Board of Directors
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.
Karen Kervin, President
Karen Kervin is the VicePresident/Community Affairs Manager for U.S. Bank’s Northwest Region, where she manages U.S. Bank Foundation grants in the region. Prior to joining U.S. Bank in 2013, Kervin was Chief Marketing Officer for the Portland law firm Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt.
In addition to serving on the PCC Foundation Board, she is immediate past president of City Club of Portland and serves on the board of United Way of the Columbia-Willamette.
Kervin 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 college’s programs and people. 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.”
Kervin and her husband Tom have two grown children, Katie and Patrick.
Jennifer Monnig, Vice President
Jennifer Monnig is a 16-year veteran of Intel, where she works in the Talent Organization division, driving experience and systems integration and defining customer, partner and employee experiences and associated tools to optimize consistency. Prior to her current role, she led the Work Practice Innovations team, focused on creating transformative change in the ways Intel works around the world. Previous positions include Deputy Chief of Staff for the senior vice president and chief Human Resources officer and as the lead of Intel’s Talent Intelligence & Analytics division. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Political Science from Albion College, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Notre Dame. For the past 14 years, Monnig has been the head sprint coach at Century High School.
Thane Cleland, 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 the television show “American Idol” and is pursuing a career in performance in Los Angeles. His son Ty, 19, is a two-time state basketball champion at West Linn High School and is a student at Santa Barbara City College.
Cleland was inspired to join the PCC Foundation by a board member, who inspired his desire to make a difference for people in the Portland community. He values his involvement with the board. In particular, being able to meet scholarship recipients provides him with the direct evidence that the work the foundation does 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 and scholarship dollars to students than any other event.
Cleland hopes that this generation of PCC students can use their experience at the college to improve their lives and the lives of those they care about.
Janet Rash, Secretary
Janet’s an Oregon girl who grew up in Coquille, Oregon. She’s the mother of two sons and grandmother to one granddaughter and four grandsons, and she loves to spend time spoiling them. Other interests include spending time visiting ancient sites and stone circles, reading about far away places, listening to Celtic, Blues and Rock and Roll music, and cooking.
Janet returned to college after her children graduated; PCC is where she enrolled. The best years of school were spent at PCC and her fondness for the college has never diminished. What inspires her to make charitable contributions to PCC is her faith in PCC and in the future generation. Janet believes that we have to help make their success possible as others helped us.
The scholarship committee is a favorite because a participant gets to learn about the students and their dreams and aspirations that a good education can facilitate; it keeps Janet inspired to help PCC become an even stronger college.
Janet hopes the current generation finds itself surrounded by a community of supporters who help them become critical thinkers, civically engaged citizens, and emphatic human beings.
David Chen most recently was counsel in mergers and acquisitions at the law firm Jones Day, where his practice emphasized companies in the software, semiconductor, life sciences, and other advanced technology sectors. His transactions frequently were cross-border and presented complex regulatory issues. David also co-founded a bioinformatics startup, was assistant general counsel at an investment bank, practiced in corporate finance and M&A at other international law firms, and served as a trial attorney in the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He was a founding member of the San Francisco Community Woodshop and a board member, secretary and interim treasurer of the Homeless Prenatal Program, a social services agency in San Francisco. David got his law degree from Stanford University and an undergraduate degree in public policy from Duke. He enjoys cooking and woodworking, and has completed 14 marathons.
David feels lucky in that he had excellent public primary and secondary schools, his parents were the beneficiaries of a low-cost education system, and his mother-in-law is a PCC graduate. David joined the PCC Foundation board because of the critical role that PCC plays in both complementing Portland’s secondary education system and providing the knowledge that is critical infrastructure for Oregon to succeed in a manner that is fair to all of its residents. He believes that capacity to pay should not limit access to quality education.
Tony Erickson serves as chief operating officer for Oregon Aero Inc., where he manages the company’s daily operations. For the past 24 years he has worked with the Scappoose-based manufacturing company, which designs advanced comfort and safety systems for the aviation industry, law enforcement and the military. Most recently, Erickson was the company’s vice president of Research & Development, and prior to this role he had served in a variety of management positions for the company’s Research & Development, Seat, and Helmet Systems departments. In addition to representing Columbia County on the Foundation board, he is the co-chair of PCC’s Future Connect program in the county and chair of the Workforce Investment Board for northwest Oregon.
