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2021 CCME Symposium Speakers
Senior Program Manager for Veteran Economic Opportunity
Amy Bernard serves as the Senior Program Manager for Veteran Economic Opportunity as part of the Military Service Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. She manages strategic efforts to promote the partnerships, collaboration, and alignment among organizations that focus on employment, higher education and meaningful career pathways that are crucial to the economic success of post-9/11 Veterans.
Through her work with the Military Service Initiative team to integrate research findings and policy recommendations, Amy leads the Veteran Higher Education Task Force, a convening of 35 organizations to coordinate and work together to address the gaps and challenges for veterans and military affiliated students attending Institutions of Higher Learning. She has also led the strategic policy and programmatic planning of the Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program military curriculum. This program highlights the latest in employment, higher education, entrepreneurship, health and well-being and ongoing policy work in the veteran community. This program also spotlights national thought-leaders in veteran transition research. These efforts are crucial to the work that improves veteran transition outcomes and builds up the veteran population as future leaders across the nation.
Major Amy Bernard retired from the United States Marine Corps in the Spring of 2019, where she served as a Logistics Officer in a myriad of domestic and global Command and Staff positions. She last served as the Executive Officer of a Battalion at Camp Pendleton, California. She deployed in 2005 and 2007 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and most recently in 2017 in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. She was selected to represent the United States Marine Corps as the first female Officer to attend Command & Staff College in New Zealand, earning a Master of Arts degree in International Security from Massey University.
Amy Bernard is a Dallas/Fort Worth Ecosystem Ambassador for Bunker Labs, focusing on building strategic relationships between veteran entrepreneurs and the local city and business leadership. She is also a City Leader for the Dallas/Fort Worth U.S. Veterans Chamber of Commerce where she continues to build a network amongst veteran business owners.
Amy Bernard is originally from Irving, Texas and completed her undergraduate degree at Texas A&M University. In the spring of 2019, she also completed a second Master of Arts degree in Athletic Administration from Concordia University. In her spare time, Amy is a WSET 2 Sommelier and enjoys sharing her love and knowledge of wine amongst friends.
Chief, U.S. Marine Corps Voluntary Education
Bart MacMillan serves currently as the Chief of Voluntary Education (VOLED) Programs for the U.S. Marine Corps. He is located in Marine Family Headquarters in the Marsh Center on Marine Corps Base (MCB) Quantico. His path to this position is rather unusual compared to most of his colleagues in MC VOLED. He has 20+ years as a fulltime and adjunct university assistant professor, prior to going to work for the USMC.
Academic advising was always a part of his faculty duties, which led in part to his hiring as an Education Services Specialist in July 2007, on MCB Butler in Okinawa Japan. Bart was relocated to the VOLED Office on Henderson Hall in Arlington VA, in 2009. Bart assumed the role as MC VOLED Chief on 27 April 2020. His duties focus primarily on policy and regulations concerning the many Marine Corps personal and professional development programs and the military education and credentialing benefits and higher education financial aid that help to fund Marines’ pursuits of those higher education programs.
1979 -- Masters degree, Yale University
1977 -- Baccalaureate degree, Wichita State University
Major Awards and Decorations:
2018 – John Brian Service Award, Counsel of College and Military Educators
2014 – Military Educator of the Year, Virginia Advisory Council of Military Education
Executive Director, Education Service Veterans Benefits Administration
Charmain Bogue was appointed the Executive Director of Education Service for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on May 26, 2019. In this role, Ms. Bogue is charged with providing strategic direction to over 2,000 education employees across the nation. She is responsible for providing oversight to ensure efficient field operations and administration of five education benefit programs and retaining accountability for a $200MM annual budget. These collective efforts ensure the successful execution of nearly $12BN in education benefit payments to nearly one million GI Bill beneficiaries each year. She provides oversight and administers a portfolio of outreach initiatives designed to bolster the global visibility of education programs offerings among Servicemembers, Veterans, dependents and other key stakeholders. She formulates highly effective strategies to improve and streamline benef access to programs, including increased online services, enhanced customer experience, and integrated information campaigns. She also serves on the Coordination in STEM Education Committee to expand investments in STEM education programs across federal agencies.
