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East TN PBS President Elected Trustee for APTS

From Stacey Karp, Director, Communications, America’s Public Television Stations – 

APTS LogoOn February 7, 2019, America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) announced the election of its new board leaders and members.

Roy Clem, Executive Director of Alabama Public Television, has been elected Chairman; Bert Schmidt, President and Chief Executive Officer of WHRO in Norfolk, Virginia, has been elected as Professional Vice Chair; and Carol Kellermann, Lay Trustee, Thirteen/WNET in New York, has been re-elected as Lay Vice Chair.

The newly-elected trustees are: Carolyn Edwards, Lay Trustee, Vegas PBS in Las Vegas, Nevada; Susi Elkins, Director of Broadcasting & General Manager of WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan; Franz Joachim, General Manager & CEO of New Mexico PBS; Garrett T. King, III, Board Chair of Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA); Vickie Lawson, President & CEO of East Tennessee PBS in Knoxville, Tennessee; and David Steward II, Board Chair of Nine Network of Public Media in St. Louis, Missouri. Newly elected as an at-large trustee to the APTS board is Larry D. Unger, President & Chief Executive Officer of Maryland Public Television.

Newly-elected trustees will begin their terms on Monday, February 25, 2019, and newly-elected officers will begin their terms on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

The TN Arts Commission congratulates Ms. Lawson.

Vickie Lawson is the President and CEO of East Tennessee PBS. Located in Knoxville, Tennessee, East Tennessee PBS is a nonprofit, viewer-supported television station providing lifelong learning opportunities to more than 2 million viewers in East Tennessee, Southern Kentucky, Southeast Virginia and Western North Carolina. East Tennessee PBS prides itself on being an active member of its community and providing a wide array of locally produced educational, wellness and cultural programming, in addition to the award-winning national programs from PBS.
Having joined East Tennessee PBS in 1996, Lawson has held numerous positions. Her hands-on understanding of the educational responsibilities of media, developing successful membership programs and strong leadership brought East Tennessee PBS from a financially struggling station to a solid fiscally responsible station, without compromising its mission: to serve the needs of East Tennessee as a community partner affecting positive change by educating, entertaining and challenging minds.
Lawson’s commitment to nonprofit, education and community service extends beyond her role at East Tennessee PBS. She serves on multiple area boards and associations, including serving as the Chairman of the Tennessee Public Television Council (TPTC), President of the Board of Directors for Sundown Resort in Townsend, TN, Treasurer of Piney Grove Baptist Church, James White Fort Board Member and service on multiple senior centers’ boards and organizations. She also serves on several Veteran association boards and sponsors a veteran appreciation dinner every year to honor veterans of all wars and services. Additionally, Lawson is the host of Tennessee Life on East Tennessee PBS, a show featuring the people who proudly call Tennessee home.
Lawson is working with several organizations to establish an educational corridor in the inner city for students local to the area and through programs for broadcast. East Tennessee PBS is utilizing the services of community college by providing classes in broadcast training and use of students in internships for college credit.

Following is background on the board officers:

Roy Clem was selected to be the Executive Director for the statewide Alabama Public Television (APT) network in 2012. During his tenure, the APT team has received numerous prestigious Regional and National Awards for their commitment to education, public safety, civic leadership and public service, including two Alabama Legislature Joint Resolutions honoring APT’s service to the state, the National Broadcasters Association Educational Foundation’s 2016 Service to Children Award for Television, and the 2016 Edward R. Murrow Award for Best News Documentary in a major market, for the APT production “Jeremiah,” which chronicles Jeremiah Denton’s service in the Vietnam War, experience as a POW and journey to becoming one of Alabama’s U.S. Senators. Clem started his broadcast news career in 1973 at Denver’s KDEN radio station working as a street reporter. In 1974, he joined the Denver Police Department (DPD) where he served as a patrol officer, academy supervisor and detective sergeant. In 1986, Clem returned to television broadcast journalism. In his 36-year career as a broadcasting executive, Clem has served as a journalist, anchor, news director and general manager.

Bert Schmidt is President and Chief Executive Officer of WHRO in Norfolk, VA. Under Schmidt’s leadership, WHRO has continued to be recognized as a leader in the field of educational telecommunications. The station has been the recipient of several national grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and is currently one of a handful of public media affiliates working under the American Graduate umbrella, an initiative focusing on the national dropout crisis. Schmidt is passionate about the dual roles public media plays in education and in broadcasting. He began his career in public media as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of WCNY in his hometown of Syracuse, New York. Schmidt served as President and General Manager of WVPT in Harrisonburg, Virginia for five years before being tapped to join WHRO as its President and Chief Executive Officer in May 2007. Schmidt has been instrumental in the development of education content, particularly in the online platform, as well as a vibrant digital distribution for educational content that is now available to every student in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Throughout his career, he’s been a strong proponent of local programming that serves the community. Schmidt developed and served as executive producer of 11 local television productions during his tenure at WVPT, and three local television programs and one local radio program at WHRO.

