Rick Nagel | Managing Partner
As the Managing Partner of Acorn, Rick Nagel leads the strategic direction of the firm and its portfolio assets.
Mr. Nagel first served Acorn as an Advisory Board Member and in 2004 joined as a partner, launching the firm¹s private equity practice. He leads and is responsible for Acorn’s current geographic footprint, fund operations, fundraising activity, investment deal generation, portfolio integrations and performance improvement initiatives.
Prior to joining Acorn, Mr. Nagel was with Platinum Equity as part of their operating team, where he led several revitalization and transformation strategies that spanned high growth enterprises and successful turnarounds. In this capacity, he managed and helped lead several companies in Platinum¹s information technology and telecommunications portfolio, which included DCA Services, Matrix Telecommunications, and numerous bolt-on acquisitions. He joined DCA in 1995 before WorldCom divested it to Platinum in 1997 and was named president of DCA in 1999.
Mr. Nagel is a current member of the Board of Governors for the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the Oklahoma Aerospace Association, and the US Air Force Association. He serves on the Board of Directors for the State Chamber of Oklahoma, is involved with numerous civic organizations, locally and nationally, and is the state president of the Oklahoma Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs. In addition, Mr. Nagel is the treasurer for US Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK, Appropriations & Rules), a position he also served for former US Congressman JC Watts. Nagel is also a former Finance Chairman for the Oklahoma Republican Party.
A Phillips 66 Scholar, Mr. Nagel holds a B.S. degree from the University of Oklahoma's College of Engineering in Environmental Science.
Jeff Davis | FOUNDING PARTNER
As Acorn’s Founding Partner, Jeff Davis has provided leadership in all aspects of the firm’s operations and portfolio development activities and currently manages the firm’s Services and Finance Portfolios.
Mr. Davis serves on Acorn’s governance and investment committees, and supports Acorn’s investor relations’ functions. He is heavily involved with deal sourcing, due diligence, transition support and portfolio management.
Prior to joining Acorn, Mr. Davis spent time in both the private and public sectors. His public sector life has included responsibilities in government contracting, incentive management and bond financing, while his private sector experience has included technology business start-ups, including a private company focused on distance learning and e-commerce. He launched Acorn in 2000 as a seed-level investment boutique and incubator in Aerospace & Defense before the firm shifted its focus to later stage opportunities in 2004.
Mr. Davis is a member of the Board of Governors of the Aerospace Industry Association, the preeminent trade association for America’s Aerospace & Defense industry. He serves on a number of local boards and commissions, and was appointed by Governor Mary Fallin to the State’s Long Range Capital Planning Commission. Mr. Davis is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Oklahoma Business Roundtable.
Mr. Davis is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing from the Walton School of Business. He is also a graduate of the Institute for Organization Management at Southern Methodist University, and he attended The Academy for Organization Management at the University of Notre Dame.
Jeff Morton | PARTNER
As a Senior Partner and serving as the Chief Financial Officer, Morton manages and oversees the financial management of the firm, its funds, and its portfolio companies. He plays a critical role as part of the Capital Management team with efforts related to the identification, negotiation, due diligence, and acquisition. He actively participates in the corporate governance of the firm, and is a board member of a number of the portfolio companies.
Morton has over 30 years of financial management experience, as a senior manager with both Ernst & Young (formerly Arthur Young) and Deloitte & Touche (formerly Touche & Ross) and as the chief financial officer of numerous public and private, small to medium size, companies, in various industries including energy, food services, publishing, government contracting and banking. He has also been an entrepreneur who developed a multi-unit restaurant company which he later sold.
Prior to joining Acorn in 2005, Morton served as the chief financial and administrative officer from 1999 thru 2005 for a defense contractor that has been in the aerospace and defense sector since 1982. Among other duties, he was responsible for the management of all Federal and State contract negotiations, including the necessary approvals and compliance with procurement regulations. Additionally, in 2005, he served as the corporate controller for a $3 billion publicly-held bank. Prior to these roles, he was the CFO for Eateries, a publically traded restaurant management company.
