Operation Support Our Troops–America Board of Directors is proud to announce the appointment of Co-Founder Bill Rickert as Interim Executive Director, effective immediately. Bill joins us from Goal Line Strategies, a financial services organization. Mr. Rickert has held multiple senior executive leadership positions, has a deep understanding of the organization, and holds a BA degree from Baldwin-Wallace College. Bill’s extensive experience with organizational leadership and change, as well as the development and growth of customer relationships will greatly benefit the work of OSOT-America. We welcome Bill Rickert and look forward to our partnership.
Justin Smitherman is the President of Smitherman & Associates Inc. located in Elburn and St. Charles. He served in the Air Force for 8 years including a tour in Iraq. He is married to Carly, also an Air Force Veteran, whom they have one daughter named Lillian. Justin has been involved with Operation Support Our Troops-America for 6 years, and a board member for 5 years.
Deb started Operation Support our Troops-America in 2003 after her son joined the military in the wake of the attacks of September 11. She served as President and CEO for 13 years creating additional programs for veterans and Families of Fallen service members. She also oversaw the integration of the Allen J. Lynch Medal of Honor Program into OSOT-America. In 2015 Deb stepped down from her duties as CEO but remains in her role of guiding and overseeing the fulfillment of the mission. She currently serves as the CEO for Sharing Connections furniture bank in Downers Grove, IL.
Bill Strening has been a member of the Board of Directors of OSOT since 2008 and is currently the Secretary of OSOT. Bill is an attorney, has been in private practice since August 2016, as well as operating a surety bond agency with his brother in Chicago. Bill was previously Assistant General Counsel with True Value Company from 2001 – 2016 and prior to 2001 served in various positions with Chicago Bridge & Iron Company between 1975 and 2000 including Assistant General Counsel from 1986 to 2000.
In addition to his work with OSOT, Bill is currently President of the Parish Pastoral Council of Notre Dame Parish in Clarendon Hills as well as a Board Member of the Graue Mill Condominium I Association.
Dan Dexter is the Chief Financial Officer of NVISIA, a software architecture and consulting company based in Chicago. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan in 1985. With over 30 years of professional experience in accounting and finance, Dan has held positions as auditor and senior auditor for Coopers and Lybrand and various managerial positions at Circle Fine Art, JMB Realty, and Johnson Controls prior to joining NVISIA in 1995.
In addition to currently serving on the OSOT-America Board of Directors as Treasurer, Dan has also served on the board as its Not-For-Profit advisor for over ten years. His previous Not-for-Profit experience includes having served as Treasure and President for over five years on the Board of Directors of the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation based in Chicago and as Treasure for several informal organizations.
Bruce is the Founding Board Member and first Board Chairman of Operation Support our Troops-America. Bruce joined the Marines at 17 and went into the service a couple of weeks after his 18th birthday in 1969. His time in the military included service in Viet Nam in 1970 which has been the bases for his ongoing support for both those in the services and veterans as well.
In March of 2003, at the beginning of the Iraq war, Bruce brought his military experiences, background, and personal commitment to the cause of supporting military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bruce dedicated his own personal resources as well as his business and leadership expertise to guide OSOT-America from a project in a garage to a full scale non-profit organization having shipped over a million pounds of support items to active military personnel in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition OSOT-America provided services and support to not only active duty military members but veterans and Families of Fallen as well. Bruce’s company, NVISIA was one of the first sponsors of Rockin’ for the Troops in 2006, an annual event featuring actor and musician, Gary Sinise, that has raised over four million dollars over the past ten years.
Wayne Marshall is an executive with over 20 years in the healthcare and consulting industries. Currently Mr. Marshall leads Health Care Service Corporations Group Markets Customer Operations area, and has provided leadership in numerous Health Plan front office organizations. His experience also includes executive positions with P&L responsibility in consulting, technology, and outsourcing. Wayne also served as an infantryman / sergeant in the United States Marine Corps Reserves from 1992-1999. In addition to supporting OSOT, Wayne is active as a volunteer youth football coach.
Scott Maxson is the Manager, Security & Intelligence for Takeda Pharmaceuticals, U.S.A., Inc., the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan and Asia and a top 15 global pharmaceutical company with its regional location in Deerfield, IL. Previously, Scott has held positions as Vice President – Security Risk Management and Vice President – Corporate Security and Safety for Aon Corporation, Director – Corporate/Physical Security and Safety for Hewitt Associates and as Director of Protective Services for Arthur Andersen.
Scott has been a presenter at the ASIS International Annual Seminar & Exhibits, the Annual Corporate Contingency Planning Seminar and Exhibition, the National Business Travel Association International Convention, at various webinars and has been highlighted in Security Magazine.
Maxson is a member of ASIS International and is Board Certified as a Protection Professional (CPP); the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE); earned a MBA from the University of Illinois-Chicago, a Bachelor in Commerce from DePaul University and an AA from Moraine Valley Community College, Palos Hills.
Scott is an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Army having served in various roles including recruiter’s aid, armor crewman and company armorer. He is an honor graduate of the Army’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense School and has been awarded the Army Achievement Medal for Meritorious Service along with letters and certificates of commendation.
Matt Metzger, originally from Big Rock, Illinois, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps shortly after graduating high school. He was assigned to Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron 48 as an A/C mechanic. He deployed in 2007 with the 6th Provisional Security Company as a machine gunner, to Djibouti, Africa to support Operation Enduring Freedom. Upon his return, he attended Western Illinois University and completed his bachelor’s degree with a double major in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration, and Political Science. He remains active in the veteran community with his work at Grunt Style, a veteran owned and operated apparel company in Carol Stream, IL. His current position is the Director of Custom Sales. He spends his free time with his wife Lauren and two children Knox and Kennedy. He is also an accomplished competitive three-gun shooter, and travels the country competing.
Born and raised in Chicago, IL. I spent eight years on active duty in the Marine Corps. Started working at Unicon International as Marine Surveyor until I started my own company Intermodal Midwest Surveyors in 2006. Married to Valerie with two sons Joseph Jr and John who is active duty Army. Currently reside in Lemont, IL and enjoy playing 16″ softball in Mt Greenwood in Chicago.
Born in Chicago and raised in Wheaton IL. Graduate of Wheaton North HS Class of 1970. I am the Father of 3 grown Sons and enjoy 7 Grandchildren. I am a retired Carol Stream Fire Fighter from a 40 year career. I have been actively involved with Naperville non-profits and enjoy volunteerism. In 2012 I chaired logistics for Ribfest and in 2013 I chaired Ribfest. In 2015 I chaired the Naperville “50 years of healing.” For the past 9 years I have chaired the annual Naperville 9/11 ceremony. I look forward to serving as a Board of Director of Operation Support our Troops – America.
Rick Smolke Rick owns Quick Impressions Group, a full-service printer located in Addison. He is the President of the Hillside-Berkeley Chamber of Commerce and supports many local charities, including Ronald McDonald House, A Silver Lining Foundation, Bryan Bickell Foundation, Magnificent Mutts Pet Rescue, the National Veterans Museum, and Operation Support Our Troops. Rick currently serves on the Board of Sharing Connections, Thank You Veterans board and has served on the Board at Serenity House for several years.