Board of Directors
Mr. Riki Ellison
The Youth Impact Program was founded in 2006 by founder, chairman, national defense advocate, and former Super Bowl winner Riki Ellison. Mr. Ellison launched the program to help at-risk adolescent boys grow and succeed in education, athletics, leadership, and personal development.
Since its inception, YIP has grown to include 44 programs in 16 of our nation's major cities, recognized twice by the United States Congress in Senate and House Congressional resolutions for its overall achievements, innovation, and impact.
YIP has impacted 3,693 at-risk youth, fostering the careers and lives of 793 NCAA athletes, 164 public school teachers, 169 U.S. Marines, 38 U.S. Air Force Airmen, and 126 U.S. Army Soldiers. Students who attended YIP’s 2021 programs increased their average scores in STEM by 94%, language arts by 60%, and leadership fundamentals by 41%.
Mr. Ellison is a passionate advocate for national defense and the brave men and women who serve in the United States military. His long career includes providing support for our wounded warriors who've experienced injuries in the line of duty. In 2012, Mr. Ellison facilitated a meeting between the National Football League and the United States Army centered around the threat of traumatic brain injury, a condition that affects both our military and football players across the country. This meeting resulted in a partnership ordained by the Commissioner of the NFL and the Chief of the United States Army.
In 2002, Mr. Ellison founded the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, a non-profit organization that develops, evolves, and heightens awareness about the importance of missile defense. Since its beginning, MDAA has grown to include over 15,000 passionate defense experts worldwide, becoming the top body of defense lay experts.
In 2021, MDAA partnered with Southern California's Price School of Public Policy to create the Executive Program of Global Space and Defense. This eight-month-long program is designed to unite defense leaders at the intersection of public policy and engineering, building a safer world and a better future.
Mr. Ellison spearheaded the development and building of two historic missile defense and veteran public memorials: The Ronald Reagan Memorial at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and the Daniel Inouye Memorial at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.
Mr. Ellison possesses the distinction of becoming the first New Zealander to play on the NFL and the first to win a Super Bowl. He played professional football for ten years as a starting middle linebacker for both the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders, winning three Super Bowl Championships. Mr. Ellison played college football at the University of Southern California, winning a National Championship and two Rose Bowls following a State High School Football Championship in Arizona.
Mr. Ellison is passionate about meeting at-risk youth at the intersection of athletics, education, leadership, and personal development. His experience in team leadership and dedicated service has prepared him to help the most vulnerable improve their lives and achieve incredible success.
Sgt. Maj. Robin Fortner, USMC, Ret.
Robin Fortner is a Veteran, Entrepreneur, Executive Coach and Professional Speaker. Serving 30 years, she retired from the United States Marine Corps in October 2022.
Robin grew up in New York City before enlisting into the Marine Corps in August, 1990. With 30 years of military service, Robin has held a variety of billets throughout her career and earned the rank of Sergeant Major. Her last duty assignment was the Senior Enlisted Leader for Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Virginia. She led a diverse workforce of Marines and Civilians directly responsible for mission accomplishment in Marine Corps ground, weaponry and information technology systems. She advised General/Flag Officers and Senior Executive Service Leaders on matters directly affecting the acquisition life cycle of equipment in support of Marines operating in the Fleet Marine Force.
Robin began her career within the Supply Logistics Field, where she held every position to include Supply Chief and Supply Analyst for Major Subordinate Commands. Outside of her Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), she also served in billets such as Military Police, Contract Specialist, Primary Marksmanship Instructor, Drill Instructor, Anti-Terrorism Force Protection Officer, and the Director of Staff Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, directly responsible for the formal education and professional development of Marine Corps Leaders assigned with the Second Marine Expeditionary Force.
