Former Presidents

The general membership of the United States Senate Youth Alumni Association wishes to thank all members who have donated their time and talents to serve our organization over the years, both as members of our Board of Directors, and as USSYAA presidents.

Gil Valadez 2020-2022
Gil Valadez (DE 1997) served as president from 2020 to 2022. Gil joined the board in 2014, serving as Eastern Regional Director and President-Elect. He is a Managing Director in the New York Office of Ernst & Young (EY). He joined EY after the boutique advisory firm Jacket River, which he co-founded, was acquired in 2020. Gil earned an MBA at Columbia Business School in 2014, and he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial management engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Gil is a lifetime member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and lifetime member and former Trustee of La Unidad Latina. He currently lives in Garden City, NY with his wife Jenny and beautiful kids, Eyan and Gabriela. Gil loves to highlight that he bought his first ever suit for Washington week, and meeting James Molloy and Mom Hearst changed his life.
Andrew Bradley 2018-2020
Andrew Bradley (IN 1996) joined the USSYAA Board of Directors in 2004 and and served a president from 2018 to 2020. Andrew is Policy Director for Prosperity Indiana, the statewide association for community economic development. He previously worked as State Network Director with the National Skills Coalition, as Senior Policy Analyst with the Indiana Institute for Working Families, and as a Presidential Management Fellow with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Senate. Andrew earned his BA in History from Indiana University and his MA in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. He currently lives in the Irvington neighborhood of Indianapolis with his wife Julie.
Col. Michael R. Gonzales (USA, Ret.) 2016-2018
Colonel (USA, Ret.) Michael R. Gonzales (NM 1973) served in a number of key command and staff assignments during his 26-year service in the United States Army. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, he served on the Joint Inter-Agency Working Group, designated by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to plan the defense of the National Capital Region. He then served as the Senior Army Liaison to the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s (NORAD) Continental Region, during Operation Noble Eagle. Other assignments included Director of Strategic Operations and Missile Defense Integration for U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command / U.S. Army Strategic Command where he supported the deployment of the Ground Based Midcourse Missile Defense (GMD) System; Deputy Assistant Commandant of the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery School and Deputy Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery Center and Fort Bliss; Chairman of the Department of Strategy and Planning at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, the off-site “think tank” of the Army G-3. During his tenure at the War College, he deployed to Paraguay to assist that nation in establishing their National Security Council and training its military and civilian leadership during the country’s transition to democracy. Prior to this assignment, he was the Chief of the National Guard Bureau’s Force XXI Task Force, a member of the Army Force XXI Council of Colonels and the Force XXI Advisor to the U.S. Army Reserve Forces Policy Committee (ARFPC). Colonel Gonzales also served as the Senior Army Liaison (G5) for U.S. Army Central Command (ARCENT) – Forward / 3rd U.S. Army in Saudi Arabia, during Operations Desert Falcon and Southern Watch, coordinating Patriot missile rotations providing the defense of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, after graduation from the U.S. Army War College.  At the operational level, he commanded the 6th Battalion (Chaparral), 200th Air Defense Artillery, served as the Executive Officer for the 1st Battalion (Chaparral), 200th Air Defense Artillery, the Army’s first “pure” Chaparral battalion, and as the Battalion Operations Officer for the 5thBattalion (Roland), 200th Air Defense Artillery, the first and only Roland missile battalion in the U.S. Army. Colonel (USA, Ret) Gonzales is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Three Towers Strategic Consulting, LLC. He, his wife Christine, and their two children, Gabrielle and Michael, live in Waldorf, Maryland.
Chad Robinson 2014-2016
Chad Robinson (DE 2001) served as President of the United States Senate Youth Alumni Association from 2014 to 2016. Chad is the Community Relations Director at the Food Bank of Delaware, the state’s largest hunger relief organization. In this role, he oversees advocacy, public policy and government affairs for the organization, as well as leading the Coalition to End Hunger. He previously served as the Legislative Liaison to Lieutenant Governor Matthew Denn of Delaware, as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Foundation and Government Relations for Wesley College and as Personal Assistant to United States Senator Thomas R. Carper of Delaware. Chad earned his BA in Political Science from Wesley College and his Master of Public Administration from Wilmington University. He currently lives in Delaware, not far from the place where he grew up.
Rachael (Cook) Lowe 2012-2014
Rachael (Cook) Lowe (OR 2000) served as President from 2012 to 2014.
David Zavadsky 2010-2012
David Zavadsky (WI 1990) has been a member of the USSYAA Board of Directors since 2002, and served as President from 2010 to 2012. He is the Information Systems Manager at Econoprint, Inc., of Verona, Wisconsin, where he has managed technology projects, staff, and contractors since 1994. He is a 1995 graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in applied mathematics with a computer science/systems emphasis. Since 2001, he has served several terms on his homeowners’ association board of directors in various roles, including President and Treasurer. He currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin, and enjoys exploring the craft beer scene whenever and wherever he travels.
Norman L. Fortenberry, Sc.D. 2008-2010
Norman L. Fortenberry, Sc.D., (LA 1979) served as President from 2008 to 2010.
Randy L. Brantley 2006-2008
Randy L. Brantley (NC 1981) served as President from 2006-2008.
Robert R. Middleton 2004-2006
Robert R. Middleton (DC 1966) served as President from 2004-2006.
John Blakley 1999-2004
John Selmon Blakley Sr. (MI 1976) is the founding President of the United States Senate Youth Alumni Association, and has served in a variety of positions on the board since finishing his inaugural term as president in 2005. John received his B.B.A. in Financial Services from Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, a J.D. from the Fordham University School of Law, and a William Edwards Deming Scholar Honors M.B.A. from the Fordham University Gabelli Graduate School of Business Administration. John’s interest in business administration started in his hometown during his early childhood as a paperboy for the Flint Journal newspaper while living on Buick Street in Flint, Michigan. Coincidentally, he then landed summer employment with GM’s Buick Motor Division while a student at University of Michigan. After college, John began a global financial services and tax career in New York City. He first audited brokers and dealers in securities and commodity futures for PricewaterhouseCoopers. In 1990, he joined The MTA/Long Island Rail Road Company’s Finance Division, serving over time as Special Assistant to the Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer, Deputy Controller, and Director of Regulatory Financial Internal Control. In 1996, he joined Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC’s in-house legal and compliance division as their Antitrust Regulatory Compliance Officer. He also addressed compliance with regulations of the New York Stock Exchange, Securities & Exchange Commission, Federal Reserve Board, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, National Futures Association, and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. After surviving the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack while working at Morgan Stanley’s Two World Trade Center location, John joined the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a tax law specialist with focus on tax-exempt securities. Among other roles, he has served as the Treasury’s Liaison Officer to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, which coordinates special audit review assessments for Field Operations examiners. In April 2020, John became a Supervisory Team Manager in Treasury’s Large Business and International Division in the Northeastern Compliance Practice Area, which focuses on tax compliance by major domestic U.S. businesses, as well as individuals and businesses engaged with international interests. John is married to his lovely wife, Dr. Gale Blakley. They have two wonderful sons: John Jr., a Chemical Engineering graduate from Howard University; and Samuel, a Business Administration major in Accounting and Finance at Xavier University of Louisiana. The family resides in Scarsdale, NY.