The majority of the team at Combined Arms intimately understands what it is like to go through transition because they’ve been through it themselves. As for the rest of the team, they've dedicated their skills and expertise to constantly improve these processes. They are here to take the luck out of transition, and ensure that NO veteran slips through the cracks.
Mike HutchingsChief Development Officer
Mia GarciaTexas Veterans Network Director
Kelly StörmerExecutive Director, Combined Arms Institute
Bryan EscobedoSystems Director
Linda MoralesCommunity Manager
Tanna HarrisEvents Manager
Johanna Zollmann, LCSWSocial Services Manager
Rey MendezTechnology Project Manager
Nainita DalviTechnology Platform Manager
John GreeneBusiness Systems Analyst
Ronaldo AzevedoSalesforce Engineer
Earl Lundy IIIGym Manager
Alan NguyenMarketing Manager
Brooke AshleyMarketing Coordinator
Jennifer BrownDevelopment Events Manager
Tina SalisburyCollaboration Manager
Alexa ParkerDallas/ Fort Worth Regional Manager
Sharon OzdarskiAustin Regional Manager
Vincent RappRural Texas Regional Manager
John SmithCollaboration Specialist
COLLABORATION COMMITTEE CHAIRS
Steph DrakeProfessional Growth Collaboration Committee
Chrystal KeilersEssential Services Collaboration Committee
Ashley TaylorWellness Collaboration Committee
Hannah O'BrienCaregivers Collaboration Committee
Oddise LundyCaregivers Collaboration Committee
Monteigne LongEducation Collaboration Committee
Kapree ThomasEducation Collaboration Committee
TBASpecial Immigrant Visa (SIV) Collaboration Committee
TBASocial Impact Collaboration Committee
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Bryan FosterChairman, Houston, TX
Lauren GoreVice Chairman, Houston, TX
Ashley EastinSecretary, Houston, TX
Andrew PuhalaTreasurer, Houston, TX
Jonny HavensAt-Large Member, Houston, TX
Doug FosheeBoard Member, Houston, TX
LtGen Steven HummerBoard Member, Houston, TX
David NightingaleBoard Member, Houston, TX
Kelsey HultbergBoard Member, Houston, TX
Jeff HartBoard Member, Houston, TX
Cathy KonwisarzBoard Member, Houston, TX
Jerry LascoBoard Member, Houston, TX
Brooks BallardBoard Member, Houston, TX
Brian IvanyBoard Member, Houston, TX
Bill PritchettBoard Member, Houston, TX
David UlreyBoard Member, Houston, TX
Patrick LissonnetBoard Member, Houston, TX
Barb Sweredoski, Rear Admiral (retired), U.S. NavyBoard Member, Washington, D.C.
William H. AhmansonBoard Member, Los Angeles, CA
John's experience as a service member in the U.S. Marine Corps and personal commitment to building community through connecting veteran service organizations led him to public service, and as the CEO of Combined Arms, he is focused on the "Why?" behind the organization-bringing each consideration back to the core mission. His purpose is to execute the strategic mission and vision of Combined Arms to ensure that all veterans can unite with their communities to provide long lasting economic impact.
Chief Development Officer
Mike brings over 9 years of military, corporate, and non-profit experience to Combined Arms as the Chief Development Officer. He knows firsthand the obstacles that service members and families face during the transition process, and is proud devoting his time ensuring that veterans are empowered to connect with and accelerate the impact on their communities. Mike's purpose is to develop diverse revenue streams and support mechanisms that fuel scalability and sustainability for Combined Arms in the many years to come.