As a combat veteran, having deployed to both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, Robin has an extensive operational knowledge set and experience, coupled with leadership and her passion to teach, lead, and mentor. Her expertise is sought after and has been instrumental in influencing institutional policies and procedures. She was hand selected to serve as the Senior Advisor for the historic unit testing the integration of women into combat roles. This cultural shift in talent management has paved the way for modern changes to the standardization of all combat roles across the Department of Defense. She has participated in the Talent Management Executive Council for the Marine Corps and worked with the Director of the Talent Management Office.
Still serving, Robin was recently selected by the Secretary of Defense to serve as a member on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS). She is the Marine Liaison for the Women Marine Association, a Board Member for the Marine Corps Association and Foundation, and a Board Member with Valor Run. Robin continues to advocate for Veterans and have been on advisory panels for the 11th Secretary of Veteran Affairs.
In October 2020, Robin Founded RCFortner Enterprises, LLC., a leadership and management solutions company committed to helping businesses thrive through developing high-performance teams, while facilitating leadership programs that strengthen their leaders and enhance capabilities in order to promote resilient team building strategies and boost employee morale.
Robin is a life long learner, she graduated from American Military University with a Bachelor Degree in Intelligence Studies. She went on to earn Dual Masters of Arts degrees in Leadership and Management and Human Resource Management from Webster University. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Strategic Leadership from Liberty University. She is certified as a Resilience Building Leadership Professional, and as a Professional Coach. She has received certificates in Diversity Equity and Inclusion from the University of South Florida and Entrepreneurial Economics from HarvardX.
Lt. Gen. David Halverson, USA, Ret.
Lieutenant General David D. Halverson, retired on June 30, 2016 from the United States Army after over 37 years of service. On 1 October, he became the Chief Executive Officer of Cypress International Inc. in Alexandria, Virginia. On 1 January 2018, he became the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
He grew up in Babbitt, Minnesota and graduated from the United States Military Academy with a Bachelor of Science Degree and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Field Artillery. He attended the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where he was awarded a Master of Science degree in Operations Research and Systems Analysis. He graduated from the Kenan-Flagler Business School’s Executive Development Program at the University of North Carolina.
Dave’s last active duty assignment was the U.S. Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, where he transformed the business approach to the global installation management and programmed the $19B annual energy, general services, force protection, construction and quality of life programs for over 154 installations in the Total Army. He has served in various staff and leadership positions including command at every level from Battery to Post Command to the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command. He has served in Continental America, Europe, Korea, Panama, and South West Asia. His staff positions, focused on program development, testing, concept and requirement development, strategic planning, cost-benefit and risk analysis, with assignments as the Senior Military Analyst in the Joint Wargaming and Policy Division of the U.S. Southern Command in Panama, joint requirements and Army budget development in positions such as the Commander in Chief Team Chief in the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army, Program, Analysis, and Evaluation Directorate. He was the Central Command J3, Chief of Plans, and planned, coordinated, and executed war plans for OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM after 9-11. He deployed as the Deputy Commanding General (Support) for the 4th Infantry Division for OIF 5/7. After his deployment, he assumed duties on the Army Staff, as the Director of Operations, Readiness, and Mobilization, G-3 and then became the Director of Force Development, G-8, where he developed the RDT&E investment, modernization and equipping programs for the Army totaling $200B across the POM. He transformed the training and modernization as the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where the Air Defense and Field Artillery merged under one post. Dave served as the Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command where the newest doctrine and concepts were developed, along with leader development, training and learning models programs were revamped.
His military education includes the Field Artillery Basic and Advanced Courses, the Armed Forces Staff College, the Army War College, and the British Higher Command and Staff College.
He is a lifetime member of the Association of the US Army, a lifetime member of the Field Artillery Association and the Air Defense Association. He is on the Board of Director’s for the Armed Services YMCA; he is the President of the National Field Artillery Association; he is on the Army MITRE Board; he is on the Leadership Council for the Legal Services Corporation; he is a Board Member of the Youth Impact Program; he is on the Advisory Board of the Army Red Cross; he is a volunteer for the United Through Reading Program; and he is on the Senior Advisory Group for the Commanding General at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.
