SPRING 2022 HIGHLIGHTS
Our Spring, 2022 Conference was a huge success! We encouraged (and always do) feedback from everyone – from vendor, sponsor, speaker and attendee – and all of the comments were positive and lifting. We thank you for such a great event. Below are the highlights!
CONFERENCE SPONSORS AND FRIENDS
Spring 2022 Keynote Speaker:
Director, Greencastle Consulting
Swimming under ships in shark-infested waters. Jumping out of airplanes at night over the Arctic Circle. Responding to threats to a commercial airliner at 35,000 feet. And most terrifying, going on stage to perform stand-up comedy. Jonathan Cleck is a bit of an enigma…Navy SEAL, comedian, consultant, FBI Task Force Officer, academic nerd, Air Marshal, children’s book author, entrepreneur, leadership expert.
Jonathan Cleck, Director | Greencastle Consulting
Jonathan entered into the Navy on September 11, 1996, exactly 5 years before the terrorist attacks. Jonathan’s 25-year career in the SEAL Teams spanned both active duty and reserve time, including 11 years as an enlisted sailor and concluding as a Lieutenant Commander. Between his military deployments and assignments with the Air Marshals and FBI, Jonathan has worked in more than 65 countries.
Today, Jonathan is a recognized speaker on leadership, focusing on mental fortitude, team building and the use of humor to improve organizational effectiveness. Jonathan serves as the Director of REVOPS with Greencastle Consulting, the largest all-veteran company in the country. In the universe, actually. Jonathan has a B.S. in Behavioral Science (an actual B.S. in B.S.), a M.A. in National Security Studies, and is completing his doctorate in Organizational Leadership & Innovation.
Jonathan, his wife, Stephanie, and their three human tornadoes live in West Chester, PA. In addition to his professional and academic pursuits, Jonathan is also a hot mess of expensive hobbies and volunteer work for veteran-focused nonprofits. In his spare time, he can be found dodging rotten tomatoes and beer bottles on Philly’s amateur stand-up comedy circuit.
ACJ Luxury Maintenance LLC
Stephannie Addo, Owner | ACJ Luxury Maintenance LLC
A veteran of the United States Army, Stephannie was the recipient of the Army Achievement Medal for her dedication to serving her country. She went on to study at Empire State College, graduating with a bachelor’s in business management. She owns and operates ACJ Luxury Maintenance a facility maintenance company that was birthed at the height of Covid and reached over a million dollars in revenue their first year and employed over 50 employees while other companies were shut down. ACJ Luxury Maintenance vision is to become the market leader in the facilities maintenance industry by providing exceptional services to commercial, industrial and government entities across the nation. Creating a culture of integrity, balance and positivity for their clients and employees.
Stephannie was trained and mentored through The Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Veterans In Procurement and The Goldman Sachs program. She has three congressional citations from
former Congressman Charles Rangel, Congressman Jose Serrano, and Congressman Tom Malinowski.
As a married mother of three, Stephannie became an Autism Advocate to honor her first-born child who was diagnosed at the age of two. She founded the non-profit organization called Champs for Autism that has provided recreational services to over 200 families that have children or loved ones with Autism through hosting fashion shows that were sponsored by The Mall at Bay Plaza and The Gap. Through her efforts she was nominated by her peers as New Yorker of the Week and featured on NY 1. Stephanie’s
motto is the Ghandi quote “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” and she is doing just that.
George Altman, Managing Director | VETS Indexes
George Altman is a Managing Director of VETS Indexes where he leads the firm’s proprietary survey, ranking and recognition programs.
Prior to VETS Indexes and for the past 8 years, George led the Best for Vets series of rankings at Military Times, including Best for Vets: Employers and Best for Vets: Colleges, overseeing all aspects of the process, from survey design to response evaluation to preparing the results for publication.
George worked for 14 years as a journalist, specializing in data projects, veterans’ issues and the federal and state government. George was the Editor for Special Projects at Military Times, where he oversaw the organization’s coverage of veteran employment, education and transition out of the military.
