|Tom Thoma, Executive Advisor
Tom Thoma has been an award winning leader of the Department of Defense for 33 years. He continuously demonstrated his ability to get the tough jobs done in progressively more complex technical and executive leadership positions from GS-5 to SES-4. The President recognized Tom's exceptional federal contributions with the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award. Awarded only to the top 1% of the Senior Executive Service (SES), this is the highest honor that can be given to a civilian federal employee. Industry also recognized his leadership abilities by twice selecting him as a Top 100 Federal Executive.
Tom provides senior level consulting services to IT industry clients as well as the Federal Government. With his extensive combination of Government and industry experience, Tom provides a unique perspective to client business solutions. Industry consulting services include business development, Black Hat and Red Teams, proposal and win theme development, and project execution. Industry clients have included Deep Water Point, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Gartner, Qwest, CSC, Harris, Burdeshaw Associates, Alon, XLA, Praxis, Pragmatics, Acquisition Solutions, and others. Government consulting services include program management, performance-based acquisition strategy, and contracting support. Government clients have included the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA - Acquisition Executive), Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), US Navy (OPNAV N8), Army Contracting Command, as well as IRS and the DOJ and HHS Chief Information Officers (CIOs). Tom has established a variety of tools, templates, and training to facilitate performance-based acquisition and has developed winning strategies for responding to Low Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) solicitations. He has been an instructor for Joint Processes and Acquisition in the Navy's Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution Class.
Previously, Tom was Vice President of Pragmatics, Inc. responsible for business in the Federal Sector including engagements within the Departments of Homeland Security, Commerce, Justice, Treasury, FAA, and other civilian agencies. Under his TIPSS IRS contract, Pragmatics was named Small Business of the Year. He also managed the Justice ITSS, FAA BITS, and Commerce COMMITS contracts, as well as, Pragmatics GSA Schedule 70 and MOBIS contracts. He achieved a phenomenal > 90% win rate for new IDIQ contracts. In one month alone, Tom won the $8B Commerce COMMITS NexGen contract (out of 400 offerors), the $117M US Army Headquarters IMCEN contract (Lots 2 and 4), and the $1B Justice ITSS III contract. In addition, he created and organized a new business venture for Pragmatics in Program Management and Acquisition. Upon retirement from the Government, Tom was hired as the Principal for DOD and Intelligence Programs at Acquisition Solutions, Inc. He completed the first ever end to end assessment of the Acquisition System at the DIA. He was the Principal in Charge of a major assessment of the Navy's Purchase Card program, a highly visible effort with Congressional and senior Navy leadership scrutiny. He was also the Principal in Charge of assisting the US Army complete the $750 million acquisition for Information Technology Enterprise Solutions (ITES).
Tom retired from the government as Director for Acquisition at DISA where he provided executive leadership and strategic guidance for acquisition of best value IT solutions. He was responsible for developing acquisition strategies and policies and for directing contract and financial operations at DISA Headquarters and five field offices located in Germany, Bahrain, Alaska, Hawaii, and Scott AFB - a $3 billion per year industry. He was DISA's Source Selection Authority for over 30 major acquisitions (> $30B) with no protests.
Tom was promoted to the Senior Executive Service (SES) in April 1996, as the Associate Deputy Director for Defense Information Infrastructure Program Integration, C4 & Intelligence Programs Directorate, at DISA. He was responsible for integrating DOD's top priority information technology programs [Global Command and Control System, Global Combat Support System, Defense Information System Network, Defense Messaging System, and Information Assurance], into cohesive warfighting capabilities supporting the Information Superiority objectives of Joint Vision 2010. As Commander, Center for Standards, he served as DOD's Executive Agent for management of information technology standards.
Tom created the C4 Resources, Planning, and Evaluation Division in the C4 Systems Directorate (J- 6) of the Joint Staff. He assisted the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in formulating national military strategy, developing force structure and plans, evaluating readiness and modernization programs, and managing resources for C4 systems. He was later appointed as the Manager for C4 studies, analysis, modeling, and simulation in the C4 Advanced Concepts Division.
