The RGF Group Team:
Rick Freeman, Founder
Rick has been providing marketing, training and technology solutions for over 30 years.
Rick launched RG Freeman Group, LLC in 2006.
His vision has been to help organizations improve their profitability and overall organizational effectiveness, through professional development that bridges the gap between “Just-in time skill needs and life-long learning”.
Prior to starting RGF Group, he had joined Boston University in 1992.
In 2001, he was one of the creators and Chief Business Development Officer at Boston University’s Education Affiliate Network; originally known as “Training Track” As the Chief Business Development Officer of the Boston University enterprise, he developed a network of Affiliates in over 40 Metro regions.
Before starting Boston University’s Partner Channel, he was the Director of the Training Consultant Group at the Boston University Corporate Education Center (BUCEC).
BUCEC was the largest professional development training center in New England, with 56 classrooms spread out over their 7 locations. Boston University Corporate Education Center trained over 200,000 IT Professionals and career transition students, in their very popular IT and Management Development Programs.
BUCEC's quality programs were validated worldwide, with winning Microsoft's Learning Solutions Partner of the Year Award at the Microsoft Fusion Conference in New Orleans in 1998.
Also, in 2001, BUCEC was recognized once again for their innovative training programs. They received from the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), their "Career Awareness Award", from a field of over 8,000 educational Institutions and training organizations from around the world.
In 1998, Rick also personally received a special recognition award from Microsoft Corporation, for his contribution to “Worldwide Excellence in Training.”
Before starting at Boston University in 1992, he was a Vice President of Sales and Marketing for seven years in the film and video production industry. Rick helped conceptualize and deliver over 100 successful corporate film and video projects on new technology products. While working at Rampion Visual Productions, he established the company as a “Preferred Vendor” for many corporations, including; Computervision, Hewlett Packard and Boston Scientific. Rampion won over 20 national and international awards, including best audio/visual presentation at Comdex and the internationally prestigious “Communicator’s Award”.
Rick has been a speaker at many conferences, and on radio and television. He is often quoted in trade publications, including Computerworld and Chief Learning Officer (CLO) Magazine.
Patrick van Abbema, PMP, CBAP, CSM, CSP, Lead BA Instructor and Chief Business Analyst
Patrick is a senior project advisor and chief business analyst at RG Freeman Group LLC and shares consulting expertise on Enterprise service strategies for various public and private sector clients across the USA, Canada, and Europe.
Patrick is a business professional with over 25 years of extensive B2B and B2C experience. He thrives in dynamic and challenging conditions that require initiative, teamwork, and creativity. He has strong analytical skills coupled with creative thought and the discipline to execute and manage projects to successful completion. Patrick is responsible for analyzing the business needs of his clients and acts as a liaison among stakeholders to elicit, analyze, communicate, and validate requirements for changes to business processes, policies, and information systems. He recommends solutions that enable organizations to achieve their business goals. He delivers several RGF Group workshops on Agile and Strategy Analysis. In 2009, Patrick was elected as President of the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) Ottawa-Outaouais Chapter.
- Bachelor of Arts and Master’s Certificate in Business Analysis, Sprott School of Business, Carleton University.
Vincent J. Bordo, MS, CBAP, Senior Agile and Business Analysis Instructor and Mentor
Vince has over 25 years of experience in the systems/business analysis field. His knowledge, compelling teaching style, and use of creative mentoring techniques are his trademark. Vince has presented at numerous conferences, seminars, webcasts, and trade shows, and has developed and rolled out corporate-wide programs for Agile/Scrum development for many companies. He was awarded the prestigious Pinnacle Award for Customer Satisfaction, an honor reserved for the top 2 percent of an elite group of consultants.
