A volunteer board of directors, who represent a wide range of business and community interests, leads the PCC Foundation. Many serve on individual Foundation Committees.
Marion Levitan, President
Marion Levitan, happily retired for the last fifteen years, served for ten years as the Vice President of Strategic Management Reporting for US Bank. Prior to that, she worked in strategic planning, business development, financial planning, and financial analysis at the bank and at NERCO.
Marion has been married to her spouse, Howard Werth, for twenty-two years. The two met while serving on the Edgefield Children's Center board. Following that, she served on the board of Oregon Repertory Singers for ten years. In addition to having worked with these great groups, she is also a member of P.E.O., a philanthropic educational organization that educates, motivates, and celebrates women throughout the world.
A long-time advocate for education, Marion was inspired by her mother who taught for over 30 years and was a first generation college graduate. She believes that a well-educated student provides employers with workers they require to succeed. These former students continue on to well-paying jobs that encourage them to lead productive lives in Portland and surrounding communities.
Additionally, Howard's family has a strong commitment to education. A few years ago his family donated land to PCC to build the Newberg center. This gift helped Marion understand PCC’s strong relationships with the community and businesses and inspired her to join the PCC Foundation Board.
Marion’s hope for the Foundation is that it continues to grow by working together with the college, individual donors, and businesses in supporting and developing opportunities that meet the needs of students, businesses and communities.
Susie Lahsene, Vice President
Susie Lahsene is the Senior Manager for Transportation and Land Use Policy at the Port of Portland. She holds a Master’s of Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Tech and a MBA from University of Portland. She is the Chair of the state of Oregon’s Freight Advisory Committee and Vice President of the Working Waterfront Board of Directors.
A resident of Oregon since 1979, she is married with two sons; one in the Bay area working for Adidas and the other is a 2015 graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering from PSU. Susie has a love of food which is great as her husband is in the restaurant business.
Susie was inspired to serve on the PCC Foundation Board for two reasons. Her son was the beneficiary of a PCC education – which provided support for his interest and degree in mechanical engineering. Additionally, she believes there is a lot of opportunity to connect people with jobs in the waterfront businesses. She believes the Foundation ensures resources are available for students to learn a trade and other valuable skills that can result in employment in well-paying harbor jobs and related businesses.
She gives back to PCC because it provides a very important role in our education system and sees PCC as an easy transition from high school to a more rigorous education that is affordable and accessible which provides students the opportunity to test a direction and receive the foundation for a career or additional university work. She hopes PCC gives students the knowledge, educational foundation and confidence to pursue their dreams – whatever they may be.
Thane Cleland, Secretary/Treasurer
Thane Cleland is the Co-Founder and CEO of CWC Advisors, a boutique investment management firm.
He has been married for 27 years to Renee Cleland. Their daughter Aubrey, 21, was a finalist on season 12 of American Idol and is pursuing a career in performance in Los Angeles. Son Ty, 19, two time state basketball champion at West Linn High School just finished his freshman season at Santa Barbara City College.
Thane was inspired to join the PCC Foundation by a fellow PCC foundation board as well as by a desire to make a difference for people in the Portland community.
Thane appreciates his involvement with the Board. In particular, being able to meet scholarship recipients provides the direct evidence that the work we do at the foundation makes an immediate, verifiable difference in the lives of people who need it.
His favorite project at the PCC Foundation is the annual Golf Tournament because it has provided more unrestricted resources for the foundation than any other event, which has led to more scholarship dollars for PCC students.
Thane hopes that this generation of PCC students can use their experience at PCC improve their lives and the lives of those they care about.
Abel Ahumada Alaniz
Dr. Abel Ahumada Alaniz, a PCC Diamond Alumnus, overcame extraordinary challenges to make a successful life in Portland. Ahumada Alaniz arrived to the United States in 1985 at the age of 15 as a beet and berry picker to make money to send home to his family in Mexico. He soon began working on a bigger dream – to be a dentist. First, he needed to become a U.S. citizen, learn how to speak and write in English and earn his high school degree.