Carol Kellermann retired in December 2018 as President of the Citizens Budget Commission. She has over 25 years of experience in leadership positions in nonprofit, philanthropic and government settings. Kellermann has served as Interim Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers and PENCIL, Inc., and as a consultant to City University of New York (CUNY), where she initiated a pilot program to improve graduation rates and job outcomes at CUNY’s six community colleges. As Executive Director and CEO of the September 11 Fund, Kellermann oversaw the $500+ million charitable fund, which provided grants and assistance for the short and long term needs of victims of the September 11th attacks. Prior to that, she was Executive Director of Learning Leaders, the oldest and largest volunteer program in the New York City public schools. Kellermann has been Chief of Staff to then-Congressman Charles E. Schumer and held various executive positions in New York City government, including Deputy Commissioner of the NYC Department of Finance. Kellermann holds degrees from Harvard Law School and Harvard College.

Following is background on the newly-elected board members:

Carolyn Edwards 

Carolyn Edwards has served for 10 years as a board member of Vegas PBS.

Edwards worked for many years in social work in Pennsylvania. After moving to Nevada, she became active with nonprofits, policy organizations and local politics — particularly as they affect education.

Edwards is an elected Trustee of the Clark County School District, appointed member of the Southern Nevada Regional Planning Commission, Chairperson of the Clark County Debt Management Commission, and Nevada Commissioner on the Education Commission of the States. As President of the Nevada School Boards Association, she travelled extensively, keeping her commitment to visit every school board in the state for at least one meeting.

Edwards holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and religion from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, and a Master’s degree in social work from Rutgers University.

Susi Elkins

Susi Elkins is Director of Broadcasting and General Manager of WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University (MSU). WKAR is home to public radio and television for the Michigan capital region, bringing the best of PBS, PBS KIDS, NPR and award-winning original content to more than 500,000 mid-Michigan residents each week. Through expanded broadcast, online and community engagement, plus new efforts in education, research and NextGen TV, WKAR is developing a national model for the impact public media can have in local communities and beyond.

Under Elkins’ leadership, WKAR has solidified its reputation as a community institution through strategic partnerships and collaborations. Through securing major support from local institutions, WKAR has significantly increased its commitment to early childhood education. University partnerships at Michigan State have increased the station’s capacity for providing award-winning research-based content, as well as experiential learning opportunities for students.

In collaboration with MSU, Elkins led the effort to launch the first ATSC 3.0 experimental station licensed to a public media organization. Granted the FCC experimental license in June 2018, the test station is designed to explore the potential of NextGen TV to build stronger communities through education, news and information, arts, science and culture.

Prior to her appointment in March 2017, Elkins served in a variety of roles at the station, including Interim Director, Television Station Manager, Content and Community Engagement Manager, public television Producer and instructional television multi-media Producer.

Under her leadership as Television Station Manager, WKAR was named Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) Public Television Station of the Year for five consecutive years and has earned numerous regional Emmy Awards and top awards from the MAB and the National Educational Telecommunication Association, among others.

Elkins holds a bachelor’s degree in telecommunication and a master’s degree in educational technology, both from MSU.

Franz Joachim

Franz Joachim is General Manager & CEO of New Mexico PBS (KNME-TV). He has been involved in television production since high school in Tucson, Arizona.

Joachim graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in RadioTelevision and a minor in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics. While there, he worked for KUAT-TV (PBS), first on its student production crew and then as Studio Supervisor. He has worked in television production for 35 years as a photographer, editor, director and manager in a variety of production environments, including Industrial, News, Studio and Long Form Documentary production. Joachim is a certified diver, shooting for documentaries from the Sea of Cortez to the Turks and Caicos and Virgin Islands.

In 1999, Joachim became Production & Operations Manager for KNME-TV in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In this position, he supervised an extensive build out of automated on-air operations and developed the digital file based production workflow for KNME production.

Joachim was designated as a National Association of Broadcasters’ DTV spokesman for New Mexico and traveled the region, giving talks on the transition to digital television, showing people how to hook up converter boxes, and explaining the vagaries of the DTV transition.

