MEET OUR TEAM

We are a collective of unique skills and diverse backgrounds, but we come together as a singular team bound by a passion for assisting our service members and veterans.
Shelby Mounts
Shelby Mounts

Executive Director,
U.S. Navy Veteran

Allen Whiteside
Allen Whiteside

Programs Director,
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran

William Prom
William Prom

Development Director,
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran

Ben Armstrong
Ben Armstrong

Director of Outreach
& Strategic Partnerships,
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran

Charles Bischoff
Charles Bischoff

Employment Coordinator,
U.S. Army Veteran

Chris Brown
Chris Brown

Louisiana Regional Expansion Manager,
U.S. Navy Veteran

Patrick McManus
Patrick McManus

Employment Coordinator,
U.S. Air Force Veteran

Melvin Jackson
Melvin Jackson

Employment Coordinator,
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran

Stephen Sider
Stephen Sider

Employment Coordinator,
U.S. Navy Veteran

A professional headshot of a smiling black woman with short hair, wearing a black top against a light background.
Lawren Johnson

Employment Coordinator,
U.S. Army Veteran

Adam Forbes
Adam Forbes

Aerospace & Defense Program Manager,
U.S. Air Force Veteran

Maddie Zimmermann
Maddie Zimmermann

Marketing Manager

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NextOp is a nonprofit organization engineered to meet the unprecedented employment challenges and opportunities facing military members and veterans today.

Shelby Mounts

Executive Director

Shelby Mounts brings more than 30 years of experience in Defense and Industry leadership roles to NextOp Veterans.

His private industry roles include CEO of Riverside Consulting Services, LLC, a small, independent Government Consulting services company, Chief Commercial Officer and EVP of Sales for Vita Inclinata Technologies, and Director of Defense Aerospace and Maritime Business Development at Allegheny Technologies Inc (ATI). In each case, the focus was development of relationships, positive outcomes and growth.

Shelby’s Government experience included service in the US Navy for 25 years, where he retired as a Captain. After graduating from Annapolis with a Bachelor of Science degree, Shelby served four years as a Surface Warfare Officer, including deployed time in South America, the Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East, then was selected to attend US Navy Flight School.

After earning his wings as a helicopter pilot, Shelby progressed as a pilot and officer, accumulating 2500 flight hours as an operator and two time instructor. This period included numerous deployments to the Middle East and Western Pacific Ocean supporting Navy and Marine Corps operations from San Diego,CA, Guam, and Japan, and a tour leading a helicopter squadron with 500 people and 19 helicopters in Norfolk, VA.

His staff assignments included a joint assignment at US Special Operations Command in Tampa, FL, two tours at the Pentagon in a variety of Navy Staff resourcing and operations positions, and a special assignment as a Secretary of Defense Corporate Fellow at Shell Oil in New Orleans, LA. Shelby also completed a Master of Science through the University of San Diego Business School.

ALLEN WHITESIDE

Programs Director

Allen is the Programs Director for NextOp and was named to his current position in August, 2021.

Allen joined the United States Marine Corps and served in various operational roles, including three deployments where he, as Senior Enlisted Advisor to Marine Corps Logistics Command (Afghanistan), managed the global distribution network supporting the Marine Corps’ Logistics Reset Strategy. He also served as the Operations Manager for the Marine Corps’ Maritime Prepositioning Program, which encompassed transportation and distribution networks across domestics and various international locations. Allen retired from the Marine Corps after 23 years of honorable service.

Allen then transitioned into management positions in a variety of industries, most recently at a global software company where he led teams in both North and South America.

Allen earned a Bachelor of Science in Management and is a Certified Project Manager with the Project Management Institute (PMI). Allen enjoys volunteering through coaching youth sports and serving as a mentor. He is an avid football fan, “Go Texans” and enjoys running in his spare time. Allen and his wife Frances have been married for 27 years and have two children.

WILLIAM PROM

Development Director

William Prom grew up in New Berlin, WI and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2009 with a B.S. in History (with Honors).  While at USNA, William competed in Varsity Cross Country and Track and Field (Indoor and Outdoor) and was the 2008 Cross Country Team Captain.  William commissioned into the Marine Corps in 2009 and spent the next five years as an Artillery Officer.  In 2012, he deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan as a Fire Direction Officer and in 2013/14 he deployed on the 13th Expeditionary Unit as the Fire Support Coordinator for Battalion Landing Team 1/4.

After leaving the Marine Corps in 2014, William briefly spent time racing marathons professionally and coaching cross country and track before beginning a career in writing.  He worked as a writer for CareerPro Global, Inc. where he focused on supporting servicemembers transitioning out of active duty and veterans seeking federal employment.  William has published dozens of articles in print and online with topics ranging from military history and national defense to athletics and biography.  His written work can be found in Naval History magazine, with the Center for International Maritime Security, and elsewhere.  His research has also been presented in the Proceedings Podcast from the U.S. Naval Institute and at the Houston Maritime Center.

William lives in the Woodlands with his wife, Emily, and their two children.

BEN ARMSTRONG

Director of Outreach & Strategic Partnerships

Ben is the Louisiana Regional Manager for NextOp and was named to his current position in October, 2017.

Ben is an educated Marine veteran with 18 years of experience in professional leadership. He served in support of Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom as an Aviation Electrician with Marine Attack Squadron VMA-231 from 1999-2004. Upon his discharge, 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 from 2011 to 2014. At UT Austin, he worked with the University to develop and implement the University’s nationally recognized Veteran Services Plan. In 2014, Ben was appointed as the Finance and Administration Chief in 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 also an active member of the New Orleans VFW Post 8973, where in April 2017 he was elected Post Commander.

CHARLES BISCHOFF

Employment Coordinator

Charles is an Employment Coordinator for NextOp and was named to his current position in February 2022.

Charles was born in Chicago, Illinois but grew up in Port Charlotte, Florida. He joined the United States Army shortly after high school. Charles served as a healthcare professional during his tenure, including serving as a combat medic where he deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and clinic administrator for both primary and specialty care clinics at a level III trauma hospital. Charles was medically retired after eight years of honorable service.

Charles and his family relocated to Houston where he shifted his focus from business and clinical administration to veteran services. Most recently serving as a Peer Service Coordinator for Texas Veterans Commission’s Veteran Mental Health Department’s Military Veteran Peer Network.

Charles has been recognized for being a mental health advocate, openly sharing his own personal struggles and successes. Charles enjoys everything fitness and sports related, from CrossFit to basketball. He is also an avid motorcycle rider. Charles and his wife Alexa have been married for thirteen years and have two young children.

Chris Brown

Louisiana Regional Expansion Manager

Chris is the Louisiana Regional Expansion Manager for NextOp and was named to his current position in February, 2021.

Chris Brown is from Portland, Maine and comes from a family with extensive military service. Chris started his Naval service in August of 1998 under the Navy’s Delayed Entry Program. After his graduation from Mess Management School, he reported to the USS Porter DDG 78 pre-commissioning unit as Mess Management Specialist Seaman. He then advanced to Petty Officer Third Class and took charge of the Wardroom, prepping it for a turnover with the shipyard. After several sea trials and a six month deployment to the Mediterranean, he advanced to Second Class Petty Officer.

In August 2001, Chris transitioned to military recruitment. He served in Levittown, Huntingdon Valley, NRD San Francisco, and Northern CA as the Recruiter in Charge until 2010. He then attended instructor training school, earning the Navy Enlisted Certification 9502. He served as an Enlisted Recruiting Instructor, Senior Chief Petty Officer, Master Training Specialist and Assistant Chief Recruiter until 2018. After his retirement from the military, he started at Ochsner Health as a Talent Acquisition Recruiter.

Chris and his wife Stephanie reside in Mandeville, LA with their four teenage children.

PATRICK McMANUS

Employment Coordinator

Patrick is an Employment Coordinator for NextOp and he was named to his current position in January, 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 Boy Scouts of America and is an active member of the New Orleans VFW Post 8973.

MELVIN JACKSON

Employment Coordinator

Melvin is an Employment Coordinator for NextOp and he was named to his current position in September 2022. 

Melvin is a native of Louisiana. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1999 and retired after 20 years of service. 

Melvin served in a variety of locations and billets. He served as a Motor Transport Operator in Camp Pendleton, a Line NCO and Dispatcher in Okinawa, Japan, and a Motor Transport Operator, Hazardous Waste Site Handler, Site Manager, and Training NCO at Camp Lejeune. He deployed to Iraq in 2008 as part of a truck detachment where he served as Platoon Sergeant and Convoy Commander and to Afghanistan, Helmand Province in 2011 as part of a truck detachment where he served as Motor Transport Liaison. 