Texas Veterans Network Director
Mia Garcia is a native Houstonian and proud Texan. She enlisted in the Marine Corps just before 9/11; served multiple enlistments with both active and reserve components, including a deployment in support of Operation Enduring & Iraqi Freedom. After serving 8 years and earning the rank of Sergeant, she received an honorable discharge in 2011. After transitioning from the Marines, she served as a volunteer for Lone Star Veterans Association (LSVA) where she found her passion to encourage and assist fellow veterans, ensuring they are connected with the resources they need to successfully transition. In her most recent role with NextOp, Mia led a team of 8 in an organized effort to recruit, train, and help place over 2,200 middle enlisted military leaders into industry careers. Mia is passionate about positively impacting the veteran community and actively participates in activities focused on ensuring no veteran falls through the cracks.
In his role as Systems Director, Bryan brings 9-years of building military nonprofits in the Houston area as well as expertise in mediation, public deliberation and peer mentoring to the Combined Arms team. He designs collaborative strategies and leads the chairs of the Collaboration Committees to optimize the collective impact of member organizations on veteran communities. Bryan oversees accountability of all member organizations, the due diligence process of new prospective member organizations, and the Process Improvement Team. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Bryan earned both the Navy Achievement Medal and a Purple Heart for his work as a Combat Engineer specializing in explosives while serving in the Al-Anbar Province in Iraq.
Linda Morales is the Community Manager at Combined Arms, supporting the various networking and community groups to ensure veterans are connected, as well as development of new groups to support identified needs within the veteran community. Linda is a 9-year Air Force veteran who has served overseas and was deployed to Saudi Arabia, with experience in logistics and human relations. Linda's strength is connecting veterans and community organizations, and she has a passion for empowering veterans and facilitating engagement.
Tanna is a native-Texan having recently relocated to the Houston area after 30 years in Los Angeles. Her professional experience in the entertainment and outdoor sports industries led to joining the Board of Directors of THERAsurf, a Malibu-based nonprofit focused on bringing kids with disabilities the experience of surfing. After transitioning to Houston months before Hurricane Harvey, Tanna's time volunteering with Lone Star Veterans Association in the aftermath of the storm led to a career-shift joining Travis Manion Foundation's regional staff, then leading a national program for the nonprofit organization. She created the service-based group Lady Spartans while at Travis Manion Foundation and continues to create and execute mentoring opportunities for the women's group while fulfilling her role as Events Manager for Combined Arms.
Johanna Zollmann, LCSW
Social Services Manager
Johanna serves as the Social Services Manager at Combined Arms, helping vets find exactly what they're looking for and connecting them with the resources they need. A licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Johanna knows the challenges veterans face because she has experienced them personally-she's a former U.S. Army service member and provided counseling to service members. She trained at FT Drum, New York in a variety of social work sections such as the Warrior Transition Unit, Family Advocacy, and as an assigned counselor for a 10th Mountain Division unit. In addition to her professional focus on social work, Johanna volunteers with the American Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces and a member of the American Legion.
Technology Project Manager
As the Expansion Manager, he is responsible for overseeing the expansion utilizing the Salesforce platform into other cities that are requesting the services of Combined Arms. He spent time at Azimuth DS assisting with developing and implementing the Salesforce platform for their clients mainly focusing on Veteran Service Organizations. Prior to that, he was at NextOp assisting veterans gain meaningful employment while managing their Salesforce platform. As a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, he understands the transition phase and how Combined Arms can play in integral part in a veteran's success.
Technology Platform Manager
As Technology Platform Manager, Nainita is responsible for Combined Arms operational and tactical execution of technology objectives. She started her career as Software Engineer at Siemens Information Systems Limited after her Bachelors Degree in Information Technology. She brings in more than 10 years of technology project management and consulting experience for clients in packaged food, manufacturing, telecommunication, media, travel and IT services industries. Prior to Combined arms, she worked with Tata Consultancy Services for several international clients in various countries including Sweden, UK, Germany, India, and USA where she led and implemented IT service management projects.
