We are excited to bring on a team of accomplished individuals to lead the transformation of our acquired Everest and WyoTech campuses from for-profit career colleges to dynamic nonprofit learning institutions focused on long-term student success — and to manage the day-to-day operations of these schools moving forward.
PETER J. TAYLOR – President and CEO
Peter J. Taylor became president of ECMC Foundation in May 2014, and president and chief executive officer of Zenith Education Group in August 2016. The Foundation’s mission is to inspire and to facilitate improvements that affect educational outcomes among underserved populations through evidence-based innovation. The Foundation’s annual grantmaking budget is $30 million, and focuses on teacher and leader development, college success, and career readiness.
Zenith is a nonprofit vocational education organization that offers short-term programs in the allied health, automotive and construction trades. It has nearly 9,000 students and operates 24 locations nationwide, in addition to online programs.
Prior to joining ECMC Foundation, Mr. Taylor spent five years as chief financial officer of the University of California system. As the first CFO in the history of the UC system, Mr. Taylor oversaw financial management for the entire $25 billion institution, which included ten campuses, five academic medical centers and other academic research facilities. He was responsible for $500 million of improved fiscal performance, including cutting more than $450 million in overhead expenses.
Most of his professional career was in the investment banking industry, with nearly 16 years in municipal finance banking for Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital, where he was managing director for the West Coast Fixed Income Group.
Active in the community, Mr. Taylor was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the board of trustees of the California State University system, where he chairs the Finance Committee. He also serves on the boards of Edison International, Pacific Life and the Kaiser Family Foundation. He previously served as president of the UCLA Alumni Association board of directors, as the alumni representative on the UC Board of Regents and as a member of the board of directors for the J. Paul Getty Trust.
In 2004, Mr. Taylor was appointed to the California Performance Review Commission by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The CPR was a process designed to study the operations of state government and make restructuring recommendations. From 2000–2002, Mr. Taylor served on the board of the California Student Aid Commission, as an appointee of Governor Gray Davis.
Mr. Taylor received his undergraduate degree from UCLA, and a master’s degree in public policy analysis from Claremont Graduate University. He graduated from the Coro Southern California Fellowship in public affairs, located in Los Angeles.
DR. MARY OSTRYE – Provost and Chief Academic Officer
Mary E. Ostrye joined Zenith Education Group (Zenith) as its first provost and chief academic officer in August 2015. In this role, she led the integration of former online operations into a unified institutional model; established and began implementing a strategic plan to align programs of study to Zenith’s mission; and is leading several initiatives to improve academic quality and the student experience.
Dr. Ostrye formerly served as provost and senior vice president at Ivy Tech Community College, the community college system in Indiana. She was instrumental in establishing the state’s first general education core and co-led a government-appointed statewide committee to establish single transfer pathways for popular degrees. She also led the development of an institutional academic advising model, a co-requisite remediation program, and a restructure of mathematics curriculum into three defined pathways to support disciplines and careers. Prior to Zenith, her higher education career spanned 34 years serving in several leadership and academic roles, including promotion to full professor.
Dr. Ostrye earned her doctorate in higher education from Indiana State University; a master’s degree in vocational-technical education from Marshall University; and a baccalaureate of science degree from West Virginia University. She serves as a team leader for the Accrediting Commission for Career Schools and Colleges. Dr. Ostrye was selected as one of the initial recipients of the Pillars of the Profession Indiana State University alumni award (2014) and is a member of several honor societies and a graduate of multiple leadership programs.
TODD ALLARD – Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer
Todd Allard is the senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Zenith Education Group. Mr. Allard brings a wealth of experience in leading customer-centric strategy and communication for some of the best-known brands in the world. At Zenith, he leads the development and management of brand and marketing strategy for Everest College, Everest Online and WyoTech, as well as omnichannel customer engagement and alumni loyalty.
Previously, Mr. Allard led retail marketing at Advance Auto Parts, the largest retailer of after-market auto parts in North America. He also led the marketing communications group at Best Buy where his team was responsible for creating award-winning brand communications for Best Buy and Geek Squad.
JIM GILBERTSON – Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Jim Gilbertson is the senior vice president of finance for ECMC Group and the chief financial officer for Zenith Education Group. Mr. Gilbertson is a seasoned finance professional having led and developed strong finance functions for media, broadcasting, retail and publishing industries. He is responsible for the finance teams for both Zenith Education Group and ECMC Group, and oversees all accounting and finance functions, including accounting and financial reporting, internal audits, and financial planning and analysis. A key member of the executive team, Mr. Gilbertson will direct and implement the financial vision for the organization.
DAVE GOFF – Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Dave Goff, an information technology (IT) executive with more than 30 years of public company IT governance, compliance, and reporting experience, joined ECMC Group as senior vice president and chief information officer (CIO) in June 2015.
