Board of Trustees

Meet the Board of Trustees Officers

Chair Michael McKendrick

Assistant Fire Chief (Ret.), Tucson Fire Department / Founding Trustee

Mike McKendrick is a native Tucsonan and a 30-year veteran of the fire service. As assistant chief for the Tucson Fire Department Operations Division, he was responsible for all the emergency response forces for the City of Tucson.

Mike earned a bachelor’s degree in public fire administration from Cogswell College in Sunnyvale, Calif., and served on the board of the Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System for 16 years. Mike currently serves as a board member on the B’nai B’rith Manor on Pantano, which provides federally subsidized housing for low and very low income seniors aged 62 and older. Mike also serves as an elected member of the board of directors of the Tucson Old Pueblo Credit Union. Mike’s previous community volunteer work also includes seven years of coaching football and wrestling at Sabino High School, where he was named 2002 Southern Arizona Wrestling Coach of the year.

Vice Chair David Ridings

Assistant Fire Chief, Tucson Fire Department (Ret.)/ Founding Trustee

A member of the Tucson Fire Department for more than 34 years, Dave is the TFD assistant chief for emergency medical services, emergency management and the Emergency Communications Center. A Tucson resident since 1971, Dave holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Arizona, and has completed studies toward a master’s in Fire Administration from Arizona State University. He currently is a member of the Arizona State Emergency Medical Council and State Trauma Advisory Board, and recently completed a six-year term as a Pima County Parks and Natural Resources commissioner.

He owned and managed a local realty and property management firm from 1981 to 2001, and continues to hold an Arizona real estate broker’s license.

Trustee/Community Liaison Michael J. BrandtTrustee/Community Liaison Michael J. Brandt

Fire Chief, Northwest Fire District, Assistant Chief (Ret.), Tucson Fire Department

Mike has served the Greater Tucson community as a firefighter, paramedic and fire-service administrator for more than 35 years. As fire chief of Northwest Fire District, he oversees fire and EMS operations provided to more than 110,000 residents of Marana and northwest Tucson.

Mike, a native Tucsonan, began his career at Tucson Fire Department in 1977, advancing through the ranks to retire in 2005 at the rank of assistant chief, where he directed operations in the Fire Prevention and Community Safety divisions. Before hiring onto TFD, he served in the United States Air Force – as a specialist in aerospace control and warning systems – and completed a tour of duty in Southeast Asia, where he was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal.

Mike has served as an appointee to the Governor’s Emergency Medical Services Council, has chaired the Pima Community College Fire/EMS Advisory Committee, and is the current vice-chair of the Pima County Fire Chiefs Association. He is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Arizona Fire Chiefs Association, Marana Chamber of Commerce, and local board of the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System. He and his wife, Rose, have six children – and he still finds time to volunteer on the YMCA Board of Directors, and other civic groups.

Treasurer Vern Babilon

CEO Tucson Old Pueblo CU

Vern Babilon moved to Tucson in January of 2013 when he became the new CEO of Tucson Old Pueblo Credit Union—TOPCU. After earning his B.A. in Banking/Finance and Accounting at Alvernia College in Reading, Pennsylvania, Vern obtained his Master’s of Business/Management Degree from Penn State University. He became a certified credit union executive (CCUE) in 1993 and a certified public accountant in 1994. For the past 25 years, Vern has held positions as a top credit union executive—first as CEO in Reading, PA, then as EVP/CFO at a large downtown Houston, TX credit union. He has also served as a consultant and auditor for many smaller credit unions.

As the credit union originally started by firefighters in Tucson, TOPCU has retained strong ties with the firefighting community—a relationship Vern and his staff actively maintain through volunteering at both GTFF and events benefiting firefighters. Vern is currently serving as GTFF’s Treasurer and is a Trustee of the Tucson Police Foundation. Having been involved in a wide variety of community fund-raising events over the years—as a sponsor, participant and/or volunteer—Vern especially enjoys participating in running and bicycling events benefitting charities. He and his wife are also one of the first couples to hit the dance floor at the annual Firefighter’s Ball.

Secretary Gerry Bates

PhD, Assistant Chief(ret) Tucson Fire

Gerald M. “Gerry” Bates, Ph.D. is a veteran firefighter, retiring after 34 years of service with the Tucson Fire Department at the rank of assistant chief. He served as the department’s health and safety officer, and is a nationally published author on occupational, hazardous materials and injury-prevention issues.

