Lehigh people are making waves, leading companies, and contributing to societies all over the world
Faces of Lehigh is a way for you to share an update with all of us on the exciting milestones in your life.
Know of someone whose work the Lehigh community should know about? Nominate them (and yourself!) to be featured in Faces of Lehigh or another Lehigh publication.
Franny Reilly ’98
Frannie Reilly ’98 worked as a management consultant in the financial services industry
Frannie Reilly ’98 worked as a management consultant in the financial services industry for Accenture in New York City for three years postgraduation, where she went from associate to consultant, gaining valuable experience from mentors. In 2001, she attended Villanova School of Law, with the goal of increasing female representation in law firms. While in law school, Reilly worked as a summer associate at Fox Rothschild LLP in Philadelphia, where she focused on public finance, nonprofit organizations, and big and small businesses. She was later offered an associate position there upon graduating. In 2014, she started her own firm – which was certified as a woman-owned business – where she advised client companies of all sizes. While nurturing this business, Reilly served as a mentor for Philadelphia VIP, training attorneys about nonprofit organizations, and trained women in how to start a business through the Women’s Business Enterprise Center-East. In 2021, she joined McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC.
At McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC, Reilly is chair of the firm’s Charitable and Non-Profit Group and co-chair of the Public Finance & Government Services Practice Group.
When not practicing law, Reilly is an adjunct professor at La Salle University (Masters of Science in the Nonprofit Leadership program). She teaches the law and ethics course and capstone course.
Reilly has racked up the accolades, including being a featured panelist and speaker at a number of events, authoring many articles, and earning awards, such as the Philadelphia VIP Champion Award for Community and Economic Development in 2016. At Lehigh, she served as the president of her class for her freshman, sophomore, and junior year and was also a sister in Alpha Omicron Pi.
Reilly earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and international relations from Lehigh University in 1998. She went on to complete her Juris Doctor at Villanova University.
Burton Tabaac ’09
Burton J. Tabaac, MD, FAHA ’09 is grateful to have been immersed in a rigorous and fulfilling medical role early in his professional career.
He currently serves as a provider at Carson Tahoe Medical Center as both its section chief of neurology and as medical director of the CIHQ Primary Stroke Center. He is active as a teacher via an associate professorship of clinical neurology at the University of Nevada Reno School of Medicine. His passion and dedication to healthcare is driven by a deep passion to help others heal, carrying the belief that an outstanding doctor’s duties are not only to his patients, but also teaching the next generation of future physicians.
He has penned more than a dozen blog posts in the AHA Journal via Blogging Stroke and contributed to 18 peer-reviewed publications. He is currently an advising consultant for Voltura Labs, maintains a position on the NeuroGeneces Clinical Advisory Board, and is a National Speaker on behalf of Alexion Pharmaceuticals. Tabaac has spoken at several large engagements, most notably a TedTalk at UCLA in June 2022. In his talk, “Mental Health Meets Psychedelics,” Tabaac investigates how psychedelic therapies can be implemented as potential treatments for states of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and addiction. It is his mission to spread the idea that mental health is a part of whole health.
Tabaac earned a Bachelor of Science in behavioral neuroscience from Lehigh University in 2009, where he set a foundation of academic excellence that would lead him to medical school and a career in vascular neurology. He went on to complete his Doctor of Medicine at American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, graduating in 2014.
Ahmed Banafa ’93G
Ahmed Banafa ’93G earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Lehigh in 1993.
He moved to California after graduation to teach – he worked at CSU East Bay and UC Berkeley earlier in his career and is now at Stanford University and San Jose State University, where he is a new technology media expert. His research focuses on the Internet of Things, Blockchain, AI, and Cybersecurity. Banafa published "Quantum Computing and Other transformative Technologies" in 2022, the third in a series that covers new trends in technology. He is working on a fourth book that will cover cryptocurrency, NFTs, and DeFi, projected to come out in 2023. He serves as a member of the MIT Technology Review Global Panel.
