Because of Our Brave and Dedicated Veterans, America’s Best Days Are Still Ahead

Because of Our Brave and Dedicated Veterans, America’s Best Days Are Still Ahead

The American flag has never wavered because America’s vets have never wavered. American veterans have provided our nation with safety and security so that every citizen can enjoy the fruits of freedom.

Whether they fought on the shores of Normandy or the deserts of the Middle East, our veterans are part of an unbroken chain of men and women who have served our country with distinction and honor.

On Veterans Day, the Metal Trades Department, its local councils and affiliates wish to provide America’s vets with our deepest thanks. Their sacrifices have helped secure more than two centuries of American progress, and their legacy affirms that no matter what confronts us or what trials we face, there is no challenge we cannot overcome. Because of our brave and dedicated veterans, America’s best days are still ahead.

America’s men and women in uniform have defined our country throughout its generations, teaching us and exhibiting strength, duty, devotion and resolve. Even after our veterans take off the uniform, they never stop serving. Many apply the skills and experience they developed on the battlefield to a life of service here at home. They take on roles in their communities that working families depend upon.

On behalf of a grateful Metal Trades Nation, we want all to know that our country’s Metal Trades workers are committed to fulfilling our responsibilities to them and upholding the sacred trust we share with all who have served. We will continue to challenge all Americans to reflect on the immeasurable burdens that have been borne by so few. We should pay tribute each day to our wounded, our missing, our fallen, and their families and honor them not only on Veterans Day, but every day.

The Metal Trades workers of America today reaffirm our promise to our veterans that when they finish their tours of duty, they will come home and always live in an America that gives them the benefits they have earned, the care they deserve, and the fullest opportunity to keep their families strong and our country moving forward.

May God bless and keep Americans veterans safe, healthy and always revered.

On behalf of the Metal Trades Department, staff, councils and affiliates, thank you for your service.

God Bless America!

Colleen Robertson, Managing Director, Green Shipping Line

Colleen Robertson is the Managing Director and an owner of Green Shipping Line. She has worked for the company for four years on various initiatives, including the transportation of cars in containers, offshore wind farm equipment transportation, the fabrication of new vessels in the United States and on three successful America’s Marine Highway applications.

Prior to Green Shipping Line, Colleen worked for the Ford Motor Company and Ford Motor Credit Company for nearly 20 years in several activities, including engineering, manufacturing, warranty, marketing, finance and strategy. At Ford Motor Company in finance, she was responsible for present and future vehicle line financials, profit reporting, fleet administration, and the formation and management of Covisint (a B2B joint venture between Ford, General Motors, Daimler-Chrysler, Renault-Nissan, and their suppliers). Her last assignment was in the Office of the Chairman and Chief Executive, working directly for Alan Mulally and Bill Ford on corporate strategic initiatives. Colleen assisted Mr. Mulally in his transition to his CEO position and facilitated the implementation of his strategic plan (One Ford), which overhauled Ford Motor Company toward a team management approach.

She holds an Interdisciplinary Engineering degree from Purdue University with minors in Spanish and Business as well as a Masters in Engineering Management from the University of Michigan.

Rhonda Bissell, Director of Development, Guide Dogs of America

Rhonda Bissell is the Director of Development at Guide Dogs of America and Secretary-Treasurer on the GDA Board of Directors.

She has been involved with the organization for over 20 years including serving as a trustee on the Guide Dogs of America Foundation board.

Rhonda started volunteering as a puppy raiser where she began fostering puppies in training. She subsequently joined the staff and was appointed as Volunteer coordinator where she solicited and assigned volunteers to assist and supplement the GDA staff. During this time, she has filled multiple roles within the organization including fund raising, travel coordination and as Executive Assistant to the President.

Her primary role today is as Director of Development where she manages the Wills, Trusts and Bequests program. She has successfully collected over 40 million dollars for the organization during her time.

Rhonda is most proud of the six puppies she and her husband have raised for GDA, two of which went on to become guide dogs. They presently have three Labrador Retrievers, Harvey, who is a breeder for GDA, Haden, who is a retired Guide Dog and Bomar, a “career change” pup.

Timothy J. Ryan, Vice President of Benefit Relations, Free College Benefit

Timothy Ryan is the Vice President of Benefit Relations and a higher education onboarding strategist for the Free College Benefit.

After spending nearly 2 decades in marketing and consumer awareness, Tim knows what truly motivates people to engage in the Free College Benefit. It’s how well you connect with the hard-working union members you’re trying to help and communicating your understanding back to them.

Tim comes to the Free College Benefit program on recommendation from the Rhode Island Institute for Labor Studies and Research and spent his first two years as director of the Free College Student Resource Center.

Since leaving that position in 2017, Tim has been traveling the country meeting with Union leadership and general membership to help expand awareness and listen for new ways to improve and excite your Free College Benefit.

Todd Shrader, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Environmental Management, DOE

Mr. Todd Shrader is currently serving as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (PDAS) in the Office of Environmental Management (EM). In this role he works to enable the safe and successful execution of the EM mission, while providing management oversight of activities, operations, and program integration across DOE field sites.

Prior to becoming the PDAS he served as the Carlsbad Field Office (CBFO) Manager from October 2015 until June 2019. Under Mr. Shrader’s leadership, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) successfully restarted waste emplacement operations and the shipping of waste from around the DOE Complex to WIPP after a nearly three-year recovery effort. The CBFO provides federal oversight to the National Transuranic Program (NTP) and WIPP, the nation’s only geological repository for the disposal of defense related nuclear waste. During this time, he was awarded a Meritorious Service Presidential Rank Award.

Mr. Shrader previously served as the Director of the DOE headquarters office responsible for supporting Hanford’s Office of River Protection and held a leading role in developing a path forward that allowed for accelerated treatment of Hanford tank waste. Prior to that, he was assigned to DOE’s Office of Loan Programs, where he led technical reviews of over twenty energy generation projects that eventually received over $13 billion in loan guarantees. Earlier, he was a project manager for the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, leading key components of the NRC licensing process for the Yucca Mountain Project.

He began his DOE career at the Hanford Site and held various positions including service as the Hanford Site TRU Program Manager and the Facility Area Engineer for the Pretreatment Facility at the Waste Treatment Plant.

Mr. Shrader earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida and a Master’s degree in Engineering from North Carolina State University. He is registered Professional Engineer. He was appointed to Senior Executive Service in November 2012.