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LEADERSHIP

FRIENDLY FACES READY TO HELP

Meet the FCSN Board of Directors. Our Board is comprised of community and national leaders with expertise in a wide range of areas, including fund development, communications, law, governance, organizational effectiveness, fire service, public administration and business management. The Board is responsible for ensuring the alignment of the strategic and financial health of the organization on an ongoing basis.

Bryan Frieders

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER  |  PRESIDENT

Bryan Frieders is the retired Fire Chief of the Pasadena (CA) Fire Department.  He is also the President of the nationwide non-profit Firefighter Cancer Support Network.  Bryan has more than 31 years of Fire/EMS experience in a variety of assignments ranging from operations to emergency management.  He is a well-known speaker on the topic of firefighter health and safety, leadership, and cancer risk reduction.  Bryan holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration, a Bachelor’s Degree in Vocational Education, and an Associate’s Degree in Fire Technology.  He has also been designated as a Chief Fire Officer (CFO) by the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE).

Julie Sherman

VICE PRESIDENT

SENIOR PARTNER
STRAUSSNER SHERMAN
Julie graduated from UCLA with Honors in 1986, and obtained her Juris Doctorate Degree in June of 1989 from Southwestern University School of Law. Julie started her career representing professional basketball players in contract negotiations with the NBA and since has represented safety members and their families for 30 years in workers’ compensation, personal injury, disability retirement and employment issues. Julie has drafted workers’ compensation legislation on behalf of police unions and testified before the California State Senate and Assembly. She is a Certified Specialist and has served as the President of the LA Valley Applicants’ Attorneys Association. She sits on the governing board of the Star and Shield Foundation, is an advisor for the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation and is Counsel for the Firefighter Cancer Support Network and the Law Enforcement Cancer Support Foundation. She has been selected to Southern California Super Lawyers since 2009 and has been recognized in Los Angeles magazine’s Top Women Attorneys in Southern California.

Julie loves to spend time with her family and is extremely proud of her children.

Joe Schumacher

CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER  |  SECRETARY | TREASURER

Joe Schumacher is the Secretary and Chief Operations Officer (CFO) for the FCSN and the Assistant Virginia State Director. Joe started volunteering with FCSN in 2013 after his second battle with cancer. Joe was first diagnosed in 1996 with testicular cancer and again in 2013 with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Joe is currently managing two exciting projects for FCSN which will expand FCSN’s reach and ability to better serve firefighters both in the United States and internationally.

In 2018 Joe retired from the City of Fairfax Fire Department at the rank of Captain after a wonderful thirty-year career. During Joe’s career, he was awarded both the department’s Lifesaving Award and the Silver Medal of Valor. Prior to being hired in 1988, Joe was a volunteer firefighter with the Fairfax Volunteer Fire Department where his passion for firefighting began.

Joe remains an active member of the City of Fairfax Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association. He is also a member of the National Capital Region Incident Management Team where he operates as a Safety Officer and Public Information Officer. Joe is also a member of the Sons of the American Legion and volunteers at the FISH Food Pantry in his area. When not working or volunteering, Joe enjoys SCUBA diving and traveling with his wife of thirty-four years, Carol.

Ben Helquist

CHAIR, GOVERNANCE & OVERSIGHT

Ben is a partner at Straussner & Sherman, a law firm in Los Angeles that is dedicated to representing firefighters afflicted by job-related cancer. Ben’s representation has helped many firefighters and their families prove industrially caused cancer for purposes of workers’ compensation and disability retirement benefits. These legal victories have helped shaped the case law surrounding California’s “firefighter cancer presumption laws.” Ben earned his JD from the University of Oregon and is admitted to the California State Bar.

Dan Murphy

CHAIR, FUNDRAISING

VICE PRESIDENT & CHIEF PHILANTHROPY OFFICER
DIGNITY HEALTH FOUNDATION – INLAND EMPIREGLENDALE MEMORIAL HEALTH FOUNDATION
Dan is Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer for Dignity Health Foundation – Inland Empire and Glendale Memorial Health Foundation. He has over 25 years of fundraising experience previously serving in vice president positions at Heritage Valley Health System and Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, PA, as well as fundraising management positions at University of Maryland Medical System, Loyola College of Maryland and Miami University (OH). He currently serves as the health care chair for Inland Action advocacy board and is a member of Leadership Glendale.

Dan received his BA and MS degrees from Miami University in Oxford, OH and a graduate of the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy Executive Residency Program. He lives in Claremont, CA with his wife and three daughters.

Jaci Brown, MEd.

BOARD MEMBER

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CONTENT AND COMMUNICATIONS
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Jaci Brown, M.Ed., brings over 30 years of experience to her role as the Senior Vice President of Content and Communications with Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks where she is responsible for internal and external communications strategy and execution. Her oversight includes game operations, event entertainment production, DBTV productions, social media, digital production, corporate communications, player & media relations, publications, photography, alumni and archiving.

