Operating Board

Al Ernst, President
Al Ernst is a 1974 cum laude graduate of Wayne State University (Detroit) School of Law. For 35 years, Al was with Dykema Gossett, where he directed the firm’s Energy and Public Utility Group. He has acted as general counsel to several non-profits, including the Michigan Easter Seal Society and a number of rural electric cooperative utilities and trade associations.Al has served on the board of for-profits, including Utility Supply and Construction Corporation and ITC Transmission Holdings Corp. He has also served as an energy consultant to the US Department of Energy, the General Services Administration and the US Department of Defense. Al has been listed in Best Lawyers in America, The Super-Lawyers, and was named Best Energy Lawyer in Michigan’s State Capitol.


Norm Cohen, Vice President
Norman Cohen has a passion for developing leaders and has served as an Executive Coach and speaker for The John Maxwell Company. Norman is the CEO of Leadership Builder, LLC a training organization dedicated to helping people become better leaders. He has over 40 years of experience in the home building industry. For over 25 years, he has served on the board of the National Association of Home Builders. Previously, has served on the board of Temple Emanu-El, Vistage International, and as a managing member of Camelot Signature Development, LLC.


Ron Paler, Secretary
Ron Paler, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee alum, has been in the health care industry for over 40 years. Ron began his career as a purchasing agent and would later become president and Chief Operating Officer for one of the largest long-term care purchasing groups in the U.S. A natural entrepreneur, he developed a physical, occupational, speech and respiratory therapy company that expanded into four states. In 2002, he created another company to help provide medications to individuals who needed assistance reducing the cost of their medications. His company Orthomed LLC., provided services and consulting to orthopedic hospitals, institutional pharmacies, sports clinics and a major hospital group in Wisconsin. He recently sold two of these companies to free up his time to enjoy Florida living. Ron has served on the board of the Wisconsin Hospital Purchasing Association, Beth El Ner Tamid in Milwaukee, and a number of condominium boards.


Kenneth Stock, Trustee
Kenneth Stock is a past president of the Aviva Jewish Housing Foundation Operating Board and has served on that board since 2000. He was vice president and chief financial officer with Liberty House Department Stores in California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Texas. He was controller of F and R Lazarus and owned a chain of retail stores.Ken has served on the boards of Jewish Federation, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, and All Faiths Food Bank. Ken is a Business Administration graduate of Rutgers University, and is a veteran who served in the US Army.


Martin Marcus, Trustee
Martin Marcus most recently was president of Medical Records Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio, a company that utilized more than 2,000 employees in 40 offices throughout the U.S. From 1998 to 2001, he was president of the Cleveland Jewish News, a not-for-profit weekly independent newspaper.Martin is known for his support of non-profit organizations such as the Salvation Army of Cleveland and the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. He is currently on the Board of Trustees for both organizations. He also is a Life Trustee and foundation treasurer for Menorah Park Center for Senior Living in Cleveland.


Henry Mason, Trustee
Henry Mason is a New York native and holds an M.B.A. in International Marketing and Finance from Columbia University. Henry is the founder of Precision Plastic Ind. Inc., a specialty packaging manufacturing company based on a Patent I obtained for film packaging. In 2001, Henry purchased Sanders Laboratories, Inc., an Environmental Test Laboratory with labs in Nokomis and Fort Myers FL. After thirty successful years, Henry sold Precision Plastic Ind. Inc., in 2002. He continues to serve as president of Sanders Laboratories, Inc. Henry and his wife Ellen have called the Sarasota community home since 1998.


Hyman Polakoff, Trustee
A founding partner of Brock, Schechter & Polakoff, LLC, Hyman Polakoff is a CPA and graduate of the University of Buffalo. His specialties are in estate planning, business valuations, structuring and restructuring companies and business consulting.Before moving to Florida, Hyman was active in the NYSSCPA (New York State Society of CPAs) and served as president of the Estate Analysts of Western New York. Hyman is also a past treasurer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo, past president of Temple Beth Zion, past chairman of the Jeanette Weinberg Campus, and past president of the Rosa Coplon Home, all in NY.


Marc Lazarus, Trustee
Mark Lazarus is president and CEO of R & L Healthcare Advisors, a consulting firm with a track record of success helping managed care providers implement and improve their performance. Prior to that he served as the president and CEO of Sarasota Palms Hospital and as the CEO for Nu-Med Northwestern Institute in Fort Washington, PA, and Nu-Med Hampton Hospital in Willingboro, NJ.Mark holds a master’s degree in healthcare administration and has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including United Way Suncoast, Federation of American Healthcare Systems and as past president of YANA Foundation.


Merrill J. Forgotson, Trustee
Merril Jay Forgotson is a graduate of Boston University Law School and also holds a MBA. He is a former general counsel for Barclays American and former chief credit officer for People’s United Bank. He has also served as CEO of Cornerstone Bank, CEO of BNC Financial Group and as dean of the School of Business Administration at the University of Bridgeport.Jay has extensive experience working with nonprofits, having twice served as chair for the Anti-Defamation League of Connecticut, as well as being a trustee for numerous others. He is actively involved in Temple Emanu-El and the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee.


Seth I. Rosenberg, Trustee
Dr. Seth I. Rosenberg is an internationally recognized otologist/neurotologist and surgeon at the Silverstein Institute in Sarasota. A native of Poughkeepsie, NY, he graduated cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and received his M.D. from State University of New York Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse.He is a member of the prestigious Triological Society, having received its Mosher Award for his thesis, “The Natural History of Acoustic Neuromas” and was one of the youngest members ever invited to join the exclusive American Otological Society. Dr. Rosenberg also currently serves as vice president and education director for the Ear Research Foundation.

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