Ray Torres

Ray Torres

Chairman of the Board

Prior to forming, Torres & Associates, LLC, a boutique business-consulting firm offering strategic business solutions to small businesses and emerging companies, he held executive positions in large to mid-size corporations and start-ups in California and Colorado. While an executive of a mid-size company in the greater Los Angeles area, he was a key team member that acquired companies. Further, as a sole Angel investor, he funded emerging companies in California and Arizona. Mr. Torres also has served as a corporate officer for several small firms in the computer integration space and served as a Board member to privately held companies. He is an active community leader in the greater Scottsdale area. He earned an MBA degree at Pepperdine University and Bachelor of Science degree at Arizona State University. He is also a graduate of Stanford University, Executive Development program.

Mr. Torres co-founded and launched S.E.E.4VETS (Support Education and Employment for Vets) on October 2013. It is an Arizona non-profit corporation, 501 c (3) tax-exempt, public charity. S.E.E.4VETS is the only non-profit veteran organization funding Arizona community colleges to prepare the under-prepared student veteran to improve their academic standing in math, English and writing. The organization is also funding Veteran Upward Bound projects in Arizona and Nevada. He selected an elite-board member team to provide thoughtful performance guidance and governance to the organization’s execution, direction and growth.

Vern M. “Rusty” Findley

Vern M. “Rusty” Findley

Vice Chairman of the Board

Vern M. “Rusty” Findley (Lt Gen, USAF, Retired) is an independent consultant specializing in the defense industry and is the President of VMFindley Consulting LLC.  He consults for Collins Aerospace, the County of Grand Forks ND, and Applied Aeronautical Systems Inc (AASI).  He also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for WG Henschen, a distributor and supplier of aircraft hardware.  In addition to his volunteer work with SEE4Vets, he also volunteers and serves on the Board of Directors of the Airlift Tanker Association (ATA) as the organization’s Senior Vice President. He is a member of Arizona State University’s Flag Officer Advisory Council volunteering time to provide advice and suggested actions to assist in the pursuit of President Michael Crow’s vision for a New American University.  He also volunteers as a member of the Board of Advisors for the College of Business and Public Administration at the University of North Dakota.

General Findley served for 35 years in the United States Air Force and had several command assignments ranging from the Squadron to the Wing level. He commanded the 319 Air Refueling Wing, Grand Forks AFB, ND; the 92d Air Expeditionary Wing in the Kosovo conflict; and the 437th Airlift Wing, Charleston AFB, SC.  His senior level staff tours in the US Air Force include tours of duty as the Director, Plans and Programs (A5) for US Air Forces Europe, Ramstein AB, Germany and Vice Commander, 5th Air Force, Yokota AB, Japan.  His joint service time includes tours of duty in Korea as the Executive Officer to the Deputy Commander, US Forces Korea from 1994-1996; in Iraq as the Director, Strategy Plans and Assessments (J5) for the Multi-National Forces Iraq from May of 2005-May of 2006; and as the Director, Strategy, Plans, and Programs (J5), US Central Command at MacDill AFB, FL from 2006-2008.  He retired as the Vice Commander of Air Mobility Command in December of 2011.  His military decorations include 3 Bronze Stars, 3 Legion of Merit Awards, 2 Defense Superior Service Awards and 2 Distinguished Service Awards

Edward J. Besta, Jr.

Edward J. Besta, Jr.

Board Member

Mr. Edward J. Besta, Jr. (Ed) joined American Express as a Manager – Global Reengineering on July 18, 2016. He will be supporting the Commercial Transformation program with a focus on driving process improvement in the E2E Customer Experience work stream. Prior to joining American Express, Ed Besta, (Major, USAF, Retired)joined S.E.E.4VETS in 2015 following a successful 25-year career as a Communications – Cyber Operations Officer in the United States Air Force. His Air Force career included assignments to several communications and intelligence units in California, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Arizona, and England. Ed was also assigned to headquarters staffs in Korea, Japan, Hawaii, and Louisiana, and deployed twice to Baghdad, where he served as a communications officer and air advisor on the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq HQ staff. He later served as a U.S. liaison officer to Japan’s Self Defense Forces at Japan’s Ministry of Defense in Tokyo, where he coordinated bilateral communications interoperability with relevant ministries and agencies supporting treaties, foreign military sales and information sharing between the U.S. and the Government of Japan.

Ed Besta earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource Development, and proceeded to earn a commission through Air Force Officer Training School. He also earned a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management while in the military, and he earned an MBA from the University of Arizona, after retired. He and his wife Cindy are the proud parents of two beautiful identical twin girls. He is an active community leader of noteworthy organizations such as Grant Champion – secured over $21,000 in government & corporate funds to support Arizona vet charities (2016 – 2019); Co-Lead, American Express Veteran Employee Network, Phoenix Chapter; Amex Employee Volunteer Team Leader (2017/18/19);Valley of the Sun United Way – Maricopa Stand Down; Chairman, Glendale Stand Up for Veterans Committee (2016 & 2017); and Commander, VFW Post 1433, Glendale, Arizona (2016).

