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Ron is recently retired from the William Wrigley Jr., Co. where he worked for 19 years in the Corporate Engineering area. Before that, he also spent eight years in the Milwaukee area as a Fortran programmer in the material handling business. Ron is on the autism spectrum.
Brad Cohen, a lifetime resident of Highland Park, is married to Jakee Cohen and has three children ages 17, 15, and 12. Since 1988, Brad has been a self-employed trader at the Chicago Merchantile exchange, trading mostly in the S&P 500 pit. He is also currently a board member of the District 112 of Highland Park Educational Foundation, and a board member of the Highland Park High School Giants Hockey team. Since 1997, he has been managing partner in Snippets Mini cuts, with locations in Chicago, Northbrook and Lombard. From 1983 to 1995, Brad owned and operated Brad's Bagel and Deli in Bloomington, and West Lafayette, Indiana. Brad graduated Indiana University in 1984.
Bud Glick has over 40 years' experience as a software development manager, quality manager, process improvement consultant, and hardware/systems/software engineer. He has expertise working in Model-Based Process Improvement using the Software Engineering Institute's (SEI) Software Compatability Maturity Model Integration (CMMITM). He also has extensive experience providing training related to Process Improvement, CMMI, CMMI-Appraisals, and specialized tutorials on related topics. He is an SEI SCAMPI High Maturity Lead Appraiser and SEI Introduction to the CMMI Instructor. Prior experience has been in product software and hardware development, telecommunications quality, process improvement consulting, software testing and creating and managing an organization for real-time software testing.
Chet Hurwitz has over 30 years of experience as an attorney and business advisor to many large global companies. He is currently a Vice President in IBM Global Services. He has previously been a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers as well as a practicing attorney in the areas of tax, labor, and employee benefits. Chet is a graduate of Brandeis University and the University of Virginia School of Law.
Chet and his wife, Sara, have lived in Atlanta for over 20 years. They are the proud parents of two children Anna (age 22) and David (age 20). David is on the autism spectrum, and the Hurwitz family has been deeply supportive of the development of innovative opportunities for individuals on the autism spectrum.
Joy Mix, Secretary
Joy Mix has more than a decade of experience in employee communications, public relations and marketing. Her past lives include founding Celtic Arts and Entertainment to help small performing arts organizations reach broader audiences. Currently, she is manager of Human Resources Communications at a global health care company and resides in Gurnee, Illinois. She earned a B.S. in Economics from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. She is the proud aunt of six nieces and nephews, one of whom has Asperger's Syndrome.
Danielle is an Associate at The Keystone Group, a results-oriented management consulting firm. Her client work has been primarily in profit improvement and sales growth strategy. She is also actively involved with the United Way Young Leaders Society as a member of the Issues Awareness Committee. Danielle has a B.S. in Finance from the University of Illinois College of Business.
Marc currently works as the CFO and VP Supply Chain for National Oak Distributors. Before joining National Oak, Marc worked with mid-market manufacturers and distributors as a management consultant at The Keystone Group. Prior to that, Marc was part of a successful start up consulting company that was named to the INC. 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America list. Marc has worked with several adult autism organizations, including the Emory Autism Center. His brother is a young adult with Asperger's syndrome. Marc has a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management. Marc and his wife Beth have twins, Byron and Avery.
Beverly Shapiro, President
Beverly Shapiro has been a social worker for 41 years at Jewish Family and Community Service. (In July of '06, it became Jewish Child and Family Services.) During those years she has provided direct service to a broad range of clients of all ages; working with individuals, couples, families, and groups. She has been a supervisor, administrator, and assistant executive director. During that time she has provided staff training, led seminars, chaired a variety of committees and provided consultation outside of the agency as well as being involved in the development of a variety of special projects. She has recently retired, and is working towards finding new avenues to contribute to the community.
Gene J. Weiss M.D., Treasurer
Gene J. Weiss M.D. is a psychiatrist who is Board Certified in both General and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. In addition to private practice, he has been the psychiatric consultant to the Winnetka Public Schools (K-8) in Illinois, as well as consulted to several therapeutic day schools. He has lectured extensively to local parent and professional groups, and previously taught the core course in normal child and adolescent development to physicians doing their psychiatric residency training at Evanston Northwestern Hospital. After retiring, Dr. Weiss shifted his focus to his family's investment business and managing its portfolio. He is on the local granting committee of Hedge Funds Care, a charitable organization that distributes grants to organizations that care for victims of child abuse, and is a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry serving on their Financial Planning Committee.
