Executive Committee

The Executive Committee implements the Board’s fiduciary, strategic, and generative plans, policies, and decisions consistent with the organization’s mission and governing bylaws. The Executive Committee supports the CEO and engages in decision making between Board meetings or in urgent and crisis circumstances. 

Members of the Executive Committee

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David Kuhlman (Chair)

Kuhlman is managing partner of Axiom Consulting Partners, a consulting firm that helps clients identify pathways to profitable growth and align their organizations for long-term success. For over 30 years, he has worked with people-intensive/asset-light businesses including accounting and law firms to establish and realize transformative strategies. Previously, Kuhlman was managing partner of Sibson Consulting, a leading HR consultancy and global head of Human Resources for Russell Reynolds Associates, a premier executive recruiting firm. As chair of the Governing Board, Kuhlman is a member of the Science and Security Boardex officio.

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John Balkcom

Balkcom has been a longtime adviser to management and boards. He retired in 2000 after 25 years as a management consultant and since then has served as a corporate director and advisory board member for a number of public and private enterprises. He served on the Bulletin’s Governing Board from 2012 - 2013 and from 2016 - 2021; previous leadership roles have included president of St. John’s College and chairman of a NYSE company.

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Rachel Bronson (Ex Officio)

Bronson is the president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, where she oversees the publishing programs, management of the Doomsday Clock, and a growing set of activities around nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, climate change, and disruptive technologies. Before joining the Bulletin, she served for eight years at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in a number of capacities including: vice president of studies, vice president of programs and studies, and senior fellow, global energy. She also taught “Global Energy” as an adjunct professor at the Kellogg School of Management. 

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Lee Francis

An internist and the CEO of Erie Family Health Center, Francis is assistant clinical professor of internal medicine at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. He is a past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), a national organization dedicated to the prevention of violence and nuclear war, and continues to serve on its Board of Directors.

Austin Hirsch

Austin Hirsch

Hirsch is a partner at Reed Smith’s Global Corporate Group. Hirsch has been an Executive Committee member of Reed Smith and former Managing Partner of Reed Smith Chicago’s legacy firm, Sachnoff and Weaver. His practice encompasses all aspects of business law. Hirsch has served as a director of various companies and as an advisor for family offices. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award by the Chicago Bar Foundation and a Co-Chair of Lawyer Lend-A-Hand to Youth.

Hirsch is Chair of the Board and Trustee of the Benton Foundation. He is Chair and President of The Selfhelp Foundation and recipient of the Selfhelp Special Service Award. Hirsch is also a member of the Board of Managers of the Chicago Bar Foundation and Chair of the Investment Committee, as well as a member of the Finance Committee of the Chicago Bar Association. He received a BS in accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1970 (CPA certificate) and went on to complete his JD at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in 1973. Hirsch and fellow board member Lowell Sachnoff were honored at the 2019 Annual Dinner and Meeting.

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Daniel Holz

Holz is a professor at the University of Chicago in the Departments of Physics, Astronomy & Astrophysics, the Enrico Fermi Institute, and the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. His research focuses on general relativity in the context of astrophysics and cosmology. He is a member of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) collaboration, and was part of the team that announced the first detection of gravitational waves in early 2016 and the first multi-messenger detection of a binary neutron star in 2017. He received a 2012 National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the 2015 Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics in 2016. Holz was selected as a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He received his PhD in physics from the University of Chicago and his AB in physics from Princeton University. As co-chair of the Science and Security Board, Holz is a member of the Governing Boardex officio.

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Steve Ramsey

Ramsey is the former Vice President of Corporate Environmental Programs at General Electric, where he managed GE’s environmental strategy. He was previously the head of environmental practice at Sidley Austin in DC and was the first Chief of Environmental Enforcement Section at the US Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. Ramsey has served as a Visiting Fellow at the Yale School of Forestry and Environment, the Chair of the Board of the Institute for Sustainable Communities, and as a Fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers. He is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Texas School of Law.

Sharon Squassoni

Sharon Squassoni

Squassoni is a research professor at the Institute for International Science and Technology Policy, Elliott School of International Affairs, at the George Washington University. She has specialized in nuclear nonproliferation, arms control and security policy for three decades, serving in the US government at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the State Department, and the Congressional Research Service. Since 2007, she has directed research programs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. A political scientist by training, she holds degrees from the State University of New York at Albany, the University of Maryland, and the National War College. As co-chair of the Science and Security Board, Squassoni is a member of the Governing Boardex officio.