Brown has 29 years of experience in leadership roles, including the last 12 years (2009-21) with Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), most recently serving as Chief Communications Officer and Senior Vice President of Market Strategy. She also spent 20 years in Washington, D.C. serving in various leadership and team roles in public policy and politics. She served two US Secretaries of Education and the Vice President of the United States, supporting priority domestic policy programs and communication initiatives for the Administration. After leaving The White House, Jaci served on the leadership team of the public policy organization, Citizens for a Sound Economy (which later became FreedomWorks), where, over the course of 16 years, she and her teams raised millions of dollars nationwide, grew a national network of grassroots activists, and led multiple political and public policy victories both at the state and national levels.

Jaci holds an MEd from the University of Virginia, a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University, and is active in community service organizations along with her husband and three children. Most importantly, she is the proud daughter of a lifelong firefighter father who, unfortunately lost his battle with colon cancer.

Michael A. Barasch, ESQ.

BOARD MEMBER

BARASCH & MCGERRY
Michael Barasch is the managing partner of Barasch & McGarry in New York City. Michael  was a chief advocate for first responders and others harmed by toxic dust in Lower Manhattan caused by the September 11 attacks. He has represented thousands of seriously injured members of the New York City Fire Department and police officers of the New York Police Department, both for their personal injuries as well as to protect their pension benefits. This includes police officer James Zadroga, who developed pulmonary fibrosis as a result of his exposure to the deadly 9/11 toxins. His death persuaded the United States Congress to pass the “James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.” The act reopened the first 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) to provide benefits to those suffering with the harmful consequences of toxic exposure to the World Trade Center dust.[2]

Barasch & McGarry now represents more than 25,000 responders, downtown residents, office workers, students, and teachers who have been sickened by the 9/11 toxins. Barasch & McGarry has represented more 9/11 victims and recovered more money from the Victim Compensation Fund (over $3 billion) than any other law firm in the country. 9/11 didn’t end on 9/11. Michael is honored to represent the 9/11 community and feels blessed to be able to help so many people.

Kathryn Barger

BOARD MEMBER

SUPERVISOR, 5TH DISTRICT, COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES
Supervisor Kathryn Barger proudly serves the residents of the 5th District — Los Angeles County’s largest — spanning over 2,785 square miles, which includes 20 cities and 83 unincorporated communities in the Antelope, San Gabriel, San Fernando, Crescenta, and Santa Clarita Valleys.

Kathryn was born and raised in the 5th District and comes from a family with deep roots in public service. She is married to a retired sheriff’s deputy and lives in the San Gabriel Valley.

Dedicated to providing effective, responsive representation to the residents of Los Angeles County, Kathryn began her career in public service as a college intern in the office of former Supervisor Antonovich and rose to become his chief deputy in 2001, where she served until her election to the Board of Supervisors in 2016. She both served as Chair of the Board and was reelected for her second term in 2020.

Building upon her work from her time as chief policy advisor on health, mental health, social services, and children’s issues, Kathryn continues to advocate for services and programs to improve the quality of life for foster children, seniors, veterans, those with disabilities, and those with mental illness. Supervisor Barger is committed to ensuring Los Angeles County firefighters have the tools and resources they need to perform their life-saving mission. She is also an advocate for the mental health of every person who answers the call to serve. Last year, she authored a motion to address workplace trauma within L.A. County’s Fire Department. The motion mobilized resources that provide firefighters with therapeutic services to mitigate long-lasting impacts from exposure to traumatic incidents.

Jim Ross

BOARD MEMBER

MAYOR
Arlington, TX

Jim Ross was elected to the office of Mayor at the City of Arlington in June 2021. Jim Ross has spent decades serving his community and his country.  As a proud resident of Arlington for nearly forty  years he has witnessed the growth, and growing pains, this community has endured.
From 1979 to 1983, Jim served this country as a United States Marine. With assignments at home and abroad, Jim served the Marines in numerous capacities.  Having received his Honorable Discharge in 1983, Jim moved to Texas where he was soon hired by the Arlington Police Department. During his thirteen year career as a Police Officer, Jim was a member of Arlington’s first full time Special Operations Unit (SWAT), taught self-defense and physical fitness at the police academy and spent over six years investigating illegal narcotics trafficking, both locally and with the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force.  His commendations and accomplishments as a Marine and police officer are numerous.

In 1996, Jim decided to make a career change and go to law school.  He completed law school in twenty-eight months, studied and passed the State of Texas Bar exam on his first attempt and was licensed as an attorney in May 1999.  During his first ten years of practice, Jim represented thousands of clients while working environmental exposure cases for some of the country’s most prestigious law firms. In 2009, Jim left the larger firms to pursue private practice.

Initially, Jim was a one-man shop.  He answered the phones, did his own typing, and took out the trash.  The Jim Ross Law Group, P.C. has grown and experienced some tremendous success.  Now with offices in Arlington, Dallas and Fort Worth the Firm has nearly a dozen lawyers and a staff of over thirty employees.  

In November 2017, Jim opened the Mercury Chophouse – Arlington (MCA) which rapidly became Arlington’s premier fine dining steakhouse.

As an active and proud member of Arlington, Jim has served on the board of directors for the Arlington Police Foundation, the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce, the Margarita Society, Special Olympics, and the American Heart Association.

More than a passionate lawyer, businessman, and advocate for all, Jim is a family man with four children and five grandchildren.  He brings his experience as a caring Father and Papaw to his businesses and the community.

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