Fran Muracca is a partner at Jones Day, a leading global law firm which provides significant legal representation for Fortune 500, Fortune Global 500 and FT Global 500 companies. Fran's practice centers on advising affluent family offices and middle market privately held business owners on a range of entity structure, transaction, tax, and integrated succession and governance planning, including maximizing wealth through liquidity initiatives.
In addition to his tax and business succession counseling, Fran represents clients in federal tax controversies at the administrative dispute resolution level before the IRS and in litigation before the U.S. Tax Court. He has successfully defended regional and national private business owners against challenges raised by the IRS involving unreasonable compensation, the valuation of nonmarketable privately held business interests and sports franchises for wealth transfer tax purposes, constructive dividends, and tax motivated transactions. He also has defended professional firms on challenges raised by the IRS involving "intermediary tax shelter" transactions.
In addition to serving as the Chairman of the Board of the Hockey Sticks Foundation, Fran is a member of the national board of advisors for BNA Tax Management, a Director of the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and founding board member of the Pittsburgh Mighty Penguins organization, a USA disabled Hockey organization, and a 2017 Jefferson Awards Foundation recipient.
As the Chief Operating Officer for the Schneider Downs Private Family Office Group, Carol is responsible for ensuring prompt responsiveness from the Schneider Downs inter-disciplinary service team. Her practice is focused on providing customized, integrated solutions in the areas of estate, tax, wealth, philanthropic, and business succession planning for high net worth individuals and their families.
As a certified public accountant and attorney, Carol utilizes her varied background to assist her clients develop and achieve their personal and financial goals.
Carol is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Allegheny County Bar Association. Carol is a board member of Pittsburgh I.C.E. (Inclusiveness Creates Equality) and A Giving Heart, both organizations support programs for underserved children. She is also active with Austin’s Playroom Project and is a member of the Upper St. Clair School District Community Curriculum Committee. Carol formerly served as the Team Manager for the 2009 U14 Boys Pittsburgh Junior Penguins and the 2010 U14 Boys Pens Elite hockey teams.
Thomas Langston is the President and CEO of Keystone Hydrocarbon, a diversified petroleum company based in Pittsburgh, PA. Tom maintains an active role in a variety of volunteer capacities within the amateur hockey community in Pittsburgh. Mr. Langston received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from West Virginia Wesleyan College. He and his wife, Beth, are the parents of four children and live in Mt. Lebanon, PA.
Rich Hixon is in his 24th year with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, and currently serves at the President of the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex where he oversees the day-to-day business operations. He worked directly with Pittsburgh Penguins CEO, David Morehouse, and COO, Travis Williams, to oversee the project in the design, construction and operational phases of the 185,000 SF, $70 million facility.
Hixon joined the Penguins in 1993 as an intern, and served in various marketing and sales roles throughout his first six seasons with the company. He then spent 11 seasons with the Penguins American Hockey League affiliate in Northeastern Pennsylvania, where he was responsible for overseeing sales, marketing, broadcasting, public relations, and business development initiatives. While with the AHL Penguins, Rich also assisted the City of Wilkes-Barre with a $13.5 million renovation to an ice rink. Now known as the Toyota SportsPlex, the recreational facility opened to the public in 2009, and acts is the Official Training Facility for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Rich returned to the NHL Penguins in 2010 as the Executive Director, Strategic Planning where he was responsible for developing a growth strategy for youth hockey in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation. Collectively they have implemented the NHL’s most comprehensive strategy for growing the sport. After spending five seasons in Pittsburgh, Rich joined the National Hockey League as Vice President, Industry Growth Fund Initiatives where he worked with the NHL and the National Hockey League Players Association to develop and implement a league-wide learn to play initiative designed to reduce cost barriers and increase participation levels in hockey. In the first year, over 23,000 new players were introduced to the game via the NHL’s Learn to Play program.
Hixon rejoined the Penguins in August of 2016 as President of the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, and upon his return he developed a series of new programs designed to significantly increase revenues. He has recruited a number of high-profile events to the facility, including; the USHL Fall Classic, the NWHL All-Star Game, The World Cup of Hockey practices, USA Hockey’s Tier I National Championships, a series of events with Legacy Global Sports and the Collegiate Figure Skating Competitions. He also continues to oversee the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite Tier I organization, which was established in 2010 has quickly become one of the most respected and accomplished AAA programs in the US.
In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for Hockey Sticks Together, Rich was recently elected to the Board of Directors for US Ice Rink Association. While with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, he served as an alternate governor for the team and in 2000, was awarded the AHL’s Ken McKenzie Award, an award given to the individual who accomplishes the most in promoting their team.
A native of Arona, Pennsylvania, he graduated from Slippery Rock University in 1993 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management. He currently resides in Valencia, PA with his wife of 19 years, Allison and his three boys Owen (15), Zachary (13) and Lukas (9).
Cliff Benson is the chief development officer of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. His main duties include overseeing multiple initiatives for both franchises in the Buffalo and Western New York communities, along with overseeing HARBORCENTER and the Buffalo Sabres Foundation. Benson is also a member of the board of trustees at his alma matter, Pennsylvania State University.
In 2000, Benson, along with members of the Pittsburgh Penguins Alumni, formed Hockey in the Hood. Founded with a grant from the National Hockey League's Diversity Task Force and assistance from the Pittsburgh Penguins, Hockey in the Hood (now called Pittsburgh ICE) was one of 40 major diversity ice hockey programs throughout the United States and Canada with the goal of reaching underprivileged inner-city children by teaching them skating and ice hockey lessons.
Benson is passionate about serving the community and has been actively involved in charitable organizations for most of his career – primarily those that benefit inner-city children with limited opportunities. He is affiliated with Hasek’s Heroes, SABAH, Imani Christian Academy (Board Chair), the Buffalo Outer Harbor Development Committee and was named to the Penn State Board of Trustees in February 2014. Benson was privileged to make three trips to Haiti, bringing medical relief, following the 2010 earthquake.