Prior to her current appointment, Ms. Bogue served as the Deputy Director of Operations for Education Service and was responsible for managing education field operations and overseeing
the functionality of multiple IT systems used to process education claims. Ms. Bogue also served as the Senior Assistance Act (commonly referred to as the Forever GI Bill).
Ms. Bogue started her career with the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2007 as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in the New York City Regional Office. After serving in this role, she held various positions in VBA Central Office and participated in the design and execution of several national initiatives which helped to expand and improve economic opportunities for Veterans and their families.
2019 Present Executive Director (SES), Education Service
2018-2018 Deputy Director (SES) (Interim), Compensation Service
2014 - 2018 Deputy Director, Operations, Education Service
2013 - 2014 Assistant Director (Interim), Program Management, Education Service
2011 - 2013 Senior Analyst, Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity
2010 - 2011 National Training Coordinator, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service
2007 - 2010 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, New York City Regional Office
Ms. Bogue earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD, and a Master of Science degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York.
Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
The Center for Excellence in Public Leadership Senior Leader Program George Washington University
Colonel (Ret.) Sam Whitehurst
Vice President for Programs & Services Dixon Center for Military & Veterans Services.
Since 2012, Dixon Center’s collaboration and capacity building has impacted nearly 2.1 million individuals and organizations. Colonel Whitehurst joined the Dixon Center team in 2019 and drawing upon his 29 years in the United States Army as an infantry officer, including multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, is now focused on ensuring that service members, military veterans, and their families reach their full potential and successfully integrate back into their communities. He finished his military career as the National Director for the Army’s Soldier for Life program.
His civilian and military education includes UNC-Chapel Hill, Louisiana State University, U.S. Army Airborne and Ranger School, Command & General Staff College, School of Advanced Military Studies, and National War College.
Colonel Charles (Chuck) R. Rambo
Director, Army Credentialing and Continuing Education Services for Soldiers (ACCESS)
Colonel Charles (Chuck) R. Rambo was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in Aviation from East Tennessee State University in 1994. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science, a Master’s of Science degree in Defense Analysis from the Naval Post Graduate School, a Master’s in Strategy from the Air War College, and a Master’s of Business Administration in Corporate Finance from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
COL Rambo’s previous duty assignments include serving as a Scout Platoon Leader, A Troop, 1-6 Cavalry Regiment, in the Republic of Korea. Assault Platoon Leader and Executive Officer, 2-10 Aviation Regiment, Fort Drum, NY. Adjutant and Assistant Operations Officer, 9- 101 Aviation Regiment; Company Commander, Alpha Company “Phoenix” 5-101 Aviation Regiment. Company Commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, Mosul, Iraq. Assault Company Trainer, National Training Center, Fort Irwin, CA. Operations Officer, CJ33, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Bagram, Afghanistan. Executive Officer, 5-101 Aviation Regiment, Kandahar, Afghanistan; Operations Officer, 5-101 Aviation Regiment, Zabul, Afghanistan, and Fort Campbell. Chief of Operations, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Battalion Commander, 5-101 Aviation Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, KY and Wardak, Afghanistan, J38, Joint Forces Headquarters, Washington, D.C. Chief, Operations Group, Alpha, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and most recently as the Military Deputy to the Chief Academics Officer, Office of the Provost, United States Army.
COL Rambo’s military schooling includes the Aviation Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Rotary Wing Course, Airborne School, Air Assault School, Command and General Staff College (CGSC), the Joint Planning Course and the Air War College.