In 2010, Joachim was promoted to Director of Content for New Mexico PBS/KNME & KNMD overseeing the scheduling, production, promotion and distribution of content on-air and online. In 2013, Joachim was appointed General Manager & CEO of New Mexico PBS.

Garrett T. King, III 

Garrett T. King, III currently holds the position of Assistant tthe President & Director of InstitutionaAdvancement aSouthwesterOklahomStatUniversit(SWOSUwhere he overseeformulation and execution of strategieto solicitreceive, steward and disburse externaresourcefor the benefit of the universitand to engagalumni, emeriti and friends of the university in a mutually beneficiarelationship.

King haserveois serving on the governing boards of the Oklahoma Educational Television Authorit(OETA)and the OETA Foundation, Inc.the Friends othe WeatherforPubliLibrarythe WeatherforCommunitHabitafor Humanitythe WeatherforFood & ResourceCenterand HOBOklahomaKing and hifamilarmembers of the First Baptist Church of Weatherforwhere he has serveaVice Chair of Deacons and hataught SundaSchool.

PreviouslyKing served on the personal staff of U.SRepresentative Frank DLuca(OK-3) where hiworfocused on issuerelateto education, agricultureIndiaaffairs, energytransportation and the environment.

King waraised on a peanut farithe OakdalCommunity near Eaklin northerCaddo Countwhere hifamily haliveand worked since 1890. His a 2004 graduate of public schooland a 2008 alumnus of SWOSwherhe studieHistorand PoliticaScienceHe holds an M. Ed. iSociaScienceanis currently a Ph. Dcandidate in history athe UniversitoSwanseiWales.

David Steward II

David Steward II founded The Lion Forge, LLC, a St. Louis-based, a transmedia studio in his hometown.

Beginning with a digital-first publishing model in 2011, and a vision to create “comics for everyone,” Steward charted a course for Lion Forge to bring together the most talented, diverse group of writers and artists to offer authentic voices to fans looking for stories and characters representing all ages, races and gender while still experiencing high quality, cinematic comics and animation. The company strives to develop content and character franchises within the comic book, television, film and interactive gaming industries that will appeal to fans across a wide demographic.

Before starting Lion Forge, Steward founded and operated Photographx.com, a multimedia company providing photography, filmmaking, animation and design to its clients. He also worked as a film producer for a Christian media company based in Los Angeles, and later formed and managed The Chi Rho Group, a “traditional” private equity organization focused on making acquisitions in consumer-packaged goods, technology, and media & entertainment.

Lion Forge also partners with nonprofit organizations, such as the St. Louis Arc, to enhance their mission through comics and animation. In addition, Steward served as an executive board member for the local chapter of the Habitat for Humanity. He is a current board member of the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum, as well as Chairman of the board of Nine Network of Public Media in St. Louis.

Steward graduated Magna Cum Laude from American University in 1998 with a B.S.B.A. in International Marketing.

Larry D. Unger

Larry D. Unger is the fifth President in the nearly 50-year history of Maryland Public Television (MPT). MPT, a $32 million noncommercial broadcasting operation headquartered in Owings Mills, Maryland, is a state licensee member of the Public Broadcasting Service.

Unger first joined MPT in 1997, bringing to the organization nearly three decades’ experience in the local financial services community. After serving as the state broadcaster’s Vice President of Administration and Finance, Chief Financial Officer, and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, he was named MPT’s President and CEO in July 2011. Prior to his MPT career, Unger served for 11 years as a senior-level executive at Baltimore Bancorp and its main subsidiary, The Bank of Baltimore. In his final position there, he was Executive Vice President of both entities with responsibility for all consumer-related activities including the branch system, retail lending, bankcard and investment services. He managed more than $600 million in loans, nearly 600 employees and $1.75 billion in deposits.

Earlier, Unger served as President of bank subsidiary Atlantic Leasing & Financial, Inc. He gained much of his experience at Maryland National Leasing Corporation, an affiliate of the former Maryland National Corporation. At various times over nearly a decade at Maryland National, he served as Vice President, Senior Vice President and Executive Vice President of the leasing subsidiary. Unger began his financial services career as an Assistant Vice President at Commercial Credit Capital Corporation/CC Leasing Corporation where he was hired in 1969.

Unger holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Baltimore where he also earned a certificate in financial management. He completed the Stonier Graduate School of Banking, the pre-eminent executive management school for the financial services industry. Unger served for six years in the United States Coast Guard Reserve.

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