Dr. Julie Cremeans-Smith is an assistant professor at Kent State Stark. She also serves in a research capacity for The Office of Corporate and Community Services, where she utilizes a vast array of resources and research methodologies to connect organizations with beneficial information to assist in strategic planning, performance improvement, marketing, economic development and other decision-making initiatives. She holds a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Kent State University. Cremeans-Smith collaborates with clients on research projects and program evaluations. She possesses a wide variety of expertise and experience in focus group facilitation, survey development and implementation, environmental scanning, interviewing, conducting literature reviews, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, interpretation and reporting. She has served as the research expert on projects with the City of Green Division of Parks and Recreation, Union Hospital, Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority, DeHoff Development Company, Kent State University and several of its regional campuses, among others. Cremeans-Smith is a member of ACCRA, the nonprofit organization promoting excellence in research for economic and community development.
Diane DeRubertis, SPHR, HCS
Diane DeRubertis has been a corporate HR professional for more than 20 years. Her area of expertise is Talent Acquisition and most recently she has been involved in helping organizations develop and implement customized performance management, talent acquisition and succession planning systems. Her performance in the area of talent management, earned Diane the honor of being a recipient of the EXCEL award, National City’s highest honor recognizing extraordinary people and their exceptional accomplishments in 2003 and again in 2006. DeRubertis holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Kent State University.
As a communication skills consultant for 30 years, Deborah Easton provides audiences with practical advice for utilizing effective communication skills. Her techniques for one-to-one interactions and group communications provide positive results. She has conducted training for organizations such as First Energy, Hyland Software and Summa Health System. Easton has been instrumental in numerous special projects, including developing performance evaluation systems and facilitating cultural change. She earned a master’s degree in speech communication and taught communication courses in Kent State University’s Department of Communication Studies and Graduate School of Management.
Patty Flauto is the former creative director of the Photo and Design Studios at American Greetings. While at American Greetings, she managed a staff of nine art directors and 60 designers in the creation of all new illustrated and photographic pieces for American Greetings products. Flauto was a 2004 American Greetings Grand Award winner in the category of Innovation for her work developing a new business venture for creative papercrafts. She is a past board member of the Color Marketing Group, an international organization that forecasts color and design trends, and a founding member of THINK, a New York-based trend forecasting group that is by invitation only. She provides product innovation consulting for organizations such as Newell-Rubbermaid, Corning and Compaq Computer. Flauto received her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Youngstown State University and her master’s degree in fine arts from Kent State University.
Bob Jewell has 25 years of hands-on experience in many business environments. He has provided leadership development and project management training and consulting services to organizations such as Toyota, Federal Express and Aultman Hospital, among others. Jewell has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from The Ohio State University.
Tim Kraft has been the owner and head word guy at WordKraft Business Writing Inc. for the past 10 years. Prior to that, he served in leadership roles in marketing and public relations at The Timken Company, GBS and Aultman Health Foundation. His expertise lies in the areas of advertising and marketing materials, technical writing, correspondence, training development, human resource communications, public relations materials, new media (CD/DVD) and video. He has provided services to organizations such as Diebold, First Energy, Mercy Medical Center and The Timken Company.
Dave Mehl has more than 30 years experience in proessional organization development and human resources management, in both domestic and international markets for manufacturing, high tech, A/E firms and higher education. His skills include implementing innovative organization changes, including management structure and program design. Mehl has a bachelor's degree in industrial management from The University of Akron and a master's degree in organization development from Bowling Green State University.
Verena Murphy, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of management and information systems at Kent State Stark. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University’s Organizational Behavior Program, Murphy has 30 years of experience in effectively intervening in human systems, including 10 years of coaching executives and consultants. She is a certified SAVI® trainer.
As a professional speaker and facilitator, Kordell Norton has a rich background in business management and organizational development in companies ranging from small start-ups to multi-billion dollar Fortune 1000. His areas of expertise are (and his passion lies in) sales, branding, marketing and strategic planning. As a consultant, trainer and facilitator, Norton has worked with IBM, American Bankers Association, Microsoft, Social Security Administration, Hewlett-Packard, The Ohio State University, YMCA, Boeing, Veterans Administration, Bayer, Technicolor, Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, First Energy and many others. Norton draws on decades of professional experiences with The Tom Peters Group, Walt Disney Training, Zig Ziglar Corporation, Dale Carnegie Programs, Development Dimensions International, Grove Consultants International and others.
