SIHSS Board of Visitors

Name and Purpose

  1. The name of this board shall be "The Board of Visitors of the RMU School of Informatics, Humanities and Sciences."
  2. The Board of Visitors (BOV) of the Robert Morris University’s School of Informatics, Humanities and Social Sciences (SIHSS) supports the school’s programs, students, faculty, and administration in fulfilling the University’s mission to act as a gateway to engaged, productive, and successful careers and lives.  The BOV’s main purpose is to provide guidance and advice to advance student outcomes, offer philanthropic support, and build upon RMU’s place in the educational and professional landscape of Pittsburgh and beyond.  The Board of Visitors advance the school’s standing in multiple capacities such as, workforce education and development, philanthropic support towards SIHSS mutually beneficial organizational partnership, network growth, corporate training partnerships, academic programs and enrollment expansion.


The BOV shall be responsible for the following:

  • Active participation in board meetings
    • The first main board meeting takes place in the fall of the academic year
    • The second main board meeting takes place in the spring of the academic year
    • Additional virtual meetings will be added as needed throughout the year, replicating a quarterly meeting schedule
    • A majority of the BOV members shall constitute a quorum
    • An RMU liaison will keep a copy of the meeting minutes and forward a copy to the BOV members
  • Participation on appropriate subcommittees related to professional expertise
    • Subcommittees will be developed in response to the immediate needs of the school as identified by the Dean of SIHSS and the BOV
  • Serve as advisors to inform program development and revisions at SIHSS with the objective to support student preparedness and evolving workforce needs
  • Serve as a community advocate for Robert Morris University and SIHSS in the Pittsburgh region and beyond
  • Actively seek and develop mutually beneficial relationships between organizations, corporations, and SIHSS


Chris Bereznay

Vice President, Global Compliance, Dick's Sporting Goods

Chris Bereznay currently serves as the Vice President of Global Compliance at DICK’S Sporting Goods. Chris also holds a bachelor’s of science in Organizational Leadership from Robert Morris University.

In his current role, he is responsible for the strategy and oversight of the company’s global ethics and compliance programs and teams in the Americas and South East Asia. He supports all corporate ethics, retail and store compliance, product safety & regulatory compliance, as well as factory social compliance/human rights and enterprise risk management. Prior to joining DICK’S in 2012, Chris oversaw corporate responsibility at American Eagle Outfitters. Chris is a highly collaborative, results driven leader with 30+ years of retail and consumer products industry experience. He is highly skilled at developing global programs and teams, stakeholder engagement, solving challenging issues and leading change.

Jason Esch

Vice President, Information Technology
FXG Shipment, Analytics, and Field Support Services
FedEx Services

Jason is a Vice President of Information Technology supporting the FedEx Ground segment.

Jason is responsible for providing oversight, strategy, and implementation of core Shipment and Advanced Analytics solutions. He works diligently to advance the Operational Excellence and Business Agility posture by leading the Reliability Engineering and Agile Enablement practices. Jason works collaboratively across the organization to promote an IT-enabled business. He accelerates speed to value by embracing an engineered approach, delivering foundational IT solutions through reusable development patterns and frameworks.

Jason began his career in Information Technology as a Business Analyst, supporting FedEx SmartPost. With a passion for operations, he has made it a personal mission to understand the intricacies of the business segment he supports. Jason has held a number of leadership roles within the FedEx Ground IT organization. He spent four years building out FedEx SmartPost core operational interfaces across a number of functional domains including Sortation, Pickup & Delivery, and Line-Haul. As a manager of Customer Facing solutions, he provided technical leadership over the FedEx Ground Small Shipper strategy. In his prior role as IT Director, Jason strengthened the FedEx Ground value proposition with the implementation of real-time Delivery Optimization and Advanced
Analytics capabilities.

Jason champions a continuous improvement philosophy with a targeted focus in developing IT solutions designed to reduce complexity, promoting long-term growth and cost savings. He has been with FedEx since 1999 and is a five-time IT Hall of Fame award winner.

Damian Gilliard

Vice President, Identity and Access Management Services,
Citizens Bank

Damian Gillard obtained his Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems and his Master of Science in Communication Information Systems from Robert Morris University. In addition, he received an Advanced Banking degree from the
Pennsylvania Bankers Association.

Damian is an experienced information security professional with a career history of working in the financial service industry, demonstrating skills in Risk Management and Identity & Access Management solutions. As a Security Engineer, Vice President at PNC Bank, he provided experience in privileged identity management which included program establishment, process creation, metrics/reporting, and hands-on technical understanding. He later transitioned to his current role as an Information Security Specialist/Program Manager, Vice-President at Citizens Bank.

