Santa Barbara, CA – Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC) at the New Vic, Santa Barbara’s leading professional, resident theater company, proudly announces recent additions to the Board of Directors; Susan Case, Laini Melnick, Deb Pontifex, Chuck Sheldon, Robert Turbin, Tony Vallejo, and Kathy Weber.
With a lifelong love of the arts, Susan Case integrated theater into her curriculum as a teacher of high school and community college English. While living in Phoenix for forty years, Susan ran a family business while teaching, and raising three children. She was also heavily involved with several non-profits including the Phoenix Library Foundation, Social Venture Partners, Homeward Bound, and Women Living Free, which worked with females transitioning out of prison. Since moving to Santa Barbara with her husband, Claude, she has been active with the Santa Barbara Art Museum, the Music Academy of the West, and currently serves on the Library Foundation Board. Mr. and Ms. Case started a branch of Social Venture Partners in Santa Barbara, and serve on its Board of Directors.
Laini Melnick grew up in the United Kingdom and received her introduction to the world of theater from the Royal Shakespeare Company. During a marriage of 30 years to a theater composer, she saw the development of new works up close and personal. She has lived in Santa Barbara for over twenty years and is actively involved in the Jewish community. She is the President of the Board of Trustees of Santa Barbara Jewish Federation, has served on the Board of Trustees of Santa Barbara Hillel for ten years (three of those years as the President), and was inducted into the Hillel Hall of Fame in 2012.
Professionally, Ms. Melnick has been in law as a solo practitioner for more than twenty years, practicing exclusively in the area of appellate criminal defense. She was a Judicial Law Clerk for Judge Warren G. Ferguson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit of Los Angeles; Litigation Associate, for Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hayes, and Handler in Los Angeles; Instructor of Legal Research and Writing at UCLA School of Law; and a Deputy Public Defender for the Office of the State Public Defender in Los Angeles. She is on the appointments panel for the Second District Court of Appeals. She received her B.A. in Government and M.A in American Government and Politics from University of Essex, a Ph.D in Sociology from the University of Surrey, and a J.D from Northeastern University School of Law.
Deborah Pontifex spent most of her professional life as a program manager for Science Applications International Corporation. She received her BA in Philosophy from UC Berkeley, an AS in Oceanography from Florida Institute of Technology, and a MS in Ocean Systems Management from MIT. She volunteers as a youth mentor with Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, is on the board of Friends of the Santa Barbara Public Library, and tutors through the Library’s Adult Literacy Program.
Chuck Sheldon founded Curvature, a leading supplier in network equipment, in 1986. In 1996, the company opened its first office in Goleta. During Mr. Sheldon’s tenure, the company’s revenue exceeded $20 million in 2000, which led to the company debuting on Magazine's Inc. 500 list of the Fastest Growing Privately Held U.S. Companies. Before starting Curvature, Chuck had experience as a Sales Executive for IBM from 1966 to 1981 and also served as the Mayor and on the City Council of Hermosa Beach from 1987-1991.
Bob Turbin, a native of Los Angeles, received his architectural degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and was involved in the real estate development industry dealing with commercial, residential, and master planned community projects for nearly 40 years. Mr. Turbin has been a volunteer with his therapy dog, Rigley, at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica prior to moving to the Santa Barbara area, and now at Casa Dorinda in their memory care and assisted living units. Bob also serves on the advisory council to the Williamson Gallery at Scripps College, is a founding member and remains on the board of the Photographic Arts Council Los Angeles, is on the board of Women Beyond Borders, co-chairs Photofutures, the photography council, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and, at the request of the President of The Center Theater Group, has served as an Inner Circle Ambassador for the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles. Along with his love of the theater, Bob and his wife, Carol, enjoy the opera and are avid collectors of photography.
Tony Vallejo was appointed to the Goleta City Council in 2014, and was elected Mayor Pro Tempore in December 2015. Mr. Vallejo was born and raised in Carpinteria, graduated from UCSB with a degree in Business/Economics with an emphasis in accounting, and obtained his CPA license in 1993. He has worked for two local accounting firms, served as Chief Financial Officer for an area company, and currently owns his own accounting firm. He serves on numerous City committees, including: the Finance and Audit Standing Committee, the Naming Standing Committee, the Ordinance Review Standing Committee, the City Hall Facilities Standing Committee, Town and Gown, and the Fire Station Development Ad Hoc Committee. In addition, he enjoys volunteering his time to worthy causes and has served as a board member/volunteer for several organizations including the Goleta Chamber of Commerce, the Santa Barbara Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, St. Raphael's Church, Dos Pueblos Little League, Goleta Boys Club, Santa Barbara Food Bank, and Santa Barbara Mental Health.
Kathy Weber grew up in Pasadena where she learned to love live theater at the Pasadena Playhouse. She earned a BA and MALS from the University of Wisconsin, and in 1969, moved to Ann Arbor, MI. While at the University of Michigan, she headed the technical library at the Transportation Safety Research Institute, and later directed its Child Passenger Protection Research Program. After retirement, Ms. Weber and her husband moved to Santa Barbara. She was the editor of the monthly newsletter for SB Newcomers, and later, their database manager. Kathy joined the Santa Barbara Museum of Art Women’s Board in 2007 and soon became their webmaster. She has also served as a secretary, co-chaired Mystery in Masterpieces 2015, and currently serves as treasurer. She has been a member of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara since 2009, and a group captain for the past five years. Since coming to Santa Barbara, Kathy and Bill have been dedicated supporters of Ensemble Theatre Company, the SB Maritime Museum, and the SB Symphony.
Founded in 1979, Ensemble Theatre Company is Santa Barbara’s leading professional, resident theater company. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Jonathan Fox and Managing Director Jill Seltzer, ETC has attracted accomplished performing artists from around the country. ETC’s 2017-18 Season is generously sponsored by Leatrice Luria.