Board of Directors

The 2022 Board of Directors of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts
Front Row, L to R: Kim Ache, Renata Engel, Carolyn Donaldson Back Row, L to R: Jeff Packard, Joe Beddall, Heidi Nicholas, Brad Keen, David Frego, James Tierney, Cristin Long

The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of men and women from the State College and Penn State communities. The Board determines the organization’s mission, hires professional staff, raises funds, and monitors budgets. Board members serve as ambassadors for the Festival to the community.

The mission of the organization, as determined by the Board, is to celebrate the arts with presentations of diverse, high-quality visual and performing arts through the cooperative volunteer support of the community and The Pennsylvania State University. The essence of the organization is the enrichment and education of the audience, grounded in personal interaction between artist and audience.

Meet Our Board of Directors

Except for a brief post collegiate interlude in Atlanta, Kim Ache is a Penn Stater who came to State College and never left.

A native of Susquehanna County, Kim is a pharmaceutical sales rep for Astra-Zeneca. She’s also the chair of our merchandise booth committee and during the festival, you can usually find her in the sales booth at the corner of Allen and College Avenue selling shirts and reminding folks that although posters are free, donations are welcome. Kim’s mother, Liz Keller, has been a First Night volunteer, and Kim’s husband, Dave, and kids Owen and Katie—both Penn State students—have been known to pitch in as well. Kim is a big music fan and was a longtime usher at The State Theatre.

A native of Reading, Joe Beddall and his family moved to State College in 1993 from the Washington, DC area. His wife, Vivienne, is a Professor at Bucknell University and daughters Alex and Abi live and work in Pittsburgh.

Joe’s work life in Happy Valley began at Centre Hills Country Club where he served as general manager for ten years until opening The Honeybaked Ham Co. & Café with partners Fred and Heidi Nicholas in 2003. Since selling the business after 18 years in operation, Joe has been serving as a substitute teacher in the State College Area School District, while pursuing a career as a visual artist.

He has been an active member of the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania and The Bellefonte Art Museum where his work has been featured in a variety of exhibits. One highlight of his artistic endeavors was teaching Design I and II as well as a History of Art and Architecture class at Antalya International University, Antalya, Turkey during the 2016-17 school year.

Joe was a member of The Palmer Museum Friends Board of Directors for seven years where he served as a past president for two years. He also served as past president of The State Theatre’s Board.

With a strong belief in public media and making connections with the community, Carolyn Donaldson began a new phase of her life in December 2016, after serving as a news anchor for WTAJ-TV, the CBS affiliate serving the Johnstown/Altoona/State College market for more than 20 years. As Community Engagement Manager at WPSU Penn State, she shares the stories of this PBS, NPR and local public media station with the 24 counties in the service area.

A graduate of Siena Heights University, Carolyn is currently completing her master’s thesis as part of Penn State’s media studies program in the Donald E. Bellisario College of Communications. She serves as a Trustee at Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, PA.

Carolyn currently lives in Bellefonte and is the mother of 2 amazing Penn State graduates – Elisabeth and Sarah and the grandmother to 5 year-old Grace and 3 year-old Henry!

Renata S. Engel, Ph.D. is Associate Vice Provost for Online Programs at Penn State. In that role, she has responsibility for the academic affairs of Penn State’s World Campus, which encompasses the 130+ online programs and includes support for academic advising, faculty teaching online, the development and evaluation of online curricular innovations, and advancing student affairs practices for online learners.

A member of the Penn State faculty since 1990, she is Professor of Engineering Design and Engineering Science and Mechanics, and served as the Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the College of Engineering from 2006-2014 and the Executive Director of the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence from 2000-2006.

Renata is an avid Sidewalk Sale shopper and considers the Festival to be one of the highlights of the summer.

David Frego is the Director of the Penn State University School of Music and a professor of music education. He joined the Penn State music faculty in 2017 after serving for nine years as chair of music at the University of Texas at San Antonio and 12 years as faculty and associate director at The Ohio State University.He is the immediate past-president of the American Eurhythmics Society.

Frego regularly presents workshops on Dalcroze Eurhythmics around the globe and has published books, book chapters, DVDs and articles in music education journals and journals for arts medicine.

