Our Team

Bryan Buckley

President of the Board

As a Special Operations Team Commander with Marine Raiders, Bryan led multiple teams in deployments to Operation Enduring Freedom-Trans Sahara (Africa), South East Asia, and Operation Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan (Helmand Province). Developed rapport with numerous host nation forces, enhanced capability and capacity within the host nation units, and briefed US Ambassadors. Led a 20 man Marine Raider Team to Afghanistan that mentored, trained, and conducted over 40 combat operations with an Afghan Special Operations Battalion. Bryan also deployed twice to Operation Iraqi Freedom with Marine Infantry and Marine Reconnaissance.

Bryan, is an accomplished sales and operations leader. Distinguished background in leadership, policy, training, management, operations and strategic decision making. Adept in negotiation, alliance formation and organizational communication. Ability to forge productive partnerships among stakeholders and reach high-level decision makers within sophisticated organizations, ensuring free and productive flow of information. Counsel and assist those within and in association with governmental agencies, along with private sector, to adopt best practices in compliance with applicable regulations and statutes. Bryan worked at a successful EdTech firm as a Sales Manager achieving multiple awards in sales and grew his territory nearly 20% in a three year period. Bryan is a graduate of Villanova University.

-Awarded Bronze Star Medal with "Combat Distinguishing Device" for Heroic Service.

-Awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received during combat operations.

Brendan K. Ozanne

General Counsel

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin and being admitted to the California Bar, Mr. Ozanne worked as an associate attorney for some of San Diego's most prestigious insurance defense firms. His initial practice focused on representing insurance companies and real estate developers in professional liability matters and subrogation claims related to complex real estate disputes.

Expanding his practice areas, Mr. Ozanne was asked to become general counsel for an insurance investment and general agency in Newport Beach, CA. There his practice centered on both litigation of contractual disputes as well as transactional matters related to capital raise evaluations, trusts, financing arrangements and private equity.

Finding a personal interest in insurance and finance, Mr. Ozanne accepted the general counsel position for UTC Financial, LLC, where he handled all litigation matters for the firm, while also collaborating with publicly traded banks and hedge funds on capital investments and structured financing opportunities.

With over 17 years of litigation experience and drafting complex documents related to insurance and investment transactions, Mr. Ozanne currently represents a wide variety of businesses from real estate development firms to start-up companies, providing counsel on litigation matters and the creation of transactional documents and investor facing documents.

Brendan brings a wealth of business and legal experience to help assist Battle Brothers Foundation in developing strong community ties and benefits for our valued veterans.

Matt Denham

Board of Directors

Matt is an award-winning sales and marketing leader with nearly 30 years of sales and sales management experience in both education and industry. He’s built and led high performance teams at McGraw Hill Education (MHE), Pearson Education and MacMillan and at Time Inc, led the turnaround of Entertainment Weekly magazine.

His passion is teaching, mentoring and coaching at all levels and abilities. He loves helping individuals and organizations meet – and exceed – their expectations, to unlock their full potential and to operate at peak performance.

Matt has combined his passion for teaching and mentoring with his profound respect and admiration for those individuals who have chosen to serve their country to help ensure transitioning veterans are prepared for life after service. While at both Pearson Education and McGraw Hill Education, he led initiatives to develop Officer Leadership programs designed to actively recruit, hire and develop transitioning officers. He’s deeply proud of the impact he’s made in the lives of these service men and women.

Matt recently joined Area9 Lyceum after nearly 25 years in higher education and is excited to continue advancing the mission of transforming education for the 21st century fall all learners in both education and industry.

He received his bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Oklahoma.

Bill Buckley

Board of Directors

Bill is fully retired with 50 years experience in the field of Industrial Process Control and Systems Engineering. The majority of his employment was with a premier Manufacturers Representative organization in the Delaware Valley Region (PROCONEX – formerly C.B. Ives and Co., Inc.). Their business focus was to service a variety of industries including Steel, Pulp and Paper, Pharmaceutical, Chemical, Power, Gas Transmission and Distribution and Refining. He began his career in inside sales. After receiving his BSME degree from Drexel University, Bill was promoted to Outside Sales. His subsequent positions included Senior Account Manager, Project Manager, Marketing Manager, and Operations Manager.

