Board photo courtesy of Fred Ortoli

Fred OrtoliValley United Way re-elected Fred Ortoli, owner of Fred Ortoli Photography as chair of the Board of Directors at the 45th annual meeting and awards dinner on April 23, 2013.  Fred is a long time Board member and past Campaign Chairman as well.

He began his photography career at Chesebrough Ponds where he was an in-house photographer for eighteen years, leaving in 1990. He had started Fred Ortoli Photography in 1969 and expanded that into his full time occupation.

When not behind the camera, Fred is very busy contributing his time and talents as a member of the Board of Directors of the Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Birmingham Foundation and the Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross. He is a member and former president of the Ansonia Rotary Club, and a member of the Derby Historical Society and Valley United Way's Corporate Volunteer Council.

He is an active member of the Knights of Columbus of Seymour and St. Augustine Church, and a former member of the Oxford Economic Development Corporation. Fred was a 2003 recipient of the Valley Chamber of Commerce Gold Seal Award, presented for outstanding service through dedicated and effective leadership. He was also the 2009 recipient of Valley United Way's highest award, the Charles H. Flynn Humanitarian Award.

Prior to Fred's's election, the members in attendance elected the Corporators for 2012-2013. Click here for the full list. New members of the Board elected at the meeting were:

Patrick Charmel – Griffin Hospital
Dan Fitzgerald – Basement Systems
Kristen Urso-Rio – GE
Thomas Steeves – inStall Media Group
 John McFarland – Hubbell Incorporated

Board Members elected to a second term were:

Jean Axtell - Energizer
Adrienne Cabral
Gregory DeStefano - Kownowitz, Kahn & Company
Johanne Henderson - BIC
Eileen Lopez-Cordone – United Illuminating

In addtion to Ortoli, the other officers for the upcoming year in addition to Ortoli:

Vice Chair - Ron Villani
Treasurer - Greg DeStefano - Konowitz, Kahn & Company
Secretary - Jimmy Tickey

Click here for a listing of all those who have served as volunteer heads of Valley United Way

Click here for a listing of all those who have chaired Valley United Way Community Campaigns

Valley United Way is governed by an independent Board of Directors. The board is responsible for making all policies and decisions for Valley United Way. Board members are chosen from a cross section of community members who are Members of the Corporation (Corporators).

Valley United Way's Board of Directors is composed of up to 32 members including the immediate Past Chairman as an ex-officio member. Board Members are elected to serve a maximum of two, four year terms. The election of board members and officers took place at the annual meeting held on April 23, 2013.

Board members meet monthly, serving without compensation, to set policy and review the performance of the organization. The current board consists of the following members: 

Board of Directors 
Member Biography

Jean Axtell
Sales Planning Manager
Energizer Personal Care

Jean has been employed by Energizer Personal Care for 12 years.  Currently she is the Sales Planning Manager for Playtex Infant Products.  Jean has her B.S. in Business Administration from the University of New Haven.  She has been involved in many community activities, and currently serves as the Chairperson for the United Way Campaign at Energizer’s Shelton facility.  Jean has served on several Boards at St. Gabriel School in Milford and is active in many of their fundraising events.

Jennifer Bull
Dworken Hillman LaMorte & Sterczala, P.C.

Jennifer Bull is responsible for the planning, supervision, and evaluation of engagements in various industries.  She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants. 


Patrick Charmel
Griffin Health Services Corporation
President and Chief Executive Officer

Patrick A. Charmel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Griffin Hospital and its parent organization, Griffin Health Services Corporation, has been associated with Griffin since 1979, when he served as a student intern while attending Quinnipiac University. After serving in a number of administrative positions, he became President in 1998. As President of Griffin Health Services Corporation, he is also the Chief Executive Officer of Planetree Inc., a subsidiary corporation

John DeGray

Point Energy Solutions

John DeGray is the former president of The Kerite Company and spent 21 years with the company.  He received his Bachelors of Science from Bryant University before completing a Masters at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


Gregory P.  DeStefano
Marcum LLP

Gregory P. DeStefano, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), is a principal of the firm who serves as the firm's chief financial officer and oversees its technology planning function.
Greg earned his Bachelor's degree in accounting from Southern Connecticut State University. He has been practicing accounting for more than 20 years and serves clients in many industries.
Active in several community outreach initiatives, Greg is a member of the Shelton-Derby Lions Club, treasurer for the Connecticut Lions Eye Research Foundation (CLERF), and a finance committee member for the Valley United Way in Shelton, Connecticut.

