Leadership Team

Ryan Yamane—President and Chief Operating Officer.  Ryan’s personal outside-the-box educational journey has given him unique insight into the changing landscape of higher education. After graduating homeschool high school, Ryan was able to forge his own unique college pathway with his B.S. in business, completing his degree for less than $10,000. For more than ten years, Ryan has sought to help other students do the same at colleges across the country.

As a co-founder of CollegePlus, Ryan helped build the company starting in 2004, holding the positions of chief financial officer, followed by chief operating officer, and finally chief executive officer. During this time, he oversaw all aspects of the company—marketing, finance, accounting, purchasing, human resources, legal, operations functions, and systems development.

Under Ryan’s leadership, CollegePlus achieved world-class customer satisfaction rankings as measured by Net Promoter Scores. Most recently, he led the organization through a successful strategic market transition and now serves as Lumerit Education’s President and Chief Operating Officer.  

Woody.jpg

Woody RobertsonChief Development Officer. Woody is a high-energy creative thinker with a proven track record of growing businesses. After experiencing first-hand the benefits of unbundling college and pioneering the methodologies of credit aggregation which he applied to his BSBA in Business Management, Woody co-founded Lumerit Education in 2004. Woody's role as a senior executive has involved driving the development of the organization from the ground up, performing roles in Operations, Admissions, and Marketing. He thrives in team-building and business development, along with connecting students and markets with attractive and viable solutions.  

Over the past ten years, Woody’s growth strategies have taken Lumerit to a global level with students in 23 countries. As Lumerit’s revenue driver from day one, Woody built the company’s marketing strategy, trained a national team of admissions reps, has given hundreds of presentations, and initiated the foundational partnerships that have helped Lumerit grow exponentially.

Phil_B.jpg

Phil Balsamo, CPA—Chief Financial Officer. Phil has over 30 years experience as a Chief Financial Officer leading companies through change and to profitable growth. For eight years Phil helped lead the growth of the Mobile Resource Management division of Trimble Navigation (NASDAQ: TRMB) from $20M to $160M in revenue.  

Phil also held the position of CFO  at Vastera Corporation  where he oversaw the growth of the company  from $3M in revenue in the United States to $80M in revenue across 12 countries.  Phil provided the financial leadership at Vastera completing a successful  $250M valuation IPO and an average return to investors of over 600%.

Mr. Balsamo also serves as CFO for Miles Howland Education Partners.

Scott Miller – Executive Vice President.  Scott brings more than ten years of digital marketing and twenty years of entrepreneurial experience to Lumerit Education. Scott is responsible for all aspects of student acquisition strategies for both the corporate and consumer markets.

Scott’s overall experience includes,  sales management, digital and social media marketing, customer relationship management applications and customer acquisition conversion metrics. Scott joined Lumerit Education in February 2015 and has helped transform the overall enrollment, marketing methodologies and metrics as well as branding of the company.

Liza_Head_Shot.jpg

Liza Canchola—Vice President of Enrollment Services

Liza joins the Lumerit Education senior leadership team responsible for creating an excellent student experience while driving top line revenue for both consumer and corporate sales divisions.   

Liza has fourteen years of direct experience in higher education enrollment, operations and student satisfaction.  Prior to joining Lumerit Education Liza spent five years as Campus President for Education Corporation of America and Kaplan Higher Education where she executed operational strategies to ensure successful employer and student outcomes and delivery of quality education products. While at Kaplan Higher Education, Liza also held leadership roles as Regional Vice President of Admissions for 8 campus locations in Texas.   

Liza Canchola holds a Bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communication Studies from The University of Texas at Austin. 

Board Members

Rick Beyer—Rick has a unique combination of experience in higher education and business. A former college president and board governance chair, successful technology CEO, and senior operating executive of a $1 billion public company, Rick has consistently been at the forefront of industry-leading initiatives and has a successful history of navigating organizations through change and growth.

Rick is currently Senior Advisor to the President and a former member of the board of directors at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), a national governance organization for higher education with more than 1,900 member institutions. He has served on the board of trustees at American University as well as his alma mater, Olivet College, including serving as board chair and now trustee emeritus. Rick has served as president, president emeritus at Wheeling Jesuit University.

Rick has more than twenty years of senior executive operating experience including serving for more than eight years as an executive and then as a corporate officer at Trimble Navigation, a $1 billion public company (NASDAQ:TRMB).  Rick also served as president and CEO of TracerNET, a wireless sensor business which was acquired by Trimble.  Rick was also part of the senior management start-up team at QUALCOMM (NASDAQ: QCOM) serving as vice president, marketing and sales for OmniTRACS, which became the country's most successful mobile satellite communications provider. 

Rick is a frequent speaker on the topic of macro trends shaping higher education. Here is a recent Forbes interview wherein Rick discusses “unbundling” the college degree.

