Our Professional Staff
* Director – Jeff Wilhite
In February 2013, the board hired Jeff Wilhite as the new executive director. Jeff is an experienced manager with 25 years of experience in business administration in private industry and public service with the City of Akron and the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority. He is committed to our mission of helping the children and their families in Summit County. In the short time Jeff has been with Family Promise, he has been meeting many of our community leaders and funders as well as the leaders of our host and support congregations.
Jeff is the founder and partner in Hydrogen Energy Systems, LLC., (HES). HES has successfully developed patent-pending technology that allows small internal combustion engines to run on CNG and 100 percent hydrogen. Prior to founding HES, Jeff served as President and CEO of Ovonic Hydrogen Systems, Inc. of Rochester Hills, Michigan where he directed the divisional patents and work on hydrogen storage.
Before joining ECD-Ovonic, he served as the Deputy Director of Planning and Urban Development and Deputy Mayor for Administration for the City of Akron for six years, where he represented the City being the chair of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Hope VI Grant for the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority. He coordinated economic development initiatives in conjunction with the Economic Development Department.
In addition, Jeff was the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the National Inventors Hall of Fame overseeing the operations of the museum and coordination of the annual induction ceremony. Having a life-long commitment to alternative energy sources and environmental stewardship, he built Ohio’s first permanent household hazardous waste recycling center for Summit County residents to properly manage hazardous materials. The center has won several state and national awards for its proactive environmental stewardship.
Jeff is a graduate of the University of Akron earning his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Marketing. He has served on numerous local, state, and national boards and commissions. He and his wife Cindy live in Akron and have two adult children, his son Jordan and daughter Katie. He and Cindy are avid hikers, most often seen exploring the trails in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park as well as the Summit Metro Parks Fall Hiking Spree. They have a 1955 Buick that he likes to take to drive or cruise-in events. They are both avid baseball fans and go to many Indians and Aeros games each season.
* Operations Manager – Pauline Egan
Pauline has been with Family Promise since 2006 and works together with the staff, volunteers and clients generally making the trains run on time. Pauline has an extensive work history in office management and employment readiness skills and brings a wealth of knowledge to Family Promise. With a constant smile and cheerful greeting, she brings many skills to the table and Family Promise is fortunate to have her.
Pauline has worn many hats over the years as the House Manager and has also assisted with case management as well as taking on many administrative functions.
Pauline now manages the office and makes Jeff’s work just a bit easier. Originally from the Cleveland area, she and her husband have been long time residents of neighboring Stark County. They love camping and being outdoors. Pauline has a love of music and singing and is a member of the Cleveland based Singing Angels Alumni organization.
* Case Manager – Erica Ward, MSW
A life-long resident of Akron, Ohio, Erica Ward has recently been hired on as a full time Case Manager at Family Promise of Summit County. Erica Ward’s experience with Family Promise began in 2008 when she interned with FP while pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Development at the University of Akron. After completion of the internship, Erica felt so strongly about the Mission of Family Promise and continued to support the agency as a volunteer.
While pursuing her Master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Akron, Erica was invited to return to Family Promise and complete a second internship. During this time Erica was offered a part-time position performing case management with the families participating in services at Family Promise. Additionally, as part of an internship project, Erica began facilitating the “Getting Ahead” classes to previous guests of Family Promise. Erica has also completed internships with the YMCA and Summit County Domestic Relations Court.
Erica recently graduated with a Master’s Degree in Social Work and has been our full-time Case Manager since 2013. Erica is very excited for the opportunity and strongly supports the mission of helping homeless families with children stay together and achieve sustainable independence.
Board of Directors
James W. Strang, MS, MPH
Chris Carroll, CPA
Deven Bernadette Tillman
Rev. Darrell Frazier
George Q. Johnson
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