Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch
Chris Abbott is a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America, and a premier leader of wealth management. He is also co-founder of Abbott Blades Wealth Management Group. In addition to his work for Read to Them, Mr. Abbott has also served as chair of the ArtsFund for Bank of America (Richmond), the board of the Alzheimer’s Association of Southeastern Virginia and board of the Heart Association of Hampton Roads. A native of Portsmouth, VA, Mr. Abbott received a BS in Finance from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. He currently resides in Richmond, Virginia with his wife and two daughters and enjoys reading, horticulture and a wide variety of sports.
VP/Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch
Craig Blades is a VP/Financial Advisor with Bank of America, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management for over 20 years in Richmond Virginia. He helps high net-worth clients with financial planning, asset allocation, long-term wealth accumulation and income strategies. Before that, Craig taught in a middle school for four years on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. A health and science education degree allowed him to also coordinate a county-wide program for at-risk students, helping them stay in school then move on to their prospective high schools. Craig has served on several local community boards, including the United Way and Richmond Public Radio. He has raised two children and firmly believes books should be an important part of every household.
Operations Manager/Government Consultant
Associate Principal, SingleStone, Inc.
David Dart is an Associate Principal with SingleStone Consulting, formerly Dominion Digital. During his tenure, he has provided financial auditing and oversight to midsize corporations around the country. David is passionate about reading and an advocate for childhood literacy.
Litigation Associate, Spotts Fain
John Erbach is a litigation associate with Spotts Fain, focusing his practice on intellectual property litigation, employment disputes, and commercial litigation, with added emphasis on litigation in federal court. After graduating from law school in 2008, John spent two years practicing law with a large regional law firm located in Richmond, Virginia. After that, John had the unique honor of serving as law clerk to three federal judges in Richmond, Virginia. Most recently, he served as law clerk to the Honorable Henry E. Hudson, U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia. Previously, John served as law clerk to the Honorable Dennis W. Dohnal and the Honorable David J. Novak, U.S. Magistrate Judges for the Eastern District of Virginia. Of special note, John had the honor of serving as Judge Novak’s first law clerk upon Judge Novak’s selection to replace the retiring Judge Dohnal.
John graduated magna cum laude from the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond in May 2008. While in law school, he served as vice president of the client counseling and negotiation board and president of the Federalist Society. John also earned the CALI Excellence for the Future awards in Civil Procedure, Advanced Trial Advocacy, and Copyright Law. As an undergraduate, John earned his Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the College of William & Mary.
His daughters are Lily, Emma, Violet, and Scarlett, ages 6 months to 7 years. He reads with them almost every night and frequently more than one book per night, including a variety of reading levels. He finds that the younger kids don’t like being left out of the more sophisticated books so he always include them. He encourages eldest Lily to read to her younger sisters, which she finds rewarding. Lily is in 2nd grade and is progressing well in her reading. His twins (ages 5) are not yet reading but love being read to.
Heath Galloway, a labor & employment partner at Williams Mullen, regularly counsels employers on a wide variety of state and federal laws applicable to the employment relationship. Mr. Galloway’s experience includes representing and counseling clients in regards to: the National Labor Relations Act; OSHA Regulations and Compliance; Restrictive Covenants; individual and collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act; the Family and Medical Leave Act; Title VII; ERISA; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Although he hopes to help the firm’s clients avoid litigation, Mr. Galloway has vigorously represented employers in state and federal court as well as in administrative proceedings.
Special Education Teacher, Chesapeake Public Schools
Adjunct Professor, Norfolk State University
Dorothy Bland Gamble is a Secondary Special Education Teacher in Chesapeake, VA at Western Branch High School. She has also served as a Staff Development Instructor for Chesapeake Public Schools, Adjunct Professor with Norfolk State University and Juvenile Probation Officer for Virginia’s Fifth District. Dorothy is an appointed Commissioner with Suffolk City’s Early Childhood Commission and a graduate of Norfolk State University (B.S), North Carolina Central University (M ED) and Old Dominion University (CAS). In addition to teaching experience at the primary, elementary, high school and collegiate levels, Dorothy has taught in four states and has had direct teaching experience in Vina del Mar Chile, Nairobi Kenya and Innsbruck, Austria. Dorothy is a passionate advocate of family literacy and parental/community involvement in the educational process. She enjoys football, antique browsing and spending quality time with her family and friends.
