Professional Achievers: O’Hara named to lead Village of Hope

Salisbury Independent
Posted 10/20/21

O’Hara named to lead Village of Hope

Donna Pierce O’Hara has joined the Village of Hope as the new full-time President/CEO.

O’Hara will be leading the organization in …

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Professional Achievers: O’Hara named to lead Village of Hope

Donna O'Hara.
Donna O'Hara.

O’Hara named to lead Village of Hope

Donna Pierce O’Hara has joined the Village of Hope as the new full-time President/CEO.

O’Hara will be leading the organization in partnership with the Board of Directors and working closely with the staff and women and children participating in the Village’s Steps to Success Transitional Living Program.

O’Hara holds a master’s degree in Education and Psychology, a bachelor’s degree in Respiratory Care from Salisbury University and is a Senior Certified Human Resource Management Professional.

Most recently she owned and operated Trilogy Human Resources. At Chesapeake Nurseries, she held the position of Human Resource Manager. Her past professional history also includes Special Events and Office Coordinator at the American Cancer Society and Supervisor of Prevention Services at the Worcester County Health Department.

Founded in 1990, the Village of Hope’s mission is to promote self-sufficiency and to improve the quality of life among at-risk women and children.

Mary Ann Burkhart joins prosecutor’s office

Mary Ann Burkhart has joined the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office as Senior Assistant State’s Attorney.

Burkhart’s arrival in Salisbury follows her retirement from the State’s Attorney’s Office in Anne Arundel County.

During her long career as a prosecutor, Burkett has distinguished herself as a strong advocate for the most vulnerable victims in complex prosecutions. She is renowned as an author and trainer who has committed her career to developing and inspiring excellence in young prosecutors.

“Over the years, many prosecutors in our office have benefitted from Mary Ann’s training, including yours truly,” said State’s Attorney Jamie Dykes. “I am confident that her rich experience and impeccable integrity will serve our community well.”

Chuck Ulm to head Comptroller’s enforcement

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot has announced that longtime state employee Chuck Ulm is the new Director of the Field Enforcement Bureau.

Ulm is a lifelong Salisbury resident and has more than 40 years of motor fuel industry experience. He will oversee the agency’s regulatory enforcement arm for motor fuel, motor carrier, trader's licenses, slots program, and income tax fraud.

Ulm started his career with the state in 1988 as a Compliance Inspector on the Eastern Shore, before being promoted to supervisor for the eastern half of the state. He was then named Special Assistant in the Motor Fuel Tax Division in March 2007, and promoted in July of that same year to assistant director with the Motor Fuel, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Regulatory Division. He moved to the Field Enforcement Division in April.

Boyd joins TSS as Head of Upper School

The Salisbury School has appointed John “Sandy” Boyd as Head of Upper School.

Boyd previously worked at Carolina Day School in Asheville, N.C., for 11 years. He has worked with students from kindergarten through 12th grade as a teacher and an Assistant Principal.

He has also served as a Director of Outdoor Education and has been a head soccer coach.

Boyd is both a rock climber and an ice climber. He enjoys surfing, trail running, and camping. He is a singer and songwriter and loves international travel.

Avendano-Welch joins Chesapeake Health Care

Chesapeake Health Care is welcoming a new pediatrician, Dr. Maria Sofia Avendano-Welch.

Avendano-Welch, or “Dr. Sofie” as she is known, graduated from the Far Eastern University Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation Institute of Medicine in Manila, Philippines. She completed her pediatric residency training at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore.

From 2004 to 2017, she was the Medical Director at the Wicomico Middle School Wellness Center. Before joining Chesapeake Health Care, she was a full-time pediatrician with Jose F. Alvarado and Associates in Salisbury.

Avendano-Welch provides primary care for children of all ages, from newborns to teens. She brings her board-certified knowledge and training, along with a caring and friendly personality.

For more information and to make an appointment, please call Chesapeake Health Care’s pediatric office in Salisbury at 410-548-1747.

Lynn Adkins joins SU’s Finance Office

Salisbury University has announced Lynn Adkins as its new Associate Vice President for Administration and Finance.

“In her new position, Lynn Adkins brings with her demonstrated financial management experience from a successful public-sector career in financial affairs,” said Dr. Janet Wormack, SU Vice President for Administration and Finance.

Adkins has served with the SU Foundation since 2007, starting as an accountant and becoming Director of Operations and Finance in 2017. Prior to that, she worked at Piedmont Airlines from 1987-2007, serving in various finance roles.

Her duties will include management and oversight of SU financial reporting, payroll, accounting and budgeting operations.

Adkins earned her bachelor’s in Accounting from SU in 1997.