Banafa received the San Jose State University Author and Artist Award, One of the Best Technology Books of all Time Award, and One of the Best AI Models Books of All Time Award for his book “Secure and Smart Internet of Things (IoT) using Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI).” His second book, “Blockchain Technology and Applications” won the San Jose State University Author and Artist and One of the Best New Private Blockchain Books. His research has been featured by several publications, including Forbes, and he has been interviewed by several media outlets, such as NPR, the Washington Post, and CNN, about new technology. In 2018, LinkedIn named his No.1 tech voice to follow, a technology fortune teller and influencer. In 2022, he was selected as one of the “Who’s Who in IoT.”
Julia Pardee ’21
Julia Pardee ’21 works as a venture associate for Cyber Mentor Fund (CMF), an early-stage cybersecurity-focused venture capital fund.
In this role, she oversees deal sourcing and execution, tracks the portfolio, and helps cyber founders scale their companies. She worked part-time as a marketing associate at CMF during the summer and fall of her senior year at Lehigh. She is passionate about bringing more young women into venture capital and actively mentors current Lehigh students. As a part of the Gen Z VC leadership team, she manages the community's curated job board that provides Gen Zers with compelling opportunities in tech and venture capital.
Pardee earned a Bachelor of Science in business information systems and marketing from Lehigh University in 2021. She remains connected with the university through the Young Alumni Council and Soaring Together campaign.
Gene Abel ’64MBA
Over the years, Gene Abel ’64MBA has written ten books of the romantic, supernatural, science-fiction and political genres.
Gene Abel ‘64MBA has had a long, diverse career. After graduating from Lehigh with an MBA, he spent five years in active Army duty and 25 more in the Reserves, retiring as a colonel by the end of his military career. He is a graduate of the Army War College and was awarded several medals, including the Meritorious Service Medal twice. He’s worked several directing roles in business operations, including at the Department of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania, Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital, Merchants National Bank, Reading Area Community College, and Central Bucks School District – where he oversaw the construction of 16 school building projects amounting to over $130 million dollars. In 1999, he retired in Florida and became president of the Cape Coral Housing, Rehabilitation and Development Corporation and Chairman of the Christ Lutheran School. A few years later, he returned to Pennsylvania and later moved to New Jersey, where he now resides. Abel’s biography will appear in the 2022-23 edition of Marquis Who’s Who in America, as a recipient of the Albert Nelson Lifetime Award.
Over the years, Abel has written ten books of the romantic, supernatural, science-fiction and political genres. He released his first book, “The Inn of Destiny” in 2003, which he is now working to secure a book-to-movie agreement for. He recently came out with “Kidnappers from the Future” in 2021, the sequel to his “Going Back,” from 2020.
He earned a B.S. from Penn State in finance/economics and an MBA from Lehigh University. His mother was the Director of Acquisitions at the Lehigh Library.
Mike Faccinetto ’19G
Faccinetto has served as president for the Bethlehem Area School District Board of Directors since 2010 and served as president for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) from 2017 to 2018.
Mike Faccinetto ’19G worked in the insurance industry for 20 years before making the switch to education, where he resides now. Since graduating from Lehigh, Faccinetto has taught fifth grade English Language Arts (ELA) at Central Elementary School in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and now fifth grade ELA and Social Studies at Southern Lehigh School District. He has served as president for the Bethlehem Area School District Board of Directors since 2010 and served as president for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) from 2017 to 2018. While serving on the PSBA, he was awarded the PSBA Allwein Society Award, an award that recognizes school directors who are outstanding leaders and advocates on behalf of public schools and students. Faccinetto is passionate about helping students reach their full potential and creating a more equitable community.
Faccinetto earned a Master of Education in elementary education and teaching from Lehigh University in 2019. Previously, he earned a Bachelor of Science in insurance from Penn State University. He is currently enrolled in the doctoral program for education leadership at Lehigh University.
Michael O’Neill ’88
O’Neill has made a career as a wildlife photographer and author of eight non-fiction marine life books, founding his company Michael P. O’Neill Photography, Inc., in 2001.
Michael O’Neill ’88 is a passionate storyteller, educator, and environmentalist. O’Neill has made a career as a wildlife photographer and author of eight non-fiction marine life books, founding his company Michael P. O’Neill Photography, Inc., in 2001. His photographs have been featured in publications like National Geographic and The New York Times, and he has been awarded World Press Photo (Amsterdam) and Wildlife Photographer of the Year (London), among other accolades. He created a nonprofit foundation called Into the Blue in 2019, which brings education programs and books that promote appreciation for nature to underprivileged children. Before his career in photography, he worked as a market analyst and financial analyst for a handful of companies, including Edcomm Group, Young & Rubicam, and VISA.
