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Speakers

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Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Basik, USAF
USAFA Class of 1993
Air Force Senior Representative on Professionalism
"An Ethos that Survives Everyday Life"
A proud 1993 US Air Force Academy graduate, Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Basik, PhD, has been involved in values-based leadership development for the better part of his 23 year career. He has a Master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and a PhD in Organizational Behavior. He has studied and applied his expertise at organizations including the US Air Force Academy’s Department of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership, the US Air Force Academy's Center for Character & Leadership Development, The Citadel, and Headquarters Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. Additionally, he served as the Air Force Representative to the Secretary of Defense on matters of professionalism and values-based leadership. He's a loyal husband of 22 years and the proud, committed father of two daughters.
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Mr. Jordan Burroughs
Olympic Wrestling Gold Medalist
Mr. Jordan Burroughs grew up in the town of Sicklerville, New Jersey, as the youngest of four children and began wrestling when he was just five years old. He never outgrew his passion, and after a dominant high school career that included a state and national title in 2006, he accepted a scholarship offer to the University of Nebraska. Mr. Burroughs had a relatively tough transition at Nebraska, marked by a modest 16-13 record as a freshman, but over the next three seasons, he amassed 111 wins against 6 losses, finishing his junior and senior years undefeated. He concluded his collegiate career with 3 Big 12 titles, 2 NCAA titles, and was awarded with the Hodge Trophy as a senior, recognizing hiim as the nation’s top collegiate wrestler. In 2011, Mr. Burroughs transitioned seamlessly into international competition, winning his first US Open title just three weeks after the NCAA Championships, and followed it up by making his first World Team later that spring, becoming only the fourth wrestler in history to win an NCAA Championship and World Title in the same year. In 2012, an Olympic gold medal followed, as did two more World Titles, including an improbable championship performance in 2013 when he competed, and won, having broken his ankle only a month before. Mr. Burroughs made his second Olympic Team in April of 2016 and was primed to capture his second Olympic Gold in Rio. Unfortunately, as a heavy favorite, he lost his quarterfinal match to Aniuar Geduev of Russia, and for the first time in his international career he did not end up on the podium. Mr. Burroughs took the loss with unparalleled dignity, honesty, and class. He plans to return to the top of the podium later this year in Paris at the 2017 World Championships. Mr. Burroughs and his wife Lauren have two children--Beacon and Ora. They reside in Lincoln, Nebraska.
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Mr. Donovan Campbell
Vice President, Technology & Digital Business, Forum Energy Technologies
"The Pursuit of Virtue & Servant Leadership"
Mr. Donovan Campbell grew up in Dallas, Texas, as oldest of five brothers. He graduated from Princeton University with high honors in 2001 and joined the US Marine Corps (USMC). He served three combat tours between 2001 and 2008: two in Iraq with USMC infantry and intelligence, and one in Afghanistan supporting the US Special Forces. Mr. Campbell was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal for his actions in combat. After the Marine Corps, he graduated from Harvard Business School and was named a Baker Scholar for graduating in top 5% of his class. Mr. Campbell authored the New York Times bestselling books "Joker One" and the "The Leader's Code." Currently, he leads the global technology and acquisition integration teams for Forum Energy Technologies. Mr. Campbell lives in Houston, Texas, with his wife and four children.
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Major Joe "Getuza" Chapa, USAF
Senior Instructor of Philosophy
Major Joseph Chapa is a U.S. Air Force Major and an Instructor of Philosophy at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He holds a Master's Degree in Philosophy from Boston College, a Master's Degree in Theological Studies from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy from Boston University. His areas of expertise include the Just War Tradition and military ethics, with an emphasis on the ethics of remote and autonomous weapons. He is also an Air Force senior pilot with over 1,000 flight and instructor hours in support of major U.S. combat and humanitarian operations.
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Chief Master Sergeant Ramon "CZ" Colon-Lopez, USAF
Command Senior Enlisted Leader, US Africa Command
"Leadership Lessons Learned from a Career Pararescueman and Combat Survivor Evader Locator"
Chief Master Sergeant Ramon Colon-Lopez enlisted in the US Air Force on December 10, 1990. He has held assignments in US 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 several other classified locations. Before assuming his current position, he served as the Senior Enlisted Advisor, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Headquarters United States Air Force, Pentagon, Washington D.C. He assumed his current duties on September 7, 2016.