2eec522.jpg

Michael Clark—Michael is the founding owner and president of Aspect Wealth Management, which he established in 1997 after a ten-year career with Salomon Smith Barney. His firm assists high-net-worth investors, families, business owners, and nonprofit institutions in making high-quality financial decisions in the management of their wealth. Previous to his association with Salomon Smith Barney, he served as an economic analyst and management advisor for the U.S. government and private industry. He particularly enjoyed serving for seven years as a faculty member in the Economics and Finance Division of the University of Texas at San Antonio.

1f4c3d6.jpg

Reid Miles—Reid is chairman and CEO of Miles Howland & Co. and a managing member of Miles Howland Education Partners. He has more than 20 years of experience in investment management and operational management. He has been active as a professional investor for more than 18 years. Over the course of his career, Reid has invested in more than 30 private equity transactions and managed numerous fund of funds investments. 

Prior to launching Miles Howland & Co., LLC, Reid was a managing director and partner of BV Group Ventures, LLC., a diversified international investment management firm. The group has invested in more than $1.5 billion of private equity, real estate, and hedge funds. From 2000 to 2005, Reid led the direct investment and fund of funds investment activities of the firm. He was also a member of the Executive Committee.  

Rush Cone—A founding board member of Lumerit Education, Rush is an attorney with 40 years of experience focused on a wide range of legal issues related to business, corporate leadership, and education. During that time, he has worked in senior leadership for four international corporations and served his community on several nonprofit and industry-related boards.

Rush and his wife, Cindy, have been involved in the development, promotion, and growth of homeschool and alternative higher education for 20 years, first through the Family Educators Alliance of South Texas and later as founders of the RACHEL and MICHAEL Institutes, which focus on alternative higher education.

image.png

Dr. Cornelius (Neil) M. Kerwin—Dr. Kerwin became American University’s 14th president in September 2007 and retired from AU in 2017.  He led an institution of 13,000 students, 1,300 teaching and administrative faculty, and 2,500 staff in the nation’s capital; an operating budget of approximately $700 million and a nearly $600 million endowment.

Dr. Kerwin joined AU in 1975 and holds a faculty appointment in the School of Public Affairs, Department of Public Administration. He was dean of the School of Public Affairs from 1988 to 1997; provost from 1997 to 2005; and acting—then interim—president of American University from 2005 to 2007.

A nationally recognized specialist in public policy and the regulatory process, Dr. Kerwin is actively engaged in research and periodically teaches courses in administrative process, policy implementation, and American government. He founded AU’s Center for the Study of Rulemaking and is the author of Rulemaking: How Government Agencies Write Law and Make Policy (CQ Press). The fifth edition of Rulemaking will be released in early 2017. Dr. Kerwin is also the author of numerous scholarly articles and professional publications.

Dr. Kerwin is a Senior Fellow , Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB),  a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration; a former president of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration; and founding chair of the Section on Public Law and Administration of the American Society for Public Administration. He received degrees from American University (BA), the University of Rhode Island (MA, political science), and Johns Hopkins University (PhD, political science).

Dr. Kerwin served as a member of the board of directors of the American Council on Education and on the board of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).  He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Greater Washington Board of Trade; he is also a member of the DC Chamber of Commerce and the DC Government's Economic Strategy Advisory Committee. Dr. Kerwin chaired the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area Board of Trustees (2013 to 2015) and the Patriot League Council of Presidents (academic years 2013 to 2014 and 2014 to 2015).

Dr. PJ McDonald—Dr. PJ McDonald is the headmaster of Eagle Hill School, a private coeducational college preparatory boarding school for students with learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder in Hardwick, Massachusetts. PJ has served as the headmaster of Eagle Hill School since July of 1998.

PJ is widely known in secondary education circles as a leader whose business acumen has helped transform Eagle Hill School into an international institution. Under his leadership, Eagle Hill School has tripled its total enrollment, fund-raised more than $100 million; built 14 buildings; developed a comprehensive, competitive, and transparent faculty compensation plan; increased annual operating revenue five-fold; and created the Teacher Training Initiative designed to train urban public school teachers.

PJ serves on the board of trustees of $1.5 billion country bank (executive committee, compensation committee, and chair of succession planning committee) and is a founding member of Start Your Engines, LLC, a company created to bring Indy car racing to New England cities. PJ is also a trustee at numerous local and national nonprofits, including Be Like Brit, through which he helped construct a 19,000-square foot orphanage in Haiti, an accoplishment he still considers his greatest philanthropic achievement.

PJ and his wife Kathryn live in Holden, Massachusetts, with their three children: Griffin (16), Reagan (15), and Tucker (11).  An alumnus of Purdue University, PJ earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

John Gee—Mr. Gee has served 32 year with Merrill Lynch most recently as Managing Director, The Direct Division. Previously, he served as CEO, Virginia Community Bank. Additionally, Gee is Managing Principle-Virginia Community Properties; Managing Partner-49 Octave, a management consulting company specializing in board governance and structured leadership; board of directors-Eagle Hill School in Hardwick, MA.; Chairman of Peninsula Homeowners Action Association-Millsboro, DE.; and Board of Shakespeare Sedona.  

Gee holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond with a graduate degree from the University of Virginia (Finance) and Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (Executive Leadership).