BEC Leaders

Click on the title to see his biography:

Big Sir: Ron Cassano 
Little Sir: Ray de Wit
Secretary:  Don Kohlman
Assistant Secretary: Rich Carlston
Attendance Secretary: Manuel Dominguez
Asst. Attendance Secretary: Dan Smith
Membership Secretary: Dennis Mierzwa
Asst. Membership Secretary:  Rich Knowles
Treasurer:  Dan Casella
Assistant Treasurer:  Mike Loonin
Director: Leo Dominguez
Director: Martin Simmons
Director: Ken Main


Big Sir
Ron Cassano

Born in Santa Rosa, Ca. Resident of Walnut Creek since 1969. Three daughters and four grandchildren. Married to Karen for 54 years until her death in 2018.

Graduate of UC Berkeley with a BS in Accounting. Obtained CPA license in 1967, worked for small regional and national accounting firms. Established my own accounting practice in1978. Retired from my accounting practice in 2011 but I still maintain a current CPA license. Presently serving my sixth term as Walnut Creek City Treasurer. Served six years in the California National Guard.

Joined SIR in 2008. Presently chairman of Dine In #1 and Winefinders #2. Have been Br 8 Assistant Treasurer, Treasurer, Little Sir and Big Sir. Also serving as State SIR Internal Auditor.

 I have enjoyed my membership in SIR and look forward to many more years with you guys



Little Sir Ray de Wit

I was born and raised in San Jose and attended San Jose State, where I received my Bachelors in Biology in 1968.  I was commissioned a 2nd Lt. in the Army upon graduation and started my two years active duty.  I was stationed in Kentucky and Missouri, before becoming an armored cavalry platoon leader in Viet Nam (1969-70).  Upon discharge from the Army, I returned to San Jose State where I completed a Masters in Marine Biology.

I married my high school sweetheart, Sue, in 1967 and we moved to southern California in 1973 where we lived in Gardena and Mission Viejo.  I worked for a large engineering and environmental consulting firm on offshore and coastal marine environmental projects throughout California, Alaska, the Caribbean, South America, Iran, Abu Dhabi, Thailand, Curacao, Russia, and Indonesia.  I completed over 1,800 SCUBA dives and had the opportunity to live underwater for seven days in the Hydrolab habitat in the Bahamas while studying the effects of oil on coral reefs.  In 1994 I was transferred back to the Bay Area and we settled in Concord.

I continued to work in the marine environmental field until my retirement in 2012.  Sue and I had two boys and we have two granddaughters.  Sue passed away in 2018 and I moved from Concord to Rossmoor in Walnut Creek.  I have been Chairman of the Couples (Pairs) Bridge, and co-Chairman of the Book Exchange.  I was part of the Activities Coordinating Committee for the last two years before accepting the nomination as Little Sir.  I enjoy golf, walking, dancing, cribbage, and bridge and look forward to continuing to assist in making Branch 8 the best branch in Sir.

Treasurer Dan Casella

Dan was born in Battle Creek, Michigan. His family moved to Rockaway Beach, NY when he was four and lived there for 26 years until he and his wife, Helene, moved to Hamilton, MA where they resided for 37 years. They moved to their current residence in Clayton, CA in 2009. Dan & Helene have one son, David, who lives in San Francisco with his wife, Aimee Golant, and their grandson Kaleb. Dan spent four years in the United States Air Force and, after his service, received his BSEE from New York Institute of Technology and his MSEE from New York University.

Dan spent his 34-year career as an Electrical Engineer, Computer Scientist and Software Engineer dealing with real-time programming and system design. He has conducted research on advanced lighting systems, warehouse automation, advanced power line communications, medical equipment design, software engineering for cell phone communications, and fuel cell research. Dan retired in 2004 and is now enjoying his retirement pursuing his lifelong interest in photography and computer technology along with his family, especially his grandson, Kaleb.Dan joined Branch 8 in October 2016 and has been the Assistant/Treasurer since 2018 and is the co-chair of the Dine In 4 group.

Secretary Don Kohlman

Born in Los Angeles, CA.  A resident of Alamo since 1998.  Married to Elizabeth for 34 years and have one son and one daughter.  Graduate of UC Berkeley with a BA in Architecture.  Thirty-five-year career in corporate real estate with expertise in real estate, strategic planning and project management. Worked for large corporations including McKesson, American Express and Hewlett Packard.

Joined SIR in 2018. Active in the Book Club and Hiking Club.  Currently serving as Br 8 Secretary. 

