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Governance & Leadership



ACFR is committed to full involvement of our Member Committees in the leadership and governance of our organization as determined by our 501(c)3 filing and our bylaws. Governance includes our Board of Directors, Officers/Executive Committee, and National Staff.

The ACFR Board of Directors composed of members from each Member Committee and 4 ”at-large” members is nominated and selected each year; the Board, meeting twice per year, governs ACFR as business and our bylaws dictate.

The ACFR Executive Committee is a seven person committee composed of our Officers and othe members from Member Committees and At-Large who are elected by the Board of Directors each year; they are charged with ongoing leadership, business and administrative oversight, meeting once per month by teleconference.


Officers & Executive Committee

Norman J. Szydlowski

President / Tulsa

Norman (Norm) J. Szydlowski served as CEO of SemGroup Corporation from November 2009 to April 2014. He is currently a director of 8point3 Energy (San Jose, CA), Transocean Partners (Aberdeen, Scotland), JP Energy (Dallas), Novus Energy (Minneapolis) and Rebellion Photonics (Houston). He serves on the Board of Trustees of Kettering University (Flint, MI) and is a member of the Advisory Council for the University of Tulsa, Master of Energy Business. From 2005 until 2009, Norm was the CEO of Colonial Pipeline Company, headquartered in Atlanta and from 2004 to 2005, he served as the senior consultant to the Iraqi Ministry of Oil in Baghdad on behalf of the US Department of Defense and Department of State. From 2002 until 2004, he was Vice President of Refining for Chevron Corporation. Norm joined Chevron in 1981. He has an MBA from Indiana University and a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Kettering University.

Judith Hill

Past President / Santa Barbara

Judith Hill is Director of the Santa Barbara Committee on Foreign Relations. She is also the CEO of the Channel City Club of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara’s “Window on the World.” Previously, Mrs. Hill was Assistant Vice President of Santa Barbara Bank and Trust and its first woman officer. She is also active in local Santa Barbara civic and political organizations where she has held numerous leadership positions. A Santa Barbara native, she attended the University of California at Santa Barbara, Berkeley and graduated from the School of Bank Marketing at the University of Colorado.

Richard P. Goldenhersh

Executive Committee / St. Louis

Richard P. Goldenhersh was born July 16, 1944, in East St. Louis. He attended Washington University, receiving his A.B. degree in 1966 and his J.D. degree in 1969. After seven years in private practice, Judge Goldenhersh was appointed an Associate Judge of the 20th Judicial Circuit in 1975 and became a Circuit Judge in 1982. He served as Circuit Judge until joining the Appellate Court in 1988. He has been retained by the voters on the Appellate Court for many terms, ending in 2018, recently announcing his retirement. Judge Goldenhersh is a member of the St. Clair County and Illinois State Bar Associations and former President of the Illinois Judges' Association. In addition, He is a member of the Supreme Court Committee on Complex litigation, the ISBA Section Council on Civil Practice and Procedure, and former chair of the Associate Judge Coordination Committee.

Robert Gough

Albuquerque / Secretary

Robert (Bob) Gough has been Director, Executive Director, or Chair of Albuquerque's Committee on Foreign Relations for most of the past 25 years, one of his major volunteer endeavors. After retiring from the US Air Force after more than 20 years, he became a Principal Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories. At Sandia, he led multidisciplinary efforts to verify compliance by the then-Soviet Union and other signatory nations to numerous arms control treaties, and was often seconded by the Department of Energy to serve as Technical Advisor on US delegations in Geneva and at the UN in New York. As a result, he was nominated by Washington to serve as the senior American in the On-Site Inspection Division of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna. He earned a BSChE from Lehigh, an MBA from the University of Chicago, and MS and PhD degrees from Stanford, the latter in Decision Theory. His travels have taken him to all 50 states and more than 50 countries.

Erich Frankland

Casper / Conference Committee Chair

Erich Frankland is currently a member of the Political Science and History faculties at Casper College in Casper, Wyoming, where he chairs the Political Science Department and directs the International Studies Program. Professor Frankland is an adjunct faculty member with the University of Wyoming. He is also active in the community including serving as a political consultant to the media and as Director of the Casper Committee on Foreign Relations. Professor Frankland's work on nationalism, political violence, environmental politics, security, democratization, and other issues has been widely published in a range of professional texts and journals. He completed his graduate work in political science at the University of Oklahoma and his undergraduate work in politics and history at Earlham College (Indiana) and Westminster College (England).

