SVA Student Veteran of the Year
Brian Adam Jones
SVA Student Veteran of the Year; Columbia University
SVA’s Student Veteran of the Year award is given to the student veteran who demonstrates dynamic, motivational and innovative leadership that has mobilized and unified the student veterans of their campus toward a common good.
As a writer for Task & Purpose Brian Adam Jones was also nominated to become one of the HillVets 100 in our media category.
Read Brian Adam Jones articles Here
Businesses Focused on Veterans
The individuals in this category are the leaders and founders of businesses created with veterans in mind. They offer services and provide resources and solutions that benefit veterans and military service members. The companies’ efforts work to strengthen the community by directly supporting veterans through unique and diverse initiatives. This category includes the more traditional and long-standing supporters of veterans, to the newer, veteran-founded businesses, both of which are focused on bringing relevant tools and resources to the veteran community.
Josue Robles, CEO and President
Josue “Joe” Robles is President and Chief Executive Officer of USAA, one of America’s leading financial services companies. The association has been serving military families since 1922 and has become well known for what it offers to its 9.4 million members. In 2014, USAA continued expanding their mission to the military community by offering free guidance and tools that were catered to supporting veterans in their careers and post-military lives. They increased their promotion of veterans’ hiring programs and partnered with other industries to ensure that available jobs were filled by worthy and experienced veterans.
Sign Up for a USAA Account Here
Cutler Dawson, CEO and President
Navy Federal Credit Union
Navy Federal Credit Union is a well-known supporter of the veteran community and specializes in banking and mortgage services for its members. Underneath Mr. Dawson’s leadership, the Navy Federal Credit Union recommitted to their mission of helping young veterans by strengthening the company’s student loan repayment program, which will benefit new enlistees. Mr. Dawson has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Navy Federal Credit Union since December 2004. Previously, Mr. Dawson served as a Navy Federal volunteer official for five years until March 2004, after completing a 34-year career in the United States Navy. He served as Chief Financial Officer of the Navy and a principal advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations.
Sign Up for a Navy Federal Account Here
Fred Wellman, CEO and Founder
Fred Wellman is the CEO and founder of ScoutComms as well as a retired Army officer who served four combat tours in Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. ScoutComms is the nation’s premier communications, advocacy and philanthropic strategy firm focused entirely on supporting veterans, military families and the organizations that empower them.
This year ScoutComms became a Certified B Corp, joining just 1,600 companies worldwide and is one of the first focused on veterans and their needs as its mission to have a social impact. In just five years, the company has grown to include some of the most highly regarded advocates for veterans and military families and supports the top companies, nonprofits and organizations making a measurable difference in the community.
Learn More About ScoutComms Here
Yinon Weiss, CEO and Founder
Yinon served 10 years on active duty, serving first as a Marine Corps Scout/Sniper Platoon Commander, and then as an Army Special Forces officer, deploying overseas multiple times throughout his military career. Before co-founding RallyPoint, he worked as Director of Product Marketing at a VC-backed technology startup, and he is also the founder of MilitaryToBusiness.com.
While at Harvard Business School, Yinon worked at Goldman Sachs and Boston Consulting Group, and decided to build upon his private sector experience and deep passion for empowering and improving the lives of military personnel by co-founding RallyPoint. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Science from UC Berkeley where he majored in Bioengineering and minored in Chemical Engineering. In 2015, he was recognized as a Presidential Leadership Scholar. Yinon grew up in Palo Alto, CA.
Learn more about RallyPoint here
Capitol Hill Staff
These individuals are at the helm of forming the policy and legislation for our Nation. Working on Capitol Hill gives a great deal of responsibility and power needed to address many of the problems and challenges that veterans, and our nation, face on a day-to-day basis. The influence that these few have in bringing legitimate change to the veteran community is unparalleled, and their ability to understand the issues and facilitate necessary debate and discussion is recognized and appreciated.
Col. John Kruse (Ret.), Democratic Staff Director
Senate Veterans Affairs Committee
Kruse, very well known as one of the most beautiful people on Capitol Hill, has had a long and interesting career that has includes a long and tenured commitment to the public good in the Marine Corps, the U.S. House of Representatives, the Department of Veterans Affairs and currently as the lead Veterans Affairs Democratic staffer in the United States Senate.
Kruse has served in the Gulf War, participated in operations in South America, and advised then-Vice President Dick Cheney during the Iraq war.
