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PBS board elects officers and general...

PBS board elects officers and general directors

UW-Extension's Malcolm Brett chosen as professional vice chair

Communications and External Relations
Nov 26 2013

ARLINGTON, VA, November 07, 2013 – Today, following the conclusion of the PBS Board of Directors’ first meeting for FY2014, PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger announced a number of key actions taken regarding the leadership of American’s largest public media enterprise, including the election of Board officers and General Directors, as well as the seating of Professional Directors.

Geoffrey Sands was elected to serve an additional one-year term as General Director and as Chair. Malcolm Brett and Don Baer were elected to their first terms as Professional Vice Chair and General Vice-Chair, respectively. General Director Ernest Bromley was re-elected to a second term, while Erroll B. Davis, Jr. and Ramon A. Rodriguez each won a first term on the PBS Board as General Directors. In addition, Robert Sachs was elected to fulfill the term of former General Director Secretary Chuck Hagel, who resigned from his seat on the Board when he accepted the appointment of U.S. Secretary of Defense. This term will expire in 2015.

In addition, the Board welcomed Tom Axtell, Rich Homberg, Shae Hopkins and JoAnn Urofsky to their first meeting since being elected to Professional Director seats by PBS member stations in voting that took place over the summer. Mr. Axtell and Ms. Urofsky are serving their second terms; Mr. Homberg and Ms. Hopkins are joining the Board for the first time.

“The PBS Board is a group of outstanding individuals who give generously of their time and talent to help make public media even stronger than it is today. Our exceptional new Directors join other dedicated and skilled professionals who believe in the mission and bright future of PBS,” said Ms. Kerger. “As a system, we have worked strategically to achieve significant successes in a time of economic challenge and technological change. The advice and counsel of the Board will be invaluable as we determine how to lay the foundation for facing obstacles and seizing opportunities in the days and years to come.”

The PBS Board includes both Professional Directors, who are station leaders, and General Directors, who represent the general public. The membership of PBS elects the Professional Directors. The General Directors and Officers are elected by the Board, which also appoints the PBS President and Chief Executive Officer.

The PBS Board of Directors is responsible for governing and setting policy for PBS. In total, the Board comprises 27 members: 14 Professional Members; 12 General Directors; and the PBS President. PBS Board members serve three-year terms, without pay.

Biographical Information

Tom Axtell

Tom Axtell has served as general manager of Vegas PBS since 1994. In Las Vegas, he has reinvigorated local programming, integrated emerging technologies, developed new fee for service business models, and created community partnerships to expand the range of sustainable public media services offered locally. His prior service includes public radio stations in Minneapolis/St. Paul and Fargo, and public television stations in Spokane and Milwaukee. He has experience working for nonprofit, college, and school district licensees as well as markets where the stations operated in sole-service, duopoly and multi-market situations. He has left the industry a few times to work as a College Vice President for Development and State Senate Legislative Aide.

Vegas PBS moved into its new Educational Technology Campus in 2009 following a successful $72 million capital campaign. The building is the nation’s first LEED Gold television facility, and first post-Katrina, post 9-11, FCC Media Security and Reliability Commission compliant studio. Vegas PBS operates a multi-cast television service; programs four additional cable and five EBS channels; manages a media library with over 210,000 online and 16,000 on the shelf titles; an emergency communications data-casting service for police, fire fighters, hospitals, and schools; and a statewide Described and Captioned Media Center. An extensive Ready To Learn outreach program hosts over 600 workshops a year attended by over 100,000 people. Vegas PBS produces 20 local TV series and specials annually, plus extensive web content. Its Global Online Advanced Learning (GOAL) program offers 330 professional certifications and 5,000 personal improvement courses for high school students, teachers, medical professionals, workforce training programs, and returning veterans. Over 115,000 students successfully completed courses last year. The station routinely ranks in the top ten PBS stations in the Nielsen overnight metered market reports for sign on to sign off gross rating points.

Mr. Axtell is active in Las Vegas community affairs, serving on the boards of the Atomic Testing Museum, United Way of Southern Nevada, Nevada Development Authority, Green Chips, Utah Shakespeare Festival Board of Governors, and Las Vegas Rotary. He has served on several industry boards including the Nevada Broadcasters Association, PBS, and NETA. Mr. Axtell graduated from Gonzaga University Law School, Spokane, Washington, and also holds a bachelor's degree in history from Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota. He has been married for 35 years and has twin daughters.

