President & Governance Chair
Cathy Duhigg Gannon
Cathy has a BA from Malone University and a Certified Workers’ Compensation Professional (CWCP) designation from Michigan State University. She managed BP America’s and Eaton’s national workers’ compensation programs, retiring in 2018 as Senior Workers’ Compensation Manager for Eaton’s U.S. and Canadian insured and self-insured workers’ compensation programs, covering 37,000 employees working in over 200 manufacturing facilities. Cathy co-chaired the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (OBWC) and Ohio Industrial Commission Agency Reviews at the request of then Governor-elect Ted Strickland, and has served as President of the Self-Insurers’ Group of Ohio, and Treasurer and Vice President of the Ohio Self-Insurers’ Association. She served on the Industrial Commission Nominating Council, having been appointed by Governor Taft and reappointed by Governors Strickland and Kasich, worked with the Ohio BWC to restructure the securitization of the Self-Insured Employers’ Guarantee Fund at the request of the Ohio Manufacturers Association, and has provided testimony to the State of Ohio Legislature on matters pertaining to workers’ compensation, as well as on pending legislation. She is a nationally recognized workers’ compensation subject matter expert, and has been an invited speaker at state and national conferences.
Cathy has been a member of CRF since 2005, having rowed in WRRA’s SRL, FRL, Sweeps, and Masters programs, and currently rows as an independent sculler.
Vice Chair & Employment Chair
Dr. Gary Clark
Gary received his BS degree from Penn State University, Medical Degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and Masters in Medical Management degree from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. A Certified Physician Executive, he has significant experience in committee and leadership roles in multiple professional medical organizations at a local, regional and national level. For the past 18 years, Gary has been a Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R) at Case Western Reserve University and the MetroHealth Medical Center. He was the Founding Chair of the Department of PM&R at CWRU, Residency Training Program Director, Associate Chief Medical Officer for Education for the MetroHealth System, and Assistant Dean for Student Activities for CWRU. Gary served as President of the Association of Academic Physiatrists (the PM&R academic organization), and is completing a 12-year tenure as a Director on the American Board of PM&R. He directs the Amputee Rehabilitation Program at MetroHealth, is a Consulting Medical Director for Paradigm Outcomes, a national organization focused on achieving optimal functional outcomes for individuals suffering catastrophic work injuries.
Gary has been a member of WRRA since 2002 (SRL, FRL, Rec, Sculling and Masters programs), and served as Vice President on the WRRA Board of Directors (2010-11). He has been a Director on the CRF Board from 2011 to 2013 and 2016 to present, serving as Board Chair for 2012-13 and 2016. He is currently Vice Chair of the CRF Board.
Leslie Thomas is a demonstrated leader and strategic partner with extensive executive level management accounting/finance expertise primarily in manufacturing within the business-to-business industrial market segment. She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Cleveland State University as well as Certified Public Accountant, Chartered Global Management Accountant & Certified Financial Planner designations.
Leslie began rowing with Western Reserve Rowing Association in the Summer Rowing League program in 2011 and has been rowing ever since. She has rowed in league, recreational, independent, and most recently, sculling programs. Leslie is pleased to serve on the Cleveland Rowing Foundation board and to support Western Reserve Rowing Association in its effort to provide and promote adult rowing in the Northeast Ohio community.
Leslie is also an active volunteer working with children to strengthen their reading skills and providing homework help through the Cuyahoga County Public Library. She also serves as Treasurer for the Reed Memorial Library political action committee in Ravenna, Ohio. Leslie is a native and life long resident of northeast Ohio, and currently resides in Portage County.
Secretary and Communications & Marketing Chair
Patricia Leebove holds an MBA in Supply Chain and Operations Management and an MA in English. She serves on the Visiting Committee for College of Liberal Arts and the College of Business at Cleveland State University. She is on the Board of Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT) is the Director of IT Enterprise Business Systems at MTD Products, Inc. As a strategic business leader, she has led business process reengineering and organizational change having planned and delivered complex, large-scale process and systems initiatives while leading high-performing teams in APAC, SA/LA, EMEA, and North America. Patricia has previously worked at Eaton Corporation as a Corporate Business Relationship Manager, as well as at Invacare, American Greetings, and Penton Publishing. With experience in Marketing, Ecommerce, and IT she's provided leadership in areas such as Human Resources, Supply Chain Management, Finance, ERP, and Operations Management.
