AACT Elections 2017

Candidates for Office

>> Candidate List in PDF Format

Candidate for President

Carole Ries
Topeka, Kansas (Region V)

Carole RiesCarole currently serves as AACT Executive Vice President. She is retired from theatre management, most recently as the President and CEO of the Topeka Civic Theatre & Academy. She also served as Executive Director for the Fort Lauderdale Children’s Theatre. Earlier in her career, while working at Theatre Memphis, Carole worked on FACT ’79 (a precursor to AACTFest). She was a member of the Tennessee Theatre Association, served as Chair of the Youth Division for the Florida Theatre Conference (FTC), and as President of the Kansas Theatre Association. She received a Distinguished Service Award in 1995 from FTC. On the national level, Carole chaired AACT’s Workshop Committee and served as Vice President for Public Relations on the AACT Board of Directors, leading the effort to re-brand AACT. Carole has also served as the Chair of the AACT Endowment Trustees, most recently leading a task force to research endowment restructuring. She was named an AACT Fellow in 2009.

Candidate for Executive Vice President

Rick Kerby
Bradenton, FL (Region IV)

Rick KerbyRick is currently Producing Artistic Director of Florida’s Manatee Performing Arts Center, and was named Best Director at the Florida Theatre Conference, three-time winner as Best Director at the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC), and two-time winner as Best Director at AACTFest National Festivals. Prior to his move to Florida, Rick was Entertainment Director for the USO of Metropolitan New York. Other directorial credits include productions at professional theatres in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maine, Virginia, New Hampshire, New Orleans, and for many prominent cruise lines. He has served on the faculties of Wagner College on Staten Island and the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (AMDA) in New York City. Rick served six years as President of the Florida Theatre Conference, and is past President of the Florida Association of Community Theatres. He also has served as Community Theatre Festival Chair for the Southeastern Theatre Conference. For AACT, Rick has served as the Florida State Representative, Chair of the Membership Committee, Festival Commissioner, and is currently serving his second term as Board Member at Large.

Candidate for Vice President for Festivals

Jim Walker
Aberdeen, South Dakota (Region V)

Jim WalkerThe Artistic/Managing Director of Aberdeen Community Theatre in South Dakota, Jim is a 35-year actor, director, designer, adjudicator, and theatrical consultant. A charter member of AACT, he also has served as president of the Aberdeen Area Arts Council, South Dakota Theatre Association and the Aberdeen Convention and Visitors Bureau. In 2009, he was appointed by the Governor to the South Dakota Arts Council, and currently serves as its chair. Jim designed a majority of the 90-plus productions he has directed and has received numerous acting, directing and design awards. He directed Honk! in 2007 and How to Talk Minnesotan: The Musical in 2009, both productions advancing to national festivals. Honk! also represented the United States in Toyama, Japan in 2008. Jim served as AACT Region V representative for six years, and currently is a Board Member at Large, serving on the Audit Committee, International Committee (as Vice Chair), and Festival Committee, and as an Endowment Trustee. Jim also serves as the 2017 Festival Commission Chair.  For his many contributions, he was recognized as an AACT Fellow in 2015.

Candidate for Treasurer

Michael Fox
North Salt Lake, Utah (Region VII)

Michael FoxMichael began his theatre career at StageStop and at Bear River High in northern Utah. He attended Southern Utah University (home of the Tony-award winning Utah Shakespeare Festival) on a performance scholarship, but earned his BS in Business Finance from the University of Phoenix. Over the years, he has used his talents as an accompanist, choreographer, director, singing dancer (which he points out is “totally different from a dancing singer!”), light board operator, sound engineer, and stage manager at many different venues. For the past 13 years, he has used these experiences--and his business degree--as Director of Operations for Hale Centre Theatre in Salt Lake City. He has served as a missionary and lay clergy for his church, as President of Intermountain Ticketing Professionals (the Utah branch of INTIX) and as a Member at Large on the AACT Board. He was named one of 30 Professionals of the Year by Musical America in 2014. He has a beautiful wife of nearly 19 years who cares for him and their puppy, Bear. He is a major foodie, loves to sit at the piano and sing with his wife, and enjoys any form of great dialog.

Board Member-at-Large Candidates

Emily Anderson
Midland, Michigan (Region III)

Emily AndersonEmily is a graduate of Central Michigan University, with a degree in Interpersonal and Public Communications. She began acting in community theatre when she was 14 years old and has performed in over 30 productions. She also has volunteered as a director, stage manager, props chair, and dresser for Center Stage Theatre at Midland Center for the Arts in Midland, Michigan. Professionally, Emily served six years as the Communications Coordinator, and later the Managing Director, for Center Stage Theatre, where she revitalized the theatre's involvement with AACT. In 2011, she chaired the Michigan AACTFest, and acted in Center Stage’s production of Urinetown, which went on to win second place at the national festival. Through that experience, Emily has found a second family with AACT, and has chaired a Region III festival, as well as served on the Board as a Member at Large, and a member of the AACT Communications Team and Festival Committee. She and her husband, Bill, live in Midland with their two sons, Liam and Kellan. 