Donald A. Baer

Don Baer is Worldwide President and CEO of the strategic communications firm Burson-Marsteller and Chairman of the research firm Penn, Schoen & Berland, both WPP, Inc. companies. Mr. Baer has been a member of Burson-Marsteller’s global senior management team since 2008, while also leading major client engagements especially for top technology, communications and media companies. In 2011, he became Co-founder/Chairman of Palisades Media Ventures, a public affairs and news media development company co-owned with WPP.

From 1998 to 2007, Mr. Baer helped lead global media company Discovery Communications. As Senior Executive Vice President for Strategy and Development and an executive committee member, reporting to the CEO, he led worldwide marketing efforts; new ventures/acquisitions; new media strategy/operations, and corporate-level business development, communications, research and public policy. He drove significant growth in Discovery’s online offerings, including acquisitions of digital businesses and the launch of its first mobile video services, and oversaw the Discovery/New York Times Company joint venture in the Discovery Times Channel. As a producer, he oversaw the 2004 Emmy Award winning series Decisions That Shook the World and a documentary series with Thomas Friedman of The New York Times. Don managed Discovery’s partnership with the American Film Institute to create Silverdocs, America’s top documentary festival.

From 1994-98, Mr. Baer was a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton. As an Assistant to the President and White House Director of Strategic Planning and Communications and, before, as Chief Speechwriter/Director of Speechwriting and Research, was widely recognized for his key role in the Clinton Presidency, including the historic 1996 re-election. In addition to managing an integrated message strategy across multiple domestic and foreign policy government agencies, he led the development of many major Presidential addresses, including working on every State of the Union from 1995–2000.

From 1985-93, Mr. Baer was a journalist. At U.S. News and World Report, he covered politics and the White House and, as an assistant managing editor, oversaw national and international coverage. He also worked at The American Lawyer, has written for publications including The New York Times and Politico, was a CBS News analyst and has appeared on many national TV news shows. Since 2000, he has helped write the annual Kennedy Center Honors TV production, winning two Writers Guild of America awards.

In the 1980s, Mr. Baer was a media lawyer at New York’s Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler. He is on the board of directors of the Urban Institute and the News Literacy Project, as well as two digital media businesses, Fora.tv and Toura. Don received a B.A. from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Phi Beta Kappa), a Master's in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a J.D. from The University of Virginia School of Law. He lives with his wife, Nancy Bard, and two sons in Washington, D.C.

Malcolm Brett

Director since 2008. Malcolm Brett is the Director of Broadcasting and Media Innovations – University of Wisconsin – Extension (UWEX) and General Manager of WHA-TV, the flagship station of Wisconsin Public Television. He oversees the University’s public radio and public television stations which are part of Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio. He also oversees UWEX’s distance learning facilities, Instructional Communications Systems and the National Center for Community Engagement. Broadcasting and Media Innovations initiatives include research into mobile video delivery for emergency first responders, video delivery over Internet 2, and media asset management. Mr. Brett has also served as the Director of Television for Wisconsin Public Television. In that role he oversaw the network’s University and State licensee stations. During the past 25 years at WPT, Mr. Brett has served as corporate development manager and director of development as well as a production manager for the national show "The New Tech Times." His extensive knowledge of public television includes development, production management, strategic planning, budgeting, government relations and community relations. He was named PBS Development Professional of the Year in 1998 for his system-wide contributions and for his leadership of WPT’s development program. Mr. Brett led WPT's digital conversion, and has helped guide, design, fund or implement various of WPT's national public television models including - Portal Wisconsin, the National Center for Community Engagement, Wisconsin World War II Stories and Wisconsin Hometown Stories. Along with colleagues at WPSU and WOSU, Mr. Brett is leading the development of University Place, which is built on emerging multicast, Internet streaming and VOD opportunities for University licensed PTV stations. Mr. Brett served on Wisconsin’s Sesquicentennial celebration commission. He established and chaired the Wisconsin Cultural Coalition and led its support for Portal Wisconsin. Mr. Brett serves on the Board of American Public Television, the Board of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, the Board of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and is Chair of the University Licensee Association. He is Chair of the PBS Station Services Committee and is a member of the Executive Committee and Strategic Planning Advisory Group. He previously served on the Investment Subcommittee, and National Policy Advisory and Finance Committees.