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Ms. Blythe Coons
Performer, Grounded
"Reading and Discussion of Grounded"
Ms. Blythe Coons is a professional actor and teaching artist. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Haverford College, an Master's Degree in English Literature from Bread Loaf School of English, and an Master of Fine Arts in Acting from Rutgers University. She has performed regionally with such theaters as North Carolina Stage Company, Theatre at Monmouth, Lyric Rep, Penobscot Theatre Company, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, and American Shakespeare Center. Favorite roles include The Pilot (Grounded), Beatrice (Much Ado), Lyse (The Illusion), May (Last Train to Nibroc), Rosalind (As You Like It), Mercutio (Romeo and Juliet), and Gwendolyn (The Importance of Being Earnest).
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Ms. Tricia Downing
Founder and Executive Director of The Cycle of Hope, 2016 Paralympian
"Discover Your Inner Champion"
In one instant, on September 17, 2000, Ms. Tricia Downing went from being a competitive cyclist to a paraplegic requiring a wheelchair for mobility. Her life was changed forever, but Ms. Downing’s competitive spirit and passion for life continued on. Through her experiences in both rehab and racing, Ms. Downing has overcome adversity and learned what it takes to perform at the top of her game. Having made the transition from able-bodied cyclist to an athlete with a disability, Ms. Downing knows the true meaning of the words challenge and change, and has learned a wealth of lessons to deal with the obstacles we all face in reaching for our personal goals. Ms. Downing has completed over 100 races since her accident, including marathons, duathlons and triathlons. She was the first female paraplegic to complete an Ironman triathlon and qualified for the Hawaii Ironman World Championships in 2006 and 2010. In 2011, she competed as part of the US Rowing team at the World Championships in Bled, Slovenia. Changing sports again in 2014 to Olympic style shooting, she was named to Team USA and competed in the air pistol event at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
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Colonel Leon "Lee" Ellis, USAF, Retired
President, Leadership Freedom LLC
"Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton"
Colonel (Retired) Lee Ellis is Founder and President of Leadership Freedom LLC® and FreedomStar Media™. He is a leadership consultant and keynote speaker in the areas of leadership, team-building, and human behavior. His past clients include Fortune 500 senior executives and C-Level leaders in telecommunications, healthcare, military, and other business sectors. For his wartime service in Vietnam, he was awarded two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star with Valor device, the Purple Heart, and POW Medal. Colonel Ellis resumed his Air Force career, serving in command of a flying squadron and leadership development organizations before retiring as a colonel. Colonel Ellis has a Bachelor's degree in History and a Master's degree in Counseling and Human Development. He is a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College and the Air War College. He has authored or co-authored four books on leadership and career development. Colonel Ellis and his wife Mary reside in the Atlanta, Georgia, area and have four grown children and six grandchildren.
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Major General Albert "Buck" Elton II, USAF
USAFA Class of 1989
Deputy Director for Special Operations and Counterterrorism
Major General Albert “Buck” Elton II advises the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) on employing Special Operations Forces, counterterrorism, and detainee affairs. He directs staffing of Combatant Commander-approved concepts and preparation of briefings and position papers for the CJCS and Secretary of Defense. General Elton graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 1989. He is a command pilot with more than 4,300 flying hours, including 350 combat hours in Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia. He has commanded at numerous levels including the squadron, group, and wing and commanded joint forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Haiti. He has served on combatant commands, major commands and the Joint Staff.
