MajGen Eugene Payne, USMCR (Ret)
E. Gray Payne, Major General, USMC (Ret) was appointed as Senior Vice President of the Marine Corps Programs Division with The Columbia Group in 2010 following a distinguished career with the United States Marine Corps. His responsibilities include managing customer service and growth initiatives for the company’s Marine Corps Programs Division, as well as overseeing several corporate staff functions.
Originally joining the Marine Corps Reserves in 1970, MajGen Payne has over 40 years of military tactical, operational, and strategic expertise alongside significant experience in the private sector. In his last assignment, he served as Assistant Deputy Commandant for Installations and Logistics (Facilities), Headquarters, United States Marine Corps. His command tours as a general officer included Commanding General of Marine Corps Mobilization Command, Marine Corps Logistics Command, and 4th Marine Logistics Group. He also served as Director of CENTCOM Deployment and Distribution Operations in OIF.
In the business world, General Payne has been active in several small to mid-size businesses as a CFO, COO, and CEO providing successful corporate leadership across different industries. His solid track record of analysis, innovation, leadership, and change management, allowed him to significantly improve the operations of many companies including North American Packaging, Inc. where he served as President and CEO for four years until he committed to the Marine Corps full-time in 2001.
General Payne is the past Chairman of the Marine Corps Reserve Policy Board and currently serves on the Marine Corps Association’s Board of Governors. His personal awards include: the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two gold stars, and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star.
General Payne received a Master’s of Science in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, and Bachelor’s of Science in Economics from North Carolina State University.
BGen Joseph Composto, USMC (Ret)
Brigadier General Composto retired from active duty on January 1, 2004, following his assignment as the Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA.
Brigadier General Composto was commissioned via the Marine Corps PLC program at St. John’s University, New York, NY, in June 1971. Receiving his B.A. degree in history, Brigadier General Composto also earned a J.D. degree from St. John’s University Law School (1974); and a M.A. degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, Newport, RI (1991). After graduating with honors from both The Basic School, Quantico, VA, and the Naval Justice School, Newport, RI, he was designated a Marine Corps Judge Advocate in October 1975.
Following The Basic School, he served with the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, MCAS, El Toro, CA as a trial counsel, defense counsel, review officer and chief review officer from May 1975 to April 1978. Brigadier General Composto transferred to Okinawa, Japan, where he served as a review officer, trial counsel, and Head, International and Administrative Law Branch.
Upon returning from Okinawa, he attended Amphibious Warfare School, Quantico, VA, from August 1979 to May 1980. After graduating, he remained at Quantico where he served in the SJA’s Office until July 1982 as a trial counsel and as head of the Civil Law Branch. Brigadier General Composto was next assigned to the Judge Advocate Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, as Assistant Branch Head, Legal Support Branch until April 1985. He was transferred to Officer Candidates School, Quantico, VA, as a company commander until his reassignment in August 1985 as a student at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Quantico, VA.
In August 1986, he was assigned to 1st Marine Amphibious Brigade, Kaneohe Bay, HI, as Deputy Staff Judge Advocate. From June 1987 to May 1989, Brigadier General Composto served as the S-3 officer of Brigade Service Support Group-1, 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
In July 1989, he was transferred to 3d Force Service Support Group, Okinawa, Japan, as the Staff Judge Advocate. In August 1990, he attended the Naval War College, Newport, RI, graduating with distinction in June 1991. From July 1991 to August 1994, he was assigned to the Judge Advocate Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps as the head of the Research and Civil Law Branch, and then as Deputy Director. From August 1994 to May 1995 he served as the Head of the Appellate Government Division of the Navy and Marine Corps Appellate Review Activity, Washington, D.C. From June 1995 until July 1996, Brigadier General Composto served as the Commanding Officer, Marine Barracks, Ground Defense/Security Force, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
He then served as the Deputy Director, Judge Advocate Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, from August 1996 until September 1, 1999, when he was promoted to the grade of brigadier general. Brigadier General Composto’s first assignment as a general officer was as the Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, from September 1999 until June 2001. On June 21, 2001, he was assigned as the Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA, where he served until August 22, 2003. Brigadier General Composto retired from active duty on January 1, 2004, and entered the Federal Government Senior Executive Service. He is presently serving as the Director of Security and Installation Operations Directorate of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
His medals and decorations include: Distinguished Service Medal; Legion of Merit with gold star in lieu of second award; Meritorious Service Medal with gold star in lieu of second award, Meritorious Civilian Service Medal; Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal; Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal; Humanitarian Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.
Col John Lowry, USMCR (Ret)
John Lowry is a consultant with Egon Zehnder in Chicago. Egon Zehnder is the largest privately-held organizational advisory firm in the world, specializing in senior level executive search, director search, board consulting and leadership assessment. Prior to joining Egon Zehnder, John was the Chief Operating Officer of the Allied Recreation Group, a company producing some of the best known brands in the motor home industry. He previously spent 12 years at Harley-Davidson, serving on Harley’s Senior Leadership Group and leading manufacturing operations in Kansas City and in the Milwaukee area.
John served 15 years as a regular Marine Corps Officer and an additional 10 years in the Marine Corps Reserve. During Operation Desert Storm, John led a Force Reconnaissance platoon. As a lieutenant colonel he commanded 1st Battalion, 24th Marines and as a colonel he commanded Headquarters Battalion, 4th Marine Division. He retired in 2009.
John received his MBA from Harvard and also holds degrees from Princeton, Stanford and the US Army War College. Additionally, he has held fellowships at both the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and at the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Jay S. Holmes
Jay S. Holmes joined the Board in 2012. He serves as the Chairman of the Audit and Investment committees. He also serves on the Executive Committee.