COL Rambo’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (3 Oak Leaf Clusters), Meritorious Service Medal (1 Oak Leaf Cluster), Air Medal (Roman Numeral 3), Army Commendation Medal (2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal (4 Oak Leaf Clusters), Valorous Unit Award, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal (2), Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (3 Combat Stars), Global War on Terror Service Medals (Expeditionary and Service), Korean Defense Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (5), NATO Medal, Volunteer Service Medal, Air Assault Badge, Parachutists Badge, Master Aviator Badge, and Combat Action Badge. COL Rambo is a Master Aviator and recipient of the AAAA Order of Saint Michael, Bronze Award.
COL Rambo was born and raised in Indian Harbor Beach, Florida. He is married to the former Rosario Janel Aleman from Turner, Oregon and they have five young boys, Charlie (14), Henry (12), Oliver (8), and Elliot (6) and Samuel (3).
Dr. Jonathan Woods
Associate Director, Voluntary Education OASD Readiness (Force Education)
Jonathan Woods enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1988, logging 110 aerial combat support missions in the Persian Gulf. Following military service Dr. Woods spent eight years teaching military tactics while earning a BS degree from Southern Illinois University, an MBA from Jacksonville University, and a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Florida.
Dr. Woods has developed curricula for multiple corporate and government entities, and lectured for multiple universities in the educational disciplines of learning technology and instructional design, among others. Since 2004 he has held a variety positions within the Department of Defense, including the former program manager for Combating Trafficking in Persons for U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. He is currently the acting director of Voluntary Education within the office of the Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness.
At home in Northern Virginia, he and his family are attempting to sustainably grow a small agricultural enterprise.
Dr. Joseph W. Wescott II
National Legislative Liaison of the NASAA
Joseph W. Wescott II (Joe) is the National Legislative Liaison of the National Association of State Approving Agencies (NASAA). He also serves on the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Advisory Committee on Education and is the National Higher Education Consultant for the American Legion. Previously, he served as NASAA President, Vice President and Legislative Director. Wescott was Executive Director of the North Carolina State Approving Agency (NCSAA) for almost a decade. Prior to his service at the NCSAA, Wescott served in various leadership roles in higher education including director of the office of Planning, Policy and Evaluation at Brunswick Community College, federal relations analyst/government relations representative for Duke University and an adjunct instructor at several colleges and professional organizations.
Dr. Wescott is a veteran, having served on active duty as a combat officer in the US Army. Earlier, he attended Wake Forest University on a four year Army ROTC scholarship, graduating with honors. He holds advanced degrees from Wake Forest University and North Carolina State University, including the doctorate in Higher Education Administration. In addition to other duties, Wescott serves as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Leadership, Policy, Adult and Higher Education at NC State University.
He serves on several national boards including the Southeastern Council on Military Education, the George W. Bush National Task Force on Higher Education and the Wake Forest National Alumni Council. Dr. Wescott has written several articles and books on history and higher education topics including veterans employment and the history of the North Carolina Community College System. In 2010, he was elected to the North Caroliniana Society for service to his home state and in 2013 to the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels for service to the state of Kentucky.
Doctoral Student – Trident University International
Master Gunnery Sergeant Watson enlisted in the Marine Corps in May 1991. After recruit training, he attended the Aviation Mechanics Mate course at Marine Aviation Training Support Group 90, Memphis, TN. After being designated Class Honor Student, he was meritoriously promoted to Lance Corporal.
In March 1992, LCpl. Watson was assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 16, Tustin, CA. In March 1994, he was meritoriously promoted to Corporal. In November 1994, Cpl. Watson was assigned to 1st Marine Air Wing, Okinawa, Japan. In February 1995, he participated in Operation United Shield, Mogadishu, Somalia. In May 1996 he was promoted to Sergeant.
In June 1996, Sgt. Watson received orders to HMX-1, Quantico, VA. In May 1998, he was promoted to Staff Sergeant. In December 1999, SSgt. Watson received orders to MATSG-21, Pensacola, FL to be an Aviation Mechanics Mate instructor. In December 2001, he was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant.