John Gardner is the director of TriMet’s Diversity and Transit Equity department and brings more than 15 years of experience in the areas of equity, community engagement, education, employment and diversity to the organization. In his role Gardner is responsible for directing the agency’s equity work related to service, fares, community outreach, contracting, apprenticeship/workforce training, civil rights and Title VI analysis and compliance. Additionally, he partners with the agency’s Transit Equity Advisory Committee, as well as staff across TriMet to expand agency-wide diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Prior to TriMet, he was the director of Business Services for Worksystems Inc., the regional workforce development board for Washington and Multnomah Counties and the City of Portland. Gardner currently serves as a member of the State of Oregon Apprenticeship Council, which is dedicated to improving the representation of women and people of color in the construction trades. Over the years he has devoted time to such organizations as Boys & Girls Aid Society, Youth Employment Institute, Schools Uniting Neighborhoods Initiative, and the Urban League of Portland. Gardner earned his bachelor’s degree from Concordia University and holds certificates in diversity training and project management.
Michael J. Gentry
Michael Gentry was inspired to serve on the PCC Foundation Board after he was invited to join by a close friend. It didn’t take long for him to 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 it provides.
One of his favorite projects each year is reading PCC Foundation scholarship applications. He finds the process to be extremely rewarding and inspiring. Gentry hopes that this generation of students feel they are able to dream big and can advance as far their aspirations take them.
As a retired attorney experienced in business, corporate governance issues and other key areas, he brings much to the table. An active community member, he 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.
Susie Lahsene is a Principal with Lahsene and Associates, a freight, infrastructure policy and planning firm; she is retired as the Director of Policy and Planning for the Port of Portland, Oregon. There she managed land use policy, transportation strategy and fund acquisition for the Port’s transportation facilities, terminals and industrial land base for more than twenty years. Originally from the Washington DC area, she holds a B.A. in Urban Studies and a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning, both from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg Virginia. She also has an M.B.A. from the University of Portland in Portland OR. She served as the Foundation Board President from 2017-2019.
Lahsene reasons for PCC Foundation Board service are twofold. Her son was the beneficiary of a PCC education in mechanical engineering. She also believes there is a lot of opportunity to connect people with jobs and business on the waterfront. She hopes the PCC Foundation ensures resources are available for students to learn a trade or skills that can result in employment in well-paying harbor jobs and industry. She gives back to PCC because it provides a very important role in the educational system. PCC’s path provides students the opportunity to receive a solid foundation for a career or the chance to go on to a university. She hopes PCC gives students the knowledge, educational foundation and confidence to pursue their dreams – whatever they may be.
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.
Levitan has been married to her spouse, Howard Werth, for 22 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, Levitan was inspired by her mother who taught for over 30 years and was a first-generation college graduate. She believes that well-educated students provide employers with the skilled workers they need to succeed in business. These former students use their education to find well-paying jobs that encourage them to lead productive lives in Portland and surrounding communities.
Additionally, Werth’s family has a strong commitment to education as well. A few years ago his family donated land to PCC to build the Newberg Center. This gift helped Levitan understand the college’s strong relationships with the community and businesses, as well as inspired her to join the PCC Foundation Board.
Her hope for the PCC 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.
Carol Lyons is a longtime supporter of PCC and has been a student at the college in both credit and noncredit 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 graduates ranging from fixed-wing aircraft pilots to aviation mechanics to accounting staff. In addition, her family has philanthropically supported a range of programs, including Aviation Science, Aviation Maintenance, Future Connect and New Directions.
Lyons 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.
Lyons is currently Managing Partner at Lyons Aircraft Leasing and Lyons Properties. Previous employers include Monarch Life Insurance and the Port of Portland where she was an Environmental Planner. She also was the Operations Coordinator for the Portland International Airport. Lyons holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Geography from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Some of her other interests include kayaking, sailing and hiking with her two children. Her family is passionate about international travel and serving the community.
Monihan 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.
He was named publisher of the Forest Grove News-Times in 1991. It was in Forest Grove that he started to understand the importance of PCC 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 the college’s Rock Creek Campus.
Monihan, who grew up in Beaverton, feels that a strong local college, just like a strong local newspaper, functions to help create strong communities. He sees the 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,” he said. “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.”
He is a graduate of Jesuit High School and Oregon State. Monihan 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. He has worked for the Pamplin Media Group for almost 30 years.
Kim Morgan is the Director of Business Development and Partnerships at Nike. While Kim currently executes partnership strategies with Nike Innovation and for many prior years served as a venture capitalist for Motorola, she also has an unusual additional set of skills. Kim was a decorated Naval combat helicopter pilot and flight instructor responsible for the leadership of training and combat missions in support of operations Enduring Freedom and Desert Fox.