Patricia serves as the Director of the Outreach Committee for the Western Reserve Rowing Association (WRRA), a member organization at the Cleveland Rowing Foundation, and currently rows in its SRL program.
Douglas Carlson has extensive experience in corporate, partnership, individual and estate tax matters. The primary emphasis of his practice is on transactional planning, including acquisitions and dispositions, reorganizations and limited partnership syndications, liquidations and executive compensations, including stock options and deferred compensation. He has substantial experience in compliance activities, controversy matters, and state and local tax matters.
As a business law attorney, Doug focuses his general corporate practice on privately help corporations, including incorporations, acquisitions, dispositions, reorganizations and liquidations.
Doug has a wide breadth of experience in estate planning and probate. His work in the planning and administration of estates has a particular emphasis on family business planning in connection with control of privately help corporate businesses and charitable gift planning. In addition, he is experienced in the formation, organization, and operation of public charities and private family foundations. He is involved with planning and compliance for a wide range of tax matters affecting nonprofits.
Julie Criscione is a registered architect and skilled owner’s representative with experience in all aspects of architectural planning and management. Her firm, JMC Owner’s Rep Service, LLC, was launched in 2016 with a commitment to assist non-profit organizations and institutions with building projects that provide the best outcome and value. Some of her current nonprofit clients are the Cleveland Animal Protective League, the Intermuseum Conservation Association and the Musical Arts Association. Julie previously worked as an Owner’s Representative for 16 years with Project Management Consultants, LLC, (PMC) a wholly owned subsidiary of Thompson Hine. While with PMC Julie managed new facility projects for The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives, Case Western Reserve’s Tinkham Veale University Center, and MOCA Cleveland. She retains a broad breadth of knowledge and experience as an advocate for clients building new facilities ranging in budget size from $500K to $150M. A resident of East Cleveland in the Historic Forest Hill neighborhood, Julie is committed to her community and serves as the Architectural Review Board Chair for the City of East Cleveland. She previously served as President and Treasurer on the East Cleveland Parks Association board for 8 years. Julie is also currently a Trustee and Building Committee Chair for the A M McGregor Home in East Cleveland.
Julie’s daughter is a high school student at Beaumont High School and coxswain for the first all-girls high school to join CRF.
Community Engagement Chair
Russ Eckles is often seen around our docks as a junior and adult coach or rowing. Russ has over 25 years of rowing experience including coaching, student recruiting and as a competitive rower with gold medals from both Masters National and International Regattas. His initial rowing experience was as a member of the WRRA Summer Rowing League. One of the early leaders and advocates of rowing in Cleveland, Russ has coached for Saint Ignatius, Shaker Heights High School (SHHS), Saint Joseph Academy (SJA), Cleveland Youth Rowing Association and WRRA (being involved in the startup of SHHS, SJA, and boys at CYRA). He has also served as WRRA President, CRF Chairman and Executive Director of CMSD Rows. A certified level III Coach with the US Rowing Association, he has also coached in Canada and New Zealand.
While coaching at the high school and adult levels, Eckles has also had a successful career in business and healthcare management. This career includes 20+ years in C-Suite leadership of for-profit and not-for-profit companies and 10 years running a business and healthcare consulting practice.
Russ’s non-profit leadership experience includes years of local, state and national board membership and leadership with a variety of organizations and business interests.
Kate Hanseman graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in English and a minor in Business Administration. She then went on to graduate with a masters in Exercise Science from Cleveland State University.
Kate Hanseman has been part of the rowing community in Cleveland since 2010, following her high school career at Cincinnati Junior Rowing Club and The Ohio State University varsity team. Since moving to Cleveland, Ohio she has coached Cleveland Scholastic Rowing Association, Western Reserve Rowing Association, Saint Joseph Academy rowing and is currently the head coach of Case Western Reserve University rowing team.
