The board behind VCNCT

*Nekima Horton-President & CEO

Nekima L. Horton is a game changer. Horton, the Founder and  current President and CEO of the Veterans Coalition of North Central Texas, the largest of such an organization helping veterans in the state of Texas, believes helping veterans is her calling. “My passion is seeing the many men and women who has served this country succeed,” she says.

Nekima has a proven track record in assessing, designing, developing, implementation of programs, and organizational development. She started her career in the school system in the state of Louisiana, working with elementary, middle and high school students, identified as at risk. She then transferred to the largest charity hospital in Monroe Louisiana. Working in the Social Services Department of the hospital, Nekima was thrust into the after math of Hurricane Katrina. She also   worked part time at a geriatrics clinic. Leading group sessions with seniors was the most memorable education she had received, as well as a highlight of her career. While she enjoyed her work, she knew she wanted to have more of a voice in program development.

It was her work in tobacco cessation that brought Nekima to Texas. Prior to coming to Texas, Nekima was the North Regional Director for the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco free living. Adding tobacco cessation to her focus on building healthy communities was a welcome addition to her work. In 2009, she was hired by University of Texas at Arlington to make the campus tobacco free. She enjoyed her work but still felt like she had more to develop and give. As the campus moved forward with her recommendations, becoming smoke free in 2011, she went back to her passion of direct community service. “I just felt like something was missing,” she said.

It was at this time she added service to Veterans and their families to her portfolio. As Director of the Operation Healthy Reunions program at Mental Health America, Nekima focused on the mental health state of returning Veterans. It was here she built the Veterans Coalition of North Central Texas. Within five years, she and a dedicated Board of Directors, Coalition members, and community partners built the largest, most comprehensive, Veterans Coalition in the State of Texas. Garnering over 75+ organizations, on a monthly basis, to discuss best practice and service to those that have served, their families, and Veteran Service Organizations, they consider themselves the “Gap filler.” Her goal as the President and CEO is to grow the organization into a State and National model. She attributes the success of the Coalition to working in excellence, networking, collaboration, and most importantly staying focused on the mission and service before self!

CPT. Nate Couser, USA,(RET)

2014

Nate Couser is the Founder/Owner/President/CEO/Entrepreneurial Solutions Expert, Chief Strategist of Operation Breakthrough Strategies Corporation, Nastep Consulting Corporation, USO Team “Operation Breakthrough: Teaming and Strategies” and Author of the Book – “Operation Breakthrough: Striving Through Struggles for Success by Teaming” and soon-to-be published book(s) “Operation Breakthrough: Business Biblical Principles” and “Operation Breakthrough: The Entrepreneurial/Small Business Owner Track Series”.  His Nastep Consulting Corporation: (Successfully achieved multi-million & multi-billion dollar Government Contract Values by Strategic Teaming), a global multi-functional, high technology services consulting – solutions – product firm that provides services to clients’(public & private sector, government, and military) project needs and demands in every area of their organization and the Founder/CEO/Chief Strategist of “Operation Breakthrough Strategies Corporation” (An Extension of Success from Nastep Consulting Corporation), Operation Breakthrough Strategies Corporation (OBTCORP) a solutions’ high-technology & entrepreneurial business development solutions firm that provides a full-service solutions’ based thorough entrepreneurial business developmental program/process composed of Strategies, Methodologies, Processes and Procedures for overall business development, entrepreneurial business developmental, coaching & mentoring, business re-structure & re-engineering and foundation/structure/teaming building business solutions for directional guidance for business & career success for Business Owners and Professionals.