Toni Cortright

Toni Cortright

Board Member

Toni Cortright’s background is United Stated Army as a telecommunications Operations Chief. He served in this role for 21+ years achieving the rank of SFC/E7 (Senior non-Commissioned Officer). Some of his combat tours include Iraq (2 tours), Afghanistan (2 tours), Bosnia and Kosovo. He retired in October of 2015 and then came on as a Veteran Recruiter at Quicken Loans.

As the company transitions from Quicken Loans to Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans he is able to have a voice and give advice to Veterans in and out of the company. Mr. Cortright has worked at Rocket Mortgage for three years as Veteran Recruiter, University Relations Manager and Veteran Liaison for current team members. His passion is changing lives and helping start careers, so fitting into the culture was a no brainer. While working at Quicken Loans, he finished the Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix and then went on to get a Masters in Business Administration and a certificate in Hospitality Management. He has two family members that also work at Rocket Mortgage as well. In addition, he enjoys all things travel and love playing basketball.

Kevin M. Hudson

Kevin M. Hudson

Board Member

Kevin Hudson (Colonel USMC Ret) is native of Virginia Beach, Virginia. He holds a BS (Chemistry) Radford University, MMS (Military Studies) Marine Corps University, MMS, (Information Operations and National Security Strategy) The National War College. Colonel Hudson served for 26 years in the United States Marine Corps as an Attack Pilot, with multiple deployments and combat tours, achieving every aviation designation and qualification. During his service he served in command, joint and executive level staff billets, including, Aviation Safety Officer, Weapons and Tactics Officer, Instructor Pilot MAWTS-1, Operations Officer, Tactics Officer, weapons acquisition lead, Commander attack squadron of the year, lead manpower monitor, Global Force Manager for the Secretary of Defense, and head marine aviation manpower, weapons and platforms.

Kevin retired from the Marine Corps in May of 2016 and now resides in Scottsdale, AZ as an Director for YAM Management. He and his wife, Jolie, are active in several veterans, youth athletics and church charity-based organizations.

Thomas (Tex) Mascot

Thomas (Tex) Mascot

Treasurer

Thomas K. Mascot graduated from The Virginia Military Institute in 1974 with a BA in History, and received an MBA from Troy State University in 1980. In the Service, he completed Squadron Officers School, Air Command and Staff College, Armed Forces Staff College, Air War College, and the F-15 Fighter Weapons School. In addition, he graduated from Pilot Training in October 1975 and completed 21.5 years of active duty in November 1995 as a fighter Command Pilot with 4300 hours flying time in the F-4C/D & the F-15 A/C/E. Thomas commanded two Squadrons, and led the winning William Tell Team in the 1988 World Wide Air – to – Air Weapons Meet. After retiring from the Air Force, he joined Southwest Airlines in 1995 and completed over twenty-one (21) years as a pilot flying more than 19,000 hours.

Thomas grew up in an Air Force family. His Father was a Command Pilot who served in three wars from 1941 to 1971 and retired as a Full Colonel. His mother was an Army Air Corps Nurse when she and his father met and married. As for Thomas and his wife Patti, they will celebrate their 34th anniversary in April 2017. They have two wonderful daughters, Elizabeth, and Rebecca. Further, he is an avid golfer, fisherman, and bird hunter. The Mascots are Litchfield Park residents in the West Valley, just a mile due south of Luke.

Rich Mettille

Rich Mettille

Board Member

Rich Mettille worked for Motorola for 33 years. Towards the end of his career with Motorola he was responsible for developing and rolling out volunteer projects in the Phoenix metro area, as well as in Austin, and for fund raising and distribution of funds to a variety of charity programs.

Rich was past president and board member for the following organizations: Christmas in April (now Rebuilding Together); Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired; Phoenix Futures Forum; and Phoenix Clean and Beautiful.

Pete Palmer

Pete Palmer

Board Member

Runs P2 Consulting Services, LLC firm for Government related processes and programs. Primary focus is on the development of human dimension capabilities in the Cognitive, Physical and Belief Domains. Retired after 8 years as director of the General Dynamics EDGE Innovation Network which served as a key construct for General Dynamics innovation efforts. This innovation network managed over a 1000 companies, universities and research labs that supported General Dynamics and government programs and at one point 13 EDGE Innovation Centers both nationally and internationally.

Prior to joining General Dynamics, Pete performed over 32 years of active service as a commissioned officer in the United States Army, retiring in 2009 as a Brigadier General. His experience in the Army includes a wide range of command and staff assignments in the Infantry, training and education both stateside and abroad. His Joint and Coalition experiences include four tours in NATO (Germany), Kosovo and Iraq. In 2005, Pete was assigned to serve as the ARCIC Director of Accelerated Capabilities Development. He managed a broad capabilities development portfolio with responsibility for the development and integration of Dept of the Army future and current forces capabilities documents as well as Science and Technology capability documents for the Army and Joint and Multi-National forces.

Pete received his BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the United States Military Academy, MA in National Securities studies from the University of California San Bernardino, MMAS in Operations and MMAS Operational Art. His volunteer service includes: AZ AUSA EXCOM, SEE4Vets, Veterans Heritage Project Boards.