Business Systems Analyst
As a Business Systems Analyst, John is responsible for developing analytics supporting the Combined Arms veteran and services provider community performance. He started his career as a programmer for a major wood products and paper company in the Pacific Northwest after achieving his Bachelor Degree in Applied Mathematics. Working with data forecasting models led him to his MBA focused on Operations Research and Accounting. He brings over 30 years experience in the IT industry working as a business systems analyst, project manager, architect and independent contractor. Vertical markets include insurance, manufacturing, retail, property management and logistics. Prior to Combined Arms, he has worked as an independent contractor for companies in the logistics, sportswear/footwear and property management business marketplaces.
As a Salesforce Engineer, Ronaldo is responsible for helping the Combined Arms technical team to get the best out of the Salesforce platform, as well as helping to adopt the best market practices for improving business and development processes. Ronaldo has been working in the technology area for more than 11 years as a Developer, Architect, and/or Project Manager for clients in various segments such as human resources, banks, tourism, insurance companies, among others. Before working at Combined Arms he served as Salesforce Architect for companies in Brazil and the United Kingdom where he implemented several Salesforce clouds such as Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Community Cloud, Marketing Cloud.
Earl Lundy III
As the Gym Manager at Combined Arms, Earl brings his expertise with an Associates Degree in Exercise Science and specializes in adaptive training. He has been heavily involved in mentoring youth and volunteering in several organizations in the Houston area and is a formally trained peer mentor. His main purpose is to rally the veteran community and to inform them about the benefits of physical activity. He is providing free fitness classes, wellness events, and seminars to help educate in an environment that will be welcoming for the veteran and their families. Through teamwork, motivation, and encouragement he will strive to teach others veteran how to break their own mental thresholds through exercise. Earl is a Purple Heart recipient and the third generation in his family to serve in 82nd Airborne Division.
Alan Nguyen serves as the Marketing Manager at Combined Arms. He's responsible for the branding, messaging, and storytelling for them, their member organizations, veterans, their families, and supporters. He brings experience from a varied marketing background, including the Black Sheep Agency and the Children's Museum of Houston - and captures moments of impact through photography in order to make sure they're documented to portray the best sides of people's service to their communities.
Brooke Ashley serves as the Marketing Coordinator at Combined Arms and manages the daily social media content as well as create larger strategic marketing planning. She is a proud graduate of Texas A&M University with experience and expertise in digital marketing in the health care and retail industries. Most recently, she lead social media and other digital marketing tactics for the nation's largest private, for-profit physician-led health care network, Steward Health Care.
Development Events Manager
Jennifer works hand-in-hand with the development team directing CAX sponsored fundraising events and managing all third party beneficiary events on our calendar. She has an extensive professional background in non-profit development event planning all of which has been focused in the veteran organization arena. Jennifer began her professional NPO events career at Lone Survivor Foundation as a volunteer and was rapidly promoted to Director of Events and Marketing. She then went on to open her own event consulting company working solely with non-profits and was able to see many veteran charities reach their fundraising goals with her assistance. Jennifer continues volunteering her services as Event Director for her favorite charities, including We Defy Foundation.
Tina serves as the Collaboration Manager at Combined Arms. She is responsible for producing the collaborative work of the member organizations and key stakeholders. She leads the seven unique committee chairs to take each committee's objective from concept to completion. Tina is also responsible for processing new member organizations, training them and onboarding them into the system. Additionally, she produces development training for the member organization staff members and initiates innovative collaboration methodologies to lead the committees and member organizations to reach their annual goals and visions. Tina is a U.S. Air Force veteran and served for over nine years as a Personnel Officer. Throughout her service she led and managed teams across the full spectrum of Force Support Operations including Readiness and Emergency Management, Casualty & Mortuary, Protocol, Morale Welfare & Recreation, Sustainment Services, Force Development, Sexual Assault Prevention & Response and Human Resources Management.
