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Meet Our Executives

Operation Warm’s small and talented staff raises the funds and manages the activity required to source and distribute 300,000 new winter coats each winter to children in need.  With expertise in development, grant writing, marketing and communications, community relations, finance and administration, procurement, operations and logistics, our team strives to deliver new coats to as many children as possible each year.


Richard D. Sanford

Founder & Chairman - email

Dick is a lifelong entrepreneur and philanthropist. He began his career at Arthur Anderson and was VP of Finance and Executive Vice President of Commodore International. He went on to found Intelligent Electronics, which grew to a $3.7 billion dollar wholesale distributor of micro-products and services. In 1998 Dick started The Sanford Foundation to support disadvantaged children. The first charter school in Pennsylvania was an early product and today that school, known as The Chester County Family Academy, operates in West Chester, PA. He has served on the Board of the Brandywine Museum and Conservancy. In 1998 Dick founded Operation Warm.

Carey Palmquist

Executive Director - email

Prior to her tenure at Operation Warm, Ms. Palmquist held several key positions in healthcare administration, both with ProCure Proton Therapy as Vice President of Operations and Continuous Improvement and at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the Departments of Radiation Oncology and Orthopaedics.  Originally from Radnor, Pennsylvania, Palmquist attended Villanova University and also earned her Masters’ of Management at Cambridge College. She is a certified Master Six Sigma Green & Black Belt instructor and national lecturer on the principles of Lean process improvement, specifically applied to increase outcomes in productivity, efficiency, and cost containment.

At Operation Warm, Ms. Palmquist is responsible for the overall direction of the organization, including development, strategic planning, logistics, communications and marketing. Since joining Operation Warm in 2010, the organization has increased overall funding support by over 30%.

Ms. Palmquist serves on the board of the Institute for Global Youth Development Programs, a non-profit that provides youth programs and long-term stability to at-risk and impoverished youth with the goal of ensuring productive, educated, and informed young citizens. 

Stephanie Cohen

President of Operation Warm Marketplace
Treasurer/Secretary to the Board of Directors - email

Stephanie Cohen currently serves as President of Operation Warm Marketplace and Treasurer/Secretary to the Board of Directors. She brings more than 20 years of finance, operations, and consulting experience with a focus on business development (mergers & acquisitions, public offerings), process improvement, and financial control in both public and private companies. She served as SVP and CFO of Alliance Consulting (acquired by Safeguard Scientifics); EVP and CFO of XLConnect Solutions (acquired by Xerox, formerly owned by Intelligent Electronics); and in various executive capacities at Intelligent Electronics. Ms. Cohen has a BS Accountancy from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and is a CPA, having started her career with KPMG Peat Marwick.

Rich Lalley

Vice President, Development- email

Prior to joining Operation Warm in 2009, Rich served as the President of the Rotary Club of Winnetka-Northfield, IL. He joined Rotary in 2004, when he and his wife started a business in Winnetka. He was a Board member and the Chair of the Public Relations Committee, before assuming his position as President, and now serves District 6440 as webmaster and Assistant Governor.   Rich also brings over 20 years of brand marketing and advertising experience to Operation Warm, most recently as Vice President of Advertising & Brand Management for Discover Financial Services. Rich is a graduate of Michigan State University, where he studied advertising. He resides with his wife in Lincolnshire, IL.  Their son Alex attends the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago.