Derek Longmeier, MBA, OCPC, ICPS has attained certification from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board as an Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant and The International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium as an Internationally Certified Prevention Specialist. He obtained an MBA from Ohio Dominican University, a BA in Psychology from The Ohio State University, and a Certificate in Social Enterprise from The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business.
Derek has been involved in the social services field for over 30 years and has presented at local, state, and national training throughout the U.S. Derek has served as the Executive Director of Problem Gambling Network of Ohio, since 2016, which began as a contract position and transitioned to full-time in 2020.
Derek serves in many statewide and national organizations and committees, including the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) Board of Directors for the; NCPG Affiliate and Marketing committees; Ohio Problem Gambling Advisory Board, Policy and Infrastructure committee co-chair; Ohio Prevention Advocacy Network co-chair; the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board Prevention committee; the IC&RC prevention committee, Ohio representative; Worthington C.A.R.E.S. coordinating council member.
Michael A. Buzzelli, OCPS has served as the Associate Director of the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio since February 2020. He has previously served on the organization’s Board as its Vice President. Buzzelli serves in numerous local, state, and national boards and committees including the Ohio Problem Gambling Advisory Board and the Affiliate and Prevention committees of the National Council on Problem Gambling.
Buzzelli oversees workforce development initiatives for individual professionals and broader agencies and organizations and manages the Warm Transfer Line which links callers of the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline to on-call specialists. His other professional interests include working with university students and campus leadership to create and implement sustainable programming, building interdisciplinary partnerships, and promoting collaboration across the field.
Buzzelli received his Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health from Slippery Rock University and his Master's of Public Health from Kent State University. He continued his education at Case Western Reserve University where he received a Master’s in Bioethics. He has spoken at numerous events and conferences including eight National Conferences on Problem Gambling.
Claire Spada, OCPS joined PGNO in May 2022. She has over 15 years of experience in the prevention field in a variety of different capacities, with problem gambling being a major focus in her previous role. She holds a BS in sociology and has a MA in school counseling. She is a co-chair for the Cuyahoga Problem Gambling Coalition and co-chairs the Prevention Committee for the Problem Gambling Advisory Board. Claire is incredibly passionate about positively impacting the state of Ohio and getting help for those in need.
Abdullah Mahmood, LSW, LCDC II, OCPSA, first started working with clients with opioid use disorder at Maryhaven, three years ago. He was drawn to start working with the gambling prevention team at Maryhaven because of the impact of problem gambling on minority communities and youth across Central Ohio.
Abdullah attended Columbus State Community College for his associate's degree and attended The Ohio State University, where he recently completed a bachelor's degree in Social Work. In his free time, he enjoys playing the guitar, playing video games and volunteering in the community.
Olivia is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work (BSW). She is passionate about helping those in need in her personal and professional life and spends time volunteering with individuals in recovery from substance use.
Ashley N. Hartman MPH, CHES, OCPS is a public health and nonprofit practitioner in Cleveland, Ohio. Her main professional interests are health education and promotion, nonprofit management, issue-based organizing, supporter mobilization and fundraising. She has been with Recovery Resources since 2014, serving in the problem gambling department, as well as the employee assistance program (AssistNOW) and Training and Consultation Institute.
She coordinates the problem gambling prevention and treatment programs for Recovery Resources. Highlights of these programs include the Cuyahoga Problem Gambling Coalition, Problem Gambling Awareness Month, Cuyahoga Problem Gambling Symposium and the Cuyahoga Problem Gambling Recovery Advisory Council. These programs include partnerships with local colleges and universities, high schools, youth-serving organizations, culturally-specific human service agencies, older adult agencies, other behavioral health organization, local hospitals, and others.
Previously Ashley worked at the ACLU of Ohio, the Cleveland Clinic, the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and The Ohio State University. She holds a Master of Public Health from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Applied Health Science from Bowling Green State University. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist and Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist.
