President and Chief Executive Officer
Irving Pressley McPhail was named the sixth president and Chief Executive Officer of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (NACME) on September 1, 2009. He joined NACME in 2007 as executive vice president and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining NACME, Dr. McPhail founded and served as principal of The McPhail Group LLC. He served 15 years as a college president or chancellor at The Community College of Baltimore County, St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, and LeMoyne-Owen College. Dr. McPhail also served as Chief Operating Officer of the Baltimore City Public Schools. Under his leadership, The Community College of Baltimore County was named one of 12 Vanguard Learning Colleges in the U.S. and Canada in 2000 by the League for Innovation in the Community College; won the Bellwether Award in the category of Planning, Finance and Governance in 2000; and was awarded the PBS O’Banion Prize for Leading the Way to Change in Teaching and Learning in 2003. NACME received the 2012 Claire Felbinger Award for Diversity from ABET (the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology).
He has held tenured full professorships at three colleges and universities, and served as an affiliate or visiting professor at the University of Maryland at College Park, the University of Pennsylvania, and Morgan State University. Working at the nexus of practice, policy, and research in language, literacy, and culture; post-secondary student success, community college leadership, and STEM education, Dr. McPhail is the co-editor of Teaching African American Learners to Read: Perspectives and Practices, published by the International Reading Association in 2005, and the author of more than 50 journal articles, chapters, monographs, and technical reports. He earned a bachelor’s degree in development sociology at Cornell University and a master’s degree in reading at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He earned the doctorate in reading/language arts at the University of Pennsylvania as a National Fellowships Fund Fellow.
He was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Engineering degree at the 155th Commencement of Polytechnic Institute of New York University on May 18, 2010. Dr. McPhail was an American Council on Education Fellow in Academic Administration at The Johns Hopkins University, and he completed the Presidents Academy Summer Institute at the American Association of Community Colleges and the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University. His many awards include the 2012 Educator of the Year Award from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, the Ira D. and Rubye Hibler Hall Endowed Heritage Lecture Series Award from Langston University, the Alumni of Color Achievement Award from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the Pioneer Award from the National Council on Black American Affairs of the American Association of Community Colleges. Dr. McPhail serves on the board of directors of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation. He is a charter member of the E-Week [Engineers Week] Diversity Council. Dr. McPhail also served as a strategy coach in the Achieving the Dream national initiative at Prairie View A&M University in Texas. Active in community service, he is a volunteer with the Colon Cancer Alliance, a member of the Stuyvesant Black Alumni Diversity Initiative, and a member of the E.W. Wainwright Memorial Scholarship Committee and Health and Wellness Committee at The Shiloh Baptist Church in Harlem, New York.
Senior Vice President for Operations
Saundra Johnson Austin joined NACME in 2010 as Senior Vice President for Operations. Johnson Austin has a combination of secondary, post-secondary, non-profit, and corporate experience that gives her a unique perspective of NACME’s mission. She received the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Civil Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University, and the Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree from the University of Notre Dame.
Prior to joining the NACME team, she served as the first President and CEO for St. Michael’s High School in Santa Fe, N.M.; and from 2005-2008 she served as the Executive Vice President for the Community Partnership for Lifelong Learning (CPLL) in Benton Harbor, Mich. From 2000-2005, she was Executive Director of the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, Inc. (GEM). From 1994-2000, she held the position of Director of the Minority Engineering Program at The Pennsylvania State University. Johnson Austin also worked for seven years with Bechtel Power Corporation in progressively more complex assignments as a field cost engineer, civil estimator, assistant cost engineer, and cost engineer. In addition to her professional titles, she has also been a long-time advocate for the education of underrepresented minorities in STEM, and has published and presented several papers on the topic at national conferences to government agencies and Fortune 500 companies.
