Skip to main content
Board of Trustees

Franklin’s Board of Trustees

To ensure the highest quality education for our students, Franklin is governed by a group of 20+ officers and trustees. Each of our officers and trustees takes seriously the role of furthering affordable and accessible education for working adults, while upholding the University’s reputation, mission and values, and Four Cornerstones. View the bios of our trustees and see how Franklin (and you) benefit from the expertise of respected, visionary industry leaders and entrepreneurs engaged in providing strategic insight and direction.

Officers

Dr. David Decker
President

Dr. David R. Decker serves as the fourth President of Franklin University. Prior to coming to Franklin he held a number of positions at the New York Institute of Technology, including playing a key role in their internationalization and development of their online presence.

Dr. Decker has also held positions at Youngstown State University, as well as at three other universities, and has international teaching experience in China, Malaysia, Russia, Mexico, Spain, Germany, Brazil, and Jordan.

His extensive corporate experience includes serving as president and CEO of a $130 million manufacturing company.

Clarke Price
Chair

Clarke joined the board in 2010 and currently serves as the Chairman of the Board. Clarke is a proud Franklin alumnus (B.S. in Business Administration ’69), and veteran of the U.S. Army, where he served as a Public Information Specialist. In 2012, Clarke retired as the President and CEO of the Ohio Society of CPAs (OSCPA) and now dedicates his time working with others to underscore the importance of leadership in the non-profit world. During his 40-year career with OSCPA, Clarke worked in virtually all areas of the operation, including public relations, membership, governmental relations and marketing. Before joining the Ohio Society of CPAs, Clarke was an account executive with a New Jersey-based advertising agency. He has served as Chairman of the Board and on several committees within the America Society of Association Executives; was a founding architect of the ASAE CEO Center; and was made an ASAE Fellow, an honor given to less than one percent of ASAE members.

Melissa Gutierrez
Vice Chair

Melissa Gutierrez currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board. Melissa is Senior Vice President of Nationwide Brokerage Solutions. She joined Nationwide in 1987. Gutierrez has held a number of positions in sales, strategy, marketing, finance and operations across several business units including Nationwide Insurance, Nationwide Financial and Nationwide Better Health. Prior to her current position, Gutierrez was the Senior Vice President of Property & Casualty Operations. Gutierrez holds the chartered life underwriter (CLU) designation, a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Franklin University and an MBA from the University of Dayton. Gutierrez serves on the Communications and Advancement Committee and the Academic/ Student Committee.

Carl E. Johnson
Secretary

Mr. Johnson had more than 25 years’ experience in manufacturing and supply chain management, and retired as Director of Manufacturing, North America Automotive Aftermarket for Pittsburg, Paint & Glass (PPG). Mr. Johnson holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Prairie View A&M University (TX), and serves on numerous boards, including Recreation Unlimited and the Delaware County Red Cross. As a Trustee, Mr. Johnson is Secretary of the Board as well as a member of the Finance Committee and Partnerships Committee.

Bruce Hagen
Immediate Past Chair

Mr. Hagen joined the Franklin board in 2010 and currently serves as the Immediate Past Chair. Bruce is the regional executive and president of the OhioHealth North Market. He is responsible for coordinating OhioHealth’s growth in the northern areas served by the hospital system. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the healthcare industry. He is a fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives, and has been affiliated with many community service programs including the Board of Directors of the Grand Rapids Community College Foundation, the Board of Directors of the Gerald R. Ford Council of Boy Scouts and the Board of Directors of the American Heart Association, Great Rivers Affiliate. Bruce serves on the Finance Committee and currently chairs the Committee on Trusteeship Governance.

Board Members

Jack O. Cartner
Board Member

Mr. Cartner is a past Chairman of the Board. He currently serves as chair of the Infrastructure Committee and is an active member on the Committee on Trusteeship Governance. He is President of MoTrim, Inc., which manufacturers boom-type hydraulic mowing machinery, headquartered in Cambridge, Ohio with an additional plant in Florida. Mr. Cartner is a Franklin University alumnus and resides in Cambridge with his wife.

Jamie Crane
Board Member

Ms. Crane is a community advocate currently serving on the boards of Goodwill Columbus, Upper Arlington Community Foundation, and the Columbus Foundation Reese-Shackelford Supporting Organization. She has also served on numerous other boards, including Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio/Greater Ohio, Columbus School for Girls, and I Know I Can. She is highly active with the Crane Group, which was founded by her grandfather. Prior to leaving the corporate world, Ms. Crane worked in Chicago (IL) for Kraft General Foods/Kraft USA where she led the brand management for several multi-million dollar product lines, and developed the strategic plan and coordinated the major planning projects for a multi-billion division. Ms. Crane holds an MBA in Marketing from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, at Northwestern University (IL), and a BS in Marketing and Management from Indiana University. Ms. Crane and husband Tim Miller reside in Columbus, and are the proud parents of Taylor and Hailey. Jamie is the Chair of the Communications and Advancement Committee.

