Notable Veteran Executives: Mike Thirtle

President and CEO, Bethesda

  • Category: Notable Veteran Executives
  • Number of years working in your current industry: 25
  • Number of years with your current company/firm:
  • Undergrad degree/university: U.S. Air Force Academy, bachelor’s degree in biology, minor in Spanish; graduated in the Top 1% in the Military Order of Merit
  • Graduate degree/university: Ph.D. and master’s degrees in policy analysis, The RAND Graduate School; master’s degrees in finance and economics, Wright State University. Executive programs at Harvard University and Stanford University

Mike Thirtle, Ph.D., has more than two decades of experience serving his community. He is president and chief executive officer of Bethesda, a nationwide Christian nonprofit based in Watertown and Brookfield. Prior to his current position, he worked with military and national security personnel for 20 years at Santa Monica, California-based RAND Corp. where he advised senior military officers and civilians on topics of military effectiveness, combat operations and national security. He served as personal advisor to the commander of Air Combat Command, the secretary of the Air Force, and the chief of staff of the Air Force.

Bethesda is committed to serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

In his role, Thirtle advocates for veterans issues and promotes military service.

He is a mentor to veterans across the country, assisting them with career development and counseling, and has partnered with high school students for selection to the Air Force Academy and ROTC.

He frequently speaks on veterans issues in the community and also serves on the board for Team Red, White & Blue – a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of America’s veterans through physical and social activities. He is also a member of the American Legion, his Congressman’s Service Academy Nomination Board and the Air Force Academy Association of Graduates organization.

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