Lynne Novack

Dallas / Executive Committee / Past President

Lynne Novack is a senior fellow at the John Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. She served as president of Tulsa Global Alliance, director of the Tulsa Committee on Foreign Relations, and executive assistant to the president at the University of Tulsa. She was a founder of ACFR, served three terms as ACFR's president, and continues as an at-large member of the ACFR board of directors appointed to the executive committee. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and served on the national program committee from 2004-2014. In Dallas, she serves on the advisory council of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. She served two six-year terms on the board of the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations, and one term on the board of directors of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth. Ms. Novack was appointed to The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities (1990-93) in the Adminstration of George H.W. Bush. In 1994, she was one of 25 Americans selected to be an International Visitor to the European Union. Ms. Novack is a native of Colorado. While residing in Denver, she was appointed by the Governor to the Colorado Commission of Judicial Discipline, and the Colorado Commission on Women. She has a BA in anthropology from the University of Colorado and an MA in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of Tulsa.

John E. Dreifort

Executive Committee / Wichita

Professor Dreifort is a specialist in Modern European Diplomacy and the history of Baseball. He is the author of Yvon Delbos at the Quai d'Orsay: French Foreign Policy During the Popular Front, 1936-1938, Myopic Grandeur: The Ambivalence of French Foreign Policy toward the Far East, 1919-1945, and Baseball History From Outside the Lines. His articles have appeared in such journals as The Journal for Contemporary History, The Historian, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, and Research Studies. He is currently working on a book manuscript on the wartime relationship between Generals Eisenhower and de Gaulle.

Bert Kastel

Boise / Executive Committee

Bert Kastel of Boise, Idaho, is a globally active technology entrepreneur and writer. His particular interest is the geopolitical, economic, and social impact of emerging technologies, and how they can help advance humanity. Bert has lived on three continents and has worked around the globe. Educated in Germany and the U.S., and formally trained in Economics, Business, Political Science, and International Relations, his latest book “Unleashing 800 Million Brains” addresses African development using Blockchain and related emerging technologies. Other focus areas include geostrategic aspects of U.S.-China relations, reforming the U.S. global alliance systems, and the political and strategic implications of space exploration.

ACFR Staff

Charlotte M. Ponticelli

National Speakers Program / Program Director

Charlotte (Charlie) M. Ponticelli is an international consultant and adjunct professor at the Catholic University of America. Charlie has 23 years of US Government experience, serving most recently as Deputy Under Secretary for International Labor Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor and Senior Coordinator for International Women's Issues at the US Department of State. Previously she also served as Senior Advisor for State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration; Director of Human Rights in State's Bureau for International Organization Affairs; Congressional Liaison for Latin America and the Caribbean at the U.S. Agency for International Development; and Director of Congressional Correspondence in the Legislative Affairs Office of the White House. Charlie is a member of several boards and organizations, including the Bayat Foundation, the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women, and the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council. She is a founding partner of Disaster Logistics Relief, a humanitarian organization specializing in telemedicine and disaster-relief technologies. She received her B.A. (Spanish Literature) from Hood College and her M.A. through New York University's program in Madrid, Spain.

Jonathan Hill

Pittsburgh / Treasurer

Jonathan Hill began his career as an international economist at the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington D.C. before moving to Pittsburgh. He worked at PNC Bank for more than 15 years as a Vice President and Senior Economist. He has also worked as an adjunct faculty member at area educational institutions and taught at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Most recently, he has been involved in real estate development and investments. He is an active member of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburghand is a past-President and of the Economic Club of Pittsburgh. Mr. Hill has a B.A. from Bowdoin College and received a Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He majored in International Economics and Business with an emphasis on energy issues in Europe.

George F. Paik

National Speakers Program / Program Director

George F. Paik is a former political affairs officer in the U.S. Foreign Service, and a twenty year veteran of U.S. capital markets. He is a Managing Director at Lord Capital, LLC, a global finance firm in New York. His diplomatic career straddled the end of the Cold War; duties included political analysis, human rights, and trade affairs, in the Department of State and at postings in Brazil & Trinidad and Tobago. His financial sector experience includes serving as Head of Loan Capital Markets at Mellon Bank, lending officer in National Credits for Peoples United Bank, Manager Capital Markets for Bank of Montreal New York Branch, and loan syndications at Manufacturers Hanover Trust. Paik is a past Chairman of the World Affairs Forum (2012-14) of Stamford, CT, and is active with several international affairs organizations, including as a friend of the American Committees on Foreign Relations, and as a blogger on He holds a BA in Social Studies from Harvard University, and an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.