George has appeared on cable news and worked extensively in front of the camera, conducting interviews, producing video content, and making TV and radio guest appearances. He has spoken about veterans’ issues at the Employing U.S. Vets Conference, the Council of College and Military Educators, and the Service Members of the Year Awards.
George lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Carrie, daughter Zoe and Moe, his cat.
Director of Marketing
Nicholas Antaki, Director of Marketing, Managing Director | VETS Indexes
Nicholas Antaki serves as the Director of Marketing for VETS Indexes where he is charged with promoting the strategic vision and value proposition of the firm. Nick leads the marketing team with a laser focus on executing upon the overall marketing and branding initiatives throughout the many marketplaces in which the firm endeavors. Mr. Antaki joined VETS Indexes in July of 2017 and brings this role seasoned leadership supported by a track record of success.
Nick began his professional career on Wall Street and most recently served as a management consultant to small and growing businesses with a niche focus on market-research firms. Previously, Nick served as the Business Development Manager for a California-based health products company and in a variety of financial services roles with Bernstein Global Wealth Management, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup.
Nicholas acquired both his B.S in Finance and MBA in International Business with honors from The Peter J. Tobin College of Business at St. John’s University. He serves on the Board of Directors and as an Executive Officer of the Tobin Alumni Association is involved with more than a dozen philanthropic organizations. Nicholas also maintains several ministries at his Church and is active in his community. He is passionate about Impact Investing, Microfinance, Philanthropic Finance, Venture Philanthropy, Social Entrepreneurship and all innovative forms of using the power of business for good while doing well at the same time.
Celebrities Fashion Group
Nneka Bell - Owner | Celebrities Fashion Group, President | Celebrities Quality Painting
Like many people, Nneka Bell’s journey has not always been easy. An unplanned pregnancy as a teenager forced her to drop out of high school. However, even though that would temporarily stop her pursuit of higher education, she took a bold step in 1998 and joined the United States Navy where she knew she could learn marketable skills. She was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz in Norfolk, Virginia. There she was taught to perform all forms of maintenance work such as painting and repairs on the ship—training that would later prove to be invaluable.
After being discharged from the Navy and working for more than a decade for the New York City Transit Authority, she was ready to complete her interrupted education and then fulfill her goal of being a successful woman entrepreneur in two seemingly diverse areas– the beauty industry and the decidedly male-dominated field of construction and home maintenance.
With determination and a clear goal, she earned an under-graduate degree and an M.B.A. from Mercy College where she was blessed to be mentored by fellow Marine veteran, Vivian DeCohen who she credits with fueling her determination to make a difference for her family, herself, and her community. This is evidenced by the countless “mommy make-overs” that she provided for women veterans out of her mobile “Beauty Store called Celebrities Boutique,” as well as her design and construction of Krystin’s Closet for veterans in the City of Mt. Vernon. This beautiful space that has the appearance of a luxury department store has attracted hundreds of veterans every week from far and wide veterans who do not have the financial resources to purchase clothing, shoes, toiletries, and non-perishable food items. For these veterans, this is truly a one-stop shop where everyone feels special and welcomed. Additionally, she works tirelessly to specifically help fellow women veterans connect with holistic wellness programs through her support of the mission of the Barbara Giordano Foundation.
Since earning her M.B.A. she has taken her education and coupled it with her social media skills and was able to successfully transition her Celebrities Boutique to an on-line platform which better meets the needs of the 21st century woman and the covid-era. At the same time, she became a federal sub-contractor who supervised maintenance for veterans’ hospitals and was responsible for the hiring and oversight of more than 40 employees—all while teaching business classes as an adjunct professor at Metropolitan College. However, her own education was not over.
In 2021 she was accepted into the doctoral program at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. There she is focusing her research project on mentorship—something that she knew from her own personal experience could prove to be invaluable, especially to woman of color who are trying to succeed in the highly competitive world of business.
