Steph is the Executive Director of NextOp, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in Houston, Texas. Steph was named to her current position in August, 2019.
Steph (Parker) Drake was born in Sacramento, California and is part of a family with strong military service. Steph is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy (2005) where she majored in Oceanography and played Center midfielder for the Navy women's soccer team. In 2005 Steph commissioned as a US Marine Officer, serving 8 years active duty before transitioning to the reserves and moving to Houston. During her time serving our country, Steph held multiple roles at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Camp Lejeune, and Marine Barracks Washington, 8th & I. Steph deployed to Fallujah, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (2007-2008) as the Executive Officer for Security Company, Combat Logistics Battalion-8 and Officer-In-Charge of Fallujah's first Sisters of Fallujah program. Her other roles included Aerial Port Officer-In-Charge, Company Commander, Logistics Officer, and Regimental Operations Officer. Steph had the honor of being selected to the 8th & I ceremonial drill staff, marching in numerous ceremonies and formal parades in the National CapitalCapitol Region honoring distinguished guests and service members and representing the Marine Corps to the general public. While on active duty Steph earned her MBA from Boston University.
Steph left the active duty Marine Corps in 2013, moving to Houston to start a successful career with Shell Oil Company. Steph's roles at Shell included Contracting & Procurement, Materials Management, and Logistics Operations. Most recently, Steph led the Shell Lubricants Supply Chain logistics operations team for the south & west of North America.
Steph is a Marine Corps reservist and has served as the Houston Marine for Life Representative since February 2018, connecting Marines to local resources for various needs. She is also a Blue and Gold Officer for the US Naval Academy. Steph and her husband Taylor, also a US Marine and Naval Academy graduate, reside in Houston with their three young children.
Ben is the Louisiana Regional Manager for NextOp a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in Houston, Texas. Ben was named to his current position in October, 2017.
Ben is an educated Marine veteran with 18 years of experience in professional leadership who served in support of Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom as an Aviation Electrician with Marine Attack Squadron VMA-231 from 1999-2004. Upon being discharged from the military Mr. Armstrong received his undergraduate degree from Texas State University and his Masters of Public Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
He served as the inaugural Director of Veteran Services for the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) from 2011 to 2014. At UT Austin he worked with the University to development and implement the University's nationally recognized Veteran Services Plan. In 2014 Ben was appointed as the Finance and Administration Chief with the City of New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness where he planned, developed, and managed the City’s $52 million annual security budget and special projects.
Ben is an active member of the New Orleans VFW Post 8973. Since 2014 he has served in various leadership roles, supported the Post in their $600,000 renovation of their historic building, and in April of 2017, he was elected Post Commander.
Shannon is the Development Director for NextOp a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in Houston, Texas. Shannon was named to her current position in October, 2019.
Shannon Cranson is a seasoned communicator, holding a variety of communications and marketing roles in the manufacturing, energy, and chemical industries. With 18 years of experience, she has directed multi-faceted communications initiatives in international companies in a broad span of industries. Most recently, she was the Engineering & Maintenance and Houston Communications Manager for BASF Corporation, where she designed and implemented the employee-driven community relations program.
Shannon is an active volunteer with the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. She and her husband, Trey, have one son, and in her spare time, she is an athlete, most recently focusing on triathlons.
Chris is the Louisiana Regional Expansion Manager for NextOp a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in Houston, Texas. Chris was named to his current position in February, 2021
Chris Brown was born in Portland, Maine and comes from a family with extensive military service. Chris started his Naval service August 1998 under the Navy's Delayed Entry Program. He entered active duty February 3, 1998 and attended Recruit Training in Great Lakes, Il. He graduated Mess Management Specialist (MS) School May 1998.
After his graduation from MS school, in June 1998, he reported to the USS Porter DDG 78 pre-commissioning unit as Mess Management Specialist Seaman. His first assignment aboard the Porter was the pre-commissioning unit’s snack bar. Seizing the opportunity to expand his MS experience he volunteered to help a under manned destroyer, USS MCFAUL DDG 74 as the crews night baker. Upon his return to the USS Porter he advanced to Petty Officer Third Class and took charge of the Wardroom, prepping it for a turnover with the shipyard. Shortly after that, he earned the title, “Chowda King”, placing third in Port Canaveral Fl. Festival and ships commissioning ceremony. After several sea trials and a six month deployment to the Mediterranean, he advanced to Second Class Petty Officer.
