As chief executive officer, Mr. LaRiche sets Castle’s strategy, vision, and culture using input from the executive team and board. Prior to being named chairman and chief executive officer, Mr. LaRiche held the position of vice president for investor relations at Castle and served as a management advisor. His nearly 30 years of management experience include serving in public positions in Washington, D.C. and abroad, interacting with the highest levels of United States and foreign governments, Wall Street, and the media.
As associate director for finance and administration of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Mr. LaRiche managed the priorities of 13 program areas, including finance, budget, endowment and investment policy, human resources, procurement, legal counsel, and technical services for the new museum’s 400 employees and $50 million operating budget.
Mr. LaRiche is past acting president of the U.S. International Cultural and Trade Center. He was recruited to that position at a crucial juncture by a board of trustees appointed by President George H. W. Bush.
For nearly 15 years, Mr. LaRiche was with the Smithsonian Institution where his ever-increasing responsibilities culminated with his position as deputy assistant secretary for external affairs. The Office of External Affairs oversaw congressional relations, development, and membership programs.
Mr. LaRiche holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and a Master of Arts degree in cultural anthropology, both from the University of Pennsylvania. He serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations involved in the arts and international development.
Executive Vice President and Senior Psychometrician
Dr. Henderson is a senior psychometrician and the executive vice president of Castle Worldwide with more than 20 years of service with the company. Dr. Henderson is one of the nation’s leading experts on quality licensure and certification testing. He offers extensive experience in the development and administration of credentialing examinations with such organizations as the Board of Pharmacy Specialties, American Board of Anesthesiology, Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer, Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations, National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy, and the Project Management Institute.
The examinations developed under the direction of Dr. Henderson are highly regarded as reliable, often innovative, content-valid instruments for assessing professional competence. He has extensive experience in the design, analysis, and equating of a wide variety of high-stakes certification and licensure examinations. Under Dr. Henderson’s leadership, Castle has conducted numerous national and international practice analysis and role delineation studies for clients.
Dr. Henderson’s psychometric expertise is widely recognized. He served as chair and psychometrician for the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), which is the accreditation body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE). Prominent in his service to NCCA was his leadership of the various task forces that researched, wrote, and validated the accreditation standards that NCCA has used since 2002. He was also a member of ICE’s Board of Directors. More recently he chaired the ICE Research Committee and is a member of ICE’s Leadership Council and the Assessment-Based Certificate Standard Development Committee. He wrote the chapter on Job Analysis for both editions of the ICE textbook entitled Certification: The ICE Handbook. Dr. Henderson has also served as an advisor to the National Skills Standards Board, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. For eight years he served as Governor Mike Easley’s appointee to the North Carolina Commission on Workforce Development and the State Programs, Planning, and Evaluation Committee, through which he was instrumental in writing the state’s strategic plan for workforce development.
Dr. Henderson obtained his doctorate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After completing doctoral study, Dr. Henderson served as assistant professor at the State University of New York at Cortland. He has published numerous articles and made national presentations on a variety of psychometric topics.
Mr. Boersma leads our business development and marketing teams working closely with Castle Worldwide’s current and prospective clients to identify the most advantageous solutions to a variety of testing and e-learning program needs and requirements.
Throughout his professional career, Mr. Boersma has been engaged in sales and marketing leadership in the testing, magazine publishing, consulting, and education industries. Mr. Boersma has been deeply involved in the testing field, developing and delivering high-stakes examinations. In a previous position with Pearson VUE, he was responsible for identifying and developing new markets and customers for electronic testing, with a primary focus on licensure and certification exams in professional and educational segments. And later, at Measurement Incorporated, he drove that organization’s expansion into the certification and licensure testing marketplace. Prior to his years in the testing industry, his experience included management positions with The New York Times, CBS and Hearst Corporation.
Mr. Boersma holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in economics and political science from Duke University and an M.B.A. in marketing from the University of Connecticut.
