Board Of Directors
James W. Winkelman
James is the senior sales manager for Laundry Concepts for the Midwest region. He has been employed in the commercial laundry industry since the early 1970′s and previously owned an appliance service company. He formerly co-chaired the Neuqua Valley High School Band Parent Association’s Ways and Means Committee, and served as President and Vice President for the Indiana Coin Laundry Association. James also started and served as Scout Master for Naperville Boy Scout Troop 89. Interest and involvement with therapeutic horseback riding began in the late ’80s and he volunteered with the now dissolved Friends of Handicapped Riders.
Edward J. Pacana
Edward is an attorney in private real estate practice. He is a former staff director and attorney with McDonald’s Corporation Real Estate Legal Department for 23 years. Edward is a former claims attorney with American Title Insurance Company, and previously served as president of Chicago Association for Recreation and Employee Services. He is an active equestrian, Licensed Real Estate Broker, and has degrees in law and electrical engineering. He has been a volunteer with FTEA since 2000, and was a volunteer with Danada Equestrian Center for five years.
Jamie C. Smith
Having learned every which way possible to get off a horse by the age of 9, Jamie fell in love with horses and riding. An avid horsewoman and former breeder of Arabian and Arabian-cross horses, she had to retire from breeding and riding some time ago. In 2006 she found a new “home” for both her horse and herself in FTEA and began volunteering as opportunities permitted. Jamie holds a doctorate in education and was a professor of teacher education at Appalachian State University and Governors State University. She has more recently been an instructional designer, primarily for manufacturing technologies and back office software education and training programs. She has worked as a consultant and contractor for the last 10 years with a range of public and private sector organizations, including McDonald’s, Underwriters Laboratories, RR Donnelly, and the Chicago Public Schools. Jamie is currently an administrator for the education division of DARC Corporation, a professional services firm. She has sat on the board and held offices in several non-profit organizations in North Carolina and Illinois, as well as having served as a commissioner on the New Century Partnership for Elgin.
Mary Jane O’Connor
Mary Jane is retired from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, where she worked for more than 20 years in administration, primarily on the district’s Finance and Land Acquisition Committee. Prior to that time, she was a member of editorial staff for the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, and had also worked in the clinical veterinary and dental/surgical fields. In addition to her time volunteered to Friends for Therapeutic Equine Activities, Mary Jane volunteers at Willowbrook Wildlife Center, Brookfield Zoo and does pet therapy. She also volunteers at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Center and helped establish and operates a street children project in Nairobi, Kenya. She holds a B.A. in English literature from Loyola University and is a veterinary technologist.
Jack is the owner of J. Roberts Building Company, specializing in new homes, remodeling, land development, and construction management. He also consults in the western suburban area of Chicago. Prior to owning his own company, he was a building material salesman, manager of a Tru-Value Hardware Store and sales manager for a large suburban lumber company specializing in the supply of building material to both residential and commercial contractors. He is a former member of National Association of Home Builders. Jack attended Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa. His interests include history and travel, and he has attended weekly riding lessons for seven years with his granddaughter who is a rider/participant in the FTEA program.
Robert is a Real Estate Development Manager for Dunkin Donuts in the Midwest. Robert has over 20 years experience in the real estate development industry. Robert came to Chicago in 1985 with a MA degree in Urban Planning from University of Buffalo. Over the next few years Robert developed new retail stores for Walgreens, Jewel Osco as well several other retailers. Robert is also President of Trotter Development, a real estate consulting and development company. The firm focuses on retail developments throughout the Midwest. Robert’s equine experience comes from working with Standard Bred races horse through his grandfathers farm in upstate New York.
Nelson L. Searles
Nelson is a manager with HSBC governing business and technical change in the US, currently working on global process design. Prior to his work with HSBC, Nelson was a Sr. Principal with Technology Solutions Company, and a Principal with Navigant Consulting. He has managed Business Intelligence, IT Strategy, and Infrastructure practices for several firms as well as having been an entrepreneur. His volunteer history extends to 25 years as a Mason (AF & AM). He has been involved in a variety of programs related to the Shriner’s Hospital along with Masonic retirement homes in Sullivan, Illinois and Cockeysville, Maryland. Nelson started riding horses as a young boy and has ridden in many states of the United States as well as several countries in Europe. Having cared for the horses of family and friends over the years, he has worked with a variety of horses continuing to learn horse behavior with each interaction. Nelson has a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Economics with a minor in International Political Science and a Masters in Business Administration.
Russell Brown is a retired business manager who has held senior management positions with leading companies including Sears. His experience at Sears included leading 3 stores as a General Manager as well as responsibility for the merchandising of a 33-store region as a Regional Merchandise Manager.
Russell has also been very active within the community both personally and professionally by holding roles as a Boy Scout Commissioner, Elgin Catholic Charities Board Member, Naperville Chamber of Commerce Member and as Vice President of the Fox Lake Merchants Association.
He is an avid horseman and previously showed in English pleasure classes throughout the Midwest area. He is often found volunteering his time at FTEA during normal operating hours. Russell holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Roosevelt University.
Advisory Board Members
Roger Jones has been FTEA’s legal counsel since 1996 and assisted FTEA in obtaining its 501(c) (3) status. Roger is a partner and a member of the tax department at the Chicago office of McDermott, Will & Emery and specializes in tax controversy and litigation matters. In a career spanning more than two decades, Roger has represented taxpayers, including numerous Fortune 500 companies, in more than 50 matters at all levels of the federal court system, including the United States Tax Court, Federal District Court, the Court of Federal Claims, the United States Circuit Courts of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court, as well as before various state courts. Roger’s wife, Karen Jones, is a founding board member of FTEA and a volunteer at the program site. In addition, Roger and Karen have housed horses for FTEA.
Cindy A. Hallett
Cindy is president and owner of Box Props, located in West Chicago. She is past secretary-treasurer of JOPA, Inc. and business manager of Box Props for 15 years prior to purchasing the company. She has served as treasurer of FTEA for six years. Cindy is part of the founding committee and board of directors for FTEA. She is a parent of a FTEA program participant with autism. Cindy has volunteered with church in children’s ministry, VBS, women’s ministry and choir member. She is a former member of the West Chicago Historical Society and a former Girl Scout leader. She holds degrees in education and business administration.
Judy B. Kestner
Former department manager, systems analyst and market analyst for several companies including Allstate Insurance Company and Kraft Foods, Inc. She is a former board member and vice president of a local PTA council; former board member of the American Red Cross; founding member of ABC/25 Foundation (educational foundation). Judy has an extensive volunteer history working with organizations such as the North Suburban Special Recreation Association; Muscular Dystrophy Association; Glenbrook Hospital (Physical Therapy Department); Lake County Forest Preserve District (newsletter editor) and several local therapeutic riding programs. She currently volunteers with FTEA and is an active equestrian and horse owner. Judy has been a member of Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International since 1998. She holds a degree in child development.
Julie is a parent of an FTEA participant and volunteer leader and side walker. She is the owner of FingerPrint, a marketing, advertising and promotion firm. Julie is a former board member of the DuPage Community Clinic, and past board member of Main Street Winfield. She has previously volunteered with Cheff Center in Michigan, the nation’s first therapeutic riding facility. Julie has a bachelor of arts degree with a business administration minor.