John Schwartz

Director and Founder of the Voqal Companies

A public media advocate for 40 years, John has founded community radio and television stations and brought wireless broadband services to cities throughout the United States. In 1980, John founded KBDI-TV in the Denver area, now known as CPT12. In 1983, he started what is now called Voqal — five non-profit organizations that obtained licenses in the Educational Broadband Service (EBS) band. Utilizing the organizations’ spectrum, commercial operator Clearwire, now a Sprint subsidiary, delivers 4G wireless broadband to most major U.S. cities. In exchange for the use of this spectrum, Clearwire provides the Voqal organizations with royalties, which they allocate to their operations and grant-making efforts. In 1995, John started Free Speech TV, a Denver-based progressive TV network which is seen on DISH Network, DirecTV, Roku and the web. John lives in Boulder, CO.

Alice Ellis Gaut

Director

Alice Ellis Gaut has lived in Portland, Oregon since 1977 and has been involved in community media on a volunteer basis for four decades. She earned her BFA in film and television production at NYU School of the Arts in 1972, and her JD at Lewis & Clark Law School in 1980. A member of the Oregon State Bar since 1980, Alice has advocated for legal, social and economic justice for adults and juveniles, both in her private practice and as a public defender. In 2009 she became a licensed private investigator, and currently works as a mitigation specialist in death penalty cases in the state and federal courts in Oregon. Alice joined Voqal in 1983.

Garlin Gilchrist II

Director

Garlin Gilchrist II is the Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement for the City of Detroit and the founder of Detroit Diaspora. Prior to working for the City of Detroit, Garlin was the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org  A former Microsoft Engineer and Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change, Garlin works to erase boundaries between traditional political organizing and online activism as a speaker, trainer, practitioner, and participant in movements that encourage collective action for community change. Garlin joined Voqal in 2011 and lives in Detroit.

Lilly Gleich

Director

Lilly was an independent producer of documentaries in Chicago during the 70s and 80s and also worked with youth teaching videography skills and media literacy. As an educator, she has taught in a variety of settings including university, high school and community organizations. She is a registered psychologist specializing in educational psychology. Her interests include the effects of technology on child development, the digital divide in education, and democratization of media. Lilly joined Voqal in 1983 and lives in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia.

Neal Gosman

Director

Neal has been active in community-based media ventures for more than 40 years, including print, cable television and Educational Broadband Service technologies encompassing non-profit, for profit, and cooperative ownership models. Currently, Neal is an independent professional paralegal and an officer with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Previously, Neal was publisher/designer of the Riverview Times, President of St. Paul Cable Co-op, and Executive Director of Cable Access-St Paul. His background includes experience in photojournalism, adult and public alternative education, non-profit administration, community and political organizing efforts. He is an Army veteran of the Vietnam War and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Neal joined Voqal in 1998 and lives in St. Paul, MN.

Thom Hartmann

Director

Thom Hartmann is a bestselling author and nationally syndicated talk show host. He joined Voqal in 2009 and lives in Washington, DC.

Dylan Hydes

Director

Dylan is an attorney in Portland, Oregon where he manages a practice focusing on personal injury and workers’ compensation law. Over the past 15 years, Dylan has worked and volunteered for several candidates and political organizations. Dylan is married with three small children. In his free time, Dylan enjoys spending time with his family, running, playing poker, and playing and following baseball. He joined Voqal in 2013.

Barbara K. Iverson

Director

Barbara teaches at Columbia College Chicago. She is co-founder, publisher, and web master for Chicagotalks.org, a community and citizen journalism news site supported by Columbia. Barbara has been working with digital technology in education and progressive media for nearly 30 years. Before coming to Columbia, she taught in the Chicago Public Schools. In 2005 she founded Chicago Bloggers Meetup. Other interests and area of expertise include social media, online publishing, mobile journalism, and open data. When not logged in somewhere, Barbara can be found riding her bike. Barbara joined Voqal in 2009 and lives in Chicago, IL.