Tracy Little, USAF,(RET)- Board Chair

*Founding Board Member 2011

Tracy Y. Little retired from the United States Air Force on December 31st, 1999 at the rank of Master Sergeant.  Her last duty assignment was the Army & Air Force Exchange Service in Dallas, Texas where she served as an Assistant Inspector General.  With over 20 years’ of active duty service, previous assignments include the Air Intelligence Agency (Electronic Security Command) in San Antonio, Texas; the 24th Composite Wing, Tactical Air Command at Howard AFB, Panama; and the Strategic Air Command, Beale AFB, California.  Significant military accomplishments include receipt of the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Good Conduct Medal with five oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Outstanding Airman of the Year Ribbon, Outstanding Administrator of the Year (MAJCOM and Air Force-level) and also served as an Air Force Association (AFA) Enlisted Advisory Council Member and is a life-time member.  Tracy Little also completed the USAF Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO) Academy, the USAF Senior NCO Academy and Air Force Basic Training with honors.  Tracy sits on many community boards, including the Veterans Coalition of North Central Texas, where she is a founding Board Member.

Charles Read, USMC, (RET)

2014

Charles Read joined the Rotary Club of Dallas in 1997.  His first experience with Rotary was in the 1950’s as a guest of his father at the Davenport, Iowa Rotary Club (the 37th club in Rotary).  His father proposed our own Jim Griffith for Rotary Club membership in1960. He and his family moved to Dallas in 1972 after he completed his service in the United States Marine Corp.  He attended and received his BBA (cum laude) and MBA from then North Texas State University.  While in graduate school he sat for and passed his CPA exam. He worked for large and small companies until starting his own company in 1991. Charles is the owner and CEO of several companies including Custom Payroll Associates, inc. a national payroll provider. Charles is a member in numerous professional organizations including the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, The Texas Society of Public Accountants, a founder of The Independent Payroll Providers Association and others.  He has also served his community on the Planning and Zoning Board, as an officer of the Economic Development Commission and as candidate for Town Council.  He has also been an  award winning member of Toastmasters.

Robert Johnson, USMC,(RET)

* Founding Board Member (2011-2012)

Robert Johnson the Director and Founder of Veterans for Christ – Corp of Garland, TX. It is a six (6) level nonprofit organization for veteran and active soldiers in DFW.  Mr. Johnson is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  He is the middle son of a family of six.  Robert came from a very high at risk neighborhood, a product of “Big Brother, Big Sisters.” Robert joined the US Marines delayed entry program in 1985.  Robert served about eight years in the Marines and was last stationed Camp Butler in Okinawa, Japan. In his first years his position was in base administration and was also advised that volunteering for temporary assignments duty (TAD) would be good for his career.  He has worked in the base chapel as an assistant, S3 and S4 sections at MACS 28, MCAS New River, NC.  A few months after reporting to his assignment in Okinawa, he was asked to serve as the Headquarters Battery, 12th Marines Regiment Legal NCO (Non Commissioned Officer).

Dr. Greta Kerwin

*Founding Board Member (2011-2013)

Dr. Kerwin has been providing clinical services to children and their families since 1997.  She has worked in community mental health agencies, private practice and in the school setting serving children and adolescents who have developmental deficits, learning disorders, mood disorder, anxiety, ADHD, attachment related difficulties, and substance abuse issues.  She is well versed in outlining the treatment interventions to foster a child’s strengths as well as address deficits and identify community resources to best fit a child’s needs.   Dr. Kerwin has extensive testing experience using a multitude of measures to identify the cognitive, developmental, academic, emotional, and behavioral needs of children and adolescents.  She has had a wealth of experience evaluating individuals with undiagnosed learning disabilities and understands the importance of early identification to maximize a child’s potential.  Dr. Kerwin also has special training in screening individuals for Irlen Syndrome, a perceptual disorder that can negatively impact one’s learning.