LTG Halverson’s awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Cluster, Defense Superior Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Legion of Merit with four Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Joint Unit Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Staff Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.
Mr. Jim Krohn
Jim Krohn (born 1957) is an American real estate businessman and former American and Canadian football quarterback.
Early Life and Education
Krohn attended Amphitheater High School in Tucson, Arizona where he was the 1975 All-City and All-State football quarterback, leading his team to their first-ever State Championship.
Krohn attended and graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. He was a four-year starting quarterback between 1976-79, and led the Wildcats to the Fiesta Bowl in 1979 as team captain.
After college, Krohn played professional football for the 1980 Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League (CFL). In 1982, he signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles (NFL) , but was released prior to season beginning. In 1983, he played for the Philadelphia Stars of the the United States Football League (USFL). He retired from professional sports in 1984.
Krohn began his business career in 1984 with Coldwell Banker (now known as CBRE) commercial real estate brokerage. In 1986, he started two companies, Research Consultants Inc and Partners Management. In 1989, he relocated to Phoenix and joined Lincoln Property Company as Vice President of Apartment Management, covering Arizona, New Mexico and parts of southern California. In 1996, he founded Alliance Management Company in Arizona and sold the company the next year to ConAm Group.
In 1999, Krohn joined BRE to become President of their third party management subsidiary called Alliance Residential Management; unrelated to Alliance Management Company. In September of 2000, a group of seasoned real estate professionals joined Krohn to purchase Alliance from BRE. At acquisition, the company had 12,000 units under management, and the company name was changed to Alliance Residential Company. Alliance quickly became the preeminent apartment management, development and acquisition company in the United States, consistently ranking in the top ten multi family companies in the country. Krohn assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer of the management division and increased management to 105,000 units. In 2017, he sold his interest in the company to the other senior partners.
In 2018, Krohn joined the Irvine Company as President of the Apartment Operations division, where he oversaw the management of Irvine Company’s portfolio of 125 apartment communities totaling over 62,000 units throughout the state of California. In 2021, Irvine Company was ranked the largest apartment owner in California and 10th largest amongst U.S. apartment owners. Krohn retired from Irvine Company in December 2021.
Krohn currently serves on the Executive Board for National Multifamily Housing Council
Mr. John Rood, Former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy
John Rood has over 30 years of experience in national security positions in the U.S. Government and the private sector in international business and aerospace and defense. He served as a senior official at the Defense Department, State Department, White House/National Security Council, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), as a staffer in the U.S. Senate, and as an executive at Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.
From January 2018 to February 2020, Mr. Rood served as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy where he led formulation and coordination of national security policy within the Department of Defense as the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense for such matters.
He managed a team of over 2,100 civilians and military service members and was responsible for building partnerships and defense cooperation with U.S. allies, including overseeing the $55B foreign military sales program and export controls.
Mr. Rood managed implementation of strategies, including the National Defense Strategy resulting in a new focus on addressing the implications of growing competition among the world’s great powers, especially countering the growing global threat from China. He oversaw development of a new cyber strategy, authorities, and approach; a space strategy for the newly-established Space Force; completion of the Missile Defense Review; Nuclear Posture Review; and a counter-terrorism strategy for the defeat of ISIS.
Prior to serving as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Mr. Rood worked for nearly a decade in the private sector. From March 2016 to January 2018, he was Senior Vice President of Lockheed Martin International where he was a corporate officer and direct report to the Chairman and CEO charged with leading business growth and industrial partnerships in more than 70 countries. He also served as Vice President for Corporate Domestic Business Development at Lockheed Martin.
Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, Mr. Rood was Vice President for U.S. Business Development at Raytheon from 2009 to 2014, where he managed teams in Washington, DC and 28 field offices responsible for growing the business, preparing market assessments, and managing customer relationships.
From 2007 to 2009, Mr. Rood served at the State Department as Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security. He was responsible for policy on countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missiles, arms control, nuclear weapons, security cooperation with other nations, and export controls. He also served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation.