Mr. Greene is a veteran of the testing industry. He joined Castle Worldwide in 1996. As the leader of test delivery, Mr. Greene manages the teams responsible for Internet-based and paper-based test delivery; candidate services including registration, eligibility review, and scheduling; and fulfillment services including printing, shipping, scoring, and issuing certificates. Mr. Greene and his team have created one of the largest global testing networks in the industry and provide the widest range of test delivery options to meet the industry’s needs. The options range from testing through Castle’s Authorized Center Network to testing via remote proctoring. He has led his team to becoming the first test delivery team in the world to have its proctor training process be accepted as full applicant for accreditation by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). He is also an active member of the National College Testing Association (NCTA).
Prior to joining Castle, Mr. Greene served as a school counselor and coach in North Carolina’s Wake County Public School System. As a counselor, he managed the counseling and guidance services for more than 500 students, was involved with several standardized testing programs, and served on the crisis team, scholarship committee, and students-at-risk program.
Mr. Greene holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a Master of Education degree in school counseling, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Mrs. Wendy Hinson is the director of human resources for Castle Worldwide. Her duties include employer relations; recruitment and new-hire onboarding; management of payroll; identification of and compliance with legal requirements and government reporting regulations; management of employee benefits, including: medical, dental, life Insurance, and 401k plan; and management of facility security systems.
Mrs. Hinson has been with Castle for the past 4 years. She is a member of the executive team and strategic planning team. She has a BS degree in political science from Meredith College and has worked 20+ years in human resources. Her passion is her family, which includes her husband and two sons. She enjoys playing tennis, gardening, and vacationing at the beach.
“Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.” – Henry David Thoreau
For more than 25 years, Ms. Hudson has served Castle Worldwide’s clients in a variety of roles, supporting new certification program development and maintenance of existing programs. As director of business development solutions, Ms. Hudson assists existing and prospective clients with developing testing and e-learning solutions that meet the unique needs of each organization. Ms. Hudson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from North Carolina State University.
Ms. Hudson enjoys spending time with family, reading, saltwater fishing and walking at the beach and in the mountains.
As vice president of client services, Mr. Pedigo is responsible for Castle Worldwide’s psychometric, test development, accreditation, and testing program management consulting practices.
For over 18 years, Mr. Pedigo has created, managed, and advised private industry leaders and government agencies on the creation, management, and improvement of certification and measurement programs. Prior to joining Castle in 2005, Mr. Pedigo was a founding partner of Caveon Test Security and executive director of ITCSC, a large information technology trade group dedicated to the protection of its members’ intellectual property. Earlier, he created unprecedented success as the founding director of Oracle Corporation’s global Certified Professional Program, general manager responsible for revitalizing Sun Microsystems’ global Certification Program, and founding manager of Adobe Systems’ Certification Program.
Mr. Pedigo is currently serving a second term on the Personnel Certification Accreditation Committee (PCAC) of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which is responsible for accreditation of testing programs with the ISO/IEC 17024 global standard. He also serves on several committees of the Association of Test Publishers. He regularly speaks on business management, innovation, strategy, and organizational culture.
Mr. Pedigo holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington in political economy and an M.B.A with an emphasis in organizational development from City University in Seattle, Washington.
Mr. Bryan Reel is the CTO for Castle Worldwide, directing the strategic long-term goals, policies and procedures for the IT department and overseeing the organization’s systems needs analysis, acquisition, and maintenance of all information processing equipment. Previously the senior software engineer for Castle’s Agile Design Environment (ADE), Mr. Reel led the team of multi-discipline developers in creating the Silverlight-based, highly complex content management system, serving as both the primary architect and the lead developer.
Mr. Reel offers more than 12 years of professional experience in software system architecture and development within the intelligence and defense communities with a strong track record of technical leadership and enterprise-level technical business strategies. His specialties include advanced data visualization, GIS, modeling and simulation, forms collection, and decision support systems.
