VanderCook College of Music
Board of Trustees
George Quinlan Jr., Chairman
George Quinlan Jr. serves as the President of Quinlan & Fabish Music Company. In addition to serving on the VanderCook board, he also is Treasurer for The Midwest Clinic, a board member of the Music Achievement Council, and ArtSpeaks 204-Music Advocacy Organization. He has served as President of NASMD-National Association of School Music Dealers and as a board member of NAMM-National Association of Music Merchants and the South Shore Brass Band. Quinlan has Bachelor of Music Cum Laude from the University of Miami in Florida.
Herald “Chip” Johnson, Vice Chairman (MMEd '07)
John Huston, Immediate Past Chairman
SohYoon Atac, Secretary
Together with her high school band director (a VanderCook alum and former faculty), SohYoon Atac helped conceive and launch the One City Program which provides VanderCook’s inspiring music education to children who otherwise lack the opportunity. SohYoon received her bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago and, after playing in an alternative rock band for a number of years, a JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law. SohYoon subsequently founded Atom Law Group, LLC which through its attorneys provides services in business-related transactions & litigation along with immigration. While complex litigation involving multiple countries can be fun, the Atom Law Group team takes pride in having lead the initial fundraising for One City – reminiscing time to time about wording requests, stuffing envelopes at the office, to accounting and the excitement of determining that the program is a go – and remain in awe of One City’s multiplying impact under the direction of Dr. Leah Schuman, Executive Director.
Steven Beck has been in the architecture | engineer | construction (AEC) industry since graduating from the Illinois Institute of Technology-Architecture in ‘89. He has excelled at a variety of roles including founding an award-winning design | build collaborative and establishing a buyer change department that managed 500-semi-custom residential units annually. Steve is currently developing a quality assurance program aimed at reducing the risk of construction rework for a Chicago-based nation-wide general contractor.
Steve brings a background in providing guidance, direction, and assistance for the resolution of difficult project design, budget, and constructability challenges on a wide variety of project types. Projects have included the adaptive reuse of two separate churches to condominiums and an 80,000 SF warehouse to contemporary church as well as new construction senior housing communities and multi-family residential developments. Work has taken him nation-wide providing a wealth of construction knowledge in techniques and geographical influences.
Steve volunteered his services to a Chicago Lawndale church undertaking an extensive and desperately needed re-roofing project by establishing realistic budgets, negotiating contracts along with reasonable unit pricing, and ultimately overseeing construction. He has also volunteered design services for a proto-typical school for Angola that was used to build 106 schools that ultimately serviced +30,000 students.
In ’04 Steve returned to the Illinois Institute of Technology as an adjunct professor of architecture until transitioning to coaching/mentoring multi-disciplinary student teams in IIT’s Interprofessional Studies & IPRO Program in ’09. This mentoring role took him to Uganda with a student team collaborating with coffee farmers to develop resources that would provide them with greater control of their products and therefore future. He also mentored two Chicago-area high-school students in a summer-long science and technology education and internship experience through the Academy for Future Leaders in Science and Technology.
He was an active supporter of his 4-childrens’ involvement in bands, orchestras, choirs, musicals and marching bands and he continues to support his wife in her music education career and active choral work.
Scott Casagrande was Director of Bands at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, IL for 22 years and retired in June, 2021 after completing 33 years of teaching in Illinois Public Schools. He taught high school, middle school and elementary students in suburban, urban and rural settings over the course of his teaching career.
Mr. Casagrande currently serves Music for All as a Music Education Consultant coordinating the National Festival, Affiliate Regional Music Festivals and Affiliate Marching Band events. He is also a consultant with MusicFirst software, as well as an administrator for the Dr. William P. Foster Project involving CBDNA, NBA and Music for All serving bands in historically under-served and under-resourced communities. He is a Past-President of the National Band Association.