One might ask, “What motivates her?” The answer is simple—love for her family, her community, her fellow-veterans, and herself.
Sr. Director | Military & Veteran Affairs
Ed Carr Sr. Director Military & Veteran Affairs | Comcast NBCUniversal
Ed’s military career spanned 23 years in the active-duty Army, as a combat medic and a medical recruiter.
Vice President Growth
Timothy J. Cochrane, Vice President Growth | Tenova LLC/HireMilitary, Executive Leader | Tailored Strategic Retention
After serving as a United States Marine specializing in Electronics, his civilian career began in 1985 on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as an electronics technician with the Securities Industry Automation Corporation (SIAC). While working on the floor he was approached to become a clerk with the specialist firm handling the stock of Westinghouse. In 1992, Tim set out on his own and became an independent floor broker. He nurtured and grew his business for seven years, purchasing a seat and becoming an active member of the Exchange Community. He became a partner at Prime Executions, managing seven seats and a full-service brokerage unit. While an Exchange Member, he served as a senior Floor Official, a director of the Floor Members Emergency fund and he was appointed by the CEO to serve as a member of the NYSE Hearing Board and as an Exchange political liaison.
In 2017, Tim joined American Corporate Partners, as President of their Citizens Program, a national nonprofit organization focused on helping returning veterans find their next career through one-on-one mentoring, networking and online career advice. At ACP, Tim helped manage the relationships of over 100 Fortune 500 companies and added almost 50 companies in 4 years. Working daily with VSO’s, the DOL, the VA, SFL, MFL and numerous national organizations in the veteran’s space, Tim brought ACP’s mentorship program to tens of thousands of servicemen and woman and built ACP’s national presence through speaking engagements and interviews in media outlets to include Bloomberg Television, CBS, FOX, Cheddar, WABC Radio, numerous print and trade magazines, blogs and social media.
Tim strongly believes in Community Activism, he has been part of the executive leadership of numerous political campaigns in NYC, as well as state and federal levels. He has served as a NYC Community Board Member and ran for a Congressional seat in 2008 for the 13th Congressional District. His philanthropic efforts include serving as Trustee and Chairman of Development for Daytop Village Inc., which provides substance abuse treatment for teens and adults; Board member for Samaritan Inc.; trustee for the YMCA Expansion Board and was a Founding Member of the Sisters of Life Advisors. Tim also served as an Officer of the Cathedral Club of Brooklyn, whose purpose is, in part, “to promote the moral improvement of its members.”
Lead Associate, Corporate Affairs/Military and Veteran Affairs
Booz Allen Hamilton
George Bernloehr, Lead Associate Corporate Affairs/Military and Veteran Affairs | Booz Allen Hamilton
George launched his professional career serving in the US Navy as an avionics technician, was promoted to Chief Petty Officer and later was commissioned as a Naval Aerospace Maintenance Officer. He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering Technology from Excelsior College in Albany, NY. He lives in Cumming, Georgia.
SIDNEY COVINGTON, LMSW
Associate, Veterans Engagement
Sidney Covington, LMSW Associate, Veterans Engagement | AmeriVet Securities
OMARI J. FAULKNER
Military & Veteran Ambassador
Omari J. Faulkner, Military & Veteran Ambassador | ManTech
Prior to this role, Omari served as a Federal Civilian Business Development leader at ManTech, focusing on strategic development for long-term growth in the federal civilian market place. He collaborated internally and externally at all levels to align and communicate company growth targets and strategy, all of which led to significant market growth at record levels.
Prior to joining ManTech International, Omari served at the U.S. Department of State for four years as a Cultural Ambassador, traveling to over 40 countries, as well as Human Resource and Financial Management Officer in Mumbai, India.
