Our Leadership

The Pittsburgh Experiment is a Christian non-denominational effort, which is led by a group of dedicated volunteers. These individuals form a Board of Trustees and are charged with working with the Executive Director to set goals, establish priorities and implement initiatives and programs.

Executive Director - Chris Buda - See Bio


Board of Trustees


Jim Fitzgerald

Jim is the founder and CEO of WatchWORD Productions, producing the Bible as the first ever "video-book" - a strategy to help spark spiritual revival by helping more people to read God's word in our media age. He is also the author of the 9/11 Prophecy. Previously, Jim worked as Vice President for Development at CTVN, and Writer and Director of Development for Cornerstone TeleVision.

Rob Frenz

Rob has served as a Certified Public Accountant in Gateway Center since 2009. He earned his undergraduate degree in accounting from Baldwin-Wallace College and a Masters Degree in Taxation from the University of Akron. Rob and his wife Laura have two young children. Rob is an active member of Victory Family Church in Cranberry Township, PA serving in the men's ministry while leading multiple small groups, including a men's lunch group in downtown Pittsburgh. Rob has a heart for small groups, men's ministry and the business community of downtown Pittsburgh.

Tom Hammon

Tom came to work for Young Life upon graduation from The University of Pittsburgh in 1971. He served as Area Director in Cleveland from 1971 - 79, then in Cincinnati from 1979 – 84 and in Columbus from 1984 - 87. From 1987 – 2001 he served as Young Life Regional Director over Western PA, WV and OH, then as Senior VP of the Mideast Division from 2001- 2004. Most recently he and his wife Ninie were based in London where he served as VP of Young Life in the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia from 2004 - 2015. Tom currently mentors targeted indigenous international Young Life staff and leaders, helping to equip them to assume leadership positions in their countries. He also serves the current Young Life leadership in Western PA and West Virginia as needed. Tom and Ninie have 6 grown children.

Phil Hetzel

Phil is a Senior Vice President and General Manager at Federated Investors where he has been employed since 1980. He is a graduate from the University of Pittsburgh in 1980. Phil is actively involved with Locking Arms Men and the BIG C men’s ministries of Pittsburgh. Phil, along with his wife Kathy, are the proud parents of six children and 4 grandchildren.

Joe Hines

Joe Hines retired as a high school math teacher after 15 years. Prior to that, he had a 26-year career in banking, in both staff and management positions. He’s been married to Ruth for 48 years and they have two children and three grandchildren. He was introduced to The Experiment in 1968 and has maintained a relationship since then. He believes strongly in the principle and action of “standing by the door”.

Donna Johnston

Donna retired as CFO of a multi million dollar not-for-profit social service agency. She is active in her church, Heritage Presbyterian, serving as Financial Secretary. She serves as Secretary of the Jefferson College Historical Society in Canonsburg, in honor of her ancestor, Rev Dr John McMillan. Involved with the Experiment for more than 30 years, she is delighted to serve on the Board. She and her husband Bill have two children & five grandchildren. 

Jay Roy

Jay is the retired CEO and President of the Federal Home Loan Bank and a long time Experimenter. He has served as a member of the Board of Trustees and has participated in many Experiment groups over the years. He is a member/elder of Memorial Park Church. Jay and his wife Ruth have two adult children. They live in Mars, Pa.

Dick Staaf

Dick is a retired Police Lieutenant from the Mt. Lebanon Police Department.  He has served 22+ years of police work in many capacities including Financial Crimes Detective, Investigative Services Unit Supervisor, Evidence Supervisor, Hostage Negotiator, and Patrol Supervisor.  Prior to working as a Police Officer at Mt. Lebanon he worked for the ministry of Young Life in Southern New Jersey and the South Hills of Pittsburgh.  Dick and his beautiful wife Mimi live in the South Hills and have four wonderful adult children.

Jack Thomas

Jack is a Senior Vice President and Internal Audit Director with PNC Bank.  He is a graduate of Grove City College with a degree in Accounting.  Jack is a Certified Public Accountant and has over twenty-five years of experience in the financial services industry.  He is actively involved in several industry organizations in addition to having served Young Life over twenty years in various volunteer leadership and committee roles.  Jack has served on the board of Waterdam Church EFCA and is serving currently on the board of Adam’s Quest.  He and his wife live in the South Hills with their two children. 

Trustees Emeritus

The following former trustees have been recognized with the honorary title Trustee Emeritus for their selfless dedication to the mission of the Experiment over many years: Jay Roy, Jerry Richey, Dave Dunlap*, Tom Petro, Chris Martin, Barry Balliet, Joe Hines, Fred Miller, and Liz Tafel-Hurley.

Directors Emeritus

The following former Executive Directors have been recognized with the honorary title Director Emeritus for their selfless dedication to the mission of the Experiment over many years: Paul Everett*, Carter Birely*, and Don James*.

Experimenters Emeritus

The following Experimenters have been recognized with the honorary title Experimenter Emeritus for their selfless dedication to the mission of the Experiment over many years: Maggie Everett, Connie Miner, Donna Johnston, Judy Good Sherwood, and Ed Wilson*.