Forge Board Chairman
Jonathan Jakubowski has a diverse array of experience in the private, nonprofit, and public sectors. He received his undergraduate degree from Bowling Green State University and Masters Degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University. For his day job, Jon leads an innovative and award-winning startup called SmartSolve. Jon is an avid social entrepreneur serving on several Boards for nonprofit and public organizations. In 2008, he founded an organization in Guatemala that works with underprivileged youth called Champions in Action® which has now impacted the lives of thousands of at-risk children through tens of thousands of hours of mentorship. Jon serves as Executive Committee Chairman of the Wood County Republican Party and sits on the Wood County Board of Elections. His multi-disciplinary leadership have enabled Jon the privilege of speaking publicly in a number of diverse venues domestically and internationally. Jon and his wife Missy have four children.
Alumni Board Member
Peter Burns is an independent consultant with Open Doors International. He formerly served as Special Assistant to the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom at the Department of State. Before that, he worked as Government Relations and Policy Director at In Defense of Christians, and also worked as the Policy Analyst for Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. He studied political science at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where he was an active student advocate, founding the College Republican chapter and working as campus director for the Bruce Rauner Campaign for Governor. In 2015 he took a job with Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign and transferred to finish online at Thomas Edison State University. Peter is an alumnus of the Philos Leadership Institute and the Tikvah Fund summer seminars, as well as a regular opinion writer for the Washington Examiner and Providence Magazine.
Michael Hamilton is a Heartland research fellow and managing editor of Health Care News. Michael writes and edits at the intersection of liberty, language, and learning. His efforts to reform public policy date to summers he spent working for The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions while a student at Hillsdale College. Upon graduating, Michael taught International Baccalaureate English at an innovative charter school near Boston, Massachusetts, followed by Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics in Dayton, Ohio.
In 2013, Michael co-founded the website Ohio Conservative Review and the freelance writing and editing company Good Comma Editing, LLC. He has written for The Federalist, PJ Media, WORLD, The Philos Project, Canon & Culture, LifeSiteNews.com, the Washington Free Beacon, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation blog Dissident, and other sites and publications. Michael serves as vice chairman of the board of Forge Leadership Network to help identify, train, and connect America’s future statesmen.
John Hart serves as the General Counsel for Cedarville University. John just recently returned to his alma mater to become its first ever full-time in-house lawyer, having served as University Counsel/ Director of Legal Affairs at the University of Dayton for over 25 years. His areas of special emphasis include employment/labor law, academic and student development policy issues, athletics, real property, contracts, and the like. He has made numerous presentations to various professional, educational, and community groups, and was invited to and participated in the Blackstone Colloquium on Higher Education Law at the Oxford University’s Round Table on Education Policy.
John has also been involved extensively with NACUA (National Association of College and University Attorneys), serving on their Board of Directors in addition to various committee responsibilities. Currently, he serves on the Legal Services Review Panel of NAICU (National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities). John is engaged with community organizations like the Greater Dayton Volunteer Lawyers Project, serves as an advisor to the Christian Legal Society chapter at the law school, is active in church ministries, and loves his family. He received his B.A. from Cedarville College in 1981 and his J.D. from the University of Dayton School of Law in 1985.
Heather Pfitzenmaier serves as Senior Talent Program Advisor at the State Policy Network. In addition, she is the Director of Strategic Engagement at the Network of enlightened Women, previously serving as Vice President. Before that, Pfitzenmaier was Executive Vice President, and earlier Vice President and Director of Chapter Programs, at America’s Future Foundation. Prior to her time at AFF, Pfitzenmaier served as Director of the Young Leaders Program, and earlier as Intern Coordinator, at the Heritage Foundation. She is the recipient of Forbes magazine “30 Under 30” in law and policy, the Young Conservatives Coalition Buckley Award, and “30 Under 30″ recognition by Red Alert Politics. In addition, Pfitzenmaier serves on the Advisory Board of the Forge Leadership Network, leads AFF’s Detroit chapter, and is a member of the American Enterprise Institute’s Leadership Network. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Political Science from the University of Michigan and currently resides in the great state of Michigan.
Justin Powell is the founder and CEO of Huntington Outdoor, Blue Ash Media, and Aurora Marketing Group, serving a variety of clients with their marketing and advertising needs in Ohio, Indiana, and Florida. Prior to starting his business, Justin was the Director of Social Media for the Family Research Council. In 2012, he co-founded Ohio Conservative Review, a platform for conservative beliefs to be expressed, debated, and promoted in Ohio. He has also served on numerous political and issue campaigns on the local and state levels.
Justin earned a degree in Business Management from Liberty University. He grew up in Arcanum, Ohio where he still resides and is an active member of his community, serving on the board of Ohio Christian University and leading Crossing, a young adult ministry program at his church. Justin co-founded Forge Leadership Network and now serves on its board of advisors.
Chip Weiant is a senior fellow at both the Sagamore Institute for Public Policy and the BBB National Center for Character Ethics. He is very interested in leadership character and designed the adult leadership equipping guides; UncommonSense and The Civil Society Tutorial to revive the culture-making connection between freedom, self-leading and virtue. Chip is a public policy graduate of Miami University and the University of Rhode Island.
Chip is investing his life in the principles of classical liberalism and is a free enterprise advocate with the Better Business Bureau and former executive team member of Schmidt’s Hospitality Concepts of German Village and Island Resorts of Put-In-Bay. He is also an advocate for faith-friendly public policy serving on the Ohio Governor’s Office of Faith-Based & Community Initiatives board defending religious liberty for all, under four governors.
Capacity-building of non-profits, so essential to community flourishing, is another focus for Chip who helped found Mission Columbus and has served on a dozen non-profit boards.
Dan Ziegler is the Executive Director of the Republican Study Committee, a group of 146 conservative Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives currently chaired by Congressman Mike Johnson of Louisiana. Prior to joining the RSC he served as Managing Director of Government Relations for Heritage Action for America, where he focused on building support for conservative policy on Capitol Hill.
He has a long history of working in the conservative movement. He has worked for several non-profit conservative organizations, including the American Energy Alliance, a free market energy advocacy group. His time in government included an earlier period working as the Legislative Director to Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado, and as a political appointee in George W. Bush administration at the Department of the Interior under Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. He started his career as an intern in Vice President Dick Cheney’s office. Originally from the Buckeye State, Dan graduated from Malone College in Canton, Ohio. He resides in Alexandria, VA with his wife Rae-Lynn and daughter Adaline.