Board of Directors Members

Get to know the members of our Board of Directors.

Dave Abler - President

I’ve been a PAWS volunteer since 2001 and a member of the PAWS Board of Directors since 2004. Since 2012 I’ve served as the President of PAWS, a role I also held during 2008-2010. As President I’m responsible for the overall leadership of PAWS. I chair the Board of Directors, supervise our new Executive Director Lisa Bahr, and work with our Board, staff and volunteers to develop, communicate and implement our goals and direction to achieve our mission. I’m a member of the IT Committee and Finance Committee, and was on the Executive Director Search Committee. By The Numbers, a consulting business owned by my wife Cathy Kassab and me, is a PAWS Universal Sponsor and the Presenting Sponsor of PAWS Bingo. Cathy and I live on a farm near Philipsburg with our 9 rescue dogs, one rescue cat, and a menagerie of chickens, geese, guinea hens, turkeys, and ducks.

Dave Abler

Ryan Macaluso - Vice President

Ryan started as a front desk volunteer at PAWS almost five years ago. He has expanded his role into dog and cat fostering and is a member on the Finance and Facilities Committee. Ryan enjoys helping animals and working with the talented, selfless volunteer team. As the Director of Fiscal Operations for a human services provider, Ryan is a trusted advocate and resource for the commonwealth. Ryan loves working with people in the community and thrives on helping others. His areas of responsibilities have spanned finance, human resources, real estate, and project management. Ryan is an accomplished leader who began his career in retail store operations as a District Manager. He was also able to work as a Director of Administration and Regional Director of Real Estate in ten different states. In addition, Ryan is a volunteer on the leadership team of ACAP (Aging Children of Aging Parents) Centre County as their Finance Director. Ryan graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in Finance and is currently a MBA student. In his free time, Ryan enjoys spending time with the family’s three dogs and wife Jeannette who is a PAWS Shift Leader, Floor Volunteer for dogs and Personnel Committee member.

Ryan Macaluso

Reenie Ferretti - Treasurer

I’ve had a passion for animals since my first job pet sitting for neighbors in Boalsburg when I was 10. I also have over 17 years of accounting experience as both a consultant and controller for public and private companies. I was grateful for the opportunity to join the Finance Committee in 2017 so I could use my passion and accounting experience to help support PAWS. In 2018, I was elected PAWS Treasurer and I serve as Finance Committee chair and Fur Ball Committee chair. I also served as a member of Executive Director Search Committee. I worked with the Investment Committee and the Board to improve investments of excess reserves to provide more income. I’ve enjoyed supporting PAWS as a Board member and hope to continue in this role. I live in State College with my husband, Chris, daughter, Dinah, and our two PAWS rescue cats, Cricket and Lion.

Reenie Ferretti

Maureen Casey

A PAWS volunteer since 2008, I have watched PAWS become an integral part of the community. Starting as a Cat Care Volunteer in 2008 and joining the Cat Medical Team shortly afterwards, I have spent Sundays at PAWS as part of the Medical Team to evaluate and treat sick animals and provide routine preventive care. I establish medical protocols, offer training sessions, inventory and order medical supplies, serve on the Cat Euthanasia team and assist with intakes. While working at Metzgers, I established the HART Fund to assist clients with medical care payments. I would be able to utilize this experience with fundraising at PAWS with events such as the Furball, Bingo, etc. I have established relationships with local vets. I feel that my connections in our community, my knowledge of PAWS operations and my desire to see PAWS succeed would qualify me for the PAWS Board of Directors.

Maureen Casey

Mike Chilcot

It’s been my pleasure to serve on the PAWS Board of Directors since 2019. I’m also a member of the personnel committee. Even though I’ve only been involved with PAWS for a short time, I’ve been a lifelong lover of our animal friends; cuddly, and not so cuddly included! I was born and raised in central Pennsylvania and received my undergraduate degree from Penn State in Chemical Engineering. After a career as a professional poker player, I obtained my Juris Doctorate from Pitt. While at Pitt I expanded my ability and love of giving back to the community. I am currently an attorney with McQuaide Blasko in State College; focusing on Family law. My unique background and skillset helps me contribute to PAWS and the board of directors and hopefully will for years to come! I reside in State College with my wife, daughter, and our two lab mixes (one of which is a PAWS rescue).

Mike Chilcot

Bob Conn

I have volunteered at PAWS since 2011 and served on the PAWS Board of Directors since May of 2015.  My devotion to animal welfare has taken many forms: former volunteer and Board Member of Centre Wildlife Care, amateur photographer of wildlife and PAWS animals, PAWS Information Technology Committee chair, PAWS Publicity Committee, and happy vegetarian!  In 2004, I completed my Ph.D. in Workforce Education from Penn State, where I’ve also been employed as a Senior System Administrator in the College of Agricultural Sciences for over 28 years.  Some of the larger projects at PAWS that I’ve led or contributed to were the migration to Animal Shelter Manager, installation and management of a new VoIP phone system, installation of a video surveillance system, Web site host migration and redesign to an entirely new platform, G-Suite, Office 365 and Salesforce administration, and installation and troubleshooting of PAWS computer and Internet equipment.  Though my role is technical rather than creative, I also look forward to helping to fundraise during Centre Gives each year and at PAWS Bingo events.  My family and I live in Boalsburg with three PAWS cats and three rescue dogs, and everyone in my family has volunteered (or still volunteers) as part of the PAWS family.

