Board of Directors – Executive Committee
Andy Wirth was voted into the role as Chairman of Special Ops Survivors in February of 2019. Andy is an experienced executive leader with proficiency in all aspects of building high performance organizations and leadership teams for and within mid-size and large operating companies. Mr. Wirth has decades of executive experience at the strategic level with complex and comprehensive business development, business turn arounds, restructuring and mergers and acquisitions, including working within and on behalf of private equity and with strategic level development projects.
Andy retired in Spring of 2017, however came out of retirement in June of 2018 whereby he assumed an executive leadership position on the Ownership Committee of Lone Mountain Land Company and he resides in Montana, where the company is headquartered. His background includes executive level responsibility for multiple operating companies functioning within risk-intense environments, including his prior position as President & Chief Executive Officer of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, the parent company of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows Resorts. In 2017 he helped build The Alterra Mountain Company, with market capitalization of approx. $5.5b. Mr. Wirth attended Colorado State University, the University of Edinburgh and has attended a variety of Stanford University Executive Education programs. He is currently enrolled in the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business MBA program. Andy also serves on the board of directors for SEALKIDS, The United States Ski & Snowboard Team, and the High-Fives Foundation. He is an avid horseman, trail runner, triathlete, alpinist, skier and snowboarder.
Neal Keohane rejoined the Special Ops Survivors Board in 2014 bringing an extensive business and volunteer background that includes several years previously serving with Special Ops Survivors, circa 2003. (The organization was known as the United Warrior Survivor Foundation at that time.) Neal’s career in the private sector included executive level positions in the investment banking sector including senior positions with Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, where he held the position of First Vice President of Investments. While at Morgan Stanley, he and his business partner managed over $300 million in assets.
After Neal stepped away from the investment banking sector, he took an executive business development role with an international trading company primarily operating in China. Over the past 16 plus years Neal has dedicated his time and energy to volunteer work primarily with Special Ops Survivors. He has also spent time serving his community by mentoring children and young adults with special needs from an inner city while also coaching the school???s football and power lifting teams. Neal resides in Lakeville, Massachusetts with his wife Xing and their beloved border collie / lab mix.
Dr. Bert Wilmer received both his undergraduate degree in Economics in 1978 and his Doctorate of Dental Surgery in 1982 from the University of North Carolina. He served active duty in the Navy from 1982 to 1985 and was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal. He remained in the Reserves for 5 years while starting his private practice in Denver, NC. Bert and his wife, Laura, have been married 36 years and have one son who served 6 years in the Army as an artillery officer. After their son returned from his two deployments, Bert and Laura began funding a fishing trip for soldiers returning from deployment. The trips are hosted by Hank Parker, a professional bass fisherman, and featured on his tv show every year. Through their interaction with these soldiers, some of whom are a part of Special Ops Survivors Outdoor TEAM, Bert and Laura learned about Special Ops Survivors. Bert and Laura reside in Stanley, NC.
Board Secretary / Legal
Ms. Amanda Gordon provides independent consulting services and owns a small business based in Alexandria VA. She previously spent 20 years advising on transnational and other matters, working with the financial services industry and for the US Government. Amanda has a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in History from Trinity College and a Joint Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration from Boston College.
Ms. Laura Lapeze serves on Special Ops Survivors Financial Stewardship Commitee utilizing her vast experience as the Chief Financial Officer for the Treasury of the State of Louisianna. She plans, directs and administers the State of Louisianas cash and fiscal management system. Additionally, she directs the receipt, custody, investment accounting, and disbursement of public funds, currently estimated to be$7.1 billion, for the State and oversees the States major local government distribution programs. It is these unique skills that make her such a valued assest to the Special Ops Survivors Board.
Kathy serves as our Programs Chairman helping to ensure that the programs and services we provide are meeting the needs of the population we serve. Kathy has a vast knowledge of Survivor and Grief based on her personal tragedy of the loss of her own hero, Navy SEAL Michael Koch, and her training in grief support for the US Naval Special Warfare community. She has volunteered and served as a NSW Ombudsman when her current husband was Active Duty. Now she serves as the Commands’ Gold Star Co-Ombudsman with Christina Valentine. She also Co-Lead a Military Wives Bible Study at Spring Branch Community Church. Kathy has been a Realtor for the past 15 years. Kathy and her mother are the Inglis /Howell team and rank as one of the top selling teams in Hampton Roads. Prior to that, she was in Retail Management for 15 years. Kathy embodies the Special Ops Survivors ethos and has done an amazing job of turning her tragedy into triumph and putting her unique skills to great work in serving her fellow Survivors.