In two tours at the White House/National Security Council from 2005 to 2006 and 2001 to 2003, he served under President George W. Bush as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Counter-proliferation Strategy, and Director for Proliferation Strategy, Counterproliferation, and Homeland Defense.
From 2003 to 2005, Rood served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Forces Policy, where he was responsible for the development and oversight of policy and programs related to U.S. nuclear and conventional strategic forces, missile defenses, and space systems.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Rood worked as Senior Policy Advisor to Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona and as a Fellow for Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi on the Senate Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on International Security. From 1988 to 1999, Rood served in a variety of positions as an analyst at the CIA, including following missile programs in foreign countries.
Mr. Rood holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Arizona State University.
Maj. Gen. Craig Franklin, USAF, Ret.
Craig Franklin retired from the Air Force in 2014 at the rank of Major General with just under 33 years of service. As a general officer, he commanded the 31st Fighter Wing in Italy, the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing in Iraq, the 3rd Air Force in Europe and the 17th Expeditionary Air Force in Africa. Additional command assignments included the 53d Test and Evaluation Group, the 53d Wing and the Fighter Weapons School F-16 Division. Craig also served as the executive assistant to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as the Vice Director of the U.S. Joint Staff.
After military retirement, Craig has served as a Vice President in two defense sector companies with a primary focus on aviation and innovation. Today he works part time as a defense consultant.
Craig earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a master’s of aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and a master’s in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
Craig is the chairman of the board for the Sonny James Equine Ministries in Fort Worth, Texas and he is on the board of advisors for the Youth Impact Program in Alexandria, Virginia.
Mr. Neil Hallett
Neil Hallett recently retired from a 35 year career with the New Zealand Police. During the last four years of his career, he was posted in Washington, DC as the Senior Police Liaison Officer for the United States of America. During his career, Neil worked primarily in the areas of investigation and intelligence, both nationally and internationally. Neil now works in the cyber security field, assisting victims of identity crime and scams, as well as assisting organizations prevent and recover from data compromises.
Neil is very proud to be elected onto the YIP Board and is looking forward to introducing the innovative concept to New Zealand. The first of the ever international program scheduled to take place in January 2021.
Maj. Gen. James Kriesel, USAF
Maj. Gen. James R. Kriesel is the National Guard Assistant to the Commander, United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Maj. Gen. Kriesel is responsible for advising Commander USAFE-AFAFRICA on air and space operations, including missile defense, to three combatant commanders spanning three continents and 104 countries throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He also leads the command's engagements with the National Guard State Partnership Program.
Maj. Gen. Kriesel is a graduate of the University of Washington and received his commission in 1989 from the U.S. Air Force Officer Training School. Maj. Gen. Kriesel is a joint service officer and served in various key operational and staff assignments throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa. He is a command pilot with more than 2,600 hours in the A-10 and F-15. He has fought in operations Desert Storm, Provide Comfort, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, Freedom’s Sentinel and Inherent Resolve. Maj. Gen. Kriesel has commanded a Deployed Alert Detachment, Fighter Group, Air National Guard Air Component (multiple Fighter Wings) and Senior Leader of a Combined Joint Task Force Deployed. He contributed to the Department of State strategy of China/Russia-Africa Great Power Competition and executed crisis response while disrupting and defeating violent extremist organizations with United States Special Operations Command and Joint Special Operations Command partners throughout Africa and the Middle East.
- 1986 Bachelor of Science, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle
- 1995 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
- 2002 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
- 2006 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
- 2009 Master of Arts, National Security and Strategic Studies, Naval War College, Newport, R.I.
- 2011 Joint Task Force Commander qualification, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, Peterson AFB, Colo.
- 2012 Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard School of Public Health, National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, Cambridge, Mass.
- 2013 Dual Status Commander qualification, NORAD and USNORTHCOM, Peterson AFB, Colo.
