Retired Colonel JP Hogan on Leadership and Supporting the Military
Retired Colonel JP Hogan on Leadership and Supporting the Military
Show Notes & Links:
- Global Peace Factory Coffee
- Association for the United States Army – North Texas Audie Murphy Chapter
- Audie Murphy
- VA Homeless Programs in North Texas
- iMatter – Leadership Training and Job Support
- Frisco Community Development
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Scott Ellis: Welcome back to the Frisco podcast. This is Scott Ellis. I am joined today by J.P. Hogan. We’re trying something different this week. Instead of in the studio, we’re actually hanging out in one of our local establishments. We are recording here at Global Peace Coffee off of Legacy Drive. They may be a little background noise. You guys will hear that and hopefully, it won’t overshadow the conversation today. J.P. thanks for joining us.
JP Hogan: Thanks a lot, Scott. I really appreciate the opportunity to come talk about Frisco and some things I’m doing here and how much I love living here.
Scott Ellis: You met up with Wendy a while back.
JP Hogan: Yes.
Scott Ellis: She learned a little bit about it and immediately said, “Hey. This would be a great topic for the podcast. Let’s meet up with J.P. and talk about that.” You are a retired colonel for the US Army.
JP Hogan: Yes.
Scott Ellis: Currently the North Texas State President for the Association of the United States Army. I know you guys do a lot of work helping veterans but that’s about as much as I know. I’m sure some others as well. Why don’t you fill us in?
JP Hogan: Scott, that is one of the hats that I wear here in North Texas. By way of background, I was on active duty for 30 years. Came out of Michigan. Got my commission out of ROTC at Eastern Michigan University. Went on active duty. Spent 30 years there. Went home to Michigan right about the turn of the century here in 2000. My wife and I in 2 winters decided that that wasn’t going to work. We needed to come south. Frisco became the target area. We moved down here. Spent a little bit of time after that out of Honolulu doing some consultative work with the Department of Defense largely because all the colonels at that time were in Afghanistan. They asked me if I’d like to come back and do what I did before I left. I did that for a while.
Frisco became our home in 2000. We built a house there. We rented it out while we’re gone. Came back in 2007 and intend to stay here forever. This is home right now.
Scott Ellis: We’re glad to have you here. Frisco is not a bad place to be. It’s not quite Honolulu.
JP Hogan: Yeah but it’s a closer to everything else in the world, in Honolulu.
Scott Ellis: That’s true.
JP Hogan: I got involved with the Association of the US Army right as I arrived back in 2007, a chapter here in North Texas. The Association of the US Army has been around since 1950. Our intention has always been to be a voice for the army, to provide support and information to our soldiers and to the communities at large. In 1950, it was designed quite frankly as a lobbying institute that could go into congress and quite for the army’s budget. We tried to do that from within the uniform and that quickly became a non-starter because in our society, our republic, the military is subordinated to civilian authority. We couldn’t really lobby for them. We reported to them.
We created an association largely of retired but some still serving soldiers, principally officers at that time to make the case on the hill but also to make the case around the world wherever soldiers were in the local communities like Frisco and North Texas at large. Our chapter is then called the Dallas chapter formed in 1951 and has been around ever since. In 2007, we had about 7508 members has joined as one of the members and immediately started working on programs that we could elevate our signature. Really get into the business of helping America here in North Texas understand what the Army was all about. What we were really bringing to the table and how it fit into our society. I became the President of the chapter in 2009.
We focused our energies in 3 areas that were aligned with the Chairman of joint Chiefs of Staff program on how grassroots communities opt to approach the business of supporting veterans. We took mantel early on of doing that for the Army veteran here in North Texas but in 3 ways. Supporting programs here in North Texas have incredible work in support of wounded warriors, caregivers and their families. We went after education and we went after meaningful employment opportunities for veterans. Over the course of the last 4, now 5 years, the chapter has become the Number 1 chapter in the USA globally.
Scott Ellis: Congratulations.
John Hogan: Thank you very much. It’s gotten even more closely aligned with the Army’s Soldier for Life Program and the Chairman on Joint Chiefs of Staff re-integration effort, which is all about how we locally embrace our veterans as they come out of uniform and come home in those 3 areas, meaningful employment, well being, our focus on wounded warriors and education. The education piece has become one of the center pieces of what this chapter now called the North Texas Audie Murphy Chapter after Audie Murphy who is a local hero of note. The most decorated Army soldier during World War II and was born right here in Farmers Branch.