Prior to joining Castle, Mr. Reel was principal developer and architect and technical team manager at CC Intelligent Solutions, where he worked on various independent and small team efforts, creating application solutions for clients in the defense, national security, and government sectors. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in software engineering and computer science from North Carolina State University, as well as a Master of Science degree in computer science from American University.
As the CFO for Castle Worldwide, Mr. Smith is responsible for corporate financial reporting, audit, treasury, tax, internal controls, and corporate governance. Mr. Smith is a successful, multidisciplinary executive with 20 years of experience in corporate accounting, finance, and human resources in addition to being a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant.
Prior to joining Castle, Mr. Smith served as the CFO for A&K Global Health, where he oversaw the development of the finance, accounting, and human resource functions for this startup company that facilitates global health care travel. Previously, Mr. Smith served as the vice president of finance and administration for TowerCo, the fifth largest cell tower owner in the United States, where he managed the corporate accounting, finance, and human resources departments. While at TowerCo, he assisted with raising $440 million of debt and with the sale of the company for over $1.4 billion. Mr. Smith’s notable career also includes working as a division controller for K Hovnanian Homes, a Fortune 500 homebuilder, and as an auditor with Arthur Andersen.
Mr. Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from James Madison University, graduating magna cum laude. He is president of the Board of Directors for Horse & Buddy therapeutic riding program. Mr. Smith is also a member of the Institute of Management Accountants and the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants.
As a member of the business development team, Ms. Adams works closely with Castle Worldwide’s internal teams to develop strategic solutions and provide informative, responsive proposals and contracts to meet the needs of prospects and clients. Ms. Adams holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Science in technical communication from North Carolina State University.
An avid sports enthusiast and equestrian of 25+ years, Ms. Adams spends most of her time away from Castle in the endless pursuit of perfection in the sport of dressage, when not watching football on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays…and sometimes Thursdays.
“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” – James Cash Penney, Founder of JCPenney
Mr. Larry Allen, Castle Worldwide’s fulfillment manager, is a veteran in the testing industry with more than 15 years managing printing, shipping, receiving, scanning, and fulfillment activities at Castle. Under Larry’s leadership, the fulfillment team has a stellar track record of printing and/or processing high-quality examinations, examination materials, certificates, and other credentialing items securely, accurately and on time.
Larry grew up and was educated in North Carolina, where he continues to enjoy spending time with his family and engaging in a wide range of sports as a player, coach and fan.
“Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: NOW.” – Denis Waitley
Ms. Lisé Blandino is a senior consultant, testing & education specialist at Castle Worldwide. She has been with Castle for over 7 years in various positions. Her previous positions with Castle include client services executive and senior project manager for test development in the psychometrics department. Before working with Castle, Ms. Blandino worked for eight years as a project management professional, overseeing the development and administration of large, state-based examination programs. She has a strong background in medical science, with experience as an adjunct professor of biological sciences, a practicing biological scientist at the University of Florida, a marketing representative for a pharmaceutical company and a medical research assistant at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. Ms. Blandino holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Puerto Rico and a master’s degree in medical physiology from the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine. She has completed several graduate business courses working toward an M.B.A., she is fluent in Spanish and she has good knowledge of French and Italian. She loves to travel and enjoys studying foreign cultures and languages.
“To be prepared is half the victory.” – Miguel de Cervantes
Mr. Joe Brinn is a test developer at Castle Worldwide. Mr. Brinn assembles tests, facilitates meetings, and advises clients on the best practices of item writing. Mr. Brinn graduated with a bachelor’s in statistics and economics from North Carolina State University. Before Castle, he worked in the educational testing field as a psychometric assistant, item content reviewer, and as a project leader/designer. Mr. Brinn has a background in data analysis in which he has used Excel, WINSTEPS, and SAS.
Outside of Castle, Mr. Brinn is also a firefighter and emergency medical technician with the local fire department.
Dr. Sarah Carroll is a senior psychometrician at Castle Worldwide. She has extensive experience in licensure and certification examination development and program management, as well as the design and psychometric analysis of certification exams, noncognitive assessments, surveys/questionnaires and employment tests.