Dallas/ Fort Worth Regional Manager
Alexa Parker is a native Texan and proud Texas A&M University graduate. She serves as the Regional Manager for Combined Arms, and is located in Austin, Texas where her goal is to engage the Texas legislature, state agencies, and other key stakeholders. Most recently, Alexa spent time at the Texas Capitol where she worked as a legislative and press assistant for a state representative. She uses the knowledge and connections she made at the Capitol to educate our elected officials about the goals and mission of Combined Arms and its expansion across the state.
Austin Regional Manager
Sharon serves as the Combined Arms Austin Regional Manager focusing on connecting transitioning service members, veterans and their families with community leaders and member organizations. As a native Virginian, Sharon relocated to Austin TX in 2013 following her former husband's Naval retirement after a 25 year career. Sharon has worked in various roles with the Fleet & Family Support Centers (FFSC) on the east and west coast to include teaching life skills, activating reservists post 9-11, and manning an emergency family call center following catastrophic events. Most recently Sharon was a Corporate Sales Manager for an outdoor consumer brand and wanted to find her way back to helping the veteran community. Her personal experience as a NSW spouse along with her professional experience working with the FFSC exposed her to the challenges transitioning veterans and their families can face.
Rural Texas Regional Manager
As the Rural Texas Regional Manager, Vincent's focus is to connect transitioning service members, veterans, and their families to organizations and resources in rural areas. Vincent is a five year Army intelligence analyst veteran. He is a proud graduate from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Go Cru!). He has worked in marketing and education and was most recently the Director of Veteran Recruitment at Texas State Technical College. He is from a rural town known as the "Cutting horse capital of the world," called Weatherford Texas. Vincent joined Combined Arms because his time after service was filled with instability and unknowns and he wants to help veterans and their families have a better experience through their transition. Vincent is married to his beautiful wife, Skylar, and has three amazing fur children that keep them on their toes.
John is a 9 year Marine Corps Veteran and is beyond passionate about the veteran community. As the Collaboration Coordinator, John is the foundation of Combined Arms and is vital to our future success. Charged with fostering a vibrant atmosphere where member organizations can work and socialize productively, he is also responsible for proactively engaging with member organizations, rapidly responding to and resolving issues, taking care of the physical space, and setting the overall tone for the community. John is the first person current members see when they walk in. He is also a part of our Intake Team, where he assesses our clients in need and refers them to the correct resource. John is pursuing his bachelors at UHD.
Professional Growth Collaboration Committee
Steph is the Executive Director of NextOp, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in Houston, Texas. Steph (Parker) Drake was born in Sacramento, California and is part of a family with strong military service. Steph is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy (2005) where she majored in Oceanography and played Center midfielder for the Navy women's soccer team. In 2005 Steph commissioned as a US Marine Officer, serving 8 years active duty before transitioning to the reserves and moving to Houston. During her time serving our country, Steph held multiple roles at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Camp Lejeune, and Marine Barracks Washington, 8th & I. Steph deployed to Fallujah, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (2007-2008) as the Executive Officer for Security Company, Combat Logistics Battalion-8 and Officer-In-Charge of Fallujah's first Sisters of Fallujah program. Her other roles included Aerial Port Officer-In-Charge, Company Commander, Logistics Officer, and Regimental Operations Officer. Steph had the honor of being selected to the 8th & I ceremonial drill staff, marching in numerous ceremonies and formal parades in the National CapitalCapitol Region honoring distinguished guests and service members and representing the Marine Corps to the general public. While on active duty Steph earned her MBA from Boston University. Steph left the active duty Marine Corps in 2013, moving to Houston to start a successful career with Shell Oil Company. Steph's roles at Shell included Contracting & Procurement, Materials Management, and Logistics Operations. Most recently, Steph led the Shell Lubricants Supply Chain logistics operations team for the south & west of North America. Steph is a Marine Corps reservist and has served as the Houston Marine for Life Representative since February 2018, connecting Marines to local resources for various needs. She is also a Blue and Gold Officer for the US Naval Academy. Steph and her husband Taylor, also a US Marine and Naval Academy graduate, reside in Houston with their three young children.
