Nick Kesler
Founder & President

While serving in the U.S. Navy from 2003 to 2016, Nick met passionate active-duty and veteran Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines from all walks of life with powerful ideas on how to instill a lasting peace in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries around the world.  Regardless of their branch of service or the role they played, a consistent theme emerged – we all feel a deep responsibility to promote security and development in unstable societies. We also believe we can’t fight our way to peace – while security is a stabilizing force, lasting peace comes from social empowerment born out of economic development and trade.  Fueled by the passion of fellow veterans who wanted to make a difference through entrepreneurship after service, Nick started VetImpact in 2015 while at the Mason School of Business at William & Mary.

 

Thomas Baltazar
Vice President, Board of Directors

Tom is the President and Founder of Comprehensive Approach Solutions, a premier provider of best in class solutions to change management and strategic challenges to a variety of USG, private sector, and foreign clients.  Tom retired from the U.S. Army Special Operations Forces in 2005.  He operated at the highest levels within the Department of Defense and the U.S. Agency for International Development.  He brings over 35 years of tactical, operational and strategic-level experience on almost every continent and numerous U.S. and international agencies. 

 

Mike Bryant
Treasurer, Board of Directors

Mike is a startup specialist and is currently the Director at the Center for Entrepreneurship at the Owen School of Business at Vanderbilt University.  His past startup experiences include StreetShares, a veteran focused lending company, as well as the startup accelerator Techstars.  Prior to that Mike worked at Amazon and served in the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Mike is a graduate of Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

 

David Hamon
Board of Directors

David is a futurist and strategist with over 35 years of experience within the international security arena.  Having served within the military, as a policy maker, consultant, and now as a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, David has worked across the defense, development, and diplomatic sectors.  He is passionately involved in identifying and crafting impactful initiatives to address non-traditional threats to the nation’s political, economic, and national security and advocate for policy relevant solutions to prepare for these threats using knowledge based analyses and risk assessments. 

 

Brian Wagner
Board of Directors

Brian is a Vice President with ScoutComms, the nation's leading communications, advocacy and philanthropic strategy firm supporting veterans and military families.  He previously worked as a Vice President at a Washington lobbying and communications agency, as the managing director of an international PR firm's Washington office, as the head of policy and public affairs for a health care association, and as a Congressional policy advisor.  In 2011, he founded LendVets, an online nonprofit working to create a national resource directory and network for veteran entrepreneurs.  Brian is also a public affairs officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve.  Brian is a graduate of Columbia University and has studied at the U.S. Naval War College, the U.S. Defense Information School and the National Defense University.  Brian is a Partner with the Truman National Security Project.

 
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Christian Rath
Board of Directors

Christian is a multi-lingual, cross-cultural, cross-border leader who has done business in the United States, Europe, West Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East.  Originally from Europe, he possesses both the American ingenuity and the Old Continent sophistication of diplomacy and is passionate about enabling purpose-driven organizations to become self-sustaining. He leverages his extensive experience working with Fortune 500 companies, NGOs, and government leaders around the globe to reach that objective.  Over the last 25+ years he successfully matured multiple entrepreneurial enterprises and served as a CEO, COO, SVP of Global Business Development, and Head of Applied Engineering.

 

Nick Iorio
Director of Research

Nick is a strategist specializing in the restructuring and testing of policies and operations in globally competitive and insecure environments, enhancing organizational outcomes for private and public sector clients.  He has extensive experience applying business, security, and political risk analysis in support of domestic and international clients with operations in diverse regional environments.  He is also highly passionate about exploring the nexus of security and development, devising in-house and partnered research in support of veteran entrepreneurial efforts to create sustainable international businesses in post-conflict regions and emerging economies throughout the world.