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DAWS Board of Directors

Danbury Animal Welfare Society's Board of Directors manages the strategic and operational aspects of the organization. Our 2014 Board of Directors are:

Seated left to right:  Tania Buchmelter, President; Lenore Maskara, Director; Corrie Falciano, Director

Standing left to right:  Philip Segan, former Director; Emil Tomasi, Vice President; Cathy Schirmer, Secretary; John Piper, Treasurer


You can read each Board Member's bio, below.

Each year, Board members are elected to serve a 2-year term.  If you are interested in Board service, please contact daws@daws.org.

2014 Board Member Biographies

Tania Buchmelter- President

Tania, a lifelong animal lover, began volunteering at DAWS in January, 2011 as a dog walker.  She came to DAWS after realizing that since saying goodbye to her and her husband’s 14-year old rescue dog, Alex, in 2006, she could no longer bear to live a dogless life.  She looked for volunteer opportunities where she could help dogs in need of loving homes and found DAWS.  Tania faithfully reports for her dog-walking “duties” every Tuesday and Saturday, as long as she is not traveling for work.  In addition, she regularly volunteers as a dog handler for many of the community outreach events in the area, participates on the MAD Ball committee and has been a Top Dog Fundraiser at the Annual Walk for Animals since 2011.

Tania graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Medical Technology from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH.  She spent five years working in hospital laboratories in northeast Ohio before transitioning into the healthcare industry.  She accepted a new position with Quest Diagnostics in May, 2013 after working for Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics (formerly Bayer HealthCare Diagnostics) since 1999.  She is a Director of Marketing responsible for managing a portfolio of products totaling over $900M.

Tania and her husband John moved to Danbury from New Hampshire in 2005.  They are currently the proud parents of Bella, a stray cat that was hanging around the neighborhood when they moved into their community, and Lilly, a member of the DAWS cat family who was rescued from “death row” at a Harlem shelter.  They are also holding in their hearts the memory of their angels Cheshire, Alexandra, and Hobson, the rescued cats and dog who were the central part of the Buchmelter family since it first formed over 20 years ago.

Emil Tomasi - Vice President

Emil has worked in the public arena for all of his adult life, working his way through college with work study jobs in teaching and for Marriott International in various capacities.  After graduating from college with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry he endured a yearlong battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma.  During that time he witnessed firsthand the challenges that life often hands all of us and vowed to always work hard towards positive outcomes in everything he does. Emil worked as a salesman and manager for Pepsi Cola and then moved into pharmaceutical sales, which was always his goal after becoming a cancer survivor.   He currently works for Bristol Myers-Squibb representing a billion dollar biologic medication that brings hope and cure to thousands of patients.

Emil has always been a dog lover and had his opportunity, along with his wife Joanne to bring 8 week old Dickens in to their lives in 2001.  Since then, they adopted Ted, a terrier mix, from poodle rescue and realized how hard so many people work to bring better lives to our little friends.  A few years after adopting Ted he learned about DAWS from their niece, and he and Joanne started volunteering on Sunday afternoons.

Cathy Schirmer - Secretary

Cathy Schirmer is a graduate of Berkeley Business School in White Plains, NY and has worked for Competitive Shared Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of ConEdison, for the past 12 years.  She works in the Human Resources dept. as a Sr. HR Specialist.  In 2010, she won the Living Our Values (LOV) award.  The LOV award was established in 1992 and is the most prestigious honor Con Edison, Inc. bestows on an employee. LOV recognizes employees who personify the corporate values of service, honesty, concern, courtesy, excellence, and teamwork.

Cathy has been a volunteer at DAWS since 2009.  She started as a Friday night dog socializer and then moved on to Friday night team lead, where she currently resides.  Cathy is also an Adoption Counselor and heads up the Follow-up Committee that contacts adopters post-adoption.  Cathy participates in many off site events and has been leading community outreach activities since April 2013.  Cathy has also been a Top Dog Fundraiser for our Annual Walk for Animals for the past five years.

