Peter K. Underwood is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of RFT. A former pilot with Eastern Airlines and American Airlines since 1988, he co-founded EIC Information Technologies, Inc., a small company that has developed innovative and proprietary instruments to measure liquid level in petrochemical tanks. Mr. Underwood is a 1973 graduate of the USAF Academy and a retired Lt. Colonel in the USAF Reserve where he interviewed prospective candidates for USAFA.
Steven Emmert is the Senior Director, Government and Industry Affairs for Reed Elsevier Inc., a world leading publisher and information provider. Subsidaries include: Elsevier, LexisNexis, Reed Business and Reed Exhibitions. Mr. Emmert is an attorney who specializes in copyright, privacy, and technology law. Mr. Emmert represents REI and its subsidiaries before the Administration, Congress and federal regulatory bodies on matters relating to information privacy, online privacy, data security, cybersecurity, e-commerce, cloud computing, Big Data and access to government information.
Melinda Fitzwater is a retired manager with the Boeing Company and McDonnell Douglas Corporation, where she directed their philanthropy programs in Washington. With a bachelors and masters degree in education, Melinda taught for several years in the Virgin Islands and Atlanta, with a focus on students of special interest. She served in the White House under President Ronald Reagan from l981 to l987, and was a public relations executive with the Susan Davis Companies for five years. She was a member of the IRI U.S. election observer team in Mexico and has been an RFT Board Member since it's inception.
Beth James currently lives and works in SW Florida, serving as an appointed member of the City of Bonita Springs' Special Events Committee. In addition, she is affiliated with Royal Shell Real Estate as a multi-million-dollar producer selling and listing property from Ft. Myers to Naples, FL. During her career, she has held senior leadership positions with notable non-profit organizations, including Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC, The American Red Cross, The American Lung Association, The Direct Selling Education Foundation, among others. She has been a board member with RFT since 2001.
Major General John Phillips (USAF, retired) is the former Under Secretary of Defense for Logistics and a former Senior Vice President of Honeywell and Home Depot. He is currently a self-employed consultant in defense and logistics related industries as well as an advisor to the President of Somalia, on the board of Robert L. Johnson Equity Partners, Tektronix Inc., and IBM Strategic Business Relationship Team.
Stephen Johnson was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs from 2007 to 2009, in charge of U.S. hemispheric defense strategies and regional security ties. A specialist in foreign policy, he also served as director of the Americas Program at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies from 2011 to 2013, and from 1999 to 2006, was Senior Policy Analyst for Latin America at The Heritage Foundation.
Idora (Idy) Marcus is the founding principal of Equimark RESOLVE, a company providing solutions through advice and consulting to new clients seeking help with complex strategic positioning and access issues. Ms. Marcus has a proven track record of business development, relationship building, and community outreach as was exhibited during the 1999 NATO Summit. Formerly, Idy served as Director of Corporate Development and Special Programs and Spokesperson at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, DC. In addition, she orchestrated publicity for a speakers' series at the Kennedy Center featuring world leaders and well-known celebrities such as Mikhail Gorbachev and Oprah Winfrey. While working with Horton Associates representing The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, Ms. Marcus coordinated numerous government, corporate relations, and production projects supporting the television and motion picture industries. Some of the projects she worked on include: The Hunt for Red October, Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games, Biloxi Blues, Magnum PI and The Tuskegee Airmen. Throughout her career Idy has devoted thousands of hours on boards and committees utilizing her strategic planning and positioning expertise for organizations such as the Washington Performing Arts Society and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Idy has been a volunteer with RFT since 1999 and a board member since 2003.