Us TOO Names New Board Officers, Members for 2009  
At their December 6, 2008 meeting, the Us TOO International Board of Directors elected the new Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee officers, announced two new members, and bid a fond farewell to our Chairman of the last 4 years. 

The new Executive Committee officers serving from January through December 2009 are Fred Mills, Chairman; George Ledwith, Vice Chairman; Carl Frankel, Esq., Secretary; Greg Bielawski, Treasurer; David Houchens, PhD, Assistant Treasurer; and Jo Ann Hardy, At Large Member. See Executive Committee bios here

Fred Mills, Chairman of the Board, Us TOO International, 2009
Fred Mills, also a survivor, has 30+ years experience as a health care executive and consultant, with proven leadership and results in various health care settings. His area of expertise is in the area of medical staff and board relations. Fred is Board Certified in Healthcare Management and a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, and currently serves on the board of several healthcare related organizations. Fred has been married for 43 years to Sylvia, and has 4 grown sons and 8 grandchildren.

The newly appointed Board members are Rick Lyke and Ridge Taylor, whose 3-year terms begin January 1, 2009. 

Rick Lyke, New Director

Rick Lyke, New Director

Rick Lyke is a Senior Partner, Public Relations and Public Affairs with Eric Mower and Associates in Charlotte, NC, a marketing communications firm with seven offices along the east coast. Lyke is also a drinks journalist whose work appears in many brewing magazines including All About Beer and DRAFT Magazine. Last year, a colleague with prostate cancer urged Rick to get a blood test, which revealed that the 47-year-old had the disease. After successful surgery in April 2008, he initiated a pro-bono initiative with Us TOO International to create the successful Pints for Prostates awareness campaign using the universal language of beer to reach men with a critical health message. So far the campaign has reached about 25 million people with information about PSA testing and prostate health. Mr. Lyke is accredited in Public Relations (APR) with the Public Relations Society of America, and has a BA from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University. He and his wife, Sandy, have two daughters.

Ridge Taylor, New Director

Ridge Taylor, New Director

Ridge Taylor is the California / Nevada Sales Manager and Engineered Wood Products Group Manager at a commodity lumber trading business located in Portland, Oregon. He began his career 28 years ago at Shelter Products Inc., over half of which has been spent in management. Diagnosed at age 50 with prostate cancer, he underwent RLRP in January, 2007. Taylor is currently active in the OHSU Prostate Cancer Support Group, has been instrumental in the development of a separate OHSU Prostate Cancer Advocacy Group, and serves on the Pacific Northwest Prostate Cancer SPORE in Seattle, Washington. He has been blissfully married to wife Lisa for 19 years. His daughter attends the University of Oregon.

Continuing their service on the Us TOO International Board of Directors are: Bob Fidoten, PhD, Pittsburgh, PA; Jo Ann Hardy, Detroit, MI; Tom Hiatt, Esq., Hilton, NY; Kay Lowmaster, MSW, LCSW, Pittsburgh, PA; Bill Palos, Coal Valley, IL; Stu Porter, Boston, MA; Ron Witherspoon, Shelby Township, MI, and Tom Kirk, President & CEO, Us TOO International, Downers Grove, IL. See Directors bios here

In other Board meeting business, Directors Fred Mills, Bill Palos and Ron Witherspoon were each re-nominated to serve 3-year terms. David Houchens, PhD, was named Assistant Treasurer, and two members completed their terms of service, including immediate past Chairman Jim Kiefert, EdD, and Chris Bennett. The Board also honored Kiefert with distinction of being named Director Emeritus, joining Us TOO founders John De Boer and Ed Kaps.

Jo Ann Hardy, Vice-Chair of the Board, recognized outgoing Chair Jim Kiefert for his service at a dinner function, and presented him with a world clock that reads, “Presented to Jim Kiefert, Warrior, with heartfelt appreciation for your leadership, commitment and passion. December 2008.”

“It has been indeed a pleasure for me to work with Jim as colleague and friend during our time together on the Board of Us TOO International,” said Hardy. “Jim’s vision, hard work and dedication have been such an important catalyst and integral part of Us TOO’s transformation into the leading organization providing prostate cancer support and education to men and their families.” Hardy continues, “He is a compassionate warrior, facing his own prostate cancer journey with the same toolbox that he equips others with: dignity, tenacity, spiritual awareness and acceptance, a relentless drive for education, self advocacy and efficacy and love, lots and lots of love! I am delighted that he will continue his work with Us TOO in his role as director emeritus.”

Jo Ann Hardy, Vice-Chair, presents retiring Chairman, Jim Kiefert, with a world clock in honor of his 7 years of service on the Us TOO Board of Directors, first as Treasurer, then ending with 4 years as Chair.

The Board dinner also featured a presentation by Dr. Gerald Chodak, and included special corporate guests Chris Lockett from Dendreon Corporation, Christine Wiedmayer from Abbott Laboratories, Susan Small from GTx, and Ray Tantillo and Greg Coloian from American Medical Systems. 

Chris Lockett of Dendreon announced the funding of a new Us TOO University scholarship, and presented outgoing Chair Jim Kiefert with a plaque that reads: “In honor of the visionary and compassionate leadership as Chairman of the Board, Us TOO International has proudly established the Dr. James Kiefert Scholarship to help emerging chapters attend Us TOO University to enhance their educational and support initiatives for prostate cancer patients.” Chapter leaders will be able to apply for funds to reimburse their travel and transport expenses to the next Us TOO University Chapter Leader Training Workshop. 

“Jim has been a great ambassador for Us TOO and the entire Prostate Cancer community as a whole,” Lockett stated. “During his tenure he has elevated the stature and visibility of Us TOO as the preeminent Prostate Cancer patient organization in the world, all on limited resources.” 

Lockett continues, “In Jim’s honor, Dendreon is establishing an Us TOO University scholarship fund to help those Us TOO Chapters in need of assistance attend the Us TOO University educations programs. The scholarship criteria and awards will be at the sole discretion of Us TOO leadership. Dendreon is proud of its association with Us TOO over the years and we believe supporting patient education programs is the best way to celebrate Jim Kiefert’s service.”


Chris Lockett of Dendreon presents Director Emeritus Jim Kiefert with a plaque announcing the Dr. James Kiefert Us TOO University Scholarship. 

Elected by the Board to serve as Chairman for 2009, Fred Mills is a prostate cancer survivor, and has more than 30-years experience as a health care executive and consultant, with expertise in the area of medical staff and board relations. He is President of Praxis Medical Management in San Antonio, Texas, is Board Certified in Healthcare Management and a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, and currently serves on the board of several healthcare related organizations. Fred has been married for 43 years to wife Sylvia, and has 4 grown sons and 8 grandchildren.

Mills states, “I am proud to be chosen as the new chairman of Us TOO and look forward to the New Year to continue our support and educational activities for prostate cancer patients, survivors and their families. Jim Kiefert has done an outstanding job over the past 7 years serving the organization and we will miss his leadership. His shoes will be hard to fill and we will continue to look to him as we enter this very exciting and challenging year.”

Board Members, 2009


2009 Us TOO Board members 
L to R: David Houchens, Bill Palos, Ridge Taylor, Fred Mills, Greg Bielawski, Kay Lowmaster, Tom Hiatt, Bob Fidoten, Ron Witherspoon, Tom Kirk, Rick Lyke, George Ledwith
Not pictured: Carl Frankel, Jo Ann Hardy, Stu Porter


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