Leadership

Trust oversight is provided by an 11-member committee, consisting of six independent members and five members appointed by the UAW. The Committee is responsible for designing and delivering benefits to eligible UAW retirees, surviving spouses and dependents. For more information on the Trust, visit the History page. 

Below you can review the biographies of the Trust committee and leadership.

Committee Biographies

- CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE -

Robert Naftaly (Independent Trustee)

Naftaly, C.P.A, is the retired President and Chief Executive Officer of PPOM, an independent operating subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM), and a former Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of BCBSM. Prior to holding those positions, he served as the Chief Financial Officer of BCBSM. From 1983 to 1987, Naftaly served as the director of the Department of Management and Budget of the State of Michigan. He has served on several other boards, including the Detroit Investment Fund, Walsh College, Meadowbrook Insurance Group, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maryland, and the Wayne State University Board of Governors.

- UAW TRUSTEES -

Dennis Williams

Williams is the current UAW President. He was elected in June 2014, at the union's 36th Constitutional Convention. Williams previously served as the union's secretary-treasurer. As secretary-treasurer, Williams was part of developing a long-term strategy for the union, supporting the membership and organizing the foreign-owned automakers in the U.S. Williams was instrumental in turning around the relationship with Navistar Inc., bringing major investments into UAW facilities as well as organizing the Tulsa Bus plant. Williams, a United States Marine Corp veteran, joined UAW Local 806 in 1977 at J.I. Case where he was a salvage welder. He was elected to the bargaining committee and as chairman. In 1992, Region 4 Director Bill Stewart assigned Williams to service locals in various sectors throughout the region, including Agricultural Implements, Independent Parts and Supplier (IPS), and Technical, Office and Professional (TOP). He also assisted in the negotiation and servicing of several national agreements, including J.I. Case. In June 1995, Williams was appointed as the assistant director of Region 4 by Regional Director Paul Korman, where he served until his election as director. In 2001, he was elected UAW Region 4 Director at a special convention. He was re-elected in June 2002 and in June 2006. Williams and his wife, Donna, have two sons, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

Joseph Ashton

Ashton is a retired UAW Vice President. He joined the UAW in 1969 while working at ITE Circuit in Philadelphia. Active in labor and civic affairs, Ashton is Executive Vice President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO executive council, Executive Vice President of the New Jersey AFL-CIO and a former Director of the Western New York Federal Reserve Bank. He is a member of the Multiple Sclerosis Association, the Statewide Labor Advisory Committee for Pennsylvania, the Northeast-Midwest Alliance for Labor, the Industrial Relations Research Association of Pennsylvania and Meals on Wheels. Ashton was born in Philadelphia, graduated from the city’s Northeast Catholic High School and attended Penn State University.

Cindy Estrada

Estrada is a second term UAW Vice President. The longtime union organizer and social activist was first elected as Vice President in 2010 and is the first Latina elected to serve as an International officer. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a bachelor's degree in education, Estrada began organizing. In 1995, she was assigned to help organize workers at Mexican Industries in southwest Detroit. The organizing campaign resulted in one of the largest UAW victories for Spanish-speaking manufacturing workers. That win, along with other significant UAW organizing successes, led then-UAW President Stephen P. Yokich to appoint Estrada to the International's organizing staff in 2000. In 2010, during Estrada's first term as an International Vice President, her responsibilities included directing the UAW Independents, Parts and Suppliers/Competitive Shop Department; Public Sector & Health Care Servicing Department and the Women's Department. Upon her re-election as Vice President in June 2014, UAW President Dennis Williams assigned Estrada to lead the General Motors Department, making her the first woman and first Latina to do so. In addition to the GM Department, she was also assigned to lead the Independents, Parts, and Suppliers (IPS) Department. She also continues to lead the Women's Department.

Norwood Jewell

Jewell is a UAW Vice President. Previously, he served as director of UAW Region 1C after being elected in June 2010. A UAW Local 659 member since 1976, Jewell worked at the General Motors Co. Flint Metal Fabricating plant. He started on the production line before becoming active in the union in 1988. His union activism led to various elected positions at the local, beginning with alternative committee person in 1988. Jewell was a key figure during the historic strike of 1998 between the UAW and GM. In 2000, UAW President Stephen P. Yokich appointed Jewell to serve as International representative. He was assigned to the UAW-GM Health and Safety Department as a plant auditor for the GM Truck Assembly plants, and co-chair of the UAW-GM/Delphi Ergonomics Program. Jewell is a member of the Democratic National Committee, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, the Coalition of Labor Union Women and a lifetime member of the NAACP.

