A.C.E. Senior Management

David Woodward
President & CEO

David Woodward is the President & CEO of Associates in Cultural Exchange. He first joined A.C.E. in 1980 as an English as a Second Language teacher, and became President & CEO in 1998. Woodward was born in Iran where he spent his early youth and developed a fascination for languages and cultures of the world. He eventually became fluent in Persian, French and Arabic, and traveled to 50+ countries over the course of his career.

Following studies at Carleton College and the University of Washington, he received a National Resource Fellowship in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization in 1981. Woodward holds four degrees from the University of Washington including a Master of Education in Higher Education with a specialization in Teaching English as a Second Language, a Master of Arts in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics, and a Bachelor of Arts in History. Besides teaching ESL for A.C.E., Woodward taught English as a foreign language at Kuwait University in 1982-83. Over his career he has presented extensively in forums and conferences on cross-cultural communication, language education, global business, international program administration, and Middle Eastern life. His favorite topic is "Humor of the Middle East".

Woodward has led A.C.E. in its redevelopment since 1998, resulting in expansion to five U.S. states, extending educational ties to 25 countries, and achieving full accreditation for all A.C.E. Language Institutes. Core activities have included managing A.C.E. operations nationally, marketing and recruiting internationally, leading community outreach and board development, and setting up strategic relationships worldwide. Clients Woodward has worked with include the Japanese Ministry of Education (MEXT), the Eiken Foundation of Japan, the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission, the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Ministry of Education of Korea, the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development, the Yemeni Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources, Sultan Qaboos University, World Learning, AMIDEAST, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Samsung Corporation, Boeing, Microsoft, USAID, EPA, Quality Schools International, Goodman Real Estate, and dozens of major universities and colleges worldwide. He has established contracts for services, branch offices and representative service arrangements with client organizations in Oman, Kazakhstan, Russia, Switzerland, Japan, Korea, Australia, and seven U.S. states, as well as managing for-profit and not-for-profit subsidiaries and spin-offs. He has also led in the formation of several key international marketing consortia, and collaborative initiatives across professional disciplines.

Woodward is on the U.S. Secretary of Commerce-appointed District Export Council for Washington State, is a former commissioner for the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation, and a member of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, TESOL, Association of International Education Administrators, the Seattle Rotary Club, the Advisory Council of the Trade Development Alliance of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the Advisory Board of the Persian & Iranian Studies Department of the University of Washington, and the Global Business Advisory Board of Seattle University's Albers School of Business and Economics.

*American Cultural Exchange, a 501(c)3 founded in Seattle in 1973

Paul Kwilinski
Chief Operating Officer

Paul is responsible for oversight of and support for the A.C.E. Language Institute management team, institute operations and student recruitment. Paul's entire career has been dedicated to international education. From beginning as an ESL instructor in Taiwan in 1982 to opening training programs in Taiwan, China and Vietnam to directing schools and projects around the world, Paul's goal has been to improve educational opportunities for foreign students and to help American institutions source qualified international student applicants. In addition, he has helped develop contract programs for industry training in aviation, business and the nursing/medical fields.

Paul has administered Intensive English programs in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, New York and Seattle over the past thirty years. Additionally, he has designed and implemented teacher-training programs both internationally and domestically. Paul took an active leadership role in developing the Intensive English Program at Saint Francis University and looks forward to developing new initiatives going forward.

Colette Mercier
Chief Financial Officer

Colette Mercier has over 30 years of experience, primarily in nonprofit accounting, as finance director, controller, CFO, and consultant, in organizations of varying size and mission. Her work has included nonprofit administration, human resources, coordination between development and finance departments, and restoring fiscal order in troubled organizations.

Colette has worked with A.C.E. as a finance consultant since March 2003, joining our staff in September 2009. She also serves as Finance Director of The Collins Group, Inc., a Seattle firm providing fundraising management consultation to Northwest nonprofits.

Colette received her B.A. Degree in Social Studies Field Major from U.C. Berkeley, and completed Ph.D. coursework in Sociology and Anthropology at the City University of New York. She is a licensed minister within Centers for Spiritual Living, and Co-Founding Minister of Amazing Grace Spiritual Center, meeting in Seattle's South Lake Union District.

Her personal mission is to promote fiscal/administrative integrity and transparency as the bedrock upon which an organization's mission can be securely grounded.

Sally Thomas
Vice President for Program Development

Sally Thomas is the Vice President for Program Development, responsible for oversight of and support for A.C.E. Language Institutes, as well as Group Programs. She began in 2007 as the Director of the A.C.E. Language Institute at SPU and became Senior Director in 2012. Sally served as a senior teacher trainer in St. Petersburg, Russia from 2005-2007 with the U.S. State Department's English Language Fellow program. Prior to this role, Sally worked with the Seattle Public Schools as an ESL teacher and was the Associate Director of the Language Institute for Refugees and Immigrants from 1999-2005. Since 1992, Sally has taught English and basic skills in public and private schools to students of all ages and backgrounds including two years on the tiny island of Guam and three years in Russia. Sally holds a master's degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Seattle University and has a B.A. in education and a Washington State teaching certificate which she earned through Northwest University in Kirkland, WA. Sally has traveled extensively throughout the world and is proud of being a first generation Norwegian.

Anthony L. Fantham
Vice President for Community Relations

Anthony Fantham is the Vice President for Community Relations at A.C.E. He has 37 years of professional international experience, including 14 years of senior management roles, in international business management, and corporate technical and administrative programs and services involving clients from all business sectors. He joined A.C.E. in 2009.