Versatile, committed, eloquent and talented are all adjectives that describe actor/activist Edward Asner. Perhaps best known for his comedic and dramatic crossover as the gruff but soft-hearted journalist Lou Grant, the role he originated on the landmark TV news room comedy The Mary Tyler Moore Show and continued in the newspaper-set drama Lou Grant, which earned him five Emmys and three Golden Globe Awards. Asner received two more Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for the mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man and Roots. His prolific and much honored acting career demonstrates a consummate ability to transcend the line between comedy and drama. One of the most honored actors in the history of television; Edward Asner has been the recipient of seven Emmy Awards and 16 nominations, as well as five Golden Globe Awards and served as National President of the Screen Actors Guild for two terms. He was inducted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame in 1996. Asner received the Ralph Morgan Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 2000, presented periodically for distinguished service to the Guild's Hollywood membership. In March 2002, he was again honored by The Guild as the 38th recipient of the prestigious Life Achievement Award for career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment, presented annually to an actor who fosters the highest ideals of the profession. In addition to his professional versatility, Edward Asner has consistently served and committed himself to the rights of the working performer in addition to advocating for human rights, world peace, environmental preservation and political freedom. A passionate and informed spokesperson for the causes he supports, Asner is a frequent speaker on labor issues and a particular ally for the acting industry's older artists. Some of the many honors he has received throughout his career include the Anne Frank Human Rights Award, The Eugene Debs Award, Organized Labor Publications Humanitarian Award, ACLU's Worker's Right's Committee Award and the National Emergency Civil Liberties Award. Asner is the father of a child with high functioning autism.
Brian R. King, LCSW
Brian R. King works with children, adolescents and adults with Asperger's as well as their friends, families and colleagues. He routinely provides in-services and training for educators and organizations that provide services for those with Asperger's. Brian studied Social Work at Aurora University in Aurora, Illinois where he received his Master's Degree. Brian is currently a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Illinois. Brian began working on his PhD in June 2009. His specialties related to Asperger's and HFA includes depression, relationship issues, anxiety or fears, child or adolescent, life coaching, parenting, job and career issues, self-esteem, and social skills. Brian serves on the Board of Directors of GRASP and the Advisory Board of Aspiritech. Brian's current endeavors include authoring several books. Brian learned of his Asperger's in the summer of 2005 along with his oldest son. Brian currently resides in West Chicago, Illinois where he is a single parent raising his three sons Zach (age 11) certified with Asperger's in 2005, Aidan (age 7) certified with Autism in 2007 and Connor (4 yrs) certified with Asperger's in 2009.
Bennett Leventhal, M.D.
Bennett Leventhal, M.D. was born in Chicago and grew up in Arkansas, Illinois, and Louisiana. After receiving his medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Dr. Leventhal completed his child and adolescent psychiatry training at Duke University, serving there as chief resident and junior faculty member. Following two years as a medical officer at the Naval Regional Medical Center, Portsmouth, Virginia, Dr. Leventhal joined the University of Chicago Department of Psychiatry; there he served as Professor of Psychiatry & Pediatrics and, as Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for more than two decades. He is the Irving B. Harris Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Emeritus, at the University of Chicago. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in both General Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Leventhal has years of distinguished service to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and, recently received a medal on the occasion of the Academy's 50th anniversary recognizing him as one of the major contributors to the field of child and adolescent psychiatry in the past half century. Dr. Leventhal has played a leadership role in national and regional efforts to promote children's mental health research and to create comprehensive, cutting-edge systems of care for children's mental health. These efforts include membership on the Board of The Northwestern University Child and Family Justice Center and, Directorship of the State of Illinois Autism Project. He is also highly regarded more broadly in the field of medicine as a member of the National Board of Medical Examiners and the Illinois State Medical Board.
Dr. Leventhal is an internationally-renowned child and adolescent psychiatrist. He is widely recognized for his leadership and expertise in fostering scientific career development, training, and broad-based collaborative research networks that span from molecular genetics to community service and public health. His direction and vision have led to the creation of outstanding clinical research programs that have developed and shaped scientific approaches to the study of early emerging childhood disorders. These include the Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience, directed by Edwin H. Cook, Jr., M.D., and the Program on Developmental Mechanisms of Psychopathology, directed by Lauren S. Wakschlag, Ph.D. His extraordinary talent at fostering career development and, the passion he conveys about the importance of children's mental health research, have been largely responsible for launching the careers of countless distinguished clinical scientists, around the country and around the world. He is a powerful advocate for children's mental health and has greatly enhanced the lives of children and families through his exceptional devotion to clinical care and his broad-based influence on policy and practice.