Chief Development Officer
Elizabeth Ross is a marketing, fundraising and nonprofit management specialist who lives in NYC. Prior to coming to NACME, Elizabeth worked with the Community Development Venture Capital Alliance and the PEN American Center on strategic projects. Previously, she was VP of Business Development for Speakeasy, Inc., a communication consulting firm. Elizabeth has also held positions with The Atlanta Women’s Foundation and Literacy Action, Inc., an Atlanta-based school for undereducated adults. Previously, Elizabeth was a program director for San-Francisco-based Net Impact, an organization that promotes corporate responsibility and sustainable business, where she managed corporate relations, fundraising initiatives, communications, and the organization’s annual international conference. Prior to joining Net Impact, Elizabeth was the Director of External Relations for Chicago Cares, an award-winning volunteer service organization and an associate with Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide.
Elizabeth received her Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Boston University. At Michigan, Elizabeth founded the Michigan Students for Responsible Business chapter (now Net Impact), was elected communications director for the Global Citizenship society and addressed her class at graduation in acceptance of the 1996 MBA Leadership Award. While at Michigan, Elizabeth was a Whirlpool Ambassador as part of the MBA Domestic Corps program and developed a handbook distributed to the business school faculty and students entitled, “Corporate Social Responsibility: Bottom Line Impacts.”
Before entering the MBA program at Michigan, Elizabeth worked for Western International Media, Earle Palmer Brown and The Washington Post. For three years, Elizabeth served as co-chair for the J in the City Steering Committee, an initiative of the Marcus Jewish Community Center. Additionally, Elizabeth is a graduate of the Erwin Zaben Leadership Development program. She served on the Board of Directors for the League of Women Voters and served on Piedmont Park’s North Woods Advisory Committee. Elizabeth helped start and name a LEED-certified elementary school in Atlanta and served as President and Vice President of the Parent Teacher Organization for that school. She was President of the Midtown Parent’s Group and community director for the Midtown Education Committee. Elizabeth is a founder of Manhattan Network of Entrepreneurial Women launched in 2015.
Vice President - Finance/Administration and Chief Financial Officer
Michael Pan joined NACME in 2008 as Vice President of Finance/Administration and Chief Financial Officer. In this capacity, he is responsible for all aspects of NACME’s financial management, human resources, real estate and technology functions. Mr. Pan works closely with the President/CEO on fiscal control, and is a focal point for all Program and Development executives on funding matters. He is the liaison to the NACME Finance Committee and Board of Directors in presenting financial results, budgets, forecasts and the financial implications of strategic plans. He interacts frequently with the banking and investment communities and manages the NACME investment portfolio. In addition, he oversees all HR processes and activities including staff training and development.
Mr. Pan came to NACME from a career in the technology industry and expertise in financial and strategic planning, pricing, business controls and operation efficiencies. He has over 25 years of experience at IBM, including seven years internationally as CFO of the IBM Greater China Group. As the region’s CFO based in Beijing, he led the financial operations with $2 billion of revenues in the hardware, software, services, and financing businesses. As the CFO of Hong Kong, Mr. Pan improved both financial performance and staff morale there during a period of changing economic and political environment. He drove key initiatives to fund the initial growth in China by redeploying resources to Beijing, and led real estate consolidations that resulted in substantial savings.
Mr. Pan also held a number of executive and management positions at IBM Corporate Headquarters, the Hardware and Global Services Divisions, Manufacturing, and in the Latin America Group, with responsibilities for budgeting, planning, pricing, treasury, financial analysis, and cost efficiencies.
Mr. Pan is a graduate of The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, with an M.B.A. in Finance and Management and a B.S. in Economics.
Vice President, Scholarships and University Relations
Aileen Walter is NACME’s Vice President of Scholarships and University Relations. She began her career with NACME as vice president of scholar management. In her current position, she is responsible for the management and direction of all NACME scholarship programs and scholarship management services.
In 2003, Ms. Walter helped lead NACME’s student support strategy. This strategy has expanded formal partnerships with academic institutions. She also was responsible for laying the groundwork for NACME’s NASA partnership and alumni outreach activities. The most recent addition to her responsibilities is management and outreach for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Minority Ph.D. Program and Indigenous Graduate Partnership.
She has more than 20 years of experience in scholarship management, having served as director of financial aid at the Stevens Institute of Technology prior to joining NACME.
Ms. Walter has been a member of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and she has served on the boards of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.
She holds a B.A. degree in English literature from Montclair State College and an M.A. degree in higher education administration from New York University.
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