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Paul Davis - Chair (PGYB)

Senior Project Lead
Boston Scientific

Paul served as an active duty Marine for 9 years, obtaining the rank of Captain.  He served with the 1st Marine Division in Southern California where he had the opportunity to lead numerous teams of Marines, complete 3 successful combat deployments, and participate in many small and large-scale artillery and combined-arms exercises.  He finished his Marine Corps career with the Marine Security Guard Program in 2018, where he inspected and led Marines protecting U.S. embassies and consulates throughout Central America, the Caribbean, and Canada as the Regional Executive Officer and United States Diplomat.  His career has been supported by a BBA from Colorado Mesa University where he double-majored in management and entrepreneurship, and an MBA from the University of North Carolina where he concentrated his studies in consulting and strategy.  He has filled leadership roles in numerous organizations including: student government, business clubs, martial arts, and his local church. He currently solves supply chain and manufacturing problems as a Senior Project Lead for Boston Scientific, a leading medical device company.  He's married to the love of his life, Nicole, who is completing her graduate studies to be a Speech Language Pathologist.  Together they have 3 wonderful children and are always looking for ways to help others and give back to a country, its people, and its veterans who have given so much to us.



Jeff Staads - Vice Chair (PGYB).jpg

Jeff began his speaking career training West Point cadets during his active tour of duty as a paratrooper with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.

Jeff has served on multiple non-profit boards in a variety of positions while he started and then sold other businesses. He currently is the President of the Rotary Club of Minnesota Veterans. Jeff also is a volunteer for Welcome Home Veterans, delivering new household goods and supplies to Veterans that get into new housing.

After 30 years as a Professional Speaker, he’s still talking with audiences each year across the U.S. and around the globe.  During the pandemic he started a woodworking business creating unique garden boxes with an industrial look.

Minnesota Rotary Club President & Professional Speaker



Dave Fritzinger - PGYB

Chief Information Officer


Dave was commissioned in the U.S. Army in 2008 as an Infantry Officer and eventually the 4th Infantry Division in Colorado Springs, CO leading soldiers both stateside and Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  Following his military service, Dave has led and worked with numerous organizations from small private companies to the Fortune 500 across multiple industries over the last 15 years to enable organizational growth, strategic transformation, and implementation of innovative and value driven technologies.  Currently Dave serves as the Chief Information Officer and Technology Leader, at Nystrom, Inc. in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 
Dave is a graduate of Bethel University and holds an MBA and Certificate in Leadership from the University of Iowa. In addition to being a Navigator with Project Got Your Back, Dave is also an active member of the Twin Cities business community, CIO's Against Cancer, and the National Ski Patrol.
In his personal time away from work, Dave enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, staying physically fit, on the golf course, or snowboarding with the Wild Mountain Ski Patrol.
Dave’s time in the military has been a meaningful part of his career, but more so has played a significant role throughout all aspects of his life.  Dave brings a wealth of professional experience, vision, and innovative thinking with a deep-seated passion for others and is honored to join this organization to help support and serve other veterans.




Rick Stephas - Board Member (PGYB).jpg

Operations Manager

MidAmerican Energy Company

Rick J. Stephas currently resides in the countryside near the small town of Bronson, Iowa. A loving husband to Emily Stephas and father to Leighton, Beau, and Garret. He grew up on a farm near Spencer, Iowa with three brothers where he raised horses. During high school Rick was active in all sports: Football, basketball, baseball and track. Rick attended college at Iowa Lakes Community college where he earned an Associated of Arts degree in Aviation/Airport Management and obtained his private pilots license. Furthering his college education, he transferred to Iowa State University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry/Ecosystem Management. After college Rick received a commission in the United States Marine Corps and served on active duty (2010-2013) and in the Selected Marine Corps Reserve (2014-2018). While in the Marine Corps he served with the 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, 4th Marine Logistics Group, and 4th Marine Air Wing. Having one deployment to Afghanistan (2012-2013) where he trained and advised foreign security forces. Post service, Rick has been employed with MidAmerican Energy where he performs as an Operations Shift Manager at a power generating station near Sioux City, Iowa. During his down time, Rick enjoys traveling, fishing, horseback riding, and spending time with his family outdoors.



Austin Timm - Board Member (PGYB).png

Austin is a Minnesota native and US Army veteran who served on active duty from 2016 to 2021, primarily as an Engineer Officer in the 10th Mountain Division. During his military service, Austin held the positions of a Sapper Platoon Leader and a Task Force Engineer. He successfully completed one combat deployment to Afghanistan. Austin attended St. Cloud State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. Austin will complete his MBA program in May 2022 through the University of Illinois. Austin is currently a Sr Project Lead at Boston Scientific where he leads projects focused on improving supply chain operations. Austin has been happily married to his wife Crystal since 2018. In his spare time, Austin enjoys traveling with his wife, playing softball, spending time with family, and giving back to the veteran community.