Essential Services Collaboration Committee
Chrystal completed her Master's Degree in Social Work in 2013, with an emphasis in Military Social Work and has been serving the veteran community since. As a program manager for a national veteran service organization, Hope For The Warriors, and the spouse of a Marine Corps veteran, Chrystal understands the multilayered needs of veterans and their families. Her background is in political science and previously worked for the Arizona State Senate. Chrystal resides in Conroe with her husband and two daughters.
Wellness Collaboration Committee
Ashley is a mental health advocate for Service Members, Veterans, and their Families ensuring access to proper resources that will provide the best possible pathway towards recovery. For the five years prior to joining LSF, she managed the state of TexasŐ premiere mental health program for Veterans in three counties. She was able to engage the community through training and education focused on facts surrounding the issues that affect the military connected community and implementing community-
based programs to help. Ashley created and chaired the Veterans Taskforce for Tri-County Behavioral Healthcare for five years, served on the board for the City of HuntsvilleŐs Veterans Affairs Advisory Board for three years, served on the planning committee for the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical CenterŐs annual mental health summit for three years, and has presented at multiple state-wide agency conferences on various Veteran Mental Health topics. She is an Officer for the both her local VFW and American Legion and serves on the VFW Honor Guard.
Ashley is an Army Veteran who served for seven years with two Iraq deployments; 2004 and 2008. During her service as a wheeled vehicle repairer she completed maintenance tasks on major assembly replacements, was responsible for turning in equipment at the multi-million dollar range to Army Depot, completed 30+ combat support convoys throughout Iraq, served as a training NCO, and completed her service working for the Brigade level maintenance support operations office. She finished her enlistment as a Sergeant with a Combat Action Badge, three Army Commendation Medals, an Army Achievement Medal, and two good conduct medals. After service she completed her bachelorŐs degree in social sciences from University of Maryland University College and her masterŐs degree in human behavior from Capella University. Ashley currently resides in Spring, Texas with her husband who is an Army Veteran, their son, and their two dogs.
Caregivers Collaboration Committee
Hannah O'Brien is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin's Steve Hicks School of Social Work Masters program, and received her Bachelor's degree in Law and Society from American University in Washington, D.C. Upon beginning her graduate studies, Hannah met and fell in love with a Marine veteran and knew she wanted to make a career out of serving veterans and their families. Hannah currently serves as a Program Manager for The Institute for Military and Veteran Family Wellness at The University of Texas at Austin, managing programs such as the Veteran Spouse Network, and the Veteran Spouse Resiliency group program. She also serves as the chair of the Caregiver Collaboration Committee, helping Combined Arms serve those who care for our nation's veterans.
Education Collaboration Committee
Monteigne Long is the Program Coordinator for the Office of Veteran Services with The Texas A&M University System. She has been working with student veterans in higher education since 2010, when colleges and universities saw a large influx of Post 9/11 veterans. Prior to joining The Texas A&M University System, Monteigne served as the Veterans Coordinator at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, CA, and opened the first Veterans Resource Center at California State University, Northridge. Monteigne received a bachelor's degree in Marketing from Texas A&M University and a master's degree in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from the University of Southern California. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Higher Education Administration at Texas A&M University. Her professional affiliations include memberships in the National Association of Veteran Program Administrators (NAVPA), the Western Association of Veterans Education Specialists (WAVES), the Council of College and Military Educators (CCME), and the Texas Association of Collegiate Veteran Program Officials (TACVPO).
Education Collaboration Committee
Kapree Thomas-Washington is currently the Director of Veteran and Military-Affiliated Student Success (VMASS) at HCC. During her tenure at Houston Community College (HCC), she has fulfilled the roles of School Certifying Official, Veteran Resource Center Supervisor and Compliance Officer. Kapree has over 12 year of experience working in Higher Education. She started her career in Financial Aid and eventually worked her way up to the Military Education Benefits sector. Prior to joining The Houston Community College System, Kapree served as a School Certifying Official at City Colleges of Chicago in Chicago, IL and Career Education Corporation in Schaumburg, IL.
