PTVC employee spotlight

Meet the staff of the Pat Tillman Veterans Center and learn a little more about them.

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Jeff Guimarin

Director of PTVC

Starbucks order: Venti black iced tea, unsweet

College Degree: BA History, MA National Security Strategy, MS Computer Information Systems

Favorite thing to do in AZ: Sit in the hot tub

Hobby: High school football official

Best Trip I ever took: 7-week backpack tour of Europe after college

Biggest accomplishment: Serving 25 years in the Air Force

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: George Washington—a prime example of leadership, objective perspective, tenacity, strategic clarity and professionalism

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Ken Salmon

School Certifying Specialist

Starbucks order: water light ice (not a coffee drinker)

College Degree(s): B.S. in Criminal Justice, M.S. in Justice Studies

Favorite thing to do in AZ: bicycling

Hobby: Exercising

Best Trip I ever took: A cruise from Nice, France to Rome, Italy

Biggest fear: Failure

Biggest accomplishment: Retiring from federal law enforcement at age 50

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: Bobby Knight

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Jimmy R.

VA Work Study, Director's Action Team

Starbucks order: "Hot" Cold Brew with 2 stevias, and steamed heavy cream

College Degree: Finance and Economics

Favorite Thing to Do in AZ: Ironically, sailing/boating in some of the lakes around here

Hobby: Baking--especially bagels and pizza

Best Trip: 12-day trip to Paris, London, and Edinburgh

Biggest Fear: Swimming in open water that I can't see under

Biggest Accomplishment: Securing my dream Wall Street internship

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: Thomas Sowell

trudy

Trudy Benninger

School Certifying Specialist

Starbucks order: Green Tea Latte

College Degree (received or in progress): BS, Business Administration from ASU

Favorite thing to do in AZ: Hike in Grand Canyon or Sedona

Hobby: Walking my dog, swimming, cooking, refinishing furniture, and home improvements, hanging out with my family

Best Trip I ever took: Cruise in the Southern Caribbean (especially loved Barbados!)

Biggest fear: Heights (I don’t go near the cliff side in the Grand Canyon for sure!)

Biggest accomplishment: Marrying my best friend, and raising 3 great sons!

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: There are very few people I wouldn’t want to have dinner with!—I love to learn people’s stories!

alexis

Alexis Kane

Outreach Team Member

Starbucks Order: Iced Guava Black Tea Lemonade Sweetened

College Degree: Biological Sciences with a Minor in Medical Studies

Favorite thing to do in AZ: Sunbathing and swimming

Hobby: Reading whenever I can!

Best Trip I ever took: My senior trip to Venice, Paris, and London

Biggest Fear: Being buried alive

Biggest Accomplishment: 3 months from graduating with my Bachelors in Science!

The one person I’d Love to have dinner with: Will Smith

chelsea

Chelsea Young

PTVC School Certifying Official

Starbucks order: I don't drink coffee. The Ham and Cheese Croissant isn't bad though.

College Degree (received or in progress): BA Business Administration

Favorite thing to do in AZ: Spend time outside of Phoenix. I grew up in southern California. Even though I've been here for 12+ years, I still am not used to the heat. The winters are fine, but from May to November I want to be anywhere but the valley.

Hobby: Puzzles, cooking, and Catan. Also, all things Disney. I was at the park in line for Rise of the Resistance when they announced the shut down last year, 3 days prior to closing. I've been having withdrawals for the last several months at least.

Best Trip I ever took: Honeymoon in New Zealand. I'm a big Lord of the Rings fan so it was fun getting to see the country along with visiting some of the filming locations like Hobbiton.

Biggest fear: I don't really have any.

Biggest accomplishment: None of my accomplishments can be attributed to my efforts alone, so I don't like to claim ownership of them. Right now, I am just thankful to have gotten this far through COVID while working remotely full-time, parenting a toddler full-time, and taking coursework for my Masters.

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: My husband, it may seem weird since we have dinner together all the time, but I always love being able to sit down, reconnect and intentionally get to spend time with him at the end of each day.

julie lane

Julie Lane

School Certifying Official Supervisor

Starbucks order: Pumpkin Spice….look forward to this every year!