Scott Ellis: I did not realize that Audie Murphy was from Farmers Branch.
JP Hogan: Yes.
Scott Ellis: No kidding.
JP Hogan: Yes. His entire family still has roots here.
Scott Ellis: Wow.
JP Hogan: A year ago, I approached the state and said, “We’d really like to honor the family and honor Audie Murphy by adopting his name.” They were honest in spades. They just love the idea, what we were doing, where we were at and how we could help just carry the legend forward. On the education side of the house, 2 things we do, raise money in support of scholarships that go back in to Army family members of current who is serving, guard, reserve and active component folks and veterans. People have been in the Army at one time or way, shape or form. Civilian employee over the Army. We try to help their offspring and their spouses secure some support for college education.
Scott Ellis: Very good.
JP Hogan: We created in 2011 a leader development program wherein we sat down around a breakfast table over in Plano, the original pancake house on 75 as a matter of fact. 4 of us decided what could we do that’s entirely different that we know a little bit about? We allowed that we probably knew a little bit about this thing called leadership. Why don’t we put together a program that is designed to help people elevate their leadership quotient. This is how we phrased it in 2011.
We quickly migrated to a point where we started to interface with all of the universities here across the North Texas tier from Texas Tech to [SMU 00:06:25] and down to Baylor and now, the University of Texas itself wherein we affiliate with the reserve officer training category, the ROTC guys at each of those universities and become coaches, teachers, and mentors for juniors and seniors in the program who will be soon be commissioned as 2nd lieutenants in our Army. This is a group of experienced leaders, colonels like myself, command sergeants, major but also successful businessmen and women, elected officials all who have leadership stories to tell emerging leaders in our country. We’ve been at this now for 5 years. We spent about 5,000 man hours on the program.
Cuts to about 2500 in cadets in one way, shape or form, in that sense, 1 on 1 coaching, teaching and mentoring events in 3 different venues. Routine you will go on to campus and do a case study around leadership using a movie that’s got leadership messages attached to it. We give them pizza dinner, show them a movie and a panel of 6 or 7 of these experienced leaders, some uniforms, some elected officials, some businessmen and we’ll talk about those lessons through the lens of the experiences that each of the panelists have had that reinforce that message. It’s a free dialog amongst the cadets. They love it. In our judgment if for no other reason, it’s going to be one of the last times in their young career that they’ll be able to sit down with a full colonel in the United States Army in a safe environment and ask them anything they want to ask.
Scott Ellis: I would imagine if you’re a cadet coming in, that’s got to be a little intimidating. Any other environments-
JP Hogan: Even more intimidating when you’re actually the 2nd Lt. in the Colonel’s office.
Scott Ellis: Exactly.
JP Hogan: We get an opportunity to talk to them in terms of our experiences, what we can help them develop their own leadership skills and capabilities and insights. But also to give them some insight on what is really going to be expected of them. What’s the brigade commander colonel really want out of the brand new lieutenant? What’s his level of expectations? [inaudible 00:08:31] the only trouble we ever had is the owner of the venue always wants us to leave and nobody wants to go. They finally just turned the lights on us. The other 2 things we do are a little bit more immersive and memorable in the sense that we take groups of them to Vicksburg and down to San Jacinto a couple of times a year with an intent of talking about leadership issues and the dynamics of leadership as they presented themselves in history.
When Houston was fighting Santa Ana at San Jacinto for that 18 minutes that created Texas, which created the United States. Personal view. No Texas, no US.
Scott Ellis: We have a very Texas driven audience. I’m sure they’ll agree.
JP Hogan: Our intent is to spend 3 or 4 days with the cadets in those places where the fact that they’re standing in San Jacinto or they’re standing on the side of the [Scott Avery 00:09:23] dam in Vicksburg, Mississippi wherein 19 and 22 of May 1863, a significant battle was fought by Grant and Sherman and Pemberton on his house side. Names that people know in history but when you stand there on that hallowed ground, and you talk about those issues, leadership becomes very real. We use the fight as a backdrop. It’s not a battlefield tour. It’s not a casual walk across a nice park. It’s a detailed inspection or deep dive into what happened at many different levels from a leader to lead point of view? What were the dynamics? What did the leaders face and how’d they deal with it? The cadets are immersed interactively engaged and they remember.
Once a year, we were able to raise a sufficient amount of money where we take 6 to 10 cadets to Normandy during the spring break in March and do precisely the same thing around the battles of D-Day 1944.