O’Neill earned a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from Lehigh University in 1988. He went on to earn his Master of Business Administration from the University of Miami in 1996.
Dave Ingram ’73
While at Standard & Poor’s, Ingram developed an enterprise risk management (ERM) rating criteria, which became the industry standard.
Dave Ingram ’73 earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from Lehigh University. He has worked in various positions in the insurance industry for over 45 years at multiple companies, including Standard & Poor’s and Willis Re, and became a fully qualified actuary, which took more than 10 years to accomplish post-graduation. Ingram is an active volunteer within the actuarial profession, co-founding the Joint Risk Management Section in North America and serving as chair of the International Actuarial Association’s Enterprise Risk Management Committee, where he led the development of statements of professional standards for actuaries performing risk management in the U.S. and globally. He is now also a member of the Board of the Society of Actuaries. While at Standard & Poor’s, he developed an enterprise risk management (ERM) rating criteria, which became the industry standard for ERM programs at insurers. Throughout his career in insurance, he has won the Best Practical Paper award four times at the ERM Symposium and co-authored a research paper titled “Modeling the Variety of Decision Making,” which maps out how business managers can be more resilient by becoming adaptors.
Most recently, Ingram is involved in the COVID Mitigation Monitoring Project, where he collected and studied weekly observations of COVID mitigation behaviors. The project has led to joint work with Tom McAndrew, an associate professor in the College of Health, which will culminate in a published report.
Bess Rowen ’09
Rowen released her first book, The Lines Between the Lines: How Stage Directions Affect Embodiment in October 2021.
Bess Rowen ’09 released her first book, The Lines Between the Lines: How Stage Directions Affect Embodiment in October 2021, giving her first book talk in the same month at Lehigh. In the book, she discusses how spoken language can be embodied by performers and the effect this has on both performers and audience members. She credits the roots of these ideas to her experiences in her studies at Lehigh. Rowen is an assistant professor of theater at Villanova University where she teaches undergraduate and graduate theater classes and undergraduate gender and women's studies.
Rowen earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and theater with a minor in psychology from Lehigh University in 2009. She was a President’s Scholar the following year. She went on to receive her Master of Arts degree in performance studies from New York University in 2011 and completed her Ph.D. in theater and performance at The Graduate Center, the City University of New York (CUNY).
Peter Christian ’77
Christian earned a Master of Science in industrial engineering from Lehigh University in 1977.
Peter Christian ’77 recently released a book, What About the Vermin Problem?: A Guide to Avoiding Damaging Business Practices. The book is based on Christian’s experiences in helping more than 300 companies as president of Enterprise Systems Partners, a Lehigh Valley-based business consulting company he cofounded and led until his retirement in 2018. During his career, he also held various roles at Crayola from 1979 until 1996, including director positions in operations, quality control, and research and development. Currently living in the Tampa Bay area, Christian consults for smaller companies and start-ups and is working on a second book.
Christian holds a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering from Rutgers University (1975).
William Flannery ’95
Flannery received his Bachelor of Science in civil and structural engineering from Lehigh in 1995.
William Flannery ’95 has been promoted to chief operating officer at Ensono, a leading hybrid IT services provider. Flannery led the expansion of Ensono’s operating model from regional to global, adding teams in the U.S., U.K., Poland, Germany, and India. He is responsible for ensuring the company’s managed mainframe and cloud services seamlessly meet client standards worldwide.
He earned a Master of Business Administration in dual degree management and information technology from Fordham University in 2000.
Joel Isaacson ’80 ’22
Isaacson graduated from Lehigh University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in accounting.
Joel Isaacson ’80 ’22P, CEO of Joel Isaacson & Co., has been elected chair of AHRC (Association for Habilitation and Residential Care) New York City's foundation board. The foundation provides philanthropic support to AHRC NYC, a 70-year-old organization established to serve children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Isaacson is the third generation of his family to support AHRC NYC — his grandparents were among the earliest members of the organization and his parents continued the tradition.
He holds an M.B.A. in financial planning from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.