Meet the Beds4Vets Team
ZACHARY J. BAGDON, PRESIDENT
As a September 11th survivor, Zach has an especially deep appreciation for those modern day veterans who sacrificed the best years of their lives in service to our country’s armed forces. Recognizing that we can never give those years back to veterans, Zach is determined to make sure that all veterans have a place to call home.
Zach is a retired financier who has worked for the likes of Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and Lehman Brothers. Over the course of his financial career, he’s advised on over $30 billion of assets. As an educator, he taught at Yale University, Albertus Magnus, and universities in Brazil, Guatemala, and Mexico. While at Yale University, he served as the Executive Director of Yale’s International Center for Finance and was the founding Director of the Yale Center for Corporate Governance. His insights have been sought out by heads of state/central banks and made him a contributor for media outlets such as CNBC, NPR, and the Wall Street Journal.
Zach is a graduate of the U.S Coast Guard Academy, retiring as a LTJG. He is a member of the U.S. Naval Order, the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, and the Military Officer Association of America. Zach earned his MBA from Yale University.
Besides being a founding board member of Beds4Vets, Zach currently serves on the board of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association.
RICHARD C. MARTIN, VICE PRESIDENT
Knowing from a young age that he would serve in the military, Rick enlisted in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard while a senior in high school. Since his father was an active member of the VFW, Rick participated in many of their family events, later becoming the first President of Sons of Veterans of Foreign Wars at the Lititz, PA VFW post. Rick completed his basic training at Fort Leonard, MO, AIT training as a Combat Field Medic at Fort Sam in Houston, TX, and served in the 103rd Medical Battalion in Lancaster PA until 1977. Rick is very proud and honored to be part of three generations of service to our country. His father served in the Army on the front lines in Korea, and his son, Ryan, served in the Air Force as a Crew Chief on the U2 and was on five tours of duty during this current war on terror.
Until 2000, most of Rick’s business career was in the insurance industry as a Senior Account Agent. Seeking a greater purpose, Rick began a new career in social services as Program Director at Transitional Living Center in Lancaster, PA, where he managed a 54-room homeless transitional facility. One of Rick’s greatest accomplishments was creating rooms specifically designated for homeless veterans as they transitioned into permanent housing. Rick currently owns and operates Postal Connections in Hockessin, Delaware.
Rick’s vision to establish a shelter for homeless veterans has remained a passion and top priority, leading him to be a co-founder for Bed4 Beds, where he currently serves as Vice President and on the Board of Directors. Rick holds a B.S. in Organizational Leadership from Thomas Edison College.
CHRISTOPHER CASCIO, SECRETARY
After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent, drawn-out conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, Chris became deeply concerned about what would happen to all of the men and women in the armed forces once they returned home. Would they suffer high rates of suicide, substance abuse, and homelessness as did veterans of other wars of the previous century? Would public and private agencies be able to care for them? He knew the history. Veterans of every American war—from the American Revolution to the first Gulf War—faced significant challenges and rarely was the nation able to properly care for their needs.
Determined to make a difference, Chris first donated to veterans charities such as the Wounded Warrior Foundation, AmVets, and the Warrior Music Foundation. But he wanted to do more. Learning of Beds4Vets, Chris joined the Board of Directors in 2018. Bringing critical non-profit experience to the leadership team, Chris enabled Beds4Vets to become a reality, directly impacting veterans well beyond just writing a check.
Chris Cascio grew up in the steel mill country of western Pennsylvania. As a boy, he spent many afternoons in his father’s bar listening to veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam talk about their experiences. This instilled in him an appreciation of their service. These stories also encouraged him to read about those wars and fostered a love of learning about American history.
This early experience inspired him to pursue a career in museums. He earned a degree in American history from Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania and then a master’s degree in American history and museum studies from the University of Delaware. After graduation, Chris went on to work for the Delaware Historical Society, Pottsgrove Manor historic site in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent, Winterthur Museum, Gardens, and Library, and Hagley Museum. As all of these museums are non-profit institutions, Chris learned a great deal about non-profit governance and developing fundraising and marketing strategies.
PETER RUSS, TREASURER
Peter Russ was born in Brooklyn, NY, and attended NYC public schools until college. After a year in Syracuse, he transferred to the University of Delaware to complete his Bachelor’s degree in Finance. He primarily lived in Delaware from then until 2016 where he also received an MBA from the University of Delaware and worked for JPMorgan Chase’s Private Bank. He always gave to charities, but in 2008 he joined the Wilmington Jaycees. From 2009 he joined the Board of Directors and was Treasurer from 2011 – 2013.
Once he learned there was an open Treasurer’s position with Beds4Vets, Ltd., he eagerly joined the organization. He recognized how America’s heroes need assistance in these turbulent times. Peter currently works at the University of Maryland, College Park in the A.J. Clark College of Engineering.
Jim grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and graduated from Holy Ghost Prep in 1969. He received the nomination to attend the Air Force Academy, but his eyesight did not meet the requirements for entry. He went on to attend Drexel University where he participated in ROTC. Upon graduation in 1974, he worked in business management and accounting for two non-profits. He passed the CPA exam in 1979 and was hired by DuPont in their Internal Audit department. Jim worked in various financial roles and then worked for the company that bought the x ray business. As part of the project to move to an integrated business system implementation team, he designed the accounting flows for the new company. Jim accepted a job with Accenture in 1997 where he led and managed various IT projects and support teams domestically and internationally.
Jim retired from Accenture in 2017. In retirement, Jim has sought ways to give back. He met members of the Beds 4 Vets board and volunteered to assist because he believes so strongly in the mission to support our homeless veterans. He contributes to many organizations such as Wounded Warriors, Tunnel to Towers, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the USO. He now spends his free time as a board member with Beds 4 Vets, as well as his community homeowners association. He seeks to grow the impact of Beds 4 Vets.