Senior Project Lead

Boston Scientific



Al Ramos - Chairman (PGYB).jpg

Al served in the Army Reserves and then entered Active Duty for four years with the 3rd Ranger Battalion before returning to university. Upon graduating from the University of Minnesota and earning a commission in the Army, he returned to Active Duty. Throughout his 31-year career, Al served in the 75th Ranger Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, 1st Armor Division, U.S. Army-Japan, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Army Staff. In 2014, he retired from the Army at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He earned a B.A. in Japanese Language and Literature from the University of Minnesota and a M.A. in East Asian Studies from the University of Hawaii, Manoa. Al is now the Veterans Coordinator at Minneapolis College where he has the privilege of supporting the men and women who have served or are serving, and their family members—the Military Connected.

Veterans Coordinator

Minneapolis Community and Technical College



Galson Miller - Consultant (PGYB).jpg

Galon Miller is a US Navy, Vietnam Veteran who served active duty from 1973 to 1977 and in the Naval Reserves from 1977 to 1981. Galon is a tireless advocate offering career coaching, mentoring, and support to Military & Veterans. He believes that the most effective method for healing the wounds of service is to engage in serving fellow Military & Veterans.  He is on a mission to ensure we end Veteran Suicide. Galon has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and Business Management from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.

Veteran Advocate & Twin Cities Military Network




Mark Ellson (PGYB Profile Picture)


U.S. Army (Retired)

Mark joined the army 1975 and spent 10 years as an enlisted soldier; rising to the rank of Sergeant First Class (E-7).  He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Iowa State University;  Mark also graduated with a MBA from the University of Minnesota. Mark has 35 years progressive worldwide warehouse/logistics/engineering executive experience, including his positions at NSP (now Xcel Energy) and on the Executive Team at Ergotron, Inc.. Mark has served on numerous nonprofit committees including the Executive Committee for the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce; Board of Directors for the Elite SDVOB Network, a national organization comprised of certified Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Businesses whose headquarters is located in San Diego, CA.  In 2010, Mark founded JEMNI, Inc., a Service-Disabled, Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) Packaging Distribution Company. As a Value Added Supplier,  JEMNI Inc. assists customers in gaining competitive advantage through efficient packaging solutions, facility sourcing, supply chain management, and logistics. Mark is the founder of Veterans Small Business Foundation (VSBF), a 501(c)3 organization, which is now doing business as Project Got Your Back (PGYB). Mark is a Bush fellow graduate and continues to provide leadership to mobilize communities to find solutions to tough problems in the veteran community. Born in Ames, Iowa, he now resides in Woodbury. He and his wife, Karen, are the parents of three grown children, and have two grandsons.



Charlene Nelson - Foundation Manager (PGYB).jpg


Foundation Manager

Mrs. Nelson has over 35 years experience in Executive Administration, beginning in 1980 at Control Data Corporation (now Ceridian) in Bloomington, MN. As an ex-Navy wife, she worked for eight years at various Naval architects and Marine engineers in the Norfolk and Virginia Beach, VA areas, providing administrative support ranging from word processing to office management. Upon return to Minnesota, Char began working for her father, Harry Sweere, who was the Founder, Owner and Chief Scientist of Ergotron, Inc. Along with personally assisting Mr. Sweere with his estate planning and other family-related matters, she coordinated all Board of Director and Shareholder meetings and documentation for both Ergotron and Constant Force Technology, another company founded and owned by Mr. Sweere. After her fathers’ death, Mrs. Nelson managed and administered the H. C. Sweere ‘Brighter Minds and Smiles’ Program, which awarded over $1 million dollars to Ergotron employees and their families for private education expenses and orthodontia/dental work. During her tenure at Ergotron, Mrs. Nelson also worked with the Ergotron Executive team in such areas as Engineering, Human Resources and Sales/Marketing. She retired in 2010 upon the sale of Ergotron, and is now proud to volunteer for such organizations as Project Got Your Back, Northwestern Media (KTIS), and Safe Families for Children. She serves on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors for the VSBF (PGYB), is Chairwoman of the Harry & Jan Sweere Foundation, a member of the Building New Bridges Campaign Cabinet for Lutheran Island Camp/Christ Serve Ranch, and also serves as an Area Representative and Board member for the East Battle Lake Watershed Association. She lives in Apple Valley, MN and Henning, MN along with her twin daughters, and their foster son.

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