Tom was competitively selected as the Program Manager for Submarine Combat Control Systems (CCS), Naval Sea Systems Command. He was one of the driving forces behind the development and fielding of Brickbat, Presidential Priority weapon systems for the Los Angeles Class Fast Attack Nuclear Submarine including the Submarine Launched Tomahawk Cruise Missile, Vertical Launched Tomahawk, Mk 48 ADCAP Torpedo, Harpoon Cruise Missile, Combat Control System Mk 1, and AN/BSY1 (CC). He was promoted to Chief, Acquisition Review and Coordination Division, Naval Space and Warfare Systems Command, responsible for ensuring that Navy command and control systems were logistically certified and ready for acquisition decision milestones. Tom began his career at the Quality Evaluation and Engineering Laboratory in Lualualei, Hawaii where he directed operational service testing of the Navy's tactical nuclear weapon stockpile and introduced new underwater weapon recovery techniques using dolphins, sea lions, and killer whales. He was competitively selected to the Advanced Weapon Systems Management Development Program where he engineered a variety of advanced acoustics, signal processing, and simulation projects in eight Navy and university research centers across the US. Tom was awarded the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Award, the DOD Superior Accomplishment Award, the DOD Civilian Service Award, and the Senior Executive Service Performance Award for Superior Achievement. In addition, he was twice selected to the Top 100 Federal Executives.
Tom graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering and earned a Master's Degree in Public Administration from George Washington University. He also graduated from the Defense Systems Management College Program Managers Course and Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Tom is DAWIA Level III Certified in Program Management and Contracting and holds an active Top Secret SCI clearance.
|Peggy Kowalczyk, Executive Advisor
Peggy Kowalczyk is a visionary leader with over 30 years of experience in Department of Defense Information Technology systems. She has 20 years of focused leadership and management experience in the nuclear planning enterprise during a fiscally constrained, rapidly changing, and technically demanding environment. Over her career, she held positions from GS-4 to GS-15.
Her last assignment was Director, C4 Systems, Joint Force Component Command, Global Strike. She led a joint team to provide C4 situational awareness and facilitate integration and coordination of C4 collaborative information environments in support of the Global Strike mission. Peggy also performed duties as the functional manager for the nation's only comprehensive nuclear planning system. During her tenure, she directed a $130 million modernization effort of the current system culminating in an array of innovative changes and improvements never experienced in the nuclear planning arena. This modernization effort ensured the nation's nuclear planning system remains viable and can meet both current and future needs. Upon retirement, she was asked to return to civil service for a six-month period to ensure a smooth transition of the nuclear planning information environment to the newly hired director.
Since joining SPR in 2016, Peggy has been performing liaison duties for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center with their customers for an Acquisition Category 1 program. She provides expert consulting in diverse operational areas and has initiated several training programs for program office personnel. This has resulted in a significant increase in the understanding of the customers' processes and procedures. She has also greatly enhanced communications flow within the Program Office and their various USSTRATCOM customers.
Peggy graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Bachelor of General Studies with an emphasis in business administration and computer science. She and her husband Mike currently live in Nebraska and have five children and six grandchildren.
|Peggy Buckley, Executive Advisor
Peggy Buckley has over 37 years of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) experience, which includes 32 years within the national security arena. During her career, she held a variety of Professional Staff (PS) and intelligence analyst positions of increasing complexity and responsibility; rising through the ranks from a GS-2 and ultimately receiving a Senior Executive Service (SES)-4 appointment that she held for 20 years. Peggy was the first FBI career PS female to achieve an SES-level appointment.
Throughout her career, Peggy identified gaps in existing processes and instituted significant cost savings measures. As a GS-3 within the Departmental Applicant Investigations Unit, she identified an initial cost savings of $700K through the reduction of paper. Thirty-five years later, she Identified a more effective manner to deliver an advanced Counterintelligence (CI) training course; resulting in a 62% attendee backlog reduction and a cost savings of $500K within six months of implementation.
During her SES tenure, Peggy managed a staff ranging between 100 to 300 personnel. Her responsibilities included overseeing the Counterrorism (CT), CI, and Intelligence Programs' financial, human resources, training, information technology, undercover, strategic planning, executive communications, and security programs. She also provided leadership to the CI/CT Programs fixed and mobile surveillance assets as well as the CI Program's tactical and strategic analytical efforts. For nearly a decade, she was the FBI's National Intelligence Program Manager representative participating in a myriad of inter-agency working groups and boards including the Deputies Committee and the Resource Policy Board. She was also the CI representative to the FBI's Acquisition Review Board and reviewed over 200 contracts annually.
Peggy is fully familiar with the Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution process. In her three decades of IC budgetary experience, she has collected and analyzed program/budget data and formulated multi-million- dollar budgets supporting the FBI's National-level CI, CT, intelligence, and security programs securing roughly $2 billion in total appropriations. Annually, she executed/oversaw the execution of a multi-million- dollar budget achieving an expenditure rate within one percent of the overall appropriations. Peggy is a recognized professional that has received several SES Performance Awards and was nominated for a Presidential Rank Award.