Ernest W. Bromley

Director since 2008. Ernest Bromley, Chairman/CEO of Bromley Communications LLC, was part of the original team that founded the agency in 1981. As CEO, Mr. Bromley has worn many hats throughout his career at the agency -- director of research, executive vice president and president. He has been responsible for the development and execution of the agency’s vision and outstanding products and services, and works closely with account teams in developing sound marketing strategies for client partners. Mr. Bromley has also been instrumental in developing the agency’s research and Hispanic marketing approach, “AIG” (Acculturation Influence Groups). Bromley has been a trailblazer in building the agency to be the leading Hispanic marketing communications company, empowering clients such as General Mills, Procter & Gamble, Burger King, Coors, AstraZeneca, Payless ShoeSource, the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau and NestlĂ© in the changing American marketplace. Prior to joining the agency, he taught economics at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He has a bachelor of arts in political science and a master in business administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio. An active community and civic leader, Mr. Bromley currently serves on the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ Southern Board of Governors and is a South Texas Council Board Member. He is the Chairperson for the Ad Council, a member of ADS Media and Board Member of the Judson Montessori School Chair Strategic Planning Committee. He also serves as the Local Chairman and is part of the National Hispanic Council for Junior Achievement. He is a board or council member of National Association of Latino Arts & Culture (NALAC), Nielsen Hispanic Advisory Council, Boy Scouts National Hispanic Advisory Council, Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Alameda National Center for Latino Arts & Culture, Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation, Riverwalk Jazz and the University of Texas at San Antonio – School of Business Advisory Council. Bromley is the Board Chair for the Mitchell Lake Audubon Society and the Marketing Committee Chair for the San Antonio Symphony. He is Vice Chair of the PBS Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and serves on the Audit Committee and the Strategic Planning Advisory Group. He previously served as co-chair of the Corporate Support Advisory Committee and served on the Station Services Committee.

Erroll B. Davis, Jr.

On July 1, 2011, Erroll B. Davis, Jr. was appointed superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, a system of 50,000 students and 6,000 employees with an annual operating budget of $578 million. Prior to this position, Mr. Davis served as chancellor of the University System of Georgia. As chancellor, he was responsible for the state’s 35 public colleges and universities, approximately 302,000 students, 40,200 faculty and staff, and an annual budget of approximately $6.3 billion. Davis took office as chancellor in early 2006. Previously, he had served as chairman of the board of Alliant Energy Corporation – an energy holding company with $8.3 billion in total assets and annual operating revenues of $3 billion at that time – since 2000. Davis joined Alliant in 1998 as president and chief executive officer. He retired from his dual roles as president and CEO in July 2005, and retained the chairman’s post until his move to the university system.

Prior to the creation of Alliant Energy, Mr. Davis served as president and CEO of WPL Holdings from 1990 to 1998. From 1978 to 1990, he rose through the senior management ranks at Wisconsin Power and Light Company, starting as vice president of finance and ending as CEO and president.

Mr. Davis’ higher education experience includes serving as a member of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents from 1987 to 1994, and as a former chairman of the board of trustees of Carnegie Mellon University, of which he is a life member. A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Mr. Davis earned a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1965, and an M.B.A. in finance from the University of Chicago in 1967. He is a member of the board of directors of General Motors and Union Pacific Corp., and serves on the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) board and on the advisory board of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) along with numerous professional associations and civic organizations. He is a former member of the U.S. Olympic Committee Board (2004-2008) and the University of Chicago Board of Trustees.

Mr. Davis and his wife, Elaine, established the Davis Family Foundation, which makes annual grants to numerous students in need. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including recognition as one of Georgia Trend magazine’s “100 Most Influential Georgians,” the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “100 Most Influential Atlantans,” one of the “75 Most Powerful Blacks in Corporate America” by Black Enterprise magazine, one of the “Top 50 Blacks in Technology” at the Black Engineer of the Year 2005 Awards Conference and the Carnegie Mellon Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 2004. Davis also was named one of the “50 Most Powerful Black Executives in America” by Fortune magazine in 2002 and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business in 1993, the same year he received a Bronze Medal in Financial World’s “CEO of the Year” competition. In addition, Mr. Davis was honored by the magazine U.S. Black Engineer as the “Black Engineer of the Year” in 1988.

Rich Homberg

Rich Homberg is President and CEO of Detroit Public Television, a position he has held since 2008.