Scott Ellis: That has to be an incredibly humbling experience.
JP Hogan: On so many different levels.
Scott Ellis: Yeah.
JP Hogan: You can see it’s quite rewarding on a number of levels but there’d be standing on Point Dock where Earl Rudder of Texas A&M fame took a bunch of rangers up a 95-foot cliff in the rain under fire in just a few minutes and took down a German position. To stand there and then see these young men and women, the cadets say, “Whoa. This is what this is really all about.” You can see them be physically and emotionally moved. That’s the intent. It’s the learning anchor that reinforces the dialog. They remember this not because I’m a great spokesman for leadership but we talked about those things in a place that is gripping. It captures you and holds you down. That’s our leadership program. That fits into the Chairman of joint Chiefs of Staff reintegration process because it says education focused.
Now in that case, we’re looking at future leaders in the Army, the Air Force, even the Air Force cadets that come with us as well. The education piece on the scholarship side of the house is more focused on helping those veterans and those families would tightly fit into the efforts to reintegrate veterans coming back. On the well being that we’ve adopted the wounded warrior cause. For 5, 6 years now, we’ve run a what we call the North Texas Association of the US Army Golf Classic benefiting wounded warriors. Now we just did it on the 7th of October, which our latest gig gross revenues were 80, $85,000 range.
Scott Ellis: Very. Good.
JP Hogan: Over the course of the last 6 years, in 6 events we’ve raised well over $350,000 that has been funneled back into after we get rid of our expenses. Those programs right here in North Texas like Pat Sauer’s operation, Once in a Lifetime or the Heroes on the Water, Africa Jim Dolan, former American Airlines pilot put together. Jeff Hensley and the E-quest guys, all programs that make a significant difference in the lives of soldiers, sailors and marines and first responders if you will who have made a sacrifice that’s significant in support of our communities or our country.
Those 2 programs, the leader development program and the wounded warrior program have largely been why the world takes a close look at the North Texas Audie Murphy Chapter, and why the Association of the US Army at the global level said, “Well, you guys are as good as we got.” We were in DC last week on stage with our Texans-
Scott Ellis: Very good. Representing Texas properly.
JP Hogan: Representing Texas properly.
Scott Ellis: Are there other organizations around North Texas that are veterans focused that you guys also work with? Is it just the wounded warrior program?
JP Hogan: There are a number of avenues that we help people support the veteran causes. Each of the counties has got a veteran support office, a VSO guy or a gal who’s got the responsibility through the VA structure to help veterans as they arrive or as they live in Collin County here in Frisco or in Denton or in McKinney to help them find resources. Each of the counties has got a veterans coalition that we are a member of so we’re able to interface with other providers and people who are coming to the table to help veterans, to help that program thrive and get veterans identified, get their needs uncovered and then help those veterans get into the right spot. We’re a part of that but we don’t lead that. We’ve got our own niche like several other guys who’ve got their own niche from homelessness to VA support or people that are in under VA care.
There’s a dramatic veteran effort in North Texas. When the Chairman of joint Chiefs of Staff, we managed to get him to come here when General Dempsey had that position. About 18 months ago, he came down and was a guest speaker at one of our events associated with the Dallas Military Ball at the Intercontinental Hotel. He came to Texas specifically because he wanted to come where from his perch in the world, he saw what was happening in North Texas and the support veterans get. There are almost 2 million veterans living in the state of Texas. It’s one of the top 3 locations for people who have served in one way, shape or form and migrated to Florida, here, California, and Georgia. Those are the epicenters but Texas is a model home.
If you’re up there looking at this whole structure of support to veterans in grassroots programs have to support them, Texas is a model. The chairman knows that. Quite frankly, we in the Audie-Murphy chapter have focused our energies to make sure that we’re locked and loaded with that strategy and we are helping grow programs that do precisely what the chairman and the 4 service chiefs are trying to have happen. At the end of the day, Scott, we as a nation owe a debt to our soldiers, our sailors, our marines. Veterans Administration is a lot better than a lot of people give it credit for being. A lot of the bad things get elevated. There are tons and tons of good things but it’s impossible for a bureaucracy inside the government to really deal with what needs to be done. It has to happen down here where you and I are looking to one another’s eyes.