Assistant Secretary Richard G. Carlston

I was born in Denver, Colorado.  I received a BA in Mathematics from the University of Colorado and a JD from George Washington School of Law.  Between undergraduate and law school, I spent four years as on officer in the US Army.  My wife Sue and I have been married 50 years in February and have lived in Walnut Creek for over 40 years.  We have two sons (both college professors), each of whom is married.  We have six grandchildren.

Before retiring, I was an attorney with a national practice in the real estate industry both as a trial attorney and a regulatory attorney.  I was frequently asked on various legal topics for corporations, state and national trade associations, the California State Bar, State and Federal regulators.

For many years, I have been involved in the community service in numerous capacities with numerous organizations.  I served on the PROS Commission for the City of Walnut Creek as well as on the City Council.  I am a former Mayor of Walnut Creek.

I joined SIRS in 2020 and have enjoyed exploring many of the activities.  I recently became the Assistant Secretary.

Attendance Secretary Dan Smith

Born in Norfolk, VA, I like stating that I grew up from Maine to Florida. I’ve lived in the Bay Area since 1974 and currently live in Concord. I have been married to a California gal, Lynda; for 48 years.  We have one son and I have two sons by my first marriage.

My association with my mother’s family, who operate a shipyard in Norfolk, influenced me to become a naval architect.  I obtained degrees from both VA Tech and MIT.  I am what we call a PE; licensed as a professional engineer.  The marine sector in the Bay Area has changed much since 1974, and I have managed to survive sometimes turbulent opportunities.  I experienced two layoffs and a plant shutdown over one eight-year span.  Being conservative in nature, I prevailed with my career and became Chief Naval Architect for Bruce S Rosenblatt and Assoc for 20 years.  My career has been very diverse, having supported the US Navy, offshore, oceanographic, ferries, tankers, cruise ships, and so forth.  I’ve also endeavored to mentor our younger naval architects.  I am still contacted by customers who want me to do a task for them.  Love to use my head

Assistant Attendance Secretary and Email distribution. Manuel Dominguez

I was born in Glendale California.  Moved from Southern California to San Mateo California in 1983.  I have been a resident of Pleasant Hill since 1997.  Married to Mona for 40 years.  One son living in Pleasant Hill with his wife.

Forty-three-year career in Information Technology with an emphasis on Data Architecture.  Worked at multiple bay area companies as a consultant for thirty-four years.  Finally became an employee at University of California Office of the President in 2010, where I retired in 2019.

My primary hobby is listening to music via my audiophile stereo system mainly via vinyl records.

Joined SIR in 2018, Presently Attendance Secretary and responsible for the SIR Branch 8 email distribution.  Currently active in Hiking, Heads Up Walkers and Winefinders #2

Membership Secretary Dennis Mierzwa

Joined SIR in 2014. In addition to attendance, I am currently chairing the Luncheon Restart Committee.  I participate in walking, cribbage, bridge, various dining ventures and an occasional hike.

I appreciate SIR’s approach to keeping us active.  Although a little corny, I will say I’m not living if I’m not learning.  More importantly, I like having contact with other guys.

Teaching/coaching was to be an initial career choice but in late1965 Uncle Sam was interested in his services- so instead upon graduation in 1966 he entered the United States Marine Corps Officer Program and was commissioned in Oct 1966. He remained on active duty until 1970 and the Marine Corps Reserves until 1993, retiring as a Colonel.

Dennis and Marcy married in 1967 and now have three children and three grandchildren. The family started out in Pittsburgh, PA, a stop in Wyoming, a decade plus in Houston TX and have been in Walnut Creek since 1990.Teaching never happened and the professional career has been diverse but within the Financial Industry expect for a period in the home building business. The financial career included Banking, Mutual Funds, Brokerage, and finally providing software to community banks. 

Asst. Membership Secretary Rich Knowles

Born in 1948 in Los Angeles County and lived first ten years of life there.    Then lived in Los Alamitos, just over the county border in Orange County until after finished college.  Then went to Chicago, Washington, D.C. (technically Reston, VA), and then came back to California in 1982 and have lived in Contra Costa County ever since.

Got a B.S. from UC Davis and then M.S. and M.B.A. from University of Chicago.  Decided could not be a professional student at that point (1975).

Worked as a consultant with titles like statistician, economist, and just plain consultant for 14 years.  Only company still existing I worked at is SAIC (Science Applications Incorporated Company I guess – it was just SAI when I was there).