In her last assignment, Peggy served as the Human Resources Division Team Lead to a Director's Leadership Initiative associated with expanding the use of term limits. Director Comey perceived most PS in leadership job roles exceeded 10 years. Peggy defined the scope (10 job roles), assumptions, and constraints for this study. Her methodology included reviewing all pertinent policy/legal documents as well as conducting multi-divisional focus groups with the stakeholders and benchmarking external agencies. She authored a 16-page white paper proposing various Courses of Action (COAs) and presented findings to senior leadership. Senior leadership directed most of the COAs be implemented.
Peggy graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor of Science in Management/ Small Business Administration and earned a Master's of Business Administration in International Marketing from George Washington University. In addition, Peggy is a graduate of the Joint Military Intelligence College and holds a certificate as a Senior Intelligence Officer - Intelligence Community Senior Leadership Corps from the Director of National Intelligence. Peggy holds an active Top-Secret SCI clearance with a CI-polygraph.
Peggy is also President of "Yesterday's Kittens of Maryland," a non-profit 501(c)3, which is primarily a sanctuary focusing on the care of cats with feline leukemia (Feluk+) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV+). Peggy lives in rural Southern Maryland with her cats.
|Mario Buda, U. S. Air Force Colonel (Ret)
Mario Buda entered military service in 1975 at the United States Air Force Academy. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1979 and attended pilot training. He served as a KC-135 air refueling tanker copilot; a T-37 jet trainer instructor pilot; and as an instructor and evaluator in the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. Mario held command at multiple organizational levels, leading training, operational, and combat flight operations in the United States, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Cyprus and the Republic of France. Mario was promoted to Colonel and served as a staff officer and division chief at United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), Offutt AFB, NE. He was the chief of the current operations division, responsible for monitoring worldwide status of the United States Strategic Forces and leading USSTRATCOM's crisis action team. Mario was hand-picked to establish USSTRATCOM's new Information Operations organization, where he was responsible for personnel, facilities, warfighter support, contract source selection, and budget matters.
After retiring from the Air Force, he joined the defense industry. He worked business development and process improvement for a major defense contractor and was the Omaha site lead for a small defense and as a staff officer supporting USSTRATCOM by working in the Plans Directorate and the Education and Training Directorate.
Mario also worked as the intelligence program manager. He led a team of four individuals providing programmatic support to the USSTRATCOM Director of Intelligence, and acted as a senior mentor to several division chiefs. His vast operational experience provided an added benefit to the intelligence organization by helping it focus on providing actionable intelligence for operational planning and targeting. Mario is currently a Program Manager supporting the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at USSTRATCOM.
Mario has a Master's Degree in National Strategic Studies from the United States Air Force Air War College and a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from Troy State University. Mario has been married to Janice for the last 35 years and they have two adult children.
|Ray Clark, U.S. Air Force Colonel (Ret)
Ray Clark is a Program Management Subject Matter Expert for SPR. Ray's career spans 35 years. As an active duty commissioned officer, Ray spent the majority of his Air Force career in the weather career field, with increasing leadership and management roles at all levels of the United States Air Force. In addition to the weather career field, Ray has significant experience in airlift operations, airfield management, counterdrug operations, and systems acquisition. He has commanded a detachment and squadron, directly supported U.S. Army ground combat operations during the First Gulf War, and was deployed to Somalia for humanitarian relief operations.
After retiring from the Air Force as a Colonel in 2007, Ray transitioned to the defense industry, where he was a certified program manager for a top five defense company. His work was focused on an information technology-intensive program that was developing, fielding, and sustaining integrated hardware and software systems to more than 130 sites worldwide. Ray is certified in Earned Value Management, Risk Management, and Subcontract Management.
Since joining SPR in 2012, Ray has been providing program management consulting to the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center on an Acquisition Category I program. Ray provides expert consulting in diverse areas of acquisition management including program planning, acquisition and contract strategies, program monitoring and metrics, Earned Value Management, and Risk Management. He provides program execution analysis, leads risk management activities, and contributes to professional mentoring of young Government program managers.
Ray graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric Science and earned his Master's Degree in Aviation Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. In addition, Ray is a graduate of the Air Force's Senior Service School. Ray and his wife, Pam, live in rural Iowa and have two grown daughters.
|Duane Embree, Senior Consultant
Duane Embree is an accomplished senior executive with nationally recognized technical, innovation, and organizational leadership experience. Duane served 35 years as a U.S. Navy civilian with 13 years in the Senior Executive Service where he led the Crane Division of the Naval Warfare Center, a 3,200 person, $1.8B federal laboratory, in research, development and acquisition of Department of Defense technologies and weapons systems; specializing in support of special warfare, electronic warfare and strategic systems. Duane led the transformation of NSWC Crane from an industrial-based, naval maintenance and test depot to a nationally recognized DoD R&D laboratory, engineering, and innovation center.
