Leadership Team

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 Founding Managing Principal of AGB Institutional Strategies 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).   

Rick is a frequent speaker on the topic of macro trends shaping higher education. Here is a recent Forbes interview wherein Rick discusses “unbundling” the college degree.  Rick also discusses how education trends can favor corporations with tuition assistance programs - http://www.cxousa.com/2017/03/02/leveraging-macro-trends-for-corporate-higher-education-strategy/

Ryan YamaneChief 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.  

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Woody RobertsonChief Development Officer. Woody is a high-energy creative thinker with a proven track record of growing businesses. After experiencing first-hand 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 in team-building and business development, along with connecting students and markets with attractive and viable solutions.  

Over the past ten years, Woody’s growth strategies have taken Lumerit to a global level with students in 23 countries. As Lumerit’s revenue driver from day one, Woody built the company’s marketing strategy, trained a national team of admissions reps, has given hundreds of presentations, and initiated the foundational partnerships that have helped Lumerit grow exponentially.

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Phil Balsamo, CPA—Chief Financial Officer. Phil has over 30 years experience as a Chief Financial Officer leading companies through change and to profitable growth. For eight years Phil helped lead the growth of the Mobile Resource Management division of Trimble Navigation (NASDAQ: TRMB) from $20M to $160M in revenue.  

Phil also held the position of CFO  at Vastera Corporation  where he oversaw the growth of the company  from $3M in revenue in the United States to $80M in revenue across 12 countries.  Phil provided the financial leadership at Vastera completing a successful  $250M valuation IPO and an average return to investors of over 600%.

Mr. Balsamo also serves as CFO for Miles Howland Education Partners.

Brian Shaw – Chief Technology Officer. For more than two decades, Brian Shaw has excelled at envisioning advanced technology that is easy to use as well as strategic for future application. From his service with the U.S. Air Force through his corner-office positions with Knowledge Elements, and Optimal Technologies, Brian has consistently used his unique visual thinking skills to create new technology processes, data systems, platforms, and solutions.

Brian was formerly  CEO at Knowledge Elements, now Learning Solutions a Division of Lumerit Education.  As Chief Technology Officer with Lumerit Education, Brian is laser-focused on the use of technology to change higher education into a data-centric industry. Brian holds a Bachelor’s degree from Williamson College, a Master’s in Education from American InterContinental University, and has studied finance and accounting as part of Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management Executive Development Institute.

Scott Miller – Senior Vice President Marketing and Enrollment Management. Scott brings more than ten years of digital marketing and twenty years of entrepreneurial experience to Lumerit Education. Scott is responsible for all aspects of student acquisition strategies for both the corporate and consumer markets.

Scott’s overall experience includes,  sales management, digital and social media marketing, customer relationship management applications and customer acquisition conversion metrics. Scott joined Lumerit Education in February 2015 and has helped transform the overall enrollment, marketing methodologies and metrics as well as branding of the company.

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Karl A. Sterner Ed.D. – Vice President Academic Development and Operations. Karl is a higher education professional recognized for both his academic development and operating capabilities. Over the past 14 years Karl has held various positions of increasing responsibility in higher education.  Prior to joining Lumerit Education, Karl was Vice President of the Professional, Adult and Online Division at Arizona Christian University.

Karl spent twelve years at Webster University where he was responsible for operating policies and results within admissions and student affairs for five campus locations.  Karl also worked in the office of academic affairs where he helped create academic and operational policies and procedures in order to ensure consistency in adult degree completion programming.   

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Liza Canchola—Vice President of Enrollment Services

Liza joins the Lumerit Education senior leadership team responsible for creating an excellent student experience while driving top line revenue for both consumer and corporate sales divisions.   

Liza has fourteen years of direct experience in higher education enrollment, operations and student satisfaction.  Prior to joining Lumerit Education Liza spent five years as Campus President for Education Corporation of America and Kaplan Higher Education where she executed operational strategies to ensure successful employer and student outcomes and delivery of quality education products. While at Kaplan Higher Education, Liza also held leadership roles as Regional Vice President of Admissions for 8 campus locations in Texas.   

Liza Canchola holds a Bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communication Studies from The University of Texas at Austin.

Michael Bassis, PhDChair, 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.

