Dogs for the Deaf welcomes four new Directors to serve three-year terms on the national Assistance Dog training organization’s Board of Directors. The four new Directors are valuable contributors to southern Oregon communities, and have a variety of private-sector and non-profit backgrounds and expertise.
“In order to help enhance the lives of as many people as possible, Dogs for the Deaf continues to sharpen our focus on the long-term strategic direction and viability of our organization,” said Blake Matray, Dogs for the Deaf president and CEO. “These four outstanding new board members bring a wealth of finance, legal, business and education acumen to the table that will strengthen our position as a premier provider of professionally trained assistance dogs.”
Steve Erb, Executive Vice President and Chief Banking Officer for People’s Bank of Commerce
Erb is a graduate of the University of Oregon where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics. He is also a graduate of the Pacific Coast Banking School. He is a long-time southern Oregon resident and has been in the banking industry for his entire career. Prior to his current position, he was a senior executive with Premier West Bank. Erb has been actively involved in several community organizations including the United Way of Jackson County, Medford School Foundation, Medford School Board, Craterian Performances and Anna Mae Family Foundation.
Mandi Gould, Deputy Jackson County District Attorney
Gould has been with the district attorney’s office since 2004. She is a graduate of University of Oregon School of Law where she earned her Juris Doctorate, and bachelor degrees in Psychology and Sociology. Gould also volunteers with Compass House as a board member, the United Way of Jackson County and the Rotary Club of Rogue Valley After Five.
Al Lane, President, Coming Attractions Theaters
Lane moved to the Rogue Valley in 2013 to join Coming Attractions Theatres, Inc., as its president and COO. Prior to that, he worked as a CEO at ShowPlex Cinemas, Inc.and the CFO of Dickinson Theatres.He attended The Ohio State University and participated in the MBA program at Baker University in Kansas. For years, Lane and his wife volunteered for various rescue organizations, fostering dogs, cats and horses. Given their history with animals, as well as his wife’s partial hearing loss, Lane is looking forward to contributing to Dogs for the Deaf continued success.
Genealle Visagorskis, Speech Language Pathologist
A native of the Rogue Valley, Visagorskis received her bachelor’s degree at Wheaton College in Illinois then served with the Peace Corps in Lithuania. Returning to the U.S., she continued working for the Peace Corps in Washington D.C., as a staging coordinator and teaching English as a foreign language to students from all over the world. Visagorskis returned to Oregon and achieved a graduate degree in speech pathology from the University of Oregon. She currently works for the Central Point School District, working with young children with communication disorders. A lifelong animal lover, Visagorskis is excited to be working with Dogs for the Deaf and looking forward to seeing more Assistance Dogs utilized in schools.
Rounding out the 12-member board are Susan Bahr, Lyn Boening, Ronald H Holzkamp, Brian McQuade, Marvin Rhodes, Kenneth Reeder, Gary Sherwood and Blake Matray.
Established in 1977, Dogs for the Deaf is a non-profit organization that rescues, trains and places dogs with people who have different disabilities and needs throughout the United States. Hearing Dogs, Autism Assistance Dogs, Program Assistance Dogs (dogs that work with teachers, counselors, and physicians), and
Career Change Dogs are free to clients. Out of town visitors and local residents can visit and learn more about Dogs for the Deaf by taking a free tour of the facility weekdays at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. The address is 10175 Wheeler Road, Central Point, Ore., 97502. For more information visit www.DogsForTheDeaf.org or call 1-800-990-DOGS (3647).