Dan Fitzgerald

Basement Systems, Inc.
Director of Marketing

Dan is Director of Marketing for Basement Systems Inc. He established the company’s corporate identity, and art directed all of the collateral materials, advertisements and sales promotion materials used by over 300 companies in six countries. Dan has trained more than 1000 home improvement professionals on how to become leaders in their industry. Dan is active in the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce, is on the Valley Community Board of Junior Achievement of Western CT, the Advisory Board of The Parent Child Resource Center, and chairs the Membership Committee of the Corporate Volunteer Council, of the Valley United Way.

Michael M. Gnibus

GE Global Patent Operation

Mike has been with GE since 2002 and has been the Director of the company’s Global Patent Operation since 2007. Mike earned a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology and earned his JD from the Widener University School of Law.

Johanne Henderson

BIC Corporation
Manager, Training & Organizational Development

Johanne Henderson has been employed with BIC Corporation for 15 years.  In her role as Manager for Training and Organizational Development, she has broad responsibilities in organizational effectiveness including training design and delivery. Her professional affiliations include the Human Capital Institute, American Society of Training & Development, and Society for Human Resource Management.  Johanne has chaired and/or participated in the United Way Fund Raising Campaigns at BIC for the last 9 years.

Eileen Lopez-Cordone
United Illuminating
Community Development Specialist

Eileen was elected to the Board at the Annual Meeting held on April 28, 2009.

Joseph LoPresti
Barnum Financial
Agency Director

Joseph LoPresti is the Senior Agency Sales Director at Barnum Financial Group and leads a team of over 100 representatives.  In 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, Joe has been recognized as the number one Sales Director in the country.


John McFarland
Marketing Director, Hubbell Wiring Systems Division

John McFarland has worked for Hubbell for 18 years holding several different positions during that time. He received his undergraduate degree in Business Management from The Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY and earned his MBA with a finance concentration from the University of Connecticut.

John has been participating in Triathlon’s for 26 years and is also an avid trail runner and has completed several Ultra Marathon’s. John is the Vice President of the Board for the Hat City Cycling club and is an active member of the Bethel Cycle Sport club.

Carol Merlone
Ansonia Public Schools
Superintendent of Schools

Carol Merlone is a life-long Ansonia resident and is Ansonia’s Superintendent of Schools. A graduate of Ansonia High School, Class of 1976, she obtained several education degrees from SCSU. A teacher for 14 years, administrator for nine, she has led Ansonia Public Schools since August 2007. Mrs. Merlone is a member of the Ansonia Rotary Club, the Ansonia Lions Club, and several national and state education organizations. She and her husband, Gary, are the parents of two grown children, Tara Merlone Huzi and Ryan Merlone.

Ned Miller
Ned Miller
President - Ned Miller Agency - A Divsion of Starkweather & Shepley

Ned Miller is President of Ned Miller Associates - A Divsion of Starkweather & Shepley in Ansonia. Ned had a previous stint on the Board of Directors and was Board Chair in 1998. He also chaired the Annual Community Campaigns in 1995 and 1996. Ned is very active in the community and is currently President of the Housatonic Council Boy Scouts of America as well as President of the Ansonia Rotary Club. He resides in Shelton with his wife Marianne and has two grown children.

Fred Ortoli
Fred Ortoli Photography

Fred Ortoli is the Valley's "Community Photographer" who shares his time and talents with a variety of Valley nonprofit organizations. He recently received the Charles H. Flynn Humanitarian Award. He has long been active with Valley United Way and will be serving as the Chair of the Annual Community Fund Raising Campaign for 2009-2010.