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Colonel Greg Gadson, USA, Retired
USMA Class of 1989
Decorated Army Commander and New York Giants Honorary Captain
"Circumstances Don't Define Us"
Colonel Greg Gadson, US Army retired, a highly decorated soldier, commanded the 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery in Iraq. He’s served in every major conflict of the last two decades, including Operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM, Operation JOINT FORGE, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. His awards include three Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal. Colonel Gadson recently completed a Master’s degree in Policy Management from Georgetown University, and he is a fellow at the Institute of World Politics. He also teaches lessons on the traits of Pride, Poise, and Team with young people on high school and college football teams around the country. Although Colonel Gadson’s football playing career ended at West Point, his impact on the sport has reached amazing new heights. In 2008, he played a key, behind-the-scenes role in the New York Giants’ Super Bowl victory. Colonel Gadson continues to live by his coach’s motto as well as the advice he gave the Super Bowl Champs: “You have to fight for every yard, every inch.”
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Mr. Chris Gizzi
USAFA Class of 1997
NFL Strength and Conditioning Coach, former NFL and Air Force Academy Football Player
"How Military Experience Shaped a Professional Athlete, Entrepreneur & Human Performance Coach"
At the US Air Force Academy, Mr. Chris Gizzi was a football team captain, a two-time conference defensive player of the year, and an All-American linebacker. He served his active duty commitment at the Air Force Academy as a coach and recruiter. Afterward, Mr. Gizzi continued serving as an Admission Liaison Officer and playing football in the National Football League for the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers. When his playing career ended, he redirected his efforts to a career in health promotion and human performance development. He has enjoyed success running numerous businesses providing products and services to optimize health and athletic performance. Currently, Mr. Gizzi is a Strength and Conditioning Assistant for the Green Bay Packers and pursuing his doctorate in Health Science.
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Ms. Kari Granger
USAFA Class of 2002
Executive Coach
"Cultivating the Warrior Ethos"
Ms. Kari Granger is an executive coach, a leadership development educator, and a performance consultant. A former Air Force officer and combat veteran, she is a subject matter expert in both applying and teaching the concepts of transformative leadership under the most challenging conditions. When deployed to Iraq in 2005, Ms. Granger realized that all the education she had received from her military training and graduate academic degree left her knowledgeable about leadership, but not actually "being" a leader. She knew a leader should be courageous, but that did not give her access to being courageous when experiencing her first mortar attack. Such a profound realization in the "heat of battle" led her down the path to learning what it takes to access and train "being" when developing leadership in oneself and in others. On this quest, she interviewed, collaborated with, and studied under experts in human performance from around the world. Now a civilian, Ms. Granger uses what she has learned in the fields of ontological design, somatic integration and energetic alignment to support global leaders in making the kind of difference they were born to make. Ms. Granger has worked in close coordination with numerous branches of the U.S. armed forces and governmental agencies to achieve breakthrough mission performance. In addition to her military work, she has also served organizations worldwide with several national and international associations, organizations and individuals in fields such as healthcare, government and higher education, supporting leaders in accomplishing their most meaningful work.
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Mr. Wayne Hagin
Award Winning Play-by-Play Broadcaster
"I Accept the Challenge"
Mr. Wayne Hagin is an award-winning sports broadcaster with a range of experience unequaled in its scope and variety. As one of the original sportscasters for ESPN, Mr. Hagin was in the studio the day SPORTSCENTER first aired on September 7, 1979. Fulfilling his lifelong dream, Mr. Hagin became the youngest broadcaster in Major League Baseball, where his career spanned 28 years, beginning with the Oakland A’s in 1981. He went on to become the original “Voice of the Rockies” for ten years, and was eventually selected by ESPN to broadcast post-season divisional series. His experience also includes play-by-play broadcasting for the Golden State Warriors, Colorado State Football, ESPN college basketball, hosting pre and postgame shows for the San Francisco 49ers, as well as being featured as the voice-over for multiple national commercial campaigns, including Ford and Boeing. Personally, Mr. Hagin has launched school programs such as “Hagin’s Heroes” and “Field of Opportunities”, visiting schools while donating computers, holding school assemblies and delivering motivational speeches to students and faculty, and even providing “day at the ballpark” experiences for several students.
