Just like every NCS chapter needs a strong core leadership team to model NCS friendship for, and support and encourage, its members, NCS has a core team of leaders, advisors, staff and key volunteers who try to model NCS leadership for, and support and encourage, the NCS chapter leaders and who support NCS. It is a pretty small team, but it is a group committed to serving marketplace men by furthering the NCS mission and purpose.
Additional Team Members
Bret Keeney got introduced to NCS in 2013 by a brudder (Jim Rumsey) at a time when Bret’s marriage was struggling due to his drinking. Bret’s involvement in NCS was an answer to the prayers of his wife, Viviana, who had been praying for him to return to a relationship with Jesus. God used NCS not only to reintroduce Bret to his faith and set him on a path to sobriety, but also to introduce him to Pivot Ministries, where Bret serves on the Board and has used his professional skills to assist with the expansion of Pivot’s campus in Bridgeport, CT. Bret’s involvement with Pivot began at an NCS meeting when he felt a call to begin to “give back”. As much as Bret has been able to “give back” through Pivot, his Pivot affiliation and friendships have played an important role in both the renewal of his faith and in his sobriety. Bret describes the relationships he has made with brudders at NCS as “incredible, recharging, supportive, and nothing short of a miracle.”
Professionally, Bret is a Director in CBRE’s Tri-State Project Management Group based in New York City, NY and Stamford, CT. He has more than 23 years of experience in the management, administration, and construction of space, and has completed projects involving office locations, IT infrastructure, transportation facilities, corporate interiors, financial institutions, education facilities, residential developments and landmarked structures, among others.
Bret and Viviana have been married since 2004 and currently live in Stamford, CT (although they share Bronx roots). They have five children (ranging in age from 8 to 23) and one granddaughter.
Charles Paksi has done a number of things and held a number of titles, including his current roles as a Director at Altium Wealth in Purchase, NY and a Professor of Military Science for Cadets in the Reserve Officer Training Corps. While some roles and titles come and go, Charles will always be a United States Marine.
As a young boy from rural Wisconsin, Charles always dreamed of becoming a Marine. So, after graduating high school in 1991, he joined the Marine Corps and earned the title: Marine. In late 1992, he completed Airborne school and was then deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia for “Operation Restore Hope,” a humanitarian effort providing famine relief to the citizens of this African nation.
Charles transferred from Active Duty to Marine Corps Reserves in 1995 to enroll at the University of Wisconsin. After earning his undergraduate degree, he began his business career at FactSet in Greenwich, Connecticut while continuing to serve our Republic as a Guardsman in the New York Air National Guard.
Days after September 11, 2001, Charles was ordered to put his business career on hold to forward deploy with Special Operations Command. The next assignment took him overseas to conduct operations for “Operation Enduring Freedom;” a part of the Global War on Terrorism. He conducted operations in Oman, Yemen, Djibouti, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan through December 2002.
In 2008, Charles earned a Commission as an Officer in the Connecticut Army National Guard. In 2010 Charles was deployed a third time, this time as an Infantry Officer with the 102nd Mountain Infantry Battalion from the Connecticut Army National Guard. During this deployment, Charles led Infantrymen on combat patrols in the northeast of Afghanistan; in Nangarhar, Laghman, and Nuristan provinces.
An abbreviated list of Charles’ awards and decorations include: a Bronze Star, Combat Infantry Badge, Combat Action Ribbon, and Parachutist Badge.
Charles earned a BBA from the School of Business at the University of Wisconsin and an MBA in 2013 from the NYU Stern School of Business.
Charles’ wonderful wife Alexis and their three children (Zoe, Gabriel and Elle) attend Mass at Holy Spirit and reside in North Stamford.
Chip Skowron is a follower of Jesus Christ by the will of God. He and his best friend Biggs Burke are the co-founders of NCS-Inside, the New Canaan Society’s outreach to prisoners. While Chip’s passion is fellowship with his brothers and sisters in prison, he and Biggs have also created a number of business partnerships that range from healthcare to fashion and entertainment.
Chip was born and raised in Cocoa, FL. He graduated from Vanderbilt University and went on to complete his Medical Degree and Ph.D. in Cell Biology at Yale. After 3 years of orthopedic residency at Harvard, he chose to leave clinical medicine and pursue a new career on Wall Street. His background in medicine and experience working at several renowned hedge funds opened the door for him to build the FrontPoint Healthcare investment team which launched their first fund in 2003. By 2005, Chip and his partners were managing in excess of one billion dollars and on their way to establishing a world leading asset management business. He and his partners sold FrontPoint to Morgan Stanley and during the financial crisis, became notable for being one of the few firms that successfully navigated the storm. At the end of 2010, it was revealed that Chip was the focus of a criminal insider trading investigation and his investment career at FrontPoint abruptly ended. In 2011, Chip was sentenced to serve 5 years in Federal Prison for conspiracy to commit securities fraud and obstruction of justice. Prison was the best education Chip ever received, and Jesus moved into the center of Chip’s life. It was there that God saw fit to bring him together with Biggs Burke - who quickly became his best friend. Through his time inside, the Lord broke Chip’s heart and he had a vision for NCS chapters inside. He was released from prison in May 2015. The process of coming home has been the biggest challenge of his life.
