Dion’s Pizza CEO Delivers Keynote Address At Leadership Los Alamos Class Of 2017 Graduation

Keynote Speaker Mark Herman, CEO of Dion’s Pizza inspires the Leadership Los Alamos Class of 2017 at their graduation Friday at the Pajarito Mountain Ski Lodge. Photo by Martha Katko
 
Don Casperson, left, receives the 2017 Distinguished Leadership Award from LLA Chair Elect Brian D’Andrea. Photo by Martha Katko
 
Representatives of major Leadership Los Alamos sponsors from left, Director Brian Brogan of Los Alamos County Community Services Department, LANB Market President Liddie Martinez and Fire Chief Troy Hughes with LLA Board Chairman Terry Priestley are ready to congratulate each of the graduates of the Class of 2017. Photo by Martha Katko
 
By MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos Daily Post

Native New Mexican Mark Herman, CEO of Dion’s, was the guest speaker at the graduation celebration of the Leadership Los Alamos Class of 2017 Friday at Pajarito Mountain Lodge. Dion’s is a chain of 23 pizza restaurants with 18 in New Mexico, two in Colorado and three in Texas.

Herman reflected on leadership, things that work and don’t work, and leadership being a balance between success and failure. He compared life to a game of Jenga, creating something bigger and better.

“Inevitably something happens and inevitably it falls down. It’s not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’,” he said. I really think that’s the process of leadership; continually building something but in some ways, it’s continually falling down as well.”

Herman began working at Dion’s after high school. He continued working there during the summers while he was working toward a degree in economics and eventually in 1992 he became a restaurant manager.

“I thought I would do It for a year but it turned out I’m pretty good at it,” he said.

Other speakers at Friday’s event were Patty Komko, president of Leadership New Mexico and Phil Bryson of On the Edge, a team and leadership training company that works with Leadership Los Alamos.

Leadership Los Alamos is a class for 20 to 25 people who live or work in Los Alamos and are committed to assuming roles of responsibility in civic, charitable and governmental organizations in the region. The class starts in September with a two-day orientation and continues with class sessions one Friday a month until graduation in May. Tuition is $500 but many employers in the area recognize the value of the program and assist their employees financially with their participation. The program is 100 percent volunteer-supported and has had more than 250 graduates since its inception.

This year, 26 people graduated from the program including, Kirsten Bell, Leslie Bucklin, Joanie Budzileni, Pete Carson, Liz Cavasos, Saree Clark, KayLinda Crawford, Deborah Englert, Carie Fanning, Ray Ferry, Chelsea Johnston, Anne Kain, Chad Lauritzen, Qi Liu, Mary Martucci, Jana McClure, Donna McHenry, Desiree Miranda, Graig Newell, Mihaela Popa-Simil, Kim Sherwood, Whitney Spivey, Janice Stroud-Settles, Jeremy Sweat, Don Taylor and Christopher Wilson.

The 2017 Alumnus Award was accepted by Estrella Young on behalf of YMCA Senior Program/Development Director Diana Martinez. The 2017 Distinguished Leadership Award was presented to Don Casperson for his many years of volunteering for a variety of local organization.

Patty Komko of Leadership New Mexico. Photo by Martha Katko

Phil Bryson of On The Edge Productions. Photo by Martha Katko
 

LLA graduate Anne Kain of Del Norte Credit Union. Photo by Martha Katko

LLA graduates in their final session Friday on the deck of the Pajarito Mountain Ski Lodge before participating in their graduation ceremony. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com

LLA graduates in their final session Friday on the deck of the Pajarito Mountain Ski Lodge before participating in their graduation ceremony. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com

LLA graduates in their final session Friday on the deck of the Pajarito Mountain Ski Lodge before participating in their graduation ceremony. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com

LLA Board members Martha Katko, left, and Deb Huling. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com

LLA graduates Desiree Miranda-Medonca and Chris Wilson of Los Alamos County. Photo by Martha Katko

LLA graduate Deborah Hawes of Bandelier. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com

LLA graduate Melissa Metcalf, left, with Debby who was distributing beverages at the event. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com

Graduate Janice Stroud-Settles of Bandelier National Monument. Photo by Martha Katko

LLA graduate Leslie Bucklin, second from left, and award recipient Don Casperson. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com

LLA graduate KayLinda Crawford and her husband Mark Crawford. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com

LLA graduates Chad Lauritzen and Ray Fierrry with Phil Bryson of On The Edge Productions and Nicole Fierry. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com

LLA graduate Donna McHenry of the Los Alamos Fire Department, left, with local teacher Jodi Hughes. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com

LLA graduate Leslie Bucklin of Los Alamos County speaks with Dion’s Pizza owner Mark Herman. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com

Blue Window Bistro owner Melissa Paternoster oversees her buffet dinner for the Leadership Los Alamos 2017 graduates and guests Friday at the Pajarito Mountain Ski Lodge. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com

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