John Novak, CQA, is an industrial engineer and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt who has provided consultation and training to improve work flow and methods for clients. He has experience as a software developer and in internal auditing. Novak received his bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from Bowling Green State University and his M.B.A. from Kent State University.
Ned Parks is an experienced consultant and public speaker. He gained his experience in the U.S. Army as a warrant officer, helicopter pilot and flight instructor. After retiring from military service, Parks gained real-world experience by operating his own aviation business. He delivers keynote speeches, leads outdoor adventure workshops, conducts personal development workshops and brings working teams together for maximum performance and successful living. When asked what he does for a living, his answer is simple; his passion is to inspire you and your organization to invest in yourselves with grace, invest in others with humility and improve with dignity. Parks earned a bachelor's degree in professional aeronautics studies from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Marti Peden is a human resources consultant specializing in training and organization development activities for 25 years. With particular expertise in the area of conflict resolution and mediation, she has consulted with organizations and trained employees in conflict management skills. She has worked with Chrysler, First Energy, Aultman Hospital, Firestone Tire and Rubber Company and a variety of city, county and state organizations. She holds a master’s degree in counseling and education from Kent State University.
John Potkalitsky recently retired from Eaton Corporation after 20 years of successfully deploying Lean in manufacturing and office environments. During the last eight years, he was part of a corporate group of Lean managers directly involved in providing leadership in Lean transformation activities at plant sites, both domestic and international. Potkalitsky has extensive experience in developing and delivering interactive workshops to middle managers, frontline supervisors and office professionals. Prior to Eaton, he spent 18 years in manufacturing and materials organizations improving productivity. He has held various positions in shop supervision, manufacturing engineering and materials management at Goodyear Aerospace, Johnson & Johnson (Technicare) and Warner & Swasey. Potkalitsky has a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from Kent State University.
Lyn Sabino, a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and human resources consultant, has more than 25 years experience in business and education, half of which are in human resources. Her experience includes director of human resources and educational programming for the Stark County Park District, vice president of administrative services at Goodwill Industries of Akron and human resources manager at Graphic Enterprises Inc. in North Canton. Currently, she is the director of strategic implementation and assistant professor at Aultman College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Sabino holds a bachelor’s degree in English and education from Walsh College and a master’s degree in English from Youngstown State University. She is a certified trainer for the Life Languages Institute and since 1998 has facilitated Kent State Stark's human resource review course, which prepares HR professionals for the national certification exam. She has trained hundreds of human resource professionals in all aspects of HR management and has also consulted with a significant number of organizations to evaluate hiring practices and various other HR functions
Jack Shanks has more than 30 years of broad-based management experience in private business, government and education. He is an experienced project manager, negotiator and coalition builder who has created and taught seminars throughout the United States for more than 20 years. Shanks is the author of Yes, Data Processing Projects Can Be Successful and nationally published articles on project management and user interface.
Bob Skillman is an engineer with 35 years of experience. He is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt and a Lean Master Sensei who has been training and certifying Black Belts in Six Sigma and Lean methods since 1997. Prior to starting his career as a trainer, coach and consultant, Skillman worked in positions ranging from engineering to executive corporate management.
Stephen Skillman is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, currently serving as an associate facilitator for Kent State University, training Lean Six Sigma Black Belts. Skillman received his bachelor's degree in business administration from Lake Erie College. He has worked in the automotive, government ballistics and electrical insulation industries. Skillman has held production scheduler, purchasing manager, shipping manager and quality and continuous improvement positions with Nescor Plastics and Iten Industries.
Helen Stevens-Sheats is a recently retired CEO who has more than 25 years of leadership and management experience in the behavioral healthcare field. She has provided training for staff through consulting work and as an integral role her management positions. She has a bachelor’s degree in education form Kent State University and holds a master’s degree in management of rehabilitation services from DePaul University.
Scott Tackett is a human resource and management training specialist. With 32 years of experience in both operations and human resource management, he was employed in a human resource capacity for the past 20 years at Denman Tire Corporation where he last served as vice president of human resources and administration. His responsibilities included employee/labor relations, recruitment, hiring and retention, all human resource related policies and procedures for both union and non-union environments, safety and health programs and numerous leadership development programs for supervisors through mid- to upper-level management. Tackett also served in an hourly and supervisory capacity in production operations. For Kent State University, Tackett facilitates public and contract training programs for organizations in both the private and public sector, with a focus on “real world” application. In addition, he is an adjunct professor, teaching management and business courses at Kent State Trumbull. He earned his bachelor’s degree in human resource management and his master’s degree in organizational leadership from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA.