We BelieveYou can't fake compassion and grit.
The Damascus Team: A Force for Good
At Damascus, we merge our respective and collective experiences to breathe life into our Mission: To use our talent for good and create opportunities for both workers and employers so they can reach their goals. It’s pretty niche, so we are particular about who joins our team. We think you’ll notice the difference pretty quickly.
Chief Executive Officer
Prior to starting Damascus, Todd Marallen was the President and owner of Novastar Group, LLC, a boutique lobbying and investment consulting firm founded in 2007 and located in Cincinnati, where he was born and raised. After graduating from Thomas More College, Todd’s early career in the IT industry led him into the world of startups and venture capital for over 15 years before returning to school and earning his Juris Doctorate from the University of Cincinnati.
In 2005, Todd was elected to Mason City Council and engaged in the drama and intrigue of local party politics for several years. He currently divides his time between Damascus, Exodus Transit, Divine Mining, civic involvement, and his amazing wife and his children.
Todd is highly involved in the arts community. He was elected to the Cincinnati Art Museum Board of Trustees in 2007 - the second youngest member ever chosen to serve. He was chosen to be a Shareholder of the museum after finishing his Board term in 2016. He was appointed Chairman of the Cincinnati Arts Allocation Committee by former Mayor Mark Mallory in 2012, and has also served on the Board of Trustees of the Contemporary Arts Center.
An avid athlete, Todd loves to play sports while willfully ignoring the fact that his sons will soon be able to beat him in most of the sports he enjoys. Todd is a wine lover, a fan of fine Kentucky bourbon, and smokes the occasional cigar while working on his old Dodge pickup truck. He is a literary aficionado, and enjoys doing mission work abroad. He also believes Bigfoot is real.
Contact Todd Marallen at [email protected].
Chief Strategy Officer
Christine Marallen currently spends much of her week inside prisons, jails and halfway houses throughout Ohio and is certain she has the best job in the world.
Working with the incarcerated since 2002, Christine is the former Director of Prison Ministries for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, a position she left in 2019 to continue changing the reentry narrative in Ohio and the country. As the Chief Strategy Officer for Damascus, Christine facilitates the Damascus Reentry Class inside numerous correctional facilities around Ohio, and manages the talented staff that provides reentry curriculum, employment opportunities, and social support for those returning home from incarceration.
Christine and her husband, Todd, speak on the innovative Damascus Reentry Model both locally and nationally at Workforce Development symposiums, Reentry Conferences, Prison Ministry events and other gatherings where people seek clarity and solutions in areas of justice and the fiscal implications of incarceration.
Born in Cincinnati, Christine lived throughout the U.S. while working with USA Today Newspaper in various sales and marketing management roles from 1988 to 2002. As the National Manager/Sales Development and Training for USA Today, Christine wrote sales and personal development training and facilitated throughout the globe. From 2010-13, she was the Spiritual Director at The Glen at St. Joseph, a facility/program for single mothers and their children in Dayton, Ohio.
From 2006-2018, Christine taught Criminal Justice at Xavier University and has taken hundreds of undergraduate students into Ohio prisons to learn alongside incarcerated students in the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program (based at Temple University in Philadelphia). There is little Christine likes better than to see perspectives widen.
Christine holds a B.A. in English from Miami University; an M.S. in Criminal Justice and an M.A. in Theology from Xavier University. She is a certified prison/jail chaplain; a member of the Cincinnati Enquirer Editorial Board, the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Steering Committee, and the Xavier University's Institutional Review Board. Christine is a former City Councilmember in Mason, Ohio; past President of the American Catholic Correctional Chaplains Association and in 2020, Christine was awarded the Anna E. and Williams F. Madges Alumni Award from Xavier University for Outstanding Contribution to Church and Society. Christine has loved all her gigs, but would trade it all for a writer's cabin, a steady supply of Orin Swift's Prisoner and the opportunity to write all day. Look for her book, Good Lookin' Out: Chapel Girl in Prison soon.
Currently living in Cincinnati, Christine's best work is her five children, who have been hearing about crime, justice and prisons since they were old enough to care. Christine is available to speak and train on matters of incarceration, ministry and how to raise healthy children without having to actually cook anything.