CPT. Bob Dill, USN,(RET)

2014

As a National Practice Leader in the Dallas Office, Bob provides consulting services  in  executive  compensation, total rewards and performance management systems.  Bob consults with management, CEOs, Compensation Committees and Board of Directors on a wide variety of compensation and human resource issues.    Although Bob consults in many industries, he has been regarded as each consulting firm’s leading global energy-related executive compensation consultant with personal experience working in the oil patch and for a major oil company. Prior to Hay Group, Mr. Dill was a managing consultant/practice leader and was considered a leading executive compensation consultant for PwC, KPMG and Towers Perrin. Mr. Dill has over 30 years of experience in all phases of human resource management and his  over  twenty  years  of  consulting  experience  spans  a  comprehensive  range  of engagements for publicly traded and privately held organizations, both large and small, including international assignments.   Bob is a Veteran, having served six years in the US Army, retiring as a Captain.

Col. Mike Snipes, USA,(RET)

*Founding Board Member (2011-2013)

Michael Snipes Graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1976. He served as an Active duty Army officer until 1990, as an Armor officer with the 2d Armored Division in Fort Hood, Texas from 1976-1981. He graduated from the University of Texas, School of Law, after being selected for the Army’s Funded Legal Education Program, then serving a six-year active duty commitment to the Army in exchange for law school education. Mike served as a trial defense counsel with the 7th Infantry Division and deployed to the Sinai Peninsula for six months with the Multinational Force and Observers. He returned from the Middle East in June 1986 and assumed duties as a prosecutor and later as the Chief of Justice at Fort Ord, California. Mike earned a Masters of Law in 1988 at the Army Judge Advocate General’s school. He graduated from the United States Army War College in 2001 and obtained a Masters Degree in Strategic Studies. Returned to public service as a federal prosecutor in the Dallas Division of the Northern District of Texas prosecuting cases for more than 13 years, working in all four of the criminal division’s major sections. Recalled to active duty in February 2004 and served overseas with the Army’s First Infantry Division, first in Germany and later in Iraq, working as a political advisor to General John Batiste, Commander of the 1st Infantry Division. Elected to Criminal District Court No.7, Dallas County, in 2006, retired 2015. Snipes has now joined the law firm: Broden, Mickelsen, Helms & Snipes LLP.

Wendy Messmann CFP, CFA, CAIA (2014-2015)

Wendy joined U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management in 2003 and currently oversees and manages the investment team serving North Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Her team is responsible for the oversight of over $15 billion in client assets and is charged with implementing and crafting customized investment solutions for a broad array of clients. She has 21 years of experience specializing in advice and service to high net worth clients.  In 2005, Wendy was one of six Portfolio Managers appointed to work with Family Wealth Advisors, a highly specialized group designed to deliver customized advice, solutions and service to some of the nation’s wealthiest families and individuals. Prior to joining Bank of America, Wendy was with UBS for 12 years working with a team specializing in delivering exceptional advice and service to high net worth clients. Wendy is a graduate of Southern Methodist University with a B.S. in Business Administration and earned her M.B.A. in Finance from Arizona State University.

Tamayra Stell, USA,(RET)

*Founding Board Member (2011-2013)

Major Tamayra Whitaker-Stell enlisted in the army in 1988 as a Private (E1), Graves Registration Specialist.  She served in the enlisted ranks for 3 years and also served as a Cadet with the 141st Field Services Company in Tyler Texas.  Major Stell received her commission through ROTC in 1991 from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, where she also received her Bachelor’s degree.  She is also a graduate of Signal Officer Basic Course, Adjutant General Advance Course, FORSCOM USAR CO/DET Pre-Command Course and Captains Career Course. In her 26 year military career span, Major Stell has served in a variety of Command and staff assignments: Battalion S1, Company Executive Officer, Company Commander,  3/379/4 BCT ( Drill Sergeant Battalion), Bossier City, LA; Assistant Intelligence and Operations Officer, Battalion S1, Battery Commander, 1/355 (Drill Sergeant Battalion), Grand Prairie, Texas; Brigade S4, 95th DIV, Lawton, OK; Group S1, 493rd Engineer Group, Grand Prairie Texas; Battalion Executive Officer, 300th Special Troops Battalion, Grand Prairie, Texas; Brigade S1, 300th Sustainment Brigade, Grand Prairie Texas.

