Murray Schrantz

Chair  -

Murray Schrantz is the founder of True North Transitions, dedicated to assisting veterans seeking management and professional careers. With over 30 years of successful business experience at companies of all sizes, he helps veterans achieve career goals, not simply a job. His professional career includes key positions of leadership in sales, public relations, and marketing that supplement his leadership and instructional and skills. He is also an adjunct professor for Career Transitions at Vanguard University. Murray has an MBA from Pepperdine University and an engineering degree from West Point. He also serves on the board of Mariposa Center, is an educational advocate for special needs youth in the foster care system, vice chair of the Employment Working Group for the Orange County Veterans and Military Family Collaborative (OCVMFC), and volunteers his time as an Admissions Field Representative for West Point. He co-authored the business book, “Adapt or Perish”, a sequel to “Adapt!”.

Kaelin L. Locker

Kaelin is a former Army Medic and OIF Veteran. After separating from Active Military, Kaelin fostered his passion for serving fellow veterans while serving at California State University Fullerton's (CSUF) Veterans Resource Center (VRC) where he helped develop the Veteran Scholar Career Readiness Program (VSCRP), which prepares Veterans for the transition from college life to employment. He now serves as the veteran specialist for the office of Senator Josh Newman of the 29th Senate District. Kaelin served formerly at CSUF as the Student Veterans Association Vice President, the Student Veteran representative on the Student Fee Advisory Committee and the Presidents Committee for Equality and Inclusion. Kaelin is committed to serving veterans in a number of areas. With a formal education in Biochemistry from California State University Fullerton, his military experience and a background in business including sales and sales management/training, Kaelin's background spans a bridge between military service, science and leadership. Outside of his work and volunteer roles, Kaelin enjoys spending time with his family.

John Hacker

John Hacker is an Army Combat Veteran with extensive experience in business networking, and business development with a focus on long term success. John has offered his expertise as a Real Estate Trainer and Coach since 2002. John is involved in a number of Veteran support and service organizations in Orange County and currently serves as the chair of the planning committee for the Anaheim Veteran Stand Up, an event that aims to reach and provide services and support to homeless veterans in Orange County and beyond.

Juliana Mercer

Juliana Mercer is a native San Diegan who after serving 11 years of active and reserve duty is now serving her 16th year as a United States Marine in the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR). During her Marine Corps career she deployed to Fallujah, Iraq with the 3D Civil Affairs Group in 2006 and in 2010 she deployed for the second time with 1st Marine Division in support of Civil Military Operations. Juliana is currently the Managing Director of the MedTech & BioTech Veterans Program (MVPVets) a 501(c) 3 organization that helps transitioning veterans find meaningful careers in the life sciences industry. Juliana also serves on the Board of Directors as military adviser and special events chair for Warrior Foundation - Freedom Station, a 501(c) 3 organization founded in San Diego working with wounded, ill, and injured service members and their families and as a board member for the Orange County Veteran’s Business Network. Juliana’s passion is to assist her fellow veterans and as an active member of the San Diego community she is proud to be an advisor to a local think-tank of employers seeking to alleviate the San Diego veteran unemployment crisis. In partnering with them, she is working with employers and government and military officials to find a solution that keeps recently separated service members from unemployment.

Kevin Traw

Kevin retired from the USAF in 2014, after 20 years on active duty. His primary career field was Aircraft Maintenance, with one career broadening assignment as a Program Manager. He served at a variety of levels including: Air Staff (Pentagon), NATO Military HQ, and in command of an Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. Kevin served 8 years overseas, with 1 combat deployment to Southwest Asia. Since retiring he has worked at OptumRx, a business unit within UnitedHealth Group, the 6th largest company (by revenue) in the US. He is currently responsible for operational auditing across OptumRx operations leading a team of over 270 employees. He has been active is supporting veterans hiring, finding positions within UHG for 15 other veterans. He has mentored 30+ additional veterans through their transition.

Jeffery Pagano

Jeff Pagano has been involved in military and veterans philanthropy for over 17 years. After selling his own successful marketing and commercial print corporation in Orange County, he started consulting for other marketing corporations and U.S. military contractors at the executive level. His positions have included Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Business Director. Jeff currently serves on the board of an Orange County charitable foundation as Vice President. He currently holds the leadership role as the Veterans Services Manager at the Tierney Center for Veteran Services at Goodwill of Orange County. After graduating High School, Jeff enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as a Military Policeman where he was recruited to work for the White House as security aboard Marine One, Presidential Helicopters (HMX-1). He served two Presidents, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Jeff, and his wife Sheetal are raising their 2 children in Irvine, CA.

Thomas Bell

Former Captain in the U.S. Army who served in Vietnam Veteran as a helicopter pilot. Thomas has 20 years as a senior banking officer, included in that time is 10 years of association in various positions with non-profit groups. Thomas served as the Executive Director of Pennsylvania Energy Development for sustainability under three governors and is affiliated with Military and Veteran organizations in Orange County including: Military Officers Association of America, Employee Support Guard and Reserve, Veterans Business Network, OC Veterans and Military Veterans Collaborative and Naval Weapons Station Retiree Benefits Office.