College Degree: Masters of Science in Leadership

Favorite thing to do in AZ: Bike Rides

Hobby: Reading, Fitness & Fantasy Football

Best Trip I ever took: 2 Favorites: 8 week sabbatical RV Trips. One up the East Coast, and one up the West Coast with my husband and 3 boys. But if I had to pick one, it would have to be the one that the RV didn’t crash and burn.

Biggest fear: Scorpions, when we moved into our house we had a ton of them!

Biggest accomplishment: Helped secure funding for child abuse prevention programs in the state of Arizona via Child Abuse Prevention License Plate.

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: My mom’s mom. She died before I was born and everyone says I look like her.

michelle

Michelle Loposky

Assistant Director of Outreach and Engagement

Starbucks order: Grande Hazelnut latte with oat milk

College Degree: BA in Religious Studies (it’s a long story, lol)

Favorite thing to do in AZ: Hiking in time to see the sunrise or sunset. Love to hike. Recently hiked Flat Iron, it was pretty tough but man the view, so worth it!

Hobby: Poetry, photography, running, working out and volunteering

Best Trip I ever took: This is a hard one to answer since I love to travel. I would say the trip I just went on to La Paz and Todos Santos in Mexico, is right up there in the best trip ever. I went with 3 of my favorite people and we got to see whales!

Biggest fear: Being completely alone

Biggest accomplishment: Still working on it

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: I want to be selfish and say a dinner party with my grandparents. They are no longer here and I wish I could just talk and learn from them. Honestly, I just want to hug them.

maria

Maria Espinoza

PTVC Outreach Team member

Starbucks order: Salted caramel cream cold brew

College Degree: 3rd year Mechanical Engineering Systems, BSE student

Favorite thing to do in AZ: I love hiking in Arizona!

Hobby: I enjoy hiking and baking

Best Trip I ever took: Visiting Crete, Greece and hiking the 10 mile Samaria Gorge trail with friends.

Biggest fear: Losing those that I love

Biggest accomplishment: Where I am now: engineering student at ASU, research assistant for the Laboratory for Energy And Power Solutions, and PTVC military outreach ambassador. I have accomplished so much more than anticipated after leaving the military. I'm grateful for the opportunities I have come across and I look forward to the future.

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: Neil deGrasse Tyson!

marcus

Danielle Snyder

Assistant Military Advocate

Starbucks order: Cappuccino

College Degree (received): MS in Nutrition (Dietetics) in May 2020

Favorite thing to do in AZ: Hiking

Hobby: Painting/charcoal drawings & doing 1000+ piece puzzles.

Best Trip I ever took: Right before joining the military when I was 23 yrs old, I saved up a bunch of money and went to Hawaii for 2 months. I went skydiving, swam with a dolphin, and hung out at the beach almost every day.

Biggest fear: Being alone, with no friends or family nearby.

Biggest accomplishment: Getting a master's degree. School has always been a struggle for me.

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: My mom. She lives in Michigan, & I have not seen her in about 3 years.

marcus

Emma Newcomer

School Certifying Specialist

Starbucks order: Hot Chocolate

College Degree: BS in Allied Health

Favorite thing to do in AZ: Hiking and enjoying sunrises and sunsets

Hobby: Baking chocolate chip cookies, Photography, Traveling and going to the Gym to work off those cookie calories

Best Trip I ever took: Ireland during St. Patrick’s Day celebration

Biggest fear: Not living up to my truest potential

Biggest accomplishment: Serving active duty in the greatest military in the world and participating in a mission trip to Jamaica

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: My late grandparents

marcus

Simon Lee (SAL)

PTVC Outreach team member

Starbucks order: Caramel macchiato

College Degree (received or in progress): received MA Global Security

Favorite thing to do in AZ: Sedona/Salt River Tubing

Hobby: Listening to/making music

Best Trip I ever took: Costa Rica

Biggest fear: Drowning

Biggest accomplishment: Getting a MA in one year and by 23

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: President Barack Obama

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Thomas David III

PTVC benefits team member

Starbucks order: Americano

College Degree: Social Work

Favorite thing to do in AZ: Eat everything

Hobby: Gym and video games

Best Trip I ever took: Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Biggest fear: Losing a loved one

Biggest accomplishment: Eight years Air force

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: Sade

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Louise Avila

School Certifying Supervisor

Starbucks order: Chestnut Praline Latte

College Degree: BS Business Administration with a concentration Human Resources

Favorite thing to do in AZ: Spending time with my husband and daughters

Hobby: Antiquing, gardening and hanging with my dogs – Nena and Sadie

Best Trip I ever took: When my husband was on mid deployment leave from Afghanistan, we took all 4 of our kids to stay in San Diego at a beach house. It was an amazing trip.

