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My Story (for those of you who enjoy reading wordy webpages) 

My life is very much defined by my 30 years of service in the United States Air Force. The Air Force has at its core values:

  • Integrity first

  • Service before self

  • Excellence in all that we do

Very similar to Toastmasters core values aren't they! These are values that I have strived to live by in all that I have done throughout my life so finding Toastmasters with its values of Integrity, Respect, Service and Excellence was a natural fit that I could fully embrace.

I have also learned--and embraced--the value of connecting and I want to connect with you!

But, how did I arrive there?

I was born in 1960 in Los Angeles, California, USA. My father was the son of a French-Canadian immigrant and both sides of my family were farmers, blacksmiths and carpenters for generations. My mother studied music and my father earned a Master's Degree in English and taught community college--both of them the first generation in either of their families to attend college/university. When I was three, they moved to the US Mid-West, and I grew up and spent my formative years growing up in a literal "Main Street" USA small town in Missouri. I spent summers on my grandparent's farm throwing hay bales and riding horses and combines. It was wholesome, but not how I wanted to spend my life. Somehow, I was able to achieve my one life long dream to that point and was accepted to the US Air Force Academy, graduating in 1982 with a BS in International Affairs and a commission in the Regular US Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant. That was the beginning of an amazing journey that led me, finally, to Toastmasters. So here's a little bit of the story from a Missouri country boy's journey, at least the journey so far!


Following graduation and commissioning in 1982, I was trained as an intelligence officer, a career field I remained in for the rest of my career through several headquarters assignments including the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Headquarters US Air Force. I served in Saudi Arabia during DESERT STORM, and also performed short periods of duty in Norway, Panama, and Venezuela. I left full-time active duty in 1989 and entered the reserves, although frequently returned to active duty status over the next 23 years for a wide range of assignments, frequently for years at a time. They all added to my experience and global perspective. I became very flexible and adaptable, and a really quickly study, allowing me to quickly integrate to an organization and become an effective team member.  I retired in 2012 as a full Colonel after having served 30 years. Over the course of my career I had a lot of wonderful experiences that reinforced the importance of strong teams, effective collaboration and communication, leadership and management and effective decision making and strategic planning.   


I joined the US Federal Civilian Service as a Regional Space Analyst for US Space Command in February 2000. To help reduce confusion, yes, I was serving out both a military career and a civil service career simultaneously, but from time to time I would be on a leave on absence from civil service to meet military obligations.  One of those happened in October 2001, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when I took a leave of absence to serve for two years in uniform. In October 2003, I returned to civilian service with a promotion until again returning to active duty in  2007, this time for nearly three years in Washington, DC. I returned again to civil service in 2009, again with a promotion, and served the Senior Counterintelligence Policy Advisor for the Defense Security Service (DSS) where I remained until I retired in 2019 after having served as the Acting Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Plans, Policy and programs, and then seven months as the Deputy Chief of Mission Assurance and the Continuity of Operations Program Manager as DSS absorbed the National Background Investigation Service and became the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (the largest security agency in the US government.) 


It was during my service at DSS, and after my retirement from the Air Force, that I joined Toastmasters. Unknown to me at the time, this would begin another very significant chapter in my life. 


I joined Toastmasters in 2013,  at the request of a friend and co-worker who was trying to charter a club to serve as part of a leadership development program for DSS. I still think of Toastmasters as a leadership development program in addition to its well-deserved reputation as a premier provider of public speaking skills. But in 2013, I didn't even know what Toastmasters was when I presided over that club's first meeting! Sometime over the next few months, the club was Select Distinguished, I began to figure it out and things really took off from there:

  • Area Governor and Fall Conference Chair during 2014-2015 program year--President's Distinguished Area -- my second year in Toastmasters!

  • Earned DTM in Oct 2015--after 28 months

  • Elected Division D Director in 2015 and Division B Director in 2016 -- President's Distinguished in Division D

  • Club Growth Director 2017-2018

  • Program Quality Director 2018-2019 -- Excellence in Program Quality Award (first time in 3 years for District 29)

  • District Director 2019-2020--Distinguished District (one of only three US districts and only 20 worldwide). first time for District 29 in 4 years--during the COVID pandemic!

Along the way, I've gained some experience that I think will help me be a strong team player on the board:

  • Policy analysis, development and oversight -- I've developed a lot of policy over the years covering a wide range of subject areas for the various organizations I've been in, some of which effected thousands of people and US National Security.

  • Leadership -- Sometimes I've been in charge, frequently I haven't, but I have learned how to exercise ethical leadership to contribute to group decision making.

  • Strategic Planning -- Many of my jobs through the years gave me the chance to do strategic planning, something I very much enjoy! I've done strategic planning and implementation in many military and government organizations, including long-term planning, and large-scope, even global planning. 

  • Budget and Finance: Budgets are something else I've had the opportunity to plan and manage. In one of my last civil service jobs, with DSS, I had oversight and management  of a (US) $51 million budget for operations across the US with a world-wide focus, including personnel costs, training, and contracts.

  • Board Experience: I have had the privilege to serve on multiple boards, councils and steering committees governing training and education across the US Department of Defense and the National Intelligence Community. I'm currently serving on the Board of Regents for the Association of Certified Knowledge Management Professionals, so I understand the commitment being on a board represents and the importance of being a contributing member who can help carry out the board's decisions. 

I also had the great fortune to get an education, much of it courtesy of the US Government, for which I am and always shall be grateful:

  • BS in International Affairs (National Security Policy specialty), US Air Force Academy, 1982

  • Graduate study in Political Science with a minor in Sociology, Utah State University, 1983 - 85 

  • Graduate of the US Air Force Air Command and Staff College, 1998

  • MS in Strategic Intelligence, National Intelligence University, 1999

  • Graduate of the US Air Force Air War College, 2005

As well as the benefit of a lot of additional training that has come in useful, including:

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency - Continuity Planning Professional training - 2019

  • Office of Personnel Management (OPM) - National Security Policy Seminar 

  • OPM - Resiliency Advantage Seminar

  • US Government Graduate School - Decision Making and Problem Solving Course

Most important of all, I learned the importance and value of CONNECTING!  That didn't come quickly, or easily. I was over 15 years into my career before I really "got it." But connecting to each other is vitally important--and I want to connect with you!

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