Kim grew up in Oregon, left for college to attend Notre Dame, then moved abroad and stateside for 20 years. Kim and her husband, Meurig, returned to Portland in 2014 to raise their twins. In addition to the BA in Finance obtained at Notre Dame, Kim has an MBA from the University of West Pensacola.
Kim is an avid triathlete and outdoors woman and enjoys racing and raising money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. She recently completed the Coeur D’Alene Half Ironman bringing her total fundraising to over $9,000 for the Team in Training.
Kim was prompted to get involved in the PCC Foundation when she attended its Gala. “As soon as I heard the inspirational stories from the scholarship students, I was hooked and wanted to be a part of something that has the potential to make a huge impact on people the community,” she said. Kim says the scholarship funds change lives and create a ripple effect of positive change.
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 PCC Foundation provides help students accomplish their goals, dreams and so much more.
Nelson and her husband Jacob have two kids – Andrew and AnaLucia. Nelson says that her kids are her “Continuing Ed” as they teach her something new every day.
Nelson’s favorite PCC Foundation Board project has been in the organization’s work groups, specifically the “Student Success” group where she has been able to engage with student leaders to learn the issues and concerns students. She 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 already do.
Nelson is currently Director of Account Consultants for Electric Lightwave (an Integra company), where she has worked for 17 years.
Thach Nguyen is a recently retired Probation Services Senior Manager for the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice, Juvenile Division, where he worked to reduce incarceration for minority youth. Thach appreciates the challenges some PCC students face. He escaped on a boat after the fall of Saigon and survived when the boat sank. Eventually Thach went on to take classes at PCC and within five years attained a Master’s in Public Administration degree from PSU. Family is important to Thach and he is the parents of three children – one of whom is in the Teacher Program at PCC – and one grandchild.
Thach is the recipient of numerous awards and, in 2010, he received the Multnomah County Citizen Involvement Committee’s Sy Award for life-long commitment to justice, access, and equality for underserved and underrepresented citizens in Multnomah County. In addition, he was recognized as a “Freedom Fighter” by Roosevelt High School and, in 2016, received the APANO Outstanding Advocacy and Empowered for Equity Award.
Thach is heavily involved in the community and is a co-founder and board member of the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO). Thach served for many years as the President of the International Refugee Community (IRCO) Board of Directors. He also co-founded the Asian Family Center and is active with the ACLU.
Thach is inspired to be on the PCC Foundation Board of Directors to help all students overcome barriers to achieve their personal and professional goals. “PCC has helped me with my education when I first came to Portland,” he said, “and it is a privilege to give back.”
Dale Pellow has over 30 year’s experience in the 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 Dale spearheaded Howard S. Wright’s first construction project with PCC at Rock Creek. It did not take long 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 Dale 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, Dale has been married for 30 years to Kerri Pellow, and have two boys that they raised in Lake Oswego. Brock who is 24 years old and a recent graduate of the University of Oregon. Colby who is 21 years old and attends Santa Barbara Community College.
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.
Nia Ray is the Director of the Oregon Department of Revenue and was appointed in October 2016. She is one of the few revenue directors to lead two state revenue agencies as she led the Missouri Department of Revenue for two years prior to her Oregon appointment. An attorney by trade, Nia’s professional credentials include a variety of legal and administrative experiences that span three gubernatorial administrations and three state Senate confirmations. Nia also directed the Missouri Department of Employment Security which administers the state’s unemployment benefit and taxation program and led the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) which provides statewide labor market information and economic projections.
Nia’s public service career began as Assistant Legal Counsel to the Governor of Missouri. She went on to provide counsel to the Missouri Office of Administration as Labor Relations Counsel and later engaged in criminal prosecution as Assistant Circuit Attorney for the City of St. Louis. Her board memberships have included the Missouri Women’s Coalition, Girl Scouts of Central Missouri, the Multistate Tax Commission and the Missouri State Rehabilitation Board. She is a graduate of Spelman College and the University of Illinois Champaign College of Law and member of the Missouri Bar. Nia has little time for hobbies these days as she manages both the Oregon Department of Revenue and a brilliant five year-old daughter, but remembers a time when she enjoyed theater, museums and fine dining on a regular basis.
Richard V. Stenson
Dick Stenson received an associate degree from a community college in California and this inspired him to give back by serving on the PCC Foundation Board. Stenson enjoys serving on the board in part because of the low-cost of tuition. For him, this is important because it means that every donation can go a lot further and help more students realize their college dreams. Future Connect is his favorite college program, which gives the PCC Foundation and partner cities the ability to provide both scholarships and mentoring to low-income, first-generation college students.
