Board of Directors

Lee Topps - Chairman

Lee ToppsLee recently retired after a 42 year career in the insurance industry.  He served as Executive Vice President, Director of Insurance Operations, for Federated Insurance Company at the time of his retirement.  During his career he served in every operational area of the insurance business including underwriting, marketing, claims, risk management and human resources.  He also served on the board of directors of Great Northern Insurance Company. 

Lee holds an undergraduate degree from San Francisco State University and completed the University of Michigan, Executive Program.   Lee served honorably in the United States Marine Corp and is an honorably discharged veteran. 

Lee has served on numerous civic, advisory and not-for-profit boards including National Urban League, INROADS of Minnesota, Business Advisory Board for Florida A&M University (FAMU) and Business Advisory Board for University of Arizona Finance Department.  He has been recognized as a founder of the National Insurance Industry Association and served as that organizations chairman from 1983 to 1986.

Since retirement he has embarked on a new business venture and joined the board of Gamma Mu Educational Service, Inc. and advisory board for Omega Youth Leadership Academy.  In addition to his work and community involvement activities, he enjoys running, golf and time with family.  

 

Darren Wethers - Vice Chair

Darren Wethers

Darren E. Wethers MD, FACP is the chief medical officer of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Advantage health plan.  In that role, Dr. Wethers is responsible for the following departments at the plan: quality, pharmacy and utilization management. The health plan has approximately 56,000 members here in Arizona.

Prior to coming to Arizona in 2015, Dr. Wethers practiced internal medicine for 20 years in the St. Louis, Missouri metropolitan area, followed by 4 years as a medical director for Coventry Health Care and Aetna, Inc.

He is a graduate of Morehouse College and Northwestern University Medical School, and completed his residency in internal medicine at Emory University.  Dr. Wethers is board certified in internal medicine.  He is married to Cheryl R. Wethers, and is the father of two grown children, Lauren and Harrison.  

 

Tyrone Strozier - Treasurer

Tyrone StrozierTyrone Strozier serves as a Program Director within the Ground Systems line of business of General Dynamics Mission Systems in Scottsdale Arizona. He was named Director in 2004 after a long and very successful career in government defense electronics beginning in 1982 and advanced through several business development, engineering and program management positions. Born in Dayton, OH and educated at the Georgia Institute of Technology with both his Bachelors of Science and Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering. He went on to pursue and earn an MBA at Arizona State University. Archon Strozier has been active in a number of community and civic organizations throughout his career including the National Society of Black Engineers, Arizona Council of Black Engineers and Scientist, Tempe Soccer Club, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale and First Institutional Baptist Church of Phoenix, AZ. Archon Strozier has two children.

 

James Lipscomb - Secretary

James LipscombArchon James L. Lipscomb is a former Executive Vice President and General Counsel of MetLife, Inc., a Fortune 50 company. Lipscomb served in various capacities at MetLife including as Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Conning Corporation, Senior Vice President in charge of Corporate Planning and Srategy and as a Senior Vice President in the Real Estate Investments department. His civic affiliations include serving as Chairman of the Citizens Budget Commission of New York, Chairman of the Citizens Housing & Planning Council of New York, director of the Life Insurance Council of New York, director of the MetLife Foundation, trustee of the Practising Law Institute, director of Graffiti Community Ministries, Inc., chairman of the Center of Hope (Haiti), Inc.  Advisory Board and a member of the Economic Club of New York. Lipscomb received a B.A. from Howard University, a J.D. from Columbia University Law School and a L.L.M. (Corporations) from New York University School of Law.  He is a member of the state bar in New York and California and the federal bar in the Northern District of California, the Southern District of New York, the Second Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court. Throughout his career, Lipscomb has been a member of and held leadership positions in various local, state and national legal organizations, including the American Bar Association, the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, the State Bar of California and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, where he served as Treasurer, chairman of the Investment Committee and a member of the Executive Committee.  Lipscomb was named to Inside Counsel Magazine’s 2006 list of the top 50 most influential in-house counsel in North America and was recognized especially for diversity initiatives. In 2009, he received the National Bar Association’s Heman Marion Sweatt Award for outstanding achievement.

Al McHenry

Albert McHenryAlbert McHenry, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus and Research Professor at Arizona State University.  He retired from the position of Vice President and Executive Vice Provost of the Polytechnic campus of ASU, in 2008.  Over his long and distinguished career he also served as founding Dean of the College Technology and Innovation, Director of the School of Technology and Chair of the Department of Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology.  Dr. McHenry is an active National Science Foundation Principle Investigator and is current involved in executing funded projects that are focused on enhancing the success of young people from underrepresented groups in STEM Education at the baccalaureate through doctoral study levels, with special focus on mentoring for the professorate.  He is also leading the Gamma Mu Pathways to Success leadership development program.

Jerome Sims

Jerome SimsCurrently, I’m a District Service/Sales Manager for a Medtronic (the largest Medical Device Company in the United States. My responsibilities include: achieving unit/ revenue goals and enhancing customer satisfaction by effectively managing the district’s Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management service team. Manage and coach district service employees to accomplish corporate and district objectives thru: 1) Alignment, 2) Coaching, 3) Training/Development, & 4) Strategy/Planning/ Resource Allocation.

