Currently, every member serving on the Board of Directors is a current or former member of the United States Armed Forces. From the U.S. Air Force to the U.S. Army, Operation ReConnect is deeply rooted in service to our great nation.
We understand building a network of professionals from many diverse backgrounds will be key to our success. As Operation ReConnect continues to grow, we will expand the total number of Directors & Advisors.
As the Founder & President of Operation ReConnect, Ryan has made it his life mission to ReConnect Combat Veterans and their Families after an overseas deployment. The concept of this Organization originated during first deployment to Afghanistan in 2014. "A fellow service member brought to my attention that he and his family had never been on a true family vacation. With that information, I brought in a network of incredible people from Coastal Alabama and together we provided this family a free vacation to the Gulf Coast. At that moment, I realized it was my responsibility to take on the much neglected opportunity to help ALL Combat Veterans returning from a deployed environment. Operation ReConnect was born. I am honored to serve those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice so we may all enjoy FREEDOM."
Rob is not afraid to take on the tough challenges, in life or on the battle field. In 2003 under the 18th Airborne Corp, he deployed to Iraq as a Paratrooper with the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division. Rob and his team led the charge into Baghdad to secure Iraqi military strong holds, including Saddam Hussein's War College. His dedication to executing the mission and deep sense of responsibility for his troops, is a truly valuable resource for our Organization. Not only does Rob possess strong military values, he also brings his creative and design capabilities. You can see this by simply viewing our Organizational Logo that he created. It is a clear, yet simple representation of our Mission to ReConnect Combat Veterans and their Family.
Matthew is a perfect fit for the Board of Directors. His ongoing 19+ year military career will serve as a guide in directing the organization in a manner that ensures we can meet the needs of military families, no matter the phase of their career. His list of military accomplishments is long and distinguished, from being a Commander for multiple Units to earning a Bronze Star, Air Medal, Iraq and Afghanistan Campaign Medal and many more. Matthew brings a vast knowledge of logistical structures while maintaining a direct attention to detail. His extraordinary and proven leadership skills remain sharp even in the toughest of moments.
Growing up on the beaches of southern California, I have long been a fan of warm weather, sunshine and salt water. I graduated from West Point where I studied Environmental Engineering. While in transition between the Army and the real world, I was lucky to earn admission to MIT, where I earned my MBA and a masters in Ocean Systems Management – thinking that this would keep me close to our nation’s coastline. I first visited Perdido Key for a family vacation in early 2003 and truly fell in love with the area. In 2006, WCI asked me to join Wanda Cross and Greg Jones in the management of Lost Key. The pursuit of other real estate development opportunities took me away from the Key for several years, but I’m now back in full force as the general manager and CFO of the Flora-Bama. I believe in small business and will ensure that the Perdido Key/Orange Beach area does everything within its power to support the interests of military families that serve our country.
Originally from Buffalo, New York Jim Fisher retired from the Navy as a Captain in 2014 after a 28 year career as a Helicopter Pilot. A 1987 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Jim currently works as a Senior Consultant for ConOps Advisors LLC, a Pensacola based Consulting firm that specializes in all aspects of Defense acquisition.
Since his retirement from Active Duty, Jim has had the pleasure and privilege to work with several Veteran related service organizations on the Gulf Cost including the Panhandle Warrior Partnership and The Fisher House of the Emerald Coast. He looks forward to contributing and building upon the foundation Operation ReConnect has established in its youthful existence. Beyond his distinguished military service and executive experience, Jim has quickly become an invaluable team member whose primary focus will be in the sustainability & scalability arenas. Furthermore, the entire ReConnect Team openly welcomes Jim to his new position of Advisory Board - Chairman.
Kevin "Dauber" Lacz is a former Navy SEAL sniper, breacher, and combat medic. He is also a certified Physician Assistant with Regenesis, professional speaker, writer, and works actively in the entertainment industry.
Kevin's true account of his 2006 deployment with SEAL Team THREE's Charlie Platoon will be out in July 2016. The Last Punisher tells the gripping story of a young SEAL's first deployment to a combat zone.
Kevin also worked as the SEAL Technical Advisor and played himself in the Oscar nominated 2014 film 'American Sniper.' The time he spent working alongside the film's subject, Chris Kyle, made him a valuable asset to the film's cast and crew.
Kevin lives in Florida with his wife, Lindsey, and two children. He divides his time between practicing medicine, speaking professionally, and working actively in veterans' causes, such as with the charity he co-founded with his wife (Hunting for Healing). Additionally, he was appointed to the District Board of Trustees for Pensacola State College by Florida Governor Rick Scott.
Lindsey Lacz is originally from Jacksonville, Florida, but grew up moving often with her Navy family. She and Kevin met in 2007 and were married in 2009. She holds a degree in History from UNC – Chapel Hill and an MAEd from William and Mary. She taught high school social studies until 2012, when she and Kevin made the decision she should stay home as their family grew. Currently, Lindsey has just completed co-writing Kevin’s memoir, The Last Punisher. Having lived around the military her entire life, she feels passionate about serving veterans and their families.
