Past Trailblazers

2023 Trailblazers

Toni Bishop-McWain, Class of 1991, is chief nursing officer at Saratoga Hospital. She has published articles in ProQuest and Healthy Cells magazines, and lectured at national nursing and health care conferences, including the National Stroke Association. She served as a board member on Community Health Care Clinic, Illinois Organization of Nurse Leaders, Heartland Community College Foundation, Illinois State University Mennonite College of Nursing and Prevent Child Abuse of Illinois. Bishop-McWain has more than 30 years of nursing experi-ence, including as a critical care nurse, nurse manager, director of critical care and vice president of patient care. She is a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, American Association of Neuroscience Nurses, American Nurses Association, American Organization of Nurse Leaders and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. She earned an associate degree in Nursing from SUNY Adirondack, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Nursing and Nursing Administration from Sacred Heart University, and a doctorate in Nursing Administration from Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing.
Dean Felicetti, Class of 1992, is an international leader in digital forensics and information governance and former founder and partner of The Oliver Group, a company that provides litigation and compliance support in data acquisition, forensic and legacy data remediation. As director of Data Risk and Remediation for Sullivan|Strickler, Felicetti provides litigation support, information governance and electronic evidence discovery services. He is the longtime head coach of The Prout School’s varsity basketball team, last years’ Rhode Island coach of the year; founder and former coach of Chariho Youth Basketball Association; offers basketball clinics; and speaks regularly to high school students about digital footprints. He played basketball at SUNY Adirondack, from which he earned an associate degree in Data Processing.
John Marcantonio, Class of 1990, died July 22, 2023, but his larger-than-life personality and love of his community live on in all the lives he touched. Marcantonio was Vice President and Business Develop¬ment Officer at Arrow Financial Corporation. He worked for sever¬al years for Adirondack Regional and Saratoga County Chambers of Commerce. Passionate for making introductions and connec¬tions throughout the community, he remained an active cham¬ber member throughout his career. He also served for a decade on Glens Falls Rotary’s Board of Directors. Marcantonio was a fervent supporter of Alzheimer’s Association. As co-chair of the Northern Saratoga and Adirondack Walk to End Alzheimer’s, he was responsible for raising awareness and hundreds of thou¬sands of dollars for Alzheimer’s research. He attended the Alz¬heimer’s Association’s National Leadership Summit six times, twice as a presenter because of his incredible successes. He was named the Alzheimer’s Association’s Volunteer of the Year in 2019 and served on its Board of Directors. An avid hiker and Adirondack 46er, he developed Paint the Peaks Purple, a hiking challenge in support of The Longest Day fundraiser for Alzhei¬mer’s Association. Marcantonio volunteered as a coach for youth sports, including South Glens Falls Little League and Pop Warner, Northeast Hurricanes Travel Baseball and Adirondack Youth Hockey. A 1990 graduate of SUNY Adirondack with a degree in Business Administration, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Business from SUNY Institute of Technology.

Amy Ryan, Class of 2000, graduated from SUNY Adirondack with an Associate of Arts in Humanities and Social Sciences in 2000, from UAlbany with a Bachelor of Science in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and from Harvard with a Masters in Business Management. Amy, the Founder and Chief Circular Economist of University ESGStrategies, has over two decades of strategic leadership experience in the public, private, and government sectors. Her company assists businesses and municipalities with the redevelopment of industrial property or former factories for economic development.

She has extensive application experience of sustainability policy in manufacturing through auditing and participation in COP16 with the US delegation in the EU. Amy was appointed Vice-Chairwoman of the Strategic Foresight Board of the Circular Economy Alliance, an EU-based circular economy policy research center, after advising international clients on sustainability and circular economy projects since the mid-2000s.

Amy serves on the boards of Harvard University Alumni Association’s Disaster Preparedness and Response Team, LifeWorks Community Action of Saratoga County, and Capitol District YMCA Camp Chingachgook, in addition to being an adjunct professor at UAlbany/International School of Business of the Americas and an Independent Director for The Oil-Dri Corporation of America, Forbes Magazine’s seventh most successful small-cap company in 2024. Amy was named The Post-20 Star’s Under 40 in 2020, the University at Albany School of Business’s High Peaks Impact Award Founder, and the Top 50 Women in Sustainability by SustainabilityX® Magazine in 2022. Amy discussed the benefits of the circular economy to the local community at the 2023 Annual Africa-ESG, Impact Investing, and Sustainable Finance Forum, the University of Albany, the APEC Malaysia World-Class Circular Economy of Industrial Parks, and the Mohawk Valley (NY) Brownfield Developers Summit.