Contact Christine Marallen at [email protected]
Director of Community Engagement
Going to prison would seemingly be one of the worst things that can happen to someone, but for Mike it turned out to be a blessing. Not only for him, but for many other inmates whose lives he helped change through his educational work while serving his 2-year sentence.
As Mike confronted and addressed his own thinking errors through rehabilitative programming, he realized there were many others like him: men who had made mistakes, were willing to hold themselves accountable and work hard, and were deserving of a second chance at a productive life. Mike made it his mission to use his communication and leadership skills to help these inmates realize their potential.
A graduate of Culver Military Academy, Mike knew the value of the leadership training he experienced. He realized that despite these young men never having that kind of opportunity, bringing it to them now could help them as they prepared to reenter communities in search of their second chance. Working with a local NAACP chapter, Mike developed and facilitated a 12-week reintegration program for young African American inner-city men aged 18-25 based on Culver’s Leadership Development curriculum.
Since Mike’s release in December of 2013, he has continued his mission of preparing inmates for reintegration by returning to Richland Correctional as a volunteer for the Toledo Diocese Prison Ministry Team.
Mike has a highly successful background as a top producer & regional director in the health insurance industry for fortune 500 companies (Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Assurant Health), and has been a builder of markets as senior management with technology sector startups. Yet, it’s his role in changing lives that Mike experienced through his Leadership Development course at Richland Correctional Institution, along with his ongoing sobriety and alcohol recovery, that he views as his most rewarding and proudest achievements.
Mike’s work with Team Damascus will build and strengthen relationships in the community by utilizing his leadership and management skills and continuing that strong desire to carry his passion forward.
Contact Mike Carr at [email protected]
Regional Client Manager
Carly Stock realized her love for working with the incarcerated while interning in the reentry pod of River City Correctional, a Community-Based Correctional Facility in Cincinnati, Ohio. Originally from Clayton, Ohio, Carly holds a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati.
As the Regional Client Manager, Carly guides the good work of the Client Reps throughout Cincinnati and Columbus as they walk with formerly incarcerated men and women into the workforce. Her staff matches eligible work candidates to work opportunities with the Damascus employment partners and positively impacts the recidivism rate in Ohio by providing the social support individuals need to be successful at home.
Outside of Damascus, Carly declares an unhealthy relationship with her two rescue pups and really wishes she could open a dog rescue and save all the dogs.
Contact Carly Stock at [email protected]
Logistics Manager - Exodus Transit
Jason brings over twelve years of Logistics and Leadership experience to the Damascus Team. He holds many certifications and degrees from Gateway Community College such as Employment Law, Logistics Management, Leadership Devolvement, and Distribution management. Jason also holds several DOT required certifications from Lion Technologies.
As the Exodus Transit Transportation Manager, Jason ensures that the Damascus workforce can get to/from the employment sites each day by providing a fleet of vans, a team of drivers and a sense of community to the men and women reentering the workforce and society.
Years ago, Jason spent 14 months incarcerated in Kentucky. Going to jail for most is a horrific experience, but for Jason it was an opportunity of growth—not only for him, but for others that he taught while inside. He learned the need for restoration programs and community support during his sentence and those realizations have equipped him with the desire and understanding to forward the Damascus Mission today.
Originally from Morristown, Tennessee, Jason moved to Kentucky after being released and has since helped within the homeless community and his local church. He has passion for helping people overcome the impossible, after experiencing it himself. He believes that everyone deserves to be treated the same regardless of their past.
Jason loves spending time with his wonderful wife and their four children. “This is the reason I push forward for the prize daily.”
Contact Jason Gilmer at [email protected].
Kelley Patmon brings to Damascus over 20 years of experience in banking, investigations, public housing and mental health. Kelley’s passion for reentry education became very personal when her son was arrested in 2016 and incarcerated in 2018. Upon her son’s release in 2019, Kelley realized that there were so many gaps in his life associated with his mental, physical and emotional health.
