Alumni

Tom Woodruff '80

Co-Founder, Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc.

Having spent over twenty-five years in the film industry, the work is still as creative and involving as ever. I'm lucky to be able to work in a field that provides such a varied, moving target and keeps things challenging and rewarding! Art and technology evolve and I have ample opportunities to balance both in our day-to-day work and keep our teams motivated and our clients thrilled. Even in this age of computer effects dominating the screen, we're able to provide extensive practical, real-life approaches to on-set effects as we did with the upcoming feature film prequel, The Thing.

We've also had growing interest in our branching out to bring our characters to life in a variety of live venues; From the highly successful Greenwich Village Petshop of the artist, Banksy, to a twenty foot-tall animatronic baby for the Shanghai World Expo, to the twelve foot-tall fashion blogger, Little Marina, who helped lead to an instant sell-out of the new Mussoni fashion line at Target nationwide and the crashing of their shopping website! And we thought our monsters were dangerous!

See us on the Leno/Tonight Show.

Deirdre Connelly '83

President of North American pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline

I currently serve as president of North American pharmaceuticals for GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. Prior to joining GSK a few years ago, I had spent 26 years at Eli Lilly, where I began as a sales representative and worked my way up to the president of U.S. operations.

In 2008, I was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President's Commission on White House Fellowships. The White House Fellowships are America's most prestigious program for leadership and public service. It was an honor to be selected by the President to serve our country and to help prepare our nation's aspiring public service leaders.

It was also an honor to be ranked 73rd on Forbes list of 'The World's 100 Most Powerful Women.' (In assembling the list, Forbes says it looked for women who run countries, big companies or influential nonprofits.)

It all started at Lycoming College. I entered Lycoming with a limited grasp of the English language. I'm a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and attending a small college and having access to my professors were two keys to my early success. In 1983, I earned a bachelor's degree in business administration. I worked hard academically and also became involved in campus activities, which helped develop my leadership skills that have led me to become an international news maker.

John '68 and Roni (Bennett) Trogner '69

Co-owner, Troeg's Brewing Company

Our family has expanded our micro brewery into the Philadelphia market. Our first keg was sold to a local restaurant in Harrisburg on July 18, 1997. Since then, the business has grown from a simple interest in the art of handcrafted beers to a brewery with nearly 15 Troeg's family beers. I'm also a member of the Institute of Real Estate Management and the Commercial Investment Real Estate Institute where I'm a Certified Property Manager Designee and Certified Commercial Investment Member.

Dr. Marina Vernalis '73

Executive Medical Director, Integrative Cardiac Health Project, Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC)

When I was three years old, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. As a teenager, I had my heart set on pursuing that dream at an Ivy League school. My parents had other plans; they insisted I attend a small liberal arts college. My school of choice became Lycoming College, which turned out to be the perfect launching pad for an extraordinary medical career.

I was the 14th chief of cardiology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) in Washington, D.C., as well as the cardiovascular consultant of the Army Surgeon General—becoming the first woman appointed to these positions!

Now I'm the executive medical director at the Integrative Cardiac Health Project, a multimillion dollar federally funded program on cardiac prevention at WRAMC. The program is for military beneficiaries with the goal of optimizing human performance. Another aspect of the program includes identifying patients at risk earlier in life by diagnosing cardiovascular disease at the "molecular" disease stage. I am the principal investigator of the research program and responsible for its oversight. To date, we've published more than 60 peer reviewed scientific publications.

I hate to say this, but my parents were right. My experience at Lycoming turned out to be very positive. Our classes were smaller and the professors were genuinely interested in our education. I had a great education!

Phil Zimmerman '02

Senior Publicist, Jeopardy!

I currently live in Los Angeles and am the senior publicist for Jeopardy! As a spokesperson for the show, I work closely with the executive producer and other senior staff to develop creative and timely press angles. I also manage publicity for special tournaments, on-location remotes and red carpet events with host Alex Trebek. One of the most exciting opportunities was developing the publicity campaign for Jeopardy! The IBM Challenge, which pitted an IBM computer ("Watson") against the show's two best players – Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Due to the highly-publicized campaign, the PR magazine Bulldog Reporter recognized me as its Publicist of the Year.

Prior to joining Jeopardy!, I worked for the Independent Television Service, producer of PBS' Independent Lens. I began my television career as an NBC Page in New York City, working on such shows as Saturday Night Live, The Today Show and Dateline. I also gained experience in publicity working for the PR agency Edelman and such PBS series as The NewsHour and Frontline. In my free time, I enjoy traveling and have written stories for the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Intermezzo and Lonely Planet Magazine.

While at Lycoming, I learned the importance of prioritizing work and team-building. To be an effective leader, I couldn't do it all on my own. I needed the support of other students and faculty. It was an honor to finish my Lycoming career as recipient of the Chieftain Award, the school's highest honor given to a graduating senior. Due to the network of support, I became the first student at Lycoming to receive a Fulbright Fellowship and earned a master's degree from the University of Waikato in New Zealand.

