Our team

Dr. Richard E. Caruso

Founder, CEO Emeritus

Richard Caruso began his career with PriceWaterhouse & Co in Philadelphia. From there, he joined LFC Financial Corporation where he became the executive vice president and a director. In 1978, Caruso founded The Provco Group, a real estate and venture capital organization. He founded UIF in 1986. In 1989, Caruso founded Integra LifeSciences and took it public in August 1995, listing on the NASDAQ Exchange. Caruso built Integra by acquiring unused technology from other companies, principally Marion Laboratories, which pioneered the science of regenerative medicine.

info@uif.org

Jonathan Caruso

UIF Board Member

Jonathan is a graduate of Villanova University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Jonathan is the Commercial Property Manager at the Provco Group and a member of the UIF Board of Directors.

info@uif.org

Jerry Holtz

President & CEO

As President and CEO of UIF, Jerry Holtz continues his uncle’s philanthropic legacy. Holtz is also the President of the Provco Group, a real estate and venture capital organization founded by Caruso in 1978. Holtz has developed projects that include such national tenants as Staples, Citibank, Starbucks, CVS, Wawa, Wilmington Trust, ShopRite, Men’s Warehouse, Fed EX Kinkos, and Raymour and Flanigan. In addition, he principally negotiates all external financing with third-party lenders

info@uif.org

Gary DiLella

Chief Financial Officer

As Chief Financial Officer and Board member of UIF, Gary DiLella manages the Foundation’s endowment. DiLella is also Vice President of Provco Group: focusing on private and public investments, tax planning, and compliance. DiLella received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from The Pennsylvania State University and a Master’s degree in taxation from Villanova University.

Gary.DiLella@uif.org

John Crosby

Founding Executive Director

John Crosby is the Founding Director of the Uncommon Individual Foundation. Prior to UIF, he was superintendent of schools for twenty years in Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Abilene Christian University, Peabody College of Vanderbilt, and Teachers College, Columbia University. He continues to run the Executive Mentoring Program by designing curriculum, training mentors/mentees, and evaluating the mentoring process for various organizations.

In 2019, Crosby wrote and published Built to Help Each Other: Mentoring in the Life of Richard Crusoe: An Uncommon Man. Together, Crosby and Caruso are considered the pioneers of mentoring.

John.Crosby@uif.org

Joseph Lopez

Managing Director

Since joining UIF in 2014, Joe Lopez and his team launched the Foundation’s Entrepreneur and Technology Mentoring Programs, mentoring more than 80 start-ups, several thousand elementary and middle school students, and creating partnerships with universities and organizations across eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Over his 30 year career, Lopez held executive leadership positions in the banking, insurance, and higher education sectors. In 2005, he co-founded Botaniline Inc, a food science and industrial ingredient company based in Buffalo, New York. Lopez serves as an Adjunct Professor of Finance and Entrepreneurship at Rider University’s Norm Brodsky College of Business.

Joe.Lopez@uif.org

Lucy Lopez

Chief Communications Officer

Lucy is an expert communication-integration strategist, focused on messaging and story delivery across various media platforms including television, radio, social media feeds and the web. Prior to UIF, Lucy worked as a television anchor and reporter in Canada for 15 years. Most recently, she was a network reporter in Toronto – Canada’s largest media market – for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), where she covered local and national stories. In addition to her accomplishments as a broadcast reporter and video journalist, Lucy worked behind the camera as a writer, producer, and editor. Lucy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Ryerson University. Her high school media teacher encouraged her to pursue a career in journalism.

Lucy.Lopez@uif.org

Jeff Brydzinski

Director of Legal Affairs, General Counsel

Jeff is responsible for defining and implementing legal policies and procedures that strengthen the operation and effectiveness of the Foundation. He advises on a wide range of issues, as well as retains and supervises the work of outside counsel.

Since 2002, Jeff has litigated complex commercial matters, as well as performed transactional work for an array of national and international corporate clients. Jeff was ranked No. 1 in his law school class and went on to work for some of the region’s best firms, including Morgan Lewis and Cohen Seglias. Jeff also serves as Vice-President and General Counsel at Provco Group, LLC, a Real Estate Development and Venture Finance Company in Villanova, PA. Jeff is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Jeff.Brydzinski@uif.org

Kathleen Crenny

Controller

In 2018, Kathleen joined UIF as Controller. She has worked in the Caruso family business since 2002 when she joined The Provco Group as a Real Estate Accountant, responsible for the day-to-day activities related to tenants.

