Alumni Named to Board of Trustees


Alumni Named to Board of Trustees

June 13, 2023

Pictured from left: John R. Keville, Debra A. Vogel, and Thomas J. Van Laan

Three New York Institute of Technology alumni have been elected to the Board of Trustees, the most recent alumni to join the university’s governing board.

John R. Keville (B.S. ’88) is the office managing partner for the Houston office of Sheppard Mullin, a full-service law firm with 1,000 attorneys across 16 offices in North America, Europe, and Asia. He also is a partner in the Intellectual Property Practice Group. Thomas J. Van Laan (M.B.A. ’84) is chief executive officer of CloudCalc, Inc., a Houston-based provider of software to the civil and mechanical engineering market, which he founded in 2014. Debra A. Vogel (A.A.S. ’85) is president and founder/owner of Las Vegas- and New York-based Paradigm Management LLC, which provides consulting services including business development strategies, entrepreneurial startup planning, management, and financial advice.

All three alumni are actively involved in helping New York Tech deliver on core elements of its mission, including giving all qualified students access to opportunity and supporting efforts to provide career-oriented professional education. For example, Keville and VanLaan have served on the dean’s Executive Advisory Board of the College of Engineering and Computing Sciences, since 2018 and 2013, respectively. Additionally, Keville recently established the Keville Family Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund; Van Laanfunds the Thomas J. Van Laan ’84 Scholarship. Debra Vogel serves on the School of Management Dean’s Advisory Board, its primary steering committee helping to identify market opportunities, develop strategies, define objectives, and review outcomes. In April 2021, she introduced the Debra A. Vogel Student Advancement Scholarship, which is designed to inspire New York Tech students to embrace their entrepreneurial spirit and engage with the global business community; she regularly speaks with groups of New York Tech students to offer professional guidance.

“The example set by these consummate professionals in offering their expertise to help guide and differentiate New York Tech as we position ourselves for continued growth is a powerful one for our current students to emulate and reflects the high regard these alumni have for the education they received here,” says President Hank Foley, Ph.D.

John R. Keville

“Receiving my mechanical engineering degree from New York Tech was essentially the starting point of my adult life. I transitioned from full-time engineer to full-time engineer/night law student, and then to patent attorney, but it all began with the foundation set here. I am honored to have the opportunity to give back to the university in such an important role,” Keville says. 

Keville has been lead trial counsel in patent litigation matters in a number of technologies, including mechanical and chemical oilfield technologies, electronic devices, software and web-based technologies, and digital signal processing. He has tried a broad range of cases to juries, judges, and arbitration panels, representing both plaintiffs and defendants, and has argued appeals to the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the Fifth Circuit. In 2021, his teams obtained two jury verdicts of patent validity, infringement, and willful infringement in plaintiff’s patent cases, and twice received mentions in The American Lawyer Litigator of the Week.

He counsels clients on intellectual property enforcement and procurement matters, litigation strategy, settlement negotiations, and licensing. Helping others pro bono, Keville has been lead counsel in a number of significant cases, including defending the rights of disabled students and employees, and obtaining permanent injunctive relief providing COVID-19 protection to geriatric prisoners with co-morbidities.

He received his J.D. from St. John’s University and is a member of the American Bar Association, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the Houston Bar Association, and Trees for Houston, among many other organizations.

Thomas J. Van Laan

Van Laan believes in giving back to New York Tech, and in addition to the Dean’s Executive Advisory Board (of which he served as chair for five years), he is a member of the college’s development committee, helping to drive its annual fundraising event, Ingenium.

"I am honored to join the Board of Trustees of because I have long believed in the power of education to transform lives and communities,” says Van Laan. “As a trustee, I am committed to supporting the university’s mission to provide innovative and accessible education that prepares our students for successful careers in the 21st century. I look forward to working with my fellow trustees to ensure that New York Tech continues to be a leader in higher education.”

A licensed professional engineer in three states, Van Laan also holds an B.S. in civil engineering from MIT and an M.S. in computer science from Pace University. Prior to founding CloudCalc, his career was initially focused on engineering, when he worked for firms including Bechtel and Ebasco Services, but he soon transitioned to the world of engineering software. He spent more than 15 years as chief executive officer of COADE, Inc., a Houston-based engineering software company, until it was acquired by the Intergraph Corporation (currently Hexagon AB). A recognized expert in the field of pipe stress engineering, he has taught courses on that subject in more than a dozen countries and authored the best-selling text, Piping and Pipe Support Systems, Design and Engineering.

He has been active as an investor, mentor, and/or advisory board member for various technology incubators in Houston as well as for several individual startups. In his travels, he has visited more than 100 countries.

Debra A. Vogel

Prior to founding Paradigm Management, Vogel was executive vice president, treasurer, partner, board member, and consultant at Lachman Consultant Services, Inc. in Westbury, N.Y., a global U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consulting firm. During her 30-year tenure, the corporation was the premier FDA-recognized regulatory and quality assurance consulting firm for the pharmaceutical, medical device, and allied health industries. Her responsibilities included corporate and client management, human resources, finance, information services and technology, among others. Before Lachman, she was employed at Endo/DuPont Pharmaceuticals as quality assurance/documentation control coordinator.

At New York Tech, Vogel pursued a formal business management degree to complement her pharmaceutical industry knowledge. She is also president and owner of Paradigm Café on Manhattan’s West Side. “Good business acumen allows for the ability and diversity to succeed in different industries, and it is this kind of insight and experience I hope to bring to bear as a steward of the university and as a role model for students,” she says.