Dwyer Workforce Development


Our Board

Daniel Baird, President 

Daniel Shehan Baird is the Chief Operating Officer of Capital Funding Group, Inc., a creative healthcare and multifamily financing organization, and Chief Financial Officer of CFG Bancorp.

Prior to joining Capital Funding Group, Baird worked for other local Baltimore firms including E. Stewart Mitchell, Willis Corroon, and Mackenzie and Associates.

Active in his community, he has served as President of Loyola High School Alumni Association Board, as well as on the boards of the Sherwood Forest Club and Boys Hope Girls Hope of Baltimore.

He holds an MBA and undergraduate degree from the Sellinger School of Business at Loyola College of Baltimore. Baird resides in Annapolis with his wife Leslie and four children. He spends his free time boating, hunting, and fishing.

Daren Cortese, Secretary

Daren Cortese is the CEO and President of Nursing Facility Solutions, LLC. Prior to this, Cortese owned and operated Brinton Woods Senior Living, in Lutherville, Maryland, for more than 15 years. He has more than 30 years of operations, financial management, and merger and acquisitions experience in the long-term care and health care industries.

Cortese is also Chairman of the Board for Health Facilities Association of Maryland (HFAM) and has completed the acquisition or divestiture of more than 140 skilled nursing facilities with a combined value of more than $500 million.

He holds an MBA from Johns Hopkins University and a BS in economics from the College of New Jersey. He currently resides in Lutherville, MD.


Patricia Gibson, Treasurer

Patricia Gibson, CFA, is the Founding Principal and CEO of Banner Oak Capital Partners in Texas.

Before founding Banner Oak, Gibson was the President of Hunt Realty Investments, where she led the commercial real estate investment management activities for the Hunt family of companies, and held senior positions at Goldman Sachs’ real estate subsidiary, where she oversaw portfolio management and capital market efforts for more than $4 billion in commercial real estate assets.

She is currently a member of the executive council of the University of Texas Real Estate Finance Council, the Vice-Chairman of the Industrial and Office Parks Council of ULI, and on the Board of Directors of The Real Estate Council of Dallas, and Pacolet Milliken Enterprises, and past Chair of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers.

Gibson holds an MBA from the University of Connecticut and a BS in finance from Fairfield University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Tony Carvajal, Member

Tony Carvajal, CEO of the Association of Florida Colleges and the Florida College System Council of Presidents, has a long history in public policy and organizational leadership. He has worked at TaxWatch and The Able Trust, a foundation committed to helping Floridians with disabilities and Florida employers achieve their shared goal: meaningful and sustainable work that produces results. He recently completed a decade of service as the Executive Vice President at the Florida Chamber Foundation where he focused on identifying solutions to challenges facing the state and developing initiatives for a vibrant and sustainable economy.

Carvajal regularly is called on for guidance and insights into state-level plans and has served on numerous policy-steering committees covering topics such as early learning, workforce development, economic development, transportation, healthcare, volunteerism, civic infrastructure, philanthropy, and smart justice.

Since 2000, he has also served as the “Prime Mover, Problem-Solver, and Calmer of Chaos” at Carvajal Consulting and Management.

In addition to his research background, Carvajal also currently serves on the Florida Commission on Ethics.

Carvajal and his wife, Allison, live in Tallahassee and have one son.

Tom Geddes, Member

Tom Geddes is a partner and portfolio manager at Brown Advisory in the firm’s family office practice.

Geddes previously served as the founder and CEO of Plank Industries, a privately-held investment company owned by the founder of Under Armour. Before joining Plank Industries, Geddes was a partner with the Baltimore investment advisory firm Passive Capital Management and previously worked in the nonprofit sector.

Geddes served as Board Chair of MedStar Harbor Hospital and is a member of the National Advisory Council for President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.

He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and earned master’s degrees from the University of Cambridge and Johns Hopkins University.

Veronica Gonzalez, Member

Veronica Gonzales, Senior Vice President of Governmental and Community Relations at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), is a distinguished leader with a rich tapestry of experience spanning over two decades in both public and private sectors. Assuming her pivotal role at UTRGV in 2014, Gonzales has been instrumental in fostering crucial relationships between the university and various governmental and community entities.