In 2012, Melvin served as a canvassing recruiter working out of Marrero LA. Upon completion of recruiting duty, he was assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 274 Air Operation Company, as Motor Transportation Chief/Assistant Fuels Chief. After serving in that billet, he was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron where he performed duties such as Range Safety Officer and Range Chief until his retirement.

Upon his retirement, Melvin sought employment as an instructor at Craven Community College, instructing in their employment readiness program. His education includes a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and he is currently pursuing a Master of Human Resources. 

Melvin lives in North Carolina with his wife, Coty Jackson and their three children.

STEPHEN SIDER

Employment Coordinator

Stephen is the Louisiana Employment Coordinator for NextOp and was named to his current position in April, 2021.

Stephen Sider is a native of Louisiana. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1992 and retired in 2013. During his time in the Navy, he served in the Persian Gulf during Desert Shield. Stephen is well versed in leadership and team building. He served as a Navy recruiter for 15 years and gained extensive experience in sales, customer relations, and management.

Stephen holds a Master’s Degree in Leadership and Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix.

LAWREN JOHNSON

Employment Coordinator

Lawren is an Employment Coordinator for NextOp and was named to her current position in March 2024.

Lawren Johnson joined the United States Army in Houston, Texas shortly after graduating high school. Lawren honorably served in both the United States Army and Army Reserves in various healthcare administration and behavioral health roles. During her last years of service in the Army Reserves, she worked at the University of Houston as the Program Coordinator of Veteran Services. In this role, she developed a passion for helping veterans and their families transition
to from active service.

After 20 years of honorable service in the military, Lawren dedicated her professional efforts to developing talent strategies to connect employers to military veteran talent and career development programming that prepares transitioning service members and Veterans to
re-enter the civilian workforce. Lawren has a lifelong commitment to supporting the military-connected community. She continues her mission by empowering Veterans during their job search. She is known for her dedication to human capital development, inspiring and coaching others to reach their full potential.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and an MBA from the University of Houston-Downtown. Outside of work, Lawren enjoys spending quality time with her family and four-legged friends, and engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation.

ADAM FORBES

Aerospace & Defense Program Manager

Adam is the Aerospace & Defense Program Manager for NextOp and was named to his current position in March 2024.

Adam is from Willis, Texas where he enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1999. He served for over 21 years in which he held positions as Aircraft Electrical & Environmental Craftsman, Instructor, Flight Chief, Flightline Expediter, First Sergeant, Production Superintendent, and
Maintenance Superintendent. He has been deployed multiple times in various locations around the world working on aircraft such as C-17’s, F-16’s, KC-135’s, and B-52’s until 2020 when he officially retired.
 
Since the Air Force Adam has held jobs as Logistics Manager for PAE at Texas A&M University, Program Manager for Wave Neuroscience at Texas A&M University, as well as Corporate Sales and Account Management for Wave Neuroscience.
 
Adam currently resides in Montgomery, Texas with his two daughters. He earned his Master’s degree in Human Resources and enjoys following most sports.

MADDIE ZIMMERMANN

Programs Marketing Coordinator

Maddie is the Programs Marketing Coordinator for NextOp and was named to her current position in September, 2021.

Maddie Zimmermann is a proud graduate of Texas Christian University with experience in digital marketing and public relations. She is passionate about working for organizations with a focus on mission and service. Most recently, she contributed to the communication efforts for non-profit organizations like the College Advising Corps and the Kimbell Art Museum.

When she isn’t running social media accounts or strategizing email campaigns, you can find her in Fort Worth, Texas reading a good book or enjoying a long bike ride.

ALLEN WHITESIDE

Programs Director

Allen is the Programs Director for NextOp and was named to his current position in August, 2021.

Allen joined the United States Marine Corps and served in various operational roles, including three deployments where he, as Senior Enlisted Advisor to Marine Corps Logistics Command (Afghanistan), managed the global distribution network supporting the Marine Corps’ Logistics Reset Strategy. He also served as the Operations Manager for the Marine Corps’ Maritime Prepositioning Program, which encompassed transportation and distribution networks across domestics and various international locations. Allen retired from the Marine Corps after 23 years of honorable service. 

Allen then transitioned into management positions in a variety of industries, most recently at a global software company where he led teams in both North and South America.

Allen earned a Bachelor of Science in Management and is a Certified Project Manager with the Project Management Institute (PMI). Allen enjoys volunteering through coaching youth sports and serving as a mentor. He is an avid football fan, “Go Texans” and enjoys running in his spare time. Allen and his wife Frances have been married for 27 years and have two children.