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Welcome to Priority Thinking

Practice Areas

We help leaders, employees and their teams to RECOGNIZE, LEARN, PRACTICE & KEEP sound priorities through the philosophy of Priority Thinking®.
With a team of top-tier professionals, our models and methods teach organizations to increase performance, reduce risk, and embed ethical power at every level.

Leadership Coaching

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Our executive coaching and leadership programs help leaders develop the character and competence required to become Good Will Leaders™.

Ethics Education

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Our comprehensive EthicsPoll™ survey tools and ethical climate improvement program help your organization develop ethical and operational excellence.

Peter C. DeMarco

Founder and President of the Institute 4 Priority Thinking® and EthicsPoll™. Peter supports his clients as an executive coach, organizational consultant, ethics facilitator and strategy advisor. Peter helps leaders and their teams to achieve significant performance improvements while reducing risks and embedding ethical power into decision making at all levels. He also facilitates leadership and ethics education programs for nonprofits, for profits and top business schools. His work includes turnarounds, crisis intervention, and helping organizations work through complex regulatory demands in medical device and financial service industries.

Peter’s operating priority framework is considered a common sense model for building and sustaining operational and moral excellence in any setting. Over his thirty-plus (30+) year career, Peter has extensive leadership experience in general management, and senior level executive assignments in the United States and Mexico with Xerox, Bausch & Lomb and Latex Foam International. During these assignments, Peter served as chief operating officer, division president, managing director, general manager, plant manager, manager of information technology, and quality engineer. He has designed, built and led two large scale production facilities – one in Mexico – from the ground up and led three lean transformations that yielded significant sales, throughput and gross margin improvements.

Prior to his business career, Peter enlisted in the United States Army after high school and later served as an infantry officer in airborne and mechanized infantry assignments including seven (7) years as citizen soldier and company commander in the NY National Guard. Peter holds a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point; an MS from the University of Southern California; an MS from the College of Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology; and an MBA from the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester. He has his permanent certification as a Lean-Six Sigma Master Black Belt (MBB) through Villanova University and is currently pursuing post-graduate studies in philosophy at Holy Apostles College. Peter was named a “Top Thought Leader in Trustworthy Business” in 2014 and 2015 by Trust Across America – Trust Around the World.

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Vincent Tersegno

Vince brings a wealth of survey analytics, direct management and quality assurance experience to our team. He is responsible for the extensive polling and survey methodology and analytics supporting our client needs. In his twenty years of service at Eastman Kodak, he oversaw technical and manufacturing departments responsible for supplier process improvements, product quality excellence, and customer satisfaction.

Vince is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt and Lean Practitioner with a passion for continuous improvements in process, method, and strategy. He has a strong knowledge of the ISO Certification and Audit processes. At Kodak, he successfully led departments to pass ISO 9001, 14000 and 17025, New York State Department of Environment Conservation, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Health audits. Vince holds a MS in Environmental Science from the State University of New York College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry with Syracuse University and a BS in Chemistry from St. Lawrence University.

He serves on the Board of Directors for First Touch Soccer, a non-profit organization committed to supporting education, physical fitness, and leadership skills in underprivileged communities.

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Ted Ryan, Ph.D.

Theodore (Ted) G. Ryan is Consulting Professor of Ethics in Management at Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, where he teaches Business Ethics and Leadership. He also teaches the Core Management and Leadership course in the Master of Engineering Management Program at Pratt, Duke’s engineering school. Ted is spearheading “Ethics Resources in the Curriculum,” an innovative initiative to incorporate a sound ethics perspective into every MBA course at Fuqua. Ted is a Consultant/Educator for Duke Corporate Education (rated #1 in the world by the Financial Times), and teaches Values-Based Leadership in Duke CE’s Advanced Management Program.

Ted is a skilled teacher and facilitator, having conducted numerous workshops, off-sites and retreats, in a broad range of topics, for profits and for not for profit organizations. Ted’s academic work is supported by deep practitioner experience. For over 35 years, he has been a consultant and coach to top-tier organizations, focusing on organizational effectiveness; aligning corporate cultures to strategy, mission, vision and values; leadership and management development; executive coaching and development; 360° development and evaluation processes; business ethics; and selection process development. Ted has created and delivered numerous leadership development programs for executives and managers at major global corporations and not-for-profits. At Morgan Stanley, Ted created and conducted offsite leadership programs globally for officers throughout the firm. Ted helped deliver Bank of America’s executive leadership program to several hundred high-level executives.

