Born in Middletown, Joe attended Xavier High School. In 1996, Joe entered the University of Delaware where he played Division I-AA football, earned a Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship, mentored local youth in the Blue Hen Mentorship Program, and served as an academic counselor for undergraduates.
In 2000, Joe graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science and was commissioned into the U.S. Army as an Infantry Officer with the rank of second lieutenant. As a lieutenant, Joe led platoons of up to 60 men in combat operations. These operations included the attack on Baghdad in March 2003 and the capture of high value targets. For his efforts and the success of his teams throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003 to 2004, Joe was presented the Bronze Star.
Following his release from active duty, Joe was hired at his alma mater, Xavier High School, as an emergency fill in January 2005. The following school year, Joe was promoted to Dean of Students.
Joe was called back to active duty to support Operation Enduring Freedom in September 2006. He was sent to Afghanistan to lead a group of 20 “Effects Targeting,” and his group was charged with developing methods to influence the battlefield using information operations, public relations, and humanitarian assistance. For his leadership of the “Effects Working Group,” Joe received the Army’s Meritorious Service Medal.
Joe, a former Captain and Army Ranger, returned home in 2007 and has been pursuing the EMPOWER Leadership Sports & Adventure Center ever since.
Maureen grew up in the south end of Middletown where she enjoyed dancing, horseback riding, and a variety of sports. She attended Mercy High School from 1992 to 1996 where she was a member of three state championship teams; the cross country team, softball team and basketball team. Maureen went on to attend Lehigh University where she played Division I softball and basketball. While at Lehigh, she was named the women’s basketball team MVP, the school’s Athlete of the Year, and a Scholar Athlete. Maureen finished her basketball career with over 1,000 points and graduated with a 3.5 grade point average, earning a Bachelor of Arts in International Business and Spanish.
Maureen was accepted into the Masters of Business Administration program at Loyola Marymount University in southern California. Maureen excelled in this environment and left Loyola Marymount University not only with a graduate degree in Business Administration but with many lessons she would use in the business world.
Maureen has used her first-class education to gain valuable business experience in manufacturing, corporate administration, operations, and management. This breadth of experience in the business world has given her the expertise and real world knowledge necessary to make sound business decisions. Currently, Maureen is the Chief Operating Officer at Middletown’s NatureMost Laboratories, a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of nutritional supplements and the sole supplier of these goods to distributors in Puerto Rico, Italy, Spain, and Germany.
Dan grew up in Middletown, CT., where he attended Xavier High School. Dan enrolled in Springfield College (Springfield, MA) in 1998. While at Springfield College, Dan majored in Physical Education, was a member of the Springfield College football team, and became involved in many on-campus clubs and activities.
At the end of his first year Dan had the opportunity to take part in a week-long camping class called Outdoor Pursuits at Springfield College’s East Campus. That experience enlightened Dan to the world of Outdoor Adventure and Education. During his second year, Dan’s interest in Outdoor Adventure and Education continued to grow. Dan had the opportunity to work with Dr. Ted France (Springfield College) as an outdoor adventure facilitator. During his many experiences as a teambuilding facilitator, Dan developed a true appreciation for the benefits of teaching teambuilding, interpersonal, and intrapersonal skills through adventure.
After graduating, Dan spent three years as a physical education teacher, two of which were spent working at a behavioral school in Springfield. Dan went back to work under Dr. France for his graduate degree. Dan taught and co-taught a Physical Education Teaching Methods class for sophomore Physical Education majors. The focus of the class was integrating adventure activities into high school physical education.
Before coming to EMPOWER, Dan spent two years teaching at The Springfield Renaissance School, an expeditionary learning school. During the two years at’The Renaissance’, Dan was able to integrate adventure units into the school’s physical education curricula.
Dan now happily resides as an EMPOWER staff member and he looks forward to seeing a wide range of people out at the facility.
Dayna grew up in East Haddam where she attended Nathan Hale-Ray High School. Dayna was very active in many extracurricular activities, including Drama Club, the FFA, Green Team, The T-M Honor Society and Girl Scouts. After Graduating in 2005 she attended Middlesex Community College here in Middletown before transferring to Central Connecticut Sate University. Dayna received a bachelor’s degree in Business Management in December of 2009. During the summer of 2009 Dayna spent over a month in Australia volunteering and doing her part for the conservation of a country struggling with years of drought. There she also got her first taste of outdoor adventure. She rappelled over 90 ft in the beautiful Blue Mountains, dived the Great Barrier Reef and Bungee Jumped 164 ft in Cairns.
Dayna’s love for the outdoors, adventure and meeting new people made her a prefect fit for EMPOWER. She was hired as a part time guide in the spring of 2010 and quickly proved herself to be much more. Now you might find Dayna on the other end of the phone when you call to make a reservation or leading your tour when you come out for your adventure.