#WeAllServe Episode #62 with SEAC (Ret) John Wayne Troxell

John Wayne Troxell is a retired United States Army senior noncommissioned officer who served as the third Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this capacity he served as the principal advisor to the Chairman and the Secretary of Defense on all matters related to the troops of the United States Armed Forces to include the lethality, readiness, fitness, welfare and deployability of the force, as well as joint force development and education.  This position made Troxell the most senior enlisted member of the United States Armed Forces. He enlisted in September 1982 as an armored reconnaissance specialist and graduated from One Station Unit Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Troxell served in the United States Army for well over 37 years in numerous units throughout his career. They include the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Fort Bliss, Texas; two tours in Germany with the 3rd Armored Division and 3rd Infantry Division; two tours in the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Campbell University Reserve Officer Training Corps in Buies Creek, North Carolina; and the Special Operations Division of Joint Task Force Six (Counterdrug) in El Paso, Texas.  Troxell has served as the Command Sergeant Major of the 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, New York and Iraq; the Regimental Command Sergeant Major of the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment in both Fort Polk, Louisiana and Fort Lewis, Washington; the Command Sergeant Major of the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division in Fort Lewis, Washington and during the Surge in Iraq; the 21st Command Sergeant Major of the US Army Armor Center and Fort Knox, Kentucky; the Command Sergeant Major of the US Army Accessions Command and Human Resource Center of Excellence in Fort Knox, Kentucky; the Command Sergeant Major of US Army I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Washington; the Command Senior Enlisted Leader of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Afghanistan and the Command Senior Enlisted Leader of the United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces Korea.  Troxell was sworn in as the SEAC on December 11, 2015 and finished his tour of duty on December 13, 2019.  His official retirement date was March 31, 2020.

Troxell’s five combat tours of duty include making the combat parachute jump and service in Operation Just Cause in Panama, Operation Desert Shield/Storm, two tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. As the SEAC, Troxell routinely visited troops deployed to countries around the world to include Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and numerous others to gain the pulse of the force for the Chairman and Secretary.  His military education includes Ranger, Airborne, Jumpmaster, Pathfinder, PLDC, BNCOC, ANCOC, and the First Sergeants Course.  He is a graduate of Class 51 of the US Army Sergeants Major Course and the Command Sergeants Major Course. Troxell is also a graduate of the National Defense University Keystone Joint Command Senior Enlisted Course, the US Army War College Strategic Leader Development Course, the US Army Intermediate Strategic Leader Defense Course at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the US Army Advanced Strategic Leader Development Course at Southwest Airlines and Exxon Mobile headquarters.  Troxell is also a fellow at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Strategic Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii.  His civilian education includes a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in strategic leadership from Trident University in California.

Troxell’s awards and decorations include the Combat Action Badge, the Ranger tab, the Master Parachutist Badge with combat jump star device, the Pathfinder Badge, the Driver Badge, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge, the 82nd Airborne Division, 10th Mountain Division, 2nd Infantry Division, I Corps, and IJC Combat Service Identification Badges, the Defense Superior Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze
Star with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with “V” device and four oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal with silver oak leaf, Joint Meritorious Unit award with oak leaf device, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army Good Conduct Medal (12 awards), National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with arrowhead device, Southwest Asia Service Medal with two campaign stars, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one campaign star, Iraqi Campaign Medal with one campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon with bronze award numeral 4, Army Service Ribbon, Army Overseas Service Ribbon with award numeral 4, NATO Meritorious Service Medal, NATO Medal (ISAF), Kuwaiti Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia), and the Kuwaiti Liberation Medal (Kuwait).  He is a Silver Medallion recipient of the Order of St. George (Armor Association), a Centurion of the Order of St. Maurice (National Infantry Association), and a recipient of the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara (US Field Artillery Association).  In June of 2021 Troxell was inducted into the prestigious Noncommissioned Officer Center of Excellence/US Army Sergeants Major Academy Hall of Honor.

During his time as the SEAC, Troxell campaigned for a distinctive rank insignia for the SEAC position much like each of the Service Senior Enlisted Advisors and on December 8, 2019 the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved the new rank and title and pinned the new rank on Troxell at a ceremony in the Pentagon.

Troxell is married to the former Sandra Jimenez, his wife of over 38 years from El Paso, Texas.  They have three adult sons and four grandchildren.