Major General James Williams, USMC,(RET)

*Founding Board Member, (2011-2016)

Major General James Williams served his country in the military for over 35 years; he retired 1 August 2010. He has commanded Marines at every level in and out of combat. He was last assigned as the Commanding General, 4th Marine Division from April 2007 to April 2010. Previous positions held were as the Assistant Division Commander, 2nd Marine Division from November 2006 to March 2007; Deputy Commanding General (Mobilization), Marine Corps Combat Development Command in 2006; Assistant Division Commander, 2d Marine Division, in combat operations at Camp Blue Diamond, Ar-Ramadi, Iraq, from 2005-2006; and Deputy Commanding General, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Fallujah, Iraq, from 2004-2005. While serving with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force he was assigned as the Deputy Director of Operations CJTF-180, conducting combat operations in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom, from 2001-2003. He also served on the Secretary of Defense’s Reserve Force Policy Board from 2007-2010.

Bishop Donald L. Hayes, USAF,(RET)

2014

Born in 1953 in Mullins, South Carolina DD Hayes joined the United States Air Force in 1971 and Retired from the United States Air Force after 20 years of faithful service in 1991. He was called into the Ministry and licensed in September 1976 preaching his first sermon in December 1976. Having been ordained as an Elder in March 1978, he founded and is the Pastor of Gospel Inspirational Fellowship at RAF Upper Heyford, England in 1978. Bishop Hayes assisted in establishing other Gospel services throughout the United Kingdom and also in Germany. He also pastored Union Bethel Community Church, Great Falls, Montana; choir was selected to perform for the Governor of Montana, in 1983. Served as the Assistant Pastor of the Gospel Services at Osan, Korea in 1984; while over in that area, he also ran Revivals in the Philippines and in Japan. He was appointed Pastor of the Gospel Services in 1987 at Carswell AFB, Texas and officially charted that work in 1989 naming it the “Gospel Inspirational Fellowship, Incorporated”

Bishop Hayes was appointed Head Chaplain of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Chaplaincy in 1997; the 3rd busiest airport in the world and is the 1st African-American to hold this position. As Bishop and Overseer of the G.I.F.T. Church, Ft. Worth, TX; Arise Ministries, UK, England; L.I.F.E. Church, Ft. Worth, TX; GSDE Ministries, Durham, NC; Tastebud Church, Ft. Worth, TX, also 3 more churches in TX, & Empowered Ministries, Dacula, GA, & working with churches in Kenya & Bostwana, Africa, he has a full schedule.

Colonel Anthony A. Wood, USMC,(RET)

2017

Colonel Anthony A. Wood is a Marine Corps combat veteran whose career extended for more than thirty-­four years. In the first of his two combat tours in Viet Nam he served as a platoon commander in operations with the Republic of Korea Blue Dragon Brigade. During his second tour he commanded a joint contingent in MIA resolution operations. He is well known for his key role in the evacuation of Saigon in April of 1975 at the close of the Viet Nam War. Then Captain Wood organized a group of American civilian volunteers who assumed great personal risk to remain without protection and evacuate over 5,000 persons from the collapsing capital to the safety of waiting Marine helicopters. At the height of the Cold War, Major Wood developed a strategic prepositioning concept that enabled rapid deployment and assembly of Marine Corps forces in three oceanic theaters.

Later, as Chief of Staff of Marine Forces in the Pacific, Colonel Wood journeyed to Vladivostok and Khabarovsk in Russia charged with negotiating a tension reduction agreement with the senior leadership of the Russian Pacific Fleet and the Russian Far East Military District. That bilateral agreement remains in force today. Finally, as founder and first Commander of the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, Colonel Wood led and inspired an institution whose ground breaking and unorthodox experiments were directly responsible for a host of operational innovations that saw implementation in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.