Dr. Carroll leads clients through key psychometric processes, including job-analysis studies, test and item-development efforts, standard setting, and statistical and psychometric analysis and reporting. She also consults on measurement issues and best practices, including accreditation consulting. She currently serves as a psychometric reviewer on the Institute for Credentialing Excellence’s (ICE) Assessment-Based Certificate Accreditation Committee.
Dr. Carroll is actively involved in research, has presented her research at numerous national and international conferences and has several peer-reviewed journal publications. She has been a member of research teams that have been recognized for research excellence, most recently as a recipient of the Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology’s 2013 Jeanneret Award for Excellence in the Study of Individual or Group Assessment. She earned her PhD and MSc in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.
Mr. Dave Cizek has been a test developer at Castle Worldwide since 2011 and is skilled at fluidly onboarding established certification organizations as well as helping organize startups across a variety of industries. Having received his undergraduate degrees in professional writing and in English literature from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 2006, he thrives at using technical writing skills to help create clear and reliable test questions for Internet- and paper-based testing. His project management experience and extensive history of facilitating in-person and web-based development activities have proved useful when establishing goal-oriented projects that avoid common difficulties and delays.
Mr. Joe Colafrancesco serves as Castle Worldwide’s IT director of system administration. His responsibilities include the day-to-day management of Castle’s server infrastructure and data-center operations. Mr. Colafrancesco also serves as the primary technical expert for all aspects of Castle’s network security, user PCs and internal applications.
Prior to joining Castle in 2012, Mr. Colafrancesco held various high-level IT positions in network and system administration. He attended Devry University, majoring in electrical engineering and computer science. He also has held or currently holds various industry-leading certifications from companies such as Microsoft and Cisco.
When not in the office, Mr. Colafrancesco enjoys time with his wife and two young children. He enjoys working in his garage, which serves as both a wood-working and electronics repair shop. If the Green Bay Packers are playing, he is watching. If they are playing the Denver Broncos, then it’s a rough day-born in Wisconsin, raised in Colorado. When not at home, you can find him on the lake with his Jet Ski.
“Let’s go invent tomorrow rather than worrying about what happened yesterday.” – Steve Jobs
Mr. Alfonso Espitia is the IT director of client services. His responsibilities include the management of new requests for current and prospective clients, as well as the update and maintenance of the Castle PASS candidate-testing engine. Mr. Espitia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science, as well as a minor in philosophy, and is a Microsoft Certified Professional.
Outside of work, Mr. Espitia likes to keep up with current technology trends, music and movies, and enjoys photography and video games as well.
“Nothing reinforces a professional relationship more than enjoying success with someone.” – Harold Ramis
Dr. Sean Gasperson is a psychometrician at Castle Worldwide. He has psychometric and test development experience in the certification and licensure industry. Dr. Gasperson also has experience conducting and managing data analysis and training initiatives for government and nonprofit clients.
Dr. Gasperson earned his PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from North Carolina State University. He earned his master’s degree in General/Theoretic Psychology (Industrial/Organizational concentration) from East Carolina University, and a bachelor of arts in psychology from Southern Wesleyan University. In his spare time, Sean enjoys watching and playing sports, reading, music, and being outdoors.
“The road to success is always under construction.”- Arnold Palmer
Mrs. Robin Gault-Winton is Castle Worldwide’s director of learning solutions. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Wake Forest University and her master’s degree in social work from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She has certificates in neurolinguistic programming, instructional design, and e-learning. She has put her formal education and the additional lessons of life to use as a therapist, trainer, consultant, instructional designer and performance-improvement director. Her areas of professional interest include gerontology, mental health, instructional design, e-learning development, and organizational effectiveness. Outside of the office, she relishes time with family, traveling and sharing a good laugh.