Brad Keen was named the Senior Manager of Business Development for Penn State Sport Properties in July 2018 with Learfield/IMG College.  Learfield/IMG College is the exclusive marketing and multi-media rights partner for Pennsylvania State University, creating customized programs which allow our partners to leverage affinity for the university and its athletic programs into business growth.

Current scope of responsibilities include and are not limited to serving clients in the business-to-business, consumer, government, and non-profit sectors, by providing an array of solutions; including regional brand enhancement and exposure, exclusive events and experiences, promotions, community relations, employee recruitment, and hospitality.

Prior to that, Brad was the Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing for Penn State Athletics from September 2014, where he oversaw the marketing and promotions initiatives for Penn State’s broad-based and highly successful 31-sport athletic program. He worked directly with Coach James Franklin’s football program in a variety of areas, including ticketing, branding and gameday fan experience.

Brad came to Penn State after serving as the Director of Marketing at Wake Forest University and prior to that served as the Assistant Director of Sales and Marketing at Vanderbilt University. He began his career as the Assistant Director of Marketing and Promotions at Middle Tennessee State University in 2010.

A native of Tuscaloosa, Ala., Keen earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Alabama and was a member of the Crimson Tide’s Athletic Marketing staff as a student.

Cristin Long is an attorney with McQuaide Blasko in the firm’s State College office. Cristin’s primary areas of practice are business/corporate law, real estate law and estates. Cristin received her undergraduate degree from The Pennsylvania State University and her law degree from Villanova University School of Law. She is a member of the 2005 class of Leadership Centre County. Admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 2002, she has practiced with McQuaide Blasko for 15 years where she is now a shareholder.

Cristin has served on a number of community boards over the years. Currently she is on the board of the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County and the Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund. She is a longtime patron of the Festival.

Heidi Nicholas is a principal in Nicholas Enterprises (since 2001), a State College based firm that engages in the development and management of commercial and multi-tenant residential real estate. Prior to returning to State College, she spent time as in the investment banking and telecommunications industries.

Heidi earned a undergraduate and graduate degrees in in Fine Arts from UCLA and spent time working for New York City Opera’s touring company and teaching at SUNY- Brockport before earning her MBA in Finance at Cornell University. She currently serves on the board of FNB Corporation in Pittsburgh.

She has been involved in numerous civic and community organizations in the State College area including the Centre Foundation, Clearwater Conservancy, and Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA.

James Tierney came to State College to continue his career as an economics instructor at Penn State in 2014. He quickly fell in love with the community and surrounding area and has become increasingly involved with community endeavors. Currently, he is a member of the State College Borough’s Transportation Commission, treasurer of the 3 Dots Downtown Board of Directors, and co-owner of the Blue Brick Theatre, the home of Happy Valley Improv.

James ended his tenure at the university in 2021, deciding to focus on his own education consulting business and helping to build creative spaces in State College like the Blue Brick Theatre and Happy Valley Improv. He is excited to learn as a member of the Arts Festival board as well as bring his own energy and passion for the performing arts and comedy.

James has lived around the country doing improv, teaching economics, and having fun in upstate New York, Western Massachusetts, and Southern California. He and his wife Kim are happy to call State College their home, living less than a mile from downtown with their two rescue dogs, Penny & Dakota.

The Rev. Jeffrey Packard is a State College native. As a high school and college student, he performed at the Festival as a drummer in several bands. After his graduation from Penn State, Jeff married his wife, Sian, whom he met in college. He worked at the Meadows Psychiatric Center for three years before enrolling at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria and earning a Master’s of Divinity degree. 

Jeff returned to State College after seminary to serve a one-year curacy at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church under the Rev. Larry Hofer. During that year, he was ordained to the priesthood. Jeff went on to serve parishes in Coudersport and Spotsylvania, Virginia, where he served for 17 years.

In the fall of 2017, Jeff was pleased to move back to State College, this time as the rector of St. Andrew’s. During the pandemic Jeff launched a poetry contest sponsored by the church. The contest culminated in an in-person reading which was originally planned to take place during the 2021 Arts Festival.

Jeff is a movie buff and loves to spend time with his family, especially hiking on the many trails in central Pennsylvania. His family’s home is filled with animals: dogs, a cat, finches, fish, a rabbit, a pet rat, and ducks and chickens.

Visit the Festival Store!

Get a Festival poster and buy Festival wristbands, t-shirts and other merchandise at the corner of College and Allen – or visit our online store.