Patricia’s extensive background in education began as a special education teacher in a Delaware-based residential facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities. After relocating back to New York, Patricia pursued teaching in the Sachem Central School District where she worked at the high school teaching special education classes. After
receiving her administrative credentials Patricia position as an assistant principal at the Sachem High School and then became the principal of Sachem’s Chippewa Elementary School in 1995 where she still works.
Patricia is married and lives in Stonybrook, NY with her husband Richard. Together they have 3 children. Their son, Michael, happily resides in one of the RISE Life Services residences in Riverhead.
Gregory J. Blass
Greg J. Blass is a retired NYS Family Court judge, and was deputy commissioner, and then commissioner, of the department of social services of Suffolk County. He also has served as the Greenport Village Attorney for several years, as well as six terms as a Suffolk County legislator, where he was also presiding officer. His background in accounting and law, and as a former naval officer, contributes to his successful work in large organizations with complex missions.
Greg was also an adjunct professor at Suffolk County Community College, and before he retired, had been a member of the boards of directors at the Riverhead Lions Club, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency, the Suffolk County Board of Health, and the Hallockville Museum Farm. Fulfilling his passion to help guide the next generation, Greg has also chaired the Paumonauk District of the Boy Scouts of America.
Greg has served as a RISE Life Services board member since 2014. Today Greg is still a practicing attorney, admitted both in New York and in Florida. For RISE, he serves as chairman of the personnel and by-laws committees, and as a member of the strategic planning committee, where his contributions have been far-reaching and irreplaceable.
Donna Ferrara has been a member of the ADD/Rise Board for over 15 years. She was a member of the NYS Assembly representing the 15th Assembly District for 12 years from 1993 to 2005. She served as a Commissioner of the NYS Workers Compensation Board for 8 years from 2005 to 2013 and was Chair of the Board from 2006 to 2007. Donna Ferrara is currently an arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association and has served in that position since 2008.
She lives in Riverhead with her husband, Bob Gregory, and two children.
Donna Ferrara graduated with a BA in English from SUNY Albany in 1981. She is an attorney licensed to practice in NY, having earned her JD degree from St. John’s Law School in 1984.
Rob Feiler is currently the CEO of the E-Commerce marketplace MaxWarehouse.Com. The Company offers b2c and b2b products and services across their own marketplaces and third-party sites throughout the U.S.
Rob holds a bachelors in Electrical Engineering from City College and an MBA from Adelphi University. He has also served as an adjunct professor at St Joseph’s in Patchogue, New York for the past 15 years. Rob comes to the RISE Life Services board with an incredible business pedigree as he has held leadership positions with telecom leaders Verizon and Cablevision. In his current role, Rob regularly partners with powerhouse brands including ACE Hardware, FedEx, and other notable retail leaders.
Carmine Guida Jr.
Carmine’s incredible intellect and and drive was palpable at a very young age. Earning the “Presidential Scholarship” which gave him a tuition free education at St. Joseph’s College in Patchouge New York, Carmine was able to pursue his passion for accounting. He graduated St. Joseph in 2009 with a BS in Accounting. Prior to starting Basso & Guida, LLC. Carmine was an Accounting and Tax Manger for the one of Long Island premiere firms Grassi Accountants and Advisors, in Ronkonkoma, New York.
Before jumping into the service side of accounting, Carmine was the Director of Finance at Mason Technologies Inc, a leading Low Voltage integrator and City, State and Nationally Certified WBE, headquartered in New York. Hewaterre, Carmine lead Mason’s Accounting and HR departments, and was responsible for payroll oversight for over 200 employee; negotiations on all leases, contracts, and disputes; creating numerous policies and procedures; reviewing credit worthiness for prospective clients; and more.
His vast experience in accounting, HR and compliance makes him a notable asset to RISE’s Board of Directors.
Joan Hope MacNaughton
Joan has been a professional dancer and entrepreneur for over 5 decades. Over 30 years ago she established Leggz Ltd Dance, a legendary dance studio located in Rockville Center, New York. Having educated, inspired and advocated for children her entire career, Joan has a special place in her heart for all children, especially those with special needs. Joan received a Congressional Citation from Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy for bringing awareness to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and currently serves on the Board of RVC Blue Speaks, a local chapter for The National Autism Speaks.
Joan is also the President of the Rockville Centre Lions Club, a proud Ambassador and Founder of the Old Westbury Gardens Children In Bloom Council, a founding member of the New York City 9/11 September Concert Committee, and the Executive Vice President for the Rockville Centre Guild for the Arts. Joan also serves on Molloy College’s Madison Theatre Advisory Board for the Arts, was appointed Nassau County’s Lead Ambassador for Cultural Development, and is a longstanding Gala Committee member at the Nassau County Museum of Art. Joan is a published author and her first book, ” Forever Dancing “, an autobiographical children’s book, was first published in 1995 by Libros Press.