Kapree received an Associate’s Degree in Business Management from Robert Morris University, a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Concordia University, and a Master’s Degree in Business from American Intercontinental University.
Kapree has memberships with Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA), the Western Association of Veterans Education Specialists (WAVES) and Texas Association of Collegiate Veteran Program Officials (TACVPO).
Chairman, Houston, TX
As Chairman of the Board and a founder of Combined Arms, Bryan Foster provides leadership and oversight to ensure that Combined Arms stays true to the heart of its mission: empowering veterans and accelerating their impact on Houston. Leveraging his entrepreneurial and financial advisory background, Bryan is a strong driver in building a sustainable and impactful organization that both accelerates the impact of veterans and benefits the community at large. Bryan views his work with Combined Arms as an opportunity to reconnect with his Army past and to help other veterans develop into leaders.
Vice Chairman, Houston, TX
Lauren Gore is a Principal and co-founder of LDR Investment Group (LDR). LDR is a growth and innovation advisory firm specializing in growth initiatives for financial institutions. LDR has a strong track record working with management teams to enhance growth and innovation projects. Outside of LDR, Lauren is a member of the Boards of Directors at Communities in School and Combined Arms, where he serves as Vice Chairman of the Board.
Secretary, Houston, TX
Ashley is a Tax Director at Kinder Morgan-Houston, focusing on partnership taxation and mergers & acquisitions primarily in the midstream oil & gas market. Prior to Kinder Morgan, Ashley worked for Copano Energy and PKF of Texas. A University of Louisiana at Lafayette graduate and Phi Mu Fraternity alumni, Ashley is the wife of Marine Corps Corporal Christopher Eastin, a post-9/11 veteran. When not supporting the Combined Arms Spouses Group, she serves on the PTO at Saint Anne Catholic School, volunteers for the Saint Anne School Foundation, assists in coaching soccer, and is Troop Treasurer for her daughter's Girl Scout troop.
Treasurer, Houston, TX
As Treasurer, Andrew works with the Managing Director of Combined Arms to oversee the financial aspects of the organization. His expertise in finance, tax, treasury, budgeting and forecasting, in addition to general business and management experience, helps ensure Combined Arms is operating with stewardship, service, and efficiency to serve veterans in Houston.
At-Large Member, Houston, TX
Jonny serves as Associate Attorney with Baker Botts, LLP - Houston, focusing on energy litigation, toxic tort litigation, and complex commercial disputes. A member of the Corps of Cadets and the Ross Volunteer Company, the Texas A&M graduate served 5 years in the US Army, earning his Ranger Tab as an infantry officer. Deployed to Iraq twice, Jonny was awarded the Bronze Star Medal twice, earned the Combat Infantry Badge, and served an additional three years in the Massachusetts National Guard as an Officer Candidate Instructor. Jonny is committed to ensuring Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are prepared for success in the civilian world.
Board Member, Houston, TX
Doug is founder and owner of Sallyport Investments, LLC. and is the former chairman, president, and chief executive officer of El Paso Corporation. He brings over 30 years of experience in the energy industry. Foshee has been actively involved in civic and philanthropic endeavors for many years. He founded and is a director of NextOp Vets, a non-profit organization that provides job placement assistance, mentorship, support, and education for Veterans. He also supports scholarship programs at Rice University, separately at the Jones School at Rice University, at Baylor University, at Texas State University and at the Texas Business Hall of Fame for military veterans.
LtGen Steven Hummer
Board Member, Houston, TX
Steven is a retired Lieutenant General in the U.S. Marine Corps with 41 years of active duty experience under his belt. He has worked with service members on active duty and in transition, providing guidance to veterans so they can reach their goals and feel connected to their new life in the civilian world. As a Combined Arms Board Member, he provides strategic insight and a veteran-service perspective to ensure the organization is able to help transitioning veterans access the resources and support they need.