James Settles Jr.

Settles is a second term UAW Vice President. He began his career as a trade union activist in 1968, at Ford Motor Co.’s Dearborn Iron Foundry and Michigan Casting Center. A longtime political activist and Democratic precinct delegate, Settles has assisted campaigns for progressive candidates and causes in southeast Michigan. A Detroit native, Settles is active in a wide range of community and civic organizations. He is a member of the Detroit-Wayne County Board of Authority, the Trade Union Leadership Council, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and a life member of the NAACP. He serves on the boards of the Henry Ford Community College Employment and Training Development Center, the Detroit Public School Compact Association and the North Rosedale Park Civic Association. Settles is a recipient of the Nelson Jack Edwards Award; and the Man of the Year Award from the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA).

- INDEPENDENT TRUSTEES -

Adam Blumenthal

Blumenthal is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Blue Wolf Capital Partners LLC, a private equity firm, and Blue Wolf Capital Fund II, L.P., a private equity fund, which specialize in control investments in middle-market companies in which managing relationships with government or labor, or resolving financial or operational distress, are critical to building value. From 2002 to 2005, Blumenthal served as First Deputy Comptroller and Chief Financial Officer for New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. In this capacity, he oversaw the capital markets' activities of the comptroller's office, including management of the assets of the New York City retirement systems; issuance of budget, financial, and economic analyses; and oversight of the City's debt issuance. During his tenure, the City's pension assets increased from $65 billion to $85 billion primarily as a result of strong investment gains. From 1989 to 2002, Blumenthal built and managed American Capital Ltd., a publicly-traded buyout and mezzanine fund (NASDAQ: ACAS). Over this time, American Capital produced a 22% IRR to investors in its initial public offering. Blumenthal received a B.A., magna cum laude, from Harvard College, and an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management. From 2004 to 2007, he served on Yale SOM's Board of Advisors, and in 2008 was named a Donaldson Fellow at the school. He has also served as a trustee of, and been chairman of the investment committees of both the Nathan Cummings Foundation and of the Community Service Society of New York. He has been a director or chairman of numerous public and private companies, and has been an advisor to both companies and unions in complex restructuring transactions.

Teresa Ghilarducci

Ghilarducci is a labor economist and nationally-recognized expert in retirement security. An economics professor at The New School, Ghilarducci serves as the Bernard L. and Irene Schwartz Chair in economic policy analysis and directs the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA) that focuses on economic policy research and outreach. Ghilarducci joined The New School in 2008 after 25 years as a professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame and 10 years as director of the school’s Higgins Labor Research Center. She was twice appointed by President Clinton to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation advisory board, serving from 1995-2002. As an author, her most recent book, “When I’m Sixty Four: The Plot Against Pensions and the Plan to Save Them” – which investigates the loss of pensions on older Americans and proposes a comprehensive system of reform. She also frequently publishes in refereed journals, testifies before the U.S. Congress, and is a media source to popular and online news outlets about pensions and labor economics.

David Baker Lewis

Lewis currently serves as Chairman of Lewis & Munday, a Detroit based law firm with offices in Lansing, New York, Washington and Seattle. Lewis has specialized in municipal finance since 1974 and has extensive experience in all aspects of municipal finance law. He has served as Lewis & Munday's lead attorney on many municipal bond offerings over the years. Lewis is a former Board of Director member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers and is former Chairman of the National Association of Securities Professionals. Lewis received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, majoring in business administration. He earned his Master of Business Administration degree from The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, and was awarded his Juris Doctorate from The University of Michigan Law School. Mr. Lewis has served on the boards of numerous professional, educational and civic organizations. Particularly noteworthy is his service as a former assistant professor of law at the Detroit College of Law and former member and chairman of the Board of trustees of Oakland University. Currently, Lewis serves as a member of The Kroger Company Board of Directors, STERIS Corporation Board of Directors and the Board of Directors of H & R Block. He is a former Director of Comerica, Inc., TRW, Inc., LG&E Energy Corp., M.A. Hanna Company and Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail).