Today Omari serves as a Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He is active in his local community through serving on a variety of boards including the Virginia Governor’s Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism, the Loudoun Education Foundation, and as Vice Chairman for the Loudoun Museum. In 2019 he authored his first book called Athlete for Life which is geared towards helping student-athletes understand how to harness their talents for success throughout life. “My success at ManTech, one of our countries best tech and national security companies is rooted in my achievements as a student-athlete.”
ANTHONY “TONY” GILBERT
Program Manager, Military and Veteran Recruitment
Raytheon Missiles & Defense
Anthony “Tony” Gilbert, MA, USA (Ret) - Program Manager, Military and Veteran Recruitment | Raytheon Missiles & Defense
Prior to his retirement in 2016, Tony participated in the Hiring our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program with the Lockheed Martin Space Business Area supporting the University Talent Acquisition Team. He was hired in May 2017 after completion of his fellowship with the distinction of being the first fellow hired with this program. He spent 4.5 years with Lockheed Martin. He held several roles of increasing responsibility. He was a recruiter, Talent Acquisition Manager and was the team lead of the Military Relations Team before leaving. He recently joined the Raytheon Missiles and Defense team as the Program Manager of Military and Veteran Recruitment.
Flossie Hall, CEO/Founder | FHall Consulting
Flossie has dedicated her life to the service of educating entrepreneurs and has helped to build and scale multiple entrepreneurial education programs, accelerators, and military programs. Including her most recent venture, serving as the COO and Cofounder of AMSE-The Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs. Since 2019, AMSE has helped over 2K+ military spouses all around the globe to start, scale and sustain their own businesses.
Flossie serves as an advocate, leader, and mentor to many. Continuing to help hundreds of businesses through her strategic consulting work to scale and grow globally.
Executive Director, Workforce Development and Government Relations
Dave Harrison, SME Executive Director Workforce Development and Government Relations
Dave serves as a DOL designated Industry Subject Matter Expert in Registered Apprenticeship Technical Assistance for the last 6 years. Additionally, Dave directs industry engagement operations for the Registered Apprenticeship Centers of Excellence as well. He also serves on the board of the Minority Professional Truckers Association, the DOL/DOT Driver Shortage Taskforce, and the White House Supply Chain Taskforce.
His extensive experience in apprenticeship is combined with more than two decades of experience in operations, human resources, recruiting and employee training and development in the private sector. Dave has directly supported, developed, and implemented apprenticeship related training instruction and on-the-job training outlines for multiple workforce development programs. Dave has successfully designed and implemented National Standards of Registered Apprenticeships, National Occupational Frameworks and curriculum across a multitude of industry sectors. In his capacity as Executive Director he manages 15 National Programs that have accounted for nearly 17,000 Apprentices.
Dave served multiple combat tours of duty as a U.S Army Infantry leader. He received his BA in History – Secondary Education from Austin Peay State University. He has been a high school educator, football coach, business owner and in his over 11 years with J.B Hunt Transport he is best known for developing and directing the Hunt’s Heroes program with the dedicated mission of hiring 10,000 Veterans. He and his wife, Gena, have five daughters and 8 grandchildren.
Vice President, Head of Military and Veteran Affairs
Vice President, Head of Military and Veteran Affairs | Fiserv
In addition to her experience with Fiserv, she served in the United States Army as a human resources officer and had the pleasure of partnering with organizations in the manufacturing and human capital management space in the civilian sector. Meg is passionate about creating and leading employee-centric programs that drive culture and have a positive impact on the community.
Meg holds a master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Northcentral University, a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The Colorado College, and the PHR certification.
Meg has a strong commitment to civic duty. As such, she is a co-founder and on the board for Commerce Guild (a nonprofit focused on community safety), serves on the Advisory Committee for a University of Richmond certification course, and volunteers regularly with various local organizations. Meg is married to a fellow Army Veteran, with whom she has one daughter.