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Major Sean Hoggs, USAF, Retired
Author of "The Bastard Child: A Story of Hope, Resiliency and Perseverance”
"Hope, Resiliency and Perseverance...Overcoming Life's Challenges"
Major Sean Hoggs, US Air Force retired, is the Senior Aerospace Instructor at Seneca High School, Tabernacle, New Jersey. He is an extremely active pillar in the community and has made an enormous impact throughout the state of New Jersey, the country and in the international arena. His many awards include being named among the prestigious Ten Outstanding Young Americans in 2007, Department of the Air Force Logistics Plans Specialist of the Year, Company Grade Officer of the Year (3 times) and 305th Air Mobility Wing Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year. He was inducted into the Plainfield, New Jersey, High School Hall of Fame in 2011. He’s the recipient of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Lifetime Legacy Award and is the anchor of the national radio show, “Let’s Talk About It” with BKS1 Radio. In 2015, he was named to the Authors to Watch List by the American Authors Association.
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Sergeant Major Michael Jarnevic, USA, Retired
Retired Sergeant Major, Freelance Writer, Outdoor Lecturer, and Environmental Activist
"One More Klick: Four Decades of Service from Vietnam to Afghanistan"
Sergeant Major Michael Jarnevic, US Army retired, served 42 years of continuous service in both the US Marine Corps—active and reserve—and US Army Special Forces—active, guard, and reserve. He is believed to be the last Vietnam veteran who served on active duty and his story was featured in the Marine and Army Times in July 2015. Sergeant Major Jarnevic participated in four conflicts: Vietnam in the 1970s; the Contra War in the 1980s; the Persian Gulf War in the 1990s; and Afghanistan as a contractor with US Special Operations Command in 2012. In total, he was assigned to 15 different units in both the Army and Joint commands, and served as a Special Operations Intelligence Analyst during the last twenty years of his career. His education includes a Bachelor's degree in Political Science/History and an Master's of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, both from the University of Montana, where he also taught in the Military Science Department. Currently, he is a freelance writer, outdoor lecturer, and environmental activist. He resides outside of Missoula, Montana.
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Mr. David Nelson
i'mME's Chief Executive Officer and former NFL Player
Mr. David Nelson serves as the Chief Executive Officer for i'mME. As i'mME's CEO, Mr. Nelson is responsible for day-to-day operations as well as leading the organization's development and impact strategy. He co-founded i'mME with his brothers Daniel and Patrick Nelson in 2013, while playing in the National Football League (NFL) with the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, and Pittsburgh Steelers. He also partners with various organizations across the country on international development opportunities with a focus on leadership and child care. Aside from founding i'mME, Mr. Nelson played football for six years in the NFL. He has knowledge of the non-profit sector, leadership, charitable endeavors, community development, and marketing, which he developed through leadership positions within the Community Relations Department of the NFL. Mr. Nelson holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Florida.
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Ms. Heather Penney
9/11 Fighter Pilot
"Reflections on Common Courage"
Ms. Heather “Lucky” Penney responded on 9/11 in her F-16 C+ fighter jet, and then later flew combat missions in the initial campaign of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM as a night SCUD Hunter in the western deserts of Iraq. She has flown the C-38 Distinguished Visitor airlift mission and raced jets at the Reno Unlimited Air Races. In addition to copiloting the World War II era B-17G, bringing living history to the American public, she holds Certified Flight Instructor and Airline Transport Pilot licenses. When time allows, she flies her vintage Cessna 170 taildragger and PT-17 Stearman. Ms. Penney is the Director of Advanced Pilot Training Programs for Lockheed Martin Government Affairs, co-founder of the District of Columbia Airpower Working Group, and serves as a Major in the Air Force Reserves as the National Chair for Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Rise Above Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) Program.
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Colonel Stephen Ruth, USA
Chief of Operations, III Corps Headquarters
"Living the Warrior Ethos"
Colonel Stephen Ruth is an Army Infantry officer who recently completed his Army War College Fellowship at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. His previous assignment was as the 1st Regimental Tactical Officer for the US Corps of Cadets at West Point, where he led 1,000 cadets and 10 tactical officers and Non-Commissioned Officers in leader development. Colonel Ruth also commanded the US Military Academy Preparatory School, preparing 400 cadets for the West Point experience. His operational assignments include serving as a Transition Team Commander in Operation NEW DAWN and as an Army Strategist during postwar Iraq on the inaugural team of the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq. Colonel Ruth also served as the US Exchange Officer at the Headquarters British Army Land Warfare Centre in Warminster, England, where he was responsible for all Joint Multi-National Training. During his deployment to Afghanistan, Colonel Ruth served as the Battalion Operations Officer for 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, in southern Kandahar.