Vince has managed dozens of Agile projects as a ScrumMaster and helped numerous companies transition, adopt, and apply the principles and processes. He is an active member of the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). He has enabled over 300 companies to apply state-of-the-art Requirements Management techniques to their projects. His skills are unparalleled in:
- Enterprise analysis
- Business process modeling
- Requirements gathering techniques
- Use cases
- Requirements management
- Data modeling
- User acceptance testing (UAT)
- MS in Computer Design, Pennsylvania State University
- BS in Computer Science, Rutgers University
- AS in Electronics Technology, Camden County College
Laura Paton: MBA, CBAP, IIBA-AAC, PMP, PMI-PBA, CSM; Lead BA Writer, Consultant, and Trainer
Laura works closely with the other writers and instructors on the RGF Group team in providing the latest best practices for business analysis to help organizations improve their Enterprise business process skills and productivity. She has over 30 years of progressive IT experience, 20+ years in business analysis, 10+ years of IT project management, and over 10 years of BA management experience with the responsibility of overseeing BA resources, strategy, processes, standards, and tools. Her BA professional development contributions are:
- Chair of BABOK® 3.0 (2010 – 2014)
- Project manager IIBA® BABOK® version 2.0
- Lead author/chair PMI BA Practice Guide 2015 and 2017 PMI BABOK Guide
Laura has an extensive background working with formal development methodologies, including Agile. She has BA experience working in all phases of the SDLC and over 10 years as a BA/PM instructor at both the corporate and collegiate levels. Laura also has extensive experience working with volunteer teams to advance the practice of business analysis across the industry and the world, building standards, practice guides, and developing training and webinars.
- AS Computer Science, Cuyahoga Community College
- BS Management Information Systems, University of South Florida
- MBA University of Tampa
Lou Bergner, PMP, MBA, Senior BA and PM Instructor
In the course of Lou’s career, he has traveled widely and worked in industries from banking to manufacturing, teaching, and management in culturally diverse settings. These have been in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors.
Lou has more than 25 years of project management experience implementing and administering small to medium sized projects in several countries and industries as well as training and mentoring in project management and business analysis best practices. He has strong interpersonal and management skills and is comfortable working with culturally diverse staff. He blends a manager’s perspective with project management skills and an understanding of technology to serve the customer’s business processes needs.
- MBA, Master’s Degree in Business Administration
- BA, Bachelor of Arts, Economics and International Relations
Shika Carter: CBAP, CSM, CSP, CSPO, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA, PMP, PgMP; Senior Agile Instructor, Consultant, Coach, and Mentor
Shika is a diversified consulting and training professional with in-depth expertise in delivering products and services using Agile and Lean approaches. She possesses a proven track record of meeting and exceeding goals focused on strategy execution, value delivery, and process improvement. In addition to her Agile expertise, Shika has managed complex technology projects in the financial services, telecommunications, and transportation industries.
Her expertise includes the areas of project portfolio management, business analysis, strategic planning and execution, building key metrics, and establishing IT governance processes to achieve successful business outcomes. As a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience, Shika focuses on the implementation of project and program management best practices, PMO setup, business analysis, requirements engineering, and stakeholder management.
- Bachelor of Business Administration, Management Information Systems, Georgia Southern University
James L. Haner, Ph. D., PgMP, PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-RMP, CBAP, CCBA
James has more than 30 years of experience in business and IT, offering business consulting and project management services to Fortune 500 companies in the US, Europe, Africa, and China. His responsibilities have included establishing a corporate web presence for a Fortune 500 company, creating a successful organization-wide employee development plan, and developing the IT infrastructure for a start-up company in both project management and leadership roles. He is a contributing author of 4 books:
- "Making Sense of Sustainability Project Management"
- “140 Project Management Tips in 140 Words or Less"
- "Program Management: A Life Cycle Approach"
- "1,000 Questions and Answers for the PMP Exam”
- Ph. D., Adult Education, University of Idaho and Corllins University
- MA, Management, Claremont Graduate University
- MS, Information Technology Management, The American University
- BA, Mathematics, University of La Verne
Kelsey Apple, MCT, MCSD, PMP, IBM CAI, PSM
Kelsey Apple has been a consultant and educator for over 25 years. Kelsey Apple has been a Microsoft Certified Trainer and an IBM/Lotus instructor since 1995. In that capacity, she helps organizations identify their training requirements, builds customized technical education plans, transfers knowledge through her teaching skills and writes courseware to meet the customer’s requirements.