Kathleen received her B.S. degree in Accounting from Villanova University, earned her CPA, and worked for Touche Ross. In 1985, she joined The Glenmede Trust Company as an Accountant. During her 15-years at Glenmede, she held various positions including Senior Vice President and Controller, and was responsible for accounting, property management, and human resources. Kathleen resides in Wayne, PA with her husband Ed. They have two children Kiera and Liam.

Kathleen.Crenny@uif.org

Christopher DiAntonio

Director, Technology Mentoring

Chris joined UIF in 2015. He graduated from West Chester University in 2005 with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Management and began his career in the medical devices (biotech) industry. A lifelong athlete, Chris has an interest in education, coaching, and mentoring. Chris began his duties at UIF with the Entrepreneur Mentoring Program. Through the foundation’s access to technology and connections in education, Chris developed the Technology Mentoring Program. The goal of the program is to expose youth to emerging technologies through project-based learning and to support educators with technology integration. Chris leads a team of technology educators, science and engineering professionals, and recent university graduates.

Chris.Diantonio@uif.org

Benjamin Pietrzyk

Director, Entrepreneur Mentoring

Ben leads UIF’s Caruso Challenge and Caruso Incubator. He believes in teaching entrepreneurship and echoes Dr. Caruso’s philosophy of “thinking like an entrepreneur.” Ben holds a Bachelor of Arts from La Salle University in Sociology and Criminal Justice and a Master’s of Education Entrepreneurship from the University of Pennsylvania.

Ben.Pietrzyk@uif.org

Andrew Zivic

Director of College Readiness, OnTrack

Andrew led OnTrack's growth from a program with less than 10 partners to one with more than 150 partners and thousands of students across the country. He oversees the operations of OnTrack and feels strongly about the importance of closing the opportunity gap.  Andrew holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Ithaca College and a Master’s of Communication from Villanova University.

Andrew.Zivic@uif.org

Shakia Kirksey

Assistant Director, College Readiness

As a first-generation, low income college graduate, Shakia understands the difficulty of preparing for, attending, and completing a post-secondary education. Through in-person and virtual workshops, Shakia helps students plan for life beyond high school. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill, and a Master’s of Education in Urban Education from Temple University.

Shakia.Kirksey@uif.org

Mike Wroblewski

Assistant Director, Media Mentoring, UIF, UIF REC Studio

Mike brings more than 25 years of experience in many disciplines of Graphic Design to UIF. He has worked in video production within the healthcare, nonprofit, and technology industries and enjoys sharing his design knowledge with the UIF community. Mike holds a BA in Graphic Design from Drexel University.
He says, the owner of a local animation company mentored him in traditional design methods. In exchange, Mike taught him newer digital methods.

Mike.Wroblewski@uif.org

Samira Ford

Program Coordinator, College Readiness

Samira specializes in the college preparation process. Through in-person workshops and virtual modules, she helps teach students the access points, tips, and tricks of preparing for college. Samira holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies and Production from Temple University, and a Master’s of Education from Villanova University.

Samira.Ford@uif.org

Sean Hackman

Program Coordinator, Technology Mentoring & Caruso Challenge

Sean delivers many of the 3-D printing and coding classes, and handles the printing of 3-D models with students at the various schools supported by the Foundation. He also facilitates Caruso Challenge workshops to students in the Philadelphia area and beyond. Sean graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology.

Sean.Hackman@uif.org

Christine Scavo Heard

Operations and Outreach Coordinator

Christine has over 25 years experience building relationships between organizations and individuals. She joined UIF in 2017 and serves as the Operations & Outreach Coordinator. In addition to supporting the Foundation’s leadership team, she helps develop partnerships with area colleges, universities, and community-based organizations in Philadelphia. Christine earned her Bachelor's degree in Marketing from Drexel University and spent 10 years as a Medical Sales Representative for Hoffman-La Roche, Baxter Healthcare, and Synthesis. She is a proud “sports” mother of two children, Alexandra and Sean, and is a PIAA trained Lacrosse Referee in West Chester.

Christine.Heard@uif.org