Since his military retirement, Troxell has opened his own consulting firm, PME Hard Consulting, LLC, and now serves as a strategic advisor and brand ambassador for the US Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes Foundation, as well as brand ambassador for Veterans Lending Group, Muscle Mac, Zyn Drink Products, It’s Skinny Pasta, DownRange Supplements and Eyewear Safety Systems (ESS); he serves as the Vice President for Strategic Planning for DFND USA and an executive consultant for 5th Principle, LLC.  He is also the owner and founder of E-Tool Nation apparel and gear line.  Troxell also serves as a strategic advisor for FitOps Foundation, the Director of Outreach for Tactical Combat League, and serves on the advisory boards for Allied Forces Foundation, Emory Healthcare Veterans Program, Warrior Suicide Prevention Foundation, Our Community Salutes Foundation and the Patriot Foundation.  Troxell is a member of the Flatter,Inc speaker’s bureau and is the host of the Leader Talk podcast and the co-host for the E-Tool Nation podcast and Political Soapbox podcast.  He continues to focus on supporting service members, veterans, their families, and issues affecting our nation.

SEAC (Retired) Troxell and Sandra reside in Lakewood, Washington.

#WeAllServe Episode #61 with Frank Goehringer of PRIDE Industries

Frank Goehringer joined PRIDE Industries in 2012, after serving 21 years in the California Army National Guard and one tour of duty, Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. He is a service-connected disabled Veteran. While serving in the National Guard Frank worked in Real Estate as a Loan Officer and Realtor. At PRIDE Industries Frank supports three departments: Recruiting to help facilitate the recruiting of Veterans, Rehabilitation Department by proving supportive services to Veteran employees as well as supporting the Proposal Department when responding to RFP’s by drafting recruiting strategies to hire Veterans. Frank’s passion is to help Veterans by volunteering and supporting the local Veteran Service Organizations: American Legion, AUSA (Association of the US Army, DAV, (SacVERG) Sacramento Employer Resource Group, VAC (Veterans Affiliated Council) and the VFW. In his spare time, you’ll find Frank enjoying time with his family, traveling and outdoor sports.

#WeAllServe – Episode #60 with Mike Kelly and A-Jay Orr

“FROM SERVICE TO START-UP” Advocating and Supporting Our Nation’s Veteran and Military Entrepreneurs There are more than 2.5 million veteran-owned businesses in the United States, but that still accounts for just 9% of small businesses in the U.S. In recognition of our nation’s military-affiliated entrepreneurs, and as part of USAA’s 100th anniversary in 2022, USAA has joined with Bunker Labs to launch a six-city pitch contest to showcase, celebrate and support the next generation of entrepreneurs, with a focus on veterans and military spouses. The “From Service to Start-Up” pitch contest, which features a $100,000 grand prize and $180,000 in additional placement prizes, seeks to reinforce to the veteran community that their military service and experience are valued and that their leadership and positive contributions to their communities are important. USAA has provided Bunker Labs more than $2.5 million since 2018 to ensure military-connected entrepreneurs receive the resources and support needed to start successful business ventures through programs such as Veteran in Residence, a six-month startup incubator that provides veterans, military spouses, and military family members with the community, national business network, and resources needed to grow their business. MAJ (Ret.) Mike Kelly, Assistant Vice President of Military Advocacy at USAA. Mike, along with his team, focus on key veteran and spouse issues, including navigating the transition into the civilian workforce, entrepreneurship, financial readiness, and more. A-Jay Orr, U.S. Army Veteran and Founder and CEO of Simple Plan IT. A-Jay is an award-winning author, IT security expert and founder and CEO of Simple Plan IT – a technology and digital risk management company. A-Jay joined the Bunker Labs community to give back and support the veteran community. He is part of the Bunker Labs Ohio leadership team where he helps to mentor other veteran entrepreneurs and connect them with the resources they need to be successful.

#WeAllServe Episode #59 with Jim Bland

Jim Bland has approximately 27 years of management, investment, mergers & acquisitions, and leadership experience. Jim began his career as a field artillery officer in the United States Army. He has also worked for corporations such as E&Y and HSBC, North America. He is currently an investment partner at NextGen Growth Partners, a growth-oriented private equity firm making investments in the lower end of the middle market. He also serves as the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Illinois (which carries a 3-Star protocol rank) and as a Trustee for a Chicago suburb of approximately 50,000 residents. Over Jim’s career, he has served on nearly 20 private company, non-profit and government boards. Jim holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the United State Military Academy and an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Jim is happily married and has two terrific children. 