In 2005, Dr. Leventhal joined the faculty of the Institute for Juvenile Research (IJR), at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, where he is Professor of Psychiatry. He is Director of the newly formed Center for Child Mental Health and Developmental Neuroscience at IJR, an innovative initiative to advance cutting-edge translational research on the causes and prevention of mental disorders in children and adolescents. Dr. Leventhal's research focuses on disruptions in brain development that interfere with social functioning, including the molecular genetics of autism and the prenatal origins of disruptive behavior disorders. His wide-ranging scientific contributions are reflected in his current efforts that include leadership of a national network of basic and clinical scientists designed to elucidate the origins of mental disorders in the first years of life as well as research programs in pediatric psychopharmacology, bullying, school-based prevention, epidemiology and the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism.
Louise Pearson holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Biochemistry from the University of Washington and the University of Texas, respectively. She has a JD from the University of Houston, and practiced law with the law firms of Vinson & Elkins in Houston and Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago. She was the General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of Dade Behring Inc. until it was taken over by Siemens AG in 2007. She is now the Chief Compliance Officer and Associate GC for Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics (a subsidiary of Siemens AG).
Keita Suzuki is a strategic consultant. He helped Aspiritech build up its business plan and financial model. Prior to Aspiritech, he worked for Booz and Company, a global management consulting firm, and NHK, the biggest media corporation in Japan. He earned his bachelor degree in Economics from University of Tokyo and his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management. He has a five-year old son diagnosed with high functioning autism and is the co-founder of KAIEN, Aspiritech's "sister" company in Tokyo.
Hong Zhang, Ph.D
Hong Zhang received her Ph.D in computational mathematics from Michigan State University in 1989. She was a math professor at Clemson University of South Carolina and Louisiana State University before moving to the Chicago area with her family in 1999. She worked briefly as a software developer at Lucent Technology. Then she joined the Department of Computer Science at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) as a research professor and worked as a software researcher in the Mathematics and Computer Science Division of Argonne National Laboratory. Over the past ten years, she has taught graduate courses at IIT on advanced scientific computing, software design and data structures. At ANL, she conducts large scale scientific and engineering simulations on advanced computer systems. She is the mother of an adult son with Asperger's syndrome.
Marc Lazar, Autism Specialist
Marc is an education and social service professional with a strong interest in working with adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorders in the areas of social skills, independent living, academics, vocational skills, and organization. In addition to working in the Chicago Public schools for four years with adolescents with ASD, Marc has worked as a College Asperger coach, community support companion and has led social skills groups. Marc earned an M.S. in Special Education with primary concentration in autism spectrum disorders.
Brenda Weitzberg, Executive Director
Brenda Weitzberg has a BA in psychology and special education with a graduate diploma in administration of early childhood programs. She has more than 30 years experience in administration of home- and center-based early childhood, family support and early intervention programs in Israel, Baltimore and greater Chicago.
For the past 17 years, she and her family have resided in Highland Park, IL where she first served as executive director of Family Network. There she instituted a wide range of programs, most notably the "Right from the Start" program, begun 15 years ago. This is a parent-child early intervention and family support program that now operates in collaboration with four other agencies and has served thousands of low-income, primarily Latino, families with children, ages birth through four years.
Since 1996, Brenda has served as director of north shore operations for Jewish Council for Youth Services (JCYS), a Chicago-based not-for-profit agency. During her tenure, JCYS north shore's budget has almost tripled and she now oversees childcare, preschool, after school, camping, and recreation programs with an annual staff of about 150 and an almost $3 million budget. In the past year, Brenda and other staff at JCYS have also collaborated with UIC to implement Camp STAR, the first such summer treatment program for children with ADHD, autism spectrum and other related difficulties, in the Midwest.
Brenda and her husband, Moshe, are the parents of an adult son with Asperger's syndrome and an adult daughter pursuing her PhD studies at Stanford University.
Moshe Weitzberg, Ph.D., Director of Operations
After serving as a lieutenant in the Israeli infantry, Moshe Weitzberg earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at The Johns Hopkins University. For more than 20 years, he worked as a medicinal chemist in the drug discovery departments of Nova Pharmaceuticals and Abbott Laboratories where he published more than 100 scientific papers and 10 patents. Since retiring from Abbott Laboratories, Dr. Weitzberg has taught chemistry, organic chemistry, physics and physical sciences at National Louis University in Chicago, where he also earned his high-school teaching certificate in chemistry and physics. Moshe has been certified in software testing at SigmaSoft and is now volunteering full time as Aspiritech's director of operations. Dr. Weitzberg and his wife Brenda, Aspiritech's founder and executive director, reside in Highland Park, IL. They are the parents of an adult son with Asperger's syndrome and a daughter who is pursuing her Ph.D. in African history at Stanford University.
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