Mr. Goff is responsible for the company’s IT strategy, security, and execution to drive transformative business enhancements and improve operational efficiencies and results throughout ECMC Group. His career has included CIO positions with Skilled Healthcare, Emulex Corporation and AppliedMicro, and senior IT roles with Texas Instruments and Silicon Systems. Mr. Goff has deep experience in managing, improving and integrating enterprise-wide IT across multiple locations, including operational streamlining, achievement of cost efficiencies, governance, security, regulatory compliance and reporting, and developing and leading highly engaged IT teams. His experience in testing and deploying new product innovations will also be valuable as the company launches new services and programs for its schools and students.
Mr. Goff is an active technology and business leader. He serves on numerous committees at the University of California, Irvine, including chairman of the Dean’s Leadership Council for the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science. Mr. Goff actively participates in industry advisory councils and committees to help shape future IT product roadmaps and innovation.
SARAH STREHL – Chief Administrative Officer of ECMC Shared Services Company; Chief Human Resources Officer of ECMC Group
Sarah Strehl joined ECMC Group in May 2015 as senior vice president and chief human resources officer (CHRO). In this capacity, Ms. Strehl is responsible for the human resources function and people-related processes, policies, and decisions for ECMC Group and its subsidiaries. In August 2016, Ms. Strehl was appointed by the ECMC Group Board of Directors to chief administrative officer (CAO) for ECMC Shared Services Company, in addition to her CHRO role. Her primary responsibilities as CAO are to provide overall leadership for the Shared Services departments to: ensure business needs are fully understood; develop and implement a resource allocation process; and ensure business clients receive the support services they require.
Prior to joining ECMC Group, Ms. Strehl was vice president of human resources in the for-profit higher education industry for several years. From 1998 to 2012, she served in various human resources roles at Cargill, Inc., including enterprise human resources leader, organization effectiveness practice leader, human resources process leader and human resources generalist.
Ms. Strehl has more than 18 years’ experience in human resources, with more than 14 years in a leadership position. She leads with energy—creating an environment that enables individuals to fully utilize their talents to execute against the company’s mission and drive value for the organization.
KAREN TURNER – Senior Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer
Karen Turner is the senior vice president and chief business development officer for Zenith Education Group. Ms. Turner leads the effort to develop and manage strategic partnerships with national and regional employers for externship and placement opportunities for all Zenith students and graduates at the Everest and WyoTech campuses. In addition, she will be working with the academic and campus teams to ensure that the students are equipped with all the skills necessary for success in starting their careers.
Ms. Turner served in multiple leadership positions for Randstad North America, a global human resources firm. Most recently as senior vice president of career transition services, she was responsible for the startup and development of a job placement model that helped individuals in career transition find employment. In her role as vice president, she pioneered and implemented new products and initiatives for Randstad’s Contingent Workforce Solutions business line. Prior to that role, she served as president of Randstad Healthcare.
With more than 20 years of employment staffing expertise, Ms. Turner brings a unique ability to develop business partnerships at the highest level of an organization as well as an in-depth understanding of the needs of today’s employers.
KEITH BURKHALTER – Senior Vice President of Admissions
Leveraging more than 24 years of experience building customer-centric business operations, Keith Burkhalter serves as Zenith’s senior vice president of admissions. Mr. Burkhalter’s extensive experience in sales, customer care and business operations spans a variety of industries—airlines, medical devices, retail, financial services and education—and includes the development of multiple start-up companies as well as tenures helping established companies reinvent their business models. His scope of experience includes leadership of workforces 2,000+ strong and profit and loss responsibility in excess of $500 million.
Mr. Burkhalter’s start-up experience is reflected in successes like the one he delivered for an online fintech. He created and brought to life a sales and service operating model that set the foundation for strong customer service marks, high levels of repeat business and strong employee engagement. This start-up has seen success beyond projections and is slated to go public in 2017.
His large-scale business model reinvention experience is reflected in successes like the one he delivered for a world-wide electronic retailer. He transformed the retailer’s order, taking operation into a high-value, consultative sales environment that increased revenue by $80 million in the first year following the strategy implementation.
In addition to his focus on business, Mr. Burkhalter has an equally strong focus on community. Over the last many years, he has served on boards for the Tampa Metro YMCA and for the After School All Stars organization.
TOM O’DONNELL – Vice President of Operations
Tom O’Donnell joined Zenith Education Group in March 2016 as vice president of operations for the 21 Everest and 3 WyoTech campuses. Prior to joining Zenith, Mr. O’Donnell spent 13 years with Career Education Corporation in several positions, including vice president of strategy and finance for the career schools segment, vice president of operations for the health education group and vice president of operations for the start-up division. His prior experience includes marketing and finance roles in start-up distribution, telecommunications, consumer package goods and public accounting.
Mr. O’Donnell holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School, a MSA in accounting from DePaul University and a BA in economics from the University of Chicago.