The Honors College is fortunate to have the guidance and knowledge of a distinguished group of business people and executives who contribute to our advisory board.
The board's goal is to strengthen the relationships between Mason and the local business community. It provides advisory feedback about the expectations of the business community, employment trends, and demands for workforce development. The board also helps the Honors College forge new partnerships, identify internships, and develop new service-learning opportunities.
Chair, Matthew McQueen
Vice President and Chief Communications Officer
Matt McQueen is vice president and chief communications officer at Peraton. In this role, McQueen serves as the senior communications and public affairs advisor to the chief executive officer and company leadership. He has responsibility for Peraton’s communications strategy and execution, including media relations, employee communications, branding, digital and social media, executive communications, corporate citizenship, and government relations.
Prior to his appointment, he led the integrated communications team for Northrop Grumman’s (NYSE: NOC) Cyber and Intelligence Mission Solutions and Space ISR Systems divisions and had enterprise responsibilities for the company’s cyber branding efforts. Earlier in his career, McQueen held senior roles in Northrop Grumman’s strategic communications, government relations, strategy, and business development functions.
McQueen earned a master’s degree in organizational management and science from The George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from The College of Wooster. He serves on the board of directors for several civic and non-profit organizations including the George Mason University Honors College, the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Lead Virginia, and GO Virginia Region 7.
Dr. Gerald L. Gordon was the founding chair person of the Honors College advisory board, serving as the chair until early 2019.
Virginia Business Magazine named Dr. Gordon as its “2010 Business Person of the Year.” In 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, the magazine named him one of the 50 Most Influential Virginians.
Dr. Gordon was the President and CEO of the Economic Development Authority in Fairfax County, Virginia, one of the largest office markets in the nation. He was with the FCEDA from late 1983 through the end of 2018, during which time office space in the county grew from 32 million square feet to more than 117 million, and jobs in the county grew from 243,000 to about 600,000. As a result, the real estate tax rate has decreased from $1.47 to $1.09. The FCEDA created the Honors College Dr. Gerald Gordon Scholarship in honor of his service to the Northern Virginia community.
Dr. Gordon has also worked for Arlington County, Virginia, and the United States Department of Labor. In 2005, the FCEDA was named by Site Selection Magazine as one of the Top Ten Economic Development organizations in North America. In 2007, Time magazine called Fairfax County “one of the great economic success stories of our time.” In 2011, the Washington Post said that “Fairfax County remains the economic wunderkind of Virginia and in many ways of the Washington area.”
Dr. Gordon has taught at Catholic University, the University of Maryland, George Mason University, and Virginia Commonwealth University. He has consulted with city and state governments throughout the United States and around the world, as well as the governments of Poland, the island of Vieques, and Micronesia. He has also served as a consultant to various government agencies, the United States Navy, businesses, non-profit organizations, associations, colleges and universities, and the United Nations.
Dr. Gordon holds a Bachelor’s Degree from The Citadel, a Master’s Degree from George Washington University, and a Doctorate in International Economics from the Catholic University of America. He is the author of 12 books on strategic planning and economic development. His most recent books include The Formula for Economic Growth on Main Street America (CRC Press, 2009), Reinventing Local and Regional Economies (CRC Press, 2011), The Economic Viability of Micropolitan America (CRC Press, 2013), and The Economic Survival of America’s Isolated Small Towns (CRC Press, 2015).
Dr. Gordon is the 2003 recipient of the prestigious Israel Freedom Award of the Israel Bonds organization. In 2006, Dr. Gordon became the first American to address the All-Parliamentary Exports Group in the British House of Commons. In 2007, Dr. Gordon was accepted for inclusion on the roster of Fulbright Senior Scholars. In 2007, Dr. Gordon was named a Fellow of the International Economic Development Council. In 2010, he received the James Rees Award from the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce; and, in 2011, Leadership Fairfax honored him with the Northern Virginia Regional Leadership Award. In 2012, Dr. Gordon was named the Trendlines Trendsetter of the Year for the Washington, DC metropolitan area. In 2015, he was honored by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) with the Jeffrey A. Finkle Lifetime Achievement Award.