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Bill Volkmann
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Bill brings over twenty-five years experience and a wealth of knowledge to our Professional Learning Center. As an IBM salesman he learned to successfully sell outside, and as a program manager for a large customer call center he learned the nuances of inside sales and customer service. While he earned a good living in sales, his greatest satisfaction comes from training, coaching and mentoring those in his charge. He credits his membership in the American Association for Training and Development (ASTD) for developing his knowledge and skills in becoming a Professional Learning Strategist. He has formulated an effective-classroom-instruction philosophy that has transformed countless content-focused training courses into engaging and interactive learning events. Bill is our resident trainer on meeting facilitation and competency trainer for our Priority Poller™ and Webinar technology platforms. Working with our training curriculum team, he helps support and produce effective training programs which offer attendees the greatest opportunity for self-discovery and skills development.

For over 30 years, Bill and his wife Maryanne have lived in Fairport, New York where they raised three children. As a trained and commissioned Stephen Minister he provides lay Christian care to those in his church congregation who need support in coping with many of life’s challenges. Bill is also a proud veteran, with four years of active service in the United States Navy. These experiences, combined with his many other complimentary roles in management and supervision, makes him well suited to partner with our clients to discover how the principles of Priority Thinking can transform their workplace environment.

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Caltha Seymour
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Caltha Seymour is the Director, Academic Service Center for Student-Athletes at Tulane University. She also serves as an Ethics Education Associate, specializing in collegiate athletic programs for Priority Thinking.

Originally from Canada, Caltha is the former Director of Academic Operations for the Army football, track and field, and women’s soccer programs at West Point. She created a unique academic support program for the cadet-athletes and raised the academic profile of all three programs significantly. Caltha is an education and athletic coach who mentored cadet-athletes at West Point in three pillars: Military, Physical, and Academic. In 2010, she successfully initiated the first Student-Athlete Enhancement Program for facilitating academic success with at-risk students. In addition to her Athletic Department role at Army, she was also an Academic Excellence Instructor for the Centre for Enhanced Performance. Caltha is currently launching a scholar-athlete and academic excellence program at Tulane to assist in raising the academic profile of the Tulane student-athletes.

Caltha is a 2012 graduate of the NCAA/NACWAA Institute of Administrative Advancement, 2011 graduate of the NCAA Leadership Institute, and a 2008 graduate of the NCAA Women Coaches Academy. She is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators, and the Alliance of Women Coaches. Caltha earned her BS in Education from University of Delaware and MA in Sports Administration from Delaware State University. She is currently pursuing a MBA in Global Strategic Management & Leadership from Tulane University.

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Jim Nortz
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Attorney and nationally recognized expert and thought leader in the field of business ethics and compliance with two decades of experience in assisting complex organizations effectively manage their legal, operational and ethical risks. Jim also facilitates leadership and ethics education programs at nonprofits, for profits, undergraduate programs and business schools. His work includes drafting training programs, policies, procedures, codes of conduct, as well as the design and implementation of global compliance management systems. Jim has a decade of experience in the chemical industry and over six years of experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

Jim began his career as an Army JAG officer stationed in Germany where he tried over 90 cases defending clients in Courts Martial accused of offenses ranging from misdemeanors to capital crimes, including murder, rape, arson, robbery, drug distribution and fraud. He also served for four years as a litigation attorney in the Army’s Environmental Law Division in which he defended the Army in environmental litigation, nationwide. After retiring from the Army, Jim served as Senior Attorney at Crompton Corporation where he managed over 30,000 lawsuits, supported merger and acquisition activities and advised the board of directors, senior management and plant managers worldwide on legal issues related to safety, health, environmental and regulatory affairs affecting global operations. For over a decade, Jim has served as a compliance and ethics professional building compliance and ethics programs for four multi-national corporations, the latest being Bausch & Lomb.

Jim has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a JD from the Dickinson School of Law. Jim authors the monthly business ethics columns for the ACC Docket – The Journal of the Association of Corporate Counsel and the Rochester Business Journal. Jim is a former member of the Ethics and Compliance Officers Association Board of Directors and a current member of the Rochester Area Business Ethics Foundation.