He did just that – and then some. After obtaining his GED, he enrolled at PCC and was awarded his associate’s degree, followed by his bachelor’s degree at PSU and his Doctorate of Medicine in Dentistry from the Oregon Health & Science University.
The following year he opened a private dental practice in Southeast Portland that serves mostly the local Hispanic community. Today, with a thriving practice, he often invites aspiring dentists to job shadow him and speaks regularly at local colleges about his story and the importance of education.
Ahumada Alaniz says he would never have been able to accomplish so much without the support of people who believed in him, including PCC and his wife Robyn. He and his family live in the Garden Home/Tigard area.
Janice Burger currently serves as the Chief Executive for Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Oregon where she provides operational and strategic leadership to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, Seaside and Newberg Hospitals and respective service areas. Janice also serves on the Mt Angel Abbey Board, Portland Community College Board, Vision Action Network, and the Washington County Homeless Plan Advisory Committee. Janice earned both her undergraduate degree in Economics and her master’s degree in Health Administration from the University of Washington.
Janice is married to Peter Burger who is an attorney for the Bonneville Power Administration, and she has two sons, Christian and Michael.
Janice joined the PCC Foundation Board because she possesses a love of learning and a passion to help make education accessible to all. She is inspired to give back to PCC because of the energy of the students and their desire to make the world a better place. Along those lines, her favorite project since joining the Foundation Board has been with Scholarship Committee Work.
She hopes the current generation of PCC students will use their education to serve for the benefit of others.
Senator Margaret Carter
The Honorable Senator Margaret Louise Carter was the first African American woman elected to the Oregon State Legislature. A PCC alum, Carter says the opportunity and education she experienced at PCC enabled her to pursue her dreams. Margaret now has a PCC scholarship under her name, which she calls a "hand up" to people in need.
Carter was educated in Louisiana’s public school system and was the high school salutatorian before accepting a music scholarship at Grambling State College. She dropped out after two years to marry and start a family. She went back to college in Portland and graduated in 1972 with a degree in education from Portland State University (PSU). The following year she received a M.Ed. in Educational Psychology from Oregon State University. After graduation Carter accepted a position as counselor at Portland Community College and began a period of civic involvements to improve the quality of life for residents in her northeast Portland community.
State Senator Carter resigned from the legislature on August 31, 2009, to accept Governor Ted Kulongoski’s appointment as Deputy Director of the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS). She held the post until February 1, 2012 when the agency’s restructuring moved Carter to the newly created position of director of community engagement. In October 2011, her former employer, Portland Community College, named its new technology building after Senator Carter and in April 2012 she was elected to the Oregon Historical Society's Board of Directors. Carter joined the PCC Foundation Board of Directors in 2016.
Mark M. Enger
Mark Enger decided to join the Foundation Board after reflecting on how his life and career have benefited from the opportunity to earn a college degree, and he wants to see others in the community benefit as he did from an education. The everyday life stories of the students provide him with the inspiration to continue giving back to the PCC community.
Mark’s favorite project since joining the Board has been his involvement with student scholarships, and he enjoys learning about student success during and after their time at PCC. His hope for this generation of PCC students is that they achieve the personal and professional success as a result of their experiences and degree from PCC.
Mark is the current Vice President of Network Operations at OHSU. He and his wife Mary are proud parents to three daughters and enjoy spending time with their five grandchildren.
Michael J. Gentry
Michael Gentry was inspired to serve on the PCC Foundation Board after he was invited and urged by a close friend, and he quickly grew passionate about the work of the Foundation. He chooses to give back in this way because he believes in the role of community colleges and the training they provide for a vast array of professions.
One of Mike’s favorite projects each year is reading PCC Foundation scholarship applications. He finds the process to be extremely rewarding and inspiring. Mike hopes that this generation of students finds that they are able to dream big and advance as far their aspirations take them.