Prior to my current role I worked in the Healthcare IT field as a Healthcare Solutions Manager. My responsibilities included sales leadership, financial/valuation modeling, market and competitive analysis, public and private company research, development and management of financial modeling tools, management of deal evaluation processes and activities, due diligence planning and execution, collaboration with corporate functions to evaluate various deal structure/approaches, presentation of deal conclusions and recommendations to senior management, participation in integration planning activities, and any other activities deemed necessary to analyze, negotiate and complete business development transactions. Ensures that Compuware is the preferred partner by industry players and develops company’s market presence to improve overall deal flow.

Also, I have over eleven years of leadership in the pharmaceutical industry. I’ve worked in various areas of specialty; partnering with healthcare professionals in the fields of Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Urology, Otolaryngology, Gastroenterology, Pulmonology, & Family Medicine, and leaders within the Public Health field. I have over seven years of Oncology sales experience (4 as a manager). Outside of my direct responsibilities as a sales manager, I’ve worked with corporate leadership on various special projects relating to Brand Management, Operations & Six-Sigma.

I’m a goal setter who drives for exceptional results. I’m consistently rewarded for my top tier results, excellent analytical/business, and leadership skills. My major strengths’ include business analysis, communications, and interpersonal skills. I’ve worked to maintain high standards of personal integrity in partnering with my customers. I’ve excelled by achieving both personal and team business results. In addition to my formal educational, I have also take enhancement courses that include: Six Sigma, Situational Leadership, Provocation Based Selling, Solution Selling, Spin Selling, DISC Powered Selling, Emotional Intelligence, Target Market Initiative & Insights Training, SalesForce.com and various books.

Finally, I have a very active personal life. I am married to Sharee Sims; we have two children in high school: Jerome and Jada Sims. I volunteer my time to help support various Non-Profit organizations including, but not limited to serving as: Youth Basketball Coach, Member of the Goodyear Little League Board of Directors, and Mentor.

Vince Nicholes

Vince NicholesVince Nicholes is a Development Manager with over 20 years in the communications industry.  He currently oversees the expansion and fortification of T-Mobile’s wireless capabilities within the state of Arizona.  In 2015, Vince led the company’s engineering efforts to prepare for Super Bowl XLIX snatching the top spot for speed from T-Mobile’s rivals.

 
Within the community, Vince has led many efforts to help improve the lives of Phoenix residents. He has organized fundraisers for Title 1 students, served as a Jack and Jill Father’s Auxiliary Chair and sat on the Board for the Young Professionals of the Phoenix Symphony.
 
God is also a key part of Vince’s life.  Vince currently serves as the Facilitator of one of the largest Children’s Church services in the Valley.  He also directs a mentorship program for young men at his church and in the community and serves as a teacher to both adults and children whenever called upon.
 
Vince and his wife Ericka are active foster parents and the proud parents of Ayanna, TaMara, Jalen and Emmett.

Tyrone Benson

Tyrone BensonOver the past 18 years, I have helped Intel Corporation maintain a competitive advantage.
- Sr. Reliability Engineer for IP being integrated into products on our most advanced silicon technologies.
- Engineering Manager for a small team of quality and reliability engineers delivering media processors for consumer electronics devices.
- Product Reliability Engineer for our first IA System on Chip for Consumer Electronics.
- Analog and Digital Designer of low power circuits for our first cell phone microprocessor chip.
- Integration Engineer on a record-breaking team that developed C4 (flip chip) packaging technology.
- Vice President (2 terms) of the Arizona Chapter of the Network of Intel African Americans (NIA) with a focus on career development.
- Volunteered with Intel Foundation to solicit, review, and grant awards totaling $200,000 to three university organizations focused on improving retention of underrepresented minorities and / or women in Engineering and Computer Science.

Over the past few years, I have introduced thousands of students at several local high schools and community colleges to the many STEM career options, sharing with them how STEM careers can help them change the world!

I believe STEM provides students with a solid foundation from which to build careers. Before Intel, I fell in love with pre-college and undergraduate STEM education. Throughout my career, I participated in successful programs ranging from undergraduate learning centers at Georgia Tech & the University of Michigan to multi-session workshops for the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) & Michigan’s Minority Introduction to Technology and Engineering.

After joining Intel, I added to my experience in this area by designing and instructing science and technology workshops for K-8 students at a charter school for kids from dysfunctional homes. In the past couple of years, I have worked with Valley Teen Leadership and students from the Center for Research in Engineering, Science, and Technology (a STEM high school sharing a campus with Paradise Valley High School). I have facilitated site visits where the students meet Intel engineers and tour labs to understand what we do. I also work with the CREST Advisory Council to offer my experience in areas related to curriculum, recruitment, and retention.

Don T. Godbold

Don GodboldI have been a Board Certified Emergency Medicine physician for the past 30 years. I have practiced clinical Emergency Medicine in a variety of settings during this time period, including academic and community hospitals, urban and rural settings. I also have held various healthcare administrative leadership positions over the past 15 years.