TORIE FISHER, Executive Director
SSG, US Army (Veteran)
Blackhawk Crew Chief
Torie served 13 years in the US Army with two combat deployments to Iraq before founding Backward Flag Brewing in 2015. During her military service, Torie received numerous awards for her actions in and out of combat. In 2017 Torie Founded Backward Flag Foundation (d/b/a Arms 2 Artisans). Arms 2 Artisans facilitates the connection of Veterans to education, experience, and support, enhancing their ability to thrive as creators and artists. Backward Flag has been honored by the Department of Labor with the Gold Standard Recognition for Veteran hiring and in 2018 Torie was honored by Soroptimist International as the regional Woman of the Year and inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame for her work in the veteran community. Torie has also received two Congressional Certificates of Recognition and has been honored by the New Jersey State Assembly for her work in Veteran advocacy. She is presently continuing that work by advocating for policy changes in military mental health. Torie currently resides with her wife and daughter in Barnegat, New Jersey.
board of directors
STEVE BERMAN, Chairman
As a member of the Board for Arms 2 Artisans, Steve is involved in strategy, governance, relationship development and fundraising. Prior to joining A2A, Steve was Director of Fundraising for No Dog Gets Left Behind, a Philadelphia-based veteran service organization that provides support to reunite armed services members with the dogs they rescued from the streets and bonded with while deployed overseas. Steve was also the founder and chief organizer for NDGLB’s very successful annual Fall Ball fundraiser. Although having never served in the military, Steve believes it is his patriotic duty to give back to those who have. Steve is a Partner & CFO at Argentum (www.argentumgroup.com), a NYC-based private equity fund that provides growth capital and strategic guidance to small software, technology and business-services companies. Steve earned his BS in Accounting from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA and subsequently earned an MS in Taxation from Villanova University. He is also a Certified Public Accountant in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Steve is a resident of Yardley, PA, where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their dog, Scully. Steve and Allison are the proud parents of three grown children: Sam, Arielle and Natalie.
CHRIS SHAW, Vice Chairman
CPT, US Army (Veteran)
Kiowa Warrior Pilot
Chris is an Executive Director at JPMorgan Chase & Co., where he is a relationship banker for Hudson Valley-based middle market companies (typically $20-500 million in annual sales). In this role, he supports clients with a range of products and services from cash management and lending to risk management and investment banking. He started his career at Chase with the firm’s Military & Veterans Affairs team, working across the bank and with its external partners to increase access to capital for Veteran-owned businesses. Before joining Chase, Chris founded CORE Leader, a leadership development company. While running CORE, he also founded the New York City chapter of Bunker Labs, a national non-profit that helps veterans start and grow businesses. Previously, Chris served in the U.S. Army, as an aviator in the 82nd Airborne Division, where he flew OH-58D armed reconnaissance helicopters and deployed twice to Afghanistan. Chris earned a BA from Cornell University in History and an MBA from NYU Stern. Chris lives in Garrison, NY with his wife, Alison, and three sons: Henry, Alex, and Thomas.
SEAN McCONNELL, Secretary
CPT, US Army (Veteran)
Sean McConnell is a Senior Attorney at the national law-firm Troutman Pepper, where he represents clients varying in size from single artists to large multinational corporations. His extensive experience cuts across a wide spectrum of industries including alcohol, clothing and fashion, commercial retail, restaurants and convenience stores, technology/software products and services, consumer electronics, energy, financial and insurance services, agriculture and food manufacturing, health and beauty products, industrial and building products, pharmaceuticals, the recording industry, tobacco, and a variety of charitable organizations. Active in the start-up community, Sean is a member of the firm’s Emerging Company, Cannabis, and Technology Groups. Before entering private practice, Sean served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He deployed to Iraq in 2005 with the Third Infantry Division, serving as one of the primary strategic planners supporting Iraq’s first constitutional referendum and permanent government national elections.