After an early retirement, Bill also spent several years consulting as a cryogenic control valve specialist for the Ives Equipment Corp. Bill was a member of several business related professional organizations where he served in various positions including as Philadelphia Section President of the Instrument Society of America. His interests include scuba diving, sailing, antique firearms, reloading, hunting and fishing. Bill is a member of the American Legion, National Rifle Association, Garand Collectors Association and Saw Creek Hunting and Fishing Association (past President, current VP and Director).

Bill is the proud father of four (yes, Bryan is his son). He and Connie have 11 grandchildren. Bill is a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War. After serving proudly in the United States Army Security Agency he completed his college education at Drexel University Evening College. He is a strong supporter of our military veterans and a regular contributor to the Wounded Warrior Project, MARSOC Foundation, National Museum of the United States Army, and the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation.

Scott Strate

Board of Directors

Scott comes to the team with a lifetime of business and life experiences. He spent 30 years in Palm Desert, in the Coachella Valley, as a builder of tract homes. He moved on to building custom homes and income properties. Scott is a licensed CA Real Estate Broker.  He owned and operated a very busy and successful Appraisal Firm for 25 years.  Upon exiting his private businesses, Scott spent time fine tuning his golf game, which he now says is not up to par because he is so busy in his new role.

After moving out of the Coachella Valley, Scott was pursued by a large Real Estate Investment Trust.  For the past 6.5 years, Scott has worked in the Senior Housing industry. He is currently a District Senior General Manager for Holiday Retirement, an industry leader. Scott’s many duties include training new GMs, as well as fine tuning all aspects and details of the company’s senior housing communities, which operate as all-inclusive, full-service retirement businesses.

 

His role is mentoring and building teams to provide excellent customer service, auditing and maintaining operations and systems and ensuring these communities run as successful and profitable businesses. Scott is an avid supporter of America’s brave men and women who service to keep our country safe and free.

Corey Potter

Board of Directors

Corey Potter is an alumnus of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Mr. Potter was selected, by his peers and coaching staff, to be named Captain of the 2002, University of Massachusetts football team.

During his time at UMass, he won an NCAA Division 1-AA National Title and two Atlantic Ten conference titles. Upon graduating from the University of Massachusetts, Mr. Potter moved to Southern California and began working as a translator/construction project manager. For the last 12 years, he has worked on large industrial scale construction projects, serving as the liaison between state, city, and county officials and his supervisors, to ensure public safety. Mr. Potter was also charged with overseeing the completion of projects in a timely manner. Despite never having served in the military, helping Veterans in need is a personal passion of his.

Charles Dimry

Board of Directors

Charles Dimry is a former American football cornerback in the National Football League for the Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia Eagles, and the San Diego Chargers. After graduating from Oceanside High School he continued on to play college football at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

He was drafted by the Falcons and played 12 years in the NFL. He was twice awarded the NFL's Ed Block Courage Award and was twice named the Chargers' Most Inspirational Player. He resides in Carlsbad, California, with his wife Erin and their six children: Erin, CArlee, CJ, Sophie, Soleil, and Gia. After retiring from the NFL, he coached at USD with Jim Harbaugh. He is a previous owner of the Velocity Sports Performance training facilities in San Diego. He also is a correspondent for San Diego's prep football show Prep Pigskin Report with his own segment.

He is thrilled to join an organization that not only focus on our nation heroes, but helps to provide them with the ability to live their American Dream.

Chad Gordon

Board of Directors

Chad Gordon is a 25-year Technology industry veteran with experience across communications, network, electrical, and physical security disciplines. His work in the industry began as an installer working in Southern California helping some of the largest corporate and health care companies deploy new infrastructure of Fiber Optics and communication cabling for what has become today's modern networking. Eventually relocating to the East Coast and becoming a member of the IBEW he apprenticed to become an inside wireman while continuing to work with advancing low voltage technologies as well. It was at this point that Chad found a calling in the world of Physical (Electronic) Security. Bringing to bare a deep understanding of building code, building construction, and installation best practices he climbed the ranks from Installer, to foreman, to Project manager, eventually to systems designer and engineer.

