Board of Directors
James H. Sanford, Chairman, is chairman of the board of HOME Place Farms,
Inc. and is a fourth-generation cotton producer whose great-grandparents began operations of a cotton
farm in 1881. Sanford received a BS in business administration in 1968 and an MS in economics in 1971
from Auburn University. He is affiliated with many organizations, including the Prattville Area
Chamber of Commerce, Autauga County United Way and various advisory boards with Auburn University.
Christopher B. Roberts, PhD, is the dean of the Samuel Ginn College of
Engineering at Auburn University and is responsible for the overall direction, scope, and mission of the
college. Dr. Roberts is the former department chair and the George E. and Dorothy Stafford Uthlaut
Professor of Chemical Engineering.
Roberts began his career at Auburn in 1994 as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering
and became department chair in 2003. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University
of Missouri and a master's degree and doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame.
Bill Ham Jr., Secretary, was elected to the Auburn City Council in 1986 and
has served as the city of Auburn’s mayor since 1998. Mayor Ham, an Auburn native and a 1977 graduate of
Auburn University, is the owner of Varsity Enterprises, Inc., and serves on numerous community boards,
including serving as chair of the Auburn Airport Advisory Board.
Bill Hardgrave, PhD, is Dean and Wells Fargo Professor in the College of
Business, Auburn University. Prior to joining Auburn University in August 2010, Dr. Hardgrave was the
Edwin & Karlee Bradberry Chair in Information Systems in the Walton College of Business at the University
of Arkansas. At Arkansas, he also founded and served as executive director of the Information Technology
Research Institute and the RFID Research Center. He received his PhD from Oklahoma State University.
John M. Mason, PhD, President, is the vice president for research and associate
provost at Auburn University and serves as the President of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation.
He was previously the associate dean for Graduate Studies, Research, and Outreach in the College of Engineering
at Penn State University where he received his BS degree in transportation. He was a tenured professor of civil
engineering, director of the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, and the executive director
for the Mid-Atlantic University Transportation Center. He received his MS degree in transportation engineering
from Villanova University and PhD in civil engineering from Texas A&M University.
Jim Odom is a consultant for Science Applications International Corporation. He began
his career in the launch vehicle business with the Huntsville/von Braun Team, transitioning with this team to become
NASA's Marshall Flight Center . His many responsibilities at NASA included the Saturn, Apollo, Shuttle, and Hubble
Space Telescope programs. He retired from NASA in 1989 and has remained active in space research.
David R. Thrasher, MD, is a pulmonary and critical care physician in Montgomery,
Alabama. He received a BS in fisheries biology and an MS from Auburn University. He received his MD from the
University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has been involved with several early stage companies that eventually
went public and sits on a venture capital board in Atlanta. He is also on numerous civic, as well as business
boards and serves on the Judicial Inquiry Commission.
Robert W. Dumas is President and CEO of AuburnBank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of
Auburn National Bancorporation, Inc. He joined the bank in 1984, began serving as a Director of the bank in
1997, and was elected President and CEO in 2001. He is an Auburn native and a 1976 graduate of Auburn University
with a BS in Business Administration. He has served on numerous community boards and currently serves as an
Auburn University Trustee representing the Third District-Lee County, AL. He is also a board member for East
Alabama Medical Center and the Alabama Bankers Association.
John G. Rocovich, Jr. JD, LLM
is the founder of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and Chairman
of the Board of Directors. Mr. Rocovich is an attorney and Chairman of the law firm
Moss & Rocovich Attorneys-at-Law, P.C. in Roanoke. Mr. Rocovich has dedicated himself
to his alma mater, Virginia Tech, and has held countless offices to assist in the
enhancement of that university. Additional campuses have been built in Spartanburg,
South Carolina near Wofford College and in the Auburn Research Park on the campus of
Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama.
Mr. Rocovich is a graduate of Virginia Polytech Institute and State University (B.S.,
with honors, 1966); University of Richmond (J.D. 1967); New York University (LL.M. in
Taxation, 1968); Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (Doctor of Humanities and
Letters, 2007); North Green University (Doctor of Christian Leadership, 2012). He is
a member of the Roanoke Bar Association and Virginia Bar Association (Member, Section
on: Taxation); Virginia State Bar (Chairman Tax Section, 1977 – 1978); The District of
Columbia Bar; and the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association.
Larry Fillmer, Executive Director
is the Executive Director of the Auburn University Research – Office of External
Engagement and Support. In December 2015, he was given the additional responsibility
as Executive Director of the Auburn Research Park and the Auburn Research
and Technology Foundation (ARTF). He serves as liaison between Auburn University
Research and organizations, both internal and external, on matters relating to
coordination, promotion and financial support of the university’s strategic research
economic development initiatives. Mr. Fillmer graduated with High Honors from
Auburn University, where he was named the 1969 Outstanding Graduate of the School
of Business. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial Management from the
University of Alabama.