Dr. Andria Kallarakal joins Wor-Wic leadership

 Wor-Wic Community College recently welcomed Dr. Andria Kallarakal of Salisbury as Human Services Department head and Associate Professor of Social Science.

She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Sociology from the Madurai Kamaraj University in India, a master’s degree in International Development from Clark University in Worcester, Mass., and a doctorate in Sociology from the University of Kerala in India.

She has taught college courses since 1989 and most recently worked as the Director of Public and Social Services at Esperanza College of Eastern University in Philadelphia.

Mike Dryden joins The Land Group

The Land Group has announced the addition of Mike Dryden to the team.

Dryden has an extensive background in agriculture and land conservation and will assist clients in Maryland and Virginia with land brokerage needs.

“We are so pleased that Mike has decided to start a career in land brokerage, and I am extremely confident that he will be an integral part of The Land Group,” said Ben Alder, Principal of TLG. “Mike brings 15 years of state and federal agricultural program knowledge to the table. The framework of his experience in soil conservation will serve him well to help landowners through the land brokerage process. As a platform, a background in natural resources is the best experience for a land broker.”

Since 2013, Dryden has led and aided in the restoration and protection of more than 3,800 acres of wetlands through his role as the Restoration Specialist for the MD/DC chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

Prior to that, he worked as the Public Drainage Coordinator for the Eastern Shore, and he began his career as a Soil Conservation Associate with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, where he focused on helping local farmers in Worcester County implement best management practices.

Dryden grew up in Somerset County on his parents' produce, grain and poultry farm. He is still an active participant in the family business, which produces tomatoes, watermelon and cantaloupe.

TRS promotes Smart, McMahan and Faenzi

TRS CPA Group has announced three promotions in its accounting firm.

Jordan Smart has been elevated to the position of Senior Accountant. During her three years with TRS CPA Group, she  has taken on corporate and estate level tax, financial statements and tax planning.

Smart holds a bachelor’s in Accounting from Salisbury University.

Tasha McMahan has been named to the position of Firm Manager. With 24 years of experience in Public Accounting, she is pursuing a second master’s in taxation from Southern New Hampshire University.

McMahan specializes in individual and business income tax planning and compliance.

Cathy Faenzi has been named a partner of TRS CPA Group.

In her 15 years at TRS, Faenzi has shown a dedication to both her clients and the company that is unwavering. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland College Park and a master’s in Taxation degree from Howard Taft University.

Subrata Biswas named Biology Assistant Professor 

Wor-Wic Community College recently welcomed Dr. Subrata Biswas of Fruitland as Assistant Professor of Biological Science.

He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Physiology from the University of Calcutta in India, a master’s degree in Environmental Science from the Jawaharlal Nehru University in India and a master’s degree and a doctorate in Biomedical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology. He has more than 15 years of experience in the field of research and has taught part time at the college level since 2017.

Dr. Andrew Sharma is Faculty Award winner

Dr. Andrew Sharma of Salisbury University’s Communications Department is the winner of SU’s 2021 Distinguished Faculty Award.

The prestigious tribute is given by faculty to faculty. A two-time Fulbright Award winner with appointments to India and a regional Fulbright Fellowship to Sri Lanka, Sharma uses his research to serve his students in classes including Audio Production, Digital Filmmaking, Historical Documentary, Directing for the Camera and Advertising Campaigns.

Sharma has served SU in a variety of ways, hosting international scholars from India to teach at SU, serving as a media liaison for the Charles R. and Martha N. Fulton School of Liberal Arts and a media steering committee member for SU’s Integrated Media Center, and chairing the Communication Department’s Tenure and Promotions Committee. He also has been lauded for his faculty mentorship.

In the community, Sharma and his students have worked to create advertising and documentary campaigns for local non-profit organizations. He also has served as a reviewer for Routledge Publishing and several international education programs, including those with the Fulbright Program. He has earned the Fulton School’s Civic Engagement and International Education awards, as well as two faculty fellowships with the International Radio and Television Society Foundation.

Celebrating its 34th year in 2019, the Distinguished Faculty Award has been bestowed upon 75 faculty. Sharma’s name will be added to an honor roll listing all recipients since the award was established.

Joe Benyish is new SU Orientation Director

Salisbury University has announced Joe Benyish as its new Director of Orientation, Transitions and Family Outreach in the Student Affairs Division.

Benyish had served as the interim director since February. In the past seven months, he has led implementation of online and face-to-face student orientation, support and transition programs including Sea Gull Start-Up and First Flight, among others.

Prior to that, he served as coordinator of student life in SU’s Center for Student Involvement and Leadership.