Mr. Gordon’s practical understanding of Advanced Technology, installation practices, and practical applications have led he and his company to deploy some of the most innovative solutions across multiple industries and vertical markets. Throughout his career he has been recognized for building one of the fastest growing integration companies in the country, noted in Forbes for work using Video Surveillance to increase business intelligence and optimize supply chain efficiency, and most recently contributed to a study on the positive impact of technologies (Video surveillance, environmental and irrigation control systems, IOT sensors, and seed to sale tracking software) integrated at a logical level to give companies an advantage over their competition with an eye to protecting margins and operational efficiency in the Industrial Agriculture market.

While always maintaining a focus on his primary career, Chad found time to become a Firefighter (retired) and Father to 3 boys. Today he manages the business development focus, marketing strategies, and technology selection with his business partner at Visible Intellect LLC. Still finding time to give back, he works to mentor young entrepreneurs with the Dragon Kim Foundation, volunteered locally with the food-bank, cooks for families in need at the holidays, and has committed to roasting Thanksgiving Turkeys for the Troops at Camp Pendleton.

Eric Goepel

Executive Director

Eric Goepel grew up in southern California, enlisting in the U.S. Army at the age of 18. He served for seven years, providing communications and intelligence support in the special operations community. During that time, Eric deployed twice to Iraq and once to the Philippines. After the end of his enlistment, Eric worked as a defense contractor in Afghanistan before returning to the U.S. to complete his bachelor's degree. Through the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Eric was able to attend and graduate from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in political science.

During and following college, Eric worked in various policy analysis and advocacy roles in Washington, D.C., including as a legislative fellow in the office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Prior to founding his own veteran nonprofit, Eric was the assistant director of the American Legion's National Security Division. In that position, Eric developed positions for the country's largest war-time veteran association on the opioid crisis, cybersecurity, and transnational organized crime. His national security writing has been featured in U.S. News and World Report, Defense One, and The National Interest.

It was during his work on federal opioid response policies that Eric became convinced of the need to make alternative treatments available to everyone, especially veterans at risk of suicide and overdose. After months of discussion with fellow Iraq veteran and D.C. hand, Bill Ferguson, Eric and Bill decided to strike out independently and create a Veterans Coalition to specifically bring the veterans community together to effectively push for non-opiate based medical reform.

Today, Eric’s network works in Washington, D.C., California, and with other veteran leaders around the country, to organize, educate, and advocate on behalf of veterans and all patients. Veterans issues are American issues--the physical, mental, and social challenges in the community may be amplified, but they are not unique. Veterans offer a way to unite fragmented groups around a message of compassion and access--something that VCC aims to ensure happens across the country.

Alon Blatt

Advisor to the Board

Alon Blatt is a veteran of the Israeli military serving as an Intelligence Officer. Alon is based in Los Angeles, Alon runs NiaMedic’s business development activity in the USA. Prior to joining NiaMedic, Alon worked in investment banking and business development in a variety of fields.

Alon believes very deeply in the mission of Battle Brothers Foundation and is a tremendous asset to the team.

John Gillis

Advisor to the Board

John F. Gillis is a Certified Mortgage Planner and Mortgage Advisor with Benchmark Mortgage. Both his personal and team production rank him among the elite in the nation in many of the statistical categories while serving over 200 families each year. John and his team The John Gillis Team has been doing home loans in San Diego and the surrounding area for over 25 years.

Their success is widely a result of their ability to provide top shelf service which is why almost all of their clients are by referral. A big part of that top shelf service is their willingness to meet face to face with their clients to ensure that the selected loan is strategically chosen to meet each of their needs and circumstances for the short term and long term. John and his team especially pride themselves in working with active or retired military, all fire and police and first responders as well as all first time homebuyers.

