Board of Directors
Ambassador Jay Katzen, Chairman
Jay is a retired diplomat, business consultant, state legislator, and government agency administrator, and the current President of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. He received his B.A. (magna cum laude) in Political Science from Princeton University (1958) and his M.A. in International Relations from Yale University (1959) and served presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower through George H.W. Bush. From 1959 to 1979, Jay served as a career Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. His posts included Australia, Burundi, Congo (Kinshasa), communist Romania, Mali, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York, and Congo (Brazzaville). His positions included White House translator, U.S. representative to the United Nations, and as Chargé d’Affaires at two posts, in one instance, opening an embassy and assuring its sustainability. From 1979 to 1991, Katzen served as a senior advisor reporting directly to the chairmen and senior executives of corporations including Bechtel, Consolidated Gold Fields, Fluor, Kennecott, Newmont Mining, and Phelps Dodge, helping to steer those companies to successful investment opportunities abroad.
In 1993 he was elected to represent the 31st legislative district of the Virginia House of Delegates, where he was re-elected three times. He was the Virginia Republican Party nominee for Lieutenant Governor in 2001, and for Congress in Virginia’s 9th District in 2002. From 2004-2009, Jay served as a Regional Director and Acting Chief of Staff/Chief of Operations with the U.S. Peace Corps. He also had attended the National War College, been a visiting Professor at the Boston College Graduate School of Management, and served on advisory boards at Duke University and the University of Kentucky. Since 2011, Jay has served as a Park Ranger at the Talkeetna Ranger Station of Denali National Park, Alaska. Jay has been recognized by the National Federation of Independent Business, the Vietnam Veterans of America, Virginia’s Council of Indians, 4-H, the Virginia Society for Human Life, the National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition, and Virginia’s Armenian community. He served as chairman of the Rappahannock River Basin Commission, and as a board member of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. He was named the Family Foundation’s Legislator of the Year, and is a recipient of a Martin Luther King Jr. award
CAPT David R. Olson, Director & Founder
David retired from the U.S. Navy in 2009 and has remained active in the local community. He started a Boy Scout Troop for his local church and served as Scoutmaster of another. He founded SCUBAnauts International in 2001, a marine sciences program that introduces young men and women, ages 12-18, to informal science education through underwater exploration and has led over eight underwater research expeditions with SCUBAnauts throughout the Florida Keys, Bahamas and Hawaii.
In 2010, David founded the non-profit Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge program to improve the lives of our wounded and injured military veterans through rehabilitative, high-adventure challenges, and therapeutic outdoor recreational activities while conducting scientific research studies to speed their recovery and that of their families. He has led over twenty-five expeditions to further this research and treatment associated with prosthetics, Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
David has also served as a Naval Academy Blue and Gold Officer, providing admissions guidance to high school candidates interested in pursuing a degree from the U.S. Naval Academy with a commission as an officer in the Navy or Marine Corps. He also serves on both Florida Senator Bill Nelson’s and Congressman Gus Bilirakis’ Naval Academy nomination screening boards.
Gerard Coleman, Director
Gerald Coleman has participated in Challenges on behalf of CWVC in the past. Most notably, monitoring the effects of our double lung transplant recipient LT Justin Legg, U.S. Navy (SEAL) (Ret), during the Denali Challenge in 2011.
Mr. Coleman is currently teaching Thermodynamics, Marine Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics, and a Senior Project Manager at Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG). Gerard received his B.S. in Ocean Engineering from the US Naval Academy. After the Naval Academy Mr. Coleman graduated with a M.S. Equivalent in Nuclear Engineering from the US Navy. He has also earned a M.S. in Engineering Management from George Washington University. Gerard is a licensed Professional Engineer in Mechanical Engineering.
Prior to teaching at TAMUG, Mr. Coleman was an engineer in the US Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program for 16 years. In his 3 1/2 years at TAMUG, he has brought with him expertise in the areas of Nuclear and Mechanical Engineering. In addition to his duties as an Instructional Assistant Professor, Mr. Coleman also coaches the Varsity Sailing Team. Not only does he coach the Sailing Team, but he is an accomplished sailor himself with several bids for the Summer Olympic Games in the Soling Class. Gerard serves as the Research Committee Chair.