In October 2003, GySgt Watson received orders to MALS-39, Camp Pendleton, CA. From March 2004 to June 2004, GySgt Watson deployed with MALS-16 as an Operations Chief and Security Manager in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. From March 2005 until October 2007, he served as the squadron’s Legal Officer. From October 2007 to January 2009, he deployed with I MEF as the G-1 Chief in Camp Virginia, Kuwait. In January 2008 he was promoted to Master Sergeant.
In December 2009, MSgt Watson received orders to VMR-1, Cherry Point, NC as the squadron’s Maintenance Chief. In July 2012 he received orders to Camp Geiger, NC to serve as the Aviation Liaison, School of Infantry (East). In April 2013, he was promoted to his current rank. In September 2013, he received orders to MATSG-23 to serve as the Senior Enlisted Advisor. MGySgt. Watson retired in October of 2016 and is currently an adjunct instructor for the Davis Defense Group teaching Enlisted Professional Military Education courses.
His personal awards include the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal with one gold star, the Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal with one gold star, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, and the Presidential Service Badge.
His educational accomplishments include a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, a Master of Management, and a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Trident University International in the Doctor of Business Administration program.
UMGC Air Force Veteran
Elaine Harris is a Student Worker for the Veterans Initiatives and Outreach Office (VIO) at UMGC. She advises all military-affiliated students and dependents on the available programs and resources at UMGC. Elaine provides assistance with general inquiries regarding veterans’ benefits, certifying veterans’ benefits, and navigating the online learning environment. Additionally, she oversees the UMGC SALUTE Honor Society Chapter. She is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in Leadership and Management and has completed both her Master’s in Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies with UMGC all while using VA Educational Benefits. Elaine served in the United States Air Force for over 20 years as a Security Forces Defender in various management positions. She is a surviving military spouse with two adult children in college; both of which utilize VA benefits. Elaine likes helping fellow military surviving families through the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) by providing support and care to the families of America's Fallen Heroes.
Senior Advisor, Workforce Development & Policy Military Licensing & Credential Advancement
Leading initiatives for Veteran and military families, Ms. Belcaster is an expert in strategic development of training to placement efforts across the country and an advisor for leadership and coalition building. She is responsible for networking with employers, military partners, and legislators as well as building independent partnerships with labor affiliates and with veteran’s service organizations across the country. She served as Task Force Committee member and lead panelist for the American Legion National Licensing and Credentialing Summits and continues to drive industry stakeholders, governing agencies, labor unions and military affiliations in collective spaces to further advance programing and policy for service members across the globe.
Ms. Belcaster had concurrent experience directing political campaign initiatives for the offices of Governor, State and National Congress, Senate, Aldermanic, and regional judicial positions.
In 2015, Ms. Belcaster was a presenter at the Clinton Global Initiative and serves as a board member on the Women for Wounded Warriors Foundation.
On January 28, 2017, Ms. Belcaster was the recipient of The Order of Saint Barbara award.