Morton has served on the Oklahoma Venture Forum Board since 2002 and during the 2006-2007 session he served as the OVF President.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Finance from Baldwin-Wallace College and is a certified public accountant.
Robert Hinaman | PARTNER
As a Senior Partner, Robert Hinaman leads Acorn’s Mergers and Acquisitions and Corporate Finance functions, which include developing relationships with intermediaries, directing the outbound calling and sourcing program, and managing the acquisition process from evaluation through due diligence, financing, and closing. Hinaman has broad transactional experience in the aerospace and defense industry on a global basis and he assists the firm in executing its strategic direction objectives.
Hinaman joined Acorn in 2007 as a Managing Director and has been involved in the acquisition of the all but one of the current portfolio of companies, domestically and abroad. He actively participates in the corporate governance of the firm, especially in its capital raising activities, and is a board member of a number of the portfolio companies.
Hinaman spent the initial part of his career in Europe, and was Managing Director of Mergers and Acquisitions for Chase Manhattan Bank, Chemical Bank, and JP Morgan Chase before returning to the US in 2000. In the US he was a partner at Jefferies Quarterdeck responsible for the Aerospace & Defense practice and WWC Capital prior to joining Acorn.
Hinaman’s directorships include Maden Consulting, Gryphon Emerging Markets, and Hunstworth plc, a London Stock Exchange listed company. He was selected as Non-Executive Chairman of Hunstworth from 1999-2000 and led the sale of the company to Shandwick plc. Prior to moving to Europe, he was an officer in the US Army.
A graduate of Lafayette College with a BA in Economics, Hinaman also attended The London Business School.
Hinaman and his wife, Annette reside in Alexandria, VA.
Brandon Bradford | MANAGING DIRECTOR
As a Partner, Bradford leads Acorn’s portfolio and risk management practices, which includes developing proprietary macro, sector, and subsector research and performance monitoring capabilities. Bradford also participates in in the firms due diligence efforts and serves on the investment committee.
Prior to joining Acorn, Bradford was a portfolio manager for Millennium Partners, a $20 billion+ hedge fund in New York, where he was responsible for a team of four and $750 million, which included an aerospace/defense book. Before Millennium, he was a senior analyst at Vollero Beach Capital Partners, a $1billion market neutral hedge fund based in New York, where he was responsible for building out the industrial investing capability at the firm.
Bradford started his career as a mid-cap aerospace/defense analyst for Citadel Investment Group, a $20 billion+ hedge fund based in Chicago and then transferred to Delos Investment Management, where he was responsible for trading transportation related equities and the analysis of various deal structures related to the private equity portion of the fund called Delos Shipping.
He has an undergraduate degree in accounting and an MBA from the University of Oklahoma’s, Price College of Business.
Craig Woodruff | Vice President of Finance
As Vice President of Finance, Woodruff is responsible for the analysis, financial reporting, tax planning, insurance and accounting-related functions of the organization. He provides critical support in the areas of due diligence and integration of new acquisitions. He also serves as Chief Financial Officer for the Finance portfolio.
Woodruff brings extensive financial and operations management experience with both large, public companies and privately-held, start-up organizations. His background includes technical areas of operations, finance, treasury and accounting. As Finance Director for a division of Chesapeake Energy, and most recently Chief Financial Officer for a private-equity backed services firm, Woodruff was a member of the leadership team responsible for the formulation and execution of the short and long-term strategic plans, while ensuring timely access to capital resources. He has extensive experience includes P&L responsibility for domestic and international portfolio companies along with oversight of start-ups and strategic expansion efforts across the U.S., Canada and in China.
Woodruff is a Trustee and current Treasurer for the OKC Metropolitan Library Trust and is a past board member of several local charter schools and various other non-profits.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Philosophy from Oklahoma State University and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business.
Nikela Sandoval | ASSOCIATE
Sandoval serves as project coordinator supporting various activities for the Capital Management Team focusing primarily on outbound deal generation.