Gerry, a Michigan native, holds a bachelor’s degree in history, a master’s in educational leadership, and a doctorate in public administration. He is an instructor in the fire science program at Pima Community College, and holds the level of an eighth-degree grandmaster in the martial art of taekwondo.

He also volunteers as a paralegal with the Tucson City Prosecutors Office, and is a docent at the University of Arizona Museum of Art. Gerry married Char, an ultrasonographer, in 1983.



Meet the Trustees

Trustee E.A. (Ted) Geare III

Assistant Chief (Ret.), Tucson Fire Department / Founding Trustee

As a native Tucsonan, Ted served with the Tucson Fire Department for more than 32 years, retiring in October 2005. He earned an associate’s degree in Fire Science from Pima Community College, a bachelor’s in management from the University of Phoenix, and is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program (EFOP) at the National Fire Academy, in Emmitsburg, Md. He is the author of several EFOP research projects, including “Childhood Injury Prevention and the Fire Service: The Missing Link.”

Ted’s volunteer activities have included serving on the boards of the State of Arizona Emergency Medical Services Council, the American Red Cross Association, and from 1991 to present, the Comstock Children’s Foundation of Tucson. He has also volunteered for the annual Tour for Tucson’s Children cycling event, the 1928 Ahrens-Fox Restoration Project, and is currently assisting with the restoration of the Foundation’s 1923 American-La France fire truck.

Trustee Dr. Wayne Peate

MD, Well America

Wayne Peate MD, MHP is an occupational medicine specialist in Tucson, Arizona. He received his medical degree from Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, and a master’s public health from Harvard University. He is an associate professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, where he teaches occupational and environmental health, as well as public-health emergency preparedness.

Wayne, who serves as a senior advisor to the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation, is the department physician for 21 firefighting agencies in Southern Arizona. He has worked intensively on firefighter health and safety, including investigation of MRSA infection, musculoskeletal injuries, and the efficacy of preventive and ergonomic programs in the workplace.

He is also president of WellAmerica, an occupational health facility serving Southern Arizona fire departments and districts, as well as other contracted agencies.

Trustee Dan Marries

News Anchor, KOLD-TV Tucson / Founding Trustee

Dan Marries has been living in Tucson since 1999. As the evening news anchor for KOLD-TV (CBS), he covers many stories involving first responders, and has formed a close working relationship with local fire districts and departments. Dan is a former wildland firefighter with experience on hand crews, engines and helitack aerial firefighting. During his college years, he spent four seasons fighting fires across the western United States with the Bureau of Land Management. Dan grew up around the fire service. His father, Kurt Marries, is a contract helicopter pilot specializing in aerial firefighting.

Dan earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications/broadcast journalism from Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colo. He serves on the board of the Casas Adobes Optimist Club, and has held the position of charter president since 2009. Dan’s other volunteer work includes raising money for local youth for a variety of educational scholarships, and helping families in need with food and gifts during the holidays. Since 2008, he has served on the Pima County Local Emergency Planning Committee, where he helps coordinate with media outlets as needed to educate the public about the organization and its goals. Dan has been the vice president of the Tucson Ski Club, vice president for five years and volunteers at the National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans and for non-profit Interfaith Community Services.

Trustee Bryn Bailer

Freelance Journalist

Bryn is a native Tucsonan with more than 20 years’ experience in the communications business, as an award-winning newspaper reporter, editor and financial writer in the United States and Czech Republic.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Arizona, she began her newspaper career at the Arizona Daily Star, starting as a political commentary writer and later moving into feature writing, where she covered topics ranging from presidential visits to mental-health issues associated with police work. In 2002, with a growing interest in public safety, she turned in her reporter’s notebook to become media liaison for the county’s Bioterrorism Preparedness Program, overseeing coverage of biodefense-related emergency management issues.

In 2007, Bryn left the country to work as a Prague-based staff writer for English-language financial magazine Czech Business Weekly, covering trade, corporate and lifestyle news in the Czech Republic and Central Europe. As a freelance journalist, her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including The Dallas Morning News, nationally distributed public-safety journals Firehouse, Fire Engineering and Police Magazine, as well as international news service Agence France-Presse.

Trustee Luis A. Ochoa

Attorney, Quarles & Brady LLP

Luis A. Ochoa is a partner in the Tucson office of the law firm of Quarles & Brady, LLP. He is a member of the firm’s real-estate practice group. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in 1983, and his law degree from the UA in 1986. His practice focuses on the areas of Indian law, not-for-profit organizations, and business clients in all phases of corporate operation – including business-entity formation, commercial transactions, tax- and real-estate matters. Luis is listed in “The Best Lawyers in America” for Indian law, gaming law and nonprofits/charities law.

