- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Second Annual “Top 40 Under 40 Military” Honorees Announced
by Heidi Russell Rafferty, Contributing Editor

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The resolve of Navy PO2 Richard Walsh speaks loudly. He’s an inventor who has put forth solutions to save the Department of Defense (DoD) billions of tax dollars. As an enlisted Naval service member, Walsh wants other veterans to know their military rank means nothing in the big scheme of making a difference in the world.

military experienced personnel“I really just hope my story can show my peers that regardless of what is on their collar they can achieve anything they put their mind to,” he says, adding that he’s dreaming big, not only for his military career but for the DoD as a whole. “In the years to come, I plan to prompt change in the entire maintenance concept for the Department of Defense.”

That type of self-confidence is exactly what sets Walsh and 39 other service members apart from their peers. As part of the 2011 class of the Top 40 Under 40 Military, each of them has excelled both professionally and personally in military and/or subsequent civilian careers, putting forth their best efforts while gaining ground for the betterment of society through aggressive volunteerism and service.

Civilian Job News (CJN) launched the Top 40 Under 40 Military in 2010, as a companion to its annual list of Most Valuable Employers (MVE) for Military. CJN is a tool to help military-experienced personnel find a civilian job following their military service and the Top 40 Under 40 Military aids employers with identifying some of this year’s best and brightest, while also giving those listed a special nod for their outstanding contributions.

“The list of recipients is very impressive and I am proud to see how much this recognition program has grown this year,” says Publisher Bill Basnett. “Congratulations to our 2011 winners. Once more, we had a distinguished review panel in helping us determine this commendable group. A well deserved thank you goes out to them.” The panel includes:

  • William W. Basnett, Brigadier General (Retired), U.S. Air Force Reserve, Past Commander of the 94th Tactical Airlift Wing (TAW), Past President and Membership Director for the Reserve Officers Association (ROA).
  • Steve Clarke, Captain (Retired), U.S. Navy, President of Strategic Performance Group, Inc.
  • Kenneth A. Konstanzer, Lieutenant Colonel (Retired), U.S. Army, Aviation, Chairman, U.S. Service Academy Selection Board for the Office of U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss and Congressman Tom Graves, Past Commander, U.S. Military Academy Admissions Field Force, State of Georgia.

Recognizing Individual Achievement

You’ll find a wide variety of profiles and backgrounds represented here. There are those with an entrepreneurial mindset, like Walsh and Army CPT Socrates Rosenfeld. The former captain wants to create a microfinance institution that will help suppress fanatic groups funding violence. He says, “In places where extremist violence is the only hand to feed the poor, I want to deal a new hand.”

Others have unique personal achievements, like Navy Lt. Bristol Hartlage, who finished the Great Wall of China Marathon in May 2011. Some have gone on to using their special gifts and knowledge gained from the military in their civilian careers, like Navy Lt. Luke Saladyga. During his Naval service, he developed technical requirements for the next generation of undersea technology for SEALs. Today, he’s working in Finland for Google, developing a data center that will use seawater from the Gulf of Finland to cool computing equipment.

And then there are those who continue to serve their local communities or fellow veterans, either by professional vocation or volunteerism. Army SSG Tony Bryan is raising millions of dollars for The Mission Continues, a non-profit to help returning veterans. Coast Guard CPO Jason R. Betzing regularly volunteers with the Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Toys for Tots and others. Setting similar examples are the following 2011 Top 40 Under 40 Military along with more details about what makes each one of them special.

Index of the honorees:


Freelancer Heidi Russell Rafferty is a reporter with 19 years of experience who writes about employment and business issues.

Return to November/December 2011 Issue