Thad Fortin

Elected: 2014
Current Term Ends: 2021
Committees: Institutional Advancement/Campaign (chair), Finance & Investment

Thad Fortin '81, who received a B.S. in business administration from Ithaca College, knows his way around the business world. He spent the majority of his professional life as CEO of Haas Group International, a chemical management company, retiring from Haas in 2014. There, he created a better mousetrap: recasting the company's business model to cut down on waste, launch greener solutions to old problems, and base incentives on service, not sales.

But Haas wasn't the only place where Thad cultivated his business acumen. Known as something of a "serial entrepreneur," Thad has initiated and pursued projects related to recycling and sustainability. He also has used his business savvy to complement his altruistic side. Right around the time he retired from Haas, Thad heard an ad on the radio asking for volunteers to help disabled veterans launch their start-ups. He stepped up, and participated in a pilot program based at St. Joseph's University (SJU) in Philadelphia that brought 20 disabled vets to campus for a week of lectures, workshops, and presentations, culminating in a Shark Tank-type event. He continues to work with SJU and their veterans' programs.

"It was incredibly rewarding," Thad says. "These are people who put a lot on the line to do something many of us cannot or would not."

Thad joined the college's board of trustees in 2014. He appreciates the advantages his IC experience gave him, and he's a dedicated alumnus. Thad has served on the college's Business Advisory Council and the President's Roundtable. He's provided internships for IC students, hosted new student welcome parties, and organized alumni get-togethers. In 2011, he was recognized by the alumni association with the Volunteer Service Award.

"I'm Ithaca's most underpaid ambassador," Thad jokes. "IC alumni, students, and families are a community I'm proud to be a part of. We need to stay connected."

Thad lives in the Philadelphia area with his wife, Mindy; they have three children.

What I love best about serving as a trustee:

The chance to give back and work with a great team.

Favorite memory from my student days:

Learning to live on my own and make new friends.