EMBA Cohort 39
Melanie Blandino was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. She joined the U.S. Army which allowed her the privilege to live in Hawaii for 10 years. In that time she earned her A.S. in Early Childhood Education and B.S. in Psychology at Chaminade University of Honolulu. Afterwards she gained a lower level position at K1 Speed which she climbed the ranks to G.M. in a year and a half. She gained the hunger of business which lead to her current enrollment in Jacksonville University's EMBA program. Through her life experiences she developed skills to assess and problem solve through anything that came her way. Currently working as a BRC for a HomeGoods location to earn her way up the ranks again, it is only a matter of time she will reach her short term goal of obtaining Operations Management. Thereafter the opportunities awaiting are endless!
Matthew is the Senior Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Account manager for Kidde Technologies a leader in the field of fire suppression for the transit bus market. His responsibilities include product integration, installation support, bid analysis, and warranty issue resolution. He is a twenty-two-year veteran of the transportation industry, having worked in both public and private sectors. His experience spans management, maintenance, and field support for both suppliers and OEM’s.
Matthew grew up in Gainesville, Fl and graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a minor concentration in Spanish from the University of Florida. He currently lives in Jacksonville Beach with his wife and two daughters. In his spare time, he enjoys boating with his family and riding his motorcycle.
A senior in Business Management and an Executive MBA student from Visalia California, Richard Eide moved to Jacksonville after serving 24 years in the United States Navy. Rick has a technical background in mainframe computer and display systems, satellite communications, and various automated weapons systems. He also has many years of technical, program, and project management experience, but he really enjoys teaching and helping others succeed. He was formally trained as an instructor, qualified as a Master Training Specialist, and has taught hundreds of people in the classroom and on the job in a variety of topics ranging from electronic equipment repair to team shipboard combat operations.
Robert Foery is a technology sales leader for a software products company. In his role, he is responsible for sales and service for US Government agencies and contractors. Bob is from West Chester, PA, and attended the University of Virginia where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. He was commissioned through ROTC and is a retired US Air Force Officer. Bob has worked for several defense contractors and software companies as a developer, development manager, sales and sales manager throughout his 30+ year career.
Originally from Pennsylvania, he and his wife Paige reside in Amelia Island, Florida. They are the proud parents of 5 grown children. Bob is active on several non-profit boards and enjoys volunteering, travel, golf, live music, and cooking.
Emily Grantham is a native of Jacksonville, Florida and has an undergrad in Management. She is a Director of Technology at Crowley Government Solutions. In her role, she oversees a team of business analysts and technical product owners. She manages several projects at a time with a focus on supporting the supply chain needs of government entities. Emily's experience includes 20 years in the logistics industry with over 10 of those years working on technology projects. Her project experience ranges from supporting full scale system implementations to identifying and implementing process improvements.
Emily has been appointed to several committees to represent the technology team within her company as well as to represent her company in external organizations. When not at work or school, Emily enjoying traveling to visit family and enjoying theme parks with her husband and kids. When not traveling, their favorite thing to do is spend time at home with their pets.
Pramod “Bobby” Shivdasani
Pramod "Bobby" is a driven professional with more than 15 years of accounting & finance experience specializing in non-profit organizations. Pramod is a Controller at LSF Health Systems, a leading behavioral health managing entity contracted by the State of Florida’s Department of Children and Families responsible to manage state funded behavioral health programs in the 23-county region of Northeast Florida. He is responsible for accounting, procurement, and grant teams. Pramod currently leads daily operations for Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, general ledger reconciliations and cash management. Pramod is also responsible for the preparation of LSF Health System’s monthly financial statements and its annual budget of more than $150M. In his free time, Pramod likes to read, solve puzzles, play chess and travel with his family.
Michelle Vargas is the Direct Response Director at Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). She is responsible for developing strategy and leading her teams through the implementation and performance tracking of all Direct Response fundraising campaigns including Direct Mail, Monthly Giving, Direct Response Television, and Digital Fundraising. She has a demonstrated ability to integrate and implement cross-channel strategies that result in 65% of WWP’s overall revenue.
Michelle began her career with WWP in 2008, assisting the Executive Office and Board of Directors. In 2015, she was promoted to Direct Response Director. Her demonstrated commitment to WWP’s mission, track record for solving problems, and leadership experience made her a natural fit for the newly established role.
Prior to joining WWP, Michelle has eight years of experience in the charter transportation industry where she was responsible for managing teams, office administration, selling group transportation services, and ensuring top shelf customer service was delivered to clients.
Travis Williams is a proud native of Jacksonville, FL, where he resides with his wife and their children. He is also a proud alumnus of The University of N. Florida. With a track record of success for delivering results; Travis brings with him years of experience in the art of relationship building, articulating value, closing deals and the skill of execution. From building a financial services practice from the ground up to consulting with a global nonprofit on building their local brand; Travis has seen his desire to serve first, translate into the ability to lead individuals, and organizations, towards their goals.
Travis is a true community servant of Jacksonville through local board work and volunteering, primarily in areas focused on economic development, urban revitalization, and services benefiting the less privileged. His commitment to excellence and service leadership presents him with many opportunities to advise on many initiatives and projects throughout the city. Travis currently serves as the Co-chair of the Jax Chamber Lewis and White Business League Advisory Board. He also serves as a board member for local non-profits Rethreaded and The Clara White Mission. His service has also extended nationally, as he’s been called upon to help lead initiatives around Diversity and Inclusion in the financial services industry.
His service also extends within his local church, The Potter’s House International Ministries in Jacksonville, FL. He’s served in several capacities from Campus Pastor of the college ministry to leading efforts for engaging young adults and men. He currently serves on the churches Board of Directors as well.
Currently, Travis is Vice President of Operations and Impact for Lift Jax, an initiative of leading business, philanthropic and community leaders working to revitalize the urban core and eradicate generational poverty in Jacksonville. With years of building relationships across a multitude of industries, Travis is able to bring a set of skills to the table in order to help lead the organization in delivering on its audacious goals around revitalizing Jacksonville’s Historic Eastside community.
Travis can often be found enjoying time with his extensive extended family/friends in Jacksonville, rooting on the Jacksonville Jaguars at a home game or faithfully serving at his local church.