Under Mr. Casagrande’s direction, the John Hersey Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble performed as a featured ensemble in the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic. Ensembles under Mr. Casagrande’s direction were selected to perform in 24 Illinois Superstate Concert Band Festivals, two Illinois Music Educators Association Conventions and four Music for All National Concert Band Festivals. The Hersey Symphonic Band was named the Illinois Superstate Concert Band Festival Honor Band four times and the band program was awarded the Sudler Flag of Honor by the John Philip Sousa Foundation. Jazz Ensembles under Mr. Casagrande’s direction were named Honor Band many times at both the Purdue Jazz Festival and Jazz in the Meadows, the two largest jazz festivals in the Midwest. The Hersey Marching Huskies were consistent state finalists and named Class 4A Champions four times during Mr. Casagrande’s tenure. Mr. Casagrande was inducted into the State of Illinois Marching Championship Hall of Fame in 2022.
Loren Chernoff is a Speech/Language and Learning Disabilities Therapist who has worked in public, private, and alternative schools, working with children with special needs, gifted children, socio-economically disadvantaged children, and socio-economically privileged children from preschool to age 21—She is currently working with music therapists when related to speech/language issues at Lawrence Hall, a social service agency on Chicago’s north side—She received her bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and her master’s degree from DePaul University.
Andrew Collins (BMEd '06)
Rob Conrad never really envisioned how far his advertising career might take him, despite the fact that less than three months into his very first job he found himself in Hollywood shooting commercials for one of the world’s foremost advertisers.
Working for the Mad Men
Since then, Rob went on to work as a copywriter and creative executive at the nation’s leading advertising agencies, where he helped develop hundreds of original selling ideas for a wide range of brands. His résumé includes DDB, Leo Burnett, Ogilvy and JWT, where he built a portfolio that includes award-winning work for United Airlines, McDonald’s, Allstate and the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, plus packaged goods work for Kellogg’s, P & G and Unilever that helped his assigned products achieve number one status in their respective categories.
From Beauty Care to Healthcare
In 2002, Rob was recruited to bring his conceptual skills to the field of healthcare marketing, where he navigated the regulatory landscape of the industry to create wide-ranging campaigns that successfully launched what have become showcase pharma brands.
The Rewards of Academia
From 2009-2018, Rob served on the faculty of Northwestern University as an adjunct lecturer, where he enjoyed teaching a class on Message Strategy at the Medill School of Journalism and Integrated Marketing.
An Entrepreneurial Adventure
In 2010, he teamed up with former Burnett colleague Clay Purdy to found Canteen Creative Communications. Their original client roster included Lowe’s, Sports Illustrated, CareerBuilder and several Chicago-based startups. After successfully completing a strategic communications plan to support a capital campaign for NorthShore University Healthcare System, Rob and Clay shifted their focus to helping not-for-profits achieve their fundraising goals. Clients included the McCormick and Medill Schools at Northwestern University, the Cancer Research Foundation at the University of Chicago, and Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. In 2018, Rob and Clay published a book sharing their experiences, entitled Inspiring Generosity: Marketing Techniques for Visionary Fundraisers.
In 2019, Rob left Canteen to pursue some long-held personal passion projects, which include writing, painting, music and philanthropy. He has served as a board-level advisor for a London-based media company, a Silicon-Valley based private equity fund and several local social organizations and charities, including the Art Institute of Chicago. A skilled public speaker, he has been interviewed by numerous local news outlets, as well as Prime Time Live, 20/20, and all the major trade publications.
Lauren Erickson-Vega Alumni Association Representative
Lauren Erickson-Vega resides in Valparaiso, Indiana. She works for River Forest Community Schools in New Chicago, Indiana teaching at both the Middle and High Schools. For the Ingots she wears many hats in the school district teaching Choir and Theater and acting as the head varsity Track and Field as well as Cross Country coach for the High School.
Lauren received her undergraduate in Choral and Instrumental Music Education from Indiana State University in 2005. She later went on to receive her Masters in Choral Music Education from VanderCook College of Music in 2011.
Stanley Dietzel has served as the Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase and its predecessors for 34 years and as a consultant at Northern Trust. Dietzel has a B.A. in Philosophy from Carleton College and an MBA from University of Chicago in Finance.