Bob Conn

Virginia Ishler

I have been an active PAWS volunteer for almost 12 years. During that time, I have worked as a dog handler on the Sunday dog showings, adoption counselor, foster program coordinator and in the last few years a Board member. I was on the Search Committee for the Executive Director position. I have participated in the Fur Ball and personnel committee. I was recently elected vice president. It has been a fantastic experience being involved in a proactive organization that keeps raising the bar in how PAWS can help animals. It has been rewarding to be part of the process to advance the care of rescue animals both medically and behaviorally. I would like to continue as a Board member especially with the recent hire of an Executive Director and the potential for even greater opportunities and impact in the next 10 years.

Virginia Ishler

Ginny Newman

I’m running for reelection to the PAWS Board of Directors because I believe that I can meaningfully contribute to the continued success of the organization. I’ve volunteered 650 hours to PAWS since 2016 doing weekly cat care, serving as a trainer and leader of the Cat Care Training Team and have fostered several litters of kittens. I’ve served on numerous committees including the Fur Ball, Membership, Personnel, and the Executive Director Search Committee. Professionally I’ve worked as a government official, a nonprofit executive director and a higher education administrator. My main expertise lies in management and organizational leadership, but I also have experience in fundraising and marketing. My volunteer service record has given me firsthand understanding and demonstrates my passion for PAWS. As a retiree, I’m also able to devote significant time to the organization. I believe my professional experience can help PAWS be the region’s premier companion animal resource.

Ginny Newman

Joan Ritchie

Hello, my name is Joan Ritchie and I am a small animal veterinarian in State College. I have been on the PAWS board for 7 years. While on the board I have chaired the nominating committee. This committee helps find interesting and diverse candidates to be part of the PAWS board. If you see me at PAWS it would be on the occasional Sunday when I help with the PAWS medical team to vaccinate dogs and cats and to help with health issues. The submitted picture will help you recognize me when you see me since we all will be wearing masks for a year.

Joan Ritchie

Susan Strohm

A PAWS volunteer for 11 years, Susan started on a Cat Care shift, then became a Floor Volunteer and coordinator of the Pet Partner program. A Cat Adoption Counselor since 2010, she serves as the Cat Adoption Counselor Co-Coordinator. Prior to retiring from Penn State in 2017, Susan was a faculty member in the College of Communications, Department of Advertising / Public Relations (1985-2017). A proud Golden Gopher (Ph.D., University of Minnesota) and Bucky Badger (B.A., University of Wisconsin), Susan also was the College of Communications Coordinator for the Schreyer Honors College (1989-2017). She owns and runs a martial arts studio certified by the World Tang Soo Do Association (a 501C Corporation with 200,000 members in 30 countries). She also serves as the Association’s Publications Committee Co-Chair, overseeing Masters’ Theses required for 4th Degree Black Belts and above. She assists with editing WTSDA books and produces martial arts instructional DVDs.

Susan Strohm

Colleen Williams

Born, raised and residing in State College PA, Colleen Williams graduated with a degree in Marketing from The Pennsylvania State University and received her Masters of Business Association from Saint Francis University. Her 20 year career focuses on leadership, business development, marketing and public relations. She has served on the boards for The Centre County United Way, Centre Volunteers in Medicine, Leadership Centre County and Central Pennsylvania Creative Professionals. Colleen is the secretary of The Patton Township Business Association, a member of the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau’s marketing committee, an advisor to businesses through Powerlink and just joined the PR committee for Rotary. As for her family, after inheriting a schnauzer 27 years ago, Colleen went through a transformation from a cat person to a dog one. Yet, she will always love all animals including hamsters, guinea pigs and pikas (mountain dwelling animals in South Asia).

Colleen Williams

Monica Wright

Monica Wright has enjoyed living, working and volunteering in central PA for more than 19 years. Her diverse experience with social and economic challenges guide both her professional and private life. As Director of Development for Centre Volunteers in Medicine (CVIM), she focuses on community health and education by raising awareness and resources for those individuals who lack health insurance. Monica is a supporter/volunteer for numerous community organizations including Rotary, The State Theatre, Chamber of Business and Industry in Centre County, Mount Nittany Health, ClearWater Conservancy, and Pets Come First to name a few. She has supported PAWS for nearly 15 years volunteering on several fundraising committees and she has been on the PAWS Board for over three years. She enjoys fostering kittens and has fostered 76 kittens over the last four years. Professionally, Monica has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses at Penn State. She has conducted research with interdisciplinary teams collecting and analyzing data for varied research projects. She worked with K-12 students as a certified school psychologist in Kentucky for several years before relocating to PA. Monica is an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Army Reserves having served six years as a licensed practical nurse.

Monica Wright