As a retired attorney experienced in business and corporate governance issues, among other key areas, he brings much to the table. An active community member, Mike has served on various boards including Friends of Timberline, Portland Opera Guild, Tualatin Valley Trout Unlimited, Contemporary Crafts Guild and the State Professional Responsibility Board of the Oregon State Bar.
Karen Kervin is Community Relations Manager, Northwest Region for U.S. Bank, where she manages U.S. Bank Foundation grants in the region. Prior to joining U.S. Bank in 2013, Karen was Chief Marketing Officer for the Portland law firm Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt.
In addition to serving on the PCC Foundation board, Karen is immediate past president of City Club of Portland and serves on the board of United Way of the Columbia Willamette.
Karen is passionate about the work of PCC which makes college and career training accessible to thousands of people each year. She is very impressed with the programs and people at PCC. She knows that the time and resources she invests are well spent, which is what she looks for when deciding where and how she contributes.
Her hope and advice for PCC students: "If you want to further your education, whether for college credit or career training, there is no better place to pursue your goals than PCC. Take advantage of all that PCC has to offer as it is an investment in your future."
Karen and her husband Tom have two grown children, Katie and Patrick.
Carol Lyons is a longtime supporter of Portland Community College and is herself a lifelong learner, having been a student at PCC in both credit and non-credit classes for more than 25 years. She has seen firsthand the relevance of a PCC education, as her family’s company, Hillsboro Aviation, has hired numerous PCC graduates ranging from fixed-wing aircraft pilots to aviation mechanics to accounting staff. In addition, Carol’s family has philanthropically supported a range of programs at PCC that includes Aviation Science, Aviation Maintenance, Future Connect and New Directions.
Carol hopes current PCC students graduate with the proper support and skills to pursue their dreams and passions in whatever fields they choose, and that they also cultivate a desire to help those coming up after them.
Carol Lyons is currently Managing Partner at Lyons Aircraft Leasing and Lyons Properties. Previous employers include Monarch Life Insurance, the Port of Portland where she was an Environmental Planner, and the Portland International Airport where she was the Operations Coordinator. Carol holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Geography from University of California, Santa Barbara.
Some of Carol’s other interests include kayaking, sailing and hiking with her two children. Her family is passionate about international travel and serving the community.
Mark Mitsui, Ex-Officio
Mark Mitsui began his tenure as president of Portland Community College on September 1, 2016.
Previously, President Mitsui served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges within the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education for the U.S. Department of Education. In Washington he worked to advance President Obama’s community college agenda through partnerships with numerous federal agencies and national stakeholders. In this capacity he co-led the My Brother’s Keeper Postsecondary Completion interagency team working to improve college access and completion for the nation’s young men of color.
Before serving in the Obama administration, he was president of North Seattle College in Washington state from 2010 to 2013. While at North Seattle, President Mitsui was founding chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Association of Colleges and Universities, a member of the National Asian/Pacific Islander Council of the American Association of Community Colleges, and in 2013 was honored with the Rhonda Quash Coates Award for contributions to the Multicultural Student Services Directors Council of Washington state.
From 2006 to 2010 he served as Vice President of student Services at South Seattle College, and before that worked as a senior administrator and teacher at educational institutions across the Pacific Northwest, where he has deep roots.
President Mitsui holds a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from Western Washington University, and completed a master’s degree and doctoral studies in Education at the University of Washington.
Brian is vice president and publisher at the Pamplin Media Group – Oregon’s largest source of local news.
Besides serving as publisher of five newspapers (Lake Oswego Review, West Linn Tidings, Wilsonville Spokesman, SW Community Connection and The Bee), he also helps direct the overall advertising, marketing and production operations for the Pamplin Media Group. He has worked for the media company for almost 30 years.