- 2013 Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Leadership for the 21st Century, Cambridge, Mass.
- 2020 Joint Flag Officer Warfighting Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
- 2020 National Security Fellow, Maxwell School, National Security Studies Management, Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.
- February 1989–April 1990, Student, Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas
- May 1990–July 1990, Student, AT-38 Lead-In Fighter Training, Holloman AFB, N. M.
- August 1990–November 1990, Student, A-10 Replacement Training Unit, Davis Monthan AFB, Ariz.
- December 1990–January 1993, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Provide Comfort, Assistant Weapons Officer, Electronic Combat Officer, A-10 Flight Lead, 510th Tactical Fighter Squadron, RAF Bentwaters, United Kingdom
- February 1993–February 1994, Fighter Liaison Officer to U.S. Army 2nd Infantry Division and Third Republic of Korea Army, Camp Red Cloud Army Installation, Uijombu, South Korea
- March 1994–July 1994, Student, F-15 Replacement Training Unit, Tyndall AFB, Fla.
- August 1994–September 1997, Operation Southern Watch, F-15 Mission Commander, Alert Force Commander NAS Keflavik Iceland, Chief of Safety, Assistant Chief of Weapons and Tactics, Air Combat Command F-15 Demonstration Team, 59th Fighter Squadron, Eglin AFB, Fla.
- September 1997–February 2000, Operation Northern Watch, Flight Commander, Mission Commander, F-15 Instructor Pilot, 12th Fighter Squadron, Kadena Air Base Japan
- February 2000–September 2000, Initial Cadre, Flight Commander, F-15 Instructor Pilot, Reserve Associate Langley AFB, Va.
- October 2000–January 2002, Reserve Forces Fighter Requirements, Directorate of Operational Requirements, DCS/Air and Space Operations, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
- February 2002–February 2004, F-15/F-16/A-10 Combat Forces Operations, NGB/A3, National Guard Bureau, Arlington, Va.
- October 2002–December 2002, F-15 Requalification Training, Kingsley Field, Ore.
- March 2004–February 2005, Chief F-15 Requirements, NGB/A5, NGB, Arlington, Va.
- March 2005–February 2006, Deputy Chief, Combat Forces Requirements, NGB/A5, NGB, Arlington, Va.
- March 2006–February 2007, Chief, Special Programs Requirements, NGB/A5, NGB, Arlington, Va.
- March 2007–July 2008, Chief, Requirements Integration, NGB/A5, NGB, Arlington, Va.
- August 2008–June 2009, Student, Naval War College, Newport, R.I.
- June 2009–July 2009, Director of Operations Joint Force Headquarters, Air Component, Salem, Ore.
- August 2009–September 2011, Commander, 173rd Operations Group (173rd Fighter Wing), Kingsley Field, Ore.
- September 2011–November 2014, Deputy Director J7, Chief, NORAD and U.S. Northern Command Joint Resources and Readiness Division, Joint Training and Exercise Directorate J7, Peterson AFB, Colo.
- November 2014–December 2015, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Chief of Staff, Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti
- January 2016–June 2017, Director A2/A3/A6/A8, Joint Force Headquarters Air Component, Salem, Ore.
- July 2017–December 2017, Director, Plans and Programs A5/A8, Joint Force Headquarters Air Component, Salem, Ore.
- December 2017–January 2019, Commander, Oregon Air National Guard (May 2018–Aug 2018, Deputy Commanding General, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, Deputy Commander 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force Levant, and Director, Coalition Aviation Advisory Training Team Operation Inherent Resolve, Data Masked)
- January 2019–February 2020, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Deputy Commanding General, Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti
- March 2020–October 2020, Special Assistant to Deputy Commander, United States Northern Command, as Deputy Director of Operations, USNORTHCOM, Peterson AFB, Colo.
- November 2020–July 2021, Assistant Adjutant General, Oregon National Guard, Salem, Ore.