#WeAllServe – Episode #58 with BG Scott Hiipakka

Scott Hiipakka serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Michigan Israel Business Accelerator, a nonprofit economic development organization, responsible for accelerating Michigan’s innovation ecosystem, one Israeli connection at a time. With a focus in mobility, defense, cyber/AI, food+ag tech, and health/life sciences, his vision is to make Michigan a premier partner for Israeli innovation. Previously, he served as the Director of the Office of Performance and Transformation for the State of Michigan where he was responsible for the integration of strategic programs along with overseeing planning, audit, process improvement, program management, and employee engagement for over 40,000 state employees. Before, Scott Hiipakka was appointed as the Program Management Director-Executive Office of the Governor. His responsibilities include oversight and integration of key state strategic initiatives, including synchronization of programs and deliverables that support the Governor’s priorities. Prior to his role in state government, Hiipakka worked in the private sector as the Vice President for a consulting firm that specialized in emergency preparedness, safety, and security with clients across the United States. He also has experience in the medical, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing industries. Hiipakka is a member of the Michigan Army National Guard where he currently serves as an Assistant Adjutant General and holds the rank of Brigadier General. In this capacity he is responsible for overseeing the operations, mentoring, and building of functional teams ranging in size from 30 to over 8,000 people. His prior assignments include Land Component Commander and Brigade Command of a Military Police Brigade. Other assignments include multiple command and staff positions with deployments and military activations in support of the state of Michigan’s COVID response, Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Noble Eagle (Washington, DC). His active-duty military experience includes service in the US Army Ranger Regiment and other key leadership and advisor roles. Hiipakka has over 25 years of military service. He currently serves as an advisor and former appointee to the Michigan Community Service Commission. He has served on multiple boards in Michigan including Leadership Oakland and was the former Board Chair and board member for Winning Futures. Hiipakka was recognized by Crain’s Business as a 2020 “Notable Veteran” and is the recipient of the 2016 Leadership Oakland Leader of Leaders Award, the 2014 Winning Futures Legacy Award, and the 2013 Winning Futures Rare Everyday Hero Award. Hiipakka holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in homeland security from Penn State University, and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the US Army War College. He is married to Susan and the proud father to Abby (21) and Alex (19) and they reside in Milford, Michigan.

#WeAllServe – Episode #57 with LTC Kelly Meghan Bell

LTC Kelly Bell received her initial commission in 1999 through Marquette University’s ROTC program. She served in the 1/334 Army Reception Battalion where she worked as the assistant S-3, S-1, and as a Commander of a very small company. In 2003 she was recommissioned into the Army Nurse Corps and transferred to the 452d CSH where she served as a staff nurse and the assistant head nurse of the emergency medical treatment section. From July 2009 thru June 2010 she was deployed to Afghanistan where she worked in the Intensive Care Unit at the Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram Air Field. Upon returning home she had the privilege of serving as the 3rd Platoon leader. She then served at the Bravo Company Commander, 452D Combat Support Hospital from January 2012 through October 2014. After this duty, she assumed the role of Head Nurse of the Emergency Medical Treatment Section. LTC Bell then became the Nurse Training Officer in the Clinical Services Operations Section of the 807th Medical Command (Deployment Support). She was mobilized as the Medical Readiness Officer for the 103rd Mission Support Element, the rear detachment asset for the 103rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command. Prior to transferring to the 7203d to assume command, LTC Bell was assigned to the 7456th MORU but continued to serve with the 103D ESC on an ADOS Tour as their Medical Readiness Officer and Nurse Advisor for their Cactus COVID Task Force. She is passionate about advocating for and mentoring Soldiers and has spent that last several years initiating policy changes for pregnant and postpartum service members throughout the DOD. She continue this advocacy work through social media and DA level work groups. In her civilian capacity, LTC Bell worked as an Emergency department nurse at Aurora Sinai Medical Center in Milwaukee, WI for over 11 years. She received her Master’s Degree in Nursing Education in June 2013 and was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society of Nursing. She lives in Ankeny, IA with her two daughters: Meghan (Jun 2012) and Caelainn (Dec 2015).

#WeAllServe – Episode #56 with Former US Congressman Dan Donovan

A distinguished public servant, Dan has served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives; the District Attorney for Richmond County, New York; and the Deputy Bureau Chief for the New York County District Attorney’s Office. He has decades of experience working with high-level government officials on the federal, state, and city level.
As Representative for the 11th Congressional District of the State of New York, he was appointed to the Homeland Security Committee, where he served as chairman of the Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communication Subcommittee and was a member of the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Protection Subcommittee. He was also appointed to the Foreign Affairs Committee, where he served as a member of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee and the Africa, Global Health, Human Rights, and International Organizations Subcommittee.
As District Attorney for Richmond County, Staten Island, New York, he served as the Chief Law Enforcement Officer and presided over 125 prosecutors, administrative staff, and NYPD detective squad. In this role he was responsible for the prosecution of more than 12,000 criminal cases per year. He also represented Staten Island as Deputy Borough President and as Chief of Staff for the Office of the Staten Island Borough President, where he oversaw public safety, education, transportation, healthcare, environmental, and city planning matters.
As Deputy Bureau Chief for the New York County District Attorney’s Office, Dan served the NYC Special Narcotics Prosecutor and managed New York City–wide felony narcotics cases.
Dan received his J.D., cum laude, from Fordham University School of Law, where he was a member of the Fordham Law Review, and his B.S. from St. John’s University.