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John Lyle

John Lyle has been a member of the team since 2005. In his present capacity, John serves as  director of research for the Institute with Priority Thinking® and EthicsPoll™. His responsibilities involve research and development for our assessments, curriculums and toolkits based on the principles and concepts of our proprietary models.

In addition to his work with several of our corporate clients over the years, John helped to co-found a private, independent elementary and middle school in Rochester, New York, where he served as Headmaster for two years and still serves on the Board of Governors. He has spent several years assisting in the development and implementation of classical elementary, middle, and high school curriculums.
John’s experience as a classroom teacher, school administrator, consultant and attorney – combined with his study of ancient and modern political philosophy – make him well suited to helping our clients to see the essential link between Priority Thinking and the flourishing of human relationships in all types of organizations.

John resides in Dayton, Ohio with his wife and three children. He holds a BA in Political Science (minor in Economics) from Ohio University, an MA in Political Science from Marquette University, a JD from University of Dayton School of Law, and is presently is serving a two year clerkship with the Twelfth Appellate District of the State of Ohio.

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Joe LeBoeuf, Ph.D.

Joe LeBoeuf, Ph.D. is a Professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business (M.B.A. programs) and Visiting Professor, Stanford School of Public Policy (Hart Leadership Program); he oversees the overall leadership development program in the business school. Joe teaches in Duke’s Advanced Management Program. He also serves as a scholar in the Coach K Center of Leadership and Ethics (COLE) as a senior mentor and faculty advisor to COLE Leadership Fellows program.

Joe is an education consultant with Duke Corporate Education and the Praevius Group in partnership with the Army’s Center on the Profession and Ethic. He is a former Professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point, Deputy Head of the Behavioral Sciences and Leadership Department, Director of Organizational Studies and Director of the Academy’s Eisenhower Program graduate school (partnership with Columbia University). Joe has held numerous U.S. Army command and staff assignments; serving on the Army Training and Leader Developmental Panel (ATLDP) Executive Committee.

Joe has extensive experience in leadership education, leader development, and organizational culture and change. He is involved in building USMA and Army leadership/leader development programs; and is an advisor to Army Chief of Staff on reshaping Army training and leader development culture/facilitating Army Transformation. Joe is a contributing author on several books and publications for the United States Military Academy and the U.S. Army; and a contributing author to the Army’s leadership doctrine. His research and writing have also appeared in Leader to Leader, Military Review, The Teaching of Sociology, and the Journal of Consulting Psychology.

Joe holds a B.S. in engineering from the United States Military Academy. He earned his M.S. in engineering psychology and Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology from the Georgia Institute of Technology. A graduate of West Point, he earned Executive Leadership diplomas from the Army’s Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College.

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William Reynolds

William is responsible for assisting in curriculum development and researching the connection between Priority Thinking®, leadership and ethics in organizations. William has significant experience in the medical device industry. Prior to that, he served as an Airborne Ranger with the United States Army’s XVIII Airborne Corps as a reconnaissance platoon leader and sniper employment officer. His missions have included tours in Korea, United States and Iraq. He was seriously injured serving as a combat leader in Iraq. After two years of rehabilitation William realized that he would not be able to complete his career as an Army officer, and he was medically retired as a Captain to begin a new path for his life.

Since his rehabilitation, William has become very involved in community service. He co-founded the Wounded Patriot Foundation and OASIS (Outdoor Adventures for Sacrifice in Service) Adaptive Sports. William also actively volunteers and serves on the board for Cameron Community Ministries (an ecumenically based poverty outreach center) in Rochester, New York. Additionally, William teaches adaptive athletics, mentors several disabled populations and participates in adaptive athletics and wounded veteran fundraising activities and outreach efforts nationally.

A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, William earned his MBA in Health Sciences Management and Operations and a Masters in Public Health from the University of Rochester. William resides in the Washington, D.C. area with his wife and children.