Despite significant challenges in the Michigan and national economies, Mr. Homberg led to a successful conclusion a $22 million capital campaign for a state-of-the-art broadcast facility in 2009 and the organization was named “Best Managed Non-Profit” of 2010 by Crain’s Detroit Business. The station was honored with a DuPont-Columbia Award in 2012 for innovative documentary programming and recognition the same year from the Association of Public Television Stations for its Great Lakes environmental programming.

A strong advocate for the value of a “collective impact” blueprint for aligning efforts across the public media system to strengthen our service, Mr. Homberg has been an active participant in the Major Market Group’s efforts around the Community’s Agenda and the PBS Community Connection initiative. He also serves on the PBS Interactive working group.

In Detroit, DPTV’s television and radio stations have greatly improved their operating results and audience reach, while increasing local content and community engagement during Homberg’s tenure, surviving a particularly difficult economic environment. The radio station, WRCJ, operated in partnership with the Detroit Public Schools, brought classical music back to Detroit, serving over 100,000 listeners each week. In 2011, the station opened a new TV studio in the heart of Detroit, in partnership with Wayne State University.

Mr. Homberg joined Detroit Public TV after a successful career in commercial broadcasting for CBS, Viacom and Westinghouse Broadcasting.

An active member of the Metro Detroit community, Mr. Homberg is currently the Chair of the Cultural Alliance of South Michigan and serves on multiple boards for nonprofit organizations. He resides in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan with his wife and son.

Shae Hopkins

Shae Hopkins is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of KET, Kentucky Educational Television, and oversees a statewide network with three production facilities and 16 transmitters that reach more than 5.5 million people in eight states, as well as an extensive digital education service utilized by every school district in the commonwealth. KET is a national leader in local content and educational resource production, including early childhood, P-16, teacher professional development, adult education, and adult literacy.

A 27-year veteran of KET, Ms. Hopkins served in progressive management positions, including Deputy Executive Director, where she was responsible for day-to-day operations and oversaw the development of a wide range of content and production, as well as the network’s digital transition for production and distribution systems. She previously led KET’s private fundraising for more than a decade and was the founding president of the Commonwealth Fund for KET.

Hopkins has been recognized with various industry awards, including the 2011 National Advocacy Award from the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS). In addition to APTS, she is active in several public media organizations, including the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA), Organization of State Broadcast Executives Board (OSBE), Affinity Group Coalition (AGC), and the PBS LearningMedia Station Advisory Board.

Appointed by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to the inaugural board of Digital Promise (National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies), Ms. Hopkins also serves on the Governor’s Post-Secondary Education Nominating Commission, Collaborative Center for Literacy Development Advisory Committee, Kentucky Blood Center Board of Directors, Central Bank Advisory Board of Directors, and the University of Kentucky College of Communications and Information Studies National Advisory Board.

Ramon A. Rodriguez

A native of Guantanamo, Cuba, Mr. Rodriguez earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting in 1971, from Florida Atlantic University. Upon graduation, Mr. Rodriguez started his accounting career with Madsen & Sapp. In 1974 he was elected to partnership in the firm and was elected the Managing Partner in 1979. He was the Managing Partner and CEO from 1979 until 2006 when the firm was sold to Crowe Horwath. During his career as a CPA, Rodriguez was also a founder and Treasurer of DME Corporation a manufacturing company involved in defense and aerospace.

Mr. Rodriguez was Chairman of the Florida Board of Accountancy and President of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Currently, Rodriguez is a member of the Board of Directors of Alico, Inc. and of Republic Services, Inc.

Among his civic activities, Mr. Rodriguez is member of the Board of Directors of WPBT Channel 2, Performing Arts Authority of Broward County, Holy Cross Hospital, and the Broward Workshop. Previously, Rodriguez served as Chairman of the Museum of Discovery and Science and United Way of Broward County.

Through the years, Mr. Rodriguez has been recognized for his strong civic and business leadership. He has been the recipient of the 2004 Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Award; 2001 Silver Medallion Award, and in 1998 he received the Sun-Sentinel’s Excalibur Award.

Mr. Rodriguez resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his wife Cindy.

Robert Sachs

Robert Sachs is an attorney and business executive who over the past 30 years has served in various executive capacities in the cable TV and telecommunications industries.