Mary Laird Duchi
Board Member

Ms. Duchi joined the board in 2009. Mary is past Chair of the Franklin University Board of Trustees and currently serves on the Finance Committee and the Committee on Trusteeship Governance. Mary has extensive background in both the private and public sectors. She joined Battelle in 1977 and retired from the organization 34 years later as the Vice President of Operations and Systems Services. Ms. Duchi has volunteered her time toward both professional and personal interests by serving as Board member for the Battelle National Biodefense Institute; as a Franklin Park Conservatory Trustee; as a board member for both the Central Ohio Regional Science and Engineering Fair and Edison Welding Institute boards; and on a number of committees and boards for the city of Upper Arlington. Ms. Duchi earned her MBA in Finance and Quantitative Methods from The Ohio State University and her BBA in Finance from the University of Michigan.

Phil FankHauser
Board Member

Phil Fankhauser is co-founder and principal of Epcon Communities and Epcon Communities Franchising. Since 1986 Epcon has been a developer of communities designed for the age 55+ market. With a home office in Columbus, Ohio and Regional offices in Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina, Epcon is recognized nationally as a top builder of age targeted properties. The franchise business includes franchised builders in over 20 states. Fankhauser has over 45 years’ experience in real estate development and construction and serves as a member of the Urban Land Institute’s “Lifestyle Residential Development” Council. He is an alumnus of Franklin University and currently serves on the Communications and Advancement Committee as well as the Infrastructure Committee.

Gary L. Flynn
Board Member

Mr. Flynn joined the board in 2002. Gary serves as the Chair of the Partnership Committee. In addition, he serves on the Communications & Advancement Committee, the Committee on Trusteeship Governance, and the Audit. Controls & Compliance Committee. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Franklin University in 1971. Flynn also is a 1983 graduate of The Ohio State University’s Executive Development Program. Mr. Flynn was employed 33 years at Abbott Laboratories, a leading global broad based healthcare company, where he retired as Senior Vice President of Abbott Nutrition.

Ted Ford
Board Member

Ted Ford is a seasoned executive with over 25 years of experience in government, marketing, higher education, and public-private partnerships. Ted currently serves as a CEO for Advanced Energy Economy Ohio, a state-wide trade group involved in the development and financing of advanced energy projects. Previously, Ted served as TechColumbus’ first CEO and as President and CEO of Edison Welding Institute, a nationally recognized independent engineering research and development organization. As Senior Vice President for University Advancement at Northern Arizona University in the late 1990’s, he led the development launch of the institution’s first capital campaign which raised $100 million. He has served as a business development professional, legislative advocate, legislative staffer, and executive assistant to the Governor of Ohio. He is also a regional affiliate director for BioOhio. He received his undergrad and his Master’s at The Ohio State University. Ted serves as the Chair of the Academic/Student committee.

Anthony Gonsalves
Board Member

Mr. Gonsalves is currently working as a Marketing Consultant. He has an extensive marketing background, which is highlighted in his previous position as the Chief Marketing Officer for Allied Insurance, Titan Insurance, Nationwide Commercial, Nationwide Specialty, and Nationwide Agribusiness in Des Moines Iowa. Mr. Gonsalves has also worked as the Vice President for Marketing Strategy & Planning for Nationwide in Columbus, Ohio. At Franklin, Mr. Gonsalves currently serves the Academic/Student Committee as well as the Communications and Advancement Committee.

Melissa Gutierrez
Vice Chair

Melissa Gutierrez currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board. Melissa is Senior Vice President of Nationwide Brokerage Solutions. She joined Nationwide in 1987. Gutierrez has held a number of positions in sales, strategy, marketing, finance and operations across several business units including Nationwide Insurance, Nationwide Financial and Nationwide Better Health. Prior to her current position, Gutierrez was the Senior Vice President of Property & Casualty Operations. Gutierrez holds the chartered life underwriter (CLU) designation, a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Franklin University and an MBA from the University of Dayton. Gutierrez serves on the Communications and Advancement Committee and the Academic/ Student Committee.

Gary W. James
Board Member

Mr. James is an alumnus of Franklin University, a past Board of Trustees Chairman, and currently serves on the Finance, Partnerships, and Governance Committees. He is founder and President of Dynalab, Inc., an electronic manufacturing services company; Dynalab Test Systems, Inc., a designer and manufacturer of electronic test equipment; President of JAAS Systems, LLC, a publisher of manufacturing software; and a board member of MD Systems, LLC, a medical device manufacturer. Mr. James has served as President of a Kiwanis club, Treasurer of National Church Residences, and in numerous other community organizations.

Floyd V. Jones
Board Member

Mr. Jones is a past Chairman of the Board and currently serves on the Human Resource Committee, Infrastructure Committee and the Committee on Trusteeship Governance. He is retired Vice President of Production for The Dispatch Printing Company, as well as Chairman and President of Dispatch Consumer Services and Chairman and President of Consumers News Services. Mr. Jones, a Franklin alumnus, is a veteran of the United States Air Force. Mr. Jones serves on the Board of the American Red Cross and United Way of Franklin County.