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General Paul Selva, USAF
USAFA Class of 1980
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
"Innovation in the Department of Defense"
General Paul Selva serves as the 10th Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this capacity, he is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the nation’s second highest-ranking military officer. General Selva graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 1980 as the Cadet Wing Honor Chairman, has held numerous staff positions and has commanded at the squadron, group, wing and headquarter levels. Prior to his current assignment, General Selva was the commander of US Transportation Command, Scott AFB, Illinois. He is a command pilot with more than 3,100 hours in the C-5, C-17A, C-141B, C-37, KC-10, KC-135A and T-37.
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Captain Caitlin Glitz Valle, USAF
USAFA Class of 2012
Air Liaison Office
"Gung-Ho Dustoff: Army & Air Force Sisters Growing in the Warrior Ethos"
Captain Caitlin Glitz Valle is a Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) officer, currently serving in the 353rd Battlefield Airman Training Squadron. She graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. While stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, she attended the TACP Schoolhouse and completed the TACP Pipeline in July 2013. She then served as an Air Liaison Officer (ALO) with the 82nd Airborne for over a year, before graduating the Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) Qualification Course in August 2014. She deployed in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE in February 2015, serving as a JTAC and ALO with the Baghdad Strike Cell. While there she was responsible for the employment of 150,000 pounds of munitions against enemy fighting positions, killing 687 Daesh fighters.
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Brigadier General Mark Weatherington, USAF
USAFA Class of 1990
Director of Cyberspace Operations, North American Aerospace Defense Command & U.S. Northern Command
"The Warrior Ethos in the Digital Age"
Brigadier General Mark Weatherington is the Director, Cyberspace Operations, NORAD and US Northern Command, providing integrated command, control, communications, and computers (C4) capabilities to support the full spectrum of missions and to facilitate the vital information-sharing needs of both commands. Additionally, he prioritizes and oversees defense of key cyber terrain as well as the activities of assigned cyber mission forces. General Weatherington earned his commission in 1990 following graduation from the US Air Force Academy. He has served in a variety of operational and staff assignments, including command of the 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, and various doctrine, strategy, and warfighting requirements positions within Air Forces Central Command, the Joint Staff, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. General Weatherington is a command pilot with more than 2,400 flying hours and 240 combat hours.
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Captain Amberly Glitz Weber, USA
Aeromedical Evacuation “Dustoff” Pilot and Platoon Leader
"Gung-Ho Dustoff: Army & Air Force Sisters Growing in the Warrior Ethos"
Captain Amberly Glitz Weber is a Forward Support Medical Evacuation Platoon (FSMP) Leader in the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. She graduated from Providence College in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in French and a Minor in Writing, and commissioned as a US Army Medical Service Corps Officer from the Patriot Battalion Reserve Officers' Training Corps Program. She received the Lynch Leadership Award in her Basic Officer Course and graduated US Army Initial Entry Rotary Wing Training in March 2014 as a UH-60M Helicopter Pilot. In 2015 she deployed in support of Operation FREEDOM’S SENTINEL, where she assumed responsibility for an FSMP in Kandahar, Afghanistan. On 22 October 2015, she was pilot of a crew which responded to an urgent patient evacuation request. For this action, she and her crew were awarded the Army Commendation Medal with Valor and received the Dustoff Association Rescue of the Year Award.
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Dr. Brian Williams
USAFA Class of 1991
Trauma Surgeon Who Treated Dallas Police Officers from the 2016 Fatal Shooting
"The Intersection of Race, Violence and Medicine: Leadership in Times of Crisis"
Dr. Brian Williams is a proud US Air Force brat who comes from a family of veterans. After graduating from the US Air Force Academy in 1991, he served six years as an aeronautical engineer. Answering a call to medicine, he pivoted to a civilian career to attend medical school at the University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa, Florida. He completed his residency in General Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. He finished his training with a fellowship in trauma surgery and surgical critical care at Grady Memorial Hospital, a teaching hospital of Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Williams now serves as an Associate Professor of Surgery at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, where he educates future physicians and surgeons. He specializes in trauma surgery, emergency surgery, and surgical critical care on staff at Parkland Memorial Hospital.