Brian was named publisher of the Forest Grove News-Times in 1991. It was in Forest Grove that he started to understand the importance of Portland Community College and how it impacts the lives of so many people. It was another newspaper man, former News-Times publisher Hugh McGilvra, who helped pass legislation as a state representative for the creation of Portland Community College’s Rock Creek campus.
Brian feels that a strong local college, just like a strong local newspaper, functions to help create strong communities. He sees Portland Community College as a vital partner in the success of the greater Portland area business community. "The impact that a college education can make on a person, and the ripple effect on the business community as a whole is immeasurable. PCC's ability to provide a starting point for a quality education at a reasonable price helps put students onto a path to improve both themselves and their community as a whole."
Brian grew up in the Beaverton area. He is a graduate of Jesuit High School and Oregon State University. Brian and his wife, Traci, have five children: Chelsi, Ian, Mitch, Kennedy and Jori. All have graduated or are attending college, with two having taken part of their undergraduate prerequisites from a community college. Brian has worked for the Pamplin Media Group for almost 30 years.
Vanessa Nelson joined the PCC Foundation Board as a way to "pay it forward." She is grateful for the sacrifices her family made to ensure both she and her sister went to college, as well as the scholarships awarded throughout her academic career. With a keen awareness of students’ needs, she is inspired to give back to her community. She knows the scholarships the Foundation provides help students accomplish their goals, dreams and so much more.
Vanessa is married, and she and her husband, Jacob, have two kids, Andrew (3) and AnaLucia (4). Vanessa quips that her kids are her "Continuing Ed", as they teach her something new every day!
Vanessa’s favorite Foundation Board project has been the work groups and her participation in the "Student Success" group where she has been able to engage with student leaders to learn the issues and concerns of PCC students. Vanessa has found this to be an enlightening experience, and one that moves her to continue to serve and give.
She hopes that this current generation of students goes on to serve the community in ways that benefit everyone, having seen and heard the inspirational testimonies of students that do.
Vanessa Nelson is currently Director of Account Consultants for Electric Lightwave (an Integra company), where she has worked for 17 years.
Deanna Palm, Ex-Officio
Deanna first came to know PCC as a student in the 1980s. The lifetime Washington County resident has been president of the Greater Hillsboro Area Chamber of Commerce since 2001. Palm leads the Chamber in establishing relationships with businesses, the community and local governments as well as implementing all of the chamber board’s polices. Deanna also guides administration of the budget and participates and promotes the Chamber. "As a PCC alum, I know first hand what a positive impact an education at PCC can have on your career, and in my position at the Hillsboro Chamber, I have seen how responsive and adaptable PCC can be to rapidly changing workforce development requirements," Palm said.
Dale Pellow has over 30 years of experience in the commercial construction industry. He currently serves as a Director for Lease Crutcher Lewis and is the former CEO of Howard S. Wright's west coast operations.
In 2003 he spearheaded Howard S. Wright’s first construction project with PCC at Rock Creek. It did not take long for him to build relationships with people at PCC and understand the reason for their mission. Eventually he became a member of the “President’s Posse” and learned first-hand the value of connecting high school students with the college through Future Connect. Programs like this are what have inspired him to get more involved and serve on the board. “For me it’s simple; such a small amount of money has such a huge impact on people’s lives. I have the opportunity firsthand to see the impact of funding and awarding scholarships to those in need.”
A graduate of the University of Oregon Business School, he has been married for 30 years to Kerri Pellow, and have two boys that they raised in Lake Oswego. Brock who is 23 years old and a recent graduate of the University of Oregon. He played baseball at Western Nevada College for 2 years prior to transferring to Oregon. Colby who is 20 years old and in his second year at Santa Barbara Community College. His wife, Kerri, recently launched a small business that is keeping her busy. Their family enjoys the outdoors and they spend a considerable amount of time at their small working ranch in Eastern Oregon. Some of Dale’s past volunteer service includes Gales Creek Camp board member, Lake Oswego Little League board member, founding member of the PCC Golf Tournament, and member of PCC “President’s Posse”. He currently also serves as a member of the University of Oregon Portland Council.
