ohio State University. After an active duty military assignment, Rick began his career as a mathematics teacher in Ft. Wayne, IN. Shortly thereafter, he then became a partner with Klausing Home Builders in Ohio. Upon attaining his MBA, Rick joined Burroughs Corporation in Detroit as a systems analyst in the finance department where he was quickly promoted to team leader. This was followed by assignments as senior financial analyst, accounting manager and controller of an application software development center in Atlanta.
After Burroughs and Sperry combined to form Unisys, Rick served as a marketing division financial manager, and then a services group controller.
Later, Rick was promoted to Senior Project Controller, managing all financial aspects of a suite of major US and international contracts with private and government organizations. These clients included Quest Diagnostics, Federal Reserve Bank, Becton Dickinson, Texas Department of Human Services, Pennsylvania DOJ, California DOJ, HCL and many others. Rick was able to make regular contributions to the success of these engagements.
Along the way, Rick became involved with several not-for-profit organizations including Junior Achievement, the Unisys Charitable Giving Committee and the Atlanta Food Bank.
Ryan is a member of the Board of Directors for Inspiring the American Dream Foundation.
Ryan, a Connecticut native, holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Connecticut, and an MBA from Quinnipiac University. His career to date is one of strong innovation, transformation and leadership with an expertise in quality systems and supply chain management.
Ryan began his career as a manufacturing engineer at Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and was quickly promoted to engineering project management in strategic sourcing, tasked with developing a vertically integrated supply chain for the production of Black Hawk helicopter transmissions. In this role, Ryan had the opportunity to visit hundreds of manufacturing suppliers across Europe and North America. It is this experience that has drawn him to the climate of growth and innovation in Upstate, SC.
In January 2012, Ryan took an opportunity to advance his career by joining the strategic leadership team at ADEX Machining Technologies in Greenville, SC. There he helped transform the company into a state of the art precision machining center for the aerospace, defense and energy industries.
Ryan’s outgoing personality and entrepreneurial spirit have led him to become engaged in the Upstate community very quickly. Since moving to the Upstate, Ryan has been an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Greenville Class 40, United Way YP20’s, several Advisory Boards and the Upstate SC STEM Collaborative, where he launched the iMAGINE Upstate program.
In 2014, Ryan began pursuing several entrepreneurial ventures including iMAGINE Upstate, launching his own manufacturing consulting company, and acting as a channel partner for STEMPremier.com, connecting academic and technical STEAM talent with colleges, organizations and corporations.
Ryan is a dedicated community leader and an innovator in workforce development in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) related careers. He is working to bridge the gap among industry, academic institutions, students and communities to ensure that the Upstate is positioned for success through the development of a talented workforce pipeline.
Currently, Ryan serves as CEO of iMAGINEXT Solutions LLC and Partner at Switch Image Concepts. He was recently named one of Greenville Business Magazine’s 50 Most Influential People of 2014, as well as Greenville Business Magazine 2015 Best & Brightest 35 and Under.
David M. Wyman, Ph.D.
David is a member of the Board of Directors for Inspiring the American Dream Foundation.
David is committed to sparking entrepreneurial initiative and innovation at the University level and greater community. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Management and Marketing (formerly Management and Entrepreneurship) and the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Charleston’s School of Business.
David has also taught at Colorado State, University of San Diego and was the Associate Director of the Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Clemson University. His research interests center on entrepreneurship and real estate. David earned his Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
Prior to joining academia, David was a successful inventor and entrepreneur. As the Principal of Wyman Associates, David invented / licensed over 50 toy products including baby toys, dolls, electronics and board games. A partial list of companies and products include:
Empire Big Wheelie
Fisher Price Mr. Tambourine Man
Mattel Hot Wheels’ Road Wars
Milton Bradley 13 Dead End Drive
Parker Brothers Skimray
Planet Toy Zombie Art Studio
Pressman Shift Tac Toe
Ravensburger Take it Easy
Spears Creeps Castle,
Western Publishing Crazy Crocodiles
Wham-O Skate Frenzy
Over a dozen of the products were TV promoted and several were award winning. One of his most successful games was 13 Dead End Drive. This board game sold over 3 million copies worldwide.