The Brookdale Board of Trustees welcomed two new members to its ranks in the 2015-16 school year: Francis Bret Kaufman and graduate trustee Paul Geissler.
A resident of Spring Lake and a graduate of Manasquan High School, Kaufman graduated from West Point military academy in New York in 1979. He went on to serve as an officer in the U.S. Army, earning a medal for valor for his service in Grenada in 1983. After retiring as an army captain, Kaufman earned a master’s degree in finance from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.
Over the last three decades Kaufman has worked as an engineer, contractor and certified home inspector, founding two companies and serving as vice president for a third. He served as president of the American Society of Home Inspectors’ New Jersey chapter from 2005 to 2015, and currently runs the inspection company Kaufman Consultants, LLC, based out of Madison.
“I hope to live up to each of your expectations and contribute in a meaningful way as a member of this board,” Kaufman said. “I will give it my absolute best effort.”
Kaufman was appointed to serve a four-year term as a Brookdale trustee. Addressing his fellow board members on Nov. 20, 2015, Kaufman said he hopes to use his knowledge of facilities, finance, business and management for the good of the Brookdale community.
Board chair Dr. Carl Guzzo Jr. said he was excited to welcome Kaufman as a trustee, where the former army captain’s unique set of skills will be put to good use on behalf of Brookdale students, employees and members of the Monmouth County community.
“We are so lucky to have Bret with us,” Guzzo said. “He is an outstanding person: a real, honest-to-God decorated war hero who fought in Grenada and served his country brilliantly. He is a West Point graduate, an engineer, a great father, and also very knowledgeable about facilities. He will be a tremendous asset to the board.”
Kaufman replaced former trustee Charles Karcher, a Red Bank-based attorney who served on the board from April 2012 through October 2015.
Geissler, who was elected by his classmates to serve a one-year term as graduate trustee, said he was excited to get work after being sworn in on Aug. 20, 2015.
“It was slightly overwhelming, at first, but I am really learning a lot and I look forward to learning a lot more,” said Geissler, who was appointed to the board’s Finance and Facilities Committee.
“I still have that connection to Brookdale, so I want to use my voice and relay the voice of the student body as best I can. I will try, to the best of my ability, to accomplish as much as I can, and I think it will be a productive year.”
In a race against seven other candidates, Geissler received more than 50 percent of the vote. Board Chair Carl Guzzo Jr. remarked on Geissler’s impressive victory while welcoming him to the board, saying that the trustees are expecting big things from their newest member.
“Paul has already participated in one meeting – where he made some valuable contributions – and in a committee meeting, which he participated in for the entire two hours despite working all day,” Guzzo said.
“So we know he is going to enjoy his time here. We expect a lot out of him and we know he is going to do a great job.”
In addition to serving with Alpha Pi Theta – where he helped organized the club’s annual “Commit to Complete” outreach program – Geissler was a staunch advocate for volunteerism and student involvement on campus. As part of his honors project he helped create the Brookdale Innovation Network, which allowed students and faculty from across the college to work together on a series of environmental projects. He is transferring to the Rutgers University School of Business in New Brunswick.
Geissler replaced former graduate trustee Jim McConnell of Wall.