CAPT Dominic Gorie, USN (Ret), Director
Dom attended the United States Naval Academy where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean Engineering. He received his Master of Science degree in Aviation Systems from the University of Tennessee. Dom became a Naval Aviator in 1981 and participated in Operation DESERT STORM, flying 38 combat missions. In 1992, he received orders to U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs. Dom has accumulated over 6,700 hours in more than 35 aircraft and has over 600 carrier landings.
Selected as an Astronaut Candidate by NASA in December 1994, Dom reported to Johnson Space Center in March 1995. Dom served as a spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) in Mission Control for numerous Space Shuttle flights, and later was Chief of the Astronaut Shuttle Branch. A veteran of four space flights, Dom has logged over 47 days in space. He served as pilot aboard STS-91 in 1998 and STS-99 in 2000, and was the Shuttle Commander on STS-108 in 2001 and STS-123 in 008. Dom Gorie retired from NASA in 2010.
Ben Hayes, Vice Chair, President
Ben is the son of SMSGT Ben Hayes Jr., USAF (deceased), a recipient of a Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and who served with the Air Force Security Forces for 26 years.
Ben has worked in professional baseball for 32 of the past 38 years, and has been a Florida-licensed and practicing attorney for the past 24 years. Ben pitched 9 years in professional baseball, of which 2½ seasons were in the Major Leagues with the Cincinnati Reds. Ben was General Counsel & Corporate Secretary of Minor League Baseball from 1993 to 2000 and, from May 2001 to the present, has served as the President and Chairman of the Board for the New York-Penn League, the oldest, continuously-operated CLASS A league in professional baseball. He also served as the President and Chairman of the Board of the New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation since 2002, and currently serves as the Vice Chairman of Minor League Baseball’s Council of League Presidents and as the Chairman of Minor League Baseball’s Charities Committee.
Shaine Mobley, CPA, Treasurer & CFO
Shaine attended University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, Florida, where Shaine received a B.S. in Accounting and a Master of Accountancy. Shaine has been a Certified Public Accountant and member of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA) since 1997, and a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist and member of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) since 2014. She has served as a staff accountant at Dwight Darby & Co., CPAs, in Tampa, for four years; and was a shareholder in the accounting firm Wells, Houser & Schatzel, P.A., in St. Petersburg, for nine years. Her outside accounting experience includes planning and supervising all aspects of auditing private companies, non-profits, and municipalities, as well as conducting certified audits for the Florida Department of Revenue. Shaine is currently the Controller & Treasurer of St. Petersburg Kennel Club, Inc., and its subsidiary and affiliated companies, where she has worked since 2006. Shaine’s responsibilities include financial strategic planning, coordination of three external audits annually, BSA/AML compliance, and oversight of all aspects of the financial and accounting cycle for operations in several highly-regulated business environments. Shaine has held several positions for GTE Financial (aka GTE Federal Credit Union) since 2010 including serving as the Chair of the Supervisory Committee and now as a Board Director. GTE Financial has 22 financial centers, more than 240,000 members and approximately $1.7 billion in assets.
Wendy Westbrook, Creative Director
Wendy brings 20 years of web and graphic design experience to CWVC. She excels in both graphic graphic and web design and development, and is an expert in social media and best Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. Her professional design career began at a children’s publishing company in New York City and she has been working as a freelance designer/artist for 17 years with clients from all over the planet. Wendy comes from a military family and is the proud mother of a combat veteran. She began volunteering her time to families of the fallen and wounded veterans when her son enlisted. She is very honored to have been part of a Gold Star family for three years. Her late ex-boyfriend was the father of FMF Corpsman James Ray “Doc” Layton, KIA 08 Sept 2009 in Ganjgal, Afghanistan, an ambush/battle that produced two Medal of Honor recipients as well as other numerous awards for bravery shown by all involved. She still works with other families of fallen heroes to help them in any way she can.