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Mary Martin

Mary Martin is the President of John D. Hezel & Associates and a strategic partner of the Institute. Mary and her team are responsible for all of the primary leadership and personality assessment tools that we use in our executive coaching and leadership development process. Mary is a seasoned executive coach and she frequently provides expert analysis and support during discovery and feedback sessions. A recognized expert in personality and leadership assessment and development, Mary provides her clients with a comprehensive and ethically sound framework for making hiring and leadership development decisions. Her reporting and analysis as well as interpretation of assessment results in a wide variety of areas of management, sales, leadership, and personality make her a valuable resource.

Mary is also a career counselor. After completing her undergraduate degree, Mary joined Dr. John D. Hezel & Associates practice in 1984. Upon his retirement in 2003, Dr. Hezel promoted her to President of the company. Her clients credit her with helping them to achieve significant breakthroughs in human performance. Clarke American won the NQA Baldridge Award in 2002 and her company was cited as a primary reason for their success.

Mary has been married for 21 years and she is the mother of three children. Mary Martin holds a MA in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Saint Mary’s University. BBA in Business from Texas A&M.

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Peter Redpath, Ph.D.

Dr. Peter Redpath is a Research Fellow with Priority Thinking®, with a primary focus on the application of realist philosophy to the organizational context. At present, Dr. Redpath is the lead editor for the manuscript for Peter DeMarco’s forthcoming book, Priority Thinking®. He is also a Full Professor of Philosophy at St. John’s University, New York, where he has earned numerous awards for both his teaching and research.

Dr. Redpath has made over 100 public program appearances to discuss issues relating to realist philosophy, ethics, education and civil society and much besides. He has served as a panelist for such institutions as the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs and the Institute for Advanced Philosophical Research, and has conducted professional ethics training for several organizations, including J.P. Morgan and Company.

In addition, throughout his career, Peter has published dozens of articles in refereed philosophical journals, served as Executive Editor for the Value Book Inquiry Series and Appointed Editor of the Studies in the History of Western Philosophy (SWIHP), and published several books from How to Read a Difficult Book to Masquerade of the Dreamwalkers (a discourse on philosophical thought from Descartes to Hegel) to Wisdom’s Odyssey from Philosophy to Transcendental Sophistry.

Dr. Redpath earned his Ph.D. from the State University of New York, Buffalo. He currently resides in Staten Island, New York, and is a board member of the Catholic Education Foundation and Chairman of the Great Books Academy.

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Leslie Marx, Ph.D.

Leslie M. Marx is an associate professor of economics at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She is our chief economist and responsible for our research on risk and the economic and philosophical foundations of agency theory in corporate finance. Leslie, presently, is on special assignment serving as the Chief Economist for the Federal Communications Commission. Prior to returning to her alma mater, Leslie taught managerial decision analysis, game theory and managerial economics at the William Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester. At Duke, Leslie teaches managerial economics and game theory to her MBA and PhD students at the Fuqua school.

Her expertise and research focuses on vertical contracting, auctions and collusion. Leslie has published extensively in various academic and professional journals. Leslie’s consulting to clients has focused on the application of game theory to complex capital investment decisions and negotiations. Her past and current clients include Bates White, LLC, Latex Foam International, Xerox Corporation, Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation, and Eastman Kodak Company.

A member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team in Fencing, Leslie placed 16th place in women’s epee. She was the Pan-American Games Champion in Fencing for women’s epee in 1995 and 1997 as well as U.S. National Champion in Fencing (women’s epee) in 1993 and 1996. In addition, Leslie was the International Arabian Horse Association National Champion in Saddle Seat Equitation in 1985. Leslie holds a BS in Mathematics from Duke University and an MA and PhD in Economics from Northwestern University.

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Joe LeBoeuf, Ph.D.
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Joe LeBoeuf, Ph.D. is a Professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business (M.B.A. programs) and Visiting Professor, Stanford School of Public Policy (Hart Leadership Program); he oversees the overall leadership development program in the business school. Joe teaches in Duke’s Advanced Management Program. He also serves as a scholar in the Coach K Center of Leadership and Ethics (COLE) as a senior mentor and faculty advisor to COLE Leadership Fellows program.

Joe is an education consultant with Duke Corporate Education and the Praevius Group in partnership with the Army’s Center on the Profession and Ethic. He is a former Professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point, Deputy Head of the Behavioral Sciences and Leadership Department, Director of Organizational Studies and Director of the Academy’s Eisenhower Program graduate school (partnership with Columbia University). Joe has held numerous U.S. Army command and staff assignments; serving on the Army Training and Leader Developmental Panel (ATLDP) Executive Committee.

