Ben Baldanza is a seasoned business executive and investor who balances his career with a whole lot of other titles: philanthropic supporter, board member/advisor, trombone player, and board game fanatic, to name a few. Over the past thirty years, Ben has built his career on turnaround initiatives in the airline and transportation sectors. At the same time he has also established his presence as a hobbyist in a variety of forums.
Ben is a 15+ year contributor to “Counter Magazine,” the world’s foremost magazine for board game reviews and commentary (and owns 1000+ board games!). He also is a forum admin at boardgamegeek.com and was a formal partial owner of FunAgain.com.
Outside of games, Ben is passionate about music. He is an accomplished trombone player, having performed as trombonist in the Ars Flores Symphony Orchestra, Broward Symphony, and Brass Quintets. Recently he commissioned a work by a notable female composer for violin and trombone, dedicated to his son Enzo, and world premiered the piece in 2016 (with Enzo on the violin and Ben on the trombone). Ben is also an International Trombone Association (ITA) Audit Committee member.
Ben values education and is fascinated by the evolving tools and outlets that are used to make it accessible to others. One of his favorite memories of his own time in college was when he was featured alongside his brother Joe in USA Today for launching a model rocket with a live mouse. This event was chronicled in a book titled “Newton at the Bat.”
Now, as an Adjunct Professor of Economics at George Mason University, Ben works on sharing the intricacies and applications of economics in various scenarios. He personally designed a class called “Airline Economics” that is now a permanent part of the course offerings at George Mason University. Ben is also an Advisory Board member for the Maxwell School at his alma mater, Syracuse University.
Ben is particularly interested in the intersection (or clash) of online courses with brick-and-mortar institutional learning. He has completed 16 MOOCs (Massive, Open, Online Courses) on Coursera.org in Computer Sciences, Music, Mathematics, and Social Sciences.
Ben supports a variety of organizations and causes that are near and dear to him. He is a Charitable Board supporter with the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, International Trombone Association, and the Wings Club. He is also on the Board of Directors for The Wings Club, an aviation industry advocacy group. He and his wife regularly seek out philanthropic opportunities through their Donor-Advised Fund.
Ben is also passionate about ALS research, having lost his mother to the disease in 1983. He supports the ALS Association through donations and even participated in their “Ice Bucket Challenge.”
While business, education, and board games all pose their own unique challenges, Ben also seeks out physical challenges. He has completed one marathon, over two dozen half marathons, and was a participant in a 12-person 191-mile running face from Miami to Key West.