Prior to joining the Acorn, Nikela was project coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce under the global division. In this capacity she supported efforts to recruit new companies and investment into the state, and provided assistance to existing companies exporting products overseas. She also managed international events that supported the agency’s lead development efforts.
Nikela graduated with honors from Oklahoma Christian University in with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in International Business.
She is a founding committee member of the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition’s Young Professional Roundtable.
Darryl Wilkerson | VICE PRESIDENT, STRATEGY
Wilkerson serves as Acorn’s VP of Strategy, and is the president of AGC's Integrated Defense Group which includes AGC portfolio companies with synergies in maintenance, repair, overhaul (MRO), new and used aircraft sales, proprietary FAA certified aftermarket products, system integrations with emphasis on intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), fixed base operations (FBO), and turn-key government special mission air operations.
In this capacity, Wilkerson also serves on the Capital Management Team to support strategic bolt-on acquisitions for the firm, especially those related to the defense sector in which he has over 28 years of industry experience.
Prior to his current position, he served in advanced programs, program management, and business development roles at Teledyne Brown Engineering, Raytheon, and L-3 Communications. Wilkerson has extensive experience managing systems engineering and integration, modeling and simulation, LRIP manufacturing, contractor logistics, and field service operations in support of U.S. and foreign government and commercial customers.
Wilkerson began his aerospace career in 1978 with honorable service in the U.S. Air Force.
He is a member of the National Defense Industrial Association, Air Force Association, USAF Logistics Officer Association, Army Aviation Association of America, Association of the US Army, National Contract Management Association, and the University of Oklahoma Chapter of the Gamma Beta Phi Society.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from University of Alabama - Birmingham, and is a 2002 graduate of the University of Tennessee's Center for Executive Education.
G. Rainey Williams, Jr. is president of Marco Capital Group A Limited Partnership, a privately owned investment partnership operating in Texas, Oklahoma and the Southwestern United States. Marco has been an active private investor over the last 25+ years, investing well in excess of $25 million in a broad number of private equity, real estate and other alternative investments. Williams has led Marco since it and its predecessors were established in 1989.
Williams is an experienced advisor to financial services and investment firms, serving as lead independent director of BancFirst Corporation, and on the boards of American Trailer Works Inc. and .
Williams adjunct professor in the graduate program (MBA) at Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma. He has also held significant offices and/or board positions for numerous charitable organizations including the United Way of Metro Oklahoma City, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and YMCA Retirement Fund in New York. He is a life member and former chairman of the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City. Currently, he serves as chair of the board of the Dean McGee Eye Institute Foundation, and treasurer of the State Fair of Oklahoma.
Williams earned a B.B.A. degree in Finance from Southern Methodist University and a law degree from the University Of Oklahoma College Of Law.
Gregory G. Wedel is the managing member of Remington Capital, LLC, a privately owned investment partnership operating in Texas, Oklahoma and the Southwestern United States. Remington has been an active private investor over the last 25+ years, investing well in excess of $25 million in a broad number of private equity, real estate, oil and gas and other alternative investments. Wedel has led Remington since it and its predecessors were established in May of 1989.
Wedel is the managing member of Wedel Rahill & Associates, CPA’s PLC, a public accounting firm established in 1984. Wedel is an experienced advisor to financial services and investment firms, serving as independent director of Bancfirst Corporation and on the boards of American Trailer Works Inc. and numerous other private companies. He has also served on board positions of charities. Wedel currently serves on the Oklahoma Dental Foundation and is a Trustee of the Oklahoma Christian University.
Wedel earned a B.S. degree in Accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Admiral Bobby R. Inman (Ret.)
Bob Inman has over 16 years of private equity/venture capital, 30 years of private investing experience, and 40 years of operational and government experience. Prior to founding Limestone, he was a Managing Director at Gefinor Ventures where he oversaw investments in several early stage startups including Kionix (acquired by Rohm Co., Ltd of Japan). Additionally, he has managed private investments in many early stage technology companies, with notable successes including Dell and Oracle, on whose Boards of Directors he served through their successful IPOs.
