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Board Members

James Birge – Chair of the Lever Board

James F. Birge, Ph.D. is the 12th President of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) in North Adams, Massachusetts and has worked in higher education for more than 30 years. Previously, Dr. Birge served as President of Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire. As a member of the Boards of Directors for LEVER, MASS MoCA, 1Berkshire, and the MountainOne Bank Community Advisory Board, Dr. Birge works to build collaborations between the College and the community.

Cairn Cross

Cairn Cross is a co-founder of FreshTracks Capital and serves as a Managing Director of the Fund.  Cairn presently serves on the boards of FreshTracks portfolio companies NativeEnergy, Faraday, and Mamava and is an observer to the SunCommon and Caledonia Spirits boards.  Cairn is a lecturer at the UVM Grossman School of Business where he teaches Financing Sustainable Innovation for the Sustainable Innovation MBA program. Cairn is also an advisor to the board of Colchester, Vermont based C2 an IT services and management company. Cairn is also the Instructor for the Vermont SBA Emerging Leaders program.

Don Dubendorf

Donald R. Dubendorf is a recently retired attorney. He had been in private practice in Williamstown, Massachusetts since 1978. His practice concentrated on corporate, business, and land use law throughout Western Massachusetts and beyond.

He worked with a wide range of businesses, financial and cultural institutions, developers and entrepreneurs providing creative problem solving and innovative solutions and applying the law in pursuit of the best of client outcomes.

Jim Mahon

Jim Mahon teaches courses on political economy, comparative politics, Latin American politics, U.S.- Latin America foreign relations, and Cuba at Williams College. He has authored various works on taxation and financial flows in Latin America, political economy, and comparative social inquiry. His current research examines fiscal politics and the reform of the state in Latin America.

Rick Morgenthal

Richard Morgenthal founded Morgenthal Frederics Opticians in 1986. With degrees in both optics and fine arts, Rick designed the entire eyewear collection fostering a creative and whimsical alternative to the eyewear buying experience. Additionally, the Morgenthal Frederics collection was featured in Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, and leading optical stores worldwide. Morgenthal Frederics eyewear has been an incredible success appearing in numerous fashion publications and attracting a premium clientele. In 2006, Rick sold Morgenthal Frederics to the private enterprise group Credit Suisse. Since then, Morgenthal Frederics has expanded to Beverly Hills, Chicago, Aspen and Palm Beach. Rick and his wife Leslie have lived in Pownal since 2006. Both are artists. Rick paints at his studio in the Beaver Mill in Clarksburg.

Elizabeth Nielsen

Elizabeth has experience as a teacher, in a range of volunteer work, and non-profit Board service, including serving as the Board Chair of InterVarsity.

She earned her BA in English at Williams College and later earned graduate degrees in literature (Rutgers University) and theology (Knox Theological Seminary). Elizabeth serves as Pastor of Congregational Care at the First Presbyterian Church in North Palm Beach, Florida. Elizabeth and her husband Steven enjoy living part-time in the Berkshires.

Angela Randolph

Dr. Angela Randolph is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson College. Her research focuses on the cognitive and behavioral process by which nascent entrepreneurs identify, evaluate, and pursue entrepreneurial opportunities. Randolph holds a Ph.D. from the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University, an MBA from the College of William and Mary, and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia. She and her family reside in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Richard Rowe

Rich Rowe is a recently retired executive with over 30 years of experience working in the Berkshires, most recently as President of US Government Products at Crane Currency in Dalton. where he was responsible for strategy, direction and execution of currency and passport products to the US Government. Mr. Rowe holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia.

As former Board Chair of the Berkshire United Way, and as a current Board Member of Lever, the Dalton Community Recreation Association and the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority, Rich is deeply engaged in helping create a strong future for the families and communities of the Berkshires. He and his wife Karen reside in Dalton.

Jeffrey Thomas – Lever Co-Founder

Jeffrey D. Thomas is Lever’s Executive Director. A self-described scientist-by-training and entrepreneur-by-accident, Jeffrey was among the founding scientists at Millennium Pharmaceuticals and was the founding CSO of Genstruct (now Selventa). He also led the genomics and bioinformatics program at Pfizer‘s Ann Arbor site. He founded Entrepreneurs@Williams in 2011, a program that includes courses, internship opportunities, and a campus-wide business plan competition. He received his B.A. from Wabash College and his Ph.D. and M.D. from Indiana University. He lives in Williamstown.

Jack Wadsworth – Lever Co-Founder

Jack Wadsworth is Honorary Chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia and Advisory Director of Morgan Stanley globally. He is also Chairman and Co-Founder of Ceyuan Ventures, a China-based early-stage technology venture fund. Mr. Wadsworth is a member of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business Council; an Advisor to Mission BioCapital, and a bioscience affiliate of University of California San Francisco. Mr. Wadsworth is also an Emeritus Trustee of Williams College, the Asia Society, and the Guggenheim Museum of New York. Mr. Wadsworth earned a B.A. from Williams College in 1961, and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business in 1963. Mr. Wadsworth and his wife Susy are based in San Francisco.

Emeritus Board Members

Julia Bowen


Barry Davis


Tina Olsen


Lee Park


Denise Richardello


Will Schmidt


Laurie Thomsen


Travis McCready


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