“The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.” – Brian Herbert
Ms. Julie Gill is Castle Worldwide’s director of Internet-based testing. Along with a team of testing coordinators, she works with Castle’s professional testing center network to ensure smooth center operations and positive testing experiences for Castle candidates. Ms. Gill holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Providence College in Providence, RI. Mom to Sean, 8, and Leah, 4, she finds much joy in their activities: karate, baseball, gymnastics, and soccer to name a few!
Mr. Grant Hamm is the IT architect for Castle Worldwide and the project lead for Castle’s Agile Design Environment (ADE). Mr. Hamm leads the team of multidiscipline developers in creating the HTML5-based, highly complex content-management system, serving as both the primary architect and the lead developer. Additionally, Mr. Hamm is responsible for the integration and addition of new key technologies that further the IT goal of excellent service. Mr. Hamm offers more than 15 years of professional experience in software system architecture and development within a variety of communities, ranging from big-data analysis for nonprofits to predictive analytics for health care and agricultural communities. His specialties include spatial analysis/GIS, predictive modeling, and large-scale solution design and integration. Before joining Castle, Mr. Hamm was a developer for aWhere, a GIS and big-data analytics company specializing in optimization of agricultural development efforts for large groups such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Mr. Hamm holds a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural business management from North Carolina State University.
Susie Castellanos Hansley has worked with Castle Worldwide since July 2014 as a Proposal and Contract Administrator in the Business Development division. She enjoys researching what clients and potential clients need and articulating the ways Castle can fulfill those needs.
Prior to joining Castle, Dr. Hansley worked in academia and technical communication. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Brown and an M.S. in Technical Communication from North Carolina State University. Dr. Hansley finds that much of what makes for a successful academic and technical communicator also makes for a successful proposal and contract writer: being analytical, detail-oriented, and concise while paying attention to the intended audience’s needs.
Dr. Hansley is a first-generation Mexican American with full Spanish fluency and originally hails from San Diego, California. She enjoys running, likes most animals (including dogs, cats, snakes, and spiders – but not mosquitoes!), and loves spending time with family and friends over a beer or some homemade Mexican food.
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” –Maya Angelou
Ms. Jessica Harney works as a member of the candidate services team to help provide front-line support to candidates regarding the registration process for their certification or licensure examinations. She graduated with a B.S. in business administration. Outside of Castle Worldwide, she enjoys hiking, CrossFit, home-restoration projects, dogs, gardening, listening to all types of music and reading anything and everything.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs
As director, proposals and contracts, Ms. Tracie Hickman manages all aspects of the proposal development process across internal and external stakeholders. This results-driven position requires development strategies, partner relationships, and psychometric and technical insight to prepare proposals that conform to the expectations and evaluation criteria outlined in the request for proposals. Before her role as director, proposal and contracts, Ms. Hickman held the roles of client services executive; senior project manager, test development, proposal/contract administrator, and senior editor at Castle Worldwide.
Before joining Castle in 1999, Ms. Hickman worked in publishing and public relations. She holds a master’s degree in mass communication from the University of Georgia, and she received her bachelor’s degree in English from Elon University.
Away from the office, Ms. Hickman enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. Her favorite things include to-do lists, new pens, shoes, lobster rolls, the Red Sox, thunderstorms, and people watching. And, she can run in heels.
“No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft.” – H.G. Wells
Mr. Daniel Jacobson is a test developer at Castle Worldwide and has many years of experience working with licensing and certification examination programs. He focuses specifically on the examination development process, including item writer training, item banking, and examination assembly. Mr. Jacobson also assists in the preparation and review of statistical analyses and technical reports on the examination programs he maintains.
Mr. Jacobson holds a Master of Arts degree in industrial and organizational psychology from Hofstra University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Purchase College, State University of New York.
Mr. Jacobson is originally from Long Island, New York, and moved to North Carolina to get away from the hustle and bustle of New York City. In his spare time, he enjoys going to car shows, traveling the world, and taking part in outdoor activities – especially going to the beach.