Dave Schoch '73

Chairman & CEO, Ford Motor China

As chairman and CEO of Ford Motor China, I oversee the operations and business leadership of Ford Motor China. I was also recently named a member of the Lycoming College Board of Trustees, which means I get the opportunity to continue to be involved with my alma mater!

I joined Ford as a financial analyst in 1977, and have held a variety of leadership positions. Most recently, I served as controller, The Americas. Prior to that, I was executive director, Ford Canada, Mexico and South America Operations. I also served as chief financial officer and vice president of strategic planning for Ford of Europe and chief financial officer of Ford Asia-Pacific Operations.

It all started at Lycoming when I decided to get my bachelor's degree in business. After that, I decided to pursue my master's degree in business administration from Temple University.

In 2008, I was fortunate to receive the College's Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award. My wife, Carol (Marsland), a 1973 Lycoming graduate, and I have three daughters and live in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Connie Wilson '02

Owner, 2 Dental Divas

My goal is simple, "save the world one tooth at a time."

I grew up in a very dental family. My dad graduated from Temple and has been practicing dentistry for close to 40 years. My mother has been a hygienist for the same amount of time. And I can count on my brother for all sorts of amazing overnight lab fixes as he has been a lab technician for years.

When I'm not working at our Lewisburg office, I'm usually seeing patients at the Susquehanna River Valley Dental Health Clinic, which serves the medical assistance population and low-income, uninsured patients. We do everything from cleanings to treatment for cavities and removable dental prosthetics.

I like working with people, getting to know them and making them feel comfortable. People don't like to get stuck with needles and have their teeth drilled, but we try to make the experience as comfortable as possible and not surprisingly, they leave with a smile.

My biology degree from Lycoming served as the foundation for my master's from Bloomsburg University and DMD degree from Temple University's Kornberg School of Dentistry. The small, private atmosphere at Lycoming helped me feel comfortable and not completely overwhelmed.

Ronald Knoebel '65

Owner, Knoebels Amusement Resort

I am the third generation to own and operate America's largest, free amusement park, Knoebels Amusement Resort. The park has been in the Knoebel family since 1926 and currently features two world-class roller coasters and over 50 rides. I studied Sociology at Lycoming; where I became the first NCAA Wrestling Champion in 1965, Middle Atlantic Conference Champion in 1964 and 1965, and was inducted into the Lycoming Hall of Fame in 1986.

Ashley Leech '07

International Development Consultant in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria

My international adventures began when I obtained a master's in African studies from the University of Oxford in England and began working as an international development consultant in Nairobi, Kenya; Kampala, Uganda; and Abuja, Nigeria.

Working with local and internationally based, non-governmental organizations, I have led the design and implementation of programs targeting vulnerable populations in Africa. My main responsibility has been to help NGOs to most effectively use the money they acquire from various funding agencies. I've has established technical expertise in public health programming, helping organizations design programs on necessary health initiatives in Africa ranging from HIV prevention to malaria and other infectious disease control projects. I also have managed and conducted needs-assessments for emerging projects, formulated financial and programmatic analyses of public health and overlapping intervention in Africa, and led the operations research for multi-million dollar funding proposals that I had the opportunity to help write. I've also been working to help local partners in five African countries conduct a baseline health needs-assessment. I'm planning to pursue my Ph.D. in international development economics/policy in the near future - it all started with Lycoming College.

Lycoming prepared me for graduate school, and the one-on-one professor to student attention helped prepare me for what I am doing now. I intentionally chose Lycoming because it was a small college and had great professors and programs. My professors also instilled the confidence I needed to get to where I am today.

Brian Kaufman '96

Associate Producer, 'The Simpsons'

Truth be told, "The Simpsons" is the longest-running American sitcom and animated program. It debuted in December 1989 and has been recognized with 25 Emmy Awards.

As associate producer of the show, my main responsibility is recording changes made to the script during the nine months it takes to produce a show. The show's writing staff does three major revisions to the script before a show is aired. My job is to organize the changes by determining how long recording each actor will take, scheduling the recording studio and the talent, then supervising the actual recording session.

Being involved behind the scenes on the show has it perks. Working with the cast is a lot of fun. We have a lot of laughs on the recording stage. It's great being around such a talented group of voice actors. I've learned a lot about writing, listening to how jokes play when the actors deliver them. Things that read funny often die on the stage. And things that really crack us up are often cut for timing, or dropped because they didn't fit the story.

So how did I get to "The Simpsons?" I faxed my resume to Gracie Films, the creator of the show. I remember the producer admired all of the production experience I had on my résumé from the side projects I had done at school.

I became hooked on production work after I made a soccer highlight video during my sophomore year at Lycoming. From there, I began directing and producing videos for the soccer and football teams, as well as local commercials. After I graduated, I remained at Lycoming for a short time as a teaching assistant for television production classes. Then, I joined the staff here at "The Simpsons."

It doesn't end here. My goal is to make feature length films eventually.