BOARD OF DIRECTORS
FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR-Ismael Hernandez
Ismael Hernandez brings a wealth of educational, professional and service experience to the Freedom & Virtue Institute. With a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Southern Mississippi and professional experience as executive director of the African Caribbean American Catholic Center, Ismael leads FVI based on the principles of effective compassion and personal responsibility.
Ismael has served as board member of a number of organizations, including chairman of the Dunbar 21st Century Collaboration, and frequently lectures with the Acton Institute’s Acton University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Dave comes from Rochester, NY where he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from St. John Fisher College in 1960. He spent most of his career in the computer and technology industry including fifteen years with IBM where he held several executive positions in the New York area. He also spent ten year with Data General Corp. where his responsibilities included positions as head of North American Sales and Vice President and General Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa. He subsequently spent ten years in the Executive Search business where he held positions of President, Aubin International and Managing Director of The Carter Group while located in Atlanta. Dave retired in 2004 and resides in Fort Myers, FL. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of CSPI, a Boston based, publicly traded NASDAQ company.
Dave and his wife Georgine have been married for forty-eight years and have four grown children and nine grandchildren.
VICE CHAIRMAN-John F. Gamba, Jr
Mr. Gamba, Jr. has founded, funded and managed several technology start-ups over his 18 year career. In the mid-90s he was an executive VP for US Interaction (NASD: USIT) where he oversaw the development of e-commerce applications for several Fortune 500 companies including Intel, Citibank and BankOne. As Co-Founder and President of The Partnership for Academic and Community Excellence, Inc. he deployed a full service telecommunications network that connected hundreds of K-12 school district to millions of families in all 50 states. Seven years after its founding, Mr. Gamba participated in PACE’s eventual sale to Blackboard, Inc. (NASD: BBBB) for $200million. Mr. Gamba is a Director of the Gamba Family Foundation which provides financial support to several education initiatives within our nation’s inner-cities. A proud father of two boys and a competitive triathlete, Mr. Gamba is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
TREASURER-Bill De Deugd
Bill de Deugd is a native of the Netherlands. After serving in the Royal Dutch Naval Airforce for 12 years as a flight engineer, he moved his family to Canada. There he started his “concrete” career. In 1983 he moved to Fort Myers. Bill and his son Danie run several successful businesses: TriCircle Pavers in Fort Myers, Bayshore Concrete & Landscape Mtls. in North Fort Myers and Noralyn Enterprises in Bartow. Over the years it has become evident that Bill loves God and people. He has served in many churches, nonprofit organizations, Rotary International, Builders Without Borders and the Freedom and Virtue Institute. In his spare time he likes to play golf and fish. Bill is married to Marianne and they have 4 children.
Ray Rodrigues serves as the Budget Manager at Florida Gulf Coast University for the College of Arts and Sciences. Prior to working at FGCU, Ray spent a decade working for a corporate component of the General Electric Company. There he was a Government Finance Analyst before becoming Manager of GE’s Customs Compliance and Consulting team.
Ray graduated from Berry College in Rome, Georgia with a Bachelors Degree in Political Science. Ray and his wife Ruth have been married for 17 years and have one son.
In 2008, Ray completed his term as an appointee of Governor Bush to the Lee County Housing Authority. In 2007-2008, Ray served on the Charter Review Advisory Committee to the Lee County Board of County Commissioners. Currently, Ray serves as a Deacon in the Gulf Coast Church of Christ, is on the Board of Directors of Special Equestrians, a partner agency with the United Way, and is active with the Republican Party.
Richard E. Riley, a founding member of FineMark National Bank & Trust is an Executive Vice President and Private Wealth Advisor for FineMark. Mr. Riley attended the University of Notre Dame from 1969-1971 and the University of South Florida 1971-1973, earning a bachelor’s degree in Education and Biology Science in 1973. He also received a master’s degree in Educational Administration from the University of South Florida in 1976. Mr. Riley started his banking career in 1978 and moved to Fort Myers in 1980. In 1996, Mr. Riley joined Northern Trust in Fort Myers as Vice President and senior Business Development Officer, and was responsible for regional client development and marketing activities. In 2005, he was named Senior Vice President and became a member of the statewide Sales Management team. He also obtained his Series 7 and Series 66 securities licenses while he was an employee of Northern Trust. Mr. Riley is active in the community, having served as president of the local unit of the American Cancer Society and of the Rotary Club of Fort Myers South. He was statewide chair of the American Cancer Society Planned Giving Committee and has served on the boards of the United Way, the local American Cancer Society, Sanibel Music Festival, BIG Arts, Freedom & Virtue Institute, Speakers Assembly of Southwest Florida, Sydney & Berne Davis Art Center, Florida Repertory Theatre, Rotary Fort Myers South, and AFCAAM, a social services and educational organization focused on assisting black communities within Fort Myers.
DIRECTOR-James McCord, RLA, LEED® AP
James is Vice President at Morris Depew Associates, Inc., a firm specializing in planning, engineering, surveying and landscape architecture. Formerly, James was Senior Landscape Architect at Johnson Engineering, a teaching assistant at Louisiana State University, a Landscape Construction Division Manager at Mid-America Apartment Communities, and owned a landscape construction business in Memphis, TN. James possesses nearly thirty years of experience in the design, construction, and management of landscape and irrigation projects in four states. His projects range from public to private sector, high-end single family residential to subdivisions, schools to universities, community open spaces to regional parks, commercial to industrial, streetscapes to roadways, and mixed-use to apartment communities, waterfront high-rise to urban in-fill.
James is a graduate of Mississippi State University in landscape construction with a masters in landscape architecture from Louisiana State University, James enjoys golf, fishing, and competitive BBQ cooking. He lives in Fort Myers with his wife Carolyn.
Jason is Corporate Administrative Director for 21st Century Oncology, one of the leading providers of radiation therapy services in Southwest Florida and a leading health care provider in the nation. A young and promising leader in our community, Jason has served in the Board of Directors of Lee Memorial Health System and ran for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives.
Jason has a law degree from Nova Souteastern; he likes to work out and is married to his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth. Together they are raising two sons here in Fort Myers.
Mary Briggs, APR,CPRC
Mary is the System Director for media relations at Lee Memorial Hospital. Formerly, Mary was a marketing consultant and co-owner of Briggs & Rogers, a public relations and advertising firm based in Fort Myers, Florida. Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, Mary moved to Fort Myers in 1985. Prior to founding Briggs & Rogers, she held the position of corporate public relations director for Bonita Bay Group, a nationally-known real estate developer based in Bonita Springs, Florida for eight years. Previous to that she was the marketing director for Eye Centers of Florida, one of the country’s largest multi-office ophthalmology practices.
In her free time, Mary enjoys reading, scrapbooking and movies. She has been married to Tim for more than 25 years and is the mother of three almost grown children.
Dan Wright is a 30 year veteran in the telecommunications industry, having overseen cable television operations for Time Warner Cable in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Southwest Florida, and other sites across the U.S. He is a resident of Fort Myers, is married to wife Patty, and has one son, Dustin, who is a senior at Florida Atlantic University. He has served on various economic development and civic association Boards.