John Baker

Pamela Keller

Pamela has specialized in developing operations and supply chain teams for new companies and restructuring mature organizations to optimize corporate profitability and customer satisfaction. In her last position she was retained by Beachbody LLC as the Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Operations with responsibility for developing a worldwide organization. Pamela began her career as an active duty Marine, continued her military service as a reservist in the Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy. She is prior enlisted and retired in 2017 from the Navy as a LCDR. Pamela holds a Bachelor Degree in Business, an MBA with a concentration in legal studies, and has attended the Naval War College and Navy Supply Corps School. She has also been on the FedEx E-Commerce Board of Directors, the Advisory Council for SCOPE and is a Supply Chain and Operations speaker for various industry events. In addition to her serve with the Veterans Business Network, she currently serves as Board Secretary for the Foundation for Women Warriors.

Sam Shofani

Sam's professional experience has been a vast array of real world knowledge which started 26 years ago as an enlisted Marine. This was the platform where Sam built his own consulting business and serves as an advisor for the entertainment industry. Sam holds a Master’s Degree in International Terrorism from the American Military University and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Park University where he graduated Cum Laude.

Kevin McDonald

Kevin is an Orange County native and Veteran with nearly 9 years of active duty service with the United States Army as both an Enlisted Member and a Commissioned Officer. Kevin is currently serving in the U.S. Army Reserves as an Observer Controller/Trainer for Mission Command and holds the rank of Captain. Kevin's civilian experience includes work at Toyota Motors North America and Toyota of Orange where he currently serves as the Operations Manager. Kevin specializes in organizational resource management and coordination. He has experience with Veteran initiatives and hiring for Toyota and uses his extensive Military and Civilian business experience to help serve the needs of our Veteran Community nested in the VBN Mission to foster an environment of Veterans helping Veterans. Kevin holds a bachelors degree from CSULB.

Jose Guevara

Daniel T. Monaghan,

Daniel is a former US Army Military Intelligence Colonel and Vice President of Operations for mass merchant retail distribution companies, with extensive experience in Comprehensive Operations Management, Contract Manufacturing, Distribution, Inventory, Purchasing, Human Resources, Customer Service, Creative Services, Operational Strategic Development and Start-up Implementation as well as Mass Merchant Customer Base. Daniel has led operations through rapid exponential growth supporting 400% increases in transactional volume in less than two years, peak volume of 40K orders per day yielding $115M increase in annual revenue to $325M. $3M annual reduction in Operating Expense thru execution of Operational Strategic Plan. Operational strategic development, organizational startup of a new video game business, Integration and consolidation of acquired businesses, rapid exponential growth of $20M to $100M for big name accounts

Ken Castro

Ken Castro is passionate about helping individuals finance their dreams with well suited mortgage solutions that adhere to ethical lending practices. Dedicated to the continued financial wellbeing of his clients, Ken leverages his extensive mortgage underwriting and banking expertise to offer the best lending experience the industry can offer. He built his career from the ground up, taking care to develop a strong foundation of knowledge. Since 1991, he has used that foundation to serve his clients from senior management and ownership roles that allowed him to also hone his business, sales, and marketing skills. With more than 26 years of experience in the mortgage industry, Ken has become a dynamic business partner and established expert. Ken specializes in connecting customers with innovative mortgage solutions that are in their best interests. The result is a consistent five-star rating on review sites, including Zillow, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Linkedin, and USA Cares. Firmly established in his honorable service in the United State Marine Corps, Ken has developed a reputation as a trusted leader. From guiding teams toward optimal performance to mentoring individuals, he works hard to bring out the best in all those around him. This skill has proven to be one of his most valued strengths by both employees and clients.


Board Advisors

Chase Wickersham

Chase Wickersham has been active for over eight years in veteran affairs after selling his own business. He recently retired as Director of the Tierney Center at Goodwill of Orange County. He is currently involved with the Orange County Veterans and Military Families Collaborative, MHSA Steering Committee, the Orange County Veterans Advisory Council and various boards and veteran councils. He was previously a board member of U.S.VETS and Senior Vice President of Operations. As a small business owner and manager, he has started businesses and managed companies in the industrial automation industry. His positions included President, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager over a career spanning 40 years. He served as a First Lieutenant with the U.S. ARMY as an Artillery Officer in Vietnam in 1970. In addition, Chase was a founding member of the Veterans Business Network and currently serves as an advisor to the board.

Josh Newman

Josh Newman is a United States Army veteran, community activist, non-profit founder, and State Senator for the 29th Senate district of California. A graduate of Yale, Senator Newman has been motivated by public service his whole life. Josh was Newman the founder and Executive Director of ArmedForce2Workforce, a non-profit initiative founded in 2012 to assist young veterans in the Orange County/Greater Los Angeles area in the pursuit of rewarding, career-oriented employment. At the core of Af2wf’s approach was the fundamental belief that no single group has as much to offer to employers as young veterans. In addition, Josh was a founding member of the Veterans Business Network and currently serves as an advisor to the board.