After over 30 years of service to the US Army, I recently retired at the Joint Forces Training Base, Los Alamitos in Orange County, as a veteran of Iraq, Afghanistan and the response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Whether under the most dire situations of the battlefield or here in the homeland, leadership is the essential element of effective change, and inspiring leadership drives progress, advancing any critical mission. Michael Kotick is an example of this type of leader. It is during this time of great national change that Mr. Kotick’s work ethic, vision, and commitment to community and country is needed most. I hereby proudly endorse Mr. Michael Kotick as the Democratic candidate for the California’s 48th Congressional District for the United States House of Representatives. My endorsement is not about political party; this is about supporting a leader that can make positive, effective change for a brighter future.

A Southern California native, I’ve balanced my uniformed service in the Regular Army, Army Reserve and the Oregon and California National Guard with private sector roles in the areas of development, brand management, and, currently, as a director for one of Southern California’s fastest growing Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies. My background in resilience training and my resume of leading large and small teams across four continents, bear witness to the impact that tenacious, focused, grassroots initiative is required to make an impact whether big or small. Michael Kotick is the kind of leader I always sought out. An inspiring innovator focused on making every day better than yesterday.

I was able to make a relatively smooth pivot to the private sector, but many veterans struggle to transition to life-after-the-service effectively. What first drew me to Michael was his dedicated work toward easing veterans’ transitions into meaningful careers in the private sector. Learning about his pioneering efforts to form a collaborative agreement between the U.S. Army Recruiting Command’s PaYS Program (Partnership for Youth Success) and Hyundai Motor America, I was impressed with the fact that within three months of establishing the program, applications by qualified veterans to available auto technician jobs increased by 100%. A decade into this program, which Michael developed, 2016 saw Hyundai Motor America being awarded the Most Valuable Employer for Military members. This example of implementing the best practices for getting Army veterans set up with meaningful post-service careers is representative of the character Mr. Kotick brings to this campaign.

I look forward to working with Michael Kotick on the campaign as he demonstrates to the citizens of Orange County’s 48th District how he is the best-qualified leader to represent them in the United States House of Representatives.

— Col. Arnold V. Strong (U.S. Army, Ret.)