William Patterson

Patterson is the Executive Director of the CtW Investment Group, which he established in 2006 under the auspices of Change to Win, a federation of North American unions representing five million members. CtW affiliates sponsor Taft Hartley pension and benefit funds with $200 billion in assets. Patterson works with funds to promote the interests of worker beneficiaries in the capital markets, specifically by leading shareholder initiatives to enhance corporate governance, accountability, and advocating for effective legislative and regulatory reform. Patterson’s investment work with unions and their pension funds dates to the 1980s when he helped unions lead employee buyouts to retain manufacturing jobs. He has served as co-chair of the Council of Institutional Investors and on the World Bank’s Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) for the Global Corporate Governance Forum. In 2008, “Directorship” magazine named him to the Directorship 100, as one of the most influential people in corporate governance.

Douglas R. Woll, MD., F.A.C.P.

Dr. Woll is a physician and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. After conducting an active medical practice in Michigan for several years, he served as the Chief Medical Officer for several large health Plans in Michigan including Maxicare’s Independence Health Plan, SelectCare and Blue Care Network of Michigan. Dr. Woll brings expertise in benefit design, medical policy, clinical care delivery, provider reimbursement, medical management and quality improvement. His focus is on assuring that participants consistently receive medically-appropriate high quality health care services. He is currently the chief strategy officer for BENCON LLC, a health care consulting company.

Leadership Biographies

Francine Parker
Executive Director

Parker is the Executive Director of the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust. She has over 40 years of health care experience—starting in 1971 at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. In 1979, she began her career at Health Alliance Plan (HAP) as one of 14 original employees. During her tenure at HAP, she worked her way through the ranks of various positions until 2004 when she was named president and chief executive officer and senior vice president of insurance-purchaser relations for Henry Ford Health System. She retired from HAP in 2008 and was asked to lead the implementation efforts establishing the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust – the largest non-government purchaser of retiree health care in the United States.

Parker sits on the Board of Trustees for the Dana, Bosch, Daimler, Mack and ACC Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Associations (VEBAs); the Board of Directors of the Greater Detroit Area Health Council; and the Alliance for Health Reform Board of Directors. She completed eight years on the Board of Regents for Eastern Michigan University, serving the last two years as Regent Chair.

Mary Beth Kuderik
Chief Strategy & Financial Officer

Kuderik is the Chief Strategy and Financial Officer of the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust. Since joining the Trust in 2009, Kuderik’s responsibilities include strategic planning of healthcare operations, the Trust’s internal and external financial and regulatory reporting, finance management and operations, investment operations and independent risk management, purchasing, regulatory filings, budgeting, forecasting, analytical review of activities, carrier finance negotiations and contracting. Kuderik’s team has generated substantial annual cash savings and improvements for the Trust.

Prior to joining the Trust, she was with General Motors for 28 years where she specialized in financial management, post-retirement benefits, health care finance, auditing, and compliance and controls. Additionally, she directed $59 billion U.S. post-retirement benefit obligation (OPEB) finance operations and $4.6 billion U.S. health care cash management and forecasting activity.

Kuderik received a Master of Healthcare Delivery Science degree from Dartmouth and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Dayton. She served on the City of Detroit Financial Advisory Board and is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant.

Hershel Harper
Chief Investment Officer

Harper is the Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust. With more than 18 years of institutional investment experience, he leads the Trust's investment strategy.

Prior to joining the Trust, he served as the CIO of the South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission (RSIC), the governing body responsible for investing and managing all assets for the South Carolina Retirement System. In that position, he was responsible for developing investment policies and strategy, asset and risk allocations, overseeing manager due diligence, and managing a team of 20 investment professionals. He also collaborated with the Executive Director on strategic planning, budgeting and communicating with key stakeholders (retiree and employee associations), including the General Assembly. Harper also previously served as the Chair of the Internal Investment Committee, and was designated as the Commission’s key decision maker for Strategic Partnerships, and was the primary liaison with the Investment Consultant. Prior to joining RSIC, Harper worked with organizations including Banc of America Capital Management, Columbia Management, Evergreen Investments and State Street Global Advisors.

Harper earned his master’s degree in finance from Louisiana State University and his bachelor’s degree in finance from Louisiana Tech University. He earned his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and remains a member of the CFA Society of South Carolina.

