Board of Directors

The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) is proud to have a committed board of directors to help guide the activities that support our important mission. Please feel free to contact the Foundation with questions.

Members of the board are actively involved in the PFF’s activities and participate in fundraising, promoting awareness, and advocating for the pulmonary fibrosis community. 

The Foundation seeks qualified candidates to join its board of directors. The PFF’s directors lay the groundwork for the Foundation’s strategic vision and contribute significantly to resource development. A central focus of the board of the directors is fundraising.

 

WILLIAM T. Schmidt

PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

William T. Schmidt was named President & CEO of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) in August 2017. As President & CEO, Mr. Schmidt is responsible for the overall management and direction of the Foundation, which is the leading national organization that mobilizes people and resources to provide access to high quality care, and leads research for a cure so people with pulmonary fibrosis will live longer, healthier lives. Prior to joining PFF, for twelve years he was CEO of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the largest non-governmental source of funding for retinal degenerative disease research in the world.

Mr. Schmidt has had extensive experience as a senior executive for a number of high-profile and respected health research advocacy organizations, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF).  As Vice President of Public Affairs at JDRF, he directed the government relations, communications, media relations and foundation relations departments. 

An honors graduate of Amherst College, Mr. Schmidt also received his J.D. from the DePaul University College of Law and completed the Kellogg Graduate School of Management’s Executive Development Program.

GEORGE ELIADES, PHD

CHAIR

George Eliades is a partner in Bain’s health care practice, based in San Francisco.  He has nearly 15 years of consulting experience. At Bain & Company, Mr. Eliades' recent work focuses on biotech and pharmaceuticals. His work spans commercial and development, and multiple therapeutic areas, with deep expertise in oncology, neurology, endocrinology, ophthalmology, respiratory and several other specialty categories. Mr. Eliades' nonprofit work has included support for the merger integration of CHI and BayBio into the California Life Sciences Association. He has also led work with the American Society of Retina Specialists, focusing on helping the ASRS membership grow their practices in an era of declining reimbursements. Publications include “Healthcare 2020”—a perspective on the key trends shaping the global healthcare market and “Opportunities in integrated care for pharma and biotech.” Mr. Eliades graduated magna cum laude with highest honors from Harvard College where he received a Bachelor of Arts. He also holds a Master of Arts and PhD from Harvard University.

Colleen Attwell

VICE CHAIR

Colleen Attwell has worked in the nonprofit industry for 25 years. Most recently, she was a Senior Director for the Creating IT Futures Foundation, focusing on workforce development programs in the IT sector. She was also the foundation’s member representative to the Clinton Global Initiative. Her career began with the American Medical Association and City of Hope. She subsequently worked as the State Director of Development for the March of Dimes Illinois Chapter and as National Director of Development for Prevent Blindness America. Her experience includes fundraising, event planning, volunteer and board management, and program development. In addition, she has volunteered and freelanced in the Chicago sports industry for many years, including work with the Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Fire, and Comcast SportsNet Sports Awards. She holds a BA in Communications from Michigan State University and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from North Park University. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the West Suburban Philanthropic Network, and she serves on the City of Wheaton Community Relations Commission. Colleen’s family has been deeply affected by pulmonary fibrosis as both her father and father-in-law passed away from the disease.

DAVID MCNINCH

VICE CHAIR

David McNinch is an executive in the biopharma industry with extensive experience in orphan diseases. Over his 20 plus year career he has worked with a number of large and small companies including AstraZeneca, Novartis, Genentech, and InterMune. Recently, he built and lead the organization that commercialized Esbriet (pirfenidone) in the US. After Genentech acquired InterMune, David supported the integration and left to pursue other opportunities including continuing to support patients with pulmonary fibrosis through his work with the PFF. David has worked on the development and commercialization of drugs for orphan diseases including Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, acromegaly, and cystic fibrosis. He served on the Board of Trustees for the Huntington's Disease Society of America from 1999 - 2006. David is a native South Carolinian and graduate of the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

laurie L. CHandler, CFP®

TREASURER

Laurie is a partner at Vigilant Capital, LLC. From 2002 through early 2013, she served clients as both a relationship manager and wealth planner. Prior to joining Vigilant, Laurie was a senior vice president in the private clients group of Fleet Boston Financial for 18 years. Laurie earned her MBA from Southern New Hampshire University, is a Certified Financial Planner™ and a graduate of the Cannon Financial Institute for Trust, Estate, and Financial Planning. In addition to her role with the PFF, Laurie serves as the co-chair of the Patient Family Advisory Council of Portsmouth Regional Hospital. Previously, she served as a board trustee of Southern New Hampshire University, a board member of the Northern New England Financial Planning Association, and as a chair of the Estate Planning Council of New Hampshire. She was also a founding member and chair of the Women’s Business Center, a chair and advisory board member of Families First of the Greater (NH) Seacoast, a chair and treasurer of the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Women, and a trustee of the Crotched Mountain Foundation. Laurie is a graduate of the 2006 Leadership NH program. In 2002, Laurie was honored with the Small Business Administration’s New Hampshire Women in Business Advocate of the Year Award. 