Keith Hauser is a Director and Client Partner at SingleStone, a Richmond, Va.-based consulting firm that specializes in Customer Experience (CX) solutions spanning strategy, culture, process, and technology. Previously, Keith was the Senior Vice President of Mortgage and Home Equity Default for RBS Citizens, NA. Keith relocated to Richmond from Cleveland, OH in 2005 as part of the Citizens Bank/Charter One acquisition. Prior to relocating, he was responsible for all Consumer Loan Servicing for Charter One Bank. Keith began his career at Bank One in 1986, holding a variety of positions throughout the Bank, with an emphasis on small business lending and auto lease credit, collections, and product management. In 1995, Keith became COO and then Co-President of a venture capital – backed growth business in the Security Alarm Monitoring industry. Keith has also run a regional division for a national consulting company and the operations for a captive automobile insurance tracking company prior to joining Charter One in 2003. A native of Akron, Ohio, Keith has bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and an MBA from The Ohio State University. Keith, his wife, and three children now reside in Richmond.
Read Aloud Delaware
Mary Hirschbiel has been the Executive Director of Read Aloud Delaware since July 1995. Prior to that she served as one of the three County Coordinators in Delaware. She created new systems to allow the program to triple in size in her first three years as the part-time coordinator. Mary has worked for Read Aloud since October 1988. Her prior work experience was in the field of fund raising for a small museum and opera festival in Charlottesville, VA. She has also run a variety of volunteer programs in Vermont, Virginia and Delaware. Her expertise is in Volunteer Administration. She is a graduate of Goddard College in Vermont where she wrote a senior study entitled, History in the Attic: The American Windsor Chair from 1750 to 1825. Mary still loves history and American material culture. Her great escapes are organizing closets and drawers, reading mysteries, and framing pictures. Mary lives in Wilmington Delaware with her husband of 32 years, Henry, who is also a nonprofit administrator and an historian currently for the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation. They have one daughter, Cate, who will soon be graduating from Smith College in Medieval Studies and is looking forward to library school! (How’s that for proof that environment really does influence our children!)
Director of Business Development, EnterBridge Mobility
Founder and CEO, Venuable.com
Ramzy Ismail is the Director of Business Development for EnterBridge Mobility and the Founder and CEO of Venuable.com, a web-based venue marketplace based out of Richmond, VA. As a 2012 graduate of VCU, Ramzy has spent the last four years in strategy and investment roles while working with VeriSign, Capital One, and most recently in Genworth Financial’s Leadership Development Program.
Ramzy is highly involved in the academic and social entrepreneurship communities, holding Board positions with the George Mason School of Social Entrepreneurship, The Richmond EDA’s RVA Works, and the Yale School of Management’s Global Pre-MBA program. In his spare time Ramzy loves to coach youth football and explore Richmond’s many restaurants and events. Some of his favorite books are Lord Of The Flies, Freakonomics and Harry Potter.
Educator, Young Scientists
Cathy Mitchell is a classroom teacher with “Young Scientists” providing elementary school science lessons as in-school field trips, all over the Richmond area. She also tutors after school. A former Fairfax County first grade classroom teacher, Cathy earned her B.A. in Economics from Duke University, her M.Ed. from Marymount University (Arlington), and is Reading Recovery and Orton-Gillingham trained. She lives in her native Richmond with her 3 teenage daughters. In her spare time, Cathy enjoys reading, tennis, Bikram yoga, travel, and beekeeping.
Director, BAE Systems Ship Repair
Rick Schwarting has over 35 years of senior waterfront and corporate management experience in marine engineering, program management and business development. Rick has led industry and government teaming, improving subcontractor management, workload leveling, quality, and safety performance during his career with BAE Systems Ship Repair and previously with Rolls-Royce Naval Marine. He was also the General Manager and Vice President of Marine Services for Epsilon Systems Solutions. Rick is passionate about reading aloud which was foundational in his upbringing as well as something that he enjoyed sharing with his children.
Kristin von Klein
Kristin von Klein has worked for non-profit organizations participating in grant-writing, administration of State and Federal grants, and Legislative efforts. She has experience in State government including the Virginia Economic Development Partnership – International Trade and Export Development and the Department of Environmental Quality. Ms. von Klein holds a J.D. from the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond and is currently evaluating claims as part of a Court-Supervised Settlement Program established to review and pay qualified claims made by individuals and businesses that were affected by the Deepwater Horizon Incident.