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About BBLA > Officers and Trustees

Officers and Trustees

Officers / Trustees

 
BBLA Joseph Balaz
 
Joseph Balaz
President BBLA

Josef Baláž - Joseph Balaz - was born on December 22nd 1960 in Prague. He first studied at the Transport Technical College on Dušní street in Prague and then Civil Engineering at ČVUT (Czech Technical University). In 1982 he emigrated to West Germany where he lived for a year and a half before traveling to Canada. From Montreal he moved to New York, where he lives today. After arriving in NYC he found employment with a firm of developers. With a partner he later set up his first construction firm which concentrated on renovation work. Next he established J. Balaz Associates Ltd., which specializes in exclusive residential projects for wealthy clients. The company performed the major reconstruction of one of New York's most famous recording studios, the Hit Factory, which has hosted such stars as Frank Sinatra, John Lennon, Steve Wonder and Michael Jackson. In December 2005 Joseph Balaz was elected delegate to the BBLA for the American Fund for Czech and Slovak Leadership Studies. He was then elected head of the committee responsible for administration of Bohemian National Hall. In October 2006 he became president of the BBLA and participated in negotiations with the Czech government on the final phase of repairs to Bohemian National Hall.


Interview prepared by the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library:

http://www.ncsml.org/exhibits/joseph-balaz/

 
Susan Lucak
 
Susan Lucak
First Vice President BBLA

Susan is also President of the Dvorak American Heritage Association (DAHA). She was one of the founding members of DAHA, an organization that was created in 1990. Its goal is to honor the American musical legacy of the Czech-born composer Antonin Dvorak who lived in New York City from 1892 to 1895 when he was the Director of the National Conservatory of Music of America. Susan has been President of DAHA since 2006 and has recruited into the organization a cadre of talented and devoted professionals. DAHA has furnished the beautiful Dvorak Room in the Bohemian National Hall and each season has unique concerts and lectures on a variety of musical subjects. Susan was born in the Czech Republic and immigrated to the USA in 1969. By profession, she is a physician with subspecialty in gastrointestinal disorders. She spent twenty-four years at Columbia University Medical Center where she is still a Special Lecturer. Since 2010, she has been in private practice on the upper east side of Manhattan where she is affiliated with Weill Cornell Medicine and Lenox Hill Hospital.


Interview prepared by the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library:

http://www.ncsml.org/exhibits/susan-lucak/

 
Irene Mergl
 
Irene Mergl
Second Vice President BBLA

A native New Yorker born in the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan to Czechoslovak immigrant parents. As a result is fluent in Czech and Slovak. Attended schools in the area from Kindergarten to College including Czech/Slovak School at the Bohemian National Hall.
A member of Sokol New York from the age of 6. Was an active gymnastic competitor, Instructor, Physical Director and presently 1st Vice President plus Historian, Public Relations and Leader of the 50+ Women's Class. Performed in the 1994 Slet in Praha at Strahov Stadium, the first Sokol Slet to be held in 40 years following the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia.
Retired, after a long and fulfilling career in Nursing Administration at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. Wife of Stanley J. Mergl (deceased) who was a dedicated leader in Sokol and the Czech community. Mother of two sons and three grandchildren.

 
Edward Chlanda
 
Edward Chlanda
Financial Secretary BBLA

Treasurer of American Fund for Czech and Slovak Leadership Studies since 2006. Committee member of American Sokol Org. Library, Archives and Museum (2016), former president of EAC Brokerage. He is co-author of several specialized books on insurance issues and he is an active member of NYC Sokol. In 1991 he arranged for the Czechoslovak Army contingent from the Gulf war to come to New York and Washington for the parades.

 
Blanka Suchanek
 
Blanka Suchanek
Secretary BBLA

Blanka Suchanek, Secretary, born in New York City and grew up in the Yorkville area of Manhattan. As a child, was a student at the Czech School in the Narodni Budova and a gymnast at Sokol New York. In 1998, Ms. Suchanek became a member of the BBLA. Ms. Suchanek is a trustee to the BBLA representing Sokol New York.

 
Jirina Silhanova-Sager
 
Jirina Silhanova-Sager
Treasurer

Jirina Silhanova-Sager was born in Ostrava in former Czechoslovakia. Right after her moving to the United States in 1969, she became involved with the Czech-Slovak community in New York. Since 1973, she has been a member of the Association of Free Czechoslovak Sportsmen as a Secretary and a Treasurer. Together with Dr. Alex Cech and Arch.Jan Hird Pokorny, she supported the efforts to restore the Bohemian National Hall. She has been a Treasurer of the Bohemian Benevolent & Literary Association since 1976, a member of World Cruise Society, a member of Sokol New York and a volunteer for Visiting Nurses of New York. In 2012, she was awarded “Distinguished Czech Woman in the Western World” and from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, she received a silver medal of Jan Masaryk.


Interview prepared by the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library:

http://www.ncsml.org/exhibits/georgina-silhanova-sager/

 

Bohemian Benevolent & Literary AssociationHospodaThe National Czech and Slovak MuseumAmerican Friends of the Czech RepublicCzech CenterConsulate General