In August 2001, he attended Navy Recruiting Orientation Unit School in Pensacola Fl., graduating in October 2001. In December 2001 he reported to Naval Recruiting District Philadelphia, and was assigned to Naval Recruiting Station Levittown. After one year he was transferred to Naval Recruiting Station Huntingdon Valley for his first Recruiter in Charge position. In early 2004, he was selected for the Career Recruiting Force and was promoted to the rank, Petty Officer First Class Career Counselor. He then transferred back to Naval Recruiting Station Levittown to assume the Recruiter in Charge until fall 2006.
In December 2006, he reported to NRD San Francisco, Navy Recruiting Station Visalia, CA. He spent 8 months as Recruiter in Charge and was promoted to Chief Petty Officer in September, 2007. In October, 2007 he was called upon to run a zone in Northern CA and transferred again. He ran the northern CA zone until December 2010 when he transferred.
He reported to Instructor training school January 2011, earning the Navy Enlisted Certification 9502. February 2011, he reported to Navy Recruiting Orientation Unit Pensacola FL, as an Enlisted Recruiting Instructor. In June 2011, he was promoted to Senior Chief Petty Officer. Shortly after making Senior Chief, he earned the qualification Master Training Specialist and Assistant Chief Recruiter qualification. In December 2013, he transferred to NRD San Diego as the Assistant Chief Recruiter and held that position until he transferred.
In December 2015, he reported to NRD New Orleans holding various recruiting roles until his retirement in June 2018, when he started at Ochsner Health as a Talent Acquisition Recruiter.
Chris and his wife Stephanie reside in Mandeville, LA with their four teenage children.
Tiffany is an Employment Coordinator for NextOp, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in Houston, Texas. Tiffany was named to her current position in January of 2019.
Tiffany is originally from Carthage, MO, and currently resides in Houston, TX. She enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1995 as a Supply Apprentice and would deploy to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Southern Watch during her enlistment. She would eventually transition to the Air National Guard in 2000 but missing wearing the uniform every day led her to return to active duty in 2003. Volunteering for recruiting duty, she would fulfill her desire to help young men and women reach their goals through military service. Tiffany would spend the next 15 years in Air Force Recruiting Service before finishing her career at the Pentagon and retiring in December 2018.
Striving to complete her education prior to retirement, Tiffany graduated Summa Cum Laude from Ashford University with a Bachelor of Arts, Organizational Management.
Patrick is the Louisiana Employment Coordinator for NextOp a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in Houston, Texas. Patrick was named to his current position in January of 2019.
Patrick McManus is a native of Louisiana. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1991 and retired in 2011. During his time he served in support of Operation Sea Signal, Task Force Katrina, Operation Deep Freeze, and Operation Enduring Freedom. Upon retirement Patrick worked as a project manager building commercial diving equipment.
Patrick volunteers with the Boys Scouts of America and is an active member of the New Orleans VFW Post 8973.
Khris is part of the Program Support Team for NextOp a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in Houston, TX. He was named to his current position in April 2018.
Khris E. Cabanas was born and raised in Houston, TX. He enlisted in the United States Army in 2010, and after 2 enlistments he received an honorable discharge in March of 2017. During his time in the Army, he served in the 1st Cavalry Division, and the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment. Khris also served one tour in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Khris is currently pursuing his education at the University of Houston for a degree in Management Information Systems.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Donovan Campbell serves as the Chief Operating Officer for 2nd.MD, a rapidly-growing digital health company that provides app-based virtual visits with some of the top doctors in the world. In addition to tripling in size over the past three years, 2nd.MD has been rated one of the Best Places to Work in Houston for each of those three years. Prior to 2nd MD, he was Vice President of Information Technology & Best Practices for Forum Energy Technologies, an NYSE-traded global manufacturing company. At Forum, Donovan led the global information technology team, the company’s digital transformation teams, and its acquisition integration teams. At Forum, Donovan focused on using technology-driven process re-design to help company operations scale, with over thirty successful deployments across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia. Before Forum Energy, Donovan worked in several private businesses in leadership roles and in sales leadership within PepsiCo’s Leadership Development Program.