Michael L. Mathews—Senior Innovation Fellow,
Academic Advisory Council

Michael has a deep and rich work history including 12-years at Cray Research as an instructor and global training manager; as well as 10-years at SunGard Higher Education where he served as chief information officer, and vice president of academic services. In these roles he has influenced 100s of research, energy, chemical, and manufacturing companies, as well as over thirty community colleges, universities, and statewide systems.

Michael is a proven innovator at the intersection of education, business, and technology. Michael has consistently won international awards for his innovative work on initiatives like the education and career positioning system. He has garnered the 2016 EDUVENTURES Innovation of the Year Award, 2013 Campus Technology Student System and Services Innovation Award, and the 2012 U.S. Department of Education Business Start-up Challenge.  Michael has been invited to the White House on three occasions to discuss innovative breakthroughs for educational systems.

Michael has been featured in numerous journals, magazine, newspapers for innovation with wearable watches, nano-sizing education, student information systems, and augmented and virtual reality. The most recent interview on transforming education with augmented virtual reality can be viewed at CXOTalk. His 2016 lecture on geonetics and nano-sizing education has been archived on United Nations TV.

Mike has earned associate and bachelor degrees, as well as many certificates from institutions ranging from Dunwoody Institute of Technology, UW-Madison, UW-Stout, UCLA, Harvard Business School, and Global University. Mike has completed Master level programs in online teaching and learning from UCLA as part of his Master’s degree.

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Doug Bushée—Academic Advisory Council

Doug has more than ten years of experience in Learning and Development Management including spending more than eight years with Xerox Corporation, holding positions including Director of Worldwide Learning, Director Learning Technology and Operations. Doug is a regular speaker at major learning and CLO conferences and is an ongoing contributor of thought leadership in the areas of Learning Analytics, Social Learning and Talent Management. 

In his current role, Doug is leading global sales capabilities learning programs for Xerox. In addition to his work at Xerox he is the Executive Director and founder of the CORE Foundation, a not for profit organization enabling and supporting social entrepreneurs. His Bachelor of Arts degree is from Georgetown University and he holds an EMBA from George Mason University.

Board Members

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Michael ClarkMichael 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.

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Reid MilesReid 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.

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Dr. Cornelius (Neil) M. Kerwin—Dr. Kerwin became American University’s 14th president in September 2007 and retired from AU in 2017.  He led an institution of 13,000 students, 1,300 teaching and administrative faculty, and 2,500 staff in the nation’s capital; oversees a $640 million operating budget and a nearly $600 million endowment.

Dr. Kerwin joined AU in 1975 and holds a faculty appointment in the School of Public Affairs, Department of Public Administration. He was dean of the School of Public Affairs from 1988 to 1997; provost from 1997 to 2005; and acting—then interim—president of American University from 2005 to 2007.

A nationally recognized specialist in public policy and the regulatory process, Dr. Kerwin is actively engaged in research and periodically teaches courses in administrative process, policy implementation, and American government. He founded AU’s Center for the Study of Rulemaking and is the author of Rulemaking: How Government Agencies Write Law and Make Policy (CQ Press). The fifth edition of Rulemaking will be released in early 2017. Dr. Kerwin is also the author of numerous scholarly articles and professional publications.

Dr. Kerwin is a Senior Fellow , Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB),  a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration; a former president of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration; and founding chair of the Section on Public Law and Administration of the American Society for Public Administration. He received degrees from American University (BA), the University of Rhode Island (MA, political science), and Johns Hopkins University (PhD, political science).

Dr. Kerwin served as a member of the board of directors of the American Council on Education and on the board of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).  He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Greater Washington Board of Trade; he is also a member of the DC Chamber of Commerce and the DC Government's Economic Strategy Advisory Committee. Dr. Kerwin chaired the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area Board of Trustees (2013 to 2015) and the Patriot League Council of Presidents (academic years 2013 to 2014 and 2014 to 2015).

Dr. PJ McDonaldDr. 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.

John Gee—Mr. Gee has served 32 year with Merrill Lynch most recently as Managing Director, The Direct Division. Previously, he served as CEO, Virginia Community Bank. Additionally, Gee is Managing Principle-Virginia Community Properties; Managing Partner-49 Octave, a management consulting company specializing in board governance and structured leadership; board of directors-Eagle Hill School in Hardwick, MA.; Chairman of Peninsula Homeowners Action Association-Millsboro, DE.; and Board of Shakespeare Sedona.  

Gee holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond with a graduate degree from the University of Virginia (Finance) and Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (Executive Leaderships).