Jim Dowcett (President)
Jim is a retired college professor, having taught music of Africa and Latin America as well as theory and composition. Between 1971 and 2014, he taught at Principia College three different times for a total of 22 years. While there, he served as department chair and director of the First Year Experience. As a visiting faculty member, Jim directed the early music programs at Tufts University from 1975-1978 and at Dartmouth College from 1980-1990. Jim has received several commissions for his music from various organizations, including the Chatham Choral of Cape Cod and the Flagg Theater of Hutchinson, Kansas.
Jim was the Executive Director of the Foundation for Biblical Research for eight years and was a partner in a management consulting firm, KDL Associates, for four years. He has also served on the board of the Fire Safe Council of Mendocino County.
Currently, Jim and his wife, Cindy, live in Ukiah, CA where he enjoys hiking and building websites.
Les Fishman (Vice President)
Les worked for 10 years in the grocery business before starting his real estate career in 1977. He moved to Southern California in 1981 and has been in the real estate business ever since. He has an intimate knowledge of local areas, including Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, and the South Bay beach cities of El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redonda Beach, Torrance and San Pedro. Les works extensively to help buyers and sellers meet their real estate goals.
Les currently lives in Palos Verdes Estates with his wife of 24 years, Virginia. Les is a past president of the Palos Verdes Tennis Club, where he plays every week. He was Chairman of the Board of Peninsula Heritage School for 10 years and is currently a Trustee Emeritus. Recently, he served for a year (2015-2016) as President of the Rotary Club of Palos Verdes Peninsula. He enjoys spending time with his wife, kids and grandkids, doing church work, traveling, and working with worthy organizations like Asher Student Foundation.
Rod Essen (Treasurer)
Rod is currently a managing director at FocalPoint LLC. With more than 30 years of experience in investment banking/financial services, Rod has initiated, executed and closed well over a hundred transactions for clients in a variety of sectors. Prior to joining FocalPoint in 2012, Rod was with Morgan Stanley from 2011-12, where he advised business owners on capital raising, mergers & acquisitions and other shareholder issues. From 1996-2008, he opened and ran AG Edwards Capital Markets’ West Coast investment banking office in Los Angeles prior to its purchase by Wells Fargo Securities. He was also a Managing Director with Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc (1983-1993) and then with PaineWebber (UBS) (1993-1996).
Rod has been a guest lecturer on the investment banking industry at the University of Southern California, where he received his master’s degree.
Rod has three grown sons and enjoys hiking, biking and swimming near his home in La Canada, California.
Marjorie Deline (Secretary )
Marj worked as a software developer for the Burroughs Corp from 1973-1976 and as an account manager and technical consultant for ADP Network Services from 1976-1983. Apart from serving on the board of Asher Student Foundation, Marj has volunteered on the Board of Trustees for the Midland Center for the Arts, served as the co-chair of the Central Auditorium Renovation Project, and is a member of both the Michigan Lawyers Auxiliary and the Midland County Lawyers Auxiliary.
Marj is an active church member and enjoys visiting her two children and grandson regularly. She and her husband live in Midland, Michigan during the summer and fall months, and spend their winters and springs at their second home in Sarasota, Florida.
Gerald Ellithorpe, Jr.
Jerry has wide-ranging work experience in multiple cities, including positions as an OEM supplier, a Controller, and a public accountant in the Atlanta, Washington, DC and Detroit areas.
Jerry now lives in Brighton, Michigan and works for Lewis & Knopf, CPAs, P.C., where he has been since 2012. As a manager, he provides comprehensive tax and consulting services to an array of clients, especially closely held businesses. In addition, Jerry is the firm’s go-to professional regarding the tax implications under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
He currently serves: as an Ambassador for the Greater Brighton Chamber of Commerce; as an Ambassador for United Way for Livingston County; on the Advisor Board for the Salvation Army. He also volunteers for local events, such as the Brighton Smokin’ Jazz & Barbecue Blues Festival and Howell Balloon Fest. He has completed the AICPA Not-for-Profit certificate program and participates in Brighton’s non-profit monthly round table discussions.
Jerry and his wife currently reside in Brighton, Michigan. They have two daughters. Outside of the office, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, golfing, and reading.
Dr. Marie Jureit-Beamish
Dr. Marie Jureit-Beamish continues to have an illustrious and versatile career as a performing musician. She served as the Charles Stewart Harding Mott Distinguished Professor of Music at Principia College for more than 35 years, and since her retirement in 2014, she has been named Professor Emerita of Music. Marie studied at the University of California—Berkeley and Stanford—and earned her doctorate from Yale School of Music. In honor of a key mentor in her life, Marie has served as Chair of the Frances Blaisdell Scholarship competition established by the National Flute Association in 2010. In recognition of her career-long leadership in the arts, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arts Council of Martin County (Florida) and the Community Service Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution. This year, Marie won the Sage Award for her outstanding contribution to the Martin County arts.
In fulfillment of her vision for collaboration among the arts, Marie has spearheaded multi-age musicians performing in “Jureit Musicales” in her home for the last fifteen years, and she has established monthly “Sunset Concerts @ the Gallery” at the Arts Council of Martin County Cultural Center and “Coffee with the Conductor” in conjunction with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra.
Since retiring, Dr. Jureit-Beamish continues to teach for Principia’s Lifelong Learning and is an active leader of performing arts trips in the US and abroad. She has also served on the boards of a variety of organizations, including the: Junior Bach Festival in the SF Bay Area, Flute Society of St. Louis, Connecticut Chamber Orchestra, and California Saw and Knife Works. An active church member at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Stuart, Marie looks forward to bringing together her love for Christian Science and years of teaching young people at Principia College by supporting Asher Student Foundation’s mission.