Chief, Community Defender Division
Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
For the last twenty years, Jamie Argento Rodriguez has dedicated her career to representing persons from poor communities who would not otherwise have access to attorneys and legal assistance. As an education attorney and public defender in Washington, DC, she began her career entrenched in the battle against the school to prison pipeline. She advocated for poor families who were seeking to enforce their children’s rights to a free and appropriate public education. In addition, she assisted countless children and young adults in school disciplinary proceedings. For the last decade, she has focused on prisoners’ rights and reentry, seeking to enforce the rights of children and adults following arrest, sentencing, and incarceration.
Ms. Argento Rodriguez is a graduate of and former presidential scholar at George Mason University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Government and Politics with high distinction. She earned her law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. In 2014, she was a Fellow in the Georgetown University Center for Juvenile Justice Reform Juvenile Diversion Certificate Program. She frequently serves as a presenter or collaborator in publications for training through a variety of local and national legal and advocacy organizations and universities.
Chief Operations Officer
Usha Chaudhary is the chief operations officer for Internews. In this role, she is responsible for financial management, security, facilities, human resources, and information technology.
Ms. Chaudhary has extensive multi-disciplinary experience in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors, most recently as the president and chief operating officer of Kettler, a leading national real estate developer. She also has held executive roles at MITRE, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Washington Post, United Way of America, and Freddie Mac.
Ms. Chaudhary earned a World Executive MBA from The George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from St. Stephen’s College in New Delhi, India. Ms. Chaudhary also completed the Advanced Management Development Program in Real Estate at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, the Executive Program at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and the Media Executive Leadership Program at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.
She sits on the boards of Nathan Associates, an international management consulting firm based in Arlington, VA; George Mason University Honors College; the India International School, a Northern Virginia Indian American education and cultural center; and a recent non-profit start-up RENEW (Reform Education for a New World.)
Ms. Chaudhary was named a finalist in the March of Dimes Heroines of Washington in 2018, was named Washingtonian’s Most Powerful Women in Washington list in 2017, Bisnow’s Women of Influence in Commercial Real Estate in 2017, Washington Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business in 2016, and Washington's Non-Profit CFO of the Year for Innovation in 2007.
Vice President and Senior Wealth Investment Advisor
Wilmington Trust, N.A.
John is responsible for managing a team of investment specialists in the Greater Washington, DC region with experience in strategic asset allocation and portfolio management. He works with high-net-worth clients and institutions to develop customized investment portfolios based on their unique parameters for risk, return, liquidity, and other factors. After taking the time to listen to his client’s objectives and to understand any tax, legal and personal considerations, John then structures a diversified portfolio in keeping with the client’s asset allocation plan.
John joined Wilmington Trust in 2014 and has considerable tenure in the financial services industry. Earlier in his career, he served as managing director and head trader for Group One Trading, a proprietary derivatives trading firm, managing a team of equity and derivatives traders nationwide. In addition, he has held analyst and consulting positions at FolioFn and American Management Systems.
He holds an MBA from Rutgers University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a CFA® charterholder and a member of the CFA Society Washington, DC. Additionally, he holds his CPA license and is a member of AICPA and the Virginia Society of CPAs. He serves as chair of the Personal Financial Planning group of the Virginia Society of CPAs - Northern Chapter. He also holds his Series 7 and 66 Securities licenses.
He teaches finance as adjunct faculty for the George Mason University School of Business MBA program.
Vice President, Resource Development
United Way of the National Capital Area
Chris Preston, Vice President, Corporate Relations, United Way Worldwide brings a strong commitment to and understanding of United Way’s mission and work as he has been part of the United Way network for 16 years. Mr. Preston oversees the Global Corporate Leadership Program which consists of 91 corporate partners that raised a combined total of $1 billion for United Ways in communities around the globe and provides support to local United Ways in their overall fundraising efforts as part of the $4.8 billion United Way network.
Mr. Preston spent the first 11 years of his United Way career at United Way Worldwide with roles as National Sales Manager of the United Way Store and Corporate Relations Manager for the Global Corporate Leadership team. In addition to those roles, he was Resource Development liaison for United Way Worldwide’s Africa Region, convener for the Young Leaders Business Resource Group of United Way Worldwide’s Diversity & Inclusion Council, and Project Manager for the Network Engagement and Support Team Committee for United Way’s U.S. Task Force on Economic Model & Growth.