Stan is actively engaged with his community. He has offered his knowledge in finances at the Chicago Center for Economic Progress as a tax prep volunteer, and mentors at College Bound Opportunities in Highland Park. Furthermore, he supports the local environment as a River Steward for the Lake County Forest Preserves and as a Gardener at Heller Nature Center in Highland Park and the Chicago Botanical Garden. His astute knowledge and experience in finance provides valuable insight to the Board of Trustees, but his love of music and personal connection to VanderCook are what truly brought him to the College.
Liz Dunne currently leads marketing and consumer research for Uber in Chicago. She previously worked at Benenson Strategy Group in Los Angeles, where she led all aspects of research to develop compelling communications, from proposal development and the execution of research and quantitative/qualitative data analysis. Prior to Benenson, Dunne worked at MSHC Partners where she executed direct mail and online persuasion, membership, and IE programs for federal, state-, and county-level candidates and organizations like Rock the Vote, AFL-CIO, National Education Association, and Sierra Club. She also spent several years at a small government affairs shop in Washington, DC, where she focused on intellectual property protection for the fashion design industry as well as funding opportunities for important health care IT and transportation projects. A Chicago native, Dunne holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Saul Friedgood is Executive Vice President of Eastman Music Company, a leading maker and supplier of fine stringed instruments. He earned his BA in political science at American University.
Jon Harris is President of Harris-Teller Inc., a full-line music products distributor based in Chicago. Harris served on the board of directors for the International Music Products Association from 2008 to 2010. He is past president and current historian of the Music Distributors Association and a member of the National Association of School Music Dealers. He also served on the Latin School of Chicago Alumni Board from 2008 to 2011. Harris received a BA from Tulane University in New Orleans in 1992.
Mark Heckler bio coming soon.
Dr. Mead Killion
Dr. Mead Killion has spent 21 years in the hearing aid industry, and founded Etymotic Research, Inc., in 1983. Dr. Killion helped develop the first subminiature ceramic microphone, subminiature electrets microphone, and subminiature directional microphones. He is probably best known for developing earmold coupling systems to improve both the useful bandwidth and the sound quality of hearing aids. Dr. Killion earned degrees in mathematics from Wabash College and the Illinois Institute of Technology, and completed his doctorate in audiology at Northwestern University. Dr. Killion has taught and given lectures on audiology around the world and is a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and the Audio Engineering Society. He has been presented with many awards in appreciation of his contributions to the field of hearing. Dr. Killion is also an accomplished choir director, violinist and jazz pianist.
Paul Lavender serves as Vice President of Instrumental Publications for Hal Leonard Corporation. He directs the product development and marketing of Hal Leonard’s extensive catalog of performance publications for orchestra, concert band, marching band, and jazz ensemble, as well as instrumental books, collections and methods. His longtime association with renowned film composer John Williams has produced the prestigious John Williams Signature Series, featuring Williams’ authentic film scores and concert music for professional orchestras. In addition, Paul has served as music supervisor and arranger for several of Williams’ concerts and special events. Also a prolific writer, Paul has contributed more than 1,200 arrangements and compositions to the educational and concert repertoire, and he continues to be one of the most widely played writers today.
Christopher Motogawa is a Director at Quest Turnaround Advisors LLC. Quest provides business consulting, crisis management and turnaround advisory services to company stakeholders. He attended Northwestern University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1994, and DePaul University, where he earned his CPIM Certification in 1996. Previously, Motogawa was a managing director for The Brandenburg Group, Inc. He was also the chief financial officer of MotorCoach Industries, Inc., corporate controller at SourceLink, Inc., and principal for Harmonie Coffee and Beverage. Throughout his career, he has served in various financial and accounting positions. Motogawa also serves on the Board of Directors of Changing Worlds, a nonprofit educational arts organization that works with students to improve literacy through community-building writing and arts programs. He has been on the VanderCook Board since 2007.