Chad-Alan Carr
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (Region II)

Chad-Alan CarrChad-Alan is the Founding Executive/Artistic Director for Gettysburg Community Theatre, located in the heart of historic downtown Lincoln Square in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Originally from Texas, Chad received his formal training in the BFA Musical Theatre Program at Sam Houston State University, which later awarded him the Distinguished Theatre Alumni Award for Achievement In Professional Theatre. Chad was honored to co-facilitate the first two Youth Summits for AACT, and is excited to chair the first-ever Youth Festival at the AACTFest 2017 National Festival in Rochester, Minnesota. He directed the Eastern States Regional Premiere of The Penguin Project (theatre for youth with special needs), chartered the International Thespian Troupe #7640 for Gettysburg Area High School, and served as a board member for Pennsylvania Association of Community Theatres, Eastern States Theatre Association, and AACT. Chad is seeing his life-long dream come true with the success of the Gettysburg Community Theatre, now in its 8th season.

Michael Cochran
Paducah, Kentucky (Region IV)

Michael CochranMichael is the Executive Director of the Market House Theatre (MHT) in Paducah. He has worked for MHT for over 30 years, serving as its Executive Director since 1996. Michael graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, with a BA in Theatre, and then attended graduate school at the University of Alabama and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, receiving his MFA in Theatre from SIU. He has worked professionally as an administrator, scenic & lighting designer, and director, and has directed and designed hundreds of productions during his career. He is also a playwright, with several plays to his credit. He is married to April Cochran, who serves as the Education Director at MHT. They have a daughter, Jade, who is a high school senior this year. Michael has served as the Chair of the Kentucky Theatre Association Community Theatre division, and as a Board member of Arts Kentucky.

Allen Ebert
Madison, Wisconsin (Region III)

Allen EbertAllen is the Executive Director at the Children’s Theater of Madison (CTM), which is a member of Theatre for Young Audiences/USA, and a resident company of the Overture Center for Performing Arts. Previously, Allen served as Executive Director of the award-winning La Crosse Community Theatre, and spent three years in Vicenza, Italy, where he served as the Entertainment Director of Soldiers’ Theatre, an Army community theatre. Over the past 23 years, he has directed, performed, adjudicated, and conducted workshops at state, regional, and national festivals and conferences. Allen also has served as the president of the Board of the Wisconsin Association of Community Theatre, and has been involved for many years with AACT on various levels. He is proud to be a veteran of the United States Army.

Kristi Quinn
Dakota City, Nebraska (Region V)

Kristi QuinnKristi has been active in community theatre for over 20 years. Formerly, AACT’s Vice President of Festivals, she also served for six years as the Region V Representative on the AACT Board, and is a member of the Finance and Governance Committees. Kristi completed AACT’s adjudication training, and has adjudicated at several festivals. She serves as Artistic Director for the Pioneer Valley Players in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, and leads the theatre and speech programs at the Sergeant Bluff-Luton Community Schools. Kristi served as a Board Member of the Nebraska Association of Community Theatre, and participated as a core committee member and chair of several state and regional festivals. Her theatre experience includes acting, directing, set decoration, and costume design--as well as public relations, grant writing, and development. She has been Executive Director of the Sioux City Community Theatre, and as Development Director of the Sioux City Art Center. Kristi resides in Dakota City, Nebraska, and currently serves as the Executive Director of Susan G. Komen Siouxland.

Jamie Ulmer
Beatrice, Nebraska (Region V)

Jamie UlmerJamie is a director, actor, instructor, and arts administrator, who has served as the Managing Artistic Director for Nebraska’s Beatrice Community Players since 1997. He has directed more than 100 productions, among his most memorable including Les Miserables, Fiddler on the Roof, Noises Off, Jesus Christ Superstar, Lend Me a Tenor, Proof, Children of Eden, Young Frankenstein, and Chicago. He is also an adjunct instructor of theatre management for Doane University, and has been an instructor for Southeast Community College, as well. Jamie serves on the Board of Directors for several local and state organizations, including Vice President for Legislation with Nebraskans for the Arts and President the Beatrice Area Arts Council, and recently completed a term as President of the Nebraska Association of Community Theatres. He calls himself  “a strong believer in the power of the arts to transform individuals and entire communities, regardless of where that community is located.”