Past operational experience included serving on the Boards of Directors of the following public companies: Fluor, Massey Energy, SAIC, SBC Communications (now AT&T), Temple-Inland, Texas Eastern, Tracor, and Xerox. Additionally, he served as the Chairman for both the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the Paine Webber Development Corp Advisory Board. He also served as Chairman, President, and CEO of Westmark Systems and Chairman and CEO of MCC. Prior to that, he spent 31 years in the U.S. Navy, earning the rank of four-star Admiral and serving as the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, Director of the National Security Agency, Vice Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and Director of Naval Intelligence.
Long active in educational concerns, he served as a Chairman of the Center for Excellence in Education and Interim Dean at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. He currently serves as a Trustee of Cal Tech and the American Assembly and is a member of the National Academy of Public Administration. He also holds the Lyndon B. Johnson Centennial Chair in National Policy at UT and serves as tenured professor.
He received his B.A. degree from The University of Texas at Austin.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Constellis Group and MobiTV.
General Charles F. Wald (Ret.)
General Charles F. Wald (USAF, Ret.) serves as Vice Chairman, Federal Practice Advisory Partner. He is responsible for providing senior leadership in strategy and relationships with the U.S. Department of Defense. General Wald is a subject matter specialist in weapons procurement and deployment, counterterrorism, and international energy security policy.
An acknowledged leader on global military strategy and development, General Wald is sought after to deliver speeches at private industry events, national policy institutions as well as colleges and universities. He routinely conducts radio and television interviews on topics including supply chain, defense budget planning, cost reduction, foreign military sales, and weapons systems such as the Joint Strike Fighter Program. In 2013, General Wald was named part of the DefenseNews “100 Most Influential People” listing for U.S. Defense and a Top 100 Airpower Advocate.
General Wald retired from the U.S. Air Force as a four star general after serving over 35 years in the U.S. military as a command pilot with more than 3,600 flying hours and 430 combat hours. In his last position, he served as deputy commander of U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) from 2002 until his retirement from the U.S. Air Force in July 2006. In that role he was responsible for U.S. forces operating across 91 countries in Europe, Africa, Russia, parts of Asia, the Middle East, and most of the Atlantic Ocean. During his command, he developed the European Command Strategic Plan that included energy assurance and sustainment for the EUCOM Area of Responsibility (AOR).
General Wald earned his commission through the Air Force ROTC program in 1971. He was drafted into the National Football League by the Atlanta Falcons in 1970. He has combat time as an O-2A forward air controller in Vietnam and as an F-16 pilot flying over Bosnia. General Wald also served as a T-37 instructor pilot and F-15 flight commander. Other duties included Chief of the U.S. Air Force Combat Terrorism Center, support group commander, operations group commander, and special assistant to the Chief of Staff for the Quadrennial Defense Review. He was the Director of Strategic Planning and Policy at Headquarters U.S. Air Force, served on the Joint Staff as the Vice Director for Strategic Plans and Policy, and was the U.S. Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for the Air and Space Operations at the Pentagon.
General Wald commanded the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy, where on August 30, 1995, he led one of the wing's initial strike packages against the ammunition depot at Pale, Bosnia-Herzegovina. From 1999 – 2001, he commanded the 9th Air Force and U.S. Central Command Air Forces at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina. In September 2001, as the Supporting Commander, General Wald led the development of the coalition air campaign in Operation Enduring Freedom including the idea of embedding tactical air control parties in ground special operations forces leading to the extraction of Taliban forces in Afghanistan.
Prior to joining Deloitte, General Wald was the Vice President of International Programs for L-3 Communications Corporation, based in Washington D.C.
General Wald has received major military awards and decorations, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, and several others. He earned his Master's Degree in International Relations from Troy University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in pre-law from North Dakota State University. He has completed coursework at Harvard University and the National War College. He has also been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from North Dakota State University.
Governor Frank A. Keating
Frank Keating, former two-term governor of Oklahoma, is an attorney in the Financial Services Team and focuses on the banking, financial services and insurance industries. He recently completed a five-year term as president and CEO of the American Bankers Association (ABA); from 2003 to 2011, he was president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI).