Bill Purcell
Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce

William Purcell is the President of the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce.  He has also been involved in many community services and programs, including Special Olympics of Connecticut, Junior Achievement, Boys and Girls Club, and The Workplace Inc.


Rich Rosen
The RH Rosen Group

Rich returns to the board after having served two previous terms  and continues to chair the Marketing Committee. Rich is CEO of The RH Rosen Group which works with businesses to reduce cost, improve customer communications and Go Green, by replacing paper based communications and invoices with electronic delivery and payment solutions.

Janice Sheehy

Webster Bank
Senior Vice President of Business & Professional Banking

Janice Sheehy is Senior Vice President, Business and Professional Banking at Webster Bank.  She is currently a member of the Board with the Birmingham Group Health Services, The Birmingham Foundation, The Hewitt Foundation, Ansonia Economic Dev. Corp, and Shelton Economic Dev. Corp.


Thomas Steeves

Crossroads Consulting
Director of Sales and Marketing

Tom has been a community volunteer leader and was named Valley United Way Volunteer of the Year in 2012.

Tom is also actively involved with many other Valley groups. He has been a member of the Corporate Volunteer Council was the Chairman of the Young Emerging Professionals committee at the Greater Valley Chamber from 2011 to 2102. He has participated in the Griffin Golf Classic planning committee for the last two years and has been instrumental in helping with fundraising efforts for many initiatives in the valley.

Tom is a well known staple in our community and believes that the Valley is a very special place. He strives to make our community a better place to live, work and play.

Tom Sutnik
Attorney at law

Thomas Sutnik is a Shelton attorney who practices in trusts, estates and probate.  He is currently a director of the Boys and Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley and Pomperaug Woods, a non-profit retirement community in Southbury.  He is a past president of the Valley United Way and the Boys and Girls Club.  Tom is a recipient of the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce Gold Seal Award.

Dominick Thomas
Cohen & Thomas

Dominick Thomas is an attorney and owner of Cohen and Thomas Law Firm.  He has served the Boys and Girls Club of Lower Naugatuck Valley for over 28 years and the Birmingham Group Health Services for over 25 years.  Dominick has also been affiliated with numerous volunteer activities throughout the Valley.


James Tickey

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro
Campaign Manager

Jimmy Tickey, born and raised in Shelton, serves as Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro's Campaign Manager.

He also operates his own marketing and consulting business - JWN - advising small businesses, entrepreneurs, professional groups, and campaigns.

Jimmy is involved with several community-based and charitable organizations such as the Valley United Way, Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley, Connecticut's Future Business Leaders of America, True Colors, Shelton Educational Endowment Fund, Junior Achievement and Chamber of Commerce's Young Emerging Professionals.

In November 2011, Jimmy was elected by the voters of Shelton to the Board of Apportionment and Taxation, where he serves as Vice Chair.

Kristen Urso-Rio
GE Global Growth & Operations
Senior Accounting Leader

Kristen has been employed at General Electric since 2007. Prior to GE, Kristen was employed at Honeywell and Ethan Allen International. Kristen earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Eastern Connecticut State University.
Kristen is an active member of the VUW Corporate Volunteer Council, a co-chair of the GE Shelton Corporate Volunteer Council and the co-chair for the United Way Fund Raising Campaigns for the Shelton GE location. She has also been involved with numerous volunteer activities through the GE Womens Network and the GE volunteer days.

Ron Villani
University of New Haven
Executive in Residence and Adjunct Professor of Management

Ron is currently Executive in Residence and Adjunct Professor of Management at the University of New Haven.  He has served Valley United Way as a Board member, Vice Chair, and Chairman for more than a decade and is currently serving his fourth term on the Board.


Phil White
Better Packages

Phil White has been the President and CEO for Better Packages, Inc. since 2003.  He was previously the General Manager of Better Packages and Vice President of Ascom Hasler Mailing Company where he was also the Director of Financial Services from 1991 to 1997.


Photos by Fred Ortoli

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