To say that incoming James Foundation Board Chair Rich Porter is accomplished is an understatement. The self-described “private equity guy” is president and partner of TE-CO/Mitee-Bite/Raptor Products, LLC, which manufactures workholding equipment for the metalworking industry. He’s also an avid cyclist, dedicated husband to wife Robin and father to daughter Michelle, and has a reputation for leadership—including as a member of The James Foundation Board.
Still, as he prepares to take over the role of The James Foundation Board chair following Cindy Hilsheimer’s years at the helm, he is humbled by the big shoes to fill. “Cindy is the prototype model of a foundation board chair,” says Rich. “She has tremendous energy, she’s very intelligent, and she has an enormous sense of giving and kindness around her. I joke to her, ‘If I’m 80 percent of you, that’s a success.’”
Rich and his colleagues on The James Foundation Board provide financial assistance to the OSUCCC – James, raising millions of dollars each year to help the institution pursue its vision to create a cancer-free world. “These are big-brain people—smart, intelligent,” says Rich of his fellow board members and the OSUCCC – James development team that supports their work. “You give your wisdom and applied knowledge that’s part of your life experience, and you learn from their experience and wisdom.”
For the record, Cindy has full confidence in Rich’s abilities—which she has seen in action since he joined the board in 2014 and became vice-chair in 2016. “Rich has a ‘get it done’ spirit, complemented by an eye toward disciplined execution and a focus on the key funding priorities,” says Cindy, who will continue as a member of the board. “He will ably guide our board as we continue to support our talented development team with ongoing fundraising efforts.”
A Passion for the OSUCCC – James
Rich’s passion for the OSUCCC – James was ignited during the first Pelotonia cycling event in the summer of 2009. Inspired by Lance Armstrong’s participation, Rich signed up for the race on a whim. It seemed like a great way to give back—and indeed, he was one of the race’s top 50 fundraisers that inaugural year—but he had no idea the ride would change his life.
“Lance Armstrong was the hook,” says Rich, “but with the crowd and the speakers, you just had that feeling that this was much bigger than a bike ride. It was a community coming together with one goal in mind. It was one of those ‘aha’ moments when you realize: This is bigger than me.”
The OSUCCC – James was eager to channel Rich’s newfound enthusiasm into action. As a resident of Miami County, he had the connections and influence to help the OSUCCC – James reach a wider swath of Ohio. Rich and Robin began hosting community outreach events in the Dayton region, where OSUCCC – James leaders would speak about research, treatment and the importance of getting second opinions. The Porters were among the first members of The James Ambassadors Society, the premier advocacy arm of the OSUCCC – James. With hundreds of people attending the Porters’ community events, it’s no coincidence that philanthropy from the Dayton area substantially increased.
The Porters have another connection to the OSUCCC – James; their daughter, Michelle, recently started as a nurse practitioner helping patients with acute blood cancer. They could not be more proud of her chosen career path and employer.
Maybe it’s his background in athletics—Rich ran track at Indiana State University—or maybe it’s his experience acquiring companies for his private equity firm, but he doesn’t like to lose. “The agony of defeat motivates me much more than the success of winning,” says Rich. “I cannot stand to lose. I cannot stand to get beat.”
Against a foe as formidable as cancer, that’s the necessary attitude, says Mandy Porcher, campaign operations director at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “That’s motivation, and that’s what we want to do in the big picture: create a cancer-free world. It’s a big task, and we’re looking forward to Rich’s leadership to help steer us forward.”
Rich Porter's Three Goals in His Tenure as Chair
1. Launch fundraising for a new world-class institute of immuno-oncology, positioning the OSUCCC – James as a top immunotherapy program in the nation and creating a new frontier of treatments and cures.
2. Raise critical funding for a new outpatient care center.
3. Focus on strategic development to increase philanthropy to the OSUCCC – James.