“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Mr. Harp Kenth manages the reporting and budgetary processes at Castle Worldwide, actively partnering with senior management and key stakeholders to drive meaningful financial analytics and customer-centric solutions. Before joining Castle, he worked with some of the largest companies in biotechnology and power generation. With extensive experience in corporate finance and accounting, he spearheaded the integration of accounting operations of an acquisition company, drafted and developed policies and procedures and developed complex financial modeling solutions.
Mr. Kenth holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto, and he began his professional career in a “big five” public accounting firm in Canada. He is also licensed as a Chartered Professional Accountant in Ontario. A lover of music and the arts, he enjoys a healthy lifestyle, which includes exercise and sports.
As Castle Worldwide’s senior managing editor, Mrs. Meredith Kuny works directly with both editorial and psychometrics staff to review, format, and publish test items, examination forms, and other process-dependent reports and documents. Additionally, she co-leads the psychometrics business requirements team for Castle’s Agile Design Environment (ADE™).
Before joining Castle, Mrs. Kuny received her bachelor’s degree in English, as well as a minor in theatre arts, from Elon University in Elon, North Carolina. She also worked as an educator, teaching high school English in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and in rural North Carolina. In her free time, Mrs. Kuny enjoys tap dancing, reading, and spending time with her husband and dog.
“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” – Dr. Seuss
Ms. Jeanna LaMotte-Kerr works closely with clients to train subject matter experts in developing high-quality items. She facilitates both in-person and web-based instructional meetings, conducts psychometric reviews of new and revised examination items, and assembles examination forms according to the examination blueprint. Ms. LaMotte-Kerr also assists in the preparation and review of statistical analyses and technical reports on the examination programs she maintains.
Prior to joining Castle Worldwide, Ms. LaMotte-Kerr excelled as both an educator and a technical writer, and she lends her considerable expertise in these areas to the process of developing high-quality examinations. Ms. LaMotte-Kerr holds a Master of Science degree in education and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and women’s studies from the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. Outside of Castle, you will find her running half-marathons and 10K races, reading, cycling, and working on DIY repurposing projects.
“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” – Maya Angelou
Mr. Chris Lloyd is the director of scoring and data administration. An employee of Castle Worldwide since 1992, he offers extensive experience in the realm of database management, data integration, data visualization, and process-management solutions. In addition to the oversight of the scoring department, Mr. Lloyd also provides technical support to the team members in the psychometric department.
Mr. Lloyd is a native North Carolinian, but has lived in far-away places such as London, England and Athens, Greece. He received a B.S. in computer science from North Carolina State University. His interests outside of the office include cooking, tennis, bowling, golf, running, traveling, and most recently, being a grandfather.
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing.” Pele
Ms. Lloyd, the manager for paper-based testing at Castle Worldwide, joined Castle’s team in 2006. She oversees the administration of exams throughout the world, managing the activities of testing coordinators, test-site administrators, and testing venues.
Her focus is on maintaining integrity in all that she does and ensuring administration of high-quality testing events.
Outside of Castle, Ms. Lloyd enjoys traveling, with her favorite destinations being Spain and Aruba. She also enjoys spending time with her loved ones and being involved in her church community. Ms. Lloyd holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from the State University of New York at Geneseo.
“It takes less time to do a thing right than to explain why you did it wrong.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Mr. Kristopher Merkler serves as the senior client services executive for several Castle Worldwide clients. He is responsible for the successful implementation and maintenance of multiple named strategic client testing and training programs. As senior client services executive, Mr. Merkler also serves as the principal communication channel between the client and Castle to ensure client satisfaction with delivered services. Mr.Merkler develops and maintains complete, up-to-date documentation, including project plans, scopes of work, and business rules. He also ensures that the various departments involved fulfill their commitments and maintain adequate service-level agreements relative to timelines, quality standards and budget.
Mr. Merkler earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale University where he gained considerable expertise in psychology statistics and research methods in social psychology. In his free time, he enjoys playing ice hockey and spending time with his family.