Gene Pitts, Ex-Officio
Gene Pitts currently serves as Chair of the PCC College Board of Directors. He has been with Intel Corp. since 1988, and is a senior leader as Technical Marketing Director in Hillsboro. Prior to that, Pitts worked at Westinghouse Electric in Asheville, N.C., and Milliken and Co. in Spartanburg, S.C. Pitts graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He has more than 30 years of experience in the high-tech sector working with some of Intel's largest server and workstation customers across the globe. "I value our education system and the value that it brings to the community, and I want to see technology help bolster the value proposition that PCC brings to the education pipeline," Pitts said.
Ami Margolin Rome
Ami Margolin Rome was born and raised Portland, Oregon. After graduating Emory University Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Psychology, Ami followed in her father’s footsteps by joining the Peace Corps. Her love of education and books helped sustain her for her two year assignment in the Dominican Republic where she taught teachers how to use computers and built the first library in her district. Ami returned to the US and moved to Washington, DC where she received her Master’s in International Affairs from The American University School of International Service. After graduating, Ami earned a coveted Presidential Management Fellowship and began work at the US Department of Education. In the fall of 2007, Ami moved back to her hometown of Portland, Oregon. Ami has held many positions in the education field including a Policy Analyst with Education First Consulting and acted as the first Executive Director of the North Clackamas Education Foundation. She currently works in the Development Office of Oregon Episcopal School. Her first novel, Vanishing Acts, a middle grade mystery co-written with her father, NY Times bestselling author, Phillip Margolin, was published in October 2011. Vanishing Acts, was awarded the Oregon Council of Teachers of English Honor Book Award for Middle Grades for 2011. Ami’s mother, Doreen Margolin served on the first PCC Foundation Board and served on the PCC Board of Directors from 1999 – 2007. In her free time, Ami likes to plan trips around the world with her fabulous husband Andy, and spend time with friends.
Senator Chip Shields
Senator Chip Shields’ passion stems from a deep interest in empowering people to overcome poverty and achieve their goals. He’s seeing this take place in the lives of PCC students, and as a PCC Foundation Board member, intends to do everything he can to encourage this in the future. One of the ways he has shown his commitment to PCC students is by establishing a scholarship endowment that honors his mother and aunt. The award supports a current or former foster youth and/or graduates from Jefferson High School Middle College or the Harriet Tubman Leadership Academy for Young Women.
For more than 16 years Senator Chip Shields has fought for the people of North and Northeast Portland. From leadership roles in funding our schools and protecting families from foreclosure, to finding living-wage jobs for hundreds of people through Better People, the Northeast Portland nonprofit job center he started, Senator Shields delivers results.
Senator Shields earned a Masters of Social Work from Portland State University. After successfully running Better People, he was elected to the Oregon House in 2005. For the past 8 years Senator Shields has focused his legislative career on creating living-wage jobs, equitable schools, and affordable health care. In the 2009 legislative session, he protected services for domestic violence survivors, funding for drug and alcohol treatment, and negotiated and passed a bill that invests $1.5 million in pre-apprenticeship training for women and people of color. In the 2013 legislative session, he secured $5 million for Oregon's poorest schools, expanded the state's Foreclosure Mediation Program, and passed what's been hailed as the largest insurance reform in recent history, clearing the way for clean-up of the Willamette River.
Because of his work in the legislature and the community, Senator Shields has been recognized with the AFL-CIO Hero of Labor award, the Skanner newspaper Drum Major for Justice award, the Citizen's Crime Commission crime-fighter of the year award, the CAUSA leadership award, the Humane Society "Top Dog" award, and multiple awards from Basic Rights Oregon and Oregon League of Conservation Voters.
