Utilizing strategies and tactics learned from his successful career as an entrepreneur and corporate leader, Arthur has begun to assemble top talent to put toward achieving his many goals.
Arthur’s plan is to assemble “Unique Ability Management Teams,” comprised of experts in a variety of fields and industries, each capable of tackling difficult tasks and producing superior results.
Jon Vasconcellos, Managing Member of VTX Ventures LLC
Mr. Vasconcellos is a Managing Member of VTX Ventures LLC, a financial management consulting firm founded in May, 2011. Drawing upon more than 20 years of experience in senior finance & management, Mr. Vasconcellos provides strategic and financial consulting services to businesses in various stages of development.
After an initial six years of experience at public accounting firm KPMG LLP where he gained experience in financial systems and management in a broad array of industries, Mr. Vasconcellos worked as Controller of Elmhurst College for three years, at which time he developed a love of the higher education industry.
Moving to the for-profit education industry, Mr. Vasconcellos worked as Controller for Sanford Brown College, a five-location subsidiary of a public company, Whitman Education Group. Next, Jon was promoted to Controller of the company’s 20-campus Associate Degree Division, and when Whitman Education Group was sold to Career Education Corporation, Mr. Vasconcellos was promoted to the position of Vice President of Finance.
In 2005, Mr. Vasconcellos began serving as Chief Financial Officer of ATI Schools & Colleges. While at ATI, he managed a wide variety of executive and financial areas, including accounting, financial reporting, real estate, legal, Financial Aid, Treasury, debt management, information technology, and M&A functions.
Mr. Vasconcellos has a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from Miami University, and is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Ohio.
Crawford Cragun, Managing Director of Cragun Rhees Strategic Advisors
Crawford is Managing Director of Cragun Rhees Strategic Advisors, a consulting firm he formed in 2010. Mr. Cragun has advised clients on innovative banking strategies, strategic bank investments and acquisitions, and prepaid card and payments opportunities.
Mr. Cragun has diverse experience leading new ventures and implementing innovative product, service and funding strategies for banking and financial services companies, including Ford Credit, Franklin Templeton Investments, Zions Bank, GE Capital, GMAC and Citibank. Mr. Cragun was President and CEO of Franklin Templeton Bank & Trust and then Ford Credit Bank from 1998 to 2010. Mr. Cragun is a CPA and holds an MBA from Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business.
Chris Adams, Owner, Adams Consulting Services
Mr. Adams possesses 15 years of legal, business development, sales and marketing experience with extensive expertise in the eCommerce industry. He currently operates Adams Consulting Services, which offers legal, business and management consulting services to both individuals and businesses.
Prior to starting his own business, Mr. Adams served as the Vice President of Business Development and Sales as well as Corporate Counsel with JustDeals.com for eight years. As VP of Business Development and Sales, Mr. Adams led the company’s sales and expansion domestically and internationally as well as its Mobile Commerce initiatives. As Corporate Counsel, he managed all legal and contractual matters.
Mr. Adams previously served four years with iDeal International as Director of Merchant Services and Corporate Counsel for their online marketplace DealDeal.com.
Mr. Adams holds a B.A. in history from Colgate University and a J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law.
Bill Kliewer, Managing Partner, BKCW Insurance
Bill Kliewer is currently the Managing Partner of Bigham, Kliewer, Chapman and Watts Insurance Agency, a regional insurance brokerage firm specializing in property, casualty insurance and employee benefits for businesses. Mr. Kliewer joined the agency in August of 1977 and was promoted to a Partner the following year and assumed the role of Managing Partner in 1980. Prior to joining Bigham, Kliewer, Chapman and Watts, he served his country as an officer in the United States Army.
In his role at Bigham, Kliewer, Chapman and Watts, Mr. Kliewer is responsible for leveraging his extensive understanding of insurance, financial and management experience to lead the organization in its ever expanding regional operations. Additionally, he is responsible for the design and implementation of risk management programs for middle market businesses. Beginning with a small local insurance agency, through intense sales efforts, niche marketing, management, benchmarking, acquisitions and recruitment of producers, BKCW has been honored by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America as a Best Practices Agency every year since 2000. The Agency has also received three Top Performing Agency distinctions in their size class from IIABA.
In addition to his role at Bigham, Kliewer, Chapman and Watts, Mr. Kliewer is an avid entrepreneur and has successfully founded over 20 companies In the insurance, financial, automotive and real estate industries.
A person with a huge belief in giving back to his community, Mr. Kliewer has been involved in virtually every aspect of making Central Texas a better place to work and live. He has served as Chairman of the Board of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce, President of The Central Texas Fort Hood Chapter of the Association of the United States Army, President of Killeen Industrial Foundation, Secretary of the Killeen Independent School District Board of Trustees, Treasurer of the Killeen Economic Development Corporation, Board Member of the Killeen Fort Hood United Way, Board Member of the Clements Boys and Girls Club, Volunteer Coach at the Clements Boys and Girls Club, President of the Ellison High School Quarterback Club, Sr. Warden of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Sunday school teacher at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, and numerous ther boards and committees.
Mr. Kliewer and his wife Mary have two children – John, who works in the automotive industry, and Meredith, a recent graduate of the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas.
Randy Proto, Former Chief Strategy Officer
Premier Education Group
Randy Proto, a close friend and business partner of Arthur Benjamin, died in August 2013 after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.
Mr. Proto worked on several ventures with Mr. Benjamin that spanned several decades.
Mr. Proto was a nationally recognized educator, entrepreneur and vocational student advocate. He advocated for student access and choice, and fought to improve the career education system by bringing compassion and understanding to the complicated issues surrounding Higher Education in the United States.
Mr. Proto served as a member of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU). Steadfast in his commitment to both vocational students and education, Randy worked diligently as an advocate for the students in private education.
He began his pursuit of education at Computer Processing Institute where he earned a diploma in Computer Programming, and quickly held a series of positions in both faculty and management, serving as Director of Admissions, Director of Education, and eventually Campus Director. He also attended Quinnipiac College, and performed all of the major functions in a school environment, including admissions, financial aid, instruction, finance, and career services.
From his management and shareholder capacity at Computer Processing Institute, Mr. Proto served as a shareholder and president of Rhodes Group, Inc., a chain of 10 non-degree granting schools accredited by a combination of ACICS and NATTS/ACCSC in four states with an enrollment of over 4,000 students.
After selling his interest in Rhodes Group in 1994, Mr. Proto served as president and chief operating officer of Whitman Education Group, a publicly held company that managed 23 degree and non-degree granting campuses accredited by a combination of ACICS, ABHES, and NCA agencies in 13 states with an enrollment of over 9,000 students.
Mr. Proto then served as a board member of ATI Enterprises, was a senior partner of EdExperts, LLC, a full service advertising agency, and served as the chief executive officer of American Institute from his corporate office in White Plains, NY. He also served as a board member of the Florida Association of Private Schools and Colleges.
In early 2013, he joined Connecticut-based Premier Education Group as their chief strategy officer.
He is survived by his wife Maria and son Christopher who reside in Weston, CT.