David McKay

Director

Through his work with Voqal, David has helped strengthen and amplify alternative media outlets, promote training for youth in new technologies and influence public awareness for progressive social change. He has overseen both programming and grant-making efforts, while building relationships within various partnerships and affiliates. With a strong background in nonprofit administration, David’s expertise includes commercial and public radio, organized labor, Native American education, digital divide issues and progressive media. He was instrumental in founding two community radio stations, in Minneapolis/St. Paul and northwestern Wisconsin. David enjoys travel, camping, baseball, motorcycling and spending time with his family. David joined Voqal in 1999 and lives in Minneapolis, MN.

Charles Marr

Director

Charles is an attorney in Portland, Oregon, where he manages class action lawsuits for Epiq Systems. As a project manager, Charles works on large and complex class action settlements and mass tort cases. Prior to joining Epiq, Charles practiced law for five years in the areas of business transactions and insurance defense. Charles also is a licensed pyrotechnician and performs firework displays for a local company. Charles has volunteered for political candidates and charity organizations since before he was eligible to vote at the age of eighteen. Charles is originally from Nebraska and moved to Portland over ten years ago with his wife. In his free time, Charles enjoys cooking, running, playing and watching baseball and gardening.

Denise Mayotte

Director

Denise Mayotte serves as the Executive Director of the Sheltering Arms Foundation, which is based in Minneapolis and makes grants statewide to non-profits that help to close the opportunity gap for low-income children in Minnesota. The foundation has a strong interest in supporting early childhood education and after-school advocacy efforts. Prior to her work with Sheltering Arms, Denise served as a program officer with the McKnight Foundation, as General Manager of KFAI, Fresh Air Radio and as Executive Director of the Neighborhood Resource Center. She is a board member of In Progress, a youth media organization, co-chair of the Youth Funders Network, and co-chair of Start Early Funders Coalition. Denise holds a BA from the University of Minnesota and was a policy fellow with the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She lives in south Minneapolis with her husband and daughter. Denise joined Voqal in 2013.

Daniel X. O'Neil

Director

Dan is the Executive Director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, a civic organization devoted to making lives better in Chicago through technology. Prior to the Smart Chicago, Dan was a co-founder of and People Person for EveryBlock, a neighborhood news and discussion site serving 16 cities. Prior to EveryBlock, Dan spent 10 years as an Internet strategist and project manager for Streams Online Media, one of the first web design firms in Chicago. He’s developed dozens of web sites for nonprofits, schools, and small businesses using easy-to-use and inexpensive tools such as weblogs, wikis, and social networking sites. In June of 2011 he was honored by the White House as a Champion of Change for Technology and Innovation. Dan has a degree in English and Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dan joined Voqal in 2010 and lives in Chicago, IL.

Joe Pezzillo

Director

Joe is the Senior Director, Push Operations & Adoption at Oracle. Joe has been involved in several successful start-ups including Push IO, a leading provider of mobile push notifications for broadcasters, sports leagues and global enterprises and Metafy LLC, a Boulder, Colorado based software boutique developing a suite of prototype iPhone applications for a Fortune 100 financial services company. In addition to pioneering work in Internet radio and managing several startups, Joe spent three years as a researcher at the Apple Electronic Media Lab in the mid 90s. Joe joined Voqal in 2005 and lives in Boulder, CO.

Chet Tchozewski

Director

Chet is the founder and president of the RTC Impact Fund, a full-spectrum social and environmental impact fund designed to provide access to capital for mine-impacted communities around the world who seek to harness their natural resource endowments for sustainable development. He also co-founded Grantmakers without Borders (now EDGE Funders) and served on the initiating committee of the Global Philanthropy Forum. Chet joined Voqal in 2015 and lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife Susan Carabello and their daughter, Tian.

James Traynor

Director

James created his first email address in 1994, and later earned a BA in Social Science from New College at University of Alabama. In 2002 he joined Free Speech Media LLC (a Voqal company) to manage online ventures, coordinate Free Speech TV’s first on-air pledge drive and facilitate deployment of the FSTV/DemocracyNow! satellite affiliate network to over a hundred US cable public-access channels. A Voqal Director since 2009, James performs web development and consulting in Memphis, with dreams of unlimited bandwidth for all.

Frances “Pancha” Valdez

Director

Pancha joined Voqal in 1993 and lives in Alamosa, CO.