Blake Hogan, CEO | Bunker Labs
Blake is passionate about the military-connected community and is a serial entrepreneur. His first company, a video interviewing company connecting employers to veterans, led him to co-found Bunker Labs Austin and Nashville after experiencing the challenges of growing a professional network after transitioning. Bunker Labs, now a national not-for-profit, helps the military-connected community launch and grow businesses across the country. After serving Bunker Labs from its earliest days and at all levels of the organization, he has taken over as Chief Executive Officer. As CEO, Blake’s goal is to ensure that the American dream can be a reality for the military-connected community and, in doing so, we build a truly inclusive economy.
Blake is also the co-founder of a safety product company, BreakAway Safety Solutions, which provides emergency exits for outdoor events making it easy to get fans out of fenced in events. BreakAway was developed after the mass shooting in Las Vegas and has now protected more than two million fans at events like the Country Music Association Festival, the Chicago Marathon, and more. Finally, he is a cofounder of a last mile logistics and mergers and acquisition company, Steel Lion Logistics Solutions.
Blake is recent a George W. Bush Institute Scholar in the Stand-To Veterans Leadership Program.
President & Partner
Phil McConkey, President and Partner | Academy
Mr. McConkey holds a B.S. in Engineering from the US Naval Academy. He also has FINRA Series 7, 24, 63, 65 and 55 licenses.
Academy Advisor and Field Representative
USAA Military Affairs
Laura K. McKenna, Academy Advisor and Field Representative | USAA Military Affairs
Laura commissioned as a Military Police Officer and later branch transferred to Aviation and became a Blackhawk helicopter pilot. During her career in the military, she was stationed at Fort Stewart, GA, Fort Rucker, AL, and Camp Humphreys, S. Korea. After earning a Master’s Degree from the University of Virginia, Laura returned to West Point to join the faculty.
An award-winning educator, Laura transitioned from the military after teaching at West Point. Laura’s next roles were in corporate Operations and Relationship Management. She currently serves as the USAA Military Affairs representative for West Point, the Coast Guard Academy, and the state of New York. Given her own experience transitioning from the Army, Laura is passionate about helping transitioning Veterans find new careers that align with their talents, skills, and sense of purpose.
Laura also owns and operates an empowerment, leadership, and functional medicine health coaching business. She is a speaker, runs retreats, and provides coaching programs that empower high-performing women to identify and overcome the obstacles keeping them from optimal living.
In her free time, Laura is an avid CrossFit athlete and voracious reader. Laura is blessed to be married to a dreamy retired Army Officer and to have two amazing teenage children.
Manager of Military Recruiting
Werner Enterprises, Inc.
Alec Mizner, Manager of Military Recruiting | Werner Enterprises, Inc.
Alec served in the United States Marine Corps as Platoon Guide and Drill Master of the prestigious Silent Drill Platoon, the most visible unit within the Marine Corps. The platoon conducts a 10-month travel and parade season, performing for hundreds of thousands of spectators here and abroad each year.
Alec has an Executive MBA from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Alec currently lives in Omaha, NE with his wife Angela and their two sons.
Head, Military & Veterans Affairs
Johnson & Johnson
John Perez Head, Military & Veterans Affairs | Johnson & Johnson
Manager of Military Programs
General Dynamics-Bath Iron Works
Patrick Sence, Manager of Military Programs | General Dynamics-Bath Iron Works
Patrick served in the United States Army as a Patriot Missile Enhanced Operator/Maintainer before being selected to serve as an Army Recruiter. While assigned as a recruiter for the United States Army, Patrick served as an Assistant Station Commander, Station Commander, Recruiting and Retention Instructor/Writer and Division Chief at the U.S. Army Recruiting and Retention College before finishing out his time in service as a Recruiting Company First Sergeant in the Pacific North West.
Patrick is married to his wife of 13 years Anna Sence (An Army Reserve 1LT) and has two boys Colton (7) and Palmer (5).