During the Reagan Administration, Mr. Keating served as U.S. Attorney for the N.D. of Oklahoma, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department and as Associate Attorney General of the United States. Under President George H. W. Bush, Mr. Keating served as General Counsel and Acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development with Secretary Jack Kemp. Prior to his service as the U.S. Attorney, Mr. Keating was an FBI agent.
As Associate Attorney General, Mr. Keating had supervisory responsibility over all of the U.S. Attorneys. At the Treasury Department, he had oversight over the U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Customs; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; U.S. Marshals; the Bureau of Prisons; the Immigration and Naturalization Service; and all 94 U.S. Attorneys.
Through his federal government service, as well as with the ABA, Mr. Keating has worked extensively on regulatory issues concerning lending practices, housing finance, securitization, enforcement and the Bank Secrecy Act.
As the governor of Oklahoma, Mr. Keating won national acclaim in 1995 for his compassionate and professional handling of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City, Okla. His accomplishments as governor include winning a public vote on right-to-work, tort reform, tax cuts, and major road building and education reform.
Mr. Keating serves as chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center and formerly served on the Center's Debt Reduction Task Force. He also served as president of the Federal City Council, on the board of the National Archives Foundation and as chair of the advisory board of George Washington's Mt. Vernon.
Rear Admiral James J. Quinn (Ret.)
JAMES J. QUINN Rear Admiral, United States Navy (Ret.)
JJ Quinn is a highly accomplished operating executive with experience as a Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer over multiple commands as a Rear Admiral with the United States Navy. He is an experienced business leader with over 20 years of senior executive management experience in government and private industry. JJ has demonstrated expertise in international marketing and sales, strategic business planning, government relations and budgetary planning. He has a deep understanding and rolodex in the Washington Interagency and DOD acquisition process throughout government and industry, including congressional members and committee staff. JJ’s domain expertise spans manned and unmanned systems, cyber security, strike and surveillance systems, satellite communications and missile defense.
JJ recently retired from Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Aerospace Systems Unmanned Systems Division where he was the lead executive responsible for the development and execution of domestic and international growth strategies for the newly restructured $3B division. Over a 10-year tenure, JJ held other positions including Vice President of Business Development for the Strike & Surveillance Systems Division, Vice President of Business Development for the Military Space Systems Division and Director of Navy-Marine Corps Programs & Corporate Lead Executive for the Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems Sector in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Prior to joining Northrop Grumman Corporation, JJ retired from the United States Navy after a long and decorated career as a Naval Aviator with the rank of Rear Admiral. JJ was Director of Operations, Plans, Policy and Training for the Commander in Chief, US Atlantic Fleet. Previously, JJ was Commander of Carrier Group TWO/Harry S. Truman Battle Group and served as the Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. Earlier in JJ’s career, he served as Commander of the Naval Space Command and Commanding Officer of the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, as well as the USS Juneau and Fighter Squadron TWO. Previous assignments included an instructor tour with the Naval Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) and as the Naval Aide to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Over his 30 year Navy career, JJ held a total of five commands and accumulated over 2,800 flight hours and over 550 carrier landings in a number of fighter aircraft. His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, five Legions of Merit, two Bronze Stars, two Meritorious Service Medals, four Air Medals (two Individual with Combat “V”/2 Strike-Flight) and four Navy Commendation Medals (two with Combat “V”).
JJ received his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the United States Naval Academy and is a graduate of the United State Navy’s Nuclear Power Program. He received his wings and was designated a Naval Flight Officer at NAS Pensacola in September 1975. JJ currently serves as President of The Tailhook Education Foundation, Inc. He is also a board member of Young America’s Foundation Reagan Ranch Board of Governors and is an Independent Director with Arotech Corporation. JJ also serves as a board member on the San Diego Military Affairs Council (SDMAC) and San Diego Fleet Week.
Carl Edwards is a partner of Price Edwards & Company, the largest Oklahoma-based commercial real estate service company.