Justin O’Connor recently joined the Board in 2018 bringing years of both business and volunteer experience with him. Over the past two decades, Justin has held several board positions as well as participated as a donor/volunteer with several foundations & associations within the Special Operations Community most recently serving on the board of Word of Honor Foundation as well as other civic non-profits. Justin’s business experience was with the Wall Street firms of Lehman Brothers & Thomson Financial, where he held the position Senior Vice President of Sales, followed by a partnership role with an international conferencing company. In 2004 Justin created NNE LLC a company dedicated to producing events/conferences within the wealth management, healthcare, human resources, economic development, gaming, construction, leadership and security industries. Justin studied Finance with a minor in Economics at Ramapo College of NJ. He has two grown children Jaclyn 24 and Dan 21 as well as two Belgian Malinois, Shooter and Brody. Less than two years ago Justin decided to relocate to Virginia Beach from NY/NJ to live on the beach but more importantly, it allows him more time and opportunity to give back to the Special Operations Community.
Charles H. (Chuck) Steedman has been with AEG since June of 2008, and since July of 2018 has served as AEG Facilities LLC Chief Operating & Development Officer, overseeing the company’s day-to-day operations of stadia, arenas and convention centers around the globe. He directly manages the Company’s financial, content development, operational, commercial and human resources divisions and plays a significant role in business development domestically and abroad. He also is responsible for driving innovation both corporately at AEG and with the respective venues globally. From March 2014 to June 2018, he served as the Company’s Chief Operating Officer.
Steedman is a member of The Anschutz Companies Data Steering Committee and has been driving the Company’s advancement in Big Data focusing on the creation of business intelligence and analytics surrounding customer acquisition and retention. In addition, he serves as a member of AEG’s Operating, Cyber Security Risk Management and Technology Governance committees.
Upon joining AEG, Steedman served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of AEG Connecticut LLC until 2013. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing all business activities of the 16,200-seat XL Center (formerly the Hartford Civic Center) and the management for 40,000-seat Rentschler Field. Steedman also lead business management of the Hartford Wolf Pack / Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League, the New York Rangers’ top minor league affiliate. Chuck has a huge heart for Special Operations families and this position gives him the opportunity to give back to the Special Operations Community.
Co-Founder, Past President, Board Member
Eric Knirk is an industrial real estate agent for Fremont Development Company in Los Angeles. Eric was introduced to Special Ops Survivors when he walked into McPs Irish Pub in Coronado in 2003 and saw a flyer for the first fundraiser a few weeks prior and contacted a Navy SEAL. After several conversations, Eric convinces him to start a non-profit for the families of fallen SOF. Eric served as the first Vice President and served as the Board President while the Navy SEAL deployed for six months at a time from 2006-2012.
Eric went to Arcadia High School and graduated from Long Beach State, and University of California Irvine. Eric still works as a Partner at Fremont Associates/Fremont Development and Owner, EKCO INDUSTRIAL PROPERTIES, INC. Eric has been married to his lovely wife Julie for over 25years and has three beautiful children Blake, Brook, and Baily. The Knirk family is proud to call Oregon home!
Vice President - Operational Excellence Spartan Race Inc
Upon retirement Rob served as a Managing Partner in a consultancy firm and currently is the Vice President of Operational Excellence at Spartan Race.
Colonel (Ret.) Edward “Tim” Nye
Colonel Tim Nye retired on December 1, 2013, as the Director, Special Operations Public Affairs, U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, FL after 32.5 years of combined Marine enlisted and Army commissioned service. In retirement, Nye consults with Spartan Race, Global Special Operations Foundation, and a number of military-focused charities. Nye also contributes interviews and analysis to Spartan’s weekly podcast SpartanUpPodcast. During his career, Nye served in various units including the 75th Ranger Regiment, 7th Special Forces Grp, Joint Special Operations Command, US Army Special Operations Command, and the US Special Operations Command. Nye holds a Masters of Military Arts and Science and a Masters of Strategic Studies. He is married to Dr. Carla Nye, VCU and he has two children, Rachel Hildreth with the U.S. State Department and U.S. Army Captain Ryan Nye, 3rd Special Forces Grp. Nye joined the Special Ops Survivors Board of Directors in 2017 and now serves on the SOS Advisory Council.