- August 2021–present, National Guard Assistant to the Commander, United States Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa, Ramstein AB, Germany
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
- September 2011–November 2014, Deputy Director J7, Chief, NORAD and USNORTHCOM Joint Resources and Readiness Division, Joint Training and Exercise Directorate J7, Peterson AFB, Colo., as a colonel
- November 2014–December 2015, Chief of Staff, Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, as a colonel
- May 2018–August 2018, Deputy Commanding General–Air, Combined Joint Task Force–Operation Inherent Resolve, Deputy Commander 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force–Levant, and Director, Coalition Aviation Advisory Training Team–Operation Inherent Resolve, Data Masked, as a brigadier general
- January 2019–February 2020, Deputy Commanding General, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti as a brigadier general
- March 2020–October 2020, Special Assistant to Deputy Commander, United States Northern Command, as Deputy Director of Operations, USNORTHCOM, Peterson AFB, Colo. as a brigadier general
Rating: command pilot
Flight hours: more than 2,600
Aircraft Flown: T-37, T-38, A-10, F-15 A/B/C/D and F-16D
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
- Defense Superior Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
- Legion of Merit
- Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
- Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters
- Aerial Achievement Medal with five oak leaf clusters
- Joint Service Commendation Medal
- Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
- Air Force Achievement Medal
- Joint Meritorious Unit Award with four oak leaf clusters
- Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with oak leaf cluster
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant Jan. 27, 1989
First Lieutenant Jan. 27, 1991
Captain Jan. 27, 1993
Major Oct. 1, 2000
Lieutenant Colonel Oct. 28, 2004
Colonel June 20, 2009
Brigadier General Dec. 8, 2017
Major General Aug. 1, 2021
Mr. Lukas Smart
Lukas is a vice president and senior portfolio manager at Dimensional Fund Advisors, where he leads a team of investment professionals that oversees U.S. large-cap equity and real estate investment trust portfolios.
Lukas earned his Bachelor of Business Economics degree from the University of San Diego where he also played football; earning strength and conditioning all American and all-conference honors. He earned his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business; graduating with honors. He is a CFA charter holder and is a member of the CFA Society of Austin.
Sgt. Maj. Anthony Spadaro, USMC, Ret.
Sergeant Major (Retired), USMC
Former Command Senior Enlisted Leader, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command
Anthony Spadaro is a retired United States Marine Corps senior noncommissioned officer (Sergeant Major) who retired from the United States Marine Corps in 2020 after a distinguished 35-year military career. During his service, Anthony served at the most senior levels for the Marine Corps and Department of Defense. He culminated his service to our Nation as the Command Senior Enlisted Leader for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the largest geographic combatant command with 380,000 uniformed (Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines), and civilian members along with 36 partner nations. In this role, he provided the commander with the enlisted perspective on theater security cooperation, encouraging peaceful development, responding to contingencies, and deterring aggression throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Additionally, he was responsible for mentoring senior enlisted leaders at four component commands, and coordinating with command joint directorates and senior enlisted members on matters pertaining to the command’s mission, vision, core values, commander’s intent, enlisted utilization, and professional development.
Hailing from New Brunswick, New Jersey, Anthony enlisted in the Marine Corps on 3 April 1985, and attended recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina.
His operational assignments (Fleet Marine Force) included: Artillery Fire Direction Controllman and Artillery Nuclear Projectileman, Battery R, 5/11; Assistant Operations Chief, Battery G, 3/12; Intel Analyst/Chief, 11th Marines S-2; Regiment/Area Guard Chief; Regimental Meteorological Chief, 11th Marines; HQ Battery Platoon Sergeant; 11th Marines, Regimental Survey Chief, 11th Marines; Battery First Sergeant, Battery B, 1/12, Sergeant Major, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 165, Sergeant Major, Aviation Combat Element, 15th MEU, Sergeant Major, Marine Aircraft Group-16.