Board Member, Houston, TX
David brings 35 years of oil and gas industry experience to the Combined Arms board, helping to align the organization with partners throughout the Houston area who can support veterans with funds, resources and career opportunities. He provides fundraising and positioning expertise, as well as the perspective of a civilian voice helping the board see how to best reach those in the community.
Board Member, Houston, TX
Though not a veteran herself, Kelsey strives to give back to those who have served by acting as head of Combined Arms' Marketing and Branding Committee. Kelsey uses her communication skills and experience as the organization's Brand Manager at The Black Sheep Agency to accelerate the mission of Combined Arms and work towards its top-line brand goals. Her committed efforts have helped the organization serve as a transitioning force to hardworking and determined veterans who want to make a bigger impact in their community.
Board Member, Houston, TX
Jeff Hart is a Partner with McKinsey & Company and a leader of its Global Energy and Analytics practices. Serving clients across sectors and geographies, Jeff taps his deep analytics expertise to help industry leaders improve their operations, through initiatives ranging from organization-wide digital and analytics transformations to programs to improve capital project performance. Over the last few years, Jeff supported the Combined Arms team on their expansion plan and roll-out.
Jeff graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and spent 11 years as a Navy fighter pilot with more than 1,500 hours in the F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Hornet. Following service, he earned an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania before joining McKinsey & Company. Jeff lives in North Houston with his wife, Jennie, and their three children.
Board Member, Houston, TX
Board Member, Houston, TX
Jerry Lasco began his restaurant career in 2003 opening The Tasting Room in Houston, Texas. Today, Jerry is the Founder and CEO of Lasco Enterprises, which owns and operates 7 restaurants in Texas under the brands The Tasting Room Wine Cafe's Wine Dive and Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden. Over the years Lasco Enterprises has been recognized as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in Texas, The Best and Brightest Companies to Work For, Houston's Top Workplaces, and Best Places to Work in San Antonio. In 2014, Jerry was named Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year for the Gulf Coast States. The company is committed to giving back to its community and strongly supports local charities and community organizations, including GenesysWorks, JDRF and Combined Arms.
Jerry graduated from the US Air Force Academy and spent 13 years as a pilot with the Air Force and then Continental Airlines. Before moving to Houston in 2001, he lived in New York City where he attended Peter Kump's Cooking School and pursued a sommelier certification with The Court of Master Sommeliers. Jerry lives in Houston with his wife, Laura and their two boys, Max and Jack.
Board Member, Houston, TX
Brooks Ballard is an experienced leader with success as a real estate professional and leader committed to developing business relationships within the Houston community. Over 28 years in industry experience, including a board membership, attest to his capacity to serve an organization. Nominated personally by the Mayor of Houston for three separate appointments, Mr. Ballard is a ten-year veteran of the Citizen Review Committee Board of the Houston Police Department for the City of Houston. Through this leadership position Mr. Ballard brought positive changes to the department, supporting the Mayor's efforts to connect communities with law enforcement.
Board Member, Houston, TX
As a veteran of the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division, Brian understands the challenges returning service members face and is passionate about supporting veterans transitioning from service to civilian life. As a Board Member focusing on Business Development and Fundraising, he helps Combined Arms stay operationally and strategically aligned to make sure that it is around to serve veterans for decades to come.
Board Member, Houston, TX
Bill Pritchett is an associate attorney with the corporate group in the Houston office of Paul Hastings LLP and focuses on mergers & acquisitions and private equity. Bill graduated from the United States Naval Academy and was subsequently designated a Naval Aviator. He deployed to Southeast Asia in 2005 and flew missions in the P-3C Orion in support of Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines. He later became a primary flight instructor in the T-34C Turbomentor. He is also an active member of the United States Naval Academy Alumni Association Texas Gulf Coast Chapter.