Curt Cashour, Communications Director
House Veterans Affairs Committee
House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Communications Director Curt Cashour has produced media and communication strategy for a diverse group of interests, from candidates for president, U.S. House and Senate, to lawmakers, battlefield generals and top industry groups.
At the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, he has led communication efforts that helped expose the VA Scandal, which resulted in the confirmation of a new Department of Veterans Affairs secretary and passage of one of the most significant pieces of VA reform legislation in history, the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act.
Cashour has also served as deputy communications director for Gov. Scott Walker’s presidential campaign, Virginia communications director for Gov. Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid and managing director for the issue-advocacy and political media firm Revolution Agency. He is an Army veteran who spent 27 months deployed to the Middle East, most recently as speechwriter and photojournalist for the commander of Multi-National Corps – Iraq. He is from Huber Heights, Ohio, and lives in Alexandria, Va.
Army Col. Don Phillips (Ret.), Democratic Staff Director
House Veterans Affairs Committee
Phillips is a 29 year Army veteran with a leadership background in military planning, operations and force management. While in the Army, Colonel Phillips served as a Battalion Commander, a Brigade Commander, a Senior Operations Officer, and senior military assistant and advisor to two Under Secretaries of Defense. Phillips also served as a Congressional Liaison Officer in the U.S. House.
Prior to his appointment to HVAC, Don served as the Senior Human Capital Practice Leader at Dougherty & Associates, where he supervised and managed project teams to support the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security and Commerce and the Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System.
Jabari White, National Security Advisor
The Office of Senator Joni Ernst
Prior to beginning his career of SecondService, Jabari was a combat-decorated, former Army officer with five years of service. As a military intelligence officer, he managed the operations section of an All-Source Intelligence Battalion supporting worldwide intelligence activities and Special Agent in Charge for counterintelligence-responsible for a 31,000 square mile area of eastern Afghanistan in support of U.S. military, NATO, and various U.S. government entities.
His service also includes Reconnaissance Platoon Leader in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), United States Army. Jabari planned and executed dismounted and mounted reconnaissance missions against insurgent groups; mentored and assisted the Iraqi Government and Iraqi Security Forces within Eastern Diyala Province, Iraq; negotiated and coordinated with Iraqi government officials and local leaders for increased tribal and ethnic cooperation for public works projects, political reconciliation, and security improvement.
Jabari is a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal. Find him on LinkedIn here!
Tom Bowman, Republican Staff Director
Senate Veterans Affairs Committee
On Jan. 8, 2015, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, named retired Marine Corps Colonel Thomas G. Bowman as his staff director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. A retired Marine Corps Colonel, Bowman also spent almost a decade working in the Department of Veterans Affairs, including as chief of staff under two former VA Secretaries.
Bowman joined the Senate VA Committee in 2014 as senior policy advisory under the ranking Republican in the last Congress, Senator Richard Burr. Bowman previously worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs for almost 10 years, including as chief of staff to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretaries Jim Nicholson and James Peake. Bowman’s VA Department role also included service to veterans in Isakson’s home state of Georgia when Bowman worked as a senior advisor to the director of the Veterans Affairs’ Sunshine Healthcare Network, which includes southeastern Georgia, Florida and the Caribbean.
Bowman’s only break in service from the VA during the 10-year period from 2002 through his retirement in 2012 came when he served for one year as State Court administrator for the Rhode Island Judiciary and as chief of staff to the chief justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court in 2003-04.
Ryan Pettit, Senior Advisor for National Security
The Office of Senator Patty Murray
Ryan leads Senator Patty Murray’s national security team and serves as the Senator’s senior policy advisor for defense, foreign relations, and veterans issues for both her personal office and her Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee staff.
As a Senate staffer since June 2008, Ryan has previously served as Analyst for Defense and Veterans’ Affairs for the Senate Budget Committee, and as Veterans and Defense Policy Advisor with the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
Ryan also served nearly ten years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and completed three combat tours as part of the 4th Civil Affairs Group, based in Washington, DC. Ryan deployed to Ramadi, Iraq from late 2004 through early 2005, and Habbaniyah, Iraq from late 2006 through early 2007. He most recently completed a tour in 2009 leading a team of civil affairs Marines in the Garmsir district in southern Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Among his military honors, Ryan has twice been awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, as well as the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, three awards and with combat distinguishing ‘V’ device.