Jim Kozak graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Economics and minor in Business Administration. He is the president of Scratch Off Works, LLC, a company specialized in designing and producing scratch off contests and promotions. Helping his clients nationally leverage their existing assets, Jim counts Goodwill, MillerCoors, and FedEx as customers. Jim has core competencies in supply and personnel management.
Jim rowed for St. Ignatius High School, Vanderbilt University, and is a current member of the WRRA Masters' Program. Additionally, he has helped coach St. Ignatius and the WRRA Summer Rowing League.
Insurance & Risk Management Chair
Robert J. Leusch graduated from St. Ignatius High School, and attended Bowling Green State University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Insurance. He has been a licensed insurance agent since 1981, and earned the Certified Insurance Counselor designation in 1983 placing him in the top 1% of educated insurance professionals. A lifelong resident of Cleveland, Bob is proud to be a member in the following community and professional organizations: The Fairview - West Park Rotary (Past President, Trustee), Professional Insurance Agents Association (PIA), Gamma Iota Sigma Insurance Fraternity (Past President), Insurance Board of Northern Ohio (Past President), Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honorary, and The Society of C.I.C. (Certified Insurance Counselors).
Bob currently rows with WRRA’s SRL program.
Kerry is a graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy, with a Bachelor of Science in Management & Economics, and he holds a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University in New York, with a major in finance.
He is currently a managing director with McDonald Partners LLC, a full-service investment advisory firm headquartered in Cleveland. Prior to McDonald Partners, Kerry served as a financial advisor with UBS, after leaving a position as Vice President of Investor Relations for Teligent Inc., a publicly-traded telecommunications service provider in Washington, DC.
Kerry started his professional career as a commissioned officer in the U. S. Coast Guard, serving on active duty for five years in operational and staff positions. He began his post-MBA career in the corporate finance group at E. F. Hutton & Company Inc. in New York, working on a wide range of public and private securities offerings, and he subsequently spent over 10 years in the telecom industry in senior financial positions, including the enterprise-wide Y2K Remediation program for a Fortune 100 company..
He has served as an adjunct instructor of finance in Bachelors and Masters degree granting programs at Lorain County (Ohio) Community College. Kerry holds Series 7, 31, 66 and 79 securities licenses, as well as Ohio and Virginia life and health insurance licenses.
Kerry started rowing in high school and college, but took 31 year off before becoming a member of WRRA in 2006 (Rec, Sculling and Masters programs). He served on the board of WRRA in 2018, and was a Director on the CRF Board from 2007 through 2012.
Kirk Lang graduated from Duquesne University and received his Bachelors in Biology, with a minor in Chemistry, and his Masters of Science in Biotechnology. He currently is entering his 8th year as the Executive Director of the Cleveland Rowing Foundation, where he is responsible for all boathouse operations, intra-program relations, public relations, coordination of special events, and fundraising. Before joining the Cleveland Rowing Foundation, Kirk was a Program Coordinator and Research Assistant working on a R01 NIH longitudinal study at Case Western Reserve University, where he focused on oral health disparities and oversaw the DMD-Masters in Clinical Research T32 Training Grant program. Prior to that, he worked at UPMC Mercy Hospital as a Laboratory Assistant. Kirk has a track record of success in program management, operations, communications, and fundraising.
Kirk has been involved in rowing for over 20 years, beginning his rowing career at Mt. Lebanon High School and continuing at Duquesne University, where he later became the Head Coach of the Men’s Rowing program. Kirk is currently entering his 11th year as the Masters Head Coach for the Western Reserve Rowing Association. Kirk previously served on the Cleveland Rowing Foundation Board and currently serves on the CMSD-Rows Board as the Board and Program and Operations Chair.
Florin Filipescu is responsible for keeping boathouse equipment and facilities in good
working order, including maintenance and minor repair of launches, outboard
engines, and ergometers, as well as minor repair to building facilities. He is responsible for coordination and pick-up/delivery of fuel and equipment requiring major repair with outside vendors. Florin is also responsible for overseeing all major building capital projects related to facility enhancements and renovation projects. He is instrumental in assisting with the day-to-day operations of the boathouse.
Florin handles all security related matter and holds a Certificate of Completion IACSSP Change 5 through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He is a graduate of East Technical High School ROTC program.