Managing Dir. and Chief Market Strategist
Karl Snyder, Managing Director, Chief Market Strategist | VETS Indexes
Karl Snyder is a Managing Director and the Chief Market Strategist of VETS Indexes. In this role, Karl sets the overall strategic direction for the firm’s suite of Veteran themed indexes. Mr. Snyder’s approach towards asset allocation is macro themed using both intermarket analysis and the business cycle. Often called upon by the industry for his strategic thought leadership, Karl specializes in sector rotation and the impact of the business cycle on the financial markets.
Previously, Karl was the Chief Market Strategist of Garden State Securities where his primary responsibility involved directing managed portfolios for the Advisors and clients of the firm. Mr. Snyder began his financial services career as a Registered Investment Advisor with American Express Financial Advisors in 2000. Karl has worked for several boutique firms as a Registered Investment Advisor where he honed his study of technical analysis within capital markets.
Karl is a member of the Market Technicians Association and holds the Chartered Market Technician designation. In addition, he is a series 86/87 licensed research analyst. Mr. Snyder studied at Rutgers University and served in the United States Marine Corps with 5th Battalion 10th Marines 2nd Marine Division as a non-commissioned officer. While on active duty, Karl deployed with the 24th MEU for Operation Continue Hope in Somalia.
National Director of Military Affairs
Power Home Remodeling
Clayton Still, National Director of Military Affairs | Power Home Remodeling
Clayton is a U.S. Army veteran who served for eight years as a Field Military Police Officer. In his first year after the military, he went through five different jobs, finding that each company didn’t value or even understand veterans. Then he found Power in 2014. Deciding that he’d outwork everyone around him, Clayton started as an entry-level Customer Development Representative and, within months, he became the best rep in the company. Over the next two years, he advanced through various promotions across the Customer Development and Sales departments.
He was named a Regional Director of Military Affairs in 2017 where he helped to build the Power Veterans Initiative (PVI) and the Military Affairs team within the business. Still was promoted to National Director in 2021 with his counterpart, James Boscia, who are both responsible for advancing the initiative and growing the Military Affairs team. Clayton spearheads the company’s recruitment efforts including the Hiring our Heroes partnership and fellowship program. He currently resides in the greater Atlanta area.
Chief, Employer Engagement
DOD | ESGR
Chief, Employer Engagement | DOD, ESGR
Mr. Townshend is a native of Lowell, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the Army in 1981 as a military policeman. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement from Northeastern University in Boston, graduating in 1987 and was commissioned as an officer in the Military Police Corps. He is a 2004 graduate of the Defense Information School and is a professional Public Affairs Officer. Mr. Townshend served a combined total of 28 years in the Army and Army Reserve, including a deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 416th Engineer Command from Darien, Illinois, in 2003. His other assignments include postings in Alabama, Virginia, Washington, Panama, Germany and Korea. For the final three years of his career he mobilized with the Army Reserve as a primary developer of the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP) until his retirement in 2011. He remained a contract project manager and then program manager for the YRRP with Gap Solutions until 2017.
Mr. Townshend and his wife, Robin, reside near Front Royal, Virginia. They have five grown children and seven grandchildren. Bruce is an avid poker player, is fiercely proud of his Scottish and Irish heritage, and has been to all 50 states.
Mgr, Military Talent Attraction
Nikita Wallace, Mgr, Military Talent Attraction | Spectrum
Prior to becoming the Manager of the Military Talent & Attraction Team, Nikita served as the Military Liaison within his organization for 2.5 years. He has over 18 years in recruiting in the United States Marine Corps where he retired after 23 years of service as a Career Recruiter (8412 MOS). Nikita has nine additional years of corporate recruiting with ITT Tech where he served as a Director of Recruiting. He also served as a regional military recruiter with Universal Technical Institute & NASCAR Tech covering both North Carolina, South Carolina & Europe. He is skilled in operational planning, management, sales presentations, learning and development, and information assurance.
Nikita has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice (Administration) from Columbia Southern University.
Nikita currently resides in Charlotte, NC with his wife Tia and son Christian.