“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.” – Pat Riley
Mr. Jorge Negron joined Castle Worldwide eight years ago, taking on the role of revenue/billing analyst. Mr. Negron has played an integral part in implementing billing and collection procedures for 80+ clients, guiding toward a low DSO, obtaining and maintaining positive cash flow. He also maintains and reconciles monthly revenue, accrued revenue and deferred revenue for each contract based on contract terms and project launch status in accordance with GAAP. He performs monthly reconciliation and analysis on accounts receivable and allowance for uncollectible accounts. Mr. Negron holds an A.S. degree in criminal justice from NCC and attended Strayer University for accounting.
Mr. Negron is originally from Long Island, NY and is also fluent in Spanish. He is kept busy with a very active family-wife Brenda and two sons, Alex and Luke. He enjoys participating in marathons and big muddy challenges and loves playing football and volleyball. Also in his spare time, he likes to write about himself in the third person.
“Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.” – Margaret Thatcher
As a project coordinator, Mrs. Courtney Pair is the primary point of contact for clients for all Castle Worldwide services, including psychometrics, information technology, test administration, scoring, editing/publications, and finance. Mrs. Pair is tasked with monitoring the overall program and lending assistance in planning both short- and long-term objectives for the program. She maintains project plans and provides status updates to internal and external project team members.
A highly experienced program manager with more than 12 years of experience, Mrs. Pair has managed programs through team facilitation and within a matrix environment. She has a demonstrated track record of success in relationship building, decision-making, and communicating. Her problem-solving and budget management skills allow her to analyze all aspects of a program and identify processes for improvement and areas for efficiency improvement.
Mrs. Pair has a passion for learning and developing new skills, as demonstrated through her personal pursuit of a graduate certificate in information systems management. In addition, she holds a Master of Business Administration degree in management from North Carolina Central University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
As the marketing coordinator, Ms. Paraskos is responsible for trade show planning and logistics, marketing and sales collateral projects, digital and traditional advertising projects, company content development schedules and social media. She also manages all external vendors and serves as the point of contact for outsourced projects and event-related matters.
An Ohio native, she holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Ohio Northern University. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking and sunshine.
Mrs. Diana Patten is the director of psychometrics. She manages Castle Worldwide’s test-development staff and pro- vides leadership and consultation in directing internal processes and procedures and in conducting internal and external project evaluations. Before joining Castle, Mrs. Patten worked as an English teacher both domestically and abroad, using her Bachelor of Science degree in secondary English education from East Carolina University to instruct students in North Carolina and in Okinawa, Japan. When she is not at Castle fulfilling her managerial duties, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, Isadora, and husband, Jason, and creating mixed-media art in her home studio.
“Whatever makes you weird is probably your greatest asset.” – Joss Whedon
Mr. James Pennington is the IT director of special projects, directing multiple IT projects that bring new capabilities and enhance efficiency of Castle Worldwide services.
Mr. Pennington has more than 15 years of experience in software architecture and development within the testing, medical and defense sectors. His specialties include web application development, data visualization and database systems. Mr. Pennington holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University and is also a Microsoft Certified Professional. When Mr. Pennington is not in the office, he enjoys spending time with family, reading and tinkering with computers.
“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”- Albert Einstein
Dr. Jim Penny is a senior psychometrician, and he has held that position since 2002. His educational background is somewhat eclectic with a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, master’s degree in science education from North Carolina State University, and a Ph.D. in educational research methodology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
In his spare time, he enjoys tending to his orchid collection, long-distance running, and long obstacle races. He will tell you one of his more thrilling Saturdays occurred when he completed a Tough Mudder with his three children, their spouses, and a team of Castle Worldwidee colleagues. Regarding psychometrics and Castle, the field comes with a natural tension because of the effects our decisions have on the lives of test takers. Occasionally, this tension finds its way into the Castle workplace, but the incursion is short-lived because Castle goes out of its way to maintain an inviting and welcoming atmosphere that arguably renders the company one of the better employers in the area.