Carl serves as Chairman of the Presbyterian Health Foundation, a local foundation that owns and operates a $100+ million bioscience research park at the OU Health Center. He is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust. Carl is also a Member of the Board of Trustees and Chairman of the Oklahoma Metropolitan Area Public Schools Trust (better known as the MAPS for Kids Trust).
Carl's other involvement includes: Member of the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and Chairman of the Technology Transfer Committee, Member of the Board of Directors of i2E, Member of the Board of Directors of Downtown OKC, Inc., President and Chief Executive Office of Oklahoma Business Roundtable, Past Chairman of Board of Directors of Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and presently, a member of the Executive Committee, Member of the Advisory Board of Directors and Past President of Leadership Oklahoma City, Advisory Member of Board of Trustees and Past President of Board of Trustees of Oklahoma Health Center Foundation.
General Pete Hennessey (Ret.)
General Hennessey serves as a strategic and operating advisor to Acorn in support of the firm’s merger and acquisition activities. He has more than 40 years’ experience in the national security arena. His technical expertise extends from the operational complexities of warfare, to legislative affairs, and the discovery, development, and deployment of innovative new technologies. His business experience spans the dynamic detail of operating business units to the expanse of Board-level governance.
Prior to joining Acorn, Hennessey led business strategy, market development, and capture for Battelle’s national security business--which supported military services, defenses agencies, and other Federal clients with $800 million in products and services delivered annually. The range of market offerings included: Aerospace, Maritime, & Ground Systems; Laboratory Management; Energy & Environmental Sustainability; CBRNE; Advanced Materials; Information Systems & Advanced Analytics; Energetics; and Critical Infrastructure.
Prior to joining industry in 2003, General Hennessey served with distinction in executive management positions across the Air Force and Department of Defense. He led enterprise-level logistics operations, directed major systems development and acquisition programs, and managed corporate planning, programming, and policy functions. In his last operational assignment, he directed all logistics operations for Air Force mobility forces during Operation Enduring Freedom—the US invasion of Afghanistan following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
General Hennessey has been and is currently involved in numerous civic and trade organizations which include: Aviation Week Military MRO Advisory Board; Ohio Aerospace Institute Board of Trustees (Chairman); Ohio Governor’s Aerospace and Aviation Council; National Defense Industrial Association; Logistics Officer Association; Naval Submarine League; Association of the United States Army; AFCEA International; American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics; Air Force Association Board of Directors (Executive Committee); Air Force Memorial Foundation Board of Directors; Air Force Veterans Benefits Association Board of Directors.
Hennessey is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy, the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and the Defense Systems Management College. He holds a master’s degree in management from Webster University, and has completed executive management training at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
Bob has spent over 40 years working with corporate and government clients on challenging management, operational and financial management issues. Prior to his retirement, Bob led the US Public Sector practice at Deloitte & Touche LLC and served as a Vice Chairman of that firm. He is on the board of the Executive Committee of the East West Institute, Aspen Group and Austin Council of Foreign Affairs and is the former Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.
Bob also serves on corporate boards and LLC Management Committees including Bunker Energy Partners LLC, Access Health Care, Paratus Diagnostics, Hawk Apparel, and Talent Guard Advisory Board. He also serves as an advisor to Ayata, Nuero Chaos, and Britton Hill Investment Partners LLC.
He has authored several books and articles on public policy and management issues and served on the Bipartisan Policy Center Task Force on the Federal Deficit.
In 2013, Bob was chosen for the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs Distinguished Public Service Award and spoke at the Headliners Club Distinguished Austinites Speakers Series.
Danny Hilliard, Sulphur, was appointed in July, 2015, and serves as Vice President of Corporate Development and Tourism for the Chickasaw Nation. Hilliard served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives for 14 years, and most recently as Vice President of External Relations and Planning for the University of Oklahoma.
In his current position, Hilliard assists in the Chickasaw Nation’s business diversification efforts at the Corporate Development office in Oklahoma City. He presently serves on several boards within the Chickasaw Nation which encompass the technology, health, financial services and energy sectors. Hilliard also serves on several local boards including the Board of Directors for i2E, Inc., a nationally recognized private not-for-profit corporation focused on growing innovative small businesses in Oklahoma.
