President, Employment 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 President, Finance Chair
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.
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, Community Outreach Chair
Jamye Jamison is the owner of Jamison Art Conservation, a paper conservation studio in Cleveland, OH. She received an MLIS with a concentration in book and paper conservation from the University of Texas at Austin and an AB in Art History from Princeton University. She has worked at ICA Art Conservation in Cleveland, Zukor Art Conservation in Oakland, CA, the Newberry Library in Chicago, IL, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Jamye is a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) and served as the Book and Paper Group Program Chair in 2012, as a member of the AIC Membership Designation Working Group Rubric Section, and as a member of the AIC Annual Meeting Program Committee in 2016. She currently serves as the Secretary of the Ohio Preservation Council since 2019 and as a member of the Program Committee for the Morgan Papermaking Conservatory since 2010.
Now a member of the Western Reserve Masters team since 2013, Jamye began rowing in SRL in 2011. She served on the WRRA board of directors from 2016-18 as Director of Coaching and Coxing and as a member of the Sweeps Committee for three years prior. Other volunteer activities include helping to run a fresh stop for her CSA City Fresh and serving as a community representative on the Engineering and Design Committee for the City of Cleveland’s Vision Zero Initiative. She also engages with neighborhood schools as a member of the Detroit Shoreway Schools committee, as a long-time applicant interviewer for her alma mater, and most recently by joining the selection committee for the Princeton Prize in Race Relations to recognize high school students who are forwarding racial equity and social justice causes.
Legal and Governance Chair
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.
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.
Communications & Marketing Chair
Hans Kaesgen is an Engineering Manager at Stanley Black & Decker (formerly MTD Products). Originally from Berea, he has been a resident of Downtown Cleveland since 2008. Hans is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Business Administration. He also holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Strategy and Innovation from the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford.
Hans took up rowing in 2011 after reading a story in the Plain Dealer about the CRF’s new boathouse at Rivergate Park, and has rowed in WRRA’s SRL program since then.
Risk Management and Insurance 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.
Nate Shoemaker graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Health and Natural Sciences focusing on Exercise Physiology, Nutrition, and Coaching. He currently works for ZRG Partners as a Search Consultant, specializing in professional and executive-level search.
Nate joined the rowing community when he began rowing and coaching at Ohio University in 2012 with the Ohio University Men's Crew. After graduation, he went on to coach at Portage Lakes Rowing Association before moving up to Cleveland in 2018. That year he started the Laurel School rowing team, and acted as an assistant coach with the St. Edwards team as well. He is currently the head coach for Laurel School.
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.
Jen grew up in Baltimore City and began rowing in 2005 as a high school sophomore with the St. Paul’s School for Girls, where she earned 3 varsity letters in basketball, volleyball, and crew, and was recently added to the SPSG Athletic Hall of Fame in October 2022. As captain, athletic scholarship recipient, and Hall of Fame Inductee for the Northeastern Women's Rowing Team, Jen and her team won three CAA titles. She went on to earn a bronze medal and her first National Team unisuit at the 2011 U23 World Championships with her teammates in the Women’s 8+.
Prior to her return to elite sport in the summer of 2017, Jen spent 4 years recovering from a career-halting back injury she sustained while training for National Team aspirations at the Oklahoma City High Performance Center. Between 2013-2017 while rehabbing her back, developing her photography business, and teaching yoga, she coached Georgetown Women’s Rowing Team; Potomac Boat Club Masters and U-23 athletes; Baltimore Reach High Program Juniors; Craftsbury Outdoor Center Sculling Campers; and provided private coaching and collegiate counseling services for junior athletes.
Jen spent the last 5 years of her career training in rural Vermont as a professional athlete with the Craftsbury Green Racing Project (GRP) where she traded her skills, community service, and environmental stewardship hours for access to all her training and racing needs. During her time with the GRP, she had the opportunity to row and race in four continents, during which time she was a twice-named National Team Member and two-time National Championship winner in the women's single and double sculls; competed in the 2021 Olympic trials in the single, double, quadruple sculls, and coxless pair; represented Team USA at the 2019 PanAmerican Games in the single; competed in three cross country ski marathons; expanded her love for endurance athletics by venturing into road and gravel cycling; and hiked all of Vermont’s 4,000 footers.
She has served as a cross country ski guide for VI athletes, fitness instructor and skills coach for athletes of all ages, backgrounds, and ability levels; a volunteer SCUBA Diver to remove and manage invasive aquatic plants from Great Hosmer Pond; a digital and physical media content creator for the Craftsbury Outdoor Center and its supporting entities; a Select Board Member for the Town of Craftsbury Energy Committee; and as theUS Rowing Junior High Performance Female Athlete Representative.
Jen is a graduate of Northeastern University’s School of Environmental and Marine Science, holds certificates in Executive Business Education and Mycology plus Fermentation from the Tuck school of Business at Dartmouth and Sterling Colleges, respectively. Jen believes strongly in the power of competitive collaboration, lifelong sport, investing in people and the environment. Her personal and professional mantra is "leave it better than you found it". She will begin her role as Executive Director of the Cleveland Rowing Foundation on October 15, 2022.
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.
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.
Robert J. Valerian retired from the Taft Law Firm after 34 years as a trial attorney. He is a graduate of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and of Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
Bob’s legal practice specialized in construction law and labor and employment law. He conducted jury trials and argued appellate cases before all Ohio and Federal Courts including the U.S. Court of Claims and the Supreme Court of the United States. Bob has been selected for Who’s Who in American Law, Best Lawyers in America, Ohio Super Lawyers and Cleveland’s 25 Best Lawyers. Bob continues in private practice as an arbitrator and mediator and is an adjunct professor at CWRU Law School.
Prior to his legal career, Bob was a pilot and instructor pilot in the United States Air force. He is a retired Major in the Air Force Reserve. During the Vietnam War, Bob flew 109 combat missions in the RF-4-C Phantom jet. His military awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal. He is a licensed commercial pilot with multi-engine and jet ratings.
As a member of the Georgetown University crew, Bob rowed in two Dad Vail Championship Georgetown eights. He was head coach of the St. Ignatius High School Crew from 1990 to 2003, and of the Shaker Heights High School Varsity Crew from 2010 to 2019.
Bob served as a CRF Board Member for nine years, and was Board Chair for six years. Bob was part of the leadership team that concluded the purchase of the Rivergate Park Boathouse property in 2010. He is married to Dorothy Janusko Valerian. Bob and Dorothy have three adult children and seven grandchildren.