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Sarasota-Manatee
Business Observer Monday, Sep. 23, 2019 2 months ago

Foundation names new board chair, adds members for next growth phase

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Jim Travers is a senior technology executive who built high-growth technology companies in the public and private sectors during his 35-year career.

SARASOTA — The Van Wezel Foundation has expanded its board of directors and elected Jim Travers as its new chairman. 

Travers is a senior technology executive who built high-growth technology companies in the public and private sectors over the course of his 35-year career, according to a press release. Most recently, Travers served as chairman and CEO of Fleetmatics Inc., a global software service company that was purchased by Verizon in 2016. He remains active with emerging technology companies, working with private equity partners as an investor and board member.

“Jim Travers has spent the last three years leading the board’s Strategic Planning Committee,” says Mike Martella, the foundation’s immediate past board chair and current vice-chairman and CEO of Boar’s Head Provisions Co. Inc., in the statement. “The committee was established to play a key role in helping shape the plan to create a public-private partnership with the City of Sarasota to build a world-class performing arts center at the heart of the Bay’s approved master plan. Because of his expertise, the board unanimously agreed that Jim is the perfect choice to lead the Foundation into its next chapter.”

Newly elected board members include Ali Bahaj, former chairman and CEO of Caterpillar, who will serve as governance committee chair; Vern Chalfant, former executive chairman and CEO of McLarens Global Limited, who will serve on the strategic planning committee; Jenne Brittel, former chairman of United Rentals; and Chad Campbell, regional president of BMO Harris Bank. 

The remaining board members will continue their service, including vice-chair Mike Martella, Gerald Biller, Brian Ellerson, Mark Famiglio, David Koffman, Elaine McClure, Karl Newkirk, Sharyn Weiner and Michael Wilson. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Executive Director Mary Bensel and Van Wezel Foundation CEO Cheryl Mendelson will be ex-officio board members. 

The Van Wezel Foundation was established in 1987 as a public/private partnership with the city-owned Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. It provides grants to underwrite arts education, Schooltime Performances, community access to the arts and capital support for improvements to the hall.

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