Donovan served for five years as a Ground Intelligence Captain in the United States Marine Corps, deploying to combat zones three times in both infantry and intelligence/Special Forces support operations. Donovan was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor for his time in Iraq and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal for his time in Afghanistan. In 2014, Donovan co-founded the non-profit NextOp, an organization designed to find well-paying jobs for enlisted veterans of the Armed Services; he continues to serve on the board. Donovan is also the New-York-Times best-selling author of two books, Joker One and The Leader’s Code.
Christine Bassitt is the Sales Director for Shell Aviation Americas.
Christine graduated magna cum laude from George Washington University with a Bachelors of Business Administration in International Business and was commissioned as a Naval Officer in 2007. She served aboard USS BOXER (LHD 4), MOBILE BAY (CG 53) and STENNIS (CVN 74) deploying to the Middle East several times with involvement in multiple counter-piracy operations as well as a civic and humanitarian mission to Latin America. On MOBILE BAY she qualified as Tactical Action Officer and Engineering Officer of the Watch while serving as Assistant Chief Engineer and Air Defense Liaison to Carrier Strike Group Three.
After completing her MBA from University of Southern California, she joined Shell Trading as the Commercial Shipping Business Advisor. She went on to Shell Aviation serving as a Pricing and Account Manager for the Americas where she now leads all jet sales for the Americas including the integration with trading. Christine resides in Houston with her husband and son.
Trish is currently serving as the Senior Vice President, Operational Transformation at the Harris Health System. The Harris Health System employs more than 8,000 staff, is affiliated with both the Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Health Science Center, and provides high-quality, full spectrum health care to the medically underserved population of Harris County. She was appointed to this position in July, 2016. In this capacity, she integrates and streamlines functions across the Health System to better synchronize the delivery of health care to >1 million eligible patients.
Trish was commissioned as a Medical Service Corps officer in 1986 and has commanded at the company, battalion, and brigade/Medical Center level. Over the course of a 29 year Army career, she served in a diversity of command and staff assignments in both the operational and institutional Army Medical Department (AMEDD) and recently retired at the rank of Colonel on December 1, 2015.
Her experiences span the medical human resources (HR) spectrum including service as an AMEDD recruiter, senior Strength Manager, and ultimately as the HR Director for the Army Surgeon General/Army Medical Command. As the senior leader/commander of a deployable trauma hospital, Colonel Darnauer spent 11 months leading regional US medical support to US/NATO forces in Helmand Province and western Afghanistan in 2011. Prior to her retirement, she commanded the Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, Texas where she was charged with improving the health and readiness of more than 100,000 beneficiaries.
Trish earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics and Business Management from Cornell University, a Masters degree in Healthcare Administration from Baylor University, and a Masters degree in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University. She is married to Eric Darnauer, an AH-64D Instructor Pilot/Aviation Safety Officer in the Texas Army National Guard. They are the proud parents of two young-adult daughters.
Currently based in Bakersfield, California, John works as the Commercial Manager for the San Joaquin Valley Business Unit, leading the team responsible for all Upstream contracts associated with Chevron’s onshore California production. Prior to relocating to California from Houston in 2018, John worked on and later was selected to lead the team responsible for Chevron’s existing Permian Basin commercial agreements in the Mid Continent Business Unit. John is a graduate of Chevron’s Commercial Skills MBA Leadership Development Program, with previous rotational assignments over a period of more than two years in Houston, the UK and Australia.
John graduated from USMA in 2002 and deployed to Kuwait and onward into Iraq early 2003 with the 3rd Infantry Division. After Operation Iraqi Freedom I he returned to Iraq in 2005 for OIF 3 working in the Tikrit/Samarra area. John held a variety of Field Artillery positions as well as time as an Observer Controller supporting the deployment of National Guard and Reserve forces to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.
John received his BS in Management and Systems Engineering from the United States Military Academy and his MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
Doug has spent over thirty years in the Energy Industry and is founder and owner of Sallyport Investments, LLC.
Foshee was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of El Paso Corporation and a director of El Paso Pipeline GP Company, L.L.C., the general partner of El Paso's publicly traded master limited partnership, El Paso Pipeline Partners, L.P. until May 2012 when El Paso was acquired by Kinder Morgan. Foshee served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Halliburton Company. Prior to Halliburton, he was President, CEO and Chairman of Nuevo Energy Company and CEO and Chief Operating Officer of Torch Energy Advisors Inc. He held various positions in finance and new business ventures with ARCO International Oil and Gas Company and spent several years in energy banking. He formerly chaired the board of directors of The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Houston Branch. In 2009, Foshee was appointed by the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to serve in a leadership role as an independent trustee of the AIG Credit Facility Trust. The Trust was established by the U.S. Treasury to hold a 77.9 percent equity interest in American International Group (AIG).
Foshee earned an MBA from the Jesse H. Jones School at Rice University in 1992 and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Southwest Texas State University in 1982. He is also a graduate of the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University.
Jeff Hyler leads Spencer Stuart’s Houston office and the firm’s U.S. Utilities Practice, focusing on CEO and other senior executive assignments for renewable energy companies, electric utilities, independent power producers, oil and gas companies and commodity trading firms. He is also a member of Spencer Stuart’s Board Practice and advises clients on recruiting outside directors.
Prior to joining Spencer Stuart, Jeff was a partner in Towers Perrin’s executive compensation and rewards practice, and was a leader in the firm’s energy and utility practice. Over his 10-year tenure, he worked with more than 50 energy companies to help align their rewards programs to their business strategy.
Many of Jeff’s assignments involved ongoing advisory work with senior management and non-executive directors on a variety of compensation issues, including compensation strategy development, annual and long-term incentive plan design, executive perquisite programs, employment contracts, change-in-control agreements, competitive pay analysis and outside director pay.
Jeff served for eight years as a Naval Flight Officer in the U.S. Navy. Jeff also serves on the board of NextOp, a nonprofit organization that assists enlisted combat veterans in transition to industry careers. He received his M.B.A. from Tulane University and a B.A. from The George Washington University.
Jeff is a managing director at Spencer Stuart, one of the world’s leading executive search consulting firms.
Pete currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for high priority design and construction projects across AECOM's global delivery organizations and markets. AECOM is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, oil and gas, water, high-rise buildings and government. With nearly 100,000 employees serving clients in over 150 countries around the world, AECOM is ranked as the #1 engineering design firm by revenue in Engineering News-Record magazine’s annual industry rankings, and has been recognized by Fortune magazine as a World’s Most Admired Company..
Born in Boston, MA, Pete is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy (BS in Civil Engineering-1983). During his 9-years of active duty, Pete led combat engineering and construction units in the U.S. and the Pacific theater. He also graduated from the University of New Hampshire (MS in Civil Engineering – 1989) and then went onto serve 3 years on the Department of Civil Engineering faculty at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Since leaving active duty, Pete has been privileged to serve as CEO/President and Officer of four mid to large cap global companies in the engineering and construction industries. Pete has demonstrated business success managing profit & loss in all facets of industry product and service delivery, ranging from consulting services; engineering and design; program and construction management; design build; construction; and development/ Public Private Partnerships (P3) for both the vertical general building and heavy civil segments. He has led organizations in start-up, accelerated growth, mature operations, and turnaround phases.
Pete currently serves on Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Senior Executive Group (SEG). The SEG is a group of 16 industry leaders selected to discuss topics of mutual interest to industry and the U.S. Navy Chief of Civil Engineers, U.S. Army Chief of Engineers, and the Air Force Civil Engineer. Since March 2015, Pete has volunteered his time on the Advisory Board of NextOP, serving as a mentor to veterans and supporting NextOp Executive Director with various outreach efforts to industry partners for veteran career placement.