Mr. Holmes graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College with a degree in economics and history. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1968 and served in Vietnam with the Third Battalion, 5th Marines as a forward observer. From 1970-71 he was an artillery instructor at Schools Demonstration Troops and The Basic School at Quantico. Holmes credits the Marine Corps’ unique culture and superior leadership experience as a major contributing factor to his successful business career in the commercial finance industry.
An accomplished business executive for nearly 40 years, Mr. Holmes spent the last six years of his career serving as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of a multi-billion dollar commercial finance institution.
Since retirement he remains active in various organizations, including the Atlanta Civil War Round Table, the Atlanta World War II Round Table, U.S. Naval Institute and the Friends of Gettysburg. He holds life memberships in the Marine Corps League, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Disabled American Veterans, National Rifle Association, American Legion, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Mr. Holmes enjoys physical fitness, sports, military history, and competition pistol shooting. He and his wife of over 40 years, Cori, are “empty nesters” and have three grown children. They reside in Knoxville Tennessee.
Mr. Michael Martz
I have been in the construction, development and management business for the past 32 years. My experience has allowed me to be involved in all phases of each project fcom start to finish. The main focus for many years was commercial interior construction, which evolved into a new phase of construction of building very high end residential homes.
In the past 16 years, I have developed and redeveloped manufactured housing communities. My portfolio currently includes 4 communities that are owned by my companies.
The most current project has been Cottage Gardens Development. This project was taken from raw land to a total turnkey development for homebuyers. This project serves the need for affordable housing for many first time homebuyers, as well as general people looking for quality homes at affordable prices. Our developing has allowed us to create InLine Utilities, which supplies water and sewer services to our developments and adjoining properties.
The Cottage Gardens project was nominated 2 years in a row for the “Best Manufactured Housing Community in the United States.
Cottage Gardens is a 570 lot subdivision built and owned by my company and Sugarbercy Place Phase I is a 400 lot subdivision built by my company and sold to real estate investors. These developments are valued at approximately $84,000,000.00.
Cottage Gardens and Sugarberry Place as well as adjoining properties are serviced with water and sewer utilities by my company Inline Utilities.
At the present time we are purchasing resort property in the Dominican Republic and are exploring and investigating the needs for a Retirement Community and a Christian Camp for children.
These are just a few of the commercial projects that I have been involved in during my career:
Heights Hospital, Bellaire Hospital, Brownsville Medical Center, Williams Trace Retail Center, Kingwood Shopping Center, Pasadena General Hospital, Landmark Chevrolet, Bill Heard Chevrolet, Continental Airlines Training Center, Randall’s Retail Centers (Memorial, Shepard Square, Bissonet, Humble), Houston Intercontinental Airport, Cenmry National Bank, Exxon Re.ftnery, Houston Hobby Airport
Mr. Skip Sack
Chairman/Partner – Classic Restaurant Concepts
Burton “Skip” Sack is a Past Chairman of the National Restaurant Association; a former franchisee of Applebee’s; a former Executive Vice President of Applebee’s; a past Board Member of Applebee’s International, and presently a Partner and Chairman of Classic Restaurant Concepts, the operator of a fine dining Steak House and two Irish Pubs and Restaurants.
“Skip” began his career in the restaurant industry as a dishwasher for Howard Johnson’s when he was 13 years old.
At 17 he joined the U.S. Marine Corps where he served 3 years (18 months overseas) and rose to the rank of Sergeant.
Immediately upon his discharge, he enrolled in the School of Hotel & Restaurant Administration at Cornell University, where he graduated in three and a half years and earned his B.S. degree “with distinction”. “Skip worked his way through school as a full-time deputy sheriff of Thompkin’s County, NY assigned to the Cornell Campus Police.
Upon graduation in 1961, “Skip” joined the Howard Johnson Company as an Advertising Assistant; soon becoming Assistant Director of Marketing and then Vice President of Public Relations, all within 3 years. In 1967, the company sent him to the Harvard Business School where he was enrolled in the Program for Management Development, an intensive 16 week course for middle management.
Upon his graduation, he became General Manager of the company’s Fast Food Service Division. In 1969 he developed the Ground Round restaurant chain ( a division of Howard Johnson’s ) and soon thereafter he was promoted to Vice President Specialty Restaurants, then Group VP of Real Estate & Corporate Development and then Sr. VP – Real Estate, Corporate Development, Architecture, Design and Construction.
In 1983 he did a leveraged buyout acquiring 15 Red Coach Grill dinnerhouse restaurants which he then sold for their real estate and leasehold value.
In 1984 he became the second franchisee of Applebee’s, acquiring the rights to develop the New England territory.
At the time, Applebee’s had only two restaurants. His first restaurant opened in 1986 and by 1994 he had 16 restaurants operating in 4 New England states employing over 1300 people. That year he sold his restaurants to Applebee’s International, agreeing to work for three years as an Executive Vice President of the company and as a member of their Board of Directors. He retired from Applebee’s in 1997 but is still a member of the Board.
“Skip” is currently a private investor in 18 start-up companies and serves on the boards of five of them.
He maintains an active involvement in the NRA board as well as with Cornell University’s Hotel School and is one of the founding members of the Marine Corps Heritage Museum. In the fall of 2007 he was one of two National Restaurant Association Board members selected as part of its inaugural relationship with the Marines Corps foodservice to join two civilian/military sector traveler teams touring Marine Corps Messes worldwide and determine winners of the Corps’ prestigious annual Major General W.P.T. Hill Awards.
“Skip” and his wife Gail reside in Longboat Key, Florida and spend the summers on Cape Cod.