About Us

The Veterans Directory





General Description:

The Veterans Directory (TVD) is an organization created for Veterans, by Veterans to provide them a comprehensive directory of services. Founded in Phoenix, Arizona, TVD identified the need for a modern, easy to use service directory that puts Veterans and their family members in touch with precious resources.

Mission:

The Veterans Directory’s mission is to provide a comprehensive, user-friendly, web-based directory of services that benefits military Veterans and their families.

Vision:

The Veterans Directory has made it their goal to streamline the life-long transition process by empowering those who have served with every necessary resource they could use to improve their quality of life.

Founded:

The Veterans Directory (TVD) was an idea first derived in November 2010 when founder, Thom Meaker, was asked to attend the funeral of a Navy Corpsman who had committed suicide while awaiting VA medical treatment. During the service, Thom was standing at the back of a small assembly where several people remarked about various nonprofit organizations that could have helped the Corpsman. He soon realized that Veterans were only being plugged into valuable resources by word of mouth. This was the defining moment when the need for TVD was realized.

In July 2015, TVD was granted 501(c) 3 status and received funding from a local Arizona foundation that shared TVD's vision. With a team of dedicated Veterans and Veteran supporters, the organization has been diligently designing the directory and has plans to expand nationwide.




Bios



Thom Meaker, The Veterans Directory Founder, is a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served as a Rifle Platoon Leader and then as Company Commander of Third Battalion, Fourth Marines in 1969. While in service, Thom was awarded the Bronze Star with a Combat V and the Purple Heart.

A lifelong Phoenix Resident before and after his release from active duty in 1971, Thom flourished in the printing industry both in ownership and sales. Thom remains devoted to Veterans and continues his service by volunteering to serve on the Carl T. Hayden VA Veterans Day Parade committee, the Veterans Medical Leadership Council (VMLC) and the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation (MCSF), Arizona campaign. He is currently serving on the Military Advisory committee of Congressman Ruben Gallego.

Thom lives in Laveen, Arizona with his wife Lorrie, 2 horses, 2 dogs, 9 chickens and their cat, Dame Edna.

While being involved with the different Veterans organizations in the valley, he realized the need for a comprehensive directory dedicated exclusively to veterans and their needs. It was this initial idea that started The Veterans’ Directory.



Danita Rios, The Veterans Directory Chief Executive Officer, specializes in partnering entrepreneurs with key business professionals, financial funding sources and influential supporters in the political and government arena. She has a 15-year background in finance, investing and precious metals trading. Danita consults her affluent clients on their financial investments, nonprofit endeavors and can create mutually beneficial partnerships throughout the U.S. region and China.

From the infamous AZ Rios lineage, she grew up in a political family and has helped with the logistics and organization of political campaigns for nearly 20 years. Danita first partnered with Thom Meaker and his idea of creating a comprehensive Veterans directory in 2012 and committed to help make The Veterans Directory a reality as a way of saying ‘Thank You’ to all our Veterans and her 92 year old Grandfather, Army Air Corp Lieutenant, WWII, Raul Mendoza.

Danita has 2 beautiful daughters, Giovanna & Camilla, is an Arizona native and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and International Business from Arizona State University.



Joanna Sweatt, The Veterans Directory Chief Operating Officer is a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps. She served as a Field Radio Operator (0621) and as a Recruiter (8411). She served honorably from 1998-2007 (E-6 SSgt) and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 with 3D MAW, MWSS 373, MCAS Miramar.

Having to overcome her own transition obstacles; Joanna made the commitment to help other Veterans transition more successfully. She became a well-known veteran advocate in the AZ community with her previous work at ASU’s Pat Tillman Veterans Center (2012-2015) and her many involvements in the non-profit/volunteer space. She works effortlessly to help bridge the divide between transitioning veterans and the civilian community. She serves as a voluntary board member with ASU’s Veterans Chapter of the Alumni, S.E.E.4 Vets and the AZ Veterans Court Mentor Project. She volunteers to help raise funds for the Marine Corps Scholarship Fund—AZ campaign, teaches career transition curriculum for Fourblock.org, and is a member of the Jar Head Professionals group.

Additionally, Joanna works as a consultant for LearnKey—an organization that is committed to retraining Veterans through affordable lifetime certification programs within the high demand industry field of IT.

Joanna is married to Mr. Jobiin Sweatt since 1997 and they have three beautiful children, Jeriah (19), Jobiin Jr. (16), and Jordin (14).



Erik Torres, The Veterans Directory Data and Financial Analyst is a United States Army Veteran. Erik served as a construction equipment operator with the Army Engineers where he completed two peacetime joint-operations in Thailand and Bangladesh and one tour in Afghanistan during a 2005 recall deployment. Erik honorably separated from the Army as a Specialist in 2005.

Having been a benefactor of many Veteran Scholarships and programs, Erik understands the value of a vetted, one source access to all veterans’ benefits. “We’ve come a long way from performing a google search and then spending countless hours determining which Veteran organizations can offer the desired services. Now we have something that is not only in one easy to find place but also in a way that allows the community to police what is really out there for us is a benefit and less of an exploitation gimmick.”

A native of California, Erik landed in AZ to complete his education goals and is excited to put down permanent roots. Currently Erik is on track to graduate from Arizona State University, May 2016 with a Bachelors in Science and Engineering plus a specific focus in mechanical and robotic systems. He is an active robotics intern with the Ira Fulton School of Engineering at ASU Polytechnic while working with TVD.