Board Member, Houston, TX
David Ulrey serves as a manager of corporate development with National Oilwell Varco (NOV) in Houston, assisting NOV with mergers, acquisitions, and corporate planning. Prior to joining NOV, David was an energy investment banker with Simmons & Company International, focused on mergers, acquisitions, and capital markets transactions in the oilfield services sector. David served for five years as a financial management officer in the U.S. Army, during which time he deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 and was stationed at the U.S. Army Garrison Italy in Vicenza and Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Barb Sweredoski, Rear Admiral (retired), U.S. Navy
Board Member, Washington, D.C.
Rear Admiral Sweredoski served over thirty years of military service with the U.S. Navy retiring in 2015 as the Admiral leading the HR Reserve community where she was responsible for the strategic growth, direction and well-being of the HR Reserve community. As a Flag Officer, she also worked for the Chief of Naval Personnel in the Military Personnel Policy office including Diversity and Inclusion (D&I).
As the Navy’s Lead in the Congressionally-mandated Women in Service Review, Rear Admiral Sweredoski oversaw the development of all the Navy’s studies and reports to the Secretary of Defense and provided expert testimony to Congress on Navy's plan to integrate women into 27,000 additional positions in 2016. Efforts directly led to the opening of over 16,000 submarine positions 17 months ahead of the required deadline and the opening of all positions to females (including Navy SEALS).
She served a three-year assignment on the Secretary of the Navy’s National Navy Reserve Policy Board, and as a member of the Human Resources Executive Board. She served in several Commanding Officer tours and a variety of staff tours including NATO, Navy Inspector General and the Chief of Naval Operations Management Analysis unit. She proudly served with Navy Command Center shipmates who were awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation for actions during, and after, the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.
After retiring from the Navy, Rear Admiral Sweredoski used her extensive Human Resources background and experience in talent management, policy and strategy development, management consulting and multi-organizational collaboration as a Principal Executive Advisor within CEB’s (now Gartner) Human Resources (HR) Practice. CEB-HR Practice enables HR executives and their teams to execute efficiently, benchmark performance against best-in-class metrics and achieve critical business objectives through successful talent and functional strategies. CEB insights and global network help organizations work smarter and faster and deliver superior outcomes.
Rear Admiral Sweredoski received her Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from the University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y. after completing the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) program. She has her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) Certification and SHRM (CP) certification, has completed the Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) program and is a graduate of Reserve Component programs at National Defense University and Naval War College.
William H. Ahmanson
Board Member, Los Angeles, CA
William H. Ahmanson (Bill) was born and raised in Los Angeles, attended Harvard-Westlake School and Occidental College where he studied Political Science, Theater Arts and sculpture. During college he began a career in banking at Home Savings of America, where he worked for 17 years, beginning his career as a teller and ending his career there as the Chief Underwriter for Home's California Residential Lending Division, responsible for all high risk loans funded in the state. After 6 years in Union Bank’s Wealth Management Division, Bill retired from banking and is now President of The Ahmanson Foundation which concentrates its funding on cultural projects supporting the arts, education at the collegiate and pre-collegiate levels, medicine and delivery of health care services, programs related to homelessness and low-income populations, and a wide range of human services. In 1986 he began his service to the City of Los Angeles as a Los Angeles Police Reserve Line Officer. After 10 years of patrol he retired to focus on other of service. Today he is Trustee & President, The Ahmanson Foundation; Trustee and Board Chair, The Center Theater Group; Trustee, Vice-Chair of the Board, Chairman of the Audit Committee, serves on the Executive Committee at LACMA (The Los Angeles County Museum of Art); Trustee and serves on the Audit Committee, Loyola Marymount University; Director and Secretary, Petersen Automotive Museum; Director and Secretary of the Los Angeles Mounted Police Foundation; among others.