He serves as a senior advisor to the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation, and on the boards of the William Morris Institute and the University of Arizona Intercollegiate Athletics Compliance Committee. He is a member of the Tucson Jewish Foundation’s Professional Advisors Group, and the Volunteer Lawyers Program’s Advisory Group.

Luis has also served on the board of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, Tucson Centers for Women and Children, 88-Crime, and the Tucson Crime Prevention Council.

He has been recognized for his pro bono legal work as the recipient of the 2002 American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award, the 2001 William E. Morris Pro Bono Service Award, and numerous awards from the Southern Arizona Legal Aid/Volunteer Lawyers Program. They include the 2000 Arizona Community Legal Assistance Attorney of the Year; 1999 Attorney of the Year; 1998 Bankruptcy Clinic Attorney of the Year; and 1997 Bankruptcy Clinic Attorney of the Year.

Trustee Randy Karrer

Fire Chief, Golder Ranch Fire District

Randy Karrer was appointed fire chief of Golder Ranch Fire District in March of 2010. He began his career in 1981, working his way through the fire department ranks with Rural/Metro Fire, Northwest Fire District and Drexel Heights Fire District. He is very active throughout Arizona in a variety of capacities, including serving as chairman of the State Fire Safety Committee. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer appointed him to the board in 2012, and re-appointed him in 2014.

Randy has received multiple awards and recognition for his service and expertise. In 2013, he was named “Chief Fire Officer of the Year” by the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association. In 2007, he received the Richard Carmona “Leadership Above and Beyond Award” from the Greater Tucson Leadership Council. In 2008, he received a certificate of commendation from the American Legion for his continued community service efforts. And In 2009, he was awarded “Chief Fire Officer Designation” from the Commission on Professional Credentialing, and was reaccredited in 2012.

Randy holds a bachelor’s degree in fire service management from Arizona State University, and an associate’s degree in fire science from Pima Community College.

Trustee Frank Youdleman

Met Life Investments

Frank Youdleman is a financial adviser with Met Life Investments, and has been a certified financial planner for 25 years. He served as president of Congregation Bet Shalom, and is an assistant scout master for the Boy Scouts of America Catalina Council. Frank was the Eagle Scout counselor to a cognitively impaired Boy Scout, helping the young man attain the rank of Eagle Scout after his 18th birthday.

Frank also volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club, Flying Samaritans, and Ducks Unlimited wetlands-conservation group. He is a member of the Sabbar Shrine clown troupe (performing under the stage name “Crash”) and serves on the board of Arts for All, an award-winning local arts program for special-needs children. He is also a board member of the Tucson Police Foundation.

Frank, a native of New York City, relocated to Tucson in 1973. He is married to Donna, a special-education teacher, and has two children.

Trustee Jennifer Cabe

Executive Director and Board Member, Canyon Ranch Institute

Jennifer has spent over 20 years in positions dedicated to improving health and wellness. She now leads strategic and operations functions as executive director for Canyon Ranch Institute, a 501(c)3 non-profit public charity. Canyon Ranch Institute catalyzes the possibility of optimal health for all people by translating the best practices of Canyon Ranch and our partners to help educate, inspire, and empower every person to prevent disease and choose a life of wellness. Prior to joining Canyon Ranch Institute in 2007, Jennifer was vice president of scientific communications for Feinstein Kean Healthcare, where she started and led the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.

Jennifer previously served in the Office of the Surgeon General (OSG) as communications director and speechwriter for Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona. She was awarded the Surgeon General’s Medallion in 2005, which is the highest honor that the U.S. Surgeon General can confer. Prior to joining OSG, Jennifer was a communications officer at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Before joining NIH, Jennifer led communications, wellness, and government relations for HealthNet Health Plan in the Pacific Northwest. Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and a master’s degree in public communication at American University in Washington, D.C.

Trustee Bill Nelson

President, GLHN Architects

William I. Nelson, PE is a Principal in Mechanical Engineering for GLHN Architects & Engineers, Inc. He has been with GLHN since 1970, and has been Principal-In-Charge of major utility development projects and physical plant upgrades at the University of Arizona and Arizona Health Sciences Center, Northern Arizona University, University of New Mexico, Colorado College, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Tucson Medical Center, and Raytheon. In all, Bill has worked on projects at more than 20 universities and major hospital campuses in the West and Midwest.