Kelsey has taught classes to and consulted with a variety of clients in numerous industries. Her vast technical experience and commitment to her profession has made her a well-respected instructor in the Information Technology Industry. Kelsey has also worked with organizations to enhance their Business Analysis teams, promote an understanding of Agile in organizations, and help companies create a culture to adopt the Scrum framework. Some of the courses she teaches and mentors organizations on include:
- Capturing Business Requirements
- System Development Life Cycle Methodologies
- Project Management
- Scrum and Agile
- Object Oriented Analysis & Design
- Analyzing Requirements and Defining Microsoft .NET Solutions(Architecture)
- .NET Programming and Architecture
- SharePoint (Configuration and Development)
- Java Programming
- IBM/Lotus Web Development and Administration
Her strong interpersonal communication skills coupled with her technical knowledge helps bridge the communication gaps between the technical processes and business processes in organizations.
Mark Thomas, MS, ITIL, COBIT, MOF
Mark brings 25 years of experience leading projects and teams, improving business processes, and developing business and technical governance strategies. He possesses a powerful mix of interpersonal, organizational, and technical competencies that ensure-top quality results. The most notable characteristics include his superior leadership and coaching skills, polished presentation and communication abilities, and superb client relationship skills. Mark's areas of expertise include:
- Governance solution design
- Implementation and management of ITIL, CobiT, MOF, and ISO20000
- Consulting and training
- Executive, team, and client coaching and mentoring
- Software testing and QA
- Project portfolio demand management
- Software selection and implementation
- IT strategy and business alignment
- Team leadership
He personally delivered or managed multiple projects within the IT service management space to include ISO20000, ITIL, MOF and CobiT governance frameworks, and best practices. Project scopes included software selection/implementation, assessments, leadership augmentation, training, and strategic planning for clients. Mark augmented senior IT leadership at multiple companies in healthcare, high tech, and manufacturing in the areas of IT operations, program management, service desk, change/release management, and other applicable key processes.
- Master of Science in Administration, Central Michigan University
- Bachelor of Science, Central Missouri State University, 1990
Laura Gray, M.Ed, PMP
Laura Gray is a senior instructor at RG Freeman Group LLC with 20 years of experience in project management, education and training, and financial management. Her experience includes work within civil service, large corporations and universities, and small consultancies. She provides project management and instructional design consulting, development and delivery, and is an adjunct faculty with Northeastern University and senior Project Management instructor and consultant with RG Freeman Group LLC.
Corporately, Laura exercises Project Manager oversight on multiple training and budgeting classes for the federal government, including several Defense Department agencies. She manages development and delivery teams, including creating project and task schedules, staffing plans and budgets, and monitoring project performance to make adjustments where necessary. She is also currently an instructor with multiple universities, developing and teaching a full project management curriculum both online and in the classroom at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Laura has previously worked as a Financial Analyst, where she created and monitored project budget estimates for several private and public companies as part of their ongoing operations. She also has worked as a Resource Manager, helping project teams schedule appropriate personnel for required tasks (involving over 2,500 personnel). Laura has also trained employees to record and track costs and labor hours more effectively, including writing guidance and creating spreadsheet tools to help them do so.
Laura has a Masters in Education (distance learning specialty) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. She also has certifications as a project management professional (PMP) and a classroom facilitator, and is a member of the Project Management Institute and the American Society of Training and Development.
Alan MacIntyre, MS, PMP, Senior Instructor and Consultant
Alan has more than 20 years of project management experience across a wide range of industries, including information technology, construction, engineering, quality management, and environmental remediation. He is an established expert in the areas of project management and risk management. Alan has developed and delivered training programs that are currently offered through the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Registered Education Provider program and is a founding member of the Long Island Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI). He delivers an exam preparation course for aspiring Project Management Professionals (PMP®), which boasts over a 90% pass rate for his students.
- MS Mechanical Engineering from Manhattan College
- BS Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University
William S. Ruggles, MA, PMP, CQM, CSSMBB, CSM
A Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt (CSSMBB), Certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Quality Manager (CQM), and Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) with over 25 years of practical experience as a visionary leader, collaborative program manager and administrator, energetic organizational change agent, engaging meeting facilitator, and results-driven senior management consultant who is bilingual (English-Spanish).