The Damascus Reentry Class takes a hard look at the trauma, bias and decisions in a person’s life, and provides the tools and options to make positive future choices. Being part of the Damascus team as a Reentry Facilitator, Kelley can pay it forward and assist men and women in looking at the choices made that led them to incarceration and construct with them a plan to move forward. As a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, Kelley holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and facilitates reentry classes and halfway houses in prisons throughout Ohio.
At a very young age, Kelley was in foster care prior to being adopted by her loving parents. Prior to marriage, she experienced the struggles of being a young single mother, juggling full-time work while completing a college education. Now a mother of three, she enjoys spending time with family, watching movies and reading True Crime.
Contact Kelley Patmon at [email protected].
Bev Smith began working with the incarcerated in 2006 as a volunteer with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Prison Ministry Team. Facilitating various faith-based classes to men at Ohio’s Lebanon Correctional Institution and women at Dayton Correctional Institution, Bev learned quickly that when people believe that you care about their story they will trust you and trust themselves to address the areas of their lives that have lead them to incarceration.
Bev has decades of organizational and administrative experience and since 2019 has facilitated the Damascus Reentry Class in multiple prisons throughout Ohio. She continues to see unprecedented attendance, completion, and participation in her classes because of the authentic experience she provides and the reminder that she will work hard, but not harder than her class participants do.
“You go in there thinking you’re going to teach something, but you come out with so much more,” she says. “I love seeing someone “get it” and changing because of something we’ve said or something they’ve learned from us or themselves. I love seeing the difference.” Bev’s graduates frequently contact Damascus for employment opportunities and to keep staff apprised of their post-incarceration plans and success.
Contact Beverly Smith at [email protected]
Reentry Coordinator/ Executive Administrator
Kaitlin has had a passion for corrections, specifically reentry, since she started earning her B.S. degree in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University. During her time at MSU, Kaitlin participated in the Inside-Out course Prison Exchange Program at Carson City Correctional Institution where both inside and outside students shared conversations about the prison systems and how society views those involved within the system. It was this experience she gained inside of the correctional institution where she realized that after graduation, she wanted to find a career that would allow her to continue working closely with those directly affected by our prison systems.
Kaitlin moved from Michigan to Ohio to pursue her dream of working with individuals who are incarcerated and began working with Damascus as the Reentry Coordinator and Executive Administrator. In this role, Kaitlin supports the reentry facilitators in their prison classes and is the first point of contact for most people as they discover Damascus.
Outside of Damascus, Kaitlin loves exploring Cincinnati and all its hidden treasures.
Contact Kaitlin Rolli at [email protected].
Client Representative - Cincinnati
Allie Wiesmann knew from a young age that she wanted to work with incarcerated men and women. Having seen a loved one in prison and witnessing the difficulties they face upon release, she knew she had to do something to make a difference.
Allie obtained a BS degree in Psychology and Criminology from Mount St. Joseph University and began attending law school at the University of Cincinnati in 2019. Working with both incarcerated men and women and the halfway houses in Cincinnati, Allie matches eligible work candidates to employment opportunities with the Damascus client partners. She is integral in the support Damascus workers receive both before and during employment.
Outside of Damascus, Allie enjoys attending the Cincinnati Bengals games, camping with her family, and reading true crime books.
Contact Allie Wiesmann at [email protected].
Client Representative - Cincinnati
Ashley Uveges found her passion for working with the reentry population through her studies in criminal justice, partaking in the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program at Lebanon Correctional Institution, and interning for one year with a second chance hiring company in Cincinnati. Ashley is originally from Cleveland, Ohio, and holds a B.S. degree In Criminal Justice and Business from Xavier University, while currently pursuing her M.S. in Criminal Justice through Xavier as well.
Working with both incarcerated men and women and the halfway houses in Cincinnati, Ashley matches eligible work candidates to employment opportunities with the Damascus client partners. She is integral in the support Damascus workers receive both before and during employment. Outside of Damascus, Ashley enjoys cheering on the Cleveland Browns, staying active, and spending time with friends and family. Ashley aspires to dive herself into the mission of revamping reentry in all ways possible.
Contact Ashley Uveges at [email protected].
Client Representative - Columbus
Chase Irwin is a passionate advocate for the rights and rehabilitation of the formerly incarcerated. While volunteering in the Alvis House workforce reentry program in Columbus, Ohio, Chase saw the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives.
After graduating with a degree in History from Ohio Wesleyan University, Chase spent much of his career working in the private sector at tech-based companies in Columbus. As he ramped up his involvement in the Columbus Community, he realized that he was driven to make an impact in his city and found a way to do that through the Damascus mission. Chase firmly believes in the power of workforce development, and as a Client Representative works tirelessly to remove or ease barriers of employment for men and women with felony backgrounds, as well as support them in their journey to get back on their feet. Working with both incarcerated men and women and the halfway houses in Central Ohio, Chase matches eligible work candidates to employment opportunities with the Damascus client partners. He is integral in the support Damascus workers receive both before and during employment.
Outside of his work for Damascus, Chase loves volunteering in his community and exploring everything Columbus has to offer.
Contact Chase Irwin at [email protected].
Client Representative - Columbus
Tim Shimrock first knew the impact that was possible when he designed and piloted a 12-week Fitness Program inside Ohio’s Lebanon Correctional Institution in 2018. Over 25 men—of all sizes and fitness abilities—completed the program and enjoyed the spirited competition and camaraderie not normally present inside prison walls.
A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Tim holds a B.A. degree in Political Science and is a First Lieutenant in the United States Army and an active member of the Ohio Army National Guard. He is a former Congressional Intern and oversees the men in 2nd Platoon Bravo Troop 2-107th Cavalry in Lebanon, OH. As a Client Rep, Tim prepares, hires, and walks with men and women in the Columbus area who have both felony backgrounds and a desire and capacity to successfully navigate the workplace at Damascus employment partner locations.
Outside of Damascus Tim enjoys working out, watching the Indianapolis Colts, and spending quality time with both of his Aussie dogs Reggie and Cleo.
Contact Tim Shimrock at [email protected] .
Curtis Crump began working with Damascus in 2020, a month after returning home from a four-year sentence in Ohio’s prison system.
A successful and vocal graduate of the Damascus Reentry Class at Ohio’s Ross Correctional Institution, Curtis attended the 10-week class a second time, both as the facilitator’s assistant and as a resource for the class participants when class was not in session. Curtis declared early and often that he intended to join the Damascus staff post-incarceration in order to foster the mission and be part of the solution for those returning home to Central Ohio.
During his four-year stint, Curtis decided to focus on himself and answer the important question: What is my purpose in life?” He discovered that he was not being true to his own self, walking in shoes that didn’t fit his feet.
“I wear a size 16,” he said. “Putting on those size nine shoes made the journey so much harder. It feels so good to wear my correct size.”
As the current Intern for the Columbus office, Curtis provides both administrative support for the Client Rep team and reentry answers to those who return to the Columbus region after incarceration and seek information regarding Damascus employment opportunities and other social support. Curtis also remains a firsthand source of the realities of incarceration and the ways Damascus and others can positively impact it. He shared his testimony with those around him in prison and looks forward to doing the same as a Damascus team member.
“I am six feet nine inches, 300 lbs.,” he said. “I am literally a pillar of the community and I’m standing tall. Damascus has given me a chance to show my worth.”
Contact Curtis Crump at [email protected].
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Contact Seth Richner at [email protected]
Lora Gregory brings to Damascus over 20 years of experience in payroll, human resources and recruiting. She was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana and relocated to the Greater Cincinnati area in 2014. She has two grown daughters and two dogs.
Lora is excited to be part of Team Damascus as she realized in 2007 the necessity of finding employment for those who had a compromised background a renewed opportunity to reenter the workforce. Since that moment, she spent much of her career coaching employees on how to be effective in their employment opportunities to help them achieve greater successes. Until being introduced to Damascus, she did not realize there was an organization doing what she had seen necessary and taking it one step further with rehabilitation.
Lora is a lover of music, nature, photography and amusement parks. She is presently working on a documentary and writing her first book on the necessity of unconditional self-love. She spends some of her free time volunteering for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. She is always on the look-out for the best local “mom and pop” restaurants and for fried chicken that rivals her mother’s.
Contact Lora Gregory at [email protected].