Branden Marty is a Navy veteran with experiences across a range of challenging environments—from the flight decks on naval vessels to the corporate C-suite to the boot-strapped startup. He is a strategist, a collaborator and an operator. Every assignment throughout Branden’s career has been imbued with the same ingredients—a dedication to community service and advocacy. For example, the Department of the Navy (DoN) asked for Branden’s assistance in submitting a bid from the City of Chicago to host the 2017 Warrior Games. Branden voluntarily led the effort to build public and private sector support and brought DoN leadership to meet with Chicago leaders. It led directly to the awarding of the Games to Chicago. Veteran advocacy is Branden’s vocation, particularly veteran employment and wounded warrior support. This passion is reflected in the missions of the two companies he leads: Veteran Roasters, Cup O’ Joe Coffee and Bridge My Return (BMR.) Veteran Roasters is a local Chicago coffee roaster that employs homeless and at-risk veterans—providing them with renewed hope, fresh opportunity and portable skills development. Learn more about Veteran Roasters Cup O’ Joe Coffee at ww.veteranroasters.com. BMR is an efficient military hiring technology platform connecting veterans and transitioning service members to career opportunities with military-ready companies based upon skills-to-skills matching. Learn more about BMR at www.bridgemyreturn.com.
Retired Brigadier General Stephen K. Curda, Ph.D. formerly served on the Governor’s Cabinet as the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA). He was responsible for establishing long term strategic goals for the future of the IDVA and provided oversight of four veteran homes caring for over 900 Veterans and coordinated over 80 veteran service offices throughout the state of Illinois.
Dr. Curda served in the US military for over 30 years in active duty, Guard and Reserve positions. He commanded units at every echelon, from platoon, company, battalion, brigade and two general officer level commands. He is an Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) veteran. His numerous awards and decorations include the Army Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, and Meritorious Service Medal.
Dr. Curda is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College and holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology from the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Curda serves as an Associate Professor in the National College of Education at National Louis University and as Senior Advisor to the President on Student Veteran programs. He has previously held faculty positions at Florida State University, the University of Toledo, and the University of West Florida as a professor of Instructional Technology.
LCDR David N. Trenholm, of Rockford Illinios, Enlisted in the Navy in June of 1995. After completion of Bootcamp at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes Illinois, LCDR Trenholm checked into Yoemen “A” schoolat NAS Merdian MS. In January of 1996, then YNSA Trenholm, checked into his first Command at VFA-106 Gladiators at NAS Cecil Field FL. LCDR Trenholm was selected for the BOOST program in 1998 and left for New Port, RI. LCDR Trenholm graduated from Florida State University, in 2003, where he earned a Double Bachelors of Science in Finance and Real Estate. LCDR Trenholm attended flight school in Pensacola, Florida from 2003-2004 while assigned to the VT-4 Warbucks with follow on training at the 562nd Flying Training Squadron at Randolf AFB in San Antonio TX where he earned his “Wings of Gold” in April 2005. He was selected to his first fleet aircraft, the P-3C Orion, and reported to training at Patrol Squadron 30 located at NAS Jacksonville, FL. In January of 2006, LCDR Trenholm reported to his first operational aviation assignment VP-5 Mad Foxes at NAS Jacksonville, FL. During his time at VP-5 he completed one tri-site deployment to Djibouti, Sigonella, and El Salvador flying over 500 mishap-free hours and directly contributing in the seizure of more than $100 million in narcotics. He also completed one 7th Fleet deployment flying over 500 mishap-free hours. While attached to VP-5 he served as the Legal Officer, Readiness Offcier, and AW Training Division Officer and qualified as NAV/COMM NATOPS Instructor, Instructor TACCO and Mission Commander. In March of 2009, LCDR Trenholm checked in to CPRW-11 Weapons and Tactics Unit (WTU) where he served as a Legal Oficer, Warfare Development Division Officer, Training Division Officer. During his time at CPRW-11 WTU he was responsible for developing training curriculium and implantation of training to over 150 students and qualified over 30 Combat Air Crews in the P-3C Orion. In October of 2011, LCDR Trenholm reported to USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN-69) where he served as the OI Divison Officer, Search and Rescue Officer, Full Motion Video Officer, Common Tactical Picture Manager, and quailed as a Tactical Action Officer (TAO) and Aircraft Launch and Recovry Officer (SHOOTER). He conducted two deployments to the 5th Fleet AOR in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and a Battle “E”. In August of 2013, LCDR Trenholm checked into CPRW-11 Det FSU-5 where he completed 3 EUCOM deployments amassing over 750 flight hour providing accurate and crucial ISR&T to the FIFTH, and SIXTH Fleet Commanders in support of Operatoins INHERENT RESOLVE. He served as the Maintenance Officer, Admin Officer, Training Officer, and Operations Officer during his time at FSU-5. After being selected for Operational Training Department Head, LCDR Trenholm reported to TACRON 22 in January 2016 where he served as the Operatoins Officer, Training Officer, Admin Officer, and Detachement Plans Officer, and qualified as a (TACCWO). He deployed with onboard the USS WASP (LHD-1) to FIFTH and SIXTH Fleet in support of Operation ODYSSEY LIGHTING. He also deployed aboard the USS IWO JIMA (LHD-7) in support of Hurrican relief due to Hurrican Irma and Matthew. For his twilight tour, LCDR Trenholm reported to CPRW-11 Det FSU-5 July of 2018 where he served as the Maintenance Officer and Detachment Officer-in-Charge of a deployment to FIFTH Fleet and SEVENTH Fleet. LCDR Trenholm has accumulated more than 2,250 flight hours in the mighty P-3C Orion aircraft. His personal decorations include the Air Medal (2 Awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3 Awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3 Awards) and numerous Campaign, Service and Unit awards. David is married to the Danielle Trenholm of Monticello, FL and together we have 2 children; Sean 19, and Kady, 15 in Jacksonville, FL. David earned a Double Bacholers of Science in Finance and Real Estate from Florida State Univeristy and a Masters of Science in Operational Management from the University of Arkansas. As of 2020 David now works for Bank of America through the Global Technology and Operations Military Development Program. The GT&O MDP is a 2 year ineternship with 1 year in Operations and 1 year in Technology departments before finding permanent placement with Bank of America. I currently works as a Business Support Lead for the Wealth Management and Banking Operations department. I volunteer my time with multiple Veteran Service Organizations to help transitioning service members, military spouses and veterans find careers through Vets 2 Industry, Operatoins New Uniform, Vets on Tap, Four Block, and Veterati. In 2020 I volunteered over 250 hours and successfully coached and mentored over 50 find new careers.
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Joe Wallis, senior military engagement manager for Military Affairs at Microsoft, manages Microsoft’s on-base military engagement for Microsoft Software and Systems Academy, as well as Microsoft’s other military programs. Joe has supported military recruiting and engagement at Microsoft for more than four years, and more than half of his nearly 20 years of recruiting experience have been focused on transitioning veterans. A second-generation service member, Joe is a retired lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and has 28 years of combined active and reserve service. Upon commissioning as a second lieutenant, Joe spent more than five years on active duty as a communications officer and recruit training commander. He served on active duty for more than five years post-9/11, supporting the European Command, Southern Command and Headquarters Marine Corps. Joe earned a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and a master of arts in international relations from the University of Miami. He has also studied at the Naval War College, the Joint Forces Staff College and the National Defense University.
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