We see what has to happen and then we can interface with real human beings to get them real help at the point in time that they needed across a whole spectrum of these. Into that end, we’ve added another dimension. A year from right now, October 28th and 29th of next year, we are hosting the first ever North Texas Veterans Housing coalition with an intention of bringing up to 10,000 veterans into the Arlington Convention Center from across North Texas and get them connected to the housing vertical. From the DR Horton’s of the world to the Nebraska Furniture march the world and how those people can all help veterans get themselves established in affordable housing and master home ownership. We’ve already rented as a chapter the convention hall over in Arlington next to AT&T Stadium on the 28th and 29th of October of next year.
Last week, when I was in DC, I was at the VA’s office working to get the Secretary or the Undersecretary for Veterans Affairs or Housing Affairs to be of that element. I’m going up next week to talk to the Secretary of HOD to get them here on site to reinforce to both veteran and community that we’re trying to capture and educate and help with the housing group that we’re trying to educate and help them access this market place for veterans. It’s about affordable housing.
Any money that we’re able to raise there, a good chunk of that will funnel back into programs here in North Texas that then help homeless veterans or coordinating with that whole community that’s engaged with veteran housing here in the for county area to make them part of the program and at some level a beneficiary of whatever successes we’re able to get by bringing 200 exhibitors together to talk to veterans.
Scott Ellis: You guys have bitten off a lot of stuff but it sounds like you’re doing a phenomenal job across the board.
John Hogan: We’ve got some engaged players. We’re like any other organization. we’re up to almost 1200 people that belong to the organization. About 50 companies support us in one way, shape or form. Like any other organization of that nature, 15% of the people weigh in.
Scott Ellis: Yeah.
John Hogan: We’re fortunate enough to have a executive committee, skilled leaders, skilled collaborators so we can put together programs that are continually growing. They’re feeding off one another. It’s a flow of activity. It’s a flow of resources coming in. It’s a flow of veterans being helped.
Scott Ellis: I know there are veterans with a lot of different needs.
JP Hogan: Yes.
Scott Ellis: I think you’ve addressed that. It’s everything from employment to education to general wellness. If somebody wants to work with you, perhaps they’ve got a grassroots effort of some kind that they’re starting. They’re just a civilian or maybe a veteran themselves but wants to help out or get involved. Where do we go to learn more? How do we help people get more involved with what you guys are doing to support the cause?
JP Hogan: In the case of the Association of the United States Army North Texas Audie Murphy Chapter, it is simply ausanorthtexas.org. If you just send in firstname.lastname@example.org, that email will land on my desk.
Scott Ellis: Good to know.
JP Hogan: If you just went to ausa.org, you would land on the web page at the national level. There’s a map there that shows the state of Texas. You’d click on that. It’ll take you to our contact page as well. Ausanorthtexas.org or just plain ausa.org will get you into the community. We encourage people to join us. It’s $30 a year to be a member of the organization. Soon, we will have an app in place with an affinity partner that will probably be worth $200 a year in savings. In that, you’ll be 170 bucks ahead.
Scott Ellis: Very good.
JP Hogan: That’s the AUSA side of the house. There’s another hat that I wear as well. That’s the employer support, the garden reserve program, which is a Department of Defense program that’s focused on building a relationship and fostering a culture of mutual support between our employers around the country but in my case, specifically North Texas and the guard and reserve service members. The young men and women who are working both in uniform and as viable citizens within the city of Frisco. We’ve got several of them. These young men and women who in the last few years have been wrenched away for extended periods of time. The height of the fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, 48% of that make the [list of 00:20:34] reserve soldiers, sailors, airman and marines in the sandbox in the fight.
Even today as we draw the services down, the relationship of active to guard and reserve balance is about that, 52, 53% active. Guys like myself who when you get up in the morning, 365 days a year and put a uniform on and 47, 48% of the community now puts uniform on occasion about the rest of the time you see an employee of this day on or [crosstalk 00:21:06].
Scott Ellis: Are you connected to Tim Nelson here in Frisco?
John Hogan: Tim Nelson and I are good friends.
Scott Ellis: Okay. I had a feeling. I think he’s active reserve.
JP Hogan: He’s active reserve. I think he’s in position over in the theme offices in Denton. He’s a good friend. Keating, John Keating and other councilmen and other veteran are good friend of mine. The ESGR program is my personal opportunity to reach into the leadership of companies around North Texas and thank them for what they do. Reinforce to them the value that they’re bringing to the national security effort here. In fact, 2 days ago, I was at First Command over in Fort Worth, where they were signing a what we call a statement of support that just says, “We as a company, we recognize that there’s a commitment that we ought to make to our government reserve employees and support them day to day.
