Patricia Thompson attended Hillsborough County Public Schools and earned her B.A. and M.Ed. degrees from the University of South Florida in Elementary Education and Educational Leadership, respectively. Mrs. Thompson served as a teacher and school administrator for 15 years with Hillsborough County Schools. Her strong leadership and dedication steered her to many opportunities during this time such as opening a new middle school, presenting at state and national educational conferences and participating in many large projects including the inception of magnet schools.
In April of 2014, Mrs. Thompson was selected to be the Executive Director of the Chris T. Sullivan Foundation where she oversees all policies and procedures of the foundation and works closely with Mr. Sullivan to ensure the mission and vision of the foundation are realized. Aside from her work with the foundation, Mrs. Thompson continues to volunteer with various organizations and is on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors for Veterans Alternative and ART International Accelerated Resolution Therapy Training and Research.
Jerry Custin attended St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia earning a degree in Political Science. Mr. Custin pursued an extensive military career, serving in the United States Air Force, where he received advanced training, flew 130 combat missions over Laos and Vietnam, conducted defense analysis, and then finally completed his thirty-year career at the National Security Agency as the Director of the Office of Electronic Intelligence, and the Chairman of the National Electronic Intelligence Group.
After retirement, Mr. Custin served as an outreach counselor for economically disadvantaged youth to recruit them for summer employment under the Pinellas Workforce Development Board. In this capacity, he was responsible for building cooperation and coordination between and among various social services organizations.
Mr. Custin then became the Business Assistance Specialist for the Oldsmar Chamber of Commerce, where he helped expand the footprint into Hillsborough County and renamed it the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce. He later served as President/CEO of the chamber and developed the Upper Tampa Manufacturers Association serving Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties. He currently serves the chamber as the Director of Business, Manufacturing and Education.
Raised in Trenton, Michigan Russell J Gratz retired from the Air Force as an MSgt in February 2005. As a Senior Information Operations (IO) Program Analyst Joint Military Support Element with Joint Information Operations Warfare command in San Antonio, Texas Mr. Gratz Prepared and managed operational proposals, estimates, detailed intelligence assessments, and OPLANS, coordinated with the planning staffs at JCS, Joint Staff J-39; the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), and National Intelligence Agencies in support of USCENTCOM and USSOCOM. Mr. Gratz has multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and has nearly 23 years of experience in all aspects of IO ranging from STO planning C4I analysis to integrating IO effects in the targeting process at the combatant command staff level. Awards and Decorations MSgt Gratz has received during his military career include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Joint Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, two Aerial Achievement medals, Joint Service Commendation medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force commendation medal with four oak leaf clusters, Joint service achievement medal with one oak leaf cluster, and Air Force achievement medal with two oak leaf clusters. He is also authorized to wear the Senior Aircrew Wings and Sr. Intelligence badge. Mr. Gratz has one son Jeff.
Nicole has over twenty years of experience with a large non-profit organization (Eckerd Connects) beginning as an accounting manager, then as finance director and currently as controller. Prior to joining Eckerd Connects, Nicole worked in public accounting where her focus was on auditing non-profit organizations. Nicole’s core competencies include accounting management as well as the day to day functions, budgeting, cash management, project management (software implementation), forecasting and auditing. Her strengths include customer service skills, goal-oriented work ethic and dedication to the organization’s mission. Nicole is also a licensed CPA in the State of Florida.