Board of Directors

Unicon’s Board of Directors is highly involved in supporting the management team and the company’s strategic direction. The Board consists of: Harold Schifman, Dr. William Lewis, Robert Bowen, Chris Franz, and John Blakley. The statutory Board is responsible for the overview of all company operations, including detailed review of the annual financial audit as well as the strategic direction of the company and the performance of the CEO.

The Board formally meets each quarter and is presented an in-depth review of all aspects of the company, from detailed financials to current market situations and company reactions. The Board is composed of a very diverse group of highly experienced members, 3 members from outside the company, 2 representing the internal management team. The background of the members varies from the former CIO of Arizona State University, to the Chairman and CEO of a reading and comprehension company focused on the K-12 space.


Chris Franz
Founder and Board of Directors Member
Chris Franz, Co-Founder and former President of Unicon, currently sits on the Board of Directors while enjoying his retirement. Franz previously led the company’s systems and network engineering team including its adoption of cloud technologies beginning in 2009. Earlier in his career, Franz held the role of Vice President of Operations for Unicon where he served in various roles as a Programmer, Consultant, and System Administrator. During this time, Franz led the application support team for one of the largest eLearning production deployments in the world to date. Before joining Unicon, Franz was a System Administrator and Programmer in the Engineering Computer Services department at Arizona State University.


Robert C. Bowen
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Scientific Learning Corp.
Mr. Bowen brings more than three decades of consistent success in building market leadership and shareholder value in the education market. He served as senior vice president and an officer of National Computer Systems (NCS). In his last assignment as president of NCS Education Software and Services, he built this K-12 business into the market leader of enterprise software solutions with a 40 percent market share. NCS was sold to Pearson PLC in the fall of 2000. Most recently, Mr. Bowen has served as a strategic consultant to leading providers of instructional and administrative technology solutions in education.

Mr. Bowen has also held senior executive positions with other leading education companies including seventeen years with McGraw-Hill. He last served as executive vice president of McGraw-Hill's Education and Training group, which included seven divisions with total revenues of approximately $350 million. Early in his career, Mr. Bowen was a high school math teacher, a coach, and a school district administrator.


William E. Lewis
Chief Information Officer/Vice Provost

William E. Lewis is a Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) department in the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at ASU. Lewis received his B.S. in Industrial Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University in 1962. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University in 1964 and 1966, respectively.

Lewis came to ASU in 1965 as an assistant professor of Industrial Engineering. In 1980, he became the founding chair of the CSE department and was elevated to professor in 1981. He served as Chair of CSE until 1985 when he accepted a position of assistant dean and later associate dean in the school. In 1992, he served as interim director for Academic and Communications Technology. In 1993, he became the Vice Provost for Information Technology. In 2003, he was elevated to the Chief Information Officer and Vice Provost of ASU.

Lewis’s industry experience includes work at Intel Corporation, Honeywell Information Systems, and the General Electric Company in Phoenix, Arizona. He currently serves as a consultant for the Secretary of State’s Voting Tabulation System, is on the Board of Directors of Unicon, and is involved in expert witness activity. He has previously served as a consultant for Good Samaritan Hospital, the City of Tempe, General Electric Company, the MEAS Project in Colorado, Honeywell, Central Arizona Health Systems Agency, Tempe Elementary School District, Mountain Bell, Delphi Associates, Tempe Union High School District, Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, the University of Utah and East Carolina University.

Lewis’s principal research interests include computer science, operations research, performance evaluation and advanced systems concepts, intra and inter-nets, and client/server computing. He is a member of UPE (Computer Science Honor Society), Alpha Pi Mu (Industrial Engineering Honor Society), Sigma Xi (Science Honor Society) and Tau Beta Pi (Engineering Honor Society).


Harold A. Schifman
Harold Schifman has spent the majority of his professional life in either the consulting arena or serving as CEO/COO for a variety of companies across many industries. After selling his last company to a Forbes 400 family, he took the interim position of COO of SHR Perceptual Management, an internationally recognized brand development firm, prior to forming Delta Source Group, a private equity firm, and subsequently Crossroads Executive Forums. Leveraging deep ties within the Arizona business community and a trusted partnership orientation founded on parallel interest, Crossroads Executive Forums provides small and mid-sized businesses access to the leadership, strategy, management, and capital necessary to further their personal and professional objectives.

Schifman was founder and CEO of the Ibis Company from 1969 to 1985. The Ibis Company, a Kansas City\Boston based consulting firm consisting of 26 professionals provided strategy, marketing, and business planning services to Fortune 500 companies. Schifman moved to Tucson in 1985 and for two years led venture capital interest as the managing partner responsible for the acquisition, operation and the sale of a fast food franchise, a Chrysler automobile dealership, a construction and material distributor, a telecommunication company, and various real estate projects.

From 1987 to November 1999, Schifman served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Larson Company, a global leader in the design and building of naturalistic and themed environments for both the commercial and institutional markets. Schifman purchased the company of 25 employees producing $3 million dollars in sales in 1987 and grew the enterprise to 450 employees worldwide reaching volumes in excess of $45 million dollars.

For over a decade Schifman served on the boards of the University of Arizona’s College of Business and Public Administration and the College of Medicine, Sarver Heart Center. Additionally, Schifman is an honorary fellow of the Karl Eller Graduate School of Management and founder of Crossroads Executive Forums.

A sample of current local Arizona fiduciary and advisory boards include: Unicon, World Communications Center, CRESA Partners, Health II, Beck Group, Empro, Techniquex, and NESCO.