Their system for communicating throughout the process is unmatched as every client is made aware during their initial consultation of every document and every step necessary for a successful and stress-free closing. After that it only gets better as everyone receives a weekly updates of every action taken along with a real-time accounting of where the file is in process. Each client receives a customized mortgage plan, their top-ten written guarantees and a clear list of Do’s and Don’ts to insure a smooth transaction.

John graduated from the University of San Diego in Business earning a B.S. degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance and accounting. His background has not only been a great asset in advising self-employed clients, but also in creating and drafting tax-saving strategies for clients with a variety of backgrounds. John has served on several boards and was the President of the Parochial Sports League, a youth sports league for many years.

John and his wife Kimberly live in Carlsbad, California, with their six children. When John isn’t busy studying mortgage strategy and programs or meeting with clients he enjoys spending time with his family. John loves to coach his children in sports. The entire Gillis gang are avid sports fans with a love for the outdoors, so if they aren’t watching one of their own competing in softball, baseball, football, horse riding, tennis, dance, golf, or basketball, you might find them at a San Diego Padres or San Diego Gulls game or maybe hiking a local trail or relaxing on the beach.

Briar Buckley

Director of Operations

Briar Buckley was born and raised in the Palm Springs area of Southern California. Upon graduating La Quinta High School at the top of her class, she attended San Diego State University.

At San Diego State, she pursued and graduated with a degree in Finance. After working in Finance for a brief time, Briar decided to pursue a creative career in the field of cosmetology. She moved to LA to learn her craft and then brought her skills back to San Diego. She now owns her own business, Briar Madelyn Inc.

Briar has spent seven years building relationships and working with the Veteran community. She continually looks for new and creative ways to give back to our nations heroes. Briar is a wife, mother and business woman and brings a wealth of life experiences and her compassion for Veterans to the Battle Brothers Foundation.

Luke Chittick

Director of Treatment and Recovery

Luke Chittick has been working on the front lines of addiction and mental health disorders since 2009. Luke started in this industry as a Counselor at Beit T’Shuvah, one of the largest non-profit residential Treatment facilities in the nation, where he acquired over 6,000 clinically supervised hours. In December 2012, Luke joined Transcend Recovery Community as the Program Director for two of their Sober Livings.

In his capacity as Program Director, Luke oversaw operations for the two facilities, facilitated communication between the Intensive Outpatient clinicians and house staff, and ensured continuity of care for all residents. Luke’s role often required therapeutically-oriented intervention with clients in need of additional support. In July of 2015, Luke, along with the Chief Operating Officer of Transcend, created and implemented a comprehensive recovery curriculum for a new sober living called, the Verve, with particular attention to the structure, necessary therapeutic programing and accountability required for the early stages of recovery.

Luke later transitioned to Director of Business Development for Transcend in January 2016. As Director, Luke developed and integrated market plans to efficiently position the company brand within targeted markets. He generated new accounts by implementing effective networking and content marketing strategies. During this time, Luke spent a year traveling the country to visit with and learn about different treatment programs and modalities.  In November of 2016, sparked by the desire to return to more clinically-focused and direct client care, Luke joined Patrick Hart Consultants as a Clinical Case Manager.

His extensive experience with clients suffering from substance abuse, anxiety and psychotic disorders provides him a wealth of strategies and interventions to employ with individuals and families in crisis. He is a certified Field Model Crisis Interventionist, holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has been sober since 2009.   

Kris Sit

Ambassador Director

Kris retired from the Marines after serving as an Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Master Technician and Marine Raider Regimental EOD Chief. Kris’ actions and policy development substantially increased the survivability of countless troops forward deployed as explosive threats dramatically increased during deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. 

His consistent devotion to optimized processes is a result of decades of expert training, research and instruction. Kris’ bonafides include certifications from agencies such as US Special Operations Command and The Federal Bureau of Investigations. Kris is a subject matter expert on threat and vulnerability analysis and a thought leader on counter-terror principles.

As Ambassador Director for Battle Brothers Foundation, Kris helps coordinate all Ambassadors during events for Battle Brothers Foundation and pairs up Ambassadors with veterans transitioning from active duty.

-Bronze Star Medal (with Combat “V”) 

-2x Meritorious Service Medal 

-2x Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with Combat “V”)

Brian C. Jacklin

Ambassador

Brian Jacklin is a Marine Raider and serves as the Senior Enlisted Advisor for Marine Special Operations Company Charlie, providing operational and strategic oversight to all planned and projected tasked mission sets.

He enlisted in the Marine Corps on 09 July, 2001. Brian has two tours to Iraq. Once with Light Armor Reconnaissance and once with Marine Recon. He was then moved to 1st Marine Raider Battalion where he deployed three times to Afghanistan and three times to South East Asia.

His billets include Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) Element Leader, Team Chief, and Operations Chief where his responsible for providing tactical and technical oversight to all operations for over three hundred Marines, Sailors, Airmen, Army and interagency personnel comprising a Special Operations Task Force in support of SOCPAC GWOT lines of effort. Brian is one of the most decorated Marine Raiders, being awarded the Navy Cross, second highest medal only behind the Medal of Honor

- Awarded Navy Cross

- Awarded Navy Commendation Medal W/Combat Distinguishing device for valor

Eric Kasmire

Ambassador

Battle Brothers helped me navigate the extremely confusing process of resubmitting my VA disability claim at a time when I desperately needed help. My body bears witness to twenty years of active military service, most of which was spent in the Marine Reconnaissance and Marine Special Operations communities. Initially, the VA failed to fully acknowledge the full scope of these injuries.

While changing careers, moving my family out of state and attending school, I had neither the time nor the experience required to competently resubmit my disabilities package to the VA. With the help of Battle Brothers, I was equipped to fully understand this process and navigate its pitfalls.

This is an incredible organization whose goal is to ensure that veterans who sustained life-changing injuries in service of our country are given ample guidance as we communicate our disabilities to the VA. Without their help I would still be carrying a huge weight on my shoulders.

Luke Schaffer

Ambassador

The Battle Brothers Foundation helped me as I was transitioning out of the Marine Corps and getting settled into my life with my family and career in the civilian world.

After working as an F/A-18 pilot, Police Transition Team Lead in North West Iraq and Company Commander with Special Purpose MAGTF and four out of five combat deployments, my mind and body have taken their toll and continue to remind me daily of that toll. Working with the VA, to acknowledge my disabilities through my years of service, I was struggling with the VA system and was overwhelmed by the paperwork/bureaucratic process, what to do, how to do the paperwork, and who to meet with to help me pursue my claim. I got an immense amount of help from the Battle Brothers Foundation. Battle Brothers is an amazing organization that helped me successfully resubmit my VA disability claim.

From the moment I touched base with them they could not have been more friendly, insightful, and extremely respectful in helping me understand how to go about this process. They walked me through a step by step process of the forms and people I needed to work with. I am extremely grateful for the help and kindness this group has shown me. It was easy and seamless and without their help I do not believe I would have ever received my benefits.

Dillon Thomas

Ambassador

Dillon served 5 years in the United States Marine Corps with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion where he was trained in ground and amphibious reconnaissance, raid operations, as well as surveillance to provide accurate information to Marine intelligence communities. He specialized in training various military units in close quarter combative tactics where he led training evolutions for various entities around the globe, to include forces from the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Thailand, Brunei, Africa, and the Middle East.

After honorably serving within the Marine Corps, Dillon transitioned into the non-profit space as well as the fast-paced tech industry. At DoorDash, a leading on-demand tech company founded out of Silicon Valley, Dillon led initiatives that increased efficiency throughout the entire market, analyzed data to forecast market trends for optimal supply-chain functionality, and oversaw relationships for a multitude of customers, merchants, and contracted fleet personnel. Presently, Dillon works with entities within the agripharma space to strategically fulfill various operational needs.