Ian Parkinson

Ian Parkinson

Board Member

Ian Parkinson graduated from Arizona State University with a BS in Graphic Information Technology, Summa Cum Laude. Prior to attending ASU, Ian took classes at Scottsdale Community College, where he experienced and witnessed first-hand the challenges student veterans face at the community college level. In the service, Ian served as an infantryman, achieved the rank of sergeant, and served two overseas assignments: South Korea (non-combat), and Afghanistan (combat). While in Afghanistan, Ian lost both of his legs due to an IED (improvised explosive device). Notable awards/decorations include: Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and Jump Wings.

Ian worked as a web developed for 11 years, and currently works as a full-time public speaker. He remains active in the veteran community, most prominently as a state officer for the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH). Ian also worked with the Wounded Warrior Project as a mentor where he met with recently wounded service members, and coached them in their medical transitions through therapy and life.

Jeremy Raisor

Jeremy Raisor

Board Member

Jeremy Raisor is the Registrar and Director of Enrollment Services at Northland Pioneer College in Northeastern Arizona. Jeremy earned Baccalaureate Degrees in Finance and Economics and a Master’s in Business Administration Degree with a specialization in Financial Planning from Utah State University. He has worked in Higher Education for over nine years with previous experience as an Assistant Director of Financial Aid, Career Services Advisor, Enrollment & Recruitment Advisor, and an Assistant Accountant. Jeremy has also taught business management classes as an Adjunct Faculty member for four years and volunteers for a non-profit financial planning company. He resides in Snowflake Arizona with this wife and two daughters.

Gary Schleuger

Gary Schleuger

Board Member

Gary Schleuger currently serves as CEO and President of Pioneer Government Affairs LLC with operations in Phoenix AZ and Washington DC; he also serves as Senior Advisor to Bose Public Affairs Group in Washington DC. Previously, as Vice President of Government Affairs and Assistant General Counsel at Universal Technical Institute Inc. (NYSE:UTI), he led all corporate government affairs activities from the Scottsdale headquarters and also managed the company’s Washington DC office. Gary has worked in the field of higher education for the past 25 years, primarily lobbying the U.S. Congress and the Administration on provisions pertaining to the Higher Education Act and other legislation affecting institutions of higher education, veterans, student lending, banking, taxes and related issues. Gary currently serves on the Advisory Boards for Global Kids and Americans for Affordable College. Additionally, in 2013 he was appointed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer as a Commissioner to the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education; he was unanimously confirmed by the Arizona State Senate and served until mid-2015.

Gary received his Juris Doctorate from the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver where he was awarded the College of Law Scholastic Excellence Award. He is a member of the Virginia State Bar and the District of Columbia Bar, and is admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. Gary serves on the SEE4Vets Board in honor of his late uncle, LCPL Patrick Joseph Hannon, 2ND PLT, I CO, 3RD BN, 9TH MARINES, 3RD MARDIV, III MAF, United States Marine Corps, who was killed in action in Vietnam when Gary was 3 years old. Pat was awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service and Vietnam Campaign medals, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the VFW (#4666) in his hometown of Littleton Colorado is named in his honor.

James A. Symonds

James A. Symonds

Board Member

Rear Admiral Jim Symonds served in the US Navy as a bombardier/navigator and then pilot in A-6 Intruder aircraft over a span of eighteen years, including five squadron tours and six deployments. In 1995 he attended Navy Nuclear Power Training and was assigned as Executive Officer of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) and made a Mediterranean/Arabian Gulf deployment in 1998. In 1999 he assumed command of USS NASHVILLE (LPD 13), an amphibious ship in which he deployed with US Marines onboard in 2000. In August of 2003 he assumed command of USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN 76), a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. He was promoted to Rear Admiral (lower half) in 2005 and finished his career as Commander, Navy Region Northwest. He retired in 2010 after 35 years in the Navy.

Upon retiring to Arizona, Admiral Symonds volunteered to work with several non-profit organizations assisting Veterans in their transition to civilian life. He founded Golf for Warriors, with a retired US Air Force officer, and they provide free golf lessons to all Veterans. Admiral Symonds joined SEE4Vets as a Board Member in 2015.

Carl G. Schneider

Carl G. Schneider

Honorary Board Member

Major General Carl G. Schneider was chief of staff, Air Force Logistics Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He was promoted to the grade of major general Feb. 6, 1976, with date of rank June 2, 1973. He was a command pilot. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters, and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

General Schneider attended the Marine Corps School from August 1955 to June 1956. He also was assigned to the 36th Fighter-Day Wing at Bitburg Air Base, Germany, as operations officer and F-100 pilot. He returned from Germany in September 1959 to attend the Advanced Management Course at the University of Texas, under the Air Force Institute of Technology program. In September 1960 he went to Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., where he was an F-100 squadron commander. Further, he attended Texas Technological College for one year prior to entering the U.S. Army Air Forces in September 1946. He has a bachelor of science degree in business management from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in international relations from The George Washington University. He graduated from the Air War College in 1967.