Rick Beyer—Chief Executive Officer. Rick has a unique combination of experience in higher education and business. A former college president and board governance chair, successful technology CEO, and senior operating executive of a $1 billion public company, Rick has consistently been at the forefront of industry-leading initiatives and has a successful history of navigating organizations through change and growth.
Rick is currently a Senior Fellow and a former member of the board of directors at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), a national governance organization for higher education with more than 1,900 member institutions. He has served on the board of trustees at American University as well as his alma mater, Olivet College, including serving as board chair and now trustee emeritus. Rick has served as president, president emeritus at Wheeling Jesuit University and has also held senior executive positions at Trimble Navigation, Ltd. (NASDAQ: TRMB) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM).
Michael Bassis, PhD—Chair, Academic Council. Michael is an experienced academic leader with special expertise in how colleges and universities can adapt to the rapidly changing landscape of higher education. Currently a Senior Fellow at the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Michael writes and speaks about the current transformation of U.S. higher education and innovative strategies to control educational costs while enhancing educational quality. Earlier he served with great success as the president of Olivet College in Michigan and later at Westminster College in Utah. In each instance, Michael’s successful revitalization of the institution won him wide recognition. His work at Olivet was chronicled by Stephen R. Covey in his book, Living the Seven Habits.
Michael’s rich practical experience coupled with his deep knowledge of changing practices in higher education has led to a host of publications and speaking engagements about strategic thinking, program design, the assessment of learning outcomes, and competency-based education. He has served on advisory boards and project teams with numerous foundations and professional associations, including the American Council on Education, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Campus Compact, The New American Colleges and Universities, and the Project on the Future of Higher Education.
Michael graduated from Brown University and earned his Ph.D. in the sociology of education from the University of Chicago.
Ryan Yamane—Chief Operating Officer. Ryan’s personal outside-the-box educational journey has given him unique insight into the changing landscape of higher education. After graduating homeschool high school, Ryan was able to forge his own unique college pathway with his B.S. in business, completing his degree for less than $10,000. For more than ten years, Ryan has sought to help other students do the same at colleges across the country.
As a co-founder of CollegePlus, Ryan helped build the company starting in 2004, holding the positions of chief financial officer, followed by chief operating officer, and finally chief executive officer. During this time, he oversaw all aspects of the company—marketing, finance, accounting, purchasing, human resources, legal, operations functions, and systems development.
Under Ryan’s leadership, CollegePlus achieved world-class customer satisfaction rankings as measured by Net Promoter Scores. Most recently, he led the organization through a successful strategic market transition and now serves as Lumerit Education Chief Operating Officer.
Woody Robertson—Chief Development Officer. Woody is a high-energy creative thinker with a proven track record of growing businesses. After experiencing firsthand the benefits of unbundling college and pioneering the methodologies of credit aggregation, which he applied to his BSBA in business management, Woody co-founded Lumerit Education in 2004. Woody’s role as a senior executive has involved driving the development of the organization from the ground up, performing roles in operations, admissions, and marketing. He thrives as a team builder and business developer and successfully connects students and markets with attractive and viable solutions.
Over the past ten years, Woody’s growth strategies have taken Lumerit to a global level, serving students in 22 countries. As Lumerit’s revenue driver from day one, Woody built the company’s marketing strategy and trained a national team of admission reps. He has given hundreds of presentations, and initiated the foundational partnerships that have helped Lumerit grow exponentially.
Michael Clark—Michael is the founding owner and president of Aspect Wealth Management, which he established in 1997 after a ten-year career with Salomon Smith Barney. His firm assists high-net-worth investors, families, business owners, and nonprofit institutions in making high-quality financial decisions in the management of their wealth. Previous to his association with Salomon Smith Barney, he served as an economic analyst and management advisor for the U.S. government and private industry. He particularly enjoyed serving for seven years as a faculty member in the Economics and Finance Division of the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Reid Miles—Reid is chairman and CEO of Miles Howland & Co. and a managing member of Miles Howland Education Partners. He has more than 20 years of experience in investment management and operational management. He has been active as a professional investor for more than 18 years. Over the course of his career, Reid has invested in more than 30 private equity transactions and managed numerous fund of funds investments.
Prior to launching Miles Howland & Co., LLC, Reid was a managing director and partner of BV Group Ventures, LLC., a diversified international investment management firm. The group has invested in more than $1.5 billion of private equity, real estate, and hedge funds. From 2000 to 2005, Reid led the direct investment and fund of funds investment activities of the firm. He was also a member of the Executive Committee.
Rush Cone—A founding board member of Lumerit Education, Rush is an attorney with 40 years of experience focused on a wide range of legal issues related to business, corporate leadership, and education. During that time, he has worked in senior leadership for four international corporations and served his community on several nonprofit and industry-related boards.
Rush and his wife, Cindy, have been involved in the development, promotion, and growth of homeschool and alternative higher education for 20 years, first through the Family Educators Alliance of South Texas and later as founders of the RACHEL and MICHAEL Institutes, which focus on alternative higher education.
Dr. PJ McDonald—Dr. PJ McDonald is the headmaster of Eagle Hill School, a private coeducational college preparatory boarding school for students with learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder in Hardwick, Massachusetts. PJ has served as the headmaster of Eagle Hill School since July of 1998.
PJ is widely known in secondary education circles as a leader whose business acumen has helped transform Eagle Hill School into an international institution. Under his leadership, Eagle Hill School has tripled its total enrollment, fund-raised more than $100 million; built 14 buildings; developed a comprehensive, competitive, and transparent faculty compensation plan; increased annual operating revenue five-fold; and created the Teacher Training Initiative designed to train urban public school teachers.
PJ serves on the board of trustees of $1.5 billion country bank (executive committee, compensation committee, and chair of succession planning committee) and is a founding member of Start Your Engines, LLC, a company created to bring Indy car racing to New England cities. PJ is also a trustee at numerous local and national nonprofits, including Be Like Brit, through which he helped construct a 19,000-square foot orphanage in Haiti, an accoplishment he still considers his greatest philanthropic achievement.
PJ and his wife Kathryn live in Holden, Massachusetts, with their three children: Griffin (16), Reagan (15), and Tucker (11). An alumnus of Purdue University, PJ earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.