Cathy is married to Joe Schirmer who served on the DAWS Maintenance Committee several years ago.  They live in Danbury, CT with their dog Thor (formerly Jesse) who they adopted from DAWS.  Thor is a 5 year old German Shepherd/Lab mix from Mississippi.

Cathy will continue to support the Vision of DAWS by finding the best homes for all their animals, working towards opening a new facility, and being the shelter of choice in the greater Danbury community.

John Piper - Treasurer

John began volunteering with DAWS as a Thursday night dog walker in July of 2003 after he and his wife adopted their first dog, Pepper, from DAWS.  After witnessing the dedication and compassion of the DAWS volunteers during the adoption process, John could see what a great organization DAWS is and wanted to be a part of it.  John served on the Board of Directors from 2005 through 2007 and also served as Maintenance Program director during that same time.  He has also served as Thursday Night Team Lead and has done many SATO transport pick-ups for the homeless dogs of Puerto Rico.  He has achieved “Top Dog” fundraiser several times for the annual Walk for Animals fundraiser and has also assisted with the annual Hound Hike. 

John works for Photronics, Inc. in Brookfield, CT as a Senior Purchasing Agent and is responsible for managing an annual spend of $80MM for the company’s most critical direct material.  He manages a global cross-functional Commodity Management Team across the U.S., Europe, and Asia to ensure company strategies are followed and goals are met.  In 2008, Photronics presented him with a Citizenship Award for his contributions to animal welfare and also presented DAWS with a check for $1,000 on behalf of John’s work

John graduated Cum Laude from Sacred Heart University with a degree in Business Administration and also received awards for academic excellence from the John F. Welch School of Business. 

John lives in Waterbury, CT with his wife Susan and his son Ryan along with their three dogs; Pepper, Tucker, and Prinny.  Pepper is a sixteen year old German Shepherd mix DAWS alumnus.  Tucker and Prinny are both failed foster attempts.  Tucker was rescued from the Hartford Pound on the day he was to be euthanized and Prinny was rescued from an abandoned house along with two of her puppies by John and several of his friends.

Corrie Falciano - Director

Corrie has worked at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for the past six years.  Prior to working at Boehringer, she worked for Pepsi Bottling Group for two years and IBM Corporation for nine years.  Corrie has held various financial and accounting roles with increasing responsibility at these companies.  In her current role as Business Operations Manager, she provides operational and financial support for all business-related processes in her scientific-based function.  Corrie graduated from Post University in Waterbury, CT with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting.

Corrie is a lifelong animal lover.  She has volunteered at DAWS as a cat socializer and with event planning.  She attends the DAWS Making a Difference Ball annually with her friends and family.  She also participated in the first DAWS 5K this year.  She is excited for the opportunity to volunteer at the shelter again and offer her business and financial skills to an organization that is so close to her heart.  Corrie lives in Danbury with her husband, Paul, a Financial Systems Manager at IBM Corporation.  They are devoted parents to their two cats from DAWS, four year old Rosie and one year old Bernie Williams. 

Lenore Maskara - Director

Lenore Maskara currently works as Benefits and Payroll Supervisor at Memry Corporation, a manufacturer of medical device components in Bethel, CT. She has held a variety of positions as a member of the Human Resources department since joining the company in 2002. Prior to that she was a Marketing Assistant at Neumann Real Estate in Ridgefield, CT.  Lenore graduated from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration focusing on Human Resources.

As a child Lenore was highly allergic to animals and unable to have a pet of her own, but even then was passionate about animal rescue. She helped the occasional fallen baby bird and spent weekend mornings clipping dog food and cat litter coupons and forcing her parents to mail them to the local animal shelter. Finally, after years of pleading, her family rescued a lab mix, Dodger, from the pound.

Many years later and while living in an apartment with a strict “no pet” policy, Lenore began volunteering at DAWS. She has been a devoted Monday night dog socializer since 2006. Lenore also volunteers at off-site events, contributes baked goods for DAWS fundraisers, and is a member of the animal transport team.