Matthew DePaul, The Veterans Directory Outreach Coordinator is a United States Army Veteran. Matthew is a proud member of the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps and served four years Active Duty as a Construction Equipment Repairer and is currently obligated under contract in the Army Reserves with 1st OPS BDE, 91st TD. He deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from 2010-2011 with 557th Maint. Co., 1916 SB, NTC Fort Irwin.

While in pursuit of his Associate’s degree (awarded in 2015), he served as President of the Student Veterans Organization on his campus, worked as a VA Education Work-Study, and as an appointed representative of Chandler-Gilbert’s Veterans Steering Committee and Student Public Policy Forum. His efforts collectively focused on the successful navigation of higher education for himself and his Veteran peers. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor degree in Public Administration at Northern Arizona University and plans to devote his career to public service.

Coming home to AZ, Matthew worked hard to transition successfully, but little did he know that “transition” would become thematic in his life. TVD is thankful for Veterans like Matthew that have a desire to continue the mission of enabling our comrades; leading and inspiring them to find their own definition of a successful transition.



Peter Martinez, Data Management and Web Support for The Veterans Directory. Peter Martinez, of GB2G IT Solutions has been providing support for The Veterans Directory from its inception, participating in database and application design meetings, bi-weekly project meetings, the website rollout and providing ongoing support and enhancements of the website and data management system.

Having earned a B.S. in Geography from Arizona State University in 1991, and a M.A. from Northern Arizona University, also in Geography in 1998, Peter has worked for an Arizona municipality and a Fortune 500 company during which time he has worked on numerous projects covering the entire scope of IT services including, planning, development, deployment and maintenance.

Peter has lived in Arizona since the mid 1970's, is married to his wife of 21 years and they have two boys, John, and Andrew.




The Executive Board



Mr. Phillip B. Gordon,The Veterans Directory Chairman of the Executive Board is an American politician who served as the 51st mayor of Phoenix, AZ from 2004 to 2012. Mr. Gordon has worked in a variety of professions, including as a school teacher, lawyer, business owner, chairman of Landiscor Aerial Photography Company, as well serving on the Madison School Board.

Mayor Gordon’s first action on day one was to establish The Phoenix Veteran’s Commission to help Veterans throughout the state of AZ and the Commission is still in operation. In addition, he established an annual Veteran’s Day at City Hall honoring our Veterans’ contributions in a specific conflict from WWII to current operations. He was also responsible for the 1st Veterans lounge at Sky Harbor International Airport which eventually brought the USO to Phoenix at Sky Harbor Int’l Airport. As a councilman, he and his colleagues pushed an ordinance through the city that continues to this day and is the only city to do so that pays the difference for city employees that are activated in support of their military commitments. Mayor Gordon is still known as the Veterans’ Mayor for his continuous work.

Mr. Gordon has been working with the CSS Institute on efforts for supporting Moonshot 20/20—cancer breakthrough treatments and is the current Director of the CSS NantHealth Foundation.



Mr. Gerry Jones, The Veterans Directory Executive Board Member is an American self-taught architect. Born during the Great Depression on a farm near Logansport, Indiana, Living in China during the 40s, Jones trained with three Chinese martial artists. It was there that he became interested in mountain architecture. His love of China has stretched beyond the years that he lived there and Mr. Jones has returned there over the years to lecture in religion, politics, self-defense, and mountain architecture. He is a collector of Chinese: Transitional Art, political protest, and revolutionary art in all media.

He has been in the architectural and construction business in Arizona for 64 years and designed 320 mountainside homes for clients. The last home he recently designed has been valued at $50 million and consists of cutting edge architectural designs never been completed in the world. Additionally, he spent 17 years lecturing graduate students at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture on extreme terrain methods.

Mr. Jones served in the United States Marine Corps during WWII and Korea. He was a Scout and Sniper during that time. A Sergeant in First Recon Company, First Marine Division; he was wounded in action and is a recipient of the Purple Heart. Mr. Jones is committed to the support of all military families and Veterans. He was recently awarded the Semper Fidelis award from the 2015 Marine Corps Scholarship Fund Gala for his lifetime achievements.



Mr. Jack Harris, The Veterans Directory Executive Board Member is a life-long community servant. He began his career with the Phoenix Police Department in 1972. He served honorably for over 39 years rising through the ranks from patrol officer to Police Chief. After retiring he was asked to return to become a Deputy City Manager with the title of Public Safety Manager and took on the added responsibility of leadership of the City of Phoenix Emergency Management team as well as having direct oversight of all public safety entities in the City of Phoenix.

The son of a truck driver and a waitress, Harris grew up in west Phoenix near 35th Avenue and Van Buren Street, living in the Alzona housing project for low-income families. Harris graduated from Carl Hayden High School in 1967 and attended Phoenix College. Based on his father’s advice to pursue a career as a police detective, Harris enrolled and earned his two-year degree in police science. When he was notified that he was being drafted for the Vietnam War, Harris immediately joined the Marine Corps reserves and then later, the National Guard. After being hired by Phoenix Police Department while serving in the guard’s reserves, he culminated his nine-year military commitment.

Jack is a graduate of Phoenix College, Arizona State University, Ottawa University, the Federal Bureau of Investigations National Academy and the FBI National Executive institute. Following his retirement in 2011, Jack formed CJ Police Consulting, LLC. In that capacity he has served as a police consultant to a number of companies on police issues.