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November 9, 2015

Reading Partners announces appointment of four new national board members

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Christy Dobbs, (510) 214-3920, christy.dobbs@readingpartners.org

Reading Partners announces appointment of four new national board members.

(Oakland, CA) November 9, 2015 — Reading Partners has announced the addition of four national board members: Brad Creswell of Seattle, Washington, Drake Pruitt of Los Angeles, California, Jeremy Smith of Fort Worth, Texas, and Loren Unterseher of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Our newest board members share our commitment to making a measurable impact on 4th grade reading proficiency.” says CEO Michael Lombardo. “We are fortunate to have their diversity of experience, talent and passion as part of our board as we work to improve educational outcomes for the millions of children across our country reading below grade level.

Brad Creswell is partner and co-founder of NCA Partners, LLC, a leading Pacific Northwest based private equity firm with over 20 years of experience successfully partnering with entrepreneurs, business owners and management teams. NCA Partners currently manages $150 million of equity invested in four portfolio companies. He is currently on the boards of two privately held portfolio companies, NC Services Group and PTW Energy Services, Ltd. and on the board of Northern Frontier Corporation, a publicly listed company on the TSX Venture exchange (Toronto Stock Exchange). Creswell also serves on the Northwest Regional Board of Thrivent Financial, a Fortune 500 financial services firm. Prior to joining NCA Partners, he worked at Bankers Trust (subsequently acquired by Deutsche Bank) in the corporate finance department in New York City. Creswell started his career in the audit department of Arthur Young where he earned his CPA. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Puget Sound and a Master of Business Administration from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. He lives in Seattle with his wife of 32 years and they have two grown boys.

Drake Pruitt has an extensive leadership background with rapid growth, high performance industries, and cultures. Currently based in Los Angeles, he began his career on Wall Street, working for Lehman Brothers and later for Montgomery Securities on technology IPOs. In 1994, Drake was part of the founding team of OneComm, Inc., a wireless carrier that built the present-day Nextel, Inc. He also served as vice president of sales for Aquantive Inc., the pioneer in massively scalable online ad delivery, purchased by Microsoft for $6B. From 2002 through 2008, Drake ran marketing and product development, and was promoted to serve as CEO of Bocada, Inc., a venture-backed startup in data risk management. In 2009, Drake joined Liberty spinoff, Ascent Media as SVP of business development to focus on digital product distribution; the company was sold for over $1B in 2011. In 2011, Drake founded Genius:Group—a venture studio combining financing and operating expertise to launch, grow and build business services and smart technologies. In August of 2012, Drake co-founded Lionsolver, Inc. (now part of LIONLab) to apply machine learning approaches to problems in health care and the industrial internet. Drake graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s in economics and decision sciences from the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently pursuing his master’s in informatics from Northwestern University. He is also a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and serves as board advisor for several technology startups.​

Jeremy Smith currently serves as vice president of Rainwater Inc. and executive director of charitable services where he directs the foundation’s giving in education and medical research. Prior to joining Rainwater, Smith worked in management consulting at McKinsey & Company and DenuoSource, LLC. Smith serves as a board member at Lumin Education, Dallas Zero to Five Funders Collaborative, TFA DFW Board of Advisors, First3 Years, the FW Education Foundation, and the Texas Christian University Board of Visitors. Smith is a graduate of the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Divinity School. He received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Arkansas.

Loren Unterseher is a managing director of Oxbow Industries, LLC, a Twin Cities based diversified holding company. Loren has over 20 years of private equity investing, investment banking, and legal services experience. Before joining Oxbow Industries, he was head of mergers & acquisitions at Craig-Hallum Capital Group. Previous roles also include director of private equity for Goldsmith Agio Helms and vice president in mergers & acquisitions at Dain Rauscher. Loren began his professional career as an attorney and was a shareholder at Leonard, Street & Deinard, a Minneapolis based law firm. Loren is currently on the board of several privately held companies and a former treasurer and board member of the Minnesota Opera. Loren holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance from the University of Iowa and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Dakota.

In addition to serving on Reading Partners’ national board, each new board member will also join their respective regional boards: Brad Creswell will join the regional board in Seattle, Washington; Drake Pruitt will join the Reading Partners Los Angeles board; Jeremy Smith will join the North Texas board; and Loren Unterseher will join the Twin Cities board.

Reading Partners’ new board members will support the organization’s work to provide individualized literacy tutoring to more than 11,000 elementary school students in more than 200 schools in low-income communities across ten states and the District of Columbia this upcoming school year. The nonprofit organization delivers a highly effective, evidence-based program that has helped tens of thousands of children master the fundamental reading skills they need to succeed in school and beyond.

For more information about Reading Partners, visit readingpartners.org and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

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