Senator Shields lives in the Piedmont neighborhood and is a proud parent of a young daughter. He has also been a proud foster parent of several foster children attending Woodlawn Elementary and Sitton Elementary. When not in legislative session, Senator Shields is a sales representative for an outfit that supplies fuel efficiency products for heavy equipment. Senator Shields joined the Foundation Board of Directors in 2016.
Richard V. Stenson
Dick Stenson received an A.A. degree from a community college in California and this inspired him to give back to PCC by serving on the Foundation Board. Dick enjoys serving on the Board in part because of the low cost of tuition at PCC. For him, this is important because it means that every donation can go a lot further and help more students realize their college dream.
His favorite Foundation project is Future Connect, and he appreciates that the program gives the PCC Foundation and Metro cities a place to provide both scholarships and additional mentoring to low-income, first-generation college students.
A healthcare executive for a total of 42 years, he retired after 22 years as President and CEO of Tuality Healthcare. Dick holds a B.S., M.H.A. and M.B.A. degrees as well as Fellowship status in both the American College of Healthcare Executives and the American College of Medical Group Administrators.
Dick and his wife Doreen enjoy spending time with their two daughters and three grandchildren. He currently serves on several other local boards such as the Hillsboro Community Foundation, Intel Community Advisory Panel, Tuality Healthcare Foundation, Pacific University Acorn Foundation, Southwest Community Health Center, and Vision Action Network of Washington County.
He hopes that PCC students will find much or all of what they need from higher education in one of PCC’s numerous programs.
Jeff Van Raden
A PCC alum and long-time member of the Foundation Board, Jeff Van Raden has a deep-rooted sense of "PCC Panther Pride." Not only did his PCC education benefit him personally, but he believes hiring PCC graduates also helped his company prosper.
Van Raden says he found his path and place at PCC, and tells the story of one specific PCC instructor that changed his life. "He taught me not only about skills but also character," said Van Raden. "I learned that it’s not raw intelligence that matters most, but perseverance and commitment."
Van Raden was honored with the PCC Diamond Alumni Award in recognition of his professional achievements and his commitment of time, talent and resources to the College.
He is also one of the PCC Welding Program's biggest proponents. He hires PCC grads, sits on the department's advisory board and donates equipment, money and his own time. On behalf of Columbia Industries, he has gone to bat for the program before the Oregon Legislature for budget for community colleges. "The PCC Welding Program has helped us," he said. "This is a very critical institution for us."
While studying at Portland Community College in 1976, Jeff met his wife Kathy. Their mutual love of horses, sailing, Labradors and especially children led to their elopement on St. Valentine’s Day in 1982. They have two daughters, Michelle and Jamie, and six grandchildren.
Rob Wagner, Ex-Officio
Rob Wagner currently serves as Associate Vice President for College Advancement at Portland Community College.
Rob’s mom, Stephanie, was the Executive Director for the Friends of Tryon Creek State Park – she still teaches with the Center for Science Education at Portland State University. His dad, Rick, is a retired radiation oncologist with Providence/St. Vincent’s. Both of Rob’s sisters teach in Portland Public Schools, and his brother, a former Peace Corp volunteer, is a Park Ranger with Tualatin Valley Parks and Rec.
Rob has had a rich history with volunteer activity. Some highlights include: Appointed by Gov. Kulongoski to Board of Oregon Volunteers! – The Oregon Commission for Voluntary Action and Service; City Club of Portland, Civic Education and Advocacy Advisory Committee; Current Lake Oswego School Foundation Board member.
Rob finds the inspiration to give back to PCC comes easily. He says, "I’m absolutely 100% committed to the mission of PCC and the importance our Foundation plays in the lives of our amazing students. PCC students are central to the life of our civic and economic community. It only takes one student story to have you understand the incredible value of contributions to the Foundation."
Rob finds it much more difficult to choose a favorite Foundation project he’s worked on, but highlights the excitement of the PCC Foundation Gala: "The PCC Gala is a blast – and I like how it pulls the entire college community together around a fun theme that highlights our incredible students."