As the founder, lead instructor, and Artistic Director, Joan remains the creative force behind Leggz Ltd Dance, while also maintaining her public voice as an Associate Publisher for Schneps Media’s Dan’s Papers and The Long Island Press.
Deirdre McCauley came to the RISE board with the heart and mind of a nurse and the concern of a dedicated sister, as her own sister is an individual with special needs.After graduating Adelphi University with a BSN, Deirdre enjoyed a dynamic career in nursing, continuously rising through the hospital ranks. Ultimately, Deidre opted to leave her position as Assistant Head Nurse so she can relocate to Long Island, where she was recruited by various home healthcare agencies. It was here that Deidre’s skillset as a leader and mentor thrived as she trained hundreds of Home Healthcare nurses and staff members.
Before retiring Deidre helped develop home-based palliative care protocols for individuals and families to ensure that critically ill patients spent their final days surrounded by family and loved ones, and were able to go peacefully, with comfort, grace and dignity. Deidre brings incredible passion to the board, and her educated views consistently represent the best interests of the residents RISE serves, as well as the families that love and support them.
Ron joined RISE Life Services Board of Directors in 2013 and has served as the Board President since 2018. A retired healthcare executive, Ron has over 38 years’ experience in Hospital management, including 27 years at Peconic Bay Medical Center as Senior Vice President. He received his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Albany and a Master’s degree in Healthcare Management from Stony Brook University.
His skills managing complex, multi-entity organizations makes him the perfect candidate to support RISE Life Service’s growth and Board of Directors.
Louis A. Piccolo
Louis is the founder and CEO of Piccolo Business Advisory, Inc., a management consulting firm that has specialized in turn-around management since 1988. He has provided financial, operational and systems expertise to a variety of industries in the US and abroad.
As both a CPA and MBA, Louis began his professional career in 1977 at Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co. (which eventually became KPMG) where he was one of the original members of The Private Business Advisory Service group (PBAS) which offered an integrated package of services, such as audit, tax, systems, and financial consulting to mid-sized clients.
After KPMG, Louis assumed the role of CFO and Executive Vice President of I. Miller Shoes and Rayne Delman Shoes, Inc., both subsidiaries of the UK-based retailer Debenhams. During his tenure there, he successfully installed a “ground-up”, nationwide computer system for 40 stores. In addition to managing the development of the IT infrastructure, Louis also negotiated leases, and instituted a system of Banker’s Acceptances for the importation of foreign luxury goods, which saved the companies over $400,000 on interest expense in the first year. This work earned Louis a Board of Director’s seat and the distinction of being one of the youngest board members at the age of 29.
Peter J. Sabat
Mr. Sabat graduated Fairfield University, in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science. Upon graduation, he was recruited by Cigna Insurance Company where he completed their exclusive International Executive Management Training Program, and began his career as a Business Insurance
Production Underwriter in Cigna’s Long Island Regional Office. In 1990, Mr. Sabat accepted an offer to join Neefus-Skype Agency (NSA), an Independent Insurance Agency, where he was able to leverage his broad insurance and business background to advise individuals, and businesses, on all insurance related matters. Mr. Sabat was named partner in 1993 and is excited to be celebrating over 3 decades with his firm.
Today, his responsibilities at NSA include: New Business Development; Joint-Ventures and Acquisitions; and the general oversight of NSA’s Financial and Corporate Affairs. Mr. Sabat is and active member on various local business and insurance company boards, and advisory panels. His vast business acumen enables him to play a key advisory role on the RISE Life Services Board of Directors.
Jack Van de Wetering
Jack Van de Wetering was born and raised in Holland. He came to the US with his family, at the tender age of 12, who began landscaping on Park Avenue in New York City. Incredibly, the Van de Wetering’s have been responsible for the malls and tulip gardens along the iconic NY road ever since. In addition to their unprecedented inspired contributions to New York’s floral gardens, Jack’s family owns Ivy Acre’s Farm in Calverton, NY, where they have began growing vegetables on the East End over 60 years ago.
Now a with a thriving multi-million dollar company, with over 800 employees, Jack spends much of his time helping to improve the East End, New York State, The Nation, and the World. Jack is an active fundraiser for numerous organizations, a Rotarian in Riverhead, and sits on the advisory board of the East End Arts council. His contributions to RISE Life Services have been numerous and his expertise, passion and dedication has set the standard for every board member that has joined since his appointment.
Gerald (Jerry) Nichols has been engaged in public service for over 50 years, serving as director of the Babylon, Freeport, and Half Hollow Hills Libraries before directing Suffolk Cooperative Library System for fourteen years. At SCLS he oversaw the implementation of county-wide automation services, universal internet access and the numerous library expansions in the county.
Since retiring in 2005 he has taught post-masters public administration courses for Long Island University and provided consultation in public library management, law, finance, and construction for the New York State Education Department and public libraries throughout the state.
Jerry has had a lifelong interest in providing opportunities for persons with disabilities since several of Jerry’s family members have contributed to, and benefited from, services to the developmentally disabled.