The Operation 2000 Cherry Trees Committee

Governor Bob Taft
Honorary Chairperson

67th Governor
State of Ohio

Bob Taft was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 8, 1942. Bob Taft began his career in public service as a volunteer teacher for the Peace Corps in East Africa. He has served Ohioans as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, as a Hamilton County Commissioner and as Ohio’s Secretary of State. He was sworn in as Ohio’s 67th Governor on January 11, 1999 and was elected to his second term as Governor in November 2002. He graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in government in 1963, received his Master’s degree in government from Princeton University in 1967 and earned his law degree from the University of Cincinnati Law School in 1976. Governor Taft’s father and grandfather both served in the United States Senate, and his great-grandfather, William Howard Taft, served as the 27th President of the United States and Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Mr. Taft is joined the University of Dayton in August 2007 as a distinguished research associate for educational excellence. In November 2008, he joined the Board of Directors of the Alliance for The Great Lakes to help advance Great Lakes education and policy initiatives.



Vice President, Foreign Multinational Group
JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.

Born and raised in the City of Yokohama, Alex used to go fishing at the main pier of Port of Yokohama during his middle school years. While fishing he saw boats coming and going and nurtured a dream of going to America someday. He went onto Chuo University. After graduating with BA in Law, he had a job for a while but resigned and went to America on a boat from the pier he used to fish. Upon arrival at Chicago, he secured a menial job while having fear of getting caught by immigration office and he went to a community college to learn English. He went onto Roosevelt University and enrolled in Business Administration. After completing the prerequisites, he advanced to graduate school and earned an MBA. After graduation he held a job in Chicago but resigned and started his own business. Later he started importing portable kerosene heaters from Japan. The business grew very fast and almost afforded him an American Dream. Unfortunately a historically warm winter hit in 1982 and devastated the entire industry. He started an international consulting business. While he was a consultant, he tried to start a new business again but failed. An opportunity came to join Bank One, which later acquired by JPMorgan. .Currently Vice President of JPMorgan Chase Bank, Commercial Banking Group responsible for providing best banking solutions to Japanese owned business in Ohio and Michigan.


collinsErik Collins
Vice Chairperson

Economic Development Director
Montgomery County

Erik Collins is the Economic Development Director for Montgomery County, Ohio – the state’s fourth largest county. He manages the Economic Development Division and is responsible for business attraction, retention and the county’s incentive programs. Under his tenure, Mr. Collins developed Montgomery County’s Linked Deposit Program in partnership with the Montgomery County Treasurer; the Linked Deposit program is a $20 million program designed to buy-down interest rates for businesses. He was also Instrumental in developing, and is now responsible for managing in conjunction with communities, nationally recognized business retention and expansion initiative known as Business First! For a Greater Dayton Region. Away from his city responsibilities, Mr. Collins also has significant experience serving on Board’s of Directors for various organizations – Ohio Economic Development Association, Regional Economic Development Organizations and Rotary International -Southwest Ohio. In 2000, he was named a Dayton Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Recipient – an award recognizing Future Leaders in the Dayton Region.


Maurice “Mo” McDonald
Committee Member

Vice President, Military Affairs
Dayton Development Coalition

Maurice “Mo” McDonald currently serves as VP of Military Affairs with the Dayton Development Coalition. In his new role, McDonald will be heavily involved in the partnership with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) and maintaining a regional presence with all area defense installations. In addition, he will work on BRAC initiatives and activities and will help shape the regional UAS/UAV strategy to secure restricted air space.

Prior to joining the Coalition, McDonald was a Senior Program Manager at URS Corporation in Beavercreek, Ohio. He was responsible for executing URS business development, recruitment and employee retention in support of the Federal Government specifically the Department of Defense. McDonald was instrumental in securing a successful contract bid in support of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base valued at $63 Million securing over 45 jobs. Mr. McDonald has a Bachelor of Science degree from the Air Force Academy and a Masters Degree in Management from Georgia College and State University.


SteveStephen P. Lake
Committee Member

Manager of Government Relations
Dayton Power and Light

Stephen Lake is Manger, Government Relations for DP&L, headquartered in Dayton, OH. He is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with area and statewide legislators on a variety of issues including public advocacy, monitoring and identifying key legislation impacting the utility industry and working with internal departments including legal/regulatory to development policy positions on legislative issues. In addition, he also manages the day to day operations of the DP&L Responsible Citizenship Fund (PAC) for the Company.

Lake rejoined DP&L in 2007 working with legislators and agencies at the state and federal levels. He also worked for Governor Bob Taft as the Governor’s Regional Economic Development Representative for the Dayton/West Central Ohio area, directing economic development efforts and activities, acting as an liaison between state government, local business leaders, and elected officials, while allocating government resources to meet business challenges. In addition he also was President, Dayton Regional Development Alliance. However, prior to this position he worked for DP&L as Regional Economic Development Manger, responsible for working with area communities in attracting new investments and retaining businesses in the 24 county DP&L service area. He is a former member and President of the Ohio Economic Development Council and currently a member of Ohio Economic Development Association, Ohio Lobbying Association, Utility Economic Development Association, I-70/75 Development Association, South Metro Chamber Safety Board, and Operation 1,000 Cherry Tree Project Board.


VerityVerity Snyder
Committee Member

Former President
Downtown Dayton Partnership