When they get called for training or they get called to do some mission in some distant part of the earth, we’re going to be there to make sure the job’s still available to them. To take care of their family while they’re gone so it’s a reinforcing structure.” I personally get a lot of good feeling out of that. That’s a very rewarding thing for me to be able to go and not only to talk to the CEOs and the leaders of the company that do this but to talk to the employees of the company that when John gets pulled off to Afghanistan, somebody’s going to pick up John’s rock sack at the company that he’s staying.
Scott Ellis: Business must go on.
JP Hogan: Business must go on. Those young men and women deserve the Department of Defense reaching out and saying, “Hey, Secretary Carter, we thank you for what you do.” Here’s what it really means. I’ve been doing that for 4 or 5 years as well.
Scott Ellis: That’s awesome. Very good. Certainly, I would say when it comes to anything Frisco related, count on us to help spread the word to connect the dots wherever we can and anything we can do, we’d be happy to help.
JP Hogan: I appreciate that. I love living here. I’m affiliated with the veterans guys here in Frisco. This past month, I took a position on the Frisco Community Development Corporation Board. Frisco is home for me.
Scott Ellis: There’s a lot of good things going on here. With all of the business and the companies that are coming to Frisco, with all the growth that we’ve seen in the last several years but certainly looking into the next 5 or more years, there should be plenty of opportunity for veterans to find the jobs here in Frisco as well as around North Texas.
JP Hogan: There’s a lot of great programs that are out there. Another good friend of mine here in Frisco, John Redmond, he’s running a program called Vital. His intention is to find veterans before they actually arrive in Frisco. Become a catcher’s mitt if you will. Catch them when they’re here. Help them refine some of the skills and build some skills that they do principally somewhere in the information technology structure. Give them some hands on training and then help place them in companies here in the greater Frisco, greater North Texas area. I’m committed to helping John Redmond do those kinds of things right here in Frisco. He’s got offices over there on Frisco St. across from the Toyota guys. He’s got his own business and then part of that is this new effort that he’s undertaking.
With the mayor’s veteran outreach or veteran committee there in interface with those guys as well. It’s a vibrant place to live. There are people doing good things for veterans. If you’re hiring people, I’ve got a consulting business as well. One of the things that I talk to my clients about is when you’re in the hiring process, you ought to really pay a lot more attention to people from the perspective of their core values. Character is character. It’s a binary switch. You got it or you don’t. If you don’t got it, it’s not going to get turned on. The skills that you need that employee ultimately view as a re-stat. You can help him or her develop skills but go for character. As you investigate opportunities to hire people, my advice to a Frisco business is take a look at the veteran population because there’s character there.
These young men and women have already been through one incredible filter of getting involved in something. You can’t be a soldier in this nation without having to pass physical, educational, non felony rules. They’re not drug users as a general rule. They got selected once. Right now, if 10 young men and women want to become soldiers today, only 2.5 out of 10 qualify.
Scott Ellis: Okay. Got it.
JP Hogan: 7.5 don’t.
Scott Ellis: Wow.
JP Hogan: They don’t meet the criteria. The veteran coming to you has already been through a crucible of selection that says, “Here’s somebody who’s bringing some skills to the table.” Then he spends some period of time, 18 months, 30 years in a values driven system where core values or principles have meaning. They drive behaviors. That’s the quality cut. A lot of people talk about post traumatic stress and soldier, sailor, airman and marine being the next guy go off, we use to call it postal but that’s not the case. That’s an existent problem but there’s a lot of other people doing other jobs in the world who have never seen a moment of being a soldier who had post traumatic stress. It’s not just police officers and first responders.
There are people in the manufacturing environments or in the local banks who have traumatic stress because it’s just a reaction to a stressful period of time in your life. If you’re looking for employees, take a look at that group of young men and women, middle aged men and women called veterans because they’re bringing something special to the table worth looking at. Now it’s a lot of ways for you to get at them if you’re an HR person free because the Veterans Administration and guys like John Redmond and his effort are doing the leg work to find those people and connect them to you.
Scott Ellis: That’s good to know. That’s certainly going to be good to know for all of the businesses that are going to be here in Frisco and are interested in bringing some veterans on board. Thank you very much for your time today.
JP Hogan: Thank you, Scott. I appreciate it.
Scott Ellis: We will definitely, as I said, we’ll be there to help spread the word. For anybody else that is looking for more information, ausanorthtexas.org is where to begin. We’ll thank J.P. one last time and we’ll talk to you next week.
JP Hogan: Thanks a lot, Scott.