Following his retirement from the DoD, Duane was asked by Indiana Governor Mike Pence to establish and serve as Executive Director of the Indiana Office of Defense Development. This state agency focuses on promoting and growing the Indiana defense sector's military installations, defense industry, and academic assets. In this role, Duane established a state-wide defense innovation network including major research universities, industry and defense installations, and facilitated several new start-up companies utilizing defense intellectual property. Indiana's ranking in total defense contract dollars increased from 26th nationally in 2013 to 22nd in 2015.
Duane holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University and a Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University. He received the Presidential Award for Meritorious Senior Executive performance, the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award, and received the Federal Laboratory Consortium's Laboratory Director of the Year Award. He was also appointed a Sagamore of The Wabash by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.
|John P. McDonnell, U.S. Air Force Colonel (Ret)
John McDonnell is a 27 year veteran of the United States Air Force. He served at squadron, wing, numbered air force, component, major command, and combatant command level.
His last posting was Chief of Combat Plans, 607th Air Operations Center, Osan AB, Republic of Korea (ROK), where he produced the air campaign for the ROK-US Alliance in the event of war. He led a multinational team to optimize the full combat capabilities of the force, creating a plan to orchestrate 2,000+ missions per day.
John McDonnell served as the Chief of Plans for United States Strategic Command's (USSTRATCOM) Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction (SCC-WMD). He led a joint team of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) experts to develop the Department of Defense's global campaign plan to combat WMD. He synchronized the DOD plan with the CWMD operations of the combatant commands. As principal CWMD liaison between the Joint Staff, USSTRATCOM, and theater commands, he ensured U.S. government policy was translated into actionable planning guidance. He also led crisis action planning for the SCC-WMD and the collocated Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
In 2007, McDonnell deployed as part of Multi-National Corps-Iraq as the Chief, Electronic Warfare Coordination Cell, responsible for all airborne electronic warfare across the Iraq theater of war.
McDonnell was assigned to USSTRATCOM as a program manager. He led the risk reduction requirements definition phase for a $212 million, Acquisition Category (ACAT) IAM hardware and software development program to support new USSTRATCOM missions. He authored the Request for Proposal and led the source selection technical evaluation team. He led four integrated product teams consisting of government, MITRE, advisory contractor, and performance contractors from contract award through initial delivery.
He is currently a Program Acquisition Analyst for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and USSTRATCOM.
John graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and completed navigator training as an electronic warfare officer. He is a Master Navigator and B-52 weapons officer. He graduated from the USAF Weapons School as the B-52 top academic graduate, and was an instructor at the school for six years. He has earned Master's degrees from the National Defense University, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, and with highest distinction from the Naval War College. He is a life member of the Naval War College Foundation and a senior member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
He currently lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with his wife, Susan, and they have two children and two grandchildren.
|Steven B. Willoughby, U.S. Air Force Colonel (Ret)
An experienced executive and certified program manager, Steve Willoughby served 28 years in the U. S. Air Force in a variety of operational command and senior staff assignments in strategic and space operations including U.S. Strategic Command, Headquarters Air Force, and Air Force Space Command.
At the Pentagon, Steve was the Air Force's Space Superiority Panel Chairman responsible for all space and nuclear force structure including command, control, computer, communications, and intelligence assets. He advised the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff on space and nuclear issues including programmatic responsibility for the multi-billion dollar program budgets. He was also responsible for planning, developing, and delivering critical space and cyber special access program capabilities vital to national security.
Steve directed all activities of the Air Force's space surveillance program and managed a $400M annual budget involving strategic planning, requirement definition, acquisition program management, and current operations for surveillance and space-related special access programs.
Following retirement in 1998, Steve managed the Space Plans Division for a national analytical company performing design, analysis, and production of the Air Force Space Command Strategic Master Plan and Science and Technology planning at the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles and Directed Energy directorates.
A senior program manager and executive for one of the top five U.S. defense companies, Steve led a 200+ software team developing intelligence and environmental monitoring capabilities for national intelligence agencies, NASA, and NOAA. His portfolio of programs exceeded $55M in annual sales.
Currently Steve is a Senior Acquisition Manager working with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at USSTRATCOM supporting their multimillion dollar acquisitions modernizing information technology systems for the automated Joint Planning and Mission Planning and Analysis System used for strategic bomber, intercontinental and submarine launched ballistic missiles.
Steve graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Business Administration from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He and his wife Claire are enjoying over 40 years of marriage and have two sons and four grandchildren.