National Advisory Council

The America’s Edge National Advisory Council works directly with the Director, Sara Watson, to provide expertise and strategic counsel on the current and future work of America’s Edge, including advising on our state and federal policy priorities, strengthening membership, and educating opinion leaders.  Members of the National Advisory Council are:


John C. Cavalier

John C. Cavalier, was born and raised in Rochester, New York.  He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from Michigan State University. After serving two years as an Army officer, he began his career in high tech at ITEK Corp., where he was on a fast track for the next five years.

Following ITEK, he brought his experience to American Can Company, in Greenwich CT, a $6.0 billion packaging company, where he spent 13 years ultimately held the position of VP & General Manager for the Dixie-Dixie/Marathon business unit. His team was the first to license Star Wars characters from Lucas Films, from which the FUN CUP line of products was developed, eventually including the Disney and Charlie Brown characters, which more than doubled the Dixie Business to over $1 billion in annual revenue.

In 1982, Mr. Cavalier moved back into high tech when he became president of the Computer Division of Atari and subsequently promoted to president of Atari a $2 billion company. He was recruited to Apple Computer as Vice President and General Manager of the Personal Computer Division where he and his team developed and implemented the very successful, “Computers For Education” program, aimed at placing computers in schools, in order to start the process of computer learning at an early age.  He was then promoted to run Apple International where he negotiated joint ventures in Japan and Mexico for marketing, sales and manufacturing of Apple products, establishing Apple as a marketing force in the international computer industry.

In 1987, he put together a Silicon Valley team to develop and execute successful turn around strategies for struggling companies – bringing them back to profitability and raising new capital.  Three of these went on to be worth multiples of their original value—Atalla Corporation, NCA Corporation and Sharebase Corporation. He then formed a joint venture, the Antares Alliance Group, between Amdahl Corporation and Electronic Data Systems (EDS) and lead development of state-of-the-art software application development tools, a breakthrough that propelled Antares to a market leadership position.

In 1996, Mr. Cavalier returned to New York, becoming President/CEO of MapInfo Corporation. On his watch, the company grew from a $40 million, one product software firm to a $200 million, multi-product solutions company that successfully beat Wall Street expectations for 17 straight quarters while expanding the distribution of MapInfo products to 60 countries.  MapInfo was sold in 2007 to Pitney Bowes for $500 million.

Mr. Cavalier is actively involved in the TechValley community and serves on the boards of directors of several public and privately-held companies and as an advisor and mentor to many early-stage high-tech venture companies in the Albany Capital Region.

One of Mr. Cavalier’s most important accomplishments is his involvement as a founding member of Tech Valley High School, a public school focused on project-based learning. The original funding for the school came from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Mr. Cavalier has received many awards throughout his business career.  Most recently he was inducted into the Tech Valley Business Hall of Fame.  He has been recognized by the Center for Economic Growth, with their “Technology Mentor” award.  Recently, Mr. Cavalier received the “Explore, Discover, Imagine” award for his work with the Tech Valley Children’s Museum.  In the spring of 2010 Mr. Cavalier received the “Life Long Learning” award, given by Excelsior College, for his commitment to education. This award will establish a scholarship in his name.


James A. Clair

Mr. Clair’s career spans over 30 years, split between managing privately-held companies, mostly in the healthcare space, and non-partisan positions in the public sector. Over this time he has worked in a variety of managerial roles, presently as the CEO of a rapidly-growing firm, privately-held firm headquartered in Augusta, Maine.

Jim currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Goold Health Systems, a healthcare management company with offices in Augusta, Maine, Atlanta, Georgia, Des Moines Iowa and Cheyenne, Wyoming.  He is responsible for all operational, financial and strategic business issues.  The company doubled in size over the last seven years and now has a significant footprint as a healthcare business process outsourcing vendor, primarily in the State Medicaid Pharmacy space.  Goold was recognized in 2007 by INC Magazine as one of its 5,000 fastest-growing, privately-held firms. He has focused particularly on refining GHS’ project management approach, enhancing its application development process, maximizing operational efficiencies and increasing its business development capacity.

Jim also currently serves as the President of Goold Health Analytics, LLC, a woman-owned, health-care consulting and sister company to GHS that provides clinical and program integrity services in the healthcare space.

He is also Owner, Co-owner, Partner or Member in a number of companies that manage and develop real estate, or that invest in small and micro businesses.

Prior to joining GHS, Jim served for over seventeen years in the public sector with the Maine State Legislature.  Serving on the non-partisan staff during his entire tenure, he focused on fiscal matters, having served as the chief-of-staff for the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs, then Director of the Office of Fiscal and Program Review.  He culminated his tenure at the State House as the Executive Director of the Legislative Council, serving in effect as the COO for major administrative duties, including one phase of a major renovation to the historic Capitol building.

Jim serves on a number of non-profit boards in Maine, including as the co-chair of the Maine Early Learning Investment Group and as a board member of the Maine Cancer Foundation.

Jim holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse University, a Master of Science degree from the State University of New York and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts.

He resides in China, Maine with his wife and two daughters.


J. Ronald Terwilliger

Mr. Terwilliger is Chairman Emeritus of Trammell Crow Residential Company which he joined in 1979. Trammell Crow Residential Company is a national residential real estate company and has been the largest developer of multi-family housing in the United States for the past several decades.

Mr. Terwilliger is an honor graduate of the United States Naval Academy. After serving five years in the Navy, he received his MBA degree with High Distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Business where he was elected a Baker Scholar.

He is past Chairman of the Urban Land Institute and remains a Trustee. He additionally is Chairman Emeritus of the Wharton Real Estate Center, past Chairman of the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership and Chairman of the board of directors for I Have a Dream Foundation. Ron is the past Chairman of the international board of directors of Habitat for Humanity, is an ex- officio member of the board and chairs Habitat’s $4 billion Global Capital Campaign.

He is a past Chairman of the National Association of Homebuilders Multifamily Leadership Board. He also serves as Chairman of Enterprise Community Partners Board of Trustees as well as Vice Chair of Enterprise Community Investments. He additionally serves as a Commissioner on the Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission.

Philanthropically Mr. Terwilliger made a $5 million gift to establish the ULI Terwilliger Center for Workforce Housing. Similarly, a $5 million gift to the Enterprise Foundation has created the Enterprise Terwilliger Fund – targeted to create 2,000 affordable homes annually. His $100 million legacy gift to Habitat for Humanity International will help 60,000 families access improved housing conditions.

Ron has been recognized with the ULI Atlanta Community Achievement Award and the ORT Award, bestowed for his support and efforts to improve the world through his good deeds.    He received the Hearthstone Builder Humanity Award in 2006 for his commitment to housing related charities and in 2008 was elected to the National Association of Homebuilder’s Hall of Fame in recognition of his efforts to advance housing opportunities for all Americans.

In 2009, Ron was honored by the National Housing Council with the Person of the Year Award, for his commitment and contributions to the affordable housing community. In addition, he was honored in 2009 by the United States Naval Academy as a Distinguished Graduate for his lifetime commitment to service, personal character and distinguished contributions to our nation. In 2012, Ron was honored with the National Patriotism Award by the National Foundation of Patriotism.


Robert A. “Bob” Watt

Bob Watt retired in December 2007 as vice president of state and local government relations and global corporate citizenship for The Boeing Company. Previously, he was president and CEO of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce. His career history includes leadership positions with PhyCom Corporation, five years as president of Family Services of Seattle/King County and more than 12 years at Youth Eastside Services, the last five as executive director. He was also Seattle’s deputy mayor under Norm Rice.