Board of Directors
Founding Volunteer (FV): Jeffrey “J” Prothero
Born and raised outside of Pittsburgh, I was blessed to have a dad who required of my having a hard work ethic and the know-how to do things right. On this foundation, my summers were spent working my way through college painting houses. From fall through spring, I studied Finance for the sole purpose of knowing what to do with my paycheck once I entered ‘the real world’. After dabbling in post-graduate studies in MIS and Computer Science, I became bored and restless. It was time for me to go to work and find a company whose opportunities matched my career objectives.
Five years of boot camp with AT&T in hardware sales prepared me for having my own business again, coincidentally in the Finance space. Some 25 years later, I left that company so I could explore my longing to teach and work with kids. By then, it was late 2014 and finding myself perfectly situated at Roswell High School as a parent volunteer in their new Construction Technology program. It was here that I fell in love with the opportunity to be a part of something truly great which had the potential to impact hundreds of kids, many of whom lacked a ‘personal connection’ to public school. So, here I am… never before happier… and a member of an awesome team of Toolbox volunteers who pour themselves into the lives of elementary and middle school kids, so that they might discover more about who they actually are when they get to build with their hands. It is my belief that all the while they are building with their hands, so too are they building that ‘personal connection’ and so too are they building confidence and pride, two things that are imperative to our overarching hope for all children. And, that hope is for them to simply be happy.
Chief Volunteer of Strategy (CVS): Rusty Gordon
Rusty is an Atlanta technology entrepreneur and executive having led numerous successful Atlanta High Tech startups and turnarounds. Rusty is also an active mentor of entrepreneurs, as the founding Director of the Ambassador Leadership Program that prepares high potential rising leaders in the technology field with the passion and skills to integrate their faith in the workplace and community.
As an unrelenting advocate for youth, Rusty developed and led a senior high Sunday school program called Senior Experience for over 20 years as well as coached numerous major league baseball players He has been married to his college sweetheart, Ann, for 41 years and has three adult children and 3 grandchildren.
Rusty states “My experience has taught me that boys and girls usually learn much more through active experience than any other way. Experiencing new woodworking skills, along with new life skills such as true teamwork is a clear investment in their future. They walk the path of success from I can to I will through I have done.
Life is a hands-on sport and ToolBox does it the best.
Chief Volunteer of Relations / The Home Depot (CVR): John Gordon
In my personal and professional lives, I love to solve problems and to help other people solve problems especially Home Improvement problems. That has been the driving force behind the radio show I have hosted for more than 26 years. For me, to be able to have a young person engaged and interested in Home Improvement skills and to watch their mind work out solutions is a most rewarding experience. This is the beauty of the Toolbox Program and why I want to support it.
Advising Volunteer / Elementary Schools (AVES): Stacy Perlman
After spending 31 years in elementary education as a teacher or Principal, I find there to be many reasons to expand CTAE (Career Technical and Agriculture Education) and specifically construction programs to elementary students. The top three reasons that we have identified (and are reaping the benefits from) are:
Opportunities for success for all students. Some students who may not be top of the class in math or writing could be in Construction. The playing field for all is leveled in construction. A second language learner or a special education student can excel beyond peers and be a leader/exemplar for their work.
Students have the opportunity for real-life application of math learning; measurement, fractions, and estimation are all important mathematics skills that must be applied in construction. Through construction, students learn new skills that will serve them well in life, teamwork, and practice collaboration.
Finally, and hopefully, this will not be the case for long, but during the pandemic, construction class gave us something new and exciting to celebrate, when so many things were canceled. It was a bit of hope in challenging times and something new for our students, which was rare.
Advising Volunteer of Technology (AVT): Tony Pizi
While growing up in a small town outside of Huntington, WV I developed a curiosity of tools while building tree houses and go-karts. During a college internship, I was attracted to one of the early personal computers at Exxon Corporation and discovered that the tools to work on these were very different. This newfound interest led to an exciting career in software technology where I continue to work today.
I’ve founded two high-tech start-ups, served as Chief Technology Officer at UBS, Deutsche Bank, and Merrill Lynch, and had teams that have twice won the Windows World Open. None of this would have been possible if not for those early years spent working with hand tools, for this is what provided the required confidence for me to tackle ever more challenging projects in the world of technology.
Advising Volunteer / Construction Industry (AVCI): Joe Tuggle
Joe Tuggle, Tuggle Construction’s President, graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science in Building Construction, and has been in the construction industry since 1982. Mr. Tuggle has experience building churches, schools, industrial, office and professional buildings. He is an active leader at the Peachtree City United Methodist Church, a past president of the Starrs Mill High School Touchdown Club, and previously served as a member on the Committee for Church Development, the North Georgia Conference, United Methodist Church, and District Leadership program. Currently serving on the Associated General Contractors of Georgia Board of Directors and holds the office of Secretary.