A healthcare executive for 42 years, Stenson retired after 22 years as President and CEO of Tuality Healthcare. He holds bachelor’s, master’s and MBA degrees as well as Fellowship status from both the American College of Healthcare Executives and the American College of Medical Group Administrators. Stenson 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. He and his wife Doreen enjoy spending time with their two daughters and three grandchildren.
Sharon Thomson serves as the Executive Vice President of Community Strategy and Marketing at PacificSource Health Plans. A healthcare industry veteran with 25 years of experience, Sharon joined PacificSource in 2015.
In her role, Sharon oversees provider network management and community relations. In addition, she leads all of PacificSource’s marketing efforts, including brand management, communications, public relations, advertising, and wellness and health promotion. She also builds crucial relationships with the communities, businesses, hospitals and health systems, physicians, and others responsible for the health of the Pacific Northwest.
Sharon has a Master’s degree from the University of Washington and a Bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University. She previously served on the Board at Bellevue Community College, and believes education is a fundamental bridge out of poverty.
Afton is the Community Outreach Director and project manager for Walsh Construction Co. with over 12 years of experience in construction working with education and non-profit partners. As Community Outreach Director, Afton builds further upon WALSH’s existing community and business relationships and is responsible for directing the equity work related to training, contracting, apprenticeship/workforce training and Section 3 hiring. Afton holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University and an MBA from the University of Washington.
Afton believes deeply in the power of education to improve the lives of individuals, families, the more generally, the resilience of our community. As passionate about building community and supporting education as she is about her work, she is excited to be a part of the PCC Foundation. She a native and lifelong Oregonian, she now lives in Portland with her husband and is devoted to her two young (and very busy) sons.
Mark Mitsui, College President, Ex-Officio
Mark Mitsui began his tenure as president of PCC in September of 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.
Jim Harper, Director, Zone 4, PCC Board of Directors, Ex-Officio
Jim Harper has spent more than 40 years with PCC. He has been a student, a volunteer and a corporate user of the many quality services PCC provides. He has sat on the PCC Foundation Board for the last 26 years, including serving as the Board Chair from 1990 to 1992.
Director Harper is a realtor for RE/MAX Equity Group in Hillsboro. He is currently on the Board of the Association of Community Colleges and is Chair of their Pacific Region. He is the Secretary of the Board of Gateway to College National Network and is a Past President of Oregon Community College Association. He has also served as Vice President of Administration for Morrison Child and Family Services, Executive Director for Arras Inc., School-To-Career Liaison for Multnomah County, Director of Human Resources at Wacker Siltronic Corp, and Division Manager for Tektronix, Inc. Director Harper has been an active member of the PCC Budget Committee, is a Member of the Governor’s School Transformation Advisory Council, the Mayor of Portland’s Business Round Table, the Regional Strategies Board for Multnomah and Washington Counties, and is a Past Chair of the Region Two Workforce Development Committee. Director Harper holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Portland State University.
Sylvia Kelley, Executive Vice President, Ex-Officio
Sylvia Kelley is currently the Executive Vice President of Portland Community College and served as the Interim College President. Her role at PCC includes human resources, legal services, marketing, communications, public affairs, foundation, bond planning and construction, and grants. Prior to joining PCC in 2014, Kelley served in key leadership roles at two four-year institutions: as Southern Oregon University’s vice president for development and the executive director of its foundation, from 2008 to 2014; and as the vice president for institutional advancement at Texas A&M University-Commerce, from 2001 to 2008.
Kelley also has significant community college experience, having worked with several in Texas and California in a variety of leadership roles before joining Texas A&M: as the director of marketing and contract training for the Dallas County Community College District; as the director of corporate education and workforce development for Collin County Community College; and as an instructor of leadership and human relations. In addition, she has several years’ experience as a senior city planner.
Ann Prater, Executive Director, Ex-Officio
Ann Prater is the Executive Director of PCC Foundation. Prior to joining PCC she served as Senior Director of Development and Assistant Dean, College of the Arts for the Portland State University. Deeply committed to the role of philanthropy in education, Ann is helping to grow external private support to advance equitable opportunity for all PCC students.
Prior to moving to the Pacific Northwest from Chico, California, she served as Director of Advancement for the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at CSU, Chico. Before transitioning to university advancement, Ann worked for many years in health care public relations and marketing, serving as the director of PR and Marketing at Enloe Medical Center, CHW North State, and Redding Medical Center (now Shasta Regional Medical Center). A 1978 Humboldt State journalism graduate, Ann spent the first ten years of her career in television news, first as news director in Eureka and then as a news producer in Sacramento and San Diego.