terence f. hales

SECRETARY

Terence Hales is a corporate real estate executive based in New York City. He has over 18 years of industry experience and has worked for a number of global Fortune 100 companies including Time Warner, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, CBS Corporation, and Pfizer Inc. In his previous roles he was responsible for real estate strategy, transaction management, and cost efficiency. Mr. Hales is currently the Director of Global Real Estate for Zoetis Inc., the former Pfizer Animal Health Division. Mr. Hales is the founder of the NYC Run-Walk-Hike for Pulmonary Fibrosis, which has raised more than $400,000 toward PF research and patient services. Mr. Hales’s father was diagnosed with PF and subsequently underwent a successful double-lung transplant in 2007. Mr. Hales was previously a board member of the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis, where his work included lobbying members of congress to support research funding for pulmonary fibrosis. Mr. Hales has a Bachelor of Science in Finance and a Masters of Business Administration from Fordham University.

JEFF HARRIS

Jeff Harris is an officer and shareholder of the Chicago law firm of Figliulo & Silverman, P.C. His business litigation practice of nearly 40 years includes matters relating to construction, commercial real estate, corporate and partnership disputes, professional liability and fiduciary duties.

In addition to his professional activities, Mr. Harris is President of the Mary D. Harris Memorial Foundation, which he founded in 1998 following the death of his wife from pulmonary fibrosis; current member and former Chair of the Board Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network, former Chair of the Board of the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis; and Vice-President of LAH Oil, Inc. In 2005, he received the Frank Cabral Humanitarian Award from the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis in recognition of his contributions to furthering education, patient support and research regarding the disease.

Mr. Harris received his undergraduate degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and his Juris Doctorate from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

 

NICK DEVITO

Nick DeVito is the President of Nicholas DeVito Agency, an independent insurance agency in Long Island, New York that specializes in all personal and commercial insurance coverages for individuals and businesses within the tristate area. Nick is also one of the cofounders of the Pete DeVito Memorial Foundation (PDMF), which he helped establish in 2011 shortly after his father Pete passed away from IPF. From diagnosis to his father’s last days, Nick saw first-hand the impact IPF has on a family.  Since founding the PDMF, Nick has been an active advocate raising over half a million dollars toward IPF medical research, public awareness, and advocacy. Nick has supported and worked closely with the PFF for years, and is proud to now join its board of directors. Nick holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Quinnipiac University and a Master of Science in Counseling from Long Island University Post.

michael c. henderson

Mike Henderson served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors from June 2014 until July 2017 after serving as Vice Chairman since February 2013. Mike is a founder and served as Chairman of Albina Community Bank from 1995 until he retired at the end of 2009. He currently serves on the board of OrePac Building Products and Prolifiq Software. He was President of PacifiCorp Holdings, Inc which held interests in energy, telecommunications and financial services. He has served as CEO of Vermont Castings, Pinemeadow Group, Prolifiq Software and Crescent Foods, Inc. He was a partner and CPA with Deloitte Haskins & Sells during a seventeen year career there. Mike also served on the board of three public companies; Longview Fibre, Pacific Telecom and Comdial. Mike was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in 2004 and received a double lung transplant in 2006. He is a facilitator of Pulmonary Fibrosis and Lung Transplant Support Groups in Seattle and Portland.

Wendi Mason, RN, MSN, ACNP

Wendi Mason is the Program Director of the Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Program at Vanderbilt and holds a faculty appointment as an Assistant in Medicine through the Department of Medicine. Initially, she was employed by Vanderbilt Medical Center in 1994 as an ‘as needed’ nurse’s assistant, while attending Tennessee State University to earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing.

Wendi began her work with IPF patients in 2001 as the research nurse coordinator for the placebo-controlled interferon gamma trial. At that time, the IPF Program had a robust 10 patients in the clinical trial. Wendi earned her Masters of Science in Nursing from Vanderbilt University and obtained her certification as an acute care nurse practitioner in 2003 and continues to serve as a healthcare provider for patients with IPF.

While working with Dr. James Loyd and Dr. Lisa Lancaster they built a nationally recognized Program of Excellence marrying the post-diagnosis management needs of IPF patients to the scrutiny of the various pharmaceutical and government sponsored research programs. To date, they serve the seven-state region surrounding Tennessee, actively provide the out-patient healthcare needs of about 400 IPF patients, have written nearly 250 prescriptions for FDA approved therapies, follow the health of family members of over 550 families with IPF, have nearly 1,000 unique individuals in their pulmonary fibrosis registry, and have participated in over 50 placebo-controlled or open-label clinical trials.

In addition to her responsibilities in the out-patient setting, Wendi oversees the management responsibilities of the program and research staff.

Members Emeriti

Retiring members of the PFF Board of Directors who have made exceptional contributions to the Foundation are honored with the status "Member Emeritus."  

Joseph Borus, Esq.
Thomas E. Hales 
Dave Steffy
Stephen A. Wald, PhD

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