Prior to his return to United Way Worldwide, Mr. Preston served two local United Ways. First, as the Senior Vice President, Strategic and Regional Management at United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. In that role, Mr. Preston assumed Chief of Staff duties and was responsible for the management and execution of United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey’s organizational strategies across the region. Mr. Preston also served as Vice President, Resource Development, at United Way of the National Capital Area in Washington, DC. In that role he led the development team in managing a $33 million annual fundraising effort.
Mr. Preston is also a committed alumnus of George Mason University where he has served as President of the George Mason Alumni Association. He is currently on the Past Presidents Roundtable and member of the George Mason Honors College Advisory Board.
McLean, VA-based Principal and leader
Booz Allen Hamilton's Joint and Combatant Commands group
Eric Reffett is a McLean, VA-based Principal and leader in Booz Allen Hamilton's Joint and Combatant Commands group focused on delivering solutions that combine analytics, systems development big data analytics, data sciences, and specialized tradecraft to help clients anticipate, prevent, detect and respond to global threats and opportunities with real-time actionable insights. He has a proven track record in the application of analytic solutions and techniques to enable Booz Allen’s clients to address new and emerging challenges from around the globe. He and is team design, develop, and deliver large-scale analytic approaches to address business and missions needs across Federal and Commercial clients.
He is a former Harvard Fellow and holds a Doctorate in Political Science from the University of Alabama and a BS from the United States Air Force Academy. He has two children who are graduates of George Mason University and both are alumni of the Honors College.
Vice President, Business Investment
Fairfax County Economic Development Authority
Catherine Riley is the Vice President of Business Investment for the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, which is one of the most successful local development programs in the US. She has overall responsibility for the strategic planning and project management for the agency’s three investment divisions which include the National Business Investment, International Business Investment, and Diversity Investment and Entrepreneurship Division programs.
She has managed a successful team that has generated more than 90,000 new jobs in Fairfax County over the last ten years, including the headquarters relocations for Hilton Worldwide, CSC, SAIC, and Volkswagen Group of America. In addition, Ms. Riley managed the successful bid to win the headquarters relocation of Intelsat and Northrop Grumman; and the Global Operations Center of Bechtel.
Prior to her promotion to Vice President in 2002, Ms. Riley served as Director for the International Division at the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. She started the agency’s overseas investment program and established the first FCEDA foreign office in Tokyo, Japan. During her time as Director, Ms. Riley opened five more overseas offices and her team announced more than 12,000 new jobs for Fairfax County over ten years.
Ms. Riley served as the President of the British American Business Association (BABA) from 2010-2012. And, she served on the BABA Board of Directors for six years, and the Executive Committee for three years. Ms. Riley also chaired the BABA Strategic Planning Committee.
Ms. Riley also served on the Executive Committee of the British American Business Council, a national organization based in New York. Additionally, she served as the BABC representative for the South East regional chapters.
She served on the Board of Directors of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce for six years and its Executive Committee for three years. She also has served on its Transition Team and Nominating Committees.
Ms. Riley is a graduate of Leadership Fairfax and is a member of the Northern Virginia Technology Council and the International Economic Development Council.
Ms. Riley earned a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University and has completed additional training in real estate, management and economic development.
Vice President, Physician Services Division
Loren Rufino is a Vice President within the Physician Services division of Falls Church, VA-based Inova Health System. Loren has held a number of ambulatory leadership roles during his tenure at Inova with a focus on patient outcomes, improved access, and growth of services offered in the community. Loren has served on local board of directors including Celebrate Fairfax (2011-2017), where he also served as chairman of the board (2013-2015), as well as Leadership Fairfax (2006-2010).
Loren is a graduate of George Mason’s College of Health and Human Services with a B.S. in Health Administration and Policy. Loren is an M.B.A candidate at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business.
Vice President of Americas
Susan Saadat is an accomplished senior business leader and board director with a proven track record of improving operational and financial performance in global, growth-oriented organizations. She has an exceptional track record in operations management, sales and expansion strategies in a broad range of high-technology industries including satellite, wireless, and mobile technologies, logistics and transportation, enterprise platforms, and telecommunications.
