This is our dedicated team of volunteer board members and instructors.
Every board member is a certified PMP® who also serves as an instructor, and every instructor holds a PMI® certification.
We are 100% volunteers - no one receives compensation for their work.
LEE HENSEL, PMP
US Army, RETIRED
I volunteered for the BDC/PMI Veteran's PM Class because I am a retired Army veteran that wants to help my fellow veterans in the challenge of transition and their (and many times their family’s) "new life". I/we had challenges and one of the ways that I dealt with them was by getting my PMP. Veterans learn to lead people and manage things; a very important perspective that is needed in the commercial business cultures. This training helps the veteran to translate their leadership/management experience into terms and processes that are understood by companies and the communities.
Bill Baxter, PMP
course project manager and instructor
Grateful for the all-volunteer military we have in the US, I feel an urge to demonstrate my gratitude with concrete action, delivering value to those veterans I am able to help. Aware of challenges involved in transition to a civilian career, I wish to help veterans overcome those challenges. Seeing positive outcomes -- and feeling I played a part -- is very rewarding. Then, too... I always enjoy hearing their stories.
gerald minZey, PMP®
instructor and board member
Gerald Minzey has 20 years experience as a consultant in Information Technology specializing in Software Development, Technical Project Management, Business Intelligence, and Sustainability.
He is a U.S.Army veteran with 20+ years in both active and reserve components. His career has encompassed Special Operations, Intelligence and Psycological Operations. Affiliations include
• National Intelligence Agencies: NSA, CIA, DIA, DEA
• Tactical Intelligence Agencies: 319th MI BN, 224th MI BN, 525th MI BDE
• Special Operations Agencies: 5th SFGA, 12th SFGA, USASFC, SOCCENT
Gerald is a graduate of Illinois Institute of Technology where he received his MBA with an emphasis in Sustainable Enterprise. He also holds degrees in Computers, Management, Administration, Intelligence Operations and Mechatronics.
Judith Sol-Dyess, pmp®
instructor and board member
My formal education is in fine arts, and I maintain a studio practice. I've worked as a project manager in the nonprofit sector for 15 years, and received by PMP certification during this time. Most recently, I've worked in Agile project management at a custom software consultancy in Chicago. I am a native of Catalonia, Spain, and I'm married to an Army veteran.
I’ve been volunteering with Black Diamond Charities since 2015 - as a mentor, as an instructor, and most recently as a board member. I could not be prouder of the students and instructors with whom I’ve had the privilege to work. We always learn from each other and I continue to be awed at the commitment our veterans have made - not just to serving this country - but to society at large, even after transitioning out of the military.
Their commitment to excellence in all things motivates me to serve them, however I can.
Shailender Goswami, PMP
It started with a why, “Why do I want to go and take classes for the heroes of our country during my personal time”, and it was the fastest response and an easiest answer for me. This is the very least I could do for the people who have been protecting us and is sacrificing their personal luxury. There is nothing that can make up for the things that armed forces are doing and have done. Teaching classes is my way of saluting them and saying “THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE”.
Terry Radtke-LaCandia, PMP®
instructor and board member
I have been involved in the BDC Veteran PM training classes since January 2015. As a military “brat” I witnessed the veterans in my life struggle to translate their military experience and careers into the civilian world and find immense pleasure in giving back to the veterans, especially those in transition.
I was exposed to project management growing up in a military family and found a natural inclination to the processes and methodologies when working on a post 9/11 project for the TSA re-framing effort in 2002. My career has been within the retail industry with roles spanning across business and IT PMOs in supply chain and workforce management, new business development, turnarounds, inventory management and controls, service management and reporting arenas. I am interested in international project management instruction and recently became TESOL certified.
Anthony L. Costello (Tony), PMP®
instructor and board member
I was in uniform for over 21 years serving our country. While serving, I had the opportunity to earn multiple degrees, and qualify for my Project Management Professional certification. In the Army I built base camps for the Iraqi Police in Mosul, Iraq; I removed base camps in Wardak and Logar Provinces in Afghanistan; and finally, I built Ebola Treatment Units throughout the jungles of Liberia. I share a kinship with all the other veterans of the country no matter the era and want to do all that I can so that they can have the same opportunities that I had. When I first started working for my current civilian job, I was surrounded by very few veterans. I derive great satisfaction from sharing my stories and knowledge of the project management world I experienced while I was in the Army. Airborne!
Ira M. Hendon, MBA, PMP, CSM
Instructor and board member
Whether coaching others through the PMI Chicagoland Chapter Mentor program, Black Diamond Charities (BDC), individual relationships, or during client engagements, I find helping others grow professionally to be extremely rewarding.
I learned about the BDC/PMI Chicagoland Chapter partnership through Bill Baxter at a PMI Chicagoland Chapter Dinner meeting. I thought I would give it a try.
After two evolutions of classes, I have found the experience 2nd to none. I am very proud of our veterans and if in some small way I can assist with their transition from Active Duty to Civilian life, I am all in.
Emmem Ekorikoh, PMP®, CSM, LSSGB, ITIL, MSMIS/MPH
instructor and board member
I chose to volunteer with Black Diamond Charities because I believe in their mission and believe that the PMP certification can open doors and create opportunities for anyone who is passionate about project management, helping others, and creating solutions. The beauty of the certification is that it can be used across disciplines, can be used as a stepping stone in your career, or to enhance an existing skill set.
During my career and preparation for the exam, I have met great people who have provided me with guidance, support, and advance within my career. The best way to thank all of the individuals who assisted me in my journey is to ‘pay it forward’ by assisting others in their goal to get certified.
Stacy meyer, PMP®
I am forever grateful to all of the men and women who serve our country. I wanted to do something to show my appreciation in a tangible way by helping them learn a new skill that might lead to a career in project management. I have been a PMP certified Project Manager since 2005 and have my Masters Certificate in Project Management.
I currently work in a Project Management Office in my company and for the past 4 years, have taught project management classes internally all around the world. With my experience, I thought I could make a contribution to this program. I really enjoyed teaching and learning from the veterans who participated in the session I co-taught and was impressed by their knowledge and wide range of work and world experiences. While helping them I also gave myself an amazing opportunity to meet and get to know these courageous men and women from all branches of service.
Melody Moy, PMP
Our veterans have given so much for our country -- who wouldn't feel called to help! Project management is such a valuable business and life skill and I am honored to share my project management knowledge and expertise and am always amazed and humbled by the expertise and experiences that our vets bring to the program.
Tom Carlson, Pe, PMP
During my 30+ years of experience, I have held various roles in project management, design, construction, manufacturing, maintenance, and facility management. I am a certified Project Manager (PMP) and a registered Professional Engineer (PE) with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. I volunteer as an instructor to give something back to our veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country. It is my way to thank them for their service, and to honor the veterans in my family, including my father. By sharing my experiences and knowledge in this program, I hope it will help the veteran students in the civilian world. Everyone manages projects throughout their life, both professionally and personally. When you understand the principles of project management and how to apply them, it is amazing what you can accomplish.
Tracy (TJ) Miller, PMP
I am honored to be involved in the Black Diamond Charities Project Management Fundamentals Course for two years. I was looking for a volunteer opportunity and couldn’t have found a better one. Each class has been very interactive, with thoughtful and insightful questions. The Board takes an interest in re-evaluating the program criteria based on the suggestions from the military veterans. Graduates have a strong foundation should they choose to prepare for the Project Manager Professional (PMP) certification. I have learned a lot from class participants and have used some of their feedback in my personal project management practice.
Paula M. UsciaN, PMP
I am grateful that the women and men in the armed forces are willing to go into harm’s way to help preserve our way of life. Participating in this program, while it cannot compare to their sacrifice, is my humble way of thanking these folks for their service.
Antuanet Sanchez, PMP, LSSGB, CSM
I am very grateful to be part of Black Diamond Charities. The work done behind the scenes to bring this world class training is simply priceless. Bringing together a dedicated group of professionals who are passionate about the Project Management career and who are ready to share their experience and knowledge but first and foremost who are ready to inspire others. That is why it makes this place unique and I am very honored to be part of this phenomenal group. When I had the opportunity to become part of the team as an instructor I knew in a heartbeat that I wanted to contributing to the BDC mission.
I am very thankful for this opportunity of touching different lives in each session, and helping them transition to the civil life, through the project management profession, is just as rewarding as another way of saying "thank you" for what they have done for us.