Dave Rector, Ed.D.
Senior Director of Enrollment Services

Dave Rector is the Senior Director of Enrollment Services. He comes to us after spending the past 20 years in various positions at South Puget Sound Community College, with the last 14.5 years as Dean of Student Life. Throughout Dave's career, he has been involved with international education, international recruiting and the admissions process.

Dave earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington. He has a Master of Business Administration from City University of Seattle. Dave also holds both a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts, with a focus on Intercultural Communication, and a Master of Liberal Arts in Pacific Rim Studies from Alaska Pacific University.

As an undergraduate and graduate student Dave had the opportunity to study at the Minzu University of China, in Beijing. He enjoys creating creating opportunities for global interactions and cultural awareness. When not working, his time is spent with family and traveling the world.

Lori Maxfield
Director of Marketing

Lori joins A.C.E. after serving as Director of Marketing & Communications at ISEP in Washington, D.C. Her expertise focuses on developing and implementing strategic plans for international education marketing. She helps to consolidate marketing and branding efforts to create a more professional, cohesive, and appealing visual style. Lori has lived in England three times for undergraduate study abroad, short-term work experience, and postgraduate study. She received an M.A. in Intercultural Communication and International Business at the University of Surrey. Lori is passionate about creating opportunities for students to have life transformative intercultural experiences.

Dennis Broll
Director of Information Systems

Dennis has been with A.C.E. since 2000. Originally from Germany, he graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in International Business and Information Systems. His expertise is in custom database systems and web development.

Tim Healy
Director of the A.C.E. Language Institute at Seattle Pacific University

Tim is originally from Buffalo, New York. He has his M.A. in TESOL and his B.A. in Russian. He studied Russian in the Soviet Union and has lived in Russia. Tim was a faculty member at A.C.E. for seven years before becoming an administrator.

Mary Ulrich
Director of the A.C.E. Language Institute at Montana State University

Mary moved back to Montana in 2008 from a few years abroad (Mozambique) and is completing an Ed.D. with an emphasis in Adult and Higher Education at Montana State University. She has an MA in Intercultural Communication and a BA in History and Spanish Language. Her teaching background includes working in EFL overseas (South Korea) and ESL/Second Language Writing in New Mexico. While in Mozambique, she worked as an Education Specialist on a USDOL grant to eliminate exploitative child labor. She enjoys traveling, but also being at home in the beautiful Gallatin Valley to enjoy the Montana outdoors!

Sarah Lopolito
Director of the A.C.E. Language Institute at the University of Rhode Island

Although Sarah was born in Statesboro, Georgia, she grew up and attended college in Rhode Island. Her love of traveling and learning about different cultures began when she studied abroad at the University of Glasgow, Scotland and was further developed on her travels to France, Ireland, England, Italy, the Azores, Aruba, and Brazil. She began her career in education in 1997 and has been teaching ESL since 2009. She earned her Master of Arts degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from The New School in New York. Sarah enjoys using a variety of activities in her ESL classes in order to make sure her students are engaged in English in a fun and meaningful way. When she is not teaching, she enjoys gardening, running, reading, and spending time with her family.

Brian Chu
Assistant Director of Marketing and Eiken North American Liaison Office

Brian is the Assistant Director of Marketing at A.C.E. and Eiken North American Liaison Office. He comes from a Chinese-American background with more than 5 years spent studying, living and working in Japan. Growing up in New York and Seattle, Brian attended Carleton College in Minnesota where he majored in Japanese literature with a year studying in Kyoto, Japan. Post graduation he lived in rural Mie Prefecture in Japan for four years on the JET Program. It was in Japan that Brian developed a deep appreciation for the experience of living abroad and multi-culturally.

After returning to Seattle in 2010, Brian completed a Masters in International Studies at the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. Brian brings experience in culturally and educationally focused programming and marketing, with experience working on the JET Program (CIR), and in Seattle at North Seattle Community College and the Hyogo Business and Cultural Center. He is a professional photographer and has worked with both U.S. and international clients. Brian believes strongly in the value of international education and enjoys working with students and educational organizations to help bring diverse educational opportunities to groups in Seattle and across the world.

Alex Maxim
Manager of Group Programs

Born in Venezuela of Romanian descent, Alex was fully immersed in English for 8 years in the UK. He returned to Venezuela to get his Bachelor of Architecture. After a 20+ year career as an architect in Caracas, Los Angeles and Seattle he switched to the nonprofit sector leading groups in Mexico, fund-raising, grant writing and finding employment for the homeless.

Hosting groups from Brazil, China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, and Taiwan with divergent interests has honed his group program and project management skills. He works comfortably across language, cultural and distance barriers to provide each international group its own highly customized program.

His passion for travel has taken him throughout North America, Western Europe, Canada, Central America, Israel, Turkey, Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand. He looks forward to chatting with international students in Français, Româneşte, e un po’ d’Italiano and to apply his español to forge new relationships in Latin America.

Brenna Reid
World Language & Culture Ambassadors (WLCA) Program Manager

Brenna Reid was born and raised in Seattle, WA. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a major in Spanish and a minor in Business. During college, she studied abroad in Morelia, Mexico where she fell in love with traveling and gained a passion for learning about other cultures. Brenna worked as an intern in a bilingual first grade classroom where she taught math and reading in Spanish. She spent eight weeks volunteering at a community center in Lima, Peru where she helped kids with their homework and taught English. She spent some time in Costa Rica doing ecological work and she has also traveled around Argentina and Brazil. Brenna is currently getting her Master of Education in School Counseling at Seattle Pacific University.

Recent A.C.E. News:

More News