Damian Gilliard is from West Mifflin, PA and currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA. Outside of his career, Damian is passionate about community growth and transparency. He currently serves as a Board of Director to non-profit organizations which include the Historic Fairview Park Association, Youth Enrichment Association, Sisters Place Inc., and the Larimer Consensus Group.

Scott Harrer

Vice President, Practice Lead, Human Centered Design

As Vice President and U.S. Practice Lead of Human-Centered Design (HCD) at CGI, Scott evangelizes people-centric digital transformation by leading teams that scale design as a way to identify unmet needs & prioritize new market

With more than two decades of consulting,start-up and corporate experience, Scott’s client presence, communication style and design-thinking approach has resulted in triple digit YoY revenue growth in consecutive years.

Recognized by colleagues and clients for empathy,vision, and an ability to connect highly abstract concepts with real-world, tactical implementation, Scott is a dynamic, entrepreneurial leader with a proven track record of top-line growth.

In the past, Scott has led many client engagements and digital initiatives as a designer and digital strategist. He’s coached struggling startups and has worked for and advised early & mid-stage companies to launch digital products, forge strategic partnerships and develop revenue models.

Scott is actively engaged in the community and serves on the RMU Board of Visitors for the School of Informatics, Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as Point Park University’s Rowland School of Business Sales Advisory Board.

Brian Hastings

Director, Alabama Emergency Management Agency

Colonel (ret) Brian Hastings is the current Director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency. Brian’s passion for public service,science and flight led him to enter the United States Air Force Academy in 1986. During his military career, Brian also earned a MS degree in Aeronautical Sciences from Embry Riddle and a MA Degree in Resourcing National Security Strategy from the
Industrial College of the Armed Forces (Eisenhower School).

He graduated with an Applied Physics degree in Astrodynamics and served as an A-10 pilot in the United StatesAir Force from 1990 until he retired as the Commandant of the prestigious Air Command and Staff College on 1 September 2017. Prior to his retirement, Brian also served as the Wing Commander of the 47th Flying Training Wing at Laughlin AFB, and the Deputy Director of Operations of the Combat Air Forces of Air Combat Command. Additionally, for his military service he earned two Legion of Merit Medals, the Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan, and three Meritorious Service Medals. Brian was a command pilot with more than 2,600 hours in attack and training aircraft and was an Instructor Pilot in the A-10, AT-38B and the T-38C.

In August 2017, Governor KayIvey named Brian as the Director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and he transitioned to public service for the people of Alabama on September 5, 2017. In less than one week, the State Emergency Operations Center activated for Hurricane Irma to receive and shelter more than 250,000 evacuees from Florida while caring for the needs of Alabamians. Brian walked into the costliest and 5th most active Hurricane season on record since 1851. Since joining Governor Ivey’s Cabinet, Brian has led AEMA through multiple Emergency Declarations and 12 Presidential Major Disaster Declarations, in which the disasters in 2020 account for 10 percent of Alabama’s Major Disaster Declarations since 1961.

Brian is also a graduate of the Harvard National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (NPLI) Executive Education Course and was an inaugural inductee into their 2018 Meta-leadership Project Hall of Fame for his positive impact in the fight against opioids with his involvement with community Naloxone projects. Additionally, he was honored to receive an invitation and award from the UK Consulate to participate in 2019 US Resilience Mission to the UK.

Working to expand Alabama’s influence in national emergency management and resilience conversations, Brian holds leadership positions as the Chair of the Homeland Security Committee for the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), the Tri-Chair of the National Homeland Security Consortium, as well as the Co-Chair of the Committee for disaster assistance to low-income citizens for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). Brian also serves on the Board of Directors for both the Central United States Earthquake Consortium and NEMA, and he is a member of the Science Council for the Baron Critical Weather Institute. Brian is a Founder and Member of the Board of Directors of the Consortium for Emergency Services Technology(CEST), and recently was selected to the Board of Visitors of the School of Informatics, Humanities and Social Sciences, Robert Morris University.

Brian continues to volunteer his time and has joined other national associations and local organizations like the First Responders Resource Group (FRRG), the Wright Flyers, and the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce. He is also a lifetime member of the Daedalians, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), US Air Force Academy Association of Graduates (AOG) and the Air Force Association (AFA). Regardless of his noteworthy career and service, Brian will quickly tell you his greatest accomplishments are at home with his beautiful wife Eileen and three sons—Sean, Jake and Luke.

Aaron Lotis

District Manager, Social Security Administration

Aaron Lotis attended Robert Morris University as a Presidential scholarship recipient graduating in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences. Now, Aaron serves as Charleston’s Social Security Administration’s District Manager.