Matthew J. May is partner and Vice President of Bisso Construction Services (BCS). Matt has extensive experience and leadership in the areas of sales strategy, business planning, account management, and strategic partnerships. Over his 30-year career, Matt has led and developed teams to overcome the most challenging missions and corporate hurdles.
Prior to starting BCS, Matt was Vice President Global Business Development at Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) a pioneer in renewable wave-energy technology that converts ocean wave energy into electricity. Prior to that he was Director of Sales and Marketing for Tampnet, a leading telecommunications company that provides high speed wireless communications to the offshore oil and gas industry. Prior to Tampnet, Matt served as the first Executive Director for NextOpVets, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in Houston, TX with the mission of connecting veterans and military talent to over 100 companies in the energy sector and beyond. To date, NextOpVets has placed over 1,600 veterans with corporate partners.
Matt served for over twenty-five years as a US Navy SEAL, where he held multiple leadership roles in operational units based in Europe, Middle East and South America. Matt completed his undergraduate studies while serving out his last few years on active duty, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Saint Leo University and receiving a degree in Business Administration with a Specialization in Management.
Chris White is president of Chemetec, Braid Logistics North America, and Louisiana Pepper Exchange, all of which are booming and collectively generated $45 million in sales in 2015.
For a West Point graduate with an engineering degree, White isn’t your ordinary culinary entrepreneur. In fact, it didn’t even begin in the kitchen. Instead, White got his entrepreneurial start in 1996 as a salesman at his father’s industrial equipment company, Chemetec. He worked his way up through the highly technical company selling its top line product, which allowed him to acquire a unique expertise in mixing and agitation systems. During that time, White developed a relationship with a longtime customer, McIlhenny Company, maker of Tabasco pepper sauces. In working closely with McIlhenny, White was tasked with engineering a solution to one of the biggest problems the company faced in the hot sauce making process.
After he launched Louisiana Pepper Exchange, Scotland-based Braid Logistics, the world’s largest manufacturer of flexitanks, approached White about buying the company’s intellectual property. White entered into a joint venture with a 40% stake in Braid, and he’s now president of Braid Logistics North America LLC, with operations based in New Orleans. “It is all tied together because Chemetec, the equipment company, is the one that got us into the hot sauce and pepper industry,” White says, “and since then, we’ve sold a lot of equipment for the processing of peppers and hot sauce around the world.” Having seen 700% growth over four years, Braid signed a lease in 2016 on a 10-acre site at the Port of New Orleans—the same location where Louisiana Pepper Exchange is moving it operations—with over 45,000 square feet of buildings, rail spurs and a dock on the Industrial Canal.
Bill recently retired as the Finance Lead for CenterPoint Energy. He was responsible for accounting, treasury, risk management, tax, strategic planning, business development, emerging businesses and investor relations. Before joining CenterPoint Energy in February 2015, Bill was vice president and treasurer at American Water Works Company, Inc. the largest investor-owned U.S. water and wastewater utility, serving approximately 16 million people in 35 states and Ontario and Manitoba, Canada. He previously served as chief financial officer for NV Energy Inc., an investor-owned utility headquartered in Las Vegas, which serves about 1.5 million electric and gas customers in Nevada and has annual revenues of approximately $3 billion. Bill also served as vice president of finance, risk and tax, as well as corporate treasurer, for NV Energy. Additionally, he was a managing director in capital markets for Merrill Lynch and held a similar position at JPMorgan Chase in New York.
A chartered financial analyst, he is a member of the Association of Financial Professionals, the New York Society of Securities Analysts and the Association for Investment Management and Research. He serves on the boards of The West Point Association of Graduates and Episcopal Social Services of New York, Inc., and the Salvation Army of New Jersey.
Bill earned a master’s degree in accounting and finance from Duke University and is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, with a bachelor's degree in engineering and economics. Before beginning his finance career, Bill served as a captain in the Army Corps of Engineers for five years.