Keith Finkle, Tempe Veterans Commission Chair, is a U.S. Army veteran who spent nearly eight years between active duty and the Arizona National Guard while twice deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He continued his service while attending Arizona State University, serving as the President for the ASU Student Veterans Association from 2011 to 2013. He has translated his military training, college education and passion for beer into employment as a sales consultant for one of the 10 largest beer distributors in the nation. Keith and his wife Tiffany live in Tempe.
Mario A. Aguirre is an 11-year U.S. Army veteran who did two tours of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Now working for the Arizona Coalition for Military Families as the Employment Outreach Coordinator, he runs the employment resource center to help veterans and service members, and their families with resumes, interview skills and job searches. Mario is also an employer resource to help them hire and retain employees who are veterans. His previous work with the Arizona National Guard’s Yellow Ribbon Program assisted veterans and their families’ reintegration into civilian life.
Michelle Bravo Retired U.S. Military
Scott Essex Member at Large
Troy Friedman is a U.S. Air Force veteran now employed by the East Valley Veterans Education Center and Tempe’s Veteran One Source. As a Site Coordinator, he is responsible for the center’s daily operations including developing relationships with community partners who serve the veteran community, providing veteran services and resources to Maricopa County Community College District campuses, and the expansion of program offerings. In addition to his work with the college district, Troy has a decade in the post-secondary education field and is a Rio Salado College adjunct business faculty member. He holds a B.S. in Management and an MBA; both from the University of Phoenix. And, in keeping with the family’s tradition of service to country, Troy is the third generation to serve in the U.S. Air Force.
Patricia Little-Upah retired in 2004 as a Colonel in U.S. Army Nurse Corp with 30 years of service. In 1968, she was active duty in Vietnam at the 93rd and 95th Evac Hospitals; and in 1991 served in Desert Storm with the 403rd Combat Support Hospital. Her career culminated as the Commander of the 6253rd United States Army Reserve Hospital. Her education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and a Masters in Human Relations and Organizational Business. In civilian life, Patricia worked for 10 years with Banner Health then retired in 2012 as the CEO for Banner Behavioral Health Hospital, the Banner Psychiatric Center and the Wendy Paine O'Brien Adolescent Center. In 2014, Patricia was inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame.
Michelle Loposky is a U.S. Army veteran and combat field medic who was deployed after the Bosnian war in the Stabilization Force humanitarian efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She was stationed out of Fort Hood, attached to 61st Aerial Support Medical Battalion. She graduated from the University of Miami (Florida) with a B.A. degree in Religious Studies, minoring in English. Her firsthand knowledge in the difficulties of transitioning from military service to becoming a nontraditional student led her to the Arizona State University Pat Tillman Veteran Center. As the Military Advocate, she is the ombudsperson who provides consultation, guidance, referral and advocacy services to help current and prospective military/veteran students and dependents navigate services provided by ASU, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and other agencies.
David Lucier entered the US Army and served as a member of a Special Forces (Green Beret) unit which conducted combat operations in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in 1968 – 1969. Mr. Lucier was decorated for both valor and meritorious service. Upon separation from service, he attended ASU and graduated with honors in 1974. After a career in telecommunication finance and real estate, and shortly after 9-11-01, Mr. Lucier worked for the Department of Defense as a Security Contractor in Iraq from 2003 to 2005 and also contracted with the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Afghanistan in 2008.
Mr. Lucier is a life member of the Special Operations Association, the Special Forces Association, and the Mike Force Association, among others. In 2009, Mr. Lucier was inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame. Since 2008, Lucier has advocated for Veterans in education & training, jobs & economic opportunities, and in health & wellness. David is a long time resident of Tempe.
Laura Skotnicki has dedicated her career to end homelessness for veterans, families, and people who are chronically homeless. Laura first joined Save the Family in 1990 as a volunteer and has progressed within the organization ultimately becoming the Chief Operations Officer in 2012. She holds a Master’s degree in Counseling and a Bachelor’s degree in Family Studies and Child Development and has more than 12 years’ experience working directly with homeless families and with children who have experienced domestic violence. Laura resides in Gilbert with her husband and daughter.
Laura Hyre is a Social Services Coordinator with the Tempe Human Services Department's CARE 7 program. She specializes in helping military veterrans.