BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Thomas Borowiak (Chairman of the Board)
Mr. Borowiak is the Director of Clinical Engineering for Trinity Health. Under his direction are the clinical engineering programs of the St. Joseph Mercy Health System: Chelsea Community Hospital, St. Joseph Mercy Livingston and St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor. Prior to Trinity he held management positions with TriMedx and Diebold. He also has twenty-years as a field service engineer specializing in diagnostic medical imaging. Mr. Borowiak is a member of the Michigan Society of Clinical Engineers. Mr. Borowiak graduated summa cum laude from the University of Detroit in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He was awarded the Wall Street Journal Award for outstanding academic achievement. He obtained his Master of Science in Management, magna cum laude, from Walsh College in 2002. Mr. Borowiak is also a Vietnam-era veteran of the United States Army. His proudest accomplishments are those of his family: his wife Rosann and his children: Benjamin, Daniel, and Carolyn.
Mrs. Borowiak is semi-retired having thirty-years of banking experience, most recently with FirstState Bank of Eastpointe, Michigan. Her career experience includes banking positions of teller, personal banker, head teller, and assistant manager. She has been recognized for her outstanding customer skills, cash handling ability, and her risk management abilities. Mrs. Borowiak has received her Associates Degree in Liberal Arts from Wayne State University. Mrs. Borowiak is also a seasoned community booster and active volunteer. Mrs. Borowiak’s finest achievements are as a mother; raising and nurturing three successful and wonderful children.
James Donoghue is a Board Member for Ben’s Encore and is serving his 4th year as the assistant Director of Marketing. Graduating with a BFA from Wayne State, “Jamie” spends his days teaching Visual Arts at Bishop Foley Catholic High School in Madison Heights. Jamie met Ben through mutual friends in 1998, and the two spent many years playing music together in the band, “Karenin’s Smile.” He attributes much of what he knows about music to Ben and is passionate about carrying on that legacy through Ben’s Encore.
Christopher Hemler has worked as a formal and informal educator for over 15 years and has a passion for finding innovative and exciting ways to teach and connecting learners of all ages and disciplines. In addition to his work with Ben’s Encore, Chris currently serves as the Manager of Education and Learning Programs at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, where he oversees all educational programs and initiatives. Chris graduated from the University of Detroit Mercy with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies Education and has completed the coursework for his Master of Arts in History from Oakland University. Prior to joining Ben’s Encore and The Henry Ford, Chris taught middle school social studies and served as the director of the school’s award-winning Social Studies Olympiad program. He has also served as an Educational Consultant for school districts and community organizations and was the recipient of the Detroit Historic Memorial Award in 2004. Chris attended both De La Salle Collegiate High School and the University of Detroit Mercy with Ben, where they were both members of the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity. After college, Chris and Ben remained close friends, lived together and, in 2009, Ben stood up in Chris’ wedding. Chris lives in Grosse Pointe Woods with his wife, Nicole, and their son, Elliott Benjamin.
Nicole Bianchi Hemler
Nicole Bianchi Hemler currently teaches Special Education at Maimi Elementary School in the Chippewa Valley School District in Clinton Township, Michigan, where she also coaches Science Olympiad and is the advisor of the Green Club. She is especially passionate about music education and Ben’s Encore’s initiatives in educating underserved populations. Nicole has also worked for MASC/MAHS, which promotes leadership and develops character in the students of secondary schools in Michigan. She has organized many fundraising events in the past, including auctions for the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation though the Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority, where she served as Vice President of Standards and two terms as the Phi Sigma Chapter President. Nicole graduated from Wayne State University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Special Education, and had earned a national academic scholarship from Alpha Epsilon Phi. She is currently working on her Master of Arts in Teacher Leadership at Oakland University. Nicole met Ben during college through her husband, Chris. Nicole and Ben carpooled to Wayne State University while Ben was working on his graduate degree. After college, Nicole and Ben remained close friends, lived together and, in 2009, Ben stood up in Nicole’s wedding. Nicole lives in Grosse Pointe Woods with her husband, Chris, and their son, Elliott Benjamin.
Kevin DeGrood is currently the Treasurer for Ben’s Encore and sits on the Board of Directors as well. He graduated from the University of Detroit Mercy in 2004 with a BS in chemical engineering. He is a member of the Kappa Delta Rho social fraternity where he met Ben and became fraternity brothers with him during his undergraduate years. Kevin currently works as an interior materials engineer for Toyota at the North American technical center in Ann Arbor, MI. Kevin is also an avid home brewer and is in the process of opening a microbrewery in Northville, MI.
Bruce Farrell is a proposal manager at Plante Moran where he is responsible for developing proposals and presentations for the management consulting practice. He has been working in business communications for 20 years and is a recognized thought leader in the area of presentation design and delivery. He presents at conferences across the country on this and other topics. Bruce has also been active in the local music scene for almost 30 years as a guitar player and singer. It was through the band Spitting Nickels that he became acquainted with Ben. Though they were never in the band at the same time, he and Ben were in the same musical circle for several years and Bruce admired Ben’s passion and commitment to his music. He is honored to be involved in Ben’s Encore and continue Ben’s legacy.
Aaron oversees Ben’s Encore’s Programming Committee, as well as continuing to be a member of the Board of Directors. He feels it is an honor to serve the community of Detroit alongside the amazing family and friends of Ben Borowiak. Ben has been an inspiration to Aaron since they met in high school. That inspiration has lived on through this organization that eagerly carries out Ben’s mission. As the Assistant Director of Programming, Aaron works with the team to plan and host all of the fun and music filled events that Ben’s Encore puts on around Metro Detroit. So next time you’re out watching your favorite local band, Aaron will probably be around, too. Just look for the crowd around the guy with all the sweet dance moves.
Amy Kaltz was recently elected to the Board of Directors and also serves as the Assistant Director of Eduation. Amy has been a volunteer with Ben’s Encore since it’s beginning in 2011 and enjoys the chance to work with students outside of the classroom to foster a love of music. Growing up, Amy played the saxophone in her school’s various bands and she believes that her participation in band had an impact on the person she is today. She is currently a teacher of elementary students with Autism at Poupard Elementary in Grosse Pointe Public Schools. Amy has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Special Education from Oakland University. She and her husband recently moved to Detroit from St. Clair Shores and she enjoys being a part of the energy of the city. She loves that Ben’s Encore gives her a great opportunity to have a positive impact on Detroit and neighboring communities by providing opportunities for aspiring musicians.
Executive Director – Christopher Hemler
Assistant Director of Operations – Bruce Farrel
Corporate Secretary – Nicole Wright
Nicole is currently the corporate secretary of the Ben’s Encore corporation. Nicole Graduated from Oakland University with her Bachelor’s degree in social work and is currently working on her Masters degree. Nicole’s love for music started when she was young and continues today as part of a bell choir. Nicole initially found out about Ben’s Encore volunteering for an event, fell in love and wanted to become more involved.
Assistant Director of Finance – Kevin DeGrood
Assistant Director of Development – Catherine Wilson
Katie received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Michigan State University. She then went on to receive her Master of Business Administration at Wayne State University, specializing in the areas of Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior and Development. She officially joined Ben’s Encore in January 2015, but has been attending events and volunteering since the very beginning. Katie is eager to continue developing scholarship programs for aspiring musicians. She also hopes to help support local music programs by obtaining funding through grants and donations.