Bill earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arizona in 1976, and has been active in higher education for more than 30 years. He is a guest lecturer for the UA Engineering Department, and is involved with the Pima Community College curriculum board. As president of the American Institute of Plant Engineers (AIPE), he spearheaded the effort to hold a vocational education summit, and was instrumental in establishing scholarships through AIPE for UA and Pima College students. He also initiated an in-house scholarship program at GLHN.

As an instructor with the APPA institute, Bill has taught courses on refrigerants and chillers, basic HVAC systems, and utility master planning. He has also written and delivered more than 20 papers and presentations on utility development planning. Twice yearly, he is the principal facilitator and organizer of symposiums held by GLHN for facilities and central plant personnel at Southwestern U.S. universities.

Bill – who served in the U.S. Army, and was stationed in Naples, Italy for more than two years – has worked closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs since 1980, when he served as project manager on the clinical addition to the VA Medical Center in Tucson. Bill has audited plumbing, fire-protection and HVAC systems in more than 600 VA buildings across the county, identifying opportunities for energy conservation. He has served as Principal-In-Charge for all four national VA IDIQ contracts awarded to GLHN since 1994, and makes several trips a year to the VA Central Office in Washington D.C.

Trustee Sara Perotti

MA, NP, University of Arizona Medical Center

Sara Perotti, ACNP-BC, MSN, NREMT-P, CMTE is a Neurosurgery Nurse Practitioner at University of Arizona Medical Center. A nationally registered, certified emergency paramedic since 1997, she is also executive director of the Southeastern Arizona Emergency Medical Services (SAEMS) Council.

Sara has 15 years of experience as a helicopter flight nurse, and served as a vice president of one of the largest EMS helicopter-transport operators in the United States. She is a certified Medical Transport Executive (CMTE), and is a certified NRCME listed with the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

Sara earned her master’s degree at Saint Louis University, and her post-master’s education includes certification as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. She is a member of the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants, American Association of Neuroscience Nurses, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and the Air and Surface Transport Nurses Association.

Sara owns and operates Advanced Clinical Solutions LLC, a medical/clinical consultation company. She also serves on the board of the non-profit Rialto Theater Foundation, and was recently appointed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to the Arizona Emergency Medical Services Council.

Trustee Kyle Canty

President, Northwest Firefighters IAFF 3572

Kyle Canty is a captain at the Northwest Fire District, which serves 110,000 residents in the town of Marana and unincorporated Pima County northwest of Tucson. He is also president of Northwest Fire Fighters International Association of Fire Fighters #3572, which provides support and services to more than 200 members from three different fire districts.

As president of the local, Kyle helped establish a political action committee to provide assistance to candidates and issues that support firefighters. During his tenure, Northwest Firefighters also started Northwest Firefighter Charities, and encouraged the union to continue working with local and national charitable organizations like the National Fallen Fire Fighters Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Marana Southern Arizona Food Bank, and Flowing Wells Family Resource Center.

In 1996, Kyle earned a bachelor of science degree in health-related science from the University of Arizona. He was a founding member of the Firefighters Without Borders: Arizona-Israel project.

Andrew B. Kunsberg

General Manager, Pima Uniforms(ret)

Andy works in the Tucson community serving both public safety and private businesses needs for uniforms and equipment. He has managed Pima Uniforms since 1975, and has been employed by Fechheimer Brothers Co. since 1972.

His local volunteer service includes the following: board of directors of the Tucson Police Foundation, treasurer of the Builders Lodge 60 (Masonic Lodge), treasurer of Tucson Medical Center’s Friends of Cardiac Rehab, and vice president of Congregation Bet Shalom.

Key Volunteer Patty Vallance

Patty quietly serves Tucson and the fire-service community as a volunteer, supporter and behind-the-scenes fundraiser for various non-profit organizations, including those that assist firefighters and their families. She authored a children’s book, “Born to Wear Blue,” which teaches kids about fire safety and using 911 in an emergency.

Patty has been volunteering for more than 25 years, and has received awards for her projects on local, state and national levels – including for work assisting families displaced by hurricanes Rita and Katrina. In 2012, she was honored by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, and named one of 13 Extraordinary Women for Women’s Philanthropy. In addition to volunteering with the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation, she has served on the board of the B’nai B’rith Strauss Manor on Pantano, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and other charitable organizations.

She is a devoted mom to two adult children – son Zev, and daughter Noa.