Jess joined PGNO in 2017 and joined the Board of Directors in 2019 as a recovery advocate. Having dealt with gambling issues in his personal life, Jess brings knowledge and insight into all aspects of addiction and the means necessary for successful recovery.
Jess has presented at 3 state conferences, as well as a variety of media opportunities through television, radio, and newspaper interviews, along with webinars for PGNO training. Jess testified before an Ohio Senate Committee in 2021 regarding gambling expansion in Ohio.
Jess is a fierce advocate for consumer protections, to provide for those who fall into problem gambling issues.
Stephanie Geer holds a BA in psychology from The Ohio State University and a M.S. Ed in clinical mental health counseling from Youngstown State University. Stephanie is the Gambling Program Coordinator at Meridian HealthCare. Meridian HealthCare has maintained a Problem Gambling Program since 2001 and has served the community in providing gambling specific screenings, assessments, individual and group counseling, family consultations, and prevention. Stephanie has been providing gambling treatment and prevention services for over 4 years where she obtained a position at Meridian HealthCare as the full-time counselor for the Gambling Program. Stephanie became the Gambling Program Coordinator in October of 2018. She is a LPCC with supervisory designation and has attained her ICGC-II.
Nabil Pervaiz MS, OCPSA is the Gambling Services Coordinator at Recovery Resources in Cleveland, Ohio. He has AOD Prevention experience and now coordinates the gambling prevention and treatment programs.
As the coordinator, he co-chairs the Cuyahoga Problem Gambling Coalition and Cuyahoga Problem Gambling Advisory Council. He is a member of the Problem Gambling Advisory Board. He holds both a bachelor's and master's of Science in Health Promotion and Education from the University of Cincinnati. He is also an Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist Assistant.
Jennifer Bierer is the Manager of Communications at PreventionFIRST! She is responsible for all agency marketing strategies and coordinates problem gambling prevention. Jennifer has over 20 years of public health experience — in health promotion and prevention, focusing on chronic diseases, obesity, traffic-related deaths/injuries, mental health, and substance use/misuse. Additionally, she has developed marketing strategies and branding for several startup businesses, non-profits, and communities groups. Bierer has a BA in Communication & Public Relations from Xavier University.
Kelly Garza received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and English from the University of Toledo. She is a Licensed Social Worker, a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor III, Certified Prevention Consultant, and Tobacco Treatment Specialist in the State of Ohio.
She is the Prevention Services Coordinator at the Zepf Center in Toledo where she is developing a prevention program for the agency including problem gambling prevention services and youth-led prevention with high school and college-age students. She provides trainings in Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid to community members, and recently joined the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio Board.
Kelly’s career spans over 20 years and has focused on working with at-risk adolescents with mental health and substance abuse issues. While working in the social service field, she created, implemented and facilitated several programs, including a Life Skills and art curriculum at a detention center, pet assisted therapy and canine assisted learning programs, and has taught hundreds of Life Skills classes. Kelly is a member of the Phi Alpha Honor Society for Social Workers and is the recipient of a Senatorial Citation from Ohio State Senator Teresa Fedor for her work with her therapy dogs with abuse victims.
Kelly lives in a rural area in Pemberville with her husband of 21 years and son, a sophomore at The University of Findlay working on his doctorate of Physical Therapy, and daughter, who just graduated from Eastwood High School and is working in the health/nutrition field. Kelly spends her free time with her husband, children, and pets, enjoys being in nature, walking in the woods behind her home, riding her bike in the summer and reading.
Bruce is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) and a Nationally-Certified Gambling Counselor Level I who has worked for Maryhaven since 2000. For the last 5 years, Bruce has been working with individuals, family members, and communities as the Administrative Coordinator for the Gambling Intervention Program. He saw the need for gambling services in Central Ohio in 2009 and asked Maryhaven to apply for a private grant from the Columbus Foundation to target help to those struggling with gambling addiction. The state then supplied funding after his vision was verified with the amount of clients seeking services that first year.
