Volunteerism, leading by example, and making a positive difference to people’s lives by collaborating with others describe Rita’s calling. Rita believes VPI is compelling because it acknowledges the dignity and worth of every individual to make the most of their talents, so they can lead meaningful and productive lives. VPI clients and staff inspire her to do what enables maximum fulfillment of VPI’s mission.
Profession: Retired Marketing Services Manager, Banta Corporation
Boards/Volunteer: Vice President of the Fox Cities Chapter of Women in Management, President PTA – local schools, Boy Scouts Troop Treasurer and Secretary, served on several school committees, and VPI
She and her husband, Dennis, enjoy traveling, fitness, gardening, theater, and spending time with their 2 sons, daughters-in-law, and grandsons. As a self-proclaimed cat lover, Rita can often be found walking her cat, Simba, and watching him enjoy everything that moves.
Servant leadership sums up David’s approach to the organizations he leads and supports. He is an active community leader in for-profit environments and an advocate for non-profits serving those in need. David routinely provides his critical thinking and financial insights to the VPI Board’s oversight priorities.
Profession: Retired President of the Northeast WI Region of M&I Marshall and Ilsley Corp. – coordinated services between commercial lending, wealth management, business and retail banking
Boards/Volunteer: Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sponsored Ministries for acute and long-term care health facilities; Keller, Inc.; Warehouse Specialists, LLC; and VPI
David’s leisure time finds him as an outdoors enthusiast, traveller, and avid reader. Time spent with their three adult children and four grandchildren is the ultimate joy for him and his wife.
John J. Russo
Diligent planning, problem-solving, and a solution-oriented perspective best describe John’s approach to his 35+ year business law career. With expertise in business organization formation, mergers, acquisitions, succession planning, estate planning, charitable giving and gift planning, John’s wise counsel has impacted successful businesses and nonprofits throughout the Fox Valley.
Profession: Attorney and Partner at McCarty Law, LLC.
Boards/Volunteer: Community Early Learning Center of the Fox Valley, Inc.; Fox Cities Amateur Sports Authority Corp.; Holy Family; Family Service Association of the Fox Valley, Inc.; St. Paul Elder Services, Inc.; United Way Fox Cities, Inc., St. Elizabeth Hospital Foundation, Appleton Education Foundation, Pillars, and Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sponsored Ministries, Inc. and VPI
John stays active through golf and exercise. He enjoys time with his three adult sons and relishes getting pulled into a good book.
Patrick J. Buckley
Developing individuals and leading successful organizations to achieve their highest potential encapsulates Pat’s mission over his 35+ year career in roles as CEO, President, CFO, Consultant, and Advisor. His diverse experience spans dozens of for-profit and non-profit organizations in the human services, manufacturing, insurance, and financial industries. Pat retired from his CEO/President role with Converting, Inc. and began consulting projects with VPI in 2009, serving as the Acting COO in 2014 and CEO/President in 2017.
Profession: CEO, Valley Packaging Industries, Inc.
Boards/Volunteer: USA Youth Sports, CMD Corporation, Century Tool, Associated Bank NE-WI, and Converting, Inc. and VPI
For more than 20 years, Pat coached youth soccer teams and led several to Wisconsin State Championships. He and his wife, Jean, enjoy time with their three adult children at their family cabin Muskie fishing, hunting, hiking, and the great outdoors.
Developing business, building relationships, serving his community, and enjoying nature drive David. With a successful 45+ year career in environmental and civil engineering, David’s career spanned positions with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and progressed into leading business development initiatives and providing consulting services as an officer, shareholder, and/or President for 6 other engineering services providers throughout the Fox Valley.
Profession: Retired from Larson Engineering in 2019
Boards/Volunteer: Technical Association of the Pulp & Paper Industry, Rotary Appleton Breakfast Club, Elisha D. Smith Public Library and VPI
As a VPI Board member since 1988, David contributed strategically to the design of the VPI production facility on Roemer Road. David and his wife enjoy time together and the wildlife at their northern WI cabin.
Supporting those with occupational challenges due to disabilities has been Mark’s passion for 34 years. With a Ph.D. in Paper Chemistry, Mark’s career saw roles as product developer, materials scientist, and R&D manager for CPG companies leading teams and developing and supporting global brands. Mark interacted with many contract packagers and toll manufacturers in the U.S. and Mexico. Mark contributes to the VPI Board with the acumen of a business leader and the voice of a parent of a VPI client-employee. He and his son, Lincoln, are past Special Olympics State Golf Champions, and Mark strives to “keep my handicap below my number of children (6).”