Hilliard served at the University of Oklahoma from 2004-2015 where he was an Executive Officer and a member of the Research Cabinet for the university and was selected to be the first Vice President for Governmental Relations in the history of the University. He worked directly with OU President David Boren and university stakeholders to identify and develop new initiatives, programs, partnerships, capacities and relationships.
Prior to joining the University of Oklahoma, Hilliard served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1990-2004, representing District 22 in south-central Oklahoma. While in the Legislature, he was selected as House Majority Leader and was elected Speaker Pro Tempore for 2003-2004. Hilliard also served as the Chairman of the subcommittee on Appropriations for five years where he oversaw the budgets and operations of various state agencies.
Hilliard is a graduate of East Central University, Ada, and was selected as the ECU Distinguished Alumnus in 2004.He also is a graduate of the Dallas Mortuary College and served as President of the Pi Sigma Eta Academic Fraternity.
He has been married to Karen (Wood), formerly of Tishomingo, for 36 years and they have one daughter, Rhianan, who is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and is currently a teacher in the Norman Public School system.
John DeBlasio is Founder and Executive Director of the GPD Charitable Trust as well as Managing Partner of Bootstrap-Capital LLC. Both were established following the sale of Sallyport Global Holdings in June 2011 where John was previously Owner. The Foundation was established to assist at-risk young adults as well as to promote democracy world-wide and has made several significant grants and partnerships since inception while Bootstrap Capital has focused on investing in strong entrepreneurs leading growth stage companies.
Previously, as owner of Sallyport Global Holdings, John built an organization which employed over 1,900 people worldwide and became the largest provider of security and facilities management services to USAID prime contractors operating in Iraq as well as a primary contractor for DoD and DoS work in Central Asia and Africa. John is a 1989 West Point Graduate who retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Reserve Civil Affairs branch and was deployed to the Middle East in 2003-2004 where he worked with the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) as an Advisor to the Ministry of Trade and with the US Embassy in Amman Jordan as the CPA Liaison for the Embassy. During that time he was awarded a Bronze Star as well as a Joint Service Commendation medal.
John has lived and worked in Europe and the Middle East and has traveled extensively throughout the world over the past 25 years. He is a resident of Chicago and was appointed in 2006 as a member of the US-Iraq Business Dialogue by Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, and serves on the Board of Chicago Council on Global Affairs as well as several non-profits.
John has been extensively quoted in the press, has had full articles about Iraq published in the Chicago Tribune and Washington Post (Outlook Section), and has appeared as an expert commentator on the History Channel, ABC News, MSNBC, NPR, and the Lehrer News Hour.
Robert J. Ross
Robert J. Ross currently serves as President and CEO and member of the Board of Directors of Inasmuch Foundation and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.
The Foundations were founded by Edith Kinney Gaylord in 1982. He previously was employed as an Attorney with the Oklahoma City law firm McAfee & Taft. He is a graduate of Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School and Washington and Lee University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He received his J.D. from the University of Oklahoma.
Ross is a member of the following Board of Directors: Colorado College, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City National Memorial, Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma Public School Resource Center, Oklahoma State Fair, Oklahoma Watch, John W. Rex Elementary School, OU College of Law Board of Visitors, OU Foundation, Roff Oil & Gas, State Board of Career and Technology Education, State Board of Education, Sunbeam Family Services, Teach for America-Oklahoma City and Westminster School. He is a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). Bob was also presented with the 2011 Plaza District Association’s “Urban Pioneer Award” and the 2012 OKC Beautiful “Mayor’s Award for Distinguished Service.” In 2013, Bob was awarded the Oklahoma Center for Non-Profits’ Visionary Impact Award. In 2015, Bob was the recipient of the United Way of Central Oklahoma’s John Rex Community Builder Award.
Bob is married to Heather Ross and has a daughter, Lilly, and a son, Frank.