During his time at RMU he received multiple awards including the Signature Leadership Award and the President’s Undergraduate Award. In 2009, Aaron joined the Social Security Administration (SSA) as a claims specialist. He took on increasing leadership positions at SSA becoming an operations supervisor in 2012 and then the manager of a small field office in 2013. After making multiple improvements to service delivery, Aaron was reassigned to manage a larger field office in 2014 and in 2016, Aaron was promoted to his current position.

Aaron is responsible for the administration of Social Security’s benefit programs for a 6 county area in south central West Virginia. The field offices under his direction are responsible for over $1.2 Billion in annual benefit payments. Also, as Charleston is the Capitol of West Virginia, Aaron is responsible to coordinate with the State’s US Senators and Congressional Delegation in addition to partners in state government, local government, and other community organizations in his servicing area. For his many accomplishments, Aaron was named the 2020 Distinguished Alumnus for the School of Informatics, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Terri Marts

President & CEO, Marts Enterprises

Dr. Terri Marts is a consultant and advisor to senior executives and institutions serving the energy, environment, defense, industrials and infrastructure markets. She received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Science in Business Administration and a Doctorate of Science in Information Systems and Communications from Robert Morris University.

With over 45 years of industry service and 30 years of executive profit and loss leadership experience she is well equipped to provide a broad range of services, assessments,strategies, plans, personnel and business development, financial models and analysis and other approaches necessary to achieve the strategic intent of her clients.

Dr. Terri Marts currently employed by Key Logic Systems as a subject matter expert. She also operates an independent consultant helping companies, non-profits, associations and individuals in their development and achievement ofgoals and objectives. When she is not consulting, much of her time is devoted to family, friends, community,church, traveling and writing.

Dr. Terri Marts retired from AECOM in January of 2017 where she was the Senior Executive Vice President of the Nuclear & Environment Projects in Pittsburgh PA responsible to grow AECOM energy, defense and environmental business in the Northeast Region. In AECOM, she held positions of President Nuclear and Environmental Technical Services in Aiken SC, Senior Vice President of High Level Waste Mission Integration in Hanford WA responsible for a $20B nuclear waste clean-up program. AECOM acquired URS Corporation and Terri was previously employed by URS Corporation as Vice President and Program Manager for the National Energy Technology Laboratory Research Services and Operations, a $500M Program, President of URS's Washington Defense Group, a $650 million per year design, construction, and operations & maintenance business serving the federal market.

Previously she led University R&D programs focused on energy, security and health at the University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University.

Previously she led University R&D programs focused on energy, security and health at the University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University.

As General Manager of Curtiss-Wright (formerly Westinghouse EMD), she led the Electro-Mechanical Systems Business Unit. This $290 million R&D, design, manufacturing, testing, and support service group provided systems for commercial and governmental applications serving the power, oil, and gas, environmental, energy and defense markets. As President of Source W Communications (formerly Westinghouse Printing/Media), she led the business and initial divestiture of the business from Westinghouse Electric Corporation and CBS. Prior to that, Dr. Marts held positions of increasing responsibility in Westinghouse Electric Corporation including Commercial Nuclear and Defense, Power Generation and Energy Systems and Corporate Headquarter assignments and was part of the team that acquired CBS Corporation and the teams that supported the divestiture of the Westinghouse Electric Corporation industrial assets.

Dr. Marts has effectively managed through three company sales and divestitures and more than ten company acquisitions, proving her ability to succeed in a changing environment.

John Pippy

President, PGS TEK LLC

John is the founder and president of PGS TEK LLC; a certified veteran owned small business focused on full spectrum IT solutions through strategic partnerships with industry leaders. John has a Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies from the U. S. Army War College, a Master of Arts in International Relations from Irish American University in Dublin, Ireland and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

John Pippy brings over 25 years of experience in operational leadership,strategic planning, process improvement,security operations and project management. Just prior to starting PGS TEK LLC, John deployed to the Middle East as a Pennsylvania Guardsman where he served as the Headquarters Battalion Commander and Senior Engineer for Special Operations Joint Task Force- Operation Inherent Resolve; a 2 Star Joint Forces Military Command responsible for coordinating missions within a multi country operational area.

John retired from the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 2012,serving nine years as Senator of the 37th district and seven years in the House of Representatives. Senator Pippy was a member of the Republican Senate Leadership team,serving as Policy Chairman, as well as, Chairman of the Bipartisan Legislative Budget and Finance Committee and Chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

He currently holds the rank of Colonel in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and serves as the Commander of the 55th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in Scranton, PA and the Commander of FEMA Region 3 Homeland Response Force. John has served overseas on active duty in Syria, Iraq and Kuwait and has been awarded numerous medals recognizing his military service including the Combat Action Badge, the US Army Bronze Star for meritorious service, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with “C” device.

John currently serves as a board member of American Energy Partners (AEPT), the Port of Pittsburgh Commission, the Veterans Breakfast Club and Pittsburgh Hires Veterans.