2022 Trailblazers

Lisa Mitzen, Class of 1989, is co-founder of Business for Good, a nonprofit organization that supports community organizations and businesses. Profits earned by businesses Mitzen owns — including The Bread Basket and Hattie’s Restaurant & Chicken Shack — fund Business for Good, which donates to regional nonprofit organizations and helps entrepreneurs further develop their businesses. She works to end homelessness, fight food insecurity and engage animal rights actions, through partnerships with The Lisa Mitzen Animal Care Center/Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, The Handsome Cock Farm, Rebuilding Together Saratoga County, Shelters of Saratoga, The Giving Circle, Double H Ranch and Alzheimer’s Association, among others. For more than 15 years, she worked as a mortgage lending manager for companies including Countrywide Home Loans, MetLife and Paragon Home Loans. She is a 1989 graduate of SUNY Adirondack and a 1991 graduate of SUNY Utica. 
John Strough, Class of 1971, is a lifelong resident of Queensbury and longtime town supervisor. Strough was a high school teacher for 37 years, retiring in 2011. From 2004 to 2013, he served as a town councilman and, in 2013, as deputy town supervisor. He was elected as town supervisor in 2014 and is serving in his fifth term. He served on SUNY Adirondack’s Board of Trustees, Warren County Economic Developmental Council’s board, and several boards and committees dedicated to preservation of Lake George. He developed, designed and built the Rush Pond and Half Way Brook trail systems, and has overseen direction and implementation of major infrastructure projects and initiatives, including solar, fiber optics, lake and land preservation, and economic projects. Strough’s historical summations and articles and essays about land and water preservation have been published. He is a 1971 graduate of SUNY Adirondack, a 1974 graduate of University of Buffalo and has pursued graduate studies at University at Albany and other institutions.
Tanya Tobias-Tomis, Class of 1999, is executive director of Lake George Arts Project, a nonprofit organization that promotes exposure and income opportunities to professional and emerging artists, and provides quality arts programming to the Lake George region. Over the past 23 years, Tobias-Tomis has held numerous arts administration positions in the region, including at The Hyde Collection and Saratoga Arts. She is vice president of the Board of Directors at Adirondack Folk School, a member of Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce Women in Business and, for more than a decade, has been a juror and steering committee member for LifeWorks’ Latino Community Advocacy Program’s Estamos Aqui fundraiser. In the past, she also served on Hudson River Mill Museum’s Board of Directors. Tobias-Tomis is a past Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader Scholarship Award Winner and was an Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader Award panelist, as well as an exhibition juror and guest speaker for many local and regional arts organizations. Tobias-Tomis is a 1999 graduate of SUNY Adirondack, a 2001 graduate of University at Albany and earned a master’s degree from Skidmore College.



2021 Trailblazers

Cassandra Moore, Class of 2005, a service line administrator of Glens Falls Hospital’s Neurology & Stroke Program, is a 2005 graduate of SUNY Adirondack’s highly respected Nursing program. Over the past 16 years, she has worked as a critical care nurse and nurse educator, and developed Glens Falls Hospital’s nurse residency and stroke programs.

Moore earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Nursing Education and Leadership in a bridge program through Excelsior College in 2015 and, in 2016, returned to Glens Falls Hospital to help establish a nurse residency program in high-acuity areas. In 2018, she led a team in developing the hospital’s Stroke Program, of which she became director in 2020. 


