The Founders

Alberto Lopez

A native of Elgin, Illinois, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in January of 1999, earning the MOS 0341 Mortarman. His assigned duty stations and deployments were both with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit/SOC while assigned to 3rd Battalion/5th Marines & 1st Battalion/5th Marines, respectively. Upon honorable discharge, as a Sergeant, from the Marine Corps in April of 2007, Alberto Lopez entered the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in History.  Alberto Lopez has worked with multiple non-profits, having the honor of serving the active duty military, veteran and first responder communities, including their families. 

Abbie Holland Schmit

A native of Darlington, WI, Abbie joined the Army National Guard at 17, serving as a Combat Support Specialist in Operation Iraqi Freedom from May 2003 to April 2004. Abbie is devoted to increasing awareness of women's issues within the military. Abbie is a graduate of Edgewood College, earning a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and Psychology. Working in multiple non-profit settings, Abbie has served the vast community of active military, veterans, first responders and their families, with passion and dedication.

Board of Directors

Christine Lopez

Phenix Legacy Board of Directors President

As a Marine Corps spouse, Christine understands, firsthand, the struggles posed by transition from military service to civilian life. This experience led her to welcome an opportunity to serve as President of the Board for Phenix Legacy, an organization whose mission she firmly stands behind. Christine is a Technical Evangelist at IBM, where she gets to share with others the kind of cutting edge technology that will change the world. Christine holds a Masters Degree in Psychology from DePaul University and a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from California State University, Fullerton. Raising two daughters, Christine and her husband actively instill in them a sense of duty and service to their community. 

Ramon L. Vega Jr.

Phenix Legacy Board of Directors Vice-President

Ramon, the board's Vice President, currently serves the community as a Firefighter/Paramedic in Crystal Lake, IL. Before joining Crystal Lake's Fire Department, Ramon dedicated years of service as both an EMT and Paramedic, having earned his license at Loyola University.  Ramon has two children with his wife, an ER nurse. 

Jennifer Boyce

Phenix Legacy Board of Directors Secretary

 Jennifer serves as the board's Secretary. Currently, she is working as a Data Scientist at Sprout Social, where she uses statistics and machine learning techniques to help businesses communicate more effectively through social media. Before joining Sprout Social, Jennifer spent 8 years managing social media communications and publications for Wounded Warrior Project. Jennifer holds a Masters Degree in Predictive Analytics from DePaul University and previously served as an EMT. 

Christopher Schmit

Phenix Legacy Board of Directors Treasurer

Christopher serves as the board's Treasurer. Currently, he works at National Louis University as a metadata and systems librarian. He has worked for several non-profits and has extensive knowledge in both day-to-day operations as well executive planning. Christopher is a husband to an Iraqi war veteran who has struggled with the invisible wounds of war.

Joseph Franzese

Phenix Legacy Board of Directors member

Joseph works as a Manager for Genesco Sports Enterprises. Before this, he worked at Wounded Warrior Project in their Warriors to Work Program as a Program Specialist. Additionally, he has worked for Health and Disabilities Advocate as a Program Coordinator and served in the United States Marine Corps.

Kevin Houcek

Phenix Legacy Board of Directors member

Kevin has served the veteran and first responder communities for many years. Currently, he works as a Veterans Outreach Program Specialist at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Previously, he worked for the Wounded Warrior Project as a Project Odyssey Coordinator, as an Armorer/Trainer at CheyTac USA, and as a Police Officer with Park Forest Police Department.

Board of Directors

Jo-Elle Mogerman

Phenix Legacy Board of Directors member

Jo-Elle has worked for the Brookfield Zoo for nearly 14 years, where she held the position VP of Institutional Planning & Inclusion. Before that she was Executive Director of the Indiana Dunes Learning Center.  In April, of this year, Mogerman accepted the position of Vice President of Learning and Community the Shedd Aquarium. She is an expert in non-profit executive management and excels at working with multiple stakeholders to enhance and promote brands, programs and products to meet organizational objectives and audience needs.  She enjoys working with diverse audiences in strengthening their connections to a brand, product or mission. Furthermore, she is a strategists and problem solver who develops executable strategies and tactics that increase return on investment. Other relevant experience includes project management, group facilitation, proposal review, fundraising and strategic planning.

Juan Perez

Phenix Legacy Board of Directors member

Juan was born in Chicago, Illinois. He joined the United States Marine Corps in 2008. During his service, he had two deployments to Afghanistan and the Middle East, was accepted into the Scout Sniper Platoon where, in 2011, he was sent to Marine Corps Scout Sniper School.  

Juan was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 2013, returning to Chicago to pursue a career in Law Enforcement. In May of 2015, Juan graduated from the Chicago Police Academy and received the Thor Soderberg Award as well as the Instructors Choice Award. Juan has worked with the Chicago Police Department for over 3 years. He is currently attending DePaul University in pursuit of a bachelors degree. 

Justin Savage

Phenix Legacy Board of Directors member

Justin currently works for Hyatt Hotels Corporation, where he is the Associate Product Development Manager. In this role, he has launched over 150 eCommerce websites worldwide in 10 languages. Before working for Hyatt, Justin was the Vice President of Product Development at Vets Prevail, a leader in technology-based behavioral health and resilience building for a wide range of challenges from depression to PTSD to substance abuse. Justin has also worked for the VA. He served in the National Guard and is also a Military Spouse.


Dr. John Mundt

Phenix Legacy Advisor

Dr. John Mundt is a Clinical Psychologist whose professional focus for 25 years has been on trauma, including how it impacts people in high-stress roles, such as military veterans and first responders. He has been a VA psychologist since 1992, with a professional focus on crisis-focused treatment of PTSD. He has testified in numerous civil and criminal cases where psychological trauma is a factor. Dr. Mundt is a nationally known speaker and trainer who has presented in more than 60 cities on mental health issues germane to veterans as well as other groups. Audiences have included the Alaska Bar Association, the Rocky Mountain Hostage Negotiators, the National Tactical Officers Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Texas A&M University, and the American Psychological Association. He has been an Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago since 1994. In his VA role, he has supervised and trained psychiatry residents, medical students and psychology interns in psychotherapy, diagnostic interviewing, and active case management. Dr. Mundt holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jenny Sitzer

Phenix Legacy Advisor

Jenny has lead a life of service to our country and others. She is currently the Team Lead at the Jesse Brown VA Women's Health Department. Before joining the VA Jenny worked with Thresholds and the CIA.