Meet Our Board of Directors
Jan is the founder and Executive Director of HORSEPOWER. Before starting HORSEPOWER Jan owned and operated an accounting practice in Dallas, Texas for 15 years as well as a horse boarding facility for five years. Jan is a level two certified riding instructor by the Association for Horsemanship Safety and Education and a Registered Instructor by PATH Intl.
Vernon has been a professional educator for 44 years. He began as a teacher, coach, principal, and district office leader in the Guilford County Schools from 1979-2004. Since that time, he served as a faculty member at High Point University for 6 years in addition to 13 years on the faculty at East Carolina University. His teaching and research focused primarily on leadership coaching and development. Vernon currently lives in Greensboro with his wife, Lou, and enjoys playing with his grandchildren.
Vernon has been interested in HORSEPOWER through the years for a variety of reasons. First, he knew several people associated with the organization and saw the love and commitment they had for HORSEPOWER’s mission. Second, the family farm where he was raised is directly adjacent to HORSEPOWER’s current property and it was exciting to see the growth and development of the new facility in a place he knew so well. Finally, and most importantly, he came and saw the significant difference HORSEPOWER made in the lives of people. The HORSEPOWER staff, volunteers, supporters and horses combine to offer an experience for riders that is truly life-changing!
Melissa first joined HORSEPOWER in 2002 as a volunteer. She was introduced to HORSEPOWER by a fellow carriage driving competitor. Melissa grew up assisting her father as he bred, raised and trained Arabian horses as a hobby for over 45 years. She remembers getting out of school to help her father on Arabian Days at the NC State Fair Horse Show showing weanlings and yearlings. For the last 20 years, Melissa and her father have competed in carriage driving on the local, regional and national level. She continues to be inspired by the positive impacts a horse can provide through HORSEPOWER.
After moving to North Carolina two years ago, with no family nearby for the first time in my life, I googled “volunteer near me” and was blessed to learn about HORSEPOWER and have been hooked (or should I say “lassoed”) ever since. We all come to HORSEPOWER for different reasons in different capacities but what we all get out of it is similar...friendship, acceptance, gentleness, care and love...HORSEPOWER has become my family! Everyone is amazing and I have learned so much from them. I am a sidewalker, horse leader, help with fund raising and yep, shovel horse poop while helping in the barn (my family is amazed since it wasn’t too many years ago I had a hard time cleaning a cat litter box). I come to HORSEPOWER with a variety of experiences. As a retiree I most recently worked in the affordable housing industry in Seattle. My experiences also include living on a horse ranch working with abused and neglected teenage boys, an event coordinator in a President’s office at a university for 12 years, and as an executive administrative assistant for a number of years. I have been a very avid volunteer for 40+ years at every level of board positions and in multiple areas such as rotary committees, working with the homeless, food banks, mentor to high school girls, youth group leader, church plant founder, sports coach, athletic & academic boosters, facilitator of a drug prevention program for parents of teens, just to name a few. My favorite role of all time has always been and will always be mother to our incredible kids and grandma to our precious grandchildren. My husband and I are very active enjoying lots of hiking, biking, pickle ball and golfing….well pretty much anything outdoors and we love to travel.
At the age of 50, I returned to college to pursue a degree in photojournalism and a minor in writing. Within the first year, I was accepted into the honors program. The following year, I was awarded the Departmental Award in Mass Communication and Journalism at Kent State University.
I have been a professional writer and photographer for 10 years with experience in magazine, newspaper and business writing. I have also written two scholastic, published essays for Kent State University.
I have experience in copyediting, content editing and proofreading. I have experience in high profile interviews with celebrities, professional athletes, business owners, and World Champion horsemen and women.
Horses have been a part of my life since childhood. My volunteer work at HORSEPOWER Therapeutic Learning Center has become my greatest passion and purpose.
