General Bartell had a prestigious 36-years career. He was a key leader in his deployments to the Middle East. He also held the position of U.S. Army Cadet Command, where he was responsible for commissioning 5,200 officers in the Army through ROTC as well as responsible for 1,900 High School JROTC units. Upon his retirement, he was selected to be the president of the Army and Navy Academy, the only West Coast military college preparatory boarding school for young men in grades 7-12.
Thanks so much for agreeing to participate in our Veteran’s Leadership Summit. We appreciate you sharing both your military and business leadership journey with our readers. What is Army and Navy Academy (ANA) and what is your inspiration? Who is your idea customer for ANA? What do you do to provide a unique experience for your customers?
Army and Navy Academy is a military boarding school for young men grades 7-12 and our inspiration is to make a difference in those young men’s lives and prepare them to be successful in college and beyond. We provide a superior college preparatory education, a focus on values and character development, and hands-on leadership development. ANA is the only place on the West Coast where a young man can get all three of those opportunities in one place.
What had been some of your biggest accomplishments and challenges you’ve faced as the CEO of ANA?
Being successful in making a difference in young men’s lives and seeing the growth and pride in their eyes as I hand them their diplomas is the biggest accomplishment. The biggest challenge is raising money.
Did you have an advocate that helps advise you and/or champion your efforts to launch and grow ANA?
My key mentor/advisor/champion in this endeavor happens to be the Vice Chairman of our Board of Trustees. He is an Alumnus and had an extraordinary Army career, retiring as a General and Vice Chief of Staff of the Army.
Let’s talk about your leadership journey. What was your military experience like before taking over ANA?
I was commissioned as an Active Duty Army Field Artillery Officer through ROTC at University of Michigan in 1977. I served for 36 years, rising to the rank of Major General. I participated in deployments to the Middle East for Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Haiti for Operation Uphold Democracy, Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom, and Iraq for Operation New Dawn.
What positions or career did you hold before coming to ANA? What impact did your military experience have on your career?
I had the privilege of serving in command and leadership positions at all levels through 2-Star command. That command was U.S. Army Cadet Command – responsible for commissioning 5,200 officers in Army through ROTC as well as responsibility for 1,900 High School JROTC units.
What motivated you to take over Army and Navy Academy?
My tenure at U.S. Army Cadet Command was seminal in my decision to pursue this position. I realized that I wanted to be involved in shaping young people’s lives through education, character development, and leadership training.
What type of education and training did you obtain to help pursue your career?
A Master’s degree in Organizational Behavior and 36 years of leadership and management experience.
Describe a great day for you?
Seeing the “light” come on in a young man’s eyes when mentoring a young leader.
Let’s talk about leadership. How would your direct reports describe your leadership style?
Collaborative, caring and decisive.
How have you leveraged your former military experience in leading your own business?
Again, leading and managing at the highest levels for 36 years.
What are some of the initiatives and programs you have in place to help your team members develop leadership skills to contribute or improve your business?
Empowering them and encouraging them to take risks and make decisions in their lives, and then supporting them.
What is your perspective on the value or benefits of a person with prior military experience on pursuing leadership opportunities within a corporation or an entrepreneurial business?
Invaluable – you can’t “train” experience, you simply have to “get” it. The military provides the opportunity to gain experience in following, leading, and managing. It installs discipline and a “stick to it” mentality. These are all characteristics that translate to business very well.
What strategies and initiatives do you have in place to foster a high-performing culture at ANA?
A clear vision and mission statement. A feeling of being valued and important in the pursuit of our mission, of being included in the discussion of decisions involving their lanes. A customer satisfaction mentality.
Let’s talk about mentorship. Did you have any role models and mentors to help you in your journey to your current position?
I had (and still have) several Army senior leaders who have guided me at all levels during my military career and now in my education career.
What advice would you give to a young man or women who is leaving military service and has the aspiration of starting a business or obtaining a leadership position in private industry?
Go for it! Follow your heart and trust your instincts. The military experience translates to business in many ways – primarily regarding leadership experience. Leverage it!
Is there anything you would wish you have done differently on your path to this position?
What message of inspiration or encouragement would you like to share with the attendees of the Veteran’s Leadership Summit?
Stay aggressive and be relentless in the pursuit of what you’re trying to achieve. Be a leader. You are special and possess a special skill set – use it to your advantage. Stay calm and lead on!
Read our introduction Blog here.