Mike Conklin – Chairman & CEO

Mike Conklin was a successful builder and real estate developer in San Ramon, California before founding Sentinels of Freedom. He is the proud father of three Army Rangers and was inspired to establish Sentinels of Freedom after one of his sons was wounded in Iraq in 2003. Impressed by the level of care his son received in military hospitals, and deeply concerned over the plight of wounded warriors without families or community networks, Mike began the work that would evolve into the Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation.

Mike’s vision has been honored by military and community leaders ranging from California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger to Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates. In 2012, he was awarded the Department of the Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, and in 2013, he became one of CNN’s “CNN Heroes” for everyday people changing the world.


Marty Kaplan – Secretary

Marty Kaplan had a 40-year career with AT&T (formerly Pacific Bell, which became SBC, and then AT&T) that encompassed the most dramatic period of change in communication technology since the invention of the telephone more than a century ago. As Executive Vice President of Pacific Bell, Marty led organizations of over 50,000 people with responsibility for all operational aspects of the business. When acquired by SBC, he led the integration of the two companies and later led the integration of two other large acquisitions. Throughout his career, he built a reputation for leadership, innovation, and integrity.

Since retiring from SBC in 2000, Marty has served on the boards of 10 public and private companies and acted as an advisor to Bain Consulting. He currently serves on the boards of Superconductor Technologies, Actelis Networks, and Lumentum Holdings where he serves as Chairman of the Board.


Kent Strazza – Treasurer

Kent Strazza is a native of New Jersey and a graduate of Colgate University. He has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry and has spent his entire career at Franklin Templeton Investments. Currently, he serves as Managing Director of the Alternatives Group. Kent previously headed up the US institutional effort as President of US Institutional Services.

Kent lives in Alamo, California with his wife and two children. He has been an active member of Sentinels of Freedom since its inception in 2007 and has been instrumental in the establishment of the Sentinels of Freedom Ambassador Program. In his most recent role as Team Leader, Kent has helped a severely wounded Veteran with mentoring and relocation to the San Ramon Valley.


Mary King – Board Member

Mary King graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, joining the US Army as a second lieutenant in the Signal Corps. After six years with the Army and rising to the rank of captain as the Signal Officer for the Military Intelligence Battalion supporting the 10th Mountain Division, she transitioned to civilian life as a front line supervisor at Indianapolis Power & Light. After learning the ins and outs of the utilities industry, she made a lateral move to labor relations. Mary went on to earn a Juris Doctor from Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis.

Mary serves as the Vice President of Human Resources for Bay Area utilities powerhouse, PG&E, first joining the company in 2009 as a Principal Negotiator. She also serves on the Board of the PG&E Veterans Employee Resource Group.


Major General Ronald Lowe (Ret.) Army – Board Member

Major General Ron Lowe was commissioned as an Army Infantry Officer in 1966, serving in Europe and Vietnam. General Lowe assumed command of the 351st Civil Affairs Command and was promoted to Brigadier General in 1988. He served as the Deputy Director of Army Communications and Information Systems (G-6) at the Pentagon, as the Deputy Commander of Eighth Army in Korea, and as the Chief of Staff of the United States Pacific Command in Honolulu, Hawaii. Ron retired from the Army after 38 years of service in July 2004.

Ron retired from AT&T in 1997, after serving as the Executive Director of General Contracting. He is the former President of the Civil Affairs Association and the Senior Army Reserve Commanders Association. Ron currently volunteers as Chairman of the East Bay Stand Down Executive Board, President of the Diablo Valley Veterans Foundation, President of the San Ramon Valley Veterans Memorial Building Board of Trustees, and Director of the All Wars Memorial Foundation.


HT Tran – Board Member

HT resumed civilian life after incurring permanent injuries from an attack during service in Iraq. As a Sentinel graduate, he used his military training to start Anvil Builders, Inc. — a civil engineering firm built on military standards of performance and ethics. As CEO and President, HT has spearheaded the company’s growth and success – increasing revenue 143% over the last five years. Anvil Builders now has more than 100 employees and has delivered tens of millions of dollars in above-ground and underground contracts for major projects in San Francisco, including work at the new Transbay Terminal, the Candlestick Park redevelopment, Coit Tower, and the San Francisco International Airport.

HT is on CalVet’s Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Advisory Council, the Veterans Hiring Committee for the United Contractors Association, and the board for Veterans at San Francisco State University, and his commitment to advancing the Veteran community has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle and on CNN. In 2015, HT was honored with Engineering News-Record’s Award of Excellence in recognition of Anvil Builders’ growth and his contributions to the Veteran community.


Chris Marzilli- Board Member

Chris Marzilli is an Officer of General Dynamics Corporation and has enjoyed 34 years of employment with the prominent Fortune 100 firm in a variety of roles and capacities. He proudly serves as the President of GD Mission Systems, a full spectrum C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) innovator dedicated to providing our armed forces, and those of our allies, a decisive advantage in the defense of the free world.

Chris has served on the pro bono board of directors for the National Security Agency’s Cryptologic Museum Foundation, the National Science Center (NSC), the Armed Forces Communication and Electronics Association (AFCEA), and MILCOM (an international conference for military communications). Chris earned a B.A. degree from Middlebury College in 1981, graduating with distinction as a Dana Scholar. He is happily married with two wonderful children and currently makes his home in Alexandria, Virginia.


Pete Walsh – Board Member

Pete Walsh is the Founder, President, and CEO of Owards LLC, a mobile gaming platform with personalized and targeted real-life rewards. Prior to launching Owards in 2013, Pete had a 23 year career in structured finance and investment banking with more than $11 billion of capital raised for his clients across a wide range of industries. He also provided strategic and corporate finance advisory services. Pete has worked at Amherst Securities Group, BMO Capital Markets, UBS, and Continental Bank.

Pete earned a Bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Notre Dame and a Master’s in Management from the Kellogg School of Management with a concentration in finance and entrepreneurship. He is a team leader for Veterans and a proud member of the Sentinels of Freedom Board. Pete is a lifelong resident of the Chicago area where he lives with his wife and teenage daughter and son.

Jason Church – Board Member

Jason Church graduated from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse with a B.A. in Political Science before joining the Army as a second lieutenant. Jason deployed to Afghanistan as a first lieutenant in 2012 and was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) blast, suffering two below-knee amputations. Jason was promoted to the rank of captain before medically retiring in 2014. He has since earned his M.A. in Security Services at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Currently, Jason is a law student at the University of Wisconsin and a regional director for US Senator Ron Johnson.