Mr. Andrew Penvose is manager for Castle Worldwide’s special test delivery programs. In this role, Mr. Penvose oversees testing that occurs via live online proctoring (LOP) and test delivery at facilities operated by Castle clients. Mr. Penvose manages the daily operations and administration of LOP delivery and testing at client sites and works to maintain a high level of candidate satisfaction during the testing process.
Mr. Penvose holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a dual concentration in operations management and management and leadership. In his free time, he enjoys traveling and road trips, making others laugh, visiting aquariums and museums, going to the movies, trying new restaurants and learning to play the banjo.
Ms. Kelly Powers is the IT director of project management, working with Castle Worldwide CSEs and client sponsors to plan and manage all major IT project initiatives within Castle. She has a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In her spare time, she likes to cook, explore new places, try new DIY home-improvement projects and spend time with her children.
“So be sure when you step, step with care and great tact. And remember that life is a great balancing act.” – Dr. Seuss
Ms. Gina Puckett is currently responsible for managing four employees, all invoice approval, cash management, internal processes for daily accounting functions, electronic-based transactions for payment and credit, work-flow management, month-end close with general ledger management and reconciliation for financial reporting. She has been with Castle Worldwide for the past 17 years, moving up through the accounting ranks, and has held her present position for the past 9 years. She currently has a position on the business operations management team and has assisted with many special projects and policy/process initiatives across departments. Ms. Puckett attended 2 years of community college in Northern California before moving to the East Coast. Having 30+ years in the accounting and finance arena, she has worked with many companies including Bank of America, Lowe’s Home Centers and Capital One. Her passion is family and community service. She enjoys painting, gardening and riding motorcycles.
“In the end it is not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln
As a client services executive, Mike Reid is responsible for the successful implementation and maintenance of multiple client testing and training programs. Mr. Reid serves as the principal communication channel between the client and Castle Worldwide and ensures client satisfaction with delivered services. Mr. Reid develops and maintains complete, up-to-date documentation, including project plans, scopes of work, and business rules. He also ensures that the various departments involved fulfill their commitments and maintain adequate service-level agreements relative to timelines, quality standards and budget.
Mr. Reid has 18 years of experience in testing and certification – prior to joining Castle, he was involved in certification management, delivery, and marketing with Cisco Systems. He holds an M.Sc. in computer science and a B.Mus/B.Mus-Ed in education from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. In his spare time, he enjoys photography and early music.
As a senior test developer at Castle Worldwide, Mr. Cameron Shumay facilitates the development of high-quality, job-related examination items for credentialing examinations. Mr. Shumay reviews items for psychometric integrity, manages examination item banks, assembles examinations according to the test specifications and facilitates examination review and test-publishing activities. Mr. Shumay has experience in the field of education and has as of late presented at the 43rd Annual North Carolina Science Teachers Association (NCSTA) Conference. He presented on evaluating best practices, integrating technology into the class- room. Mr. Shumay holds a Master of Educational Administration and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada. Outside of Castle, you will find him wakeboarding,
gardening, reading or watching indie movies.
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
As project operations manager, Ms. Kerry Soltysinski works with Castle Worldwide staff to maintain project schedules related to internal and client work in order to ensure that each project is completed in the time frame expected with the correct resources and on budget. She also manages operational enhancements and programs throughout the organization.
Ms. Soltysinski started her professional career in social science research before transitioning into the finance industry. For 10 years, she worked in marketing, research, analysis and testing, reporting, strategic planning, and database management. This experience provided Ms. Soltysinski with the varying business perspectives that led her into a project management role in 2009. She found a love for project management and has been completing project-related work since then.
Ms. Soltysinski holds a Master of Business Administration degree in marketing management from St. Bonaventure University and a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology from the University of Buffalo in Buffalo, New York.
In her spare time, Ms. Soltysinski enjoys cooking, the outdoors (hiking, camping, and exercising), and pretty much anything that involves water.
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” – Jimmy Dean