Chip lives in Greenwich, CT with his wife and four children.
Matt first heard about NCS from a friend in early 2014 when his marriage was struggling. Although his 16-year marriage ultimately ended in divorce, it produced three beautiful kids who Matt cherishes. He now lives in Redding, CT (after 10 years in New Canaan and some time in Weston). Matt began his finance career at Shearson Lehman Bros. and then spent eight years at Tudor Investment Corp. and twelve years at SAC Capital. Matt is currently involved in several projects whilst volunteering with NCS Inside working in prison ministry with inmates in Bridgeport Correctional Center. He has also been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Montessori School in Wilton, CT. Matt has a BBA in Finance from James Madison University.
Peter G. Hawkins has worked in the financial industry for over 35 years. He began as an officer at the Chase Manhattan Bank. From there Peter started a highly successful mortgage brokerage business in Beverly Hills. Returning to the east coast in 1980 he was one of the new companies to focus on financial planning.
Peter was recently selected (2008 & 2009) by the Consumers’ Research Council of America, an independent research company in Washington, DC, as one of “America’s Top Financial Planners.” And, is listed in the “Guide to America’s Top Financial Planners.”
On the side Peter played in the Metropolitan Union for the Old Blue RFC (same club as BJ Weber and Bob Muzikowski, but please don’t hold it against Peter) and in Los Angeles for the LA Rugby Club. He was selected to the Metropolitan Union All-star team as well as the President’s XVs. As Head Coach at Yale the team won the Northeast Championships and was invited to the Nationals.
In addition, Peter and his wife Phyllis have two LA film-director sons, Zeke and Simon (www.TheHawkinsBrothers.com). Peter is a long standing member of the New Canaan Society when it simply met in New Canaan and didn’t have a name.
Rocky was raised in a God-fearing home and was very involved in church life at a young age, but it wasn’t long before a series of events bought him down the wrong path. Married in 1980, things got worse, but his wife, who loved him dearly, didn’t give up on him. Several years after accepting Jesus into his heart in 1974, Rocky realized he could not do it alone and rededicated his life to Christ. Jesus had to change him, and things started to change!
Rocky attends Bethany Church in Stamford, CT where he served as a Deacon for almost 10 years and was recently asked to head up the Men’s Ministry.
Rocky attended The University of Bridgeport of Business and began his career in video production and television as a cameraman in 1982. He expanded his talents in lighting and television production by working with and producing video for Fortune 500 corporate clients on various levels of production. Soon, his experience took him around the globe for segments for Good Morning America, NBC and CBS News. He began to develop his talents further as Director of Photography & Producing Programs for The History Channel, HBO Executive Forum & CNBC. Rocky has worked with Television Legend Jack Paar (on the production of 2 television specials), Candid Camera’s Peter Funt and Actor-Director Ron Howard, to name a few.
Rocky is currently the President and Founder of MediaCOM Inc located in Stamford, CT, where he lives with his wife, Sandy, and their 3 wonderful sons, Rocky II, Christopher and Mark.
Terry Laughren is a retired marketing executive, a private equity investor, a board director and advisor in media and marketing services, and, as a Florida resident, co-founder of NCS Coconut Grove. Most importantly, he is a mentor to many men in their life and faith journeys.
Terry started his career as a brand manager with Proctor & Gamble Company. He went on to hold senior level positions at International Playtex, Mattel, J. Walter Thomson and E. & J. Gallo. In 1981, Terry founded Screenvision Cinema Network and created the concept of showing commercials before films in movie theaters, eventually placing ads on more than 6,000 movie screens nationwide. He held the positions of President and Managing Partner and then Chairman of Screenvision until 1990. Terry now serves as a Managing Director of Ashcreek Capital Advisors and is the owner of The Laughren Group LLC.
When he was residing in Connecticut, Terry was an active member of Trinity Church in Greenwich, CT and one of the original leaders of Trinity's men's groups. Since moving to Coconut Grove, Terry has been a member of Plymouth Congregational Church.
Terry was born in Trenton, NJ but grew up in Maine. He earned his BA with honors from Boston University in 1961 and served in the United States Army from 1961-1963, earning the rank of First Lieutenant. Terry has served as Chairman of the Boston University National Alumni Council.
Terry and his wife Leslie reside in Coconut Grove, FL and also maintain a home in Darien, CT. He has three adult children from a previous marriage and one grandson.