AWARE Inc.’s board members includes members from government, banking, private business and education.
John Haffey, President
Member since 2007
John “Jack” Haffey has spent most of his professional life working with large businesses in Montana, including 15 years as an officer of the Montana Power Co. — the last six as executive vice president and chief operating officer. He served as a state senator in Montana from 1981-88 and taught math and French at Anaconda Central High School. With such a balanced professional and service history, he brings tangible, sound and socially responsible business experience to AWARE.
Al Smith, Vice President
Member since 1987
Al has been an important influence in the development of AWARE’s philosophy and purpose. He was an advocate attorney at the Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs. He is the attorney who brought the “Ihler Decision,” the landmark judgment for patients at the hospital whose treatment was inadequate. Al was executive director of the Montana Advocacy Program when the “Travis D. vs. State of Montana” lawsuit (http://www.mtadv.org/) was filed. Even today that is helping to shape services for people affected by developmental disabilities. Al is executive director of the Montana Trial Lawyers Association and continues to donate his time to many groups and activities that better the lives of Montanans.
Cheryl Zobenica, Treasurer
Member since 2007
If one had to pick a word to describe Cheryl, it would be “involved.” In addition to serving on AWARE’s board of directors, she also sits on the boards of the Anaconda Local Development Corporation and the Anaconda Chamber of Commerce. She has served on the Big Brothers, Big Sisters-Butte Board, United Way Advisory Board, and the United Way Finance Committee. She also serves as branch manager and vice president of Glacier Bank in Anaconda. With all of the work she does, she still finds time to spend with her family, including two grandchildren. Cheryl is honored to have been asked to become a member of the board and is looking forward to contributing as a member and to the continued success of AWARE.
Barbara serves as the Montana State University Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Extension agent—Community Development, a position she has held since July 1988. Her community development involves work on the regional and state level but has included international work as well; she has worked in 10 former Soviet countries to assist in community development. She graduated from San Jose State University in 1970 with a bachelor’s of science degree in psychology and received special education/teaching certifications from San Jose State and Santa Clara University in 1973. She also holds various post graduate certifications from the University of California, San Jose State University and Montana State University. She has been on the MSU faculty since1988.
Member since 2010
Jesse is chief legal counsel for the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance after having served as both a House and Senate representative for the Anaconda and Deer Lodge areas. From 2001-2004 Jesse was a State Representative for Anaconda-Deer Lodge County, and from 2005-2010 he was a State Senator, representing Anaconda-Deer Lodge, Granite, and Powell Counties. Jesse also served as an Assistant Attorney General in 2007-2008. He graduated from the University of Montana in 2003 with a bachelor’s of arts degree in political science (with high honors) and a minor in economics. He received his juris doctorate from the University of Montana – School of Law in 2006.
Member since 2012
Larry has been employed with AWARE Inc. since September 1988. He received his bachelor of science degree in psychology, with an emphasis on behavior analysis from Montana State University-Billings (formerly Eastern Montana College). He has over 30 years of professional experience, including positions as bureau chief and training and contract manager with the Montana State Developmental Disabilities Division, as well as consultant with the Montana State Department of Administration. In 2007, he was awarded the “Entrepreneur of the Year” Award by the Montana Ambassadors and received the Behavioral Health Care Champion award.
Member since 2008
Russell is a vital and productive part of the Anaconda business network team. Courteous, helpful and friendly are just a few words that describe not only his vibrant personality, but his professionalism. He enjoys fishing, hiking, boating and bicycling. He has won many gold medals in bicycling at the Special Olympics and has received many awards for outstanding accomplishments.