Cheryl A. Lau, ESQ.
Director and Board Chair
Cheryl Lau has served the country and her state in several impactful roles, including as General Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Nevada’s Secretary of State, and Deputy Attorney General for Nevada. She also was a Republican candidate for the U.S. Congress in Nevada’s second district. Among her many affiliations, Ms. Lau served as Vice Chair of the Republican National Platform Committee, Secretary of the Republican National Convention, and Chair for the National Commission for the Renewal of American Democracy. Prior to her notable political and legal career, Ms. Lau spent 12 years as an educator before she became Nevada’s first Asian American woman to hold an elected office at the executive level.
Ms. Lau previously served on the Nevada Commission on Professional Standards in Education (2009-2013) and currently serves as the Chairman for the Nevada Commission on Ethics, a Judge Pro Tempore in the Carson City Municipal Court system. In her spare time, she manages a small business in Carson City, NV with her husband, Garth.
Ms. Lau received a Bachelor of Music Education from Indiana University, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Smith College, a Doctor of Music Arts from The University of Oregon, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) from The University of San Francisco.
Shane Cormier, CPA, MACC
Director & Vice Chair
Shane Cormier is the Chief Financial Officer for Jacksonville based AutoQuotes, Inc., the industry leading software company for the Foodservice Equipment and Supplies industry. Mr. Cormier has extensive experience with non-profit entities, most recently having served as a contract executive for Step Up for Students, the largest non-profit provider of education assistance programs to children K-12.
Mr. Cormier has over 20 years’ experience in leadership roles involving planning and directing companies and business segments as controller, COO and CFO with revenues ranging from $500 thousand to $3.9 billion. He has served as COO for Team JAS, V.P. of finance and controller for Compass Consulting Group and CFO for All Weather Contractors. He specializes in profitability improvement and organizational, accounting, and finance leadership across a diverse platform of industries.
Mr. Cormier is a current member of the Florida Institute of CPAs and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and previously served as the Treasurer for the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) and the Aviation Alliance Insurance Risk Retention Group (AAIRRG). There he served as one of the 17 founding members and helped establish the first Captive Insurance company for Aviation Repair Stations in the United States. Mr. Cormier received a Bachelor of Science in Finance from McNeese State University, a Master of Accountancy (President’s List) from Grand Canyon University and is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the state of Florida.
Maj. General James L. Dozier, USA (RET)
James Dozier is a retired Major General (USA) who currently serves as an anti-terrorism consultant to various government and private agencies, as well as a board member on various civic, political, and charitable organizations. General Dozier served in the United States Army for 35 years where he spent two tours with the Pentagon specializing in Current Operations and Resource Management, NATO in the American, European, and Asian theaters, and the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in the Vietnam War, before retiring in 1985. General Dozier was kidnapped by the Italian Red Brigades terrorists in Italy in 1981 and held captive for more than 40 days, the only American flag officer to have ever been captured by a violent non-state organization. Due to his outstanding military leadership, General Dozier was awarded the Silver Star for heroism, the Purple Heart for sustained wounds in Vietnam, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and was a 3-time recipient of the Bronze Star.
In addition to his impressive military career, General Dozier was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Florida Commission on Veterans Affairs, served as one of Florida’s 27 Electors during the 2004 Presidential Elections, and was inducted into the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame by Governor Rick Scott for service both while on active duty and in retirement. General Dozier graduated from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and later earned a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Arizona. He also attended the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, and the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Christopher A. Walker
Director and Secretary
Christopher Walker is an attorney with Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP where he serves as the partner-in-charge for Northeast Florida. His practices focuses primarily in Real Estate and Corporate Law where he works and assists organizations across the United States with complex real estate transactions and corporate matters, including formations, contracts, governance and sophisticated mergers and acquisitions.
In addition to his business activities, Mr. Walker is actively involved in the North Florida community, having served as a board member of various charitable organizations such as The Child Guidance Center and The Florida Ballet. He was awarded the Chairman’s Award from the Literacy New York Buffalo-Niagara, Inc. in 2013. He was recognized as a member of the inaugural class of 40 under 40 – Saint Augustine in 2019. Mr. Walker is a member of the New York, Florida, Jacksonville, and Saint John’s County Bar Associations, as well an an active member of the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors. Mr. Walker received a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude) from The Washington and Jefferson College, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD, cum laude) from The Dickinson School of Law at Pennsylvania State University.
Capt. Christopher J. Dennis, USN (RET)
Christopher Dennis retired from the U.S. Navy at the rank of Captain in June 2018. Highlighting nearly three decades of afloat and ashore service, were Chris’s tours as Commanding Officer of Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily, Italy; Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light FOUR SIX; and the University of Michigan Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. Partnering with Sailors in their growth and our nation’s defense, and successfully leading his Sigonella team in key roles in the 2014 evacuation of U.S. Embassy-Libya personnel and in overcoming the anti-US “NoMUOS” protest movement are his most cherished memories.
Chris is from New Smyrna Beach, Fla, is a graduate of Auburn University, has Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College and an Executive Business Leadership certificate from the Naval Post Graduate School. In 2017, Chris was inducted into his high school Hall of Fame.
Chris is devoted to human dignity, social justice, and working for a better world for everyone.
Chris is now an Operations Manager for Amazon and lives and works in the New York metropolitan area. Chris joined Amazon as part of their Military Pathways program which seeks innovators and leaders to make history as influencers in Amazon’s business lines the world over.
Matt Merritt, CPA, CSM
Mr. Merritt provides executive leadership and direction for the Lynd Company. In addition, he is a Principal in the Lynd Opportunity Fund which entails regular interaction with lenders, equity partners, and other related parties. A Texas CPA and Certified Agile Scrum Master, Matt brings finance, technology, and operations together to solve complex problems, drive growth, and operational efficiency.
Frederick E. Wheat, Jr.
Director – Housing Operations & Veteran Placement
Rick Wheat is the V.P. of Housing Operations and directs all operations for the PSG’s multi-family housing portfolio. He is also responsible for underwriting and recommendations for all proposed property acquisitions and their long-term preservation.
As a second-generation investor, Rick has over 35 years of experience in real estate and construction, having been a licensed broker, general contractor, property manager and a mortgage broker in Florida. He has served as an equity participant in over $225 million in real estate and development transactions and is a recognized expert in the HUD-VASH program, a collaborative effort involving the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Before joining the foundation, Mr. Wheat served as the Director of Operations for Apartment Asset Advisors, the Director of Acquisitions for Just Multifamily, and was the Executive Director of Heritage Development Group. In those roles he had direct oversight of transactions exceeding $500 million.
Mr. Wheat received his Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Tennessee and a Bachelor of Technology from the University of North Florida where he majored in Construction and minored in Real Estate.
Director – Supportive Services
A dynamic leader with 10+ years of experience in Human Resources & Operations, Jeremy Smith serves as the Director of Supportive Services for Patriot Services where he leads the development of PSG’s supportive services initiatives; namely the Patriot Transportation Initiative.
Prior to joining the nonprofit in July of 2019, Jeremy led the Public Affairs Office for the Marine Corps’ 4th Marine Division where, as a Sergeant, he directed local and national community engagement efforts and was instrumental in major recruiting events, such as, the City of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras, the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Monday Night Halftime Show.
Jeremy graduated from University of North Florida with a Bachelor of Business Administration (Business Management) and subsequently earned his Master of Business Administration while simultaneously earning his SHRM Certified Professional Certification (SHRM-CP).
A positive, driven people person, Jeremy is devoted to elevating others around him and serving those who have served.