Review of EMB working history:
· International Brotherhood of Teamsters - Strategic Planning, Training to Placement Development
· Power For America Training Trust - Strategic Planning, Training to Placement Development
· Utility Workers Union of America - Strategic Planning - Utility Workers Military Assistance Program
· Easter Seals - Dixon Center for Veterans and Military Families - Advisor for Workforce Programs
· Illinois Joining Forces - task force and committee member
· Illinois Institute of Technology - Consultant for SmartGrid Launch
· MTEQ - DOD contract - Fort Belvoir Night Vision Complex - Training Initiative Consultation
· Clinton Global Initiative Presenter - Veterans Licensing and Credentialing Health Care Panel Presenter
· American Legion Licensing and Credentialing - Summit 1, 2, & 3 - Panel Presenter, Task Force Committee Member
· DOD/Fort McNair Launch of DOD Cyber Security Program at City Colleges of Chicago
· DOD Force Education and Training - SkillBridge Advisory Committee
· Founder, Coordinator Northwest Side Irish Parade
Chief, Air Force Voluntary Education
Hildegard Buan is the Chief of Air Force Voluntary Education in the Directorate of Force Development at Headquarters Air Force. In this position Ms. Buan develops and executes policies, programs, plans, and procedures concerning Air Force voluntary education and serves as the advisor to the HQ USAF Director, Manpower, Personnel and Services on issues related to the overall policy and guidance for all US Air Force Voluntary Education programs under Title 10 to include Military Tuition Assistance, Air Force Credentialing and Licensing Program, Air Force SkillBridge Program, Transitional Goals Plans Success Educational Track, manpower and budget issues, testing programs, education program development and assessment requirements. Ms. Buan is a career civil servant having experience in Voluntary Education, Military and Civilian Training, Civilian Personnel, and other force support/development programs.
Previous assignments included Chief, Voluntary Education, HQ AFMC, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH; Chief, Force Development Flight, RAF Alconbury, United Kingdom; Director, Education Services, RAF Alconbury, United Kingdom; Director, Education Services, RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom; Deputy Director, Education Services, RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom; Director, Education Services, Cannon AFB, New Mexico; Deputy Director, Education Services, Hickam AFB, Hawaii; Academic Guidance Counselor, Hickam AFB, Hawaii; Palace Acquire Intern/Academic Guidance Counselor, Hickam AFB, Hawaii and Employee Management Relations Specialist, Lindsay AS, Germany.
Education: Master of Science in Counseling Psychology, Chaminade University Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Teacher Education, University of Maryland College Park Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management, University of Maryland University College
Major Awards and Decorations: Meritorious Civilian Service Award, 2013; Exemplary Civilian Service Award, 2005 and 2009; Nathan Altschuler Outstanding Education and Training Flight Award for Excellence in Educational Programs in USAFE, 2009; and Nathan Altschuler Outstanding Education and Training Flight Award for Excellence in Educational Programs in USAFE, 2004
Acting Assistant Secretary of VETS
Mr. James D. Rodriguez is the Acting Assistant Secretary of VETS while appointed as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy within the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service.
Mr. Rodriguez previously served as a senior executive within Deloitte LLP to support the Government and Public Sector practice within the Business Operations offering. His primary duties included serving as a customer relationship and business development executive for Deloitte leadership at the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Military Health System with an emphasis on the development and sustainment of new executive client relationships and account growth opportunities.
Prior to his recent appointment, Mr. Rodriguez served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Office of Warrior Care Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2014 through 2017. In this role, Mr. Rodriguez served as the principal advisor on the coordination of recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration for wounded, ill, and injured service members across the military departments.
Mr. Rodriguez previously served as a senior executive within Deloitte LLP to support the Government and Public Sector practice within the Business Operations offering. His primary duties included serving as a customer relationship and business development executive for Deloitte leadership at the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Military Health System with an emphasis on the development of new executive client relationships account growth opportunities.
Mr. Rodriguez also served as the Director of Government Relations and for Veteran and Wounded Warrior programs at BAE Systems. In that capacity, he acted as the Corporate Liaison for the White House Joining Forces initiative, to senior military leaders, government officials, and nonprofit organizations, increasing the footprint of our nation’s Veterans and wounded, ill, injured service members across all employment spectrums.
Prior to entering the corporate arena Mr. Rodriguez served twenty-one years in the United States Marine Corps in numerous leadership and management positions. He deployed to over 11 countries around the world and served in Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Eastern Exit- Somalia, and Operation Enduring Freedom. During his final duty assignment at Balboa Naval Hospital, he was the Senior Enlisted Leader/Advisor to the Officer in Charge of the Wounded Warrior Battalion, where he was responsible for the rehabilitation, transition, professional development, and education of service members with service-connected disabilities.