Bruce also serves on the Treatment Committee for the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board which is addressing changes to licensures and certifications to better help gamblers and their families. He is also a member of the Central Ohio Batterers Intervention Program Coalition.
Originally from Texas, Steve earned a bachelor's degree from The Ohio State University and a master's degree from the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program, where he conducted graduate research on pari-mutuel wagering and the impacts of takeout rates on wagers. In 2018 Steve earned an MBA from West Texas A&M University, with an emphasis on management and leadership.
After serving 5 1/2 years as the Vice President and Business Manager for the Association of Racing Commissioners International, Steve was appointed to be the Director of Pari-Mutuel Wagering and Compliance for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, where he oversaw a vast expansion of Historical Horse Racing while also regulating wagering on major events like the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup. In 2020, Steve was appointed by Governor Tim Walz to be the Executive Director of the Minnesota Racing Commission, where he was tasked with regulating live racing, simulcasting, online advanced deposit wagering, and racetrack card casinos while navigating the needs of the racing and wagering industry through the COVID-19 pandemic.
In May 2022, Steve joined the team at Gaming Laboratories International ("GLI") as a Client Services Executive, a specialized team formed by General Counsel Kevin Mullally. At GLI, Steve works with regulators, casinos, and gaming manufacturers, consulting on all forms of gaming and the unique regulatory responsibilities for each sector.
In addition to his professional work, Steve has served on the Board of Directors for the Kentucky Horse Council, the Minnesota Alliance on Problem Gambling, and the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio.
Samuel H. Porter III serves as a partner in Ice Miller’s Public Affairs Group and Ohio Government Law Group. He is an active member in the Firm’s cannabis practice as well as the gaming, sports betting and liquor law practice. His extensive background combines public service, government counsel and compliance issues, which allows him to provide multi-dimensional service to his clients.
Before joining Ice Miller, Sam was the regional director of compliance for Penn National Gaming, Inc. (“PNGI”) in Columbus. He oversaw all compliance operations for the Ohio Hollywood Casinos, Racinos and Racing to ensure adherence to all federal and state regulatory requirements, PNGI policies and compliance with responsible gaming. Sam also acted as the primary liaison to the Ohio Casino Control Commission, managed a team of seven compliance officers and worked with other PNGI compliance officers across the country to help implement, improve and streamline processes and procedures.
As executive director of the Ohio Liquor Control Commission, Sam managed all Commission operations, including supervising staff, providing counsel on all legal and policy matters involving liquor and gaming issues and managing a near $1 million budget. Sam worked with the General Assembly, the Governor’s Office and stakeholders to draft and adopt Commission administrative rules. In addition, he presented testimony before the Ohio House and Senate in support of the budget and maintained active communication with the General Assembly.
Sam served as assistant chief counsel to the Office of Governor John Kasich, providing legal counsel to the Governor and senior staff. He worked with the Governor’s legislative team and members of the General Assembly to draft and review legislation and administrative rules as well as all state agency chief counsels to manage and direct major litigation and policy matters. Sam was also responsible for reviewing and making recommendations on all clemency and death penalty decisions for the Governor.
Sam was an assistant prosecuting attorney for Franklin County before joining Governor Kasich’s office where he prosecuted adult felony cases in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, drafted indictments and presented felony cases to the Grand Jury. He prosecuted over 1,500 felony, misdemeanor, traffic and abuse, neglect and dependency cases in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and served as a gang unit prosecutor.
In 2008, Sam earned his juris doctor from Capital University Law School. During law school, he served as a clerk for the Ohio Department of Public Safety Legal Services, a Columbus law firm and the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Constitution Committee in Washington, D.C. Sam was the vice president of the Corporate & Business Law Association and participated in the Moot Court Sports Law Team. Prior to law school, Sam acted as legislative correspondent to Congresswoman Deborah Pryce and as a staff assistant at the United States Republican Conference.
Sam graduated from Wake Forest University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in economics with a minor in Spanish.
Samuel H. Porter III is admitted to practice law in the state of Ohio.