Advisory Board

Judith A. Brissette

Dr. Judith A. Brissette

Judith A. Brissette, Ph.D. is a Senior Consultant for the higher education practice of R. H. Perry & Associates. Based in Rhode Island, Judy brings 30 years experience in higher education and an in-depth perspective on a broad range of institutional issues and challenges that enhances her work in conducting presidential and senior administrative searches.

Since coming to R. H. Perry & Associates in 2002, Dr. Brissette has conducted searches for Presidents, Provosts, Vice Presidents for Academic Affairs, Institutional Advancement, Finance and Administration, Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. She has also conducted searches for Deans of Business, Education, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Nursing Health Care Administration and Continuing Education.

From 2002 to 2005, Dr. Brissette served as President of the Rhode Island Independent Higher Education Association. Prior to that, Judy was at Western New England College (WNEC) where her positions included Vice President for Administration and Planning, 1989-1999; Secretary to the Board of Trustees, 1989-1996; and Director of Institutional Coordination, 1982-1989. During her time at WNEC, Judy was involved in negotiating articulation agreements with Community Colleges to enhance the ability of graduates to transfer to four year institutions. She has also served as a consultant to the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) and the Rhode Island Board of Governor’s for Higher Education. In 1993, she was also given responsibility for the Student Affairs area that included Enrollment Management and Admissions. From 1979-1982, she was an Academic Advisor at the University of Toledo.

While at Western New England College, Dr. Brissette and a colleague devised, prepared, and implemented a complete reorganization of central college administrative services, including financial aid, registrar, and bursar’s office into a unique unit called Student Administrative Services. Teams have come from colleges and universities nationwide to observe and study this unique and successful operation, which has received acclaim and commendation for its innovative contribution to higher education.

A native of Providence, R.I., she received a B.A. in sociology from Salve Regina University, a M.Ed. in counselor education from Rhode Island College, and her Ph.D. in higher education from The University of Toledo.

Allen Boyd

Hon. Allen Boyd

From 1997 to 2011, Allen Boyd represented the 2nd Congressional District of Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1999, he was appointed to the exclusive Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives where he worked to bring funding to the priorities of North Florida, including its military community, agriculture industry, and transportation systems. Boyd served on a number of sub-committees of the House Appropriations Committee, including Financial Services, Agriculture and Rural Development, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Defense. In his role on the Committee, he oversaw the budgets of multiple agencies, including the Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Pentagon, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Boyd focused much of his effort on ensuring that America maintained a strong military and continued to have a world-class agriculture production industry.

During his tenure, Boyd also served on the House Armed Services and Budget Committees. He became known as a leading voice on fiscal responsibility, joining the Budget Committee in 2007. As a member of the Budget Committee, he was actively involved in every aspect of the nation’s fiscal policy.

Throughout his tenure in Congress, Boyd was a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of Democratic members in the House who advocate for fiscal responsibility in the federal budgeting process. He was instrumental in the successful efforts by Congress to reach the historic 1997 balanced budget agreement. Additionally, as the Blue Dog Co-Chair for the Administration in the 110th Congress, Boyd led the charge for the return to pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules in the House.

Prior to being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives Boyd served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1989-1996. While in the State House, he was known as an articulate voice for consensus building and reasonable compromise. As Chairman of the Florida House Democratic Conservative Caucus, he helped build bridges between diverse interests on such difficult issues as public education, healthcare, and welfare reform. He served as Chairman of the Governmental Operations Committee, and later chaired the powerful House Rules and Calendar Committee in his last term.

After serving 14 years in the United States House of Representatives, Boyd served as a Senior Advisor to Twenty-First Century Group from 2011 to 2014. During his tenure at Twenty First Century Group, Boyd offered strategic advice and planning to various clients in telecommunications, energy, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare fields, among others.

A fifth generation farmer, Boyd graduated from Florida State University in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting, then served his country in Vietnam as a rifle platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division, where he served alongside John Shepard. To this day, he continues to oversee the family farm operations on land that has been in his family since 1835.


Samuel Watson

Samuel J. Watson III

1939 – 2019

The VAe team was saddened with the passing of our friend and advisory board member, Samuel Watson, on December 23, 2019.

Sam played a vital role in supporting and advising Veterans Assembled electronics after decades of honorable service to his country. Sam Watson and our founder, John Shepard, were both members of the 506th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division (Currahee!) and had worked together as friends and colleagues for 29 years.

As a career Army officer, Sam served with the 101st in Vietnam and was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds received in combat. He held command and staff positions with airborne infantry units, trained Army Rangers, and deployed as a Foreign Area Officer. His active duty career was capped by an appointment to the White House as Deputy National Security Advisor, where he managed a wide array of complex policy issues involving the Soviet Union, NATO, intelligence, special and covert operations, and terrorism. Mr. Watson’s time at the White House included an assignment to the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he participated in negotiations with Soviet counterparts over the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II).

After 30 years of dedicated service, including three tours in Vietnam, Sam Watson retired from the United States Army with the rank of Colonel.

Following his retirement from the military, Mr. Watson continued to serve his country, this time in the public sector.

Sam was the Chief of Staff for the Reagan-Bush Transition Team at the CIA before moving on to Iraq, where he spent two years as the chief U.S. State Department advisor on public diplomacy and governance to the governor of Diwaniyah Province. Upon his return from Iraq, Sam was appointed Director of U.S. Health and Human services for Europe/Eurasia.

As a Purple Heart recipient and service-disabled veteran, Sam made invaluable contributions to VAe, where supporting the careers of service-disabled veterans is our primary focus.

We have been honored to have Sam Watson as a friend for the past 10 years and will continue our success by building upon the foundation he helped us form.