Bill Yang, Treasurer
US Marine Corps (Veteran)
As a member of the Board and Treasurer for Arms 2 Artisans, Bill engages with the Board Chair and Executive Director to ensure financial governance, transparent stakeholder reporting, and support financial decisions to drive long-term strategic initiatives. Bill is a Management Consultant at PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), where he partners with corporations to develop corporate finance strategies and process optimization solutions. He began his career as an external financial auditor with PwC, specializing in integrated financial statement audits for Global and Fortune 500 companies. His experience includes separation (M&A) readiness, finance operating model design, financial process and systems transformation, and carve-out financial audits. In addition to his role with A2A, Bill serves as the Vice President of the Veteran’s Club Table of the Union League of Philadelphia, and as President of PwC Philadelphia’s Veteran Affinity Network (VAN) chapter. He served in the Marine Corps reserves as a Sergeant in 6th ESB, 4th Marines, while earning his BBA from Template University in Accounting and a minor in Business Analytics. Bill is a Certified Public Accountant in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
ROB SHAY, Director
BMC, US Coast Guard (Veteran) Surfman
Rob Shay is currently an owner of Pinelands Brewing Company in Little Egg Harbor, NJ where he resides with his wife Donna. As a business owner, Rob has worked closely with several different Veteran organizations, helping to raise awareness of veteran needs. Prior to entrepreneurship, Rob served in the U.S Coast Guard for nearly 26 years. During his tenure in the Coast Guard, Rob had the opportunity to work with every branch of the military when his ship was deployed to Haiti to support Operation Uphold Democracy. He was also directly responsible for rescuing over 200 Haitians that had risked their lives trying to flee the country by sea on makeshift rafts. On 9/11 Rob was deployed to New York City to assist in securing and protecting the busiest harbor in the world. Rob earned the qualification of “Surfman”, the highest level of qualification a Coast Guard small boat operator can achieve. Rob continued to serve within the Surf community over the next several years at several different units until he transferred to the Recruit training, ultimately becoming a Drill Instructor. During his time at Recruit Training, Rob trained and mentored over 800 highly motivated Coast Guard Men and Women.
DR. LISSA YOUNG, Director
MAJ(P), US Army (Veteran)
Lissa Young serves as a member of the Arms 2 Artisans board, working on Strategic Relationships and Veteran Outreach. Lissa is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, where she teaches in the Leadership and Management program. Lissa is a 1986 graduate of the United States Military Academy, and a former Army aviator. After graduation, Lissa flew CH-47D “Chinook” cargo helicopters. During her Army career Lissa served at West Point on the faculty of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, and was the course director for PL300, the Academy’s core course in Leadership, from 1996-1999. In 2007, Lissa was awarded a Presidential Fellowship by Harvard University, and in 2013 earned her doctorate there.
LUKE RYAN, Director
SGT, US Army Ranger (Veteran)
Infantry Team Leader
Luke grew up in Pakistan and Thailand, the son of American aid workers who provided medical support to people in difficult places. He later joined the U.S. Army Rangers, where he conducted four deployments to Afghanistan. After the separating from the military, Luke received a BA in English Literature from University of South Florida and subsequently worked in a number of creative capacities, from journalism to television. Currently, Luke runs the social media program for Black Rifle Coffee Company, a veteran-founded and publicly traded premium coffee company and social media platform. Luke lives in San Antonio, TX, with his girlfriend, Kenna. In his free time, Luke has authored a post-apocalyptic novel, "The First Marauder" and two books of war poetry.
JOEY MAC DIZON, Director
CPL, US Marine Corps (Veteran)
Joey Mac is the Co-Founder and CEO of The Mobile Cigar Lounge and Belleau Wood Cigars, both located in New Jersey. He earned his BS in History from the oldest private military university, Norwich University, located in Northfield, VT. Joey also served six years in the United States Marines Corps as a trained Riflemen and deployed to Iraq (2008-2009), Mongolia, and Norway. As a Veteran Entrepreneur in New Jersey, Joey Mac spends a majority of his time networking, connecting, and supporting Veteran Owned businesses and non-profits. The Mobile Cigar Lounge loves creating beautiful experiences and turning them into unforgettable memories over a cigar. The Mobile Cigar Lounge delivers the ultimate cigar experience to weddings, private parties, and events. They are currently expanding nationally and are 100% Veteran Owned and Operated.
TRACY SHARPE, Grant Writer
Tracey Sharpe is an experienced fundraising professional and licensed Grant Writer with more than two decades of dedicated work in the social service field. Currently Tracey is the Grants and Development Coordinator for Ronald McDonald House of Southern NJ as well as the owner of Sharpe Consulting, LLC. Within Sharpe Consulting, Tracey works with multiple non-profit organizations throughout Southern New Jersey and the Philadelphia region, including Arms 2 Artisans, to achieve their fund development goals. Tracey also supplemented in the Office of Proposal Development at Rowan University to help facilitate research and grant opportunities for University staff. A graduate of The George Washington University, Tracey began her career in the social service field as an Americorps member working with elementary school children in underserved neighborhoods in Washington D.C. Upon returning to the Southern New Jersey community, Tracey continued working in direct service in Camden City with at-risk youth before transitioning to her own business. Tracey is a firm believer in giving back to the community and regularly volunteers her grant writing services to area nonprofits such as the Greater Woodbury Coalition Ministries, The Vineland Soup Kitchen, and Ravenwood Farms. She loves to spend time with her family, she is a proliferous reader, and challenges herself (occasionally) with running and her yoga practice.