Nominating Committee Candidates

John Davis
Evergreen, Colorado (Region VII)

John DavisJohn has been involved in theatre since an outstanding high school drama teacher changed his life. In 1966, he and his wife joined the Evergreen Players in Colorado. As the small company grew, it became apparent that John’s administrative and technical theatre talents were more valuable than his acting skills. As a result, he has served in every position on the Players’ Board of Directors. (In August 2016, the Evergreen Players honored Kathleen and John for their 50 years of volunteering.) He has served as a member of the AACT Board, as Festival Commissioner, and is presently chair of the Governance Committee. He also has been a stage manager for the two appearances of the Evergreen Players at the National AACTFest. For the last 15 years, John has served on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Community Theater Coalition, currently as Treasurer, and has worked actively on many state festivals. He has been on the Board of the Evergreen Arts Council for 10 years, including two terms as treasurer. John was recently awarded Arts Person of the Year for his many contributions to the Evergreen community.

Dennis Gilmore
Indio, California (Region VIII)

Dennis GilmoreDennis began his career as a producer for professional theatre in Chicago. After moving to Texas, he became Executive Director for the Henderson County Performing Arts Center (HCPAC), serving in that position until his retirement in 2014. In 2003, Dennis co-founded Act I Productions, a community theatre based in DeSoto, Texas, which won artistic recognition from its inception. He received his MA in Theatre from Stephen F. Austin State University, with additional graduate study at the University of Texas at Tyler. Dennis has been an instructor in theatre & speech at Trinity Valley Community College, also serving as technical director. During his time at HCPAC, he directed over 250 plays and 275 children’s productions, and has been a statewide one-act play adjudicator since 1991. As a Board Member of Texas Nonprofit Theatres, he helped start the state youth conference and was its chairman for its first 10 years. For AACT, he has been involved in festival adjudication at the regional, state and national level, served as Vice President for Education for two terms, and is currently chair of the Accreditation Task Force. He also serves as a Festival Commissioner and is the administrator of the AACT Resource Roster. In 2011, Dennis was named an AACT Fellow and received the David C. Bryant Outstanding Service Award.

Rod McCullough
Urbandale, Iowa (Region V)

Rod McCulloughNovember 2016 marked Rod’s 50th year of involvement in community theatre, beginning with his role as Stanley Kowalski in the Lincoln (NE) Community Playhouse’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Over the next two decades, he appeared in more than 20 productions, earning Outstanding Performance awards for his roles in The Elephant Man and Of Mice and Men. Since 1982, his career has included staff leadership at Lincoln Community Playhouse, the Fulton Opera House theatre company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and the Des Moines (IA) Community Playhouse, where he currently serves as Managing Director. Since his first election to the AACT Board of Directors in 1994, Rod has served as President, Chair of the AACT Endowment Fund Trustees, and most recently as Chair of Endowment Restructure and SWOT Analysis task forces. In 2001, he was named an AACT Fellow and also received the Art Cole Award for service to community theatre.

Eugene Irby
Artesia, New Mexico (Region VI)

Eugene IrbyEugene holds Bachelor of Business Administration degrees from both Angelo State University (General Business) and Eastern New Mexico University (Marketing/Marketing Education). He served as President of the Artesia (NM) Community Theater for two terms, and as Marketing Director for the Roswell (NM) Community Theatre. He is a past President of Theatre New Mexico, and currently serves as a Board Member. He has served as State Representative to both AACT and the Southwest Theatre Association. In addition, he has served the Southwest Theatre and Film Association as Board member, Vice President of Communication, President Elect, and President. He served as AACT Region VI Representative for four years, as Vice President for Planning and Development, and is currently on the Festival Commission and is an Endowment Trustee. Eugene was named an AACT Fellow and a Fellow of Theater New Mexico. He is in the fourth year of teaching drama for his local high school.

Continuing Board Members

These persons’ terms end in 2018 and 2019, and will serve with those elected in spring 2017.

Region I
Bevie Lord, MA, Region Rep

Region II
Susanne Caviness, MD, Region Rep
Bob Frame, NY, Member at Large

Region III

Richard Gannon, IL, Member at Large
Frank Peot, WI, Secretary
TBA, Region Rep

Region IV
Murray Chase, FL, Past President
Kristofer Geddie, FL, Member at Large
Lynn Nelson, MS, Region Rep

Region V
Nancy Eppert, MO, Region Rep

Region VI
Jeffrey Brown, TX, Region Rep
Sharon Burum, OK, Member at Large
Sara Phoenix, OK, Member at Large

Region VII
Donna Fisher, WY, Region Rep

Region VIII
Liz Lydic, CA, Member at Large
Gil Savage, CA, Region Rep

Region IX
Jon Douglas Rake, WA, Region Rep
Chris Serface, WA, Member at Large

Region X
Dane Winters, Germany, Region Rep

Ron Cameron-Lewis, Canada, Member at Large

Continuing Nominating Committee Members
Penelope Notter, MI, Region III
John W. Viars, IA, Region V


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