- Bill has directed, managed, audited, or led over 100 Engagement Teams on assorted enterprise-wide business process improvement and regulatory compliance projects including the development and deployment of:
- Internal Controls, Standards, Frameworks, Process Models, and Best Practices for Project Management, Portfolio Management, and Project Management Offices (PMOs ), and
- o Applications and Systems (SDLC ) with interfaces to Legacy systems and complex IT Infrastructure impacts (ITIL);
- Has worked in the BioPharmaceutical, BioTechnology, Medical Device, Healthcare, Telecommunications, Financial Services, and Hospitality industries as well as in the Local, County, State and Federal Government sector;
- Has created, worked with, and completed dozens of Strategic Plans, VOC Matrices, SIPOC Maps, Master Schedules, Action Item Lists, Issue Logs, Process Diagrams and SPC Charts focused on implementing, executing, and monitoring strategic projects that are aligned with the Mission, Vision, and Values of global organizations and small businesses in each of the above industries.
- Has trained, coached, and mentored over 1,000 successful candidates for certification as Project Management Professionals (PMP), Six Sigma Green Belts, Six Sigma Black Belts, and Kaizen Leaders.
Subject Matter and Application Area Expertise
- Six Sigma/DMAIC+DFSS
- Lean Enterprise/Kaizen
- Program/Project Mgmt
- Data Management
- Continuous Improvement
- Quality Assurance
- Informatics/Info Technology
- Electronic Health Records
- Master of Public Health, Strategic & Program Mgmt track, Mount Sinai School of Medicine (11 credits)
- Master of Arts, Applied Human Development, Columbia University.
- Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology (H&PE), University of Connecticut.
Dr. Charles (Chuck) Suscheck, CTO and Principal Agile Trainer
Dr. Charles Suscheck specializes in software development methodologies, and project management. He is one the few people in the world certified to teach the entire scrum.org curriculum. He has over 25 years of professional experience in information technology, beginning his career as a software developer. Dr. Suscheck holds a Doctorate, Masters, and Bachelors in Computer Science and is a Professional Scrum Trainer (PST), Professional Scrum Master (PSM I and II), Certified Scrum Master (CSM), certified Scrum Practitioner (CSP) and certified RUP specialist. An educator at heart, he has over 30 published articles and has spoken nationally and internationally at various software management conferences.
Tom Tomasovic, Business Analysis Consultant/Trainer
Experienced IT leader with a diverse background in information technology, focused on requirements elicitation and documentation. Extensive experience partnering with teams, management, users, and vendors to facilitate delivery of technology and business solutions. Forged strong relationships between business and technology resources. Strong commitment to employee development and training.
Areas of Expertise
- Business Analysis
- Business Requirements
- Requirements Gathering
- Requirements Management
- Requirements Analysis
- Healthcare Information Technology
- Managed Care
- HManaged Care
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, B.S. in Chemical Engineering
- Agile Analysis Certification (IIBA-AAC)
- Agile Business Analyst (AgileBA®) Foundations/Practitioner
- Certified Professional Requirements Engineer (CPRE-FL)
- Business Systems Analyst Certificate (BSAC)
- Scrum Foundations Certified (SFC)
- Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
- Six Sigma Yellow Belt
- HIPAA Certified Professional (CHP)
Denis Esslinger has over 25 years’ experience in Information Technology and Education, and enjoys working with organizations to pragmatically improve their service management. Denis brings a wealth of experience having achieved success in many areas including application development, operations, and IT strategy.
Denis excels at developing sound strategies and implementing people focused practices to improve the value of IT enabled services. And it’s his ability to relate to people at all levels of an organization that have made him a highly sought-after educator and consultant. Denis has successfully led hundreds of classes with his focus on two-way learning - as the people in his class have vast amounts of knowledge to share. It’s in relating to where they are in their journeys that creates a synergistic learning environment. Denis has worked with hundreds of private and public sector organizations and draws upon that experience in each of his engagements focusing on how teams can work together better to help achieve the organization’s goals.
Certificates and Affiliations
- Certified Agile Process Owner
- Certified Process Design Engineer
- DevOps Foundation
- DevOps Leader
- ITIL Expert
- ITIL Managing Professional
- ITSM for DevOps
- Managers Certificate in IT Service Management
- The Phoenix Project Trainer
- VeriSM Foundation
Steve Corlew, MBA, PMP, PMI-ACP, ITIL, TOGAF, DOFD, DTE
- Instructor, Consultant, Courseware Developer with over 30 years large enterprise IT experience and 14 years professional training.
- Areas of focus:
- Project/Program Management (Agile/Waterfall)
- Enterprise Architecture (TOGAF, Zachman)
- Process Engineering (CPE, CPM)
- ITIL, IT Service Management
- Big Data, Business Intelligence