Board of Directors


Frank Davis, President

Frank is a retired businessman who recently graduated with his master’s degree at SMU Perkins in Dallas, Texas. Before his retirement, Frank was President of Pittman and Davis, a direct marketing catalog company specializing in the sale of gift packages of fresh fruit and other perishable gift food items. From 2005 to 2011, Frank served as secretary for the Board of Directors. He was elected President in January of 2012. He holds a bachelor’s degree in both business administration and sociology from Trinity University and a Masters degree from Southern Methodist University. He has HSP and lives in Dallas with his wife, Claudia.

Linda Gentner, Vice President

Linda was installed as a member of the SPF Board of Directors in 2003 and co-chaired the Program Committee. She is a graduate of Southern Ohio College and was a purchasing agent. She has volunteered for more than a decade for several community organizations including the area’s leading hospital, where she has held leadership and board positions. When Linda developed PLS, she became involved with the PLS online patient community and served the UCSF ALS Research Center as a contact for PLS patients. Thanks in large part to her efforts with the online patient community, several PLS research grants were awarded and the NORD PLS Physician’s Guide was developed. She lives in Fremont, California with her husband. In addition to serving as SPF Vice President, she continues to chair the Program Committee and oversee other special programs including co-chairing the TeamWalk Committee.

David Lewis, Treasurer

David is an SPF incorporating board member, served on the Foundation Steering Committee and has been the SPF Treasurer since inception. He is the Chief Financial Officer for Pezold Companies and has over 25 years of business management experience. David has served his community in a variety of leadership and membership roles including president of Columbus Kiwanis Club. David holds a BS in Accounting from the University of Alabama and earned a CPA license in 1982. David has childhood-onset HSP, lives in Columbus, Georgia and has one daughter . David also chairs the SPF Financial Committee.

Jean Chambers, R.N., Secretary

Jean is a retired Registered Nurse who spent the final 20 years of her career as the Head Nurse/Manager of a private plastic surgery clinic in Vancouver. She joined the board in 2005. Jean has organized several connections in the Vancouver area and spent 6 years on the local municipal Advisory Committee on Disability Issues. She lives in West Vancouver, BC, Canada, close to her 2 sons and 2 granddaughters. Jean has HSP and was fortunate to be essentially symptom free until the early 1990’s.

Mark Weber, Esq.

Mark Weber is one of the co-founders of the SPF, and was its first president. He serves as the SPF’s legal counsel, and chairs its research grant committee. Mark also started and maintains the PLS-Friends email group. He is an attorney and served for eleven years as a prosecutor in Massachusetts. Currently he is in private practice in Connecticut concentrating in child abuse and neglect cases, and criminal defense. Mark holds a BA in economics and psychology from Boston College, and a doctor of laws degree from Suffolk University Law School. He has been diagnosed with HSP. He lives with his wife and son in Sherman, Connecticut.


Corey Braastad, PhD

Corey joined the SPF Board in October 2008. He is a Scientist and Manager of Laboratory Operations for Athena Diagnostics in Worcester, Massachusetts. As a Scientist at Athena, Corey has developed new clinical diagnostic tests for HSP. Corey received his PhD in Molecular, Cellular Biology and Biochemistry at Brown University for work in the field of DNA repair. He was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the field of cell cycle control of gene transcription. His professional interests are to research appropriate reliable clinical diagnostic testing as well as cures for genetic diseases. His other interests include coaching soccer and softball teams.

Kris Brocchini

Kris showed her tremendous talent as a fundraiser by becoming the top 2004 SPF TeamWalk fundraiser. She attended California Polytechnic State University and has worked in numerous volunteer positions in the past, as well serving on her local School Board for 13 years. Kris was diagnosed with PLS in June, 2003 and became a board member in 2005. She has four children, six grandchildren and lives in Ripon, California.

Greg Pruitt

Greg Pruitt has served 26 years as Hickman County Judge Executive, administering all facets of county government in his home county.  While functioning in this capacity, he has served on and chaired a number of local, regional, state, federal, and multi-state organizations involving many areas such as tourism, health and social services, transportation, and economic development. He has been dealing with adult onset HSP since 2002.  About a dozen members of his family tree over the past three generations have dealt with HSP.  Greg holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Business Administration from Murray State University and a Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of Kentucky.    He lives in Clinton, Kentucky, with his wife, Norma. They have 3 children and 4 beautiful grandchildren.