Mr. Rodriguez holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Maryland, University College and a Master of Arts Degree in International Commerce and Policy from the George Mason University School of Public Policy. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the government and political science department within the University of Maryland Global Campus.
U.S. Navy Voluntary Education Service Chief
Mr. Johnson is a native of Chicago, Illinois and enlisted in the United States Navy in July 1989.
During his 20-year career, he completed operational tours aboard USS TICONDEROGA (CG 47), USS ROBIN (MHC 54), and Fleet Logistics Support Squadron FOUR SIX (VR 46) in addition to multiple shore duty tours, retiring in 2009 as a Senior Chief Petty Officer.
Mr. Johnson dedicated the majority of his career, active duty and civilian, to the education and professional development of the enlisted workforce, active and reserve. During his final assignment, he managed enlisted career development programs for the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and supported professional development of over 100 career counselors and education service officers as President of the Mid Atlantic Chapter of the Navy Counselor Association.
Following retirement from active duty, Mr. Johnson managed Navy Reserve Education and Incentive Programs for 52,000 Selected Reserve Sailors until August 2015 when he was selected as Navy’s Voluntary Education Service Chief. Working for the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Manpower, Personnel, Training, and Education) team in the Education Strategy and Policy Branch, he oversees voluntary education, apprenticeship, certification and SkillBridge programs.
Mr. Johnson and his wife Candy reside in Northern Virginia when they are not spoiling their granddaughter in Virginia Beach.
Director Navy Credentialing Programs
Keith Boring reported to Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT) Pensacola Florida in January 2005, while still on Active Duty (Master Chief). Upon transfer to the Fleet Reserve in 2006, Mr. Boring continued his work at the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) as a Navy Civil Service civilian. He currently serves as the Director for the Navy’s Credentialing Programs - Navy Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) and United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP).
Keith Boring is a native of Clinton, TN. He enlisted in the Navy as a Cryptologic Technician in 1985, and was advanced to the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer in 2003. He has a degree in Industrial Business Management, is a Microsoft Certified Professional, CompTIA Certified A+, Network+ and Security+ Technician, and also is a Certified Project Coordinator. He is also credentialed by the U.S. Dept of Labor, under the United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP), as an Information Systems Operator and Radio Station Operator.
Mr. Boring has been stationed at various duty stations in positions of increased responsibility. Duty assignments included: Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG), Naval Security Group Activity (NSGA) Edzell Scotland, NSGA Homestead, Naval Technical Training Center Corry Station, Staff of Commander Seventh Fleet embarked on board USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), Navy Recruiting District Nashville, Tennessee, NSGA Pensacola, and finally NETC Pensacola.
Mr. Boring’s role as Director for the Navy’s Credentialing Programs includes daily operation of the Navy COOL and USMAP programs, participation in White House and DoD credentialing task forces, DoD CIO and DoN CIO Cybersecurity workgroups, facilitating Navy Job Duty Task Analysis (JDTA), represent the DoD within various credentialing agency advisory boards, as well as other tasks associated with Navy and civilian credentialing.
Lanette K. Johndrow
Doctoral Student – Trident University International
Currently, Mrs. Johndrow is the Manager of the Contract and Procurement Department of the Office of Attorney General in Austin Texas. She is a Certified Texas Contract Manager and Certified Texas Contract Developer and a member of the National Contract Management Association. Prior to her career with the State of Texas, she worked for various Federal Government Contractors in Contract Management positions for over twenty-five years throughout Texas.
As an Army Veteran Spouse and proud mother of a Marine Corps Warrant Officer, Lanette understands the needs and support that our military affiliated students deserve. Lanette’s commitment and passion to support and inspire others is seen in her everyday actions.