Ronald Berry
Chief Administrative Officer

Berry is the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust. Since joining the Trust in 2015, Berry's responsibilities include oversight of eligibility, carrier management, communications and the implementation of Medicare-related changes affecting Trust members.

Berry is a health care leader with more than 25 years of broad experience including operations, provider and government contracting, claims management and finance. His career experience includes leading finance and cross-functional teams, business development, public relations and policy. Prior to joining the Trust in July 2015, Berry served as a vice president of finance at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan following a 15-year career at HAP where he served in various capacities including senior vice president, government programs (Medicare, Medicaid and related Affordable Care Act directives) and senior vice president and chief financial officer. Prior to joining HAP, Berry was with Deloitte & Touche, LLP, as a director of the audit department where he managed audits for major health care organizations including multi-hospital health systems and insurers.

Berry received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan, Flint, and is a certified public accountant. An active community volunteer, he serves on the board of the Urban League of Detroit and Southeastern Michigan and is a former board member of Mariner’s Inn, the American Heart Association, The Heat and Warmth Fund, and YMCA.

Meredith Miller
Chief Corporate Governance Officer

Miller is the Chief Corporate Governance Officer of the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust. She oversees the Trust’s corporate governance program for domestic and international equities, including building relationships with the Trust’s investment managers around sustainability issues and proxy voting practices.

Miller joined the Trust in 2010 after serving 12 years as Assistant Treasurer for Policy for the Connecticut State Treasurer. In this capacity, Miller was responsible for the Treasurer’s initiatives related to corporate governance for the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trusts, economic development and financial education. Miller previously served in the Clinton Administration as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. Miller also served as the Assistant Director of the Employee Benefits Department, AFL-CIO and previously as the Assistant Director of Research for Employee Benefits, Service Employees International Union.

Miller received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts and a Master’s of Science degree from the London School of Economics, London, England.

Charlotte Decker
Chief Information Officer

Decker is the Chief Information Officer for the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust. Since joining the Trust in 2014, Decker's responsibilities include Information Technology and the Project Management Office (PMO) for both Trust Medical Benefits Operations and Investment Operations. She has established mature, sustainable IT and PMO processes, tools, and technology to support the Trust’s needs. She has optimized existing solutions and processes to ensure value and cost containment. She led the selection, deployment and support of Investment Systems necessary to support a $60 billion portfolio. She also developed and tested the Disaster Recovery plan and has implemented Cyber Security solutions, policies, and processes to address vulnerabilities.

Decker has over 25 years of experience across seven major industries: medical benefits, financial and investment, property and casualty insurance, automotive OEM, specialty retail, and tier-one automotive supplier. She has managed large organizations (250+ staff) and multi-million dollar capital and expense budgets.

Decker holds an MBA in Corporate Strategy, a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering, all from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Gina Buccalo, M.D.
Medical Director

Dr. Buccalo is the Medical Director of the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust. Since joining in 2017, Dr. Buccalo’s responsibilities include providing medical leadership, support and guidance to the Trust’s clinical and population health programs.

Prior to joining the Trust, she served as chief medical officer and leader of St John Providence Partners In Care, the joint venture partnership Physician Hospital Organization (PHO) between Ascension Michigan St. John Providence Health System and The Physician Alliance, and was responsible for coordinating the strategy and operations of the more than 250,000 contracted population health management programs and contracts. Dr. Buccalo led the development of the Partners In Care Care Management Programs to provide care management services through the Michigan Primary Care Transformation Project, Ford ECP Project, and the BCBSM High Intensity Care Model Program. In 2014, the Partners In Care team was awarded a $1.03 million CMS innovation grant to pilot an advanced community-based integrated model of care for frail and elderly persons that was successful in reducing hospital readmissions.

Dr. Buccalo is an active member of a new statewide initiative to accelerate learning and change through the Learning Health 4 Michigan Strategy and Coordination Group. She is president of the Macomb Physicians’ Organization, PLLC, and a founding partner of The Physician Alliance. As a Board Certified Internal Medicine physician, she has practiced in Metro Detroit for more than 25 years, where her practice focuses on preventive health and integrative medicine. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and pursued graduate studies in Biochemistry from Northern Michigan University. She graduated from Michigan State University School of Human Medicine in 1989 and MSU Internal Medicine Residency Program in 1992. In 2009, she was recognized as one of America’s Top Docs and most recently as one of Ambassador Detroit’s 20 Hot Docs for 2011.