His supporting establishment tours included: Watchstander, American Embassy Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire; Assistant Detachment Commander, and Detachment Commander, American Embassy Gaborone, Botswana; Drill Instructor, Senior Drill Instructor, Chief Drill Instructor, Company I, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego; Instructor, Drill Instructor School, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego; Company First Sergeant, Special Training Company, MCRD San Diego; Company First Sergeant, Company C, First Recruit Training Battalion, MCRD San Diego; Sergeant Major, First Recruit Training Battalion, MCRD, San Diego.
Combat Tours and deployments include, Desert Shield/Storm with Battery G, 3d Battalion, 12th Marines (attached to Battalion Landing Team, 3/1); two Unit Deployment Programs (UDP) to Okinawa (with Battery B, 1st Battalion, 12th Marines); Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) (with the Aviation Combat Element of the15th Marine Expeditionary Unit) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), with the Aviation Combat Element, Regional Command Southwest, First Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).
At the General Officer/Flag Officer Level, SgtMaj Spadaro served with: 3d Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward); the Aviation Combat Element, Regional Command Southwest, First Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward); the Third Marine Aircraft Wing; Marine Forces Reserve/Marine Forces North; and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
Sergeant Major Spadaro’s military education encompasses all levels of Professional Military Education courses: NCO Academy, SNCO Career Course, SNCO Advance Course, First Sergeant’s Course, Expeditionary Warfare School (by extension), Command and Staff College (by extension), Navy Senior Enlisted Academy, the Senior Enlisted Professional Military Education Course, the Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education Course, the Keystone Fellows Course (National Defense University), the Asian-Pacific Orientation Course and the Asia-Pacific Senior Executive Course, (Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies). SgtMaj Spadaro holds a Bachelor of Science Degree (Summa Cum Laude), from Rutgers University in Labor and Management. He is currently enrolled in the John F. Kennedy School, Harvard University (completing a Masters Degree in Public Policy). SgtMaj Spadaro served as a Senior Mentor for the Keystone Course, (National Defense University) and the Regional Leadership Development Program – Pacific, (United States Army Pacific).
SgtMaj Spadaro’s significant awards and decorations include: the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (with Gold Star), the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (with Gold Star), the Air Medal (with strike numeral “3”), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with three Gold Stars), the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal the Combat Action Ribbon, and Naval Aircrewman Insignia. He was inducted into the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara in 1996.
Though recently retired from the Marine Corps, Anthony’s next chapter has him serving as a consultant and strategist with the following companies/organizations: The Robert Irvine Foundation, Beaver Fit USA, and Bravo Sierra, Additionally, he is serves on the advisory boards for: Emory Healthcare Veterans Program, FourBlock.org, and FitOps. Furthermore, he is the Vice President for Training, 5th Principle LLC; a leadership coach with the Resilience Building Leader Program and an Adjunct Faculty member with the Marine Corps University. Anthony owns his own consulting firm, Gravitas Leadership Solutions, LLC. He continues to focus his attention on empowering and assisting military members, veterans, and their families.
Anthony and his wife Kathryn reside in Honolulu.
Anthony’s official military biography can be found at: https://www.defense.gov/Our-Story/Biographies/Biography/Article/944054/sergeant-major-anthony-a-spadaro/
Mr. Todd Tuomala
Col. Jeffrey Tuggle, USMC, Ret.
Fleet Marine Officer (retired), 3D Fleet HQ
Colonel Tuggle graduated from Auburn University in 1990 and was immediately commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. Once commissioned, 2nd Lt Tuggle attended The Basic School (TBS) and the Infantry Officer Course (IOC) in Quantico, VA, before checking in for his first assignment as an Infantry Platoon Leader with Lima Co, 3d Battalion, 3d Marine Regiment at Kaneohe Bay, HI.
After deploying to Okinawa twice and completing assignments as a Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer from 1991-1994, 1st Lt Tuggle transferred to Okinawa to become a Platoon Leader for 5th Force Reconnaissance Company. During this three year tour, Captain Tuggle served as the Company Executive Officer and as a Reconnaissance Platoon Leader, which included two 31st MEU deployments as the MSPF Commander.