Major General Hubert C. Hegtvedt is the Deputy Director for Global Policy and Partnerships (GPP) on the Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. He is the principal advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director for Strategic Plans and Policy on global and functional matters. Major areas of responsibilities include: Develop DoD, USG, and international partner capabilities, plans, and programs; Oversee all DoD security cooperation activities; Supervise the Chairman’s mission to the United Nations; Oversee policy synchronization for Cyberspace, Space and Missile Defense, and Maritime portfolios.
Major General Hegtvedt is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a degree in Industrial Technology/Manufacturing Engineering. He was commissioned in the Active Duty Air Force in 1988 through Officer Training School and transitioned to the Air Force Reserve in 1998. He served as a T-37 first assignment instructor pilot followed by operational assignments in the F-16, F-22 and A-10, as well as serving on the Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command staff and the Joint Staff. Major General Hegtvedt is a command pilot with 4,185 hours of flying time, which includes combat time in support of Operations Deliberate Guard, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom
John was born in Mobile, Alabama in 1978, John McInnis III is the third generation of a successful construction enterprise. The family-owned construction company was started by John’s grandfather, John McInnis Sr. in 1970 and focused on heavy construction and transportation infrastructure. John McInnis III began running the day to day operations of several family businesses immediately after graduating from the University of Alabama in 2000 with degrees in Business Administration and Political Science. Through the leadership of John McInnis Sr, John McInnis Jr, and John McInnis III the businesses grew to complete more than $1 Billion and 1,000 major projects including bridges, roads, utilities, toll projects, and disaster related projects. John McInnis III was instrumental in several national emergency cleanup operations including The City of Orange Beach, Al after Hurricane Ivan (2004), St. Bernard Parish, LA after Hurricane Katrina (2005) and 20 miles of Alabama Coastline after the BP Horizon Oil Spill (2010). The Hurricane Katrina Cleanup in Southern Louisiana amounted to the largest single FEMA Funded demolition project in U.S. History resulting in almost 10,000 structures demolished.
John McInnis III has built a reputation around his expertise in business strategy, principals, and structure. His roots in the highway construction business and solid business principals have yielded experience and assets in the birth and expansion of several different companies in many diverse industries including heavy construction, disaster cleanup and emergency management, government contracting, technology, motorsports, automotive and entertainment. Through his leadership, the John McInnis Family’s business interests have grown to include dozens of successful Companies. Mr. McInnis has developed business relationships and partnerships in multiple fields both in the U.S. and abroad. Most recently the McInnis Family became the majority owner in one of the world’s most famous road houses and beach bar’s, The Flora-Bama, which sits directly on the beach straddling the Alabama/Florida State Line. The Flora-Bama has been named the #1 Beach Bar in the U.S. or World by Playboy, Maxum, CNN, Yahoo Travel, The Huffington Post and others. Jimmy Buffet and Kenny Chesney have both written songs about the Flora-Bama and in 2014 Kenny Chesney performed his only concert of the year to over 40,000 fans to celebrate the Flora-Bama’s 50th Anniversary. Mr McInnis, his partners, and the Flora-Bama staff executed the highest profile concert in the U.S. for 2014 which was featured in all major news outlets including The Today Show, Good Morning America, and Rolling Stone.
Beth is a Vice President/Senior Audit Manager for the Financial Crimes Audit Team at Wells Fargo. Located in Minneapolis, MN, Beth has worked in the financial sector for the past 15 years specializing in Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)/Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Sanctions, and USA PATRIOT Act regulatory requirements. Beth has a unique insight into the regulatory and compliance environment this country works within each day. Furthermore, her 7 years of management experience has taught her the importance of building a strong team of motivated, diverse, and talented individuals who bring different views to a situation. Beth is passionate about the mission of Operation ReConnect and has served on the board since 2016.
Diego is in the Advisory Services and serves as a Subject Matter Advisor for Sanctions and BSA/AML Matters, focusing on LATAM and the Middle East. In this role, Diego provides independent assessments to Compliance and Financial Crimes/Audit groups. His specialized experience includes Global and Regulatory Sanctions, procedure writing and documentation, internal audit, lookback assessments and Capital Markets AML Monitoring Implementations. Diego joined the firm after more than 9 years with the US Army including an assignment as Senior Advisor for Logistics and Operations Support in Afghanistan and various project management and lessons learned positions within various government and military offices. In this role, Diego worked alongside Afghan partners in a specialized unit focused on AML to fight financial crime and corruption, drug trade, human trafficking and contract fraud and providing feedback and lessons learned to regional commanders. Diego also served as an Assistant Contracting Officer Representative for Regional Command South, where he played a key role in auditing US and NATO security, operations, and logistical contracts. Additionally, Diego was the Deputy Director of Logistics and Operations projects under Joint Force Headquarters for the State of Pennsylvania, where he served as the Advisor to the Group Commander on Logistics, Sustainment and Future Operations/Plans. His responsibilities included the management of special projects, unit logistics and support, and unit auditing.
He currently lives in NYC and helps co-lead Veterans on Wall Street (VOWS); and is the Co-Founder of Women Veterans on Wall Street and Previous Advisory Co-Chair of Operation ReConnect.