Gonzales was recognized as a “Super Lawyer” on four occasions by Texas Super Lawyers and earning the esteemed title of one of “30 Extraordinary Women in Law” by Texas Lawyer. Her impact extends beyond the legal realm; she served with distinction in the Texas House of Representatives for four terms, notably chairing the Border and Intergovernmental Affairs Committees for two of those terms. As the first female elected to represent District 41 and the sole female representative from the Rio Grande Valley, Gonzales has broken barriers and garnered accolades, including the “Legislative Champion Award” and the “Patient Advocacy Award.” Her remarkable contributions have earned her national recognition, being named one of eight “Ultimate Latinas” in the nation by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Gonzales’ commitment to service extends to her involvement in the community, where she sits on numerous boards throughout the Rio Grande Valley, further solidifying her reputation as a dedicated advocate and leader. With a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Southwest Texas State University and a law degree from The University of Texas at Austin, her expertise, combined with her passion for advocacy and community engagement, continues to leave an indelible mark on the Rio Grande Valley and beyond.

Nicole Kaufman, Member

With 20+ years of organizational design and team development experience, Kaufman successfully launched Everest Management Solutions, a boutique operations strategy and development firm generating more than 1.5 million in revenue in its first year. As an expert talent acquisition and retention strategist, she continues to support Everest in her role as Innovation Advisor and simultaneously serves as Chief People Officer at Air Protein, LLC.

She has more than 15 years of leadership experience in various areas of senior housing. Prior to founding Everest, Kaufman served as Chief Development Officer and Vice president of Operations for Compass Point Healthcare, and vice president of business development at Savia Senior Care.

As a DWD Board Member and Chair of the Grant and Scholarship Committee, Kaufman has “the opportunity to support a program that encourages students to thrive in a healthcare career, positions them for career advancement, and assists in the removal of barriers to continued success.”

Kaufman obtained her BS in education focused on communication sciences and disorders from The University of Georgia. She lives in Houston with her husband and two daughters.


Mel Martínez, Member 

Melquíades (Mel) Rafael Ruiz Martínez is a Cuban-American lobbyist and former politician who served as a United States senator from Florida from 2005 to 2009 and as general chairman of the Republican Party from November 2006 until October 19, 2007. Previously, Martínez served as the 12th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President George W. Bush. He resigned as general chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2007 and the Senate in 2009.

Martínez immigrated to the United States through Operation Pedro Pan, a Catholic initiative rescuing thousands of children. Graduating from Florida State University and its College of Law, he embarked on a 25-year legal career in Orlando, advocating for justice and serving his community. With a commitment to bipartisan approaches, he entered politics, becoming the Mayor of Orange County and later a Florida Senator, championing pragmatic governance.

His journey from immigrant to public servant is documented in his autobiography, A Sense of Belonging; From Castro’s Cuba to the U.S. Senate, One Man’s Pursuit of the American Dream. From leading the Orlando Housing Authority to serving as Secretary of HUD, he devoted himself to expanding homeownership and supporting communities, particularly minority and low-income families. Martínez recently retired as Chairman of the Southeast U.S. and Latin America for JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Barb Clapp, Ex-oficio

Barb Clapp joined Dwyer Workforce Development as the CEO in 2021. She was chosen to transition Dwyer Workforce Development as a new venture from concept to a full-scale, national workforce development organization. In her role, she leads nonprofit program development, operations, strategic partnerships, marketing tactics, and board development while leveraging past entrepreneurial and nonprofit success to develop an immediate and sustainable market presence.

A successful entrepreneur and national business leader, Barb was the founder and CEO of Clapp Communications, an international communications company that she sold in 2019 with the goal of taking her expertise into the nonprofit world. Barb has received numerous awards for her leadership which include, most recently, the Public Relations Society of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award; The Daily Record’s Most Influential Marylander, Most Admired CEO, and Top 100 Women; and an induction into both the Circle of Leadership and Circle of Excellence.

She also serves on the boards of the Baltimore Public Markets Corporation, Signal 13 Foundation, and Maryland SPCA. As a committed community advocate, she has previously served on The Humane Society of the United States Humane Policy Leaders, as chair of the Maryland SPCA’s March for the Animals, as a sponsor of the American Diabetes Association CEOs for Stopping Diabetes, on the Leadership Committee for the American Heart Association, and was a 2016 Alzheimer’s Association Memory Ball dancer. With a promise to give a voice to the voiceless, Barb shares the Dwyer family’s passion for building stronger communities through workforce development and improving senior care.

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