Lanette is a lifelong learner who earned her Associates, Bachelors, and Paralegal certification before her tenure with Trident University. She earned her Masters in Leadership and a Bachelor of Science in Contracting as well as a Leadership Certification from Trident University, and is currently enrolled in the Doctorate of Business Administration with an anticipated graduation in 2022.
Lanette’s extracurricular activities include entertaining her family, friends, children and many grandchildren in her home in Georgetown, Texas. Her greatest accomplishment is the co-workers, employees, families and friends she has helped grow in their careers through leadership, mentoring and encouragement through their educational achievements.
Director of Strategy, Solutions for Information Design, LLC (SOLID)
Lauren Runco is director of strategy for Solutions for Information Design (SOLID), LLC. She began her role with SOLID in November of 2020 and joins the organization from Lumina Foundation where she served as strategy officer for military-based learning. While at Lumina, Lauren conceptualized and led a new body of work focused on increased recognition of military- based learning towards expanded credentialing opportunities for service members and veterans.
Lauren spent the last 11 years working on issues related to the nation’s military and veteran workforce and their transitions to civilian education and employment, by working with state and federal agencies, veteran service organizations, employers, community-based organizations, and higher education institutions. Of note is her attention in these spaces to focus on women and people of color, making her a sought-after voice in higher education and the workforce.
From 2015-2018.Lauren served as the director of education and employment for the Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University. Lauren began her professional career serving the military-connected community in 2012 as the founding director of the Office of Military and Veteran Services at Marywood University, where she also served as the veterans affairs certifying official, led the national Veteran Knowledge Community for NASPA, and received the Army Commander’s Award for Public Service. Lauren earned her master's in higher education administration from Marywood University and her bachelor's in international studies from The University of Scranton.
2021 National Security Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Contractor for George W. Bush Institute
Rebecca Burgess is a 2021 National Security Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and editor and associate scholar of the Classics in Strategy and Diplomacy project. She’s an Advisory Board Member of Combined Arms and of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation/Monticello, and a participant in the NEH Educating for American Democracy: A Roadmap for Excellence in History and Civics Education project. Rebecca researches the political and social institutions of democratic governance, including civics and national security, civil-military relations and the military life cycle, veterans and politics, and the political theory of empire. She has nearly two decades of combined public policy, administrative, and academic experience, holding the position most recently as a research fellow both in Foreign and Defense Policy and Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Economist, Military Times, Newsweek, and The American Interest, among others. She is the co-editor, with Gary J. Schmitt, of McCulloch v. Maryland at 200: Debating John Marshall’s Jurisprudence (American Enterprise Institute, 2020).
CEO, Warrior Scholar Project
Ryan serves as Warrior Scholar Project's (WSP) CEO and previously served as COO. He first got involved with WSP in 2013 and directed the WSP program at University of Michigan for four years. In addition to WSP, Ryan has led two Student Veterans of America chapters and mentors law school applicants through Service to School.
Ryan enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2005, culminating in two deployments to Iraq. Ryan then earned his BA from University of Michigan and JD from University of Virginia School of Law. His teaching experience includes working as a Teach For America corps member at an inner-city Detroit high school and as an adjunct instructor at Virginia Military Institute. Ryan has also worked for a variety of legal organizations, including a large national law firm, and has provided pro bono legal services to veterans pursuing discharge upgrades and VA disability appeals.
Ryan loves spending time with his beautiful wife and energetic sons. As a family, they enjoy escaping to the outdoors to conquer swing sets or climb mountains.
National University Navy Veteran
Ryan is a Hospital Corpsman turned private-sector healthcare manager after six years of service with the US Navy. He is an education and learning enthusiast, who quickly sought the use of education benefits as a junior corpsman stationed at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. He completed his Bachelor of Science from SUNY Empire State College shortly before transferring to Third Marine Regiment in Kaneohe, Hawaii. Ryan worked on his Master of Public Health degree and graduated from National University shortly after separating from active duty in 2019.
