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Khare accepts seat on Ridge Center board

August 27, 2010
The Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC) is for everyone — from schoolchildren to top researchers. The center, located at Presque Isle in Erie, now includes representation from Warren County on its board of directors. The addition of Ash Khare of Warren to the Board of the Friends of TREC was announced Wednesday, bringing the board to 13 members. Khare said the members approached him with an offer he could not refuse. “In Khare’s role as a board member, he will be in the review and approval process of projects, assist in fundraising, and be in a leadership role in the operations and direction of the Friends of TREC,” a release from TREC Executive Director Mike Gildea said. “I was absolutely honored when they asked me,” Khare said. His acceptance was instantaneous. “The Tom Ridge Environmental Center is an interpretative facility for the unique Presque Isle Peninsula on the southern shore of Lake Erie,” according to the Friends of TREC Web site, “The multi-use building not only serves as a visitor’s center at the gateway to the park, but houses interactive exhibits, educational facilities, administration for various governmental and conservation entities, and laboratories designed for Great Lakes research initiatives.” “If you have never been there, there is no other facility like this in the world,” Khare said. “We involve children from elementary school and we involve adults at a Ph.D level.” He said among the “unbelievable number of tourists” that visit the center each year are up to 20,000 children in school groups. “We pay for the buses to come in, we feed them lunch, they go,” Khare said. He is proud to be a part of it. “That’s a very high honor,” Khare said. “I’m honored to be a part of this regional asset.” In addition to bringing Warren County to the board, Khare brings extensive board experience. “What I bring to the table is experience on serving at board level at various organizations, businesses, and 501(c)(3)s,” he said. His experience includes serving on the boards of ASM International, the Anne Anstine Excellence in Public Services Series, PENNVEST - the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, National Forge Company, and others. “Ash brings a wealth of business, non-profit, and government experience and leadership to the board,” Chairman David Ridge said. “We are excited to have him on the board as we aggressively fundraise to support the mission of the Friends of the Tom Ridge Environmental Center.” Fund-raising is familiar territory for Khare. “We did six million (dollars) in one year at ASM (formerly the American Society for Metals) International Education Foundation,” he said. The current efforts will bring long-term funding to some of the TREC programs. “We’re going to take a whole bunch of our mature programs and permanently endow them,” Khare said. Then new programs will be built until they are on the level of mature programs and they, too, can be endowed. The board is also looking to expand its diversity, looking outside the region for members, and the center’s impact. “This organization is sitting on a launching pad,” Khare said. “I’m honored to represent Warren County in this outstanding facility.” “We have to leave a legacy behind (for) the younger generation,” he said. “We’re touching the future.”

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Times Observer file photo



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