Director Bios | AFBA

Director Bios

Ralph E. “Ed” Eberhart served as Commander, U.S. Northern Command and Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. He retired from active duty after more than 36 years in the United States Air Force. General Eberhart has been a member of AFBA since 1987 and has served on the Board of Directors since 1997. He served as the Chairman from October 2002 – November 2004. On December 1, 2004, General Eberhart was appointed by the AFBA Board as the President of AFBA. In 2009, he was appointed the Chairman & President of AFBA. He retired as President in March 2020 but remains Chairman. General Eberhart also serves as Trustee and Chairman of 5Star Life Insurance Company. 

Larry O. Spencer spent more than 40 years in the Air Force, beginning his career in the enlisted ranks and rising to become a four-star general. General Spencer’s last assignment was as the Vice Chief of Staff of the US Air Force where he assisted the Chief of Staff in organizing, training and equipping 690,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces. After retiring from the Air Force in 2015, General Spencer served as President of the Air Force Association until 2019. General Spencer received his Bachelor of Science Degree in industrial engineering technology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and has two Master of Science degrees. He currently serves on the boards of Whirlpool Corporation, Triumph Group, Inc., and Haynes International, Inc. General Spencer became a member of the AFBA Board in February 2020. He was named AFBA President in March 2020 and 5Star Life Insurance Company President in June 2020. To read his full bio, click here.

John S. Butler has been the Fire Chief for the Fairfax County, Virginia Fire and Rescue Department since September 2018. He previously served as the first internal fire chief for Howard County, Maryland and was the first chief to have held every rank within that department. He sits on the Northern Virginia Fire and Rescue Leadership Development Institute Advisory Board, National Fire Academy Board of Visitors, and executive board of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association. He is a Marine Corps veteran with 20 years of service, including two combat tours.

Salvatore J. Cassano served as the 32nd Fire Commissioner of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY).  He retired in 2014 after more than 44 years in the FDNY, holding every uniformed rank prior to his appointment as the FDNY’s Commissioner in 2010.  Commissioner Cassano played a crucial role in rebuilding FDNY in the wake of September 11, 2001.  Prior to joining the FDNY, Commissioner Cassano served in the U.S. Army from October 1965 through July 1967, to include a combat tour in Viet Nam.  While a firefighter, he attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Fire Science.  He also received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from St. John’s University in May 2013.    

Thomas H. Collins is the former Commandant of the United States Coast Guard and is currently a Security, Safety and Environmental Senior Consultant. As Commandant, Admiral Collins developed and led the USCG’s increased security posture in the aftermath of the tragic events of 9/11/01 including the transfer of the service to the new Department of Homeland Security. Admiral Collins currently serves on the Boards of four security related corporations and has consulted on maritime related security matters at home and abroad. He has served on the AFBA Board since January 2009 and is currently the Chairman of the Investment Committee and a member of the Audit Committee.

Larry R. Ellis served as Commanding General of the United States Army Forces Command, Fort McPherson, Georgia, before retiring from active duty in 2004. He served over 35 years in the United States Army. General Ellis also served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, USA, Washington, D.C. He attended Morgan State University earning a Bachelor of Science in 1969 and a Master of Science from Indiana University in 1974. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant through the Reserve Officer Training Corps Program. General Ellis has been a member of AFBA since 1981 and currently serves as an AFBA Board member and is a Chairman of the Compensation & Personnel Committee.

Craig R. McKinley retired as a four-star general in 2012 after a 38-year career in the Air Force. His last assignment was as the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, where he also served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In that capacity, he served as military advisor to the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council. He has served on the 5Star Life Board (affiliate of AFBA) since December 2019. He currently serves as National Chair of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

Alford L. McMichael served in the United States Marine Corps for more than 36 years and was named its 14th Sergeant Major in 1999. His military career culminated in his appointment as the first senior non-commissioned officer for NATO. He is a managing director of Pinnacle Five, LLC, a consulting company providing advisory services related to veteran and Department of Defense issues.

Kenneth O. Preston served as the 13th Sergeant Major of the United States Army.  He is the longest serving Sergeant Major of the Army with more than seven years in the position.  He retired from active duty in 2011 after serving 36 years.  Previously Sergeant Major Preston served as the Command Sergeant Major for Combined Joint Task Force 7 in Baghdad, Iraq.  He is a graduate of the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy and earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from Trident University International.  After retiring from active duty, Sergeant Major Preston served as President of Homes for Our Troops from February 2012 – January 2013.  He then joined the AUSA national staff in May 2013 and is currently the Director of NCO and Soldier Programs. He is currently an AFBA Board member, and a member of the Compensation and Personnel Committee, and Planning and Governance Committee. 

James A. Roy served as Chief Master Sergeant of the United States Air Force, the 16th Chief Master Sergeant appointed to the highest non-commissioned officer position.  He retired from active duty in 2013 after serving more than 30 years.  Previously he served as the Command Senior Enlisted Leader for the U. S. Pacific Command.  Chief Roy graduated from Park College with a degree in Engineering Management and earned a master’s degree in Human Resource Management from Troy State College.  After retiring from active duty, Chief Roy joined Scientific Research Corporation, Integrated Systems and Solution Division and is currently the Air Force Senior Program Manager. He is currently an AFBA Board member, and a member of the Planning and Governance Committee.

Roger C. Schultz is the former Director of the Army National Guard and is currently the Vice President of Universal Systems and Technology, Inc. (UNITECH)®. He is also a Senior Executive Associate of the Association of the United States Army and a Senior Fellow of Logistics Health Incorporated. General Schultz also previously served on the 5Star Life Insurance Company Board of  Directors (a related enterprise of AFBA). He has served on the AFBA Board since January 2009, and is currently a member of the Investment Committee and Planning & Governance Committee.

Patricia A. Tracey served as the Director, Navy Staff before retiring from active duty in 2005. She served over 35 years in the United States Navy. Admiral Tracey’s previous assignments included Chief of Naval Education and Training and Director of Naval Training. She graduated from the College of New Rochelle with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and earned a master’s degree in  Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Admiral Tracey completed Women Officers School and was commissioned as an ensign in 1970. She was the first woman in the U.S. Navy to achieve the rank of Vice Admiral. Admiral Tracey has been a member of AFBA since 2006 and is currently an AFBA Board member and a member of the Audit Committee.

Thomas W. Walsh has over 40 years of auditing and accounting experience. He began his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP in 1970, retiring in 2007. Prior to his retirement in 2007, Mr. Walsh served as the audit engagement partner on numerous SEC registered and private financial services industry clients including insurance companies; commercial and retail bank holding companies; and, securities broker/dealers. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from DePauw University and holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Michigan. Mr. Walsh is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI) and Certified Bank Auditor (CBA). Prior to becoming a Director on the AFBA Board, Mr. Walsh served as a Senior Advisor to the Board from 2010-2015. He is currently an AFBA Board member, Chairman of the Audit Committee and member of the Compensation and Personnel Committee.