The Fairmont State Foundation has announced the addition of three new members to its Board of Directors, including Taylor Downs, John Guido and Christina Lavorata.
“We are so enthusiastic to have these highly capable and genuinely caring individuals join our board,” said Fairmont State Foundation President, Rachel Rae Dyer. “Their willingness to step up and serve at such a meaningful time in our organization’s history shows their dedication to the success of the Fairmont State Foundation as we pursue our mission to serve and support the students of Fairmont State University. We are grateful to them for taking on this important role, and we look forward to welcoming them to our Falcon Community.”
Taylor Downs is a member and attorney at Manchin Injury Law Group in Fairmont, and a member and attorney at Manchin Ferretti, PLLC in Martinsburg. He earned his JD from West Virginia University in 2011, following degrees in history and political science from Shepherd University in 2008. In addition to more than 10 years of experience in personal injury law, Downs has extensive experience serving on boards for professional associations and regional agencies, including the American Association for Justice, the WV Association for Justice, the South Fairmont Rotary and the Marion County Rescue Squad.
John Guido is a partner with Baker Tilly US, LLP. He has 40 years of domestic and international audit and accounting experience in various industry sectors, including privately owned and publicly held business entities. He is a leader on issues regarding federal program compliance audits performed under Uniform Guidance, audits of employee benefit plans subject to requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as well as public company audits performed under the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and regulations of the Securities Exchange Commission.
Christina Lavorata is a 1970 graduate of Fairmont State with a degree in elementary education. She also holds an MA and an Ed.D. from West Virginia University. Lavorata taught in Marion County schools from 1971 through 1998, before joining the faculty in the Education Department at Fairmont State. In 2004, she transitioned from teaching to administrative roles, serving as associate provost and provost at Fairmont State until 2018.
Fairmont State University Interim President, Dianna Phillips, also provided welcoming remarks to the new board members.
“The board has done such an incredible job in successfully identifying talented new members. I am looking forward to working collaboratively with them, the entire board and President Dyer over the next year," Phillips said.
The new members were approved at the Fairmont State Foundation Board of Directors Annual meeting in June, beginning their tenure as board members on July 1. The Foundation Board of Directors is led by Chair, Nick Oxley, Vice-Chair, Kim Pellillo, Secretary, Kevin Wilfong, and Treasurer, Roger Stewart.
On Monday, July 11, Rachel Rae Dyer joined the Fairmont State Foundation as president. Dyer brings a diverse collection of professional and educational experiences to this role. She holds an MBA from West Virginia University, BS from Linfield College and a BA from Hiram College.
In addition to her educational background, Dyer has more than 20 years of experience in business and management in various industries including manufacturing, government, non-profits and construction.
“My education and experience have given me a great deal of insight leading diverse teams,” said Dyer. “Most importantly, I have learned the importance of trust, communication and encouragement in the success of a team. I am privileged to join the established and capable team at the Fairmont State Foundation. I thrive in environments where we bring people, ideas and action together for the betterment of the organization and everyone it serves.”
In recent years, Dyer has worked as a financial advisor and business consultant while serving as an adjunct instructor and curriculum developer for the Morgantown campus of West Virginia Junior College.
“On behalf of the board of directors, I am thrilled to welcome Rae to the Fairmont State Foundation family,” said Foundation board president, Nick Oxley. “Rae’s strong sense of purpose, visionary leadership, strategic perspective and diverse experience made her standout as the best candidate to lead the Fairmont State Foundation. Our board looks forward to Rae and our talented team continuing the legacy of success at the Fairmont State Foundation.”
Dyer is committed to serving her community. She is a US Air Force veteran, and she is involved with Choose West Virginia, the RCBI Workforce Advisory Board, the CASA of Marion County Board and the advisory board for Learning Options, Inc.
“We are thrilled to welcome Rae to our campus community, and fortunate for the opportunity to serve alongside her as we partner to move the Institution forward, together,” said Fairmont State University Interim President, Dianna Phillips. “We look forward to the growth experienced under Rae’s leadership and continuing to work in collaboration with the Foundation with her at the helm.”
When asked what she’s looking forward to as she settles into her new role at the Foundation, Dyer explained, “I am eager to meet and immerse myself in the Falcon Community. As a resident of Fairmont, I have witnessed the tight bond and passion for success that the students, alumni, faculty and staff have for Fairmont State University. I look forward to working with the team and representing the Foundation, and Fairmont State University, to the best of my ability. I work hard, and I care deeply. I see the same traits in Falcons. I’m so excited to be a part of a wonderful and welcoming community.”
When she finds free time, Dyer enjoys yoga, gardening and quiet time with a book.