Dr. Jay Donecker has been with HORSEPOWER Learning Center from its earliest beginnings. Initially as an attending veterinarian caring for the horses at Moss Creek. At this time, he worked with Tibe Payne, Chris Puckett and Jan Clifford for HORSEPOWER Inc. to become a 501c3 non-profit organization. Over the years as a veterinarian Jay has been a partner in Reidsville Veterinary Hospital, an Associate Director of Pfizer Animal Health/Zoetis, and a founding member of a veterinary biotechnology start-up. All during this time HORSEPOWER has been a continual source of goodness providing inspiring and heartwarming experiences while working with fellow board members helping to guide its growth. Jay counts his involvement with HORSEPOWER Learning Center as a real blessing and thankful for the opportunity to serve on its board.
Having grown up in the northeast, I worked my way south completing my undergraduate work at the University of Richmond and then moved to North Carolina where I received my MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University. I have worked for several companies in the Greensboro area (Cone Mills, Burlington Industries, International Textile Group, Tekelec, Global Brands Group and now most recently Big Rock Sports) in the finance group as Treasurer or Assistant Treasurer. My wife (Maureen) and two sons (Bryant and Davis) live just north of Greensboro. Our connection to HORSEPOWER is our youngest son, Davis, who has been a rider at HORSEPOWER for the past 10+ years.
Melissa joined the horsepower board in 2019. She began volunteering as a sidewalker with her daughter, Natalie in 2015. Soon after she trained to be a leader as well. In 2020, her family donated their sweet horse Willie to HORSEPOWER where he happily helps lots of riders.
She attended UNC Chapel Hill for undergrad and received her Masters at the university of Arkansas. Melissa worked in sales and sales management for years. In 2000 she went back to school to become a mental health therapist. She has been married to Tom Waldron for 28 years and they have two daughters, Abby, 24 and Natalie, 21
Ellis Martin is originally from Morganton, North Carolina, and now lives outside of Gibsonville on a small farm with his fiancé, Olivia Fajen, their sons, Slade and Finn Martin, and their four horses and two dogs. Ellis went to undergrad at Davidson where he played football, then attended law school at UNC. He currently practices health care law with Fox Rothschild, LLP in Greensboro. Ellis' passion for horses and helping people brought him to HORSEPOWER. He enjoys his work on the HORSEPOWER board to help bring horses and people together to make an impact in the community.
I graduated from East Carolina and then spent 45 years in the Children's toy business. I had a retail store in Winston-Salem for around 10 years then became a toy distributor and sales rep to the specialty toy industry in N.C., S.C. and southern Va. Calling on toy stores, museums, zoos and educational toy supply distributors. Very active in the High Point Rotary Club along with Open Door Ministry of High Point.
Doug Murray has been a board member since 2017. He is married to Maureen Murray (a former HORSEPOWER Board member).
They reside in Greensboro with their four children. Their oldest daughter Morgan has been a rider with HORSEPOWER for over 25 years. Doug is a former co-owner of Greensborough Tile & Stone, he sold his interest in 2017 to become the main caregiver for Morgan.
More information coming soon!
Susan is a Certified Financial Planner Professional, Partner and Senior Wealth Advisor at Mission Wealth Management. She has enjoyed serving in numerous volunteer positions over the years as mentor, instructor, board member and treasurer for Reconsidered Goods, Communities in Schools, St. Pius Community Life Commission, Triad Health Project and Junior Achievement.
Raised in an ever-changing environment typical of a career Army household, her life-long love of animals has always been a constant for Susan. She began volunteering at HORSEPOWER as Barn Helper and Class Sidewalker in 2022, and currently serves as Board Treasurer. She resides in Greensboro with her husband/partner of 31 years and their 7th retired racing greyhound. They have a grown son who lives in Boston.