Mr. Sachs is principal of Continental Consulting Group, LLC, a Boston-based cable and telecommunications consulting firm that he co-founded in January 1998. In addition, he serves as a director of several telecommunications and technology companies, and as a trustee of several non-for-profit organizations. From August 1999 through February 2005, Sachs left CCG to serve as President & CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (“NCTA”), the principal trade association of the US cable television industry. NCTA represents cable operators, programming networks and equipment suppliers before the federal government. During Sachs’s tenure at NCTA, the cable industry attained a deregulatory environment for cable broadband services and launched new services including high-speed Internet access, high definition television, video-on-demand, and digital cable phone service. For the prior two decades, Sachs served in executive positions with Continental Cablevision, Inc. and its successor, MediaOne. From 1988 until 1998, Sachs was the company’s senior vice president of corporate and legal affairs. From 1979 until 1988, he served as Continental’s director and then its vice president of corporate development.

Mr. Sachs began his professional career on the legislative staff of US Senator Charles Goodell (R-NY). From 1975-77, Sachs served as legislative assistant to US Representative Tim Wirth (D-CO), then a member of the House Communications Subcommittee. From 1977-78, Sachs served as a full-time consultant to the White House Office of Telecommunications Policy and from 1978-79, he was legislative counsel to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Mr. Sachs holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Rochester (1970). He earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University (1974) and a law degree from Georgetown University (1978). In addition, Sachs has completed the Program for Management Development at Harvard Business School (1987).

Mr. Sachs is a member of the bar of the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is a director of BigBand Networks, Inc., Global Crossing, Ltd., StarHub, Ltd., and UpdateLogic, Inc. He also serves as a trustee of The Citi Performing Arts Center, the WGBH Educational Foundation, The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and as chair of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. Mr. Sachs is a former director of the Advertising Council, CableLabs, Inc., Cable-in-the Classroom, Inc., and The Walter Kaitz Foundation. He has also served as a member of the Federal Communications Commission’s Committee on Media Reliability and Security. He is married to Caroline Taggart, co-owner and director of OH+T, a contemporary art gallery in Boston.

Geoffrey K. Sands

Chairman of the Board since 2009 and director since 2006. Geoffrey Sands is a Director of McKinsey & Company and heads its Global Media, Entertainment and Information Practice. Mr. Sands helps senior management develop innovative growth strategies, improve performance and profitability, and re-design organization structures. His clientele spans a range of businesses that include: newspaper, magazine and book publishing; broadcast and cable television; recorded music; filmed entertainment; professional publishing; business information services; education; marketing services; video games; consumer electronics; and sports. He has been a longtime supporter of PBS, CPB and numerous stations. Before joining McKinsey, he was lead partner in the Media and Entertainment Practice at Booz Allen and Hamilton. Prior to that he was a Vice President at NW Ayer Inc. He is a trustee of the Sundance Institute, the Educational Broadcasting Corporation and the Paley Center For Media. He is also Industry Advisor to the World Economic Forum’s Media & Entertainment Governors’ Meetings. Mr. Sands received his BA and MBA degrees from Yale University. Mr. Sands Chairs the PBS Executive Committee and serves on the National Policy Advisory, Nominating and Corporate Governance, and Finance Committees and the Diversity Task Force. Previously, Mr. Sands served as Chair of the Strategic Planning Advisory Group.

JoAnn Urofsky

JoAnn Urofsky has been general manager of WUSF Public Media, Tampa, since 2002, but her career with WUSF began in 1992 as station manager for the Fort Myers public radio station also licensed to the University of South Florida. In 1997 she transitioned to Tampa to become the station manager for WUSF 89.7 and then took on the top management role for WUSF Public Media.

During Ms. Urofsky’s tenure as GM, she has strengthened the focus of WUSF Public Media on producing significant multimedia journalism and community engagement through education. She expanded WUSF’s media properties by acquiring a new radio station and translator. With the addition of the new station, WUSF now has WUSF TV, and two radio stations; one is all news and jazz and the other is devoted to classical music. This year, WUSF’s multimedia news team was honored with numerous awards for their local coverage of the RNC, for education reporting and for the TV documentary Uniform Betrayal: Rape in the Military.

Ms. Urofsky is involved with several public television boards and organizations in addition to completing her first term on the PBS board. She’s chair of the Florida statewide organization FPBS; a member of the NETA executive committee; and the Beta Station Group and University Licensee Association executive committees.

Ms. Urofsky received a B.S. from Penn State in communications and an M.A. from Syracuse University in broadcasting.

Contact:

Erik Ernst
(608) 265-3853