Joe has extensive experience in leadership education, leader development, and organizational culture and change. He is involved in building USMA and Army leadership/leader development programs; and is an advisor to Army Chief of Staff on reshaping Army training and leader development culture/facilitating Army Transformation. Joe is a contributing author on several books and publications for the United States Military Academy and the U.S. Army; and a contributing author to the Army’s leadership doctrine. His research and writing have also appeared in Leader to Leader, Military Review, The Teaching of Sociology, and the Journal of Consulting Psychology.

Joe holds a B.S. in engineering from the United States Military Academy. He earned his M.S. in engineering psychology and Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology from the Georgia Institute of Technology. A graduate of West Point, he earned Executive Leadership diplomas from the Army’s Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College.

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Stephen S. Russo
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Steve Russo supports clients as an executive coach, organizational consultant, and strategy advisor. Prior to joining Priority Thinking®, Steve’s 30-plus year career focused on leading and creating sustainable value for manufacturing and marketing companies. His management experience includes several senior-level and C-level roles. For the past 14 years, Steve has been a key executive in the home furnishings industry, initially as the CEO in rebuilding Latex Foam International after a devastating fire in 2001, and then serving as President and CEO of three top 15 mattress manufacturing companies.

Steve’s success as an executive began with three transformative career events. First, he had the opportunity to apply Uri and Fisher’s “Getting to Yes” Harvard Negotiation Project framework as a process consultant in three separate labor-management negotiations. Second, Steve had the privilege to work with W. Edwards Deming and apply his system of profound knowledge. Third, Steve studied and applied the teachings of Ohno, Shingo and Toyoda’s socio-technical system revolution that is known as the Toyota Production System.

Steve began his career serving as an internal organizational development consultant with the Packard Electric Division of General Motors. This assignment allowed Steve to build on his formal education in organizational behavior and operations research. Following General Motors, he acquired extensive leadership experience in general management though executive assignments with Westinghouse, Vernay Laboratories, Latex Foam International, Consolidated Bedding, Restonic and Southerland. He has also served as a Board Member of the International Sleep Products Association, as a member of the Better Sleep Council, and held positions on the board of directors of five companies.

Steve holds a B.A. in Administrative Science from Yale. He is active in several community organizations, including St. Anne’s Church and the Tampa Area Boys and Girls Club. Steve resides in Apollo Beach, FL with his wife, Melanie.

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Marc Swogger, Ph.D.

Marc Swogger, Ph.D. is a Coach and Clinical Psychologist with Priority Thinking. He provides coaching support during the Discovery phase, with subsequent coaching support as needed. Marc is a licensed psychologist with 18 years of experience as a clinician and Assistant Professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Marc’s research, currently funded by the National Institute for Drug Abuse, focuses on the efficacy of psychological intervention for drug use. Marc has authored over 20 peer-reviewed publications examining personality traits associated with violence and other key public health outcomes. In 2005, he received the Christine Louro Award for excellence in both the science and practice of psychology.

Marc has a B.A. in psychology from Penn State University; M.A. in clinical psychology from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania; M.S. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science. Marc’s post-doctoral training and residency was completed as a research fellow at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

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Kendall Smith

Kendall Smith is an Operations & Technology Coordinator with Priority Thinking© and EthicsPoll™. He assists in all web-based survey development and administration, and facilitates interactive and remote polling sessions using Priority Thinking’s audience response systems. In addition, he provides general technical, financial and office support.

Before joining Priority Thinking, Kendall gained valuable experience in customer service, employee training, and event management in a variety of positions. At Binghamton University, Kendall served as a student manager at an on-campus dining hall. Kendall has also worked as a carpenter’s assistant, creative intern with WXXI Public Broadcasting Council, and student intern with the Broome County District Attorney’s Office.

Kendall received his B.A. in history and political science from Binghamton University in May 2012. He is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, Mu Gamma chapter. Kendall spends significant time volunteering for Massawepie Scout Camps of the Seneca Waterways Council, Boy Scouts of America. He enjoys cycling, skiing, hiking, and reading about 20th century history.

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