Throughout her career, Ms. Saadat has held leadership positions in both large and emerging global wireless, satellite and telecommunications businesses. She has led domestic and international expansion in government and commercial markets in public and private companies with P&L responsibility. She has a unique ability to combine strong financial acumen with innovation and technology to improve business processes and achieve top line revenue growth. Susan is recognized for her skills in growth strategies, market expansion, and innovative technology operations with companies ranging from $3M to $2B in revenue.
She was elected twice to the Board of Directors of Women in Aerospace, an organization dedicated to expanding women's opportunities for leadership in the aerospace community. She is a Member of the Leadership Foundry for Women in Technology, and has served on the Board of Directors of ParaGea Communications, Paravoice Technologies and the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Saadat is currently the Vice President of Americas with ETL Systems, a leading designer and manufacturer of RF distribution equipment. She was recruited to ETL to lead the expansion of the newly launched Americas business and is responsible for complete sales and operations. Prior to ETL, Ms. Saadat served as Vice President of Americas at Thrane & Thrane where she led sales, marketing, and business development activities across all business units. She successfully established business plans with KPIs for all key areas and ensured their execution leading to the acquisition by Cobham PLC in 2013.
Previously, Ms. Saadat served a successful tenure as Sr. Vice President of Operations at ORBCOMM where she led all aspects of the company's sales engineering and operations. In this role, she implemented and developed a customer web based portal for channel partners to manage their fleet and traffic flow. With the launch of this portal, Ms. Saadat expanded ORBCOMM's footprint into new verticals such as the energy and utilities markets.
In addition, Ms. Saadat led the SATCOM division of Harris Caprock Government, a $150M provider of satellite telecommunication solutions. She also served as Managing Director of Broadband & Enterprise Network Solutions with Intelsat, the largest global satellite operator, where she spearheaded strategic initiatives and business development opportunities that grew the division from $2M to a profitable $200M in 4 years.
Prior to Intelsat, Ms. Saadat led the management buyout of Comsat Network Systems and founded ParaGea Communications, a global designer and manufacturer of VSAT systems. She co-founded Paravoice Technologies, a suite of software in voice and data compression and echo cancellation. As member of the Board of Directors, Ms. Saadat positioned the company for $42M divestiture to LSI Logic in 2000.
Ms. Saadat holds a Bachelor's degree, Magna Cum Laude in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University, a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and a MBA from George Washington University.
In his 35-year career in the agency business, Matt White has guided WHITE64 to become one of the largest independent advertising agencies in the Washington DC market.
In 1964, Mr. White's father, Jim White, started the company as Nolan, Duffy and White. In 2004 Mr. White completed a buyout and renamed the agency White+Partners. Today, as Chairman|CEO of WHITE64, he takes tremendous pride in the 55 people they have in their Tysons location and the results-oriented work they produce for clients including: Penfed, Metro, The Washington Nationals, Hilton, Navy Mutual, Visit Fairfax, BIO, and American Chemical Society.
In addition to the George Mason University Honors College Advisory Board, Mr. White serves on the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Board and the Fairfax County Public School Foundation Board.
Michael L. Whitlock is Assistant General Counsel of the Americas for Sumitomo Electric USA Holdings, Inc. (SEUHO). Based in Southern California, SEUHO is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japan-based Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd., one of the largest wire and cable manufacturers in the world. In this role, Mr. Whitlock heads SEUHO’s ethics and compliance programs in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and Paraguay. Mr. Whitlock also serves a key role on the company’s senior global legal team, based in Tokyo, assessing worldwide compliance and antitrust issues.
Mr. Whitlock has served as in-house counsel for a major media company, as a partner in two large law firms, as well as a federal prosecutor.
Earlier in Mr. Whitlock’s career, he clerked for Judge Ann Claire Williams of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (retired) and for Judge Gerald Bruce Lee of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (retired).
Mr. Whitlock earned his Bachelor of Arts from George Mason University, of which he is an honorary member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Mr. Whitlock also holds a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia.