Board of Directors


Ted Waitt, Chairman and Founder

Ted Waitt, co-founder and former chairman and CEO of Gateway, Inc., helped revolutionize how people use technology to live, work, and play through pioneering the direct marketing of personal computers. Labeled a maverick by national business publications, he has since gone on to form multiple enterprises: Avalon Capital Group, Inc., Avalon Pictures, Waitt Foundation, Waitt Institute, and the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention. Ted oversees all Waitt Foundation and Waitt Institute efforts and is actively engaged in each project from conception to completion.

Dave Russel

Dave Russell, Vice Chairman

Dave is the Executive Chairman and CEO of Puro Sound Labs, a consumer audio company that focuses on Healthy Hearing consumer audio products. Previously, Dave served as Executive Vice President of Avalon Capital Group, Inc., from 2005-2014.  He serves as a board member and vice chairman for the Waitt Foundation & Waitt Institute.  Prior to Avalon Capital Group, Inc., Dave worked at Gateway, Inc. from 1988 until 2005 in a variety of positions, including director of procurement, senior vice president of procurement, senior vice president – supply chain, and general manager of digital television. He joined Gateway’s Board of Directors in February 2007, leaving when the company was sold. Since 2006, Dave has also served on the board of privately-held Amazingmail, a web-based direct marketing company in Scottsdale, Arizona. Additionally, Dave serves on the board of directors of Vizio, Inc., America’s fastest-growing HDTV and consumer electronics company.


Jacob James, Board Member

Jacob A. James is Managing Director of the Waitt Foundation, where he creates and manages novel approaches to philanthropy and public-private partnerships around the world.  His varied areas of expertise include public affairs, philanthropy, ocean conservation, science and exploration, organizational development, sustainable economic development, and civic engagement. Joining the enterprise through Avalon Capital Group in 2009 as policy advisor and executive assistant to Waitt Foundation Chairman and Gateway, Inc. co-founder Mr. Ted Waitt, Jacob has served as the primary public liaison for Mr. Waitt’s global companies, staff, public policy, and philanthropic activities since that time.  Jacob manages a portfolio of relationships including over two dozen governments, and major non-profit and multi-lateral institutions ranging from the National Geographic Society and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, to the international work of the Clinton Foundation and the UN High Commission on Small Island Developing Sates (SIDS). Today, Jacob is a member of the Waitt Foundation & Institute Boards of Directors, having stewarded the business and strategic planning processes for the successful 2013 re-launch of the Waitt Institute. Drawing from his extensive public affairs experience in the U.S. and abroad, Jacob’s approach to philanthropy and public policy is rooted in pragmatism and results.  Previously, Jacob staffed Congresswoman Susan A. Davis (2006-2009), working both in-district in his home town of San Diego, and in Washington, DC on Capitol Hill.  Prior to the Congresswoman, he worked for the full service public affairs firm The San Diego Group, and volunteered on the front lines of several political campaigns. Jacob holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Point Loma Nazarene University and a master’s degree in government from Georgetown University.  He has also earned a certificate in organizational development from the Center on Creative Leadership, and a certificate in fundraising management from the Lilly School of Philanthropy at the Indiana University–Purdue University. On behalf of the Waitt Foundation, Jacob serves on the boards of The San Diego Foundation and the Phoenix Islands Protected Area Conservation Trust.  In Winter 2015, Jacob was named Acting Managing Director of the Waitt Institute, resuming the role of Senior Advisor in 2017.  In this role, he focuses on Government Relations and Diplomacy.


Shane Hartnett

Shane Hartnett, Board Member

Joining Avalon Capital Group Inc in 2007, Shane is currently the firm’s President responsible for investment and operational oversight.  Avalon Capital Group Inc is a wholly-owned private investment company owned by Ted Waitt, co-founder and former chairman of Gateway Inc.  Shane also serves on the Waitt Foundation Board of Directors. Prior to joining Avalon Capital Group, Shane was a vice president at Gateway, Inc., holding numerous positions in operations and supply chain management during his 20-year tenure. Notably, he developed, launched and operated Gateway’s manufacturing facilities across Asia and North America.