Biggest fear: Spiders, do not like spiders.

Biggest accomplishment: Giving birth to my two daughters

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: Always my husband

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Brian Meiborg

PTVC Outreach team member

Starbucks order: Caramel Frappe

College Degree: Business Sustainability

Favorite thing to do in AZ: Top Golf

Hobby: Reading and learning about the stock market

Best Trip I ever took: When I studied abroad in Spain

Biggest fear: Spiders and snakes

Biggest accomplishment: My impact in Afghanistan

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: My grandpa

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Leticia Vidana

PTVC Tempe School Certifying Official

Starbucks order:  Grande Hot Peppermint Mocha, 2 pumps each, No Whip

College Degree (received or in progress): Business Administration in Progress, graduating in December, finally! 

Favorite thing to do in AZ: Watch the sunsets

Hobby: Running, traveling, volunteering, pumping iron

Best Trip I ever took: Hands down, Japan! I must go back.

Biggest fear: Regret and Guilt

Biggest accomplishment: Buying a car and house on my own.

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: My Nana

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Jerwen Begay

VA Work Study

Starbucks order: I used to work at Starbucks! I would get a Green tea with lemonade no sweetener and 2 shots of espresso (don't knock it until you try it) to get through my shifts!

College Degree: (received or in progress) On track to graduate May 2021 with a Bachelors in Information Technology and a minor in Sociology.

Favorite thing to do in AZ: In Arizona, I like to travel to different cities/towns and eat all of their food.

Hobby: I like everything about technology and seeing how it all works but I also like to travel whenever I can.

Best Trip I ever took: Best trip I ever took was to Austria. Austria had such amazing views with great food!

Biggest fear: SNAKES. Keep them away from me! seriously...

Biggest accomplishment: Honestly, getting this far academically and making moves to pursue graduate school.

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: George Lucas. I have so many Star Wars questions.

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Michael Gossett

PTVC Outreach Team Member

Starbucks order: Don't really drink Starbucks

College Degree: Currently working on Bachelors in Psychology

Favorite thing to do in AZ: Going out with friends

Hobby: I like watching scary movies

Best Trip I ever took: Australia

Biggest fear: Heights

Biggest accomplishment: Getting into the Army.

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: Brad Pitt because he seems like a chill, laid back, fun guy.

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Jody Warren

VA Work Study

Starbucks order: Mango dragon fruit refresher (I don't drink coffee)

College Degree: Supply Chain Management (I graduate this December)

Favorite thing to do in AZ: Go Camping with family

Hobby: Anything outdoors

Best Trip I ever took: North Shore in Hawaii

Biggest fear: Waking up to a scorpion on me

Biggest accomplishment: Following my dad's footsteps and getting a degree at ASU and having 2 good looking and smart kids

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: My dad (he passed away from cancer a few years ago) or for a person who is alive I think it would be fun to have dinner with Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock

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Joseph Warhol

School Certifying Specialist

Starbucks order: I don’t drink coffee

College Degree: Received, BA Business from ASU; In Progress, MAEd from NAU

Favorite thing to do in AZ: Hike

Hobby: Playing guitar and fitness

Best Trip I ever took: Combat deployment(s) to Afghanistan

Biggest fear: Being successful beyond measure

Biggest accomplishment: Becoming and holding the title, United States Marine. Further, given the opportunity to promote to be a Staff Non-Commissioned Officer(SNCO) and be able to teach, mentor, and lead junior service members as well as peers and other leaders.

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: General James “Mad Dog” Mattis

marcus

Marcus Ferguson

VA Work Study

Starbucks order: Tall Vanilla Latte w/ Almond Milk

College Degree: Received: AS in Computer Information Systems; In Progress: BA in Filmmaking Practices

Favorite thing to do in AZ: Exploring the beautiful scenery AZ offers

Hobby: Traveling, Filmmaking, Photography, YouTube Content Creator

Best Trip I ever took: NYC with my brother

Biggest fear: Working 9 to 5 in an office

Biggest accomplishment: Creating my own company

The one person I'd love to have dinner with: My grandmother