2020 Trailblazers

J. Buckley Bryan Jr., Class of 1987, 1994, is a longtime resident of Bolton Landing and a two-time graduate of SUNY Adirondack, earning degrees in Business Administration and Psychology. As a retired commercial airline pilot and U.S. Navy Officer, as well as an entrepreneur and retired SUNY Adirondack adjunct faculty member, Bryan has been a driving force and pillar of the community. As the college’s largest donor, Bryan is an advocate for education and philanthropy. He has served as a member and president of the Foundation Board of Directors and played a key role in the development of the college’s entrepreneurship program. Bryan has also served as a member and former president of Lake George Association, and was a member of the Board of Directors of Warren and Washington Advocacy, Bolton Landing planning board, Bolton Landing Volunteer Fire Department and National Ski Patrol.
Jennifer Pettis, Class of 1991, has more than 25 years of health care experience and has dedicated her career to improving health care for older adults. She graduated from SUNY Adirondack’s Nursing program in 1991 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Health Care Management and a master’s degree in Nursing Education from SUNY Empire. Pettis is an adjunct faculty member at SUNY Empire, a member of the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern New York Board of Directors, the New York State Auxiliary Board for Nursing, the Foundation of New York State Nurses Board of Directors, and the Alumni Student Federation Board of Governors of ESC. Pettis was named an Alzheimer’s Association Ambassador to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer in 2019 and recognized by the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence as a Distinguished Educator in Gerontological Nursing in 2020.
Capt. Evan Love, Class of 1983, enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1975 at the age of 17. He was assigned to the ballistic missile submarine USS Francis Scott Key, SSBN 657, where he completed five deterrent patrols as a reactor operator during the Cold War. After his honorable discharge in 1981, Love relocated to Fort Edward and completed a degree in Engineering Science at  SUNY Adirondack. He later went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from RPI. Love worked for the Naval Laboratory for 34 years as a licensed professional engineer. He also remained in the Navy Reserve until his retirement in October 2017, achieving the rank of captain. Love continues to serve his community and fellow veterans in his retirement as an active member of the Red Cross, St. Stephen’s Church and the Employer’s Veterans Organization.

2019 Trailblazers

Tim Badger, Class of ’69, MBA, from Queensbury, NY.  Tim’s 45-year professional career began at Glens Falls National Bank and Trust Company as a management trainee and progressed through various marketing and business development positions. When he retired in 2017, Tim was the Senior Vice President of Marketing, PR and Shareholder Relations. Tim holds an A.A.S. degree in business administration from SUNY Adirondack, a Bachelor of Science degree from the University at Albany, SUNY and an MBA from the University of Vermont. An avid hockey fan, Tim coached Adirondack Youth Hockey and served on the Board, coached the Skidmore College women’s ice hockey club for 7 seasons, and participated in the Senior Olympic Games in Lake Placid. Many community organizations have benefitted from Tim’s leadership including the SUNY Adirondack Foundation, Queensbury Senior Center, Tri-County United Way, CWI, Moreau Community Center, Adirondack Balloon Festival, Warren-Washington Counties Association for Mental Health and the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce. In 2011, Tim was named the Tri-County United Way Volunteer of the Year. 

Jason Carusone, Class of ’89, JD from Lake George, NY. Jason’s academic career began at Adirondack Community College in May of 1989. He transferred to Binghamton University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, and ultimately a Juris Doctoral degree from Buffalo University School of Law.  He returned to Warren County and worked as a private attorney until 1999 when he became an Assistant District Attorney in Warren County. In 2004, his hard work earned him a promotion to the First Assistant District Attorney in Warren County a position he held for 13 years before being elected to serve as the Warren County District Attorney in 2017. Jason’s distinguished service includes recognition by the Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association and the District Attorney’s Association of New York.

Drew Schiavi Class of ’03, from Bristol, CT. Drew officially began his professional broadcasting career as a director and chief technical director for a variety of news and specialty programs at WRGB/WCWN – CBS 6 in Albany, NY.   In 2012, Drew became a Master Control Operator at ESPN in Connecticut and was promoted to Associate Director in 2014.  Drew was part of a team that won an Emmy Award at the 37th Annual Sorts EMMY® Awards for Outstanding Trans-Media Sports Coverage; College Football Playoff National Championship. However, Drew’s career truly began in college, where he was the Program Director at WGFR, SUNY Adirondack’s student radio while he earned is Associate’s Degree in Radio and TV Broadcasting. He transferred to SUNY Oswego and became the producer of the Oswego Laker Men’s Hockey Team games.  Drew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in broadcasting and mass communication at from SUNY Oswego in 2005. Each year, Drew shares his experiences with current SUNY Adirondack broadcasting students and has established a scholarship for broadcasting majors.

