Advisors

SPR's Advisory Group consists of professionals who are proven leaders in both military and civilian sectors and bring with them an intrinsic value of knowledge and expertise in government and commercial industries.



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
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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.

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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.
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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.

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Ray Clark, U.S. Air Force Colonel (Ret)

Ray Clark is a Program Management Subject Matter Expert for SPR, Inc. 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.
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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.
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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 multibillion 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.
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