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Mr. Matt Wollman
Chairman and CEO of Strategic Services International, Inc.
"Warrior Entrepreneur: The HOLLYWOOD Sign, Me, and a Barretta 92F"
Mr. Matt Wollman is Chairman and CEO of Strategic Services International, Inc., a global security consultancy and advisory firm whose activities span geo-political policy and security matters with specific focus on risk assessment, early warning, due diligence and crisis management across the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. Alongside his business interests, Mr. Wollman has had a distinguished career in public service dating back to 1999 when he began working with the Los Angeles Police Department through its Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau. He currently serves as Reserve Commander, International Affairs, with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. He also sits on the advisory board of the RAND Corporation’s Center for Global Risk and Security. In 2010, French President Nicolas Sarkozy conferred upon Mr. Wollman the Ordre National du Merite (National Order of Merit) in the degree of Chevalier (Knight) in recognition of his leadership in strengthening the Franco-American law enforcement relationship. Mr. Wollman is a highly sought-after speaker, among whose recent audiences are the students and faculty of Princeton University’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He co-authored Moving Toward the Future of Policing (Treverton et al., RAND, 2011). He resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Helene, and their two children.
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Dr. Terri Wonder
Subject-matter Expert in Islamist Movements
"Sacrificial Crisis: The Rise of Islamic Militancy in Iraq"
Dr. Terri Wonder is a PhD with rare operational experience "outside the wire." During Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, she deployed twice to Iraq in a "mission-essential" civilian-military counterinsurgency program whose purpose was to conduct operationally relevant social science research. As her program's lead social scientist for division- and corps-level commands between 2008-2010, Dr. Wonder conducted applied ethnography and statistical research in order to forecast the resiliency of the Iraqi people to withstand what she saw as an "inevitable" second wave of insurgency during the draw-down of US forces. Dr. Wonder holds a doctorate in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on the sociology of Islamic militancy. She also has worked as a cultural demographer for US Central and Southern Commands. Dr. Wonder lives in Colorado Springs with her husband, Ray, and their three cats.
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Ms. Stephanie Wurtz
Marathon and Ultra Runner
Athlete Panel
This summer, Ms. Stephanie Wurtz earned podium finishes in a trail marathon in June and a 50-mile run in July, then raced a 100-mile mountain bike and 10k run in August. One week later, she ran 100 miles across the mountains west of Colorado Springs, starting at an elevation of 10,000 feet. When she crossed the finish line of her first 100-mile run in 23 hours and 20 minutes, Ms. Wurtz secured her spot as the first-place female finisher in the Leadman Ultra Series, breaking the women’s record for the series by more than three hours. She also won the 2015 San Antonio Marathon in a time of 2 hours, 58 minutes, is a four-time winner of the Catalina Marathon, considered America’s toughest sea level marathon, and is repeat winner of the Moab and American Discovery Trail Half Marathons. She manages training and racing alongside her professional career directing internal communications at Colorado College. She has also served on the board of the nonprofit Pikes Peak Road Runners since 2012, currently serving her term as president of the more than 1,800 member organization.
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Mr. Jerry Yellin
World War II Fighter Pilot
"History, Then and Now"
Mr. Jerry Yellin enlisted in the US Army Air Corps on his 18th birthday, two months after Pearl Harbor so he could, in his own words, “fly fighter planes against the Japanese.” After initially failing his eye exam, he memorized the eye chart and passed the test on his second attempt. As a P-51 pilot he flew 19 missions over Japan, including the first B-29 escort mission on 7 April 1945, and the very last combat mission of World War II on August 14, 1945. He is an award-winning author of four books, including "Of War and Weddings", a history of his wartime experiences and the story of his own personal transformation that began in 1988 after his son married the daughter of a Japanese World War II pilot.
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