The Trailblazers were honored at an event on Thursday, October 17, 2019. For more information on the Trailblazer program, visit or contact Danielle Brown at or 518-743-2244. 

2018 Trailblazers

SUNY Adirondack inducted five members to the Trailblazer Society at a networking luncheon on Sept. 28, 2018. 

The inductees include:

Stephen Conigliaro came to Adirondack Community College from Flushing in 1974. A student of Professor LeRoy Aiken, he found great joy in the Radio and TV Broadcasting major and at the newly established WACC Radio station. After graduating, Conigliaro left ACC to work at WIPS Ticonderoga, then moved to WBZA in Albany. He later settled in Charlotte, N.C., where a position as a professional DJ came with a new professional name, Steve Harmon. Through the years, he has won numerous awards, including three Billboard Major Market Air Personality of the Year awards, CMA Awards and, most significantly, an induction in 2018 to the Country Radio Hall of Fame in Nashville.

Sarah Ghent earned her AAS in Nursing from SUNY Adirondack in 1980 as an adult learner while raising her family, and she earned a Bachelor’s in Health and Human Services from Columbia Pacific University in San Rafael, California. Ghent continued a career in nursing that covered many diverse aspects of the profession. Her positions and roles included medical/surgical nurse at Staten Island University Hospital and Glens Falls Hospital; manager of a home care staffing agency on Staten Island; implementation of the first case management program on Staten Island for H.I.P. Plan of Greater New York; clinical review, quality improvement for Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield; and clinical reporting to physicians for Mohawk Valley Physicians. Since retirement, her volunteer endeavors include The American Red Cross, NY State Long Term Care Ombudsman (Certified) and Ombudsman of the Year 2017, NY Connects Long Term Care Council, Chairperson-SUNY Adirondack Nursing Alumni Association, SUNY Adirondack Nursing Program Advisory Board and the High Peaks Hospice. 

Dennis Harris is currently a systems engineer working at United Launch Alliance, where he is helping the company qualify their newest rocket, Vulcan, which will be used to launch manned missions to space as early as 2020. He graduated from SUNY Adirondack in 1996 with a Math/Science degree and then went on to SUNY Albany for a BS and MS in Physics. He received his MBA in 2010. Dennis has worked for several aerospace companies, and his projects include instruments for NASA, NOAA, the Air Force and South Korea.

Rich Johns, a native of South Glens Falls, began his academic career at ACC in 1968 and transferred to the State University of New York at Potsdam, where he graduated in 1972. Johns taught elementary and middle school, and he coached tennis at Saratoga Springs High School for 38 years. Under his guidance, Saratoga won 17 League Titles, nine Sectional Team Titles and holds the Section II record for Class AA with 85 consecutive wins and a record of 107– 2 during that period. He has won numerous awards as a coach, an Excellence in Teaching Award by the SUNY Albany Chapter of The National Society of Leadership and Success in 2015 and 2016 and has been inducted into the SUNY Adirondack and SUNY Potsdam hall of fames as well as the Saratoga Springs School District and the South Glens Falls Athletic and Community Pride Hall of Fames. Following his passion of personal character development, Johns started a “pay it forward” mission called Act With Respect Always, which has grown into a national model of student and athlete character development.

Brett Lange graduated from SUNY Adirondack in 1992 with an AAS in Radio Broadcasting.  He went on to earn a Bachelor's degree in finance marketing from the University at Albany. Today, Lange owns four local businesses in Lake George: Christie’s on the Lake, S.J. Garcia’s, Pablo’s Burrito Cantina and Magic Castle Indoor Golf. His entrepreneurial career has kept him linked with SUNY Adirondack. Many of his employees are student or graduates, and he has established two scholarships, one supporting students pursuing culinary degrees and another related to the study of the humanities.

The college’s Distinguished Faculty evaluated and selected the inaugural class from a competitive pool of nominations. Criteria for consideration include demonstrated excellence in the areas of professional achievement, community service, service to ACC/SUNY Adirondack and/or outstanding spirit.