Thanks to generous Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, Ryan is in it for the academic long-haul pursuing his Doctor of Education in Learning and Organizational Change with Baylor University. An enthusiastic full-time professional and part-time researcher Ryan loves the intersection of health and education, and is energized by the alignment of education, vocation, and life passions.
Ryan resides in Houston, TX with his wife and two children. He is currently employed as a Physician Business Manager with WellMed, a part of Optum. You can find him on LinkedIn where he is always ready to connect and build relationships with passionate people.
SEAC Ramón "CZ" Colón-López
Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
SEAC Ramón "CZ" Colón-López is the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the most senior enlisted service member, by position, in the United States Armed Forces, and the principal military advisor to the Chairman on all matters involving joint and combined total force integration, utilization, health of the force, and joint development for enlisted personnel.
SEAC Colón-López enlisted in the United States Air Force in December 1990. He has held assignments in U.S. Air Forces Europe, Air Combat Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, Air Education and Training Command, Pacific Air Forces, Joint Special Operations Command, and Air Forces Central Command. He has deployed numerous times in support of operations Southern Watch, Northern Watch, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, Resolute Support, Inherent Resolve, and to several other classified locations. Prior to assuming his current position, he served as the Command Senior Enlisted Leader for United States Africa Command.
Force Readiness Command Chief, FORCECOM Career Investment
Steve retired as an Army Lieutenant Colonel after 26 years in the Medical Service Corps. He recently became the Division Chief for the Career Investment Division within the USCG Force Readiness Command (FORCECOM). Steve's Career Investment portfolio includes Voluntary Education, Advanced Education, Military to Mariner, Voluntary Credentialing as well as Civilian Career Management programs. While working for the Coast Guard, Steve has also served as the Chief of the Civilian Career Management Office and as the Strategic Plans Officer for FORCECOM.
Prior to becoming “Semper Paratus” with the Coast Guard, Steve worked in the Office of Economic Opportunity in the Department of Veterans Affairs. He was the VA’s lead Representative for Vice President Biden’s White House initiative for the Detroit Federal Working Group, providing monthly briefings at the White House. Steve was also the Program Manager of an Economic Opportunities and outcomes initiative which created nearly ONE MILLION jobs for Veterans.
In his last position in the Army, he was the Recruiting and Retention Battalion Commander leading 120 Senior Non Commissioned Officers and Career Counselors supporting over 16,000 Reservists across Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Steve commanded Medical units at nearly every level in the Army and was deployed to Iraq, Haiti and Somalia.
Steve earned his Masters degree in Homeland Security from the University of Maryland. He is also a graduate of the Command and General Staff College. His awards include the Legion of Merit, the Expert Field Medical Badge, the Air Assault Badge and Four Meritorious Service Medals. He has been married 20 years and has 3 wonderful children!
Coastline College Army Veteran
Tom was born in Phoenix, Arizona the youngest of six brothers. He joined the US Army in 1982 and was stationed at Ft. Polk, Louisiana and Camp Stanton, DMZ Korea
Tom is a U.S. Army Veteran and served in the Army reserves and the California State Guard. He holds a Network Security Certificate, A+ certified, and holds an A.S. in Cyber Security from Coastline College. He is a Certified Veteran Peer Support Specialist and Mental Health First Aid Certified. He has been coordinating the Veteran Resource Centers at Coastline College for 7 years. He came back to school at the age of 53 years old to restart his career.
He is married with 2 children; his daughter is also an Army Veteran and son-in-law an active-duty Warrant Officer in the Army.
TESU Air Force Spouse
Victoria Roe is pursuing an Associate’s in Applied Health Studies at Thomas Edison State University. Her career started in hospitality by working as an intern for Walt Disney World, but found that her true passion lies with becoming a physical therapist with a specialization with disabled military veterans. Aside from her goals, she is a proud Air Force spouse of almost five amazing years and a mom to their two-year-old son.