#WeAllServe – Episode #55 with CH (COL) Khallid Shabazz

Chaplain (COL) Khallid Shabazz is the U.S. Army Central Command Chaplain and is the Army’s highest ranking and first Muslim division-level chaplain. Chaplain (COL) Shabazz is a recipient of the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (9), Joint Army Commendation and Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal (2), the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, The Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Army service Ribbon, the Overseas Ribbon (3) and the NATO Expeditionary Medal. He was also awarded the humanitarian award for outstanding volunteerism, The Saint Michael’s Medal for service to Army Aviation and Saint Barbara’s Award for service to the Field Artillery Corps. He is the author of three books, “Losing our Manhood,” “Islam and Christianity a Road to Peace” and “Culture a Call to Reason.”

#WeAllServe Episode #54 with LTC (Ret) Oakland McCulloch

Oakland McCulloch was born in Loudon, Tennessee and raised in Kirkland, Illinois. After graduating from high school, he attend the United States Military Academy at West Point for two years. He then graduated from Northern Illinois University and received his commission as an Infantry Officer through the Reserve Officer Training Course in 1986. In his 23 year career in the Army Oak McCulloch held numerous leadership positions in the Infantry and Armor branches. He assisted in disaster relief operations for Hurricane HUGO in Charleston, South Carolina and Hurricane ANDREW in south Florida. His operational deployments include Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia and Iraq as a Generals Aide-de-Camp, the Congressional Liaison Officer in support of operations in Bosnia and the Operations Officer during a Peace Keeping deployment to Kosovo. He held instructor positions at the US Army Ordnance School, the US Army Command and General Staff College, the Australian Command and Staff College, University of South Alabama and Stetson University. His last position in the Army was a three-year tour as the Professor of Military Science at the University of South Alabama where he led the training and commissioning of Lieutenants and tripled the size of the program in his three-year tour. LTC McCulloch retired from the Army in September 2009 with over 23 years of active service and joined the staff at the Bay Area Food Bank as the Associate Director. He was also the Vice Chair for Military Affairs on the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Mobile Rotary International Club. LTC McCulloch left the food bank in December 2010 to become the Senior Military Science Instructor and recruiter for the Army ROTC program at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. In his 9 years at Stetson, the program grew from 15 Cadets to over 100 Cadets. In October 2013, he became the Recruiting Operations Officer for the Eagle Battalion Army ROTC program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where he has more than doubled the size of the program in 6 years. Cadet Command selected LTC McCulloch as the top recruiting officer, out of 274 recruiters, for 2019. LTC Oak McCulloch published his first book in February 2021 – “Your Leadership Legacy: Becoming the Leader You Were Meant to Be”. LTC McCulloch earned a Bachelor of Science degree in History from Northern Illinois University in 1987 and a Master of Military Arts and Science in History from the United States Army Command and General Staff College in 2002. He received thirty-one military service awards including the Bronze Star, eight Meritorious Service Medals and the Humanitarian Service Medal. LTC Oak McCulloch is married to the former Kelly Smyth of Wauconda, Illinois. They were married at Fort Sheridan, Illinois in 1987 and they have two children, Oakland Vincent McCulloch and Caileigh Nicholson. They also have a granddaughter, Ryleigh Jade Nicholson and two grandsons Christopher Bryce Nicholson and Oakland Maverick McCulloch.

#WeAllServe Episode #52 with Juliana Mercer

Juliana Mercer is a Marine Corps veteran, serving honorably for 16 years. She was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan during her military career and spent five years providing holistic support to wounded, ill, and injured Marines recovering at the Wounded Warrior Battalion in San Diego. With over 20 years of experience working with and serving the veteran population, Juliana has a deep understanding of the veteran community’s needs and what it takes to support them through their transition from the military back to the civilian world. Since leaving active duty in 2011, Juliana has committed her career to supporting her veteran brothers and sisters through their successful transition into civilian life. Juliana serves on several nonprofit Veteran Service Organization BODs and founded a Public Benefit Corporation, Sabe, which aims to create meaningful change in the world through individual transformation and healing through psychedelic therapy. A portion of Sabe’s profits expands veteran access to wellness through veteran-nonprofits Heroic Hearts Project and the H.O.P.E Project. Their collective missions provide hope and healing to our nation’s veterans and military families. *Sabe is Spanish for “know” and an ode to Mexican healer Maria Sabina. Juliana found plant medicines in her quest to years of personal and military heal trauma. Having experienced their healing potential, she’s now an advocate. She has worked with CA congress members, senators, and legislators along the coast to get a yes vote on SB-519, recently testifying at the state capital in Sacramento. Her business cards would say “psychedelic concierge” if business cards were a thing 😉