Captain Tuggle was selected to attend Amphibious Warfare School in 1997 and upon completion, reported for his next assignment to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron – 1 in Yuma, AZ. He began this tour as the Infantry and Reconnaissance Instructor within the Ground Combat Department then after promotion to Major, became the Ground Combat Department Head for his last year.
In 2001, Major Tuggle was transferred to Camp Lejeune, NC, to be the Operations Officer for 8th Marine Regiment. After transitioning the Regiment to become 4th MEB, and a short deployment to Afghanistan, Major Tuggle reported to 1st Battalion, 2d Marine Regiment in 2002 for duty as the Battalion Executive Officer – deploying with the Battalion to Operation IRAQI FREEDOM in 2003.
From 2004 to 2007, Major Tuggle was assigned to Special Operations Command – Pacific at Camp Smith, HI, where he initially held the position of Planner then became the Exercise Chief. After promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, he deployed as the Chief of Staff for Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF-P).
Lieutenant Colonel Tuggle then spent a year as the Executive Officer for 3d Marine Regiment at Kaneohe Bay, HI, before being selected to command 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion at Camp Pendleton, CA. Toward the end of this two year tour, Lieutenant Colonel Tuggle deployed to Herat, Afghanistan, as the Commander, Special Operations Task Force – 81 (SOTF-West) in support of OEF.
Immediately upon completion of this OEF deployment, he attended the Air War College in Montgomery, AL, from 2010-2011. Once complete with school, Lieutenant Colonel Tuggle returned to Camp Pendleton, was promoted to Colonel, and became the Assistant Chief of Staff – Operations (G-3) for I Marine Expeditionary Force – Forward. During 2012-2013, Colonel Tuggle deployed to the Helmand Province, Afghanistan, as the Regional Command-Southwest Assistant Chief of Staff-Operations (C-3).
Colonel Tuggle was selected and commanded the 23d Marine Regiment in San Bruno, CA, from 2013-2015, then received orders to 1st Marine Division and became the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations (G3). During this tour, Colonel Tuggle deployed to Al Anbar Province, Iraq, during 2018 as the Commander of Task Force Spartan for Operation INHERENT RESOLVE. He returned to the 1st Marine Division – continuing in his position as the G3 of the The Blue Diamond – then transferred during the summer of 2019 to become the Fleet Marine Officer (FMO) for Commander Third Fleet.
Col Tuggle will retire during September 2020 after 30 years of service.
Ms. Sharon Brown
Mr. Dennis Gray
Mr. Bill Milligan
Mr. Donnie Simpson
Mrs. Wesley Ellison Stewart
Wesley Ellison Stewart is the Associate Vice President of Major Giving and Development at Boston College since 2020. Moving over from athletics, Ellison Stewart was the Senior Associate Athletics Director and Director of Development for Athletics for the Eagles.
Wesley previously worked at the University of Texas as the assistant athletics director for leadership giving for the Longhorn Foundation. In this role, she was responsible for leading the overall strategy for key development initiatives within Texas Athletics. From campaign feasibility efforts, developing and executing campaign strategies, and helping to transition the culture from one of transactional fundraising to one focused on philanthropy, Ellison Stewart has played a key role as an individual fundraiser and team leader. Prior to her time in Austin, Ellison Stewart worked in Athletics Development at the University of Michigan, elevating to the role of the Director of Development for the Western States region.
Ellison Stewart began her career at the University of Virginia as an academic advisor for athletics before moving to the academic side to serve as the assistant director for marketing and recruiting for UVA's McIntire School of Commerce.
A native of Portola Valley, Calif., she graduated summa cum laude in 2008 with a degree from the Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan with a bachelor's in fine arts while earning Big Ten All-Academic honors as a member of the Wolverines' water polo team. She completed her master's degree in intercollegiate athletic leadership from the University of Washington in 2009.