Our Team

Gene Rice

Gene Rice

Founder

Gene is CEO of Rice-Cohen International, an internationally recognized top 25 retained search firm. (www.ricecoheninternational.com). Gene has placed over 120 C-level executives in his career and has interviewed thousands of CEOs. Previously, he was a senior executive at Alcatel, a Fortune 50 company, where he ran East Coast operations. Gene held a board position for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and has been in involved with Habitat for Humanity as well. Gene lives in Upper Makefield, Pennsylvania with his wife, Michele, their four children, son-in-law and grandson. Gene has always been involved in his community, coaching sports, connecting with non-profits and mentoring high school and college students through summer internships. Gene feels blessed to have the opportunity   to make a difference in children’s lives through the Plant a Seed Inspire a Dream Foundation.

Michele Rice

Michele Rice

Founder

Michele grew up on Long Island, where she attended Hofstra University and received a B.A. and M.A. in Speech Pathology. She worked as a speech pathologist for 8 years in Elmont, N.Y. and eventually left her career to raise Gene and Michele’s four children. Michele’s love of children and strong desire to give back led to the idea of starting a non-profit foundation that would allow children from low income families to share in the opportunities her own children had experienced. From this idea, she and Gene founded the Plant a Seed Inspire a Dream Foundation to assist kids who did not have the financial means to pursue their dreams. Michele looks forward to continuing to help young people achieve their life goals.

William Hooper

William Hooper

Board Member

William, a Bucks County resident, is a retired senior business development executive experienced with blue chip corporate, small business, academic and non-profit organizations. He graduated Columbia University (BSE, MSE, MBA), and The Barnes Foundation (Art and Aesthetics). Previously, he served on Chandler Hall’s Development Committee and was co-founder and then chair of its Business Advocacy Council. He has extensive experience guiding teens and young adults making transitions to college, internships, and work. Currently, he is a board member of The Heritage Dance Foundation, Goldsboro, NC, and is a mentor in Columbia University’s Entrepreneurship Program. He also advocates for improved K-12 art education in the Philadelphia region.

Brian Labau

Brian Labau

Board Member

Brian Labau is the Senior Business Development Management of Animation Solutions, as well as a lifelong friend of PAS founder, Gene Rice. Before joining Animation Solutions, Brian worked for Scene Systems llc and American Billrite inc. A graduate of St. Bonacenture University, Brian helps keep PAS up to date on all things tech and business related.

Ryan Wheeler

Ryan Wheeler

Board Member

Ryan is a Portfolio Manager for the money management firm, Friedenthal Financial, based out of Voorhees, New Jersey, starting his career with the firm in 2010.  He received his BBA from Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business in 2009 with a concentration in Finance. He is very active in the Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania and in his down time he enjoys playing golf, woodworking and playing the guitar. Ryan resides in Mount Laurel, New Jersey with his wife and college-sweetheart, Kara, their new born baby and their dog Trey.

Linda Whitman

Linda Whitman

Board Member

Linda Whitman received a BS in Engineering from Lafayette College. She previously held positions of increasing responsibility in R&D at Mobil Oil Corporation and MW Kellogg.  Later she worked as an engineering consultant for Power Medical Interventions providing facilities and automation engineering services. She is currently working for Micro Interventional Devices in Newtown, Pennsylvania. Linda served as Treasurer for S.H.A.R.E. at Council Rock North High School, has been an Alumni Admissions Representative for Lafayette College for the past seven years, and is the co-chair for the Fleck Consistent Giving Society. Linda and her husband Michael live in New Hope, Pennsylvania with their four children Katherine, Christopher, Jonathan and Jessie.

World B. Free

World B. Free

Board Member

World B. Free made his NBA debut as a Philadelphia 76er on October 4, 1975. Selected by the 76ers in the second round of the 1975 NBA Draft, Free poured-in 17,955 points over his illustrious 13-years career, which ranks 49th all-time in NBA history. The prolific scorer from Brooklyn spent four years with the 76ers (1975-78 & 1987), while also making stops in San Diego (1978-80), Golden State (1980-82), Cleveland (1983-86) and Houston (1987). As a member of the San Diego Clippers, Free put together his best season in the NBA. He averaged an astounding 30.2 points over just 68 games, which landed him a spot in the 1980 NBA All-Star Game. He appeared in 886 games over his career, averaging 20.3 points while dishing out 3.7 assists per contest. After leaving the game full time he leads free basketball clinics through the 76ers Summer Hoops Tour and Basketball 101; delivers motivational messages at school assemblies; visits children’s hospitals; hosts anti-violence talks; presents the 76ers Hometown Hero Awards – the list goes on and on.

Lynn Cohen

Lynn Cohen

Board Member

Lynn has enjoyed being a board member for Plant A Seed Foundation since its inception and has seen the power that this foundation has to positively affect the lives of children. Previous to Plant A Seed, Lynn was involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters and A Woman’s Place. Lynn Cohen is also President of Designs To Grow Coaching and Training where she has been successfully coaching and training individuals, executives and teams for over 15 years.Lynn loves to spend time with her family, do yoga, meditation, exercise, walk in nature and read.