I then officially became a programmer (though I had been that too all along) and worked for 20 years at the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco as programmer and then manager of programmers.  I was really good at training computers – not so good but not bad at training people.  I ended up as a Vice President at the Bank.

Twice in this working period I was self-employed, and both times I decided to become an employee again after a while.  Though being a consultant is fairly close to being self-employed.

Once retired I became involved in several volunteer efforts – the civil grand jury of Contra Costa County and the California Grand Jury Association.  I also did programming for Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services in Walnut Creek.  I served on the board of Earthteam, and eventually became president.  I was co-chair Shipmates, a large singles social group (over 3,000 members and a group of 200 volunteers to manage over 200 events per month).  In 2016 I joined SIR (having been retired since 2009).

And now I mostly play golf.  Sometimes with SIR and sometimes with other friends I have made.  I also play bridge with SIR, belong to book clubs, and sponsor the SIR podcast and model train activities.  I have also joined Singles Dine Out.  I like to take vacations and make it a point to several times per year.  Sometimes overseas and sometimes not.  And lastly, I can’t leave out that I am on a number of SIR committees because I really like Zoom meetings.

Director Ken Main

I was born in Framingham, Mass. As an “Army Brat”, we moved around a lot (every 2 -3 years). I attended New Mexico State University and earned a BS in Civil Engineering. I was also commissioned 2 LT (ROTC) and sent to Engineers School. My Active duty was shortened (during peacetime thankfully) and I was in reserve status for 7 1/2 years.

I joined Chevron in 1972 and worked as a Project Engineer and Safety Specialist at various locations. I enjoyed my career at Chevron and retired after 31.

I am married to Maureen for 47 years and blessed with 3 sons, 2 daughter-in-laws, and 4 grandchildren.

I joined Sir’s to make friends and enjoy my retirement years. I am currently the chairman of Dine Out 1, a member of the Activity Coordinating Committee and the BEC. I enjoy playing golf, swimming and Bridge. Sir’s is a great organization and it has certainly enriched my life.

 Director, Martin Simmons

Retired after almost 40 years in Information Technology working for avariety of employers. Joined SIR Branch 8 a year later in 2012. DanWeller, who I worked with, was my sponsor.

Born in England. Emigrated with family at age 12 from small town Englandto Los Angeles. A slight culture shock, especially as it was the 60’s.Graduated high school at age 16 and attended UCLA for two years beforeenlisting in the US Air Force as a Computer Programmer. Spent those years primarily in Alabama. Moved to Wisconsin afterwards before meeting my wife Sandy and moving together to Texas, then eventually on to Walnut Creek. Our 2 sons were born and raised here and still live in California.

During my career in the Bay Area (almost 30 years) I worked for Bank of America, American President Lines (APL), Delta Dental, McKesson and PG&E. I programmed initially in COBOL on mainframes, then followed the evolution of the field into Client Server computing and the web (Java onUNIX servers). I also worked on SAP.Within Branch 8,

I’m been primarily active in Hikers and have also participated in the Walkers, DanSirs and Dine Out groups. I was Assistant Chairman in Hikers for several years before becoming Chairmen in 2021. I stepped down due to a Parkinson’s diagnosis. I’m currently on my second year as a BEC Director

Director, Leo Dominguez

I came to the US from Cuba when I was ten years old.  My family stayed in Miami for about 6 months and then decided to move across the US to San Francisco.  I remained in SF for a long while.

I decided to become a Radiologic Technologist since I wanted to help people and be able to operate highly technical instruments, ie CT, MRI, Cardiac Cath Labs etc. I enjoyed that field very much.  I then went back to school at night to pursue business degrees.

I became a Hospital Administrator in SF and then finished my career in the SF East Bay. 

I have been a board member of our local homeowner’s association for many years to try to advocate for positive community improvements.  This work has led me to many meetings in local government presenting the views of the community.

I joined SIR on October 2018, since I retired in December of 2017. My time with SIR has been terrific.

I am on the Speakers Committee, participated in the Diversity Project, I am vice chair of the BBQ Committee, I was part of SIR in the Kitchen ( a wonderful activity headed by our great Executive Chef extraordinaire, Ed Benson). I enjoy the Hiking group, the Heads-Up Walkers, Wine Finders III, Astronomy, Car Enthusiasts, Sir in the Gardens, and soon will attend the SIR Giving Back opportunity with my great wife!

My thanks to so many SIR individuals who have become friends and have been so welcoming.

updated 01.29/2022 dda