Melonie graduated from NC State University in 1983; double major in Animal Science & Agricultural Economics. She worked in various sales positions before landing in the insurance industry. Became Co-Owner of Carolina Associated Insurers who merged with Senn Dunn in 1997. She attained CPCU, CIC, CRM, & CPSR insurance designations, became partner at Senn Dunn in 2003. Left Senn Dunn in 2009, worked small jobs and took some time off, then hired by HPB Insurance Group in 2013, eventually moving into the role of President. She retired in October 2020, since retiring, she has volunteered with HORSEPOWER and the Triad Honor Flight, taken lessons in Shag dancing, Pickleball, horseback riding, joined a bible study, accepted a seat on the HPU Board of Visitors and traveled frequently!
Meet Our Foundation, Inc. Board
Dan Rice grew up at Oxford Orphanage and lived there 10 years. After he graduated from high school he attended UNC-CH where he majored in math. After college he went to work in the tire business and eventually owned Piedmont Truck Tires for 38 years before selling it in 2022. Dan has been very active helping children through the orphanage that he grew up in by serving on their board of directors for several decades.
Dan started donating to HORSEPOWER Therapeutic Learning Center years ago and then ended up on their board. When HORSEPOWER decided to purchase their property, they also decided to create a foundation to hold the property and other select assets. Dan was appointed Chairman of the HORSEPOWER Foundation where he has continued to serve there since.
Dan was on the receiving end of help early in his life and now he wants to give back and help children through HORSEPOWER's wonderful programs.
Caroline North joined HORSEPOWER in 2014 to help primarily with fundraising. She also serves on the HORSEPOWER Foundation Board and is a Side Walker.
Caroline graduated from UNC-Greensboro in 1996 with a Masters in Education and has spent numerous years volunteering with local non-profit organizations. She spent the most time with Planned Parenthood, The Women’s Resource Center and Habitat for Humanity.
Caroline loves the family atmosphere at HORSEPOWER between the staff, volunteers and the riders.
Pat Rosser is a1994 graduate of
University of North Carolina and a 2005 graduate of Wake Forest University. He has been a volunteer at HORSEPOWER since
1999 I think (at least 20 years)
His favorite horse is Trader and his
favorite volunteer role is sidewalker! He coach's youth baseball and basketball, as well as serves on the Board of Review for Boy Scout Troop 4 in High Point
Bud has been a practicing lawyer in the corporate and securities fields for many years. He was a partner of the New York law firm of Webster & Sheffield and formerly Senior Vice President & General Counsel of Telemundo Group, Inc. Among his community activities, Bud was Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Nantucket Cottage Hospital, which is an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital, and a Trustee of Community Hospital at Dobbs Ferry (NY). Bud is a graduate of Cornell University and New York University School of Law. He currently lives in Sarasota, FL and Nantucket, MA. His grandson, Davis, is a devoted student at HORSEPOWER.
Jim Burgio Jr. early years from Astoria, Queens NY. Graduated with a BA from St. John's University.
Started ATI laminated in Greensboro in 1979, locally employs approx. 80 people in its 70,000 sq. ft. facility. The facility has one of the largest solar panel systems in Greensboro, and also has been ISO 9001 and ISO 14000 certified to contribute to green manufacturing.
CEO advanced Technology, Inc. A producer of unique products for interior design including applications for wall, ceiling, countertops, and more, in both thermoformed plastics and decorative metals.
Active in the community helping Veterans that are in need. A Veteran of the Vietnam war era proudly serving in the USMC achieving the rank of Captain. On B of D's of The War Memorial Foundation during fund raising (as its Co-Chairman) and during the construction of the Carolina Field of Honor (the largest Military Memorial out side of Washington D.C.) located in Triad Park. Also the recipient of 4 US patents regarding decorative plastics and metals, and honored by the Red Cross's "Salute to Heroes" for his work with Veterans.
Jim enjoys traveling. boating, food and drink, and helping others in the community.
Tim was born and raised in a small town in NW Pennsylvania and has spent the past 50 years in North Carolina. He and his wife Janet have 3 children and 5 grandchildren.
Tim has a Master of Science: Educational Administration Degree. He worked several years as a coach and as a principal and is an experienced administrator at all grade levels. After his retirement, he went to work for several years at Horsepower as the Director of Community Outreach before taking his second retirement in 2018.