Profession: Retired Scientist & Engineer – Kimberly-Clark, Georgia-Pacific, Fort James, James River
Boards/Volunteer: Past President SOAR Fox Cities, Advisor for the Business Advisory Council (BAC) of Project SEARCH at St. Elizabeth Hospital and VPI
Mark and his wife, Tyra, have six children, fifteen grandchildren and enjoy time at their northern WI cabin bass fishing and reading. Mark actively studies the Spanish language with a goal to read Cervantes’ Don Quixote, in the original text, by the end of 2020.
Helping others succeed at work, home, and church motivates and inspires Jim. His 35+ year career in finance, business, and leadership began at Scott Paper and progressed to Pacon Corporation for 20+ years where he advanced from Director of Finance to President and led the company through its sale to Fila out of Italy. One of his five children has special needs, and he worked at VPI. Jim still marvels at the “unsurpassed enthusiasm the clients had to get to work” and the valuable lessons his son learned that have allowed him to move to other jobs with success.
Profession: President & CEO of Pacon Corporation/Dixon Ticonderoga Company
Boards/Volunteer: Van Hoof Companies, ARC, Zaug’s Inc., and Wisconsin Paper Group and VPI
He and his wife actively support Appleton Alliance Church. They enjoy spending time at the family cottage, hunting, and working in the woods. He credits his mother’s rearing as the best preparation for life’s challenges and opportunities.
Helping students with challenges live full, engaged, and satisfying lives describes Brian’s mission as a 38+ year school psychologist, special education administrator, and student advocate. With a voice from the classroom and his extensive educational committee work, Brian points to this advocacy as the most rewarding aspect of his career.
Profession: Retired Director of Special Education – Appleton Area School District
Boards/Volunteer: Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Wisconsin Council of Administrators of Special Services (WCASS), Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, VPI, and 9 other local nonprofits
With a penchant for supporting organizations that positively impact those in need and the community at-large, Brian and his wife Cynthia contribute actively to groups that add human services, art & culture enhancements, and recreational services throughout Wisconsin. Brian and Cindy enjoy time with their daughters’ families, 7 grandchildren, attending performing arts events, reading avidly, and outdoor activities.
Strategic planning, new business development, risk management, and all aspects of financial accounting are the backbones of David’s 35+ year career. His journey began as a financial analyst, and he moved on to positions including Budget Manager, Plant Controller, and Finance Director, responsible for a $260 million business unit for Appleton Papers. David then took the opportunity as the Director of New Business Development for a $400 million entity within Appleton Coated LLC before he advanced to CMD Corporation in ’08. Today, David leads the company’s information technology strategy and deployment and all financial accounting, reporting, and treasury functions.
Profession: Chief Financial Officer – CMD Corporation
David’s contributions and process leadership turned around an operating loss at CMD into a profitable position within 24 months. Active on the VPI Board since 2018, David’s insightful perspective provides routine contributions to strategic decision-making today.
Working with organizations that help people with disabilities live meaningful and fulfilling lives is Gary’s passion. Committed, dedicated, and effective aptly describe Gary’s service-oriented leadership. The manufacturing environment was Gary’s professional home for his 40+ year career where he served many senior level roles with extensive operations and technical experience. He oversaw daily operations and managed projects resulting in significant cost reductions, quality improvements, and lean concept integrations.
Profession: Retired VP Manufacturing – Laminations/Great Northern Corporation
Boards/Volunteer: SOAR Fox Cities, the Business Advisory Council for Project SEARCH, the Paper Science and Chemical Engineering Foundation at UW-Stevens Point, and VPI
He also enjoys coaching Basketball, Tee Ball, and Special Olympics Track for SOAR Fox Cities. Gary and his wife enjoy traveling and hiking through the national parks, time at their Tomahawk cottage, and outdoor activities.
Building and developing strong teams to collaborate for success is central to Tim’s leadership philosophy. Tim advocates “DWYSYWD” – do what you say you will do – as he empowers others and holds the team accountable to reach VPI’s goals. Tim’s service orientation over his 30+ year career with paper and CPG companies (Wisconsin Tissue, Fort Howard, Alta Resources, JJ Keller, Elevate97) saw him in senior level business development and VP Sales & Marketing roles where he led teams to set and achieve growth goals, continuous operational improvements, and develop quality processes.
Profession: VPI President, formerly VPI – VP Operations
Boards/Volunteer: YMCA of the Fox Cities Board, the Appleton Soccer Club Board, and Appleton North Basketball Club Board
Tim and his wife, Kara, enjoy time with their three adult children and keep active with running, golfing, hiking, and outdoor activities.