Gregory S. Lashutka
Board Member

Mr. Lashutka is a past Chairman of the Board and serves on the committees for Partnerships and the Committee on Trusteeship Governance. Currently, Greg serves as a Senior Consultant with Findley Davies, a human resource consulting firm. He retired as Senior Vice President for Corporate Relations at Nationwide. Before joining Nationwide, he served as Mayor of the City of Columbus, Ohio; being elected for two consecutive terms. Prior to being mayor, Mr. Lashutka was a partner with the law firm of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey following his two terms as Columbus City Attorney. Mr. Lashutka was co-captain of The Ohio State University football team and later played professionally for the Buffalo Bills. Mr. Lashutka earned his bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University, a juris doctorate from Capital University Law School, and in 1999 was awarded an Honorary Degree of Law from The Ohio State University. Mr. Lashutka continues to be involved with many community organizations and has been honored with numerous national and community awards. Mr. Lashutka was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Community Leadership from Franklin University in 2011.

Stan Partlow
Board Member

Stan Partlow became AEP’s Vice President and Chief Security Officer on September 1, 2015. Stan joined AEP Business Logistics as director of physical security and aviation services on Oct. 31, 2005. Stan has leadership responsibilities for physical security operations, access control and asset protection for AEP facilities and properties and for AEP´s aviation services department. Prior to joining AEP, Stan served the Law Enforcement community for over 25 years. Stan served the Columbus Division of Police for over 21 years and recently retired as the Commander of the Detective Bureau. Prior to that Stan served as the Commander of Zone 3 and as the Commander of the Technical Services Bureau. Stan served in numerous roles in Patrol, Narcotics, Professional Standards and Training during his tenure as an officer, sergeant and lieutenant. Stan served as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1984-1988 where he was responsible for conducting a variety of criminal investigations. As a former adjunct professor at Franklin University, he taught in the Leadership and Public Safety Management programs. Stan has also been an adjunct professor for Capital University and a trainer for Van Meter and Associates. Stan holds a Juris Doctor degree from the Capital University School of Law (1995), a Master of Science degree in administration from Central Michigan University (1990), and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Bowling Green State University (1980). At Franklin, Mr. Partlow currently serves on the Academic/Student Committee and the Infrastructure Committee.

Peter Roche
Board Member

Mr. Roche retired from his position as Senior Vice President, Finance at Chemical Abstracts Services in 2008. Prior to joining Chemical Abstracts, Mr. Roche served as Vice President, Accounting & Finance for Honda of America Manufacturing and Senior Manager Tax Consultant with Peat Marwick; a tax consultant for the CPA firms of Frank, Seringer & Chaney and Hammersmith, Roche & Jenkins. Mr. Roche also serves on the board of Catholic Social Services as the chair of the Finance Committee and member of the Executive Committee; and serves as the treasurer for St Gabriel Radio, Inc. Mr. Roche serves Franklin as the Chair of the Finance Committee and serves on the Partnerships Committee.

Ralph Sanese
Board Member

Mr. Sanese is Vice President, Business Development AVI Foodsystems and President of Sanese Services, Inc., a family-owned foodservices and vending company. He is a board member of the Simon Kenton Council of the Boy Scouts of America and is active in several other civic organizations. Mr. Sanese, a Franklin University alumnus, serves on the Infrastructure Committee and the Human Resources Committee.

David Stone
Board Member

David Stone is the Executive Managing Director of Specialty Banking at Huntington National Bank, where he manages specialized commercial banking units. Stone has more than 30 years of experience in lending and was most recently at PNC, formerly National City, where he was an executive vice president and head of corporate banking, based in Columbus. Stone began his banking career at National City in 1988 in Cleveland as a member of the corporate banking development program. Over the years he held a variety of other executive positions at the bank including regional manager and credit department manager. Prior to his career in banking, he was an instructor of economics at the University of Findlay. Stone earned his bachelors and master’s degree from Bowling Green State University. He currently serves on the Academic/Student Committee, the Finance Committee, and Chairs the Audit, Controls and Compliance Committee.

Carole Watkins
Board Member

Carole Watkins is a Franklin alum, having received her Bachelors of Science in Business. She retired as the Chief Human Resources Officer of Cardinal Health in 2016, where she worked for 20 years. Prior to joining Cardinal Health, Carole had over 20 years of human resources experience with other Central Ohio based companies including The Limited, O. M. Scott & Sons, Lazarus and Huntington Bank. Ms. Watkins currently serves on the board of Delta Dental of Ohio, Delta Dental of Kentucky and Renaissance Health Services. In addition, she serves on the Board of Flying Horse Farms (past Chair), and the global Serious Fun Children’s Network, both serving children with serious illnesses and their families. Previously she served on the Action for Children Board (Past President), the Childhood League Center board, the Executive Leadership team for the Go Red Luncheon, and the American Heart Association’s Great Rivers Affiliate Leadership Development Committee. She currently serves as Chair of the Human Resources Committee and serves as a member on the Academic/Student Committee.

Trustees Emeriti