Jackie Wellman

Jackie worked as a Medical Assistant until she was diagnosed with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia in 1997. When diagnosed she opened her own business. She has volunteered in many ways, including a civil rights march in Georgia, working at a no-kill animal sanctuary in Utah, being a Big Sister, and worked on several political campaigns. She is currently the SPF State Ambassador for Iowa. Her first book, Spiritual Clarity was published in 2005. Jackie spends many hours a week studying reports on medical research, communicating with others who are similarly involved, and looking for ways to raise money for SPF. She was named to the board in 2013. Jackie lives in West Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, son, and two dog.

John Staehle

John is a retired engineering department manager with nearly 30 years experience in the aerospace industry. Since retiring he has become an active volunteer and leader in his church and in local SPF activities. He currently serves on the governing council of his church and is a member of the Board of Directors for its Endowment Fund. In 2010, John saw a need for people with HSP and PLS that live in north Texas, which includes the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, to meet and share information, experiences and how they make coping with their condition on a daily basis easier. In the fall of that year, he organized the first North Texas SPF Connection. He continues to organize and host two connections each year. He serves as the SPF Ambassador for the North Texas Region and was appointed to the SPF Board in 2013. John holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Michigan. He has late-onset HSP that was diagnosed in 1999. He and his wife, Carol, live in Arlington, Texas.

Tina Croghan

Having just finished my 23rd year in secondary education, I still stand by the motto that greets each student as they entered my classroom- “What we learn with pleasure, we never will forget.” I began my theatrical training at the Webster University Conservatory of Theatre and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education at the Universi-ty of Missouri-St. Louis. I continued my education with a Master of Arts in Theatre and a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from Lindenwood University where I also have been an Adjunct Professor. My involvement with the SP-Foundation started in 2006 and I was honored to be selected as the Chairperson for the 2009 National Conference in St. Louis. Now that I have retired from teaching, I plan on continuing my efforts in fundraising for SPF and spreading awareness at the local and national levels to increase attention for the need of more research in upper motor neuron diseases.

John Cobb

John was elected to the SPF Board in May of 2013. He is from Alexandria, VA and graduated from the College of Charleston in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics before entering the Financial Services Industry. After three years with Morgan Stanley he transitioned to Edelman Financial Services, a financial planning firm headquartered in Fairfax, VA. He was diagnosed with HSP in early 2003 and is the second in his family with the condition.

Consulting Ex-Presidents

Annette Lockwood

Annette Lockwood is an SPF incorporating board member and served on the foundation steering committee. She retired from ExxonMobil in 2006 after twenty-six years in a variety of positions. She is active in the SPF community organizing various fundraising initiatives including the ExxonMobil Employees Favorite Charities Campaign. Annette obtained a Mechanical Engineering Degree from Marquette University. She has adult-onset HSP, which also affects many individuals in her family. She has two children and lives with her husband in Fairfax Station, Virginia.

Jim Sheorn

Jim was a pharmaceutical sales representative for Daiichi Sankyo. He holds a bachelor’s of science degree in marketing from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He has HSP and lives with his family in Brentwood, Tennessee.

Mike Podanoffsky

Mike has 30+ years of experience in software engineering. He has worked for IBM, Lotus, Cisco, and is currently at Sentillion, the leading software
vendor for hospitals. An avid marathoner, Mike ran 20 marathons since 1991, usually raising money for various non-profit causes like Team In Training. Mike holds a Bachelor’s of Mathematics degree from the University of Texas and has done some post graduate work at Harvard and the University of MA. He lives in Maine with his wife and has PLS.

"Science has come a long way in the past several years in discovering the cellular processes that are affected by PLS and HSP. I look forward to the day that we have a cure."

Mark Weber, Esq., chairman of the SPF Research Grant Committee.

Latest Article

State of HSP Research:The Promise and the Reality by Allen Bernard

Learn More

Research Study Groups

Learn More

Submit a Proposal

Learn how to become the next SPF grant recipient working to find a cure.

Learn More

© Copyright 2014 Spastic Paraplegia Foundation, Inc. All Rights Reserved | All information is completely confidential. The Spastic Paraplegia Foundation will under no circumstances allow any vendors or associations access to your information. Thank you for your continued support.