Ricky Waddell
Retired Lieutenant General, U.S. Army. Former Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Background: Featured Speakers | Former Officers | Military Leaders
Topic: Business Strategy, Corporate Culture, Decision Making, Entrepreneurship, National Security

Speaker Profile

Summary: Ricky Waddell is a semi-retired businessman, and a retired Army Reservist.  He holds a BS from the United States Military Academy, an MA from Oxford earned as a Rhodes Scholar, and a PhD from Columbia.

In his civilian career, Rick spent seventeen years successfully launching businesses in Latin America in the retail, energy, and mining sectors.  His team found more than 6 billion barrels of oil equivalent, and he led the largest iron mining construction project then underway in the world. 

As an Army Reservist, Ricky served more than 20 years on active duty in a career spanning 39 years of total service.  He served in the Clinton Administration as a Director for European Security Affairs, and in the Trump Administration as the Deputy National Security Adviser.  Most recently he served as the Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (ACJCS), and Senior Military Adviser to the Secretary of State.  With multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, he was the first Army Reservist promoted to Lieutenant General to serve in a normally active duty position since Jimmy Doolittle in World War II.

Ricky is now a Venture Partner for New North Ventures, a strategic adviser to KnectIQ, and works for Flatter, Inc., as a Senior Fellow at the National Defense University.  He has authored several publications, including Wars Then and Now (Fortis, 2011).

Why would a prospective client want you to be their keynote speaker or to support their speaking event? What are some compelling aspects of your background/career/experience that we should know about? 

The most compelling aspect of my career is its breadth.  I have served on more than a dozen for-profit and non-profit boards, including serving as chairman of a multi-billion dollar joint venture and as chairman of a NYSE-listed utility company.  Simultaneously, I was progressing through the ranks as an Army Reservist, spending part of every year in Iraq or Afghanistan from 2004 through 2013.  I also served on the National Security Council of two administrations – the first time before the advent of PowerPoint and the internet

What are your primary topics/areas of expertise? Some examples may include: Conflict resolution, International Relations, Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion, Cybersecurity, as well as specific countries or geographical regions. 

I spent 17 years building businesses in Latin America, and can speak Spanish and Portuguese.  However, as an Army Reservist, my career took me to the Middle East and Central Asia, and also Korea.  As a junior officer, I ran the International Relations course required of all cadets at West Point for 2.5 years. 

What are some positions you have held in your career that you would like prospective clients to know about?

  1. Executive Vice President for South America, BG Group, PLC.  I was responsible for all business activities spanning Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay.  This required constant contact with governments at all levels.  My portfolio included pipelines, small power plants, oil and gas fields both onshore and offshore, a chain of natural gas filling stations, the first LNG importation terminal in South America, and two utility companies serving 2.6 million connections (c. 10 million people).  I had 6000 direct and contract employees.
  2. CEO, Anglo Ferrous Brazil.  On behalf of Anglo American, PLC, and other partners, I ran an iron mine, railroad, and port complex at the mouth of the Amazon River, as well as the construction project for a world class iron mine, the longest iron ore slurry pipeline in the world, and a manmade deepwater Atlantic port.
  3. Deputy National Security Adviser, Trump Administration.  I was responsible for running the national security policy-making process for the National Security Adviser on behalf of the President. 
  4. Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Senior Military Adviser to the Secretary of State.  This role required me to be the liaison between the Chairman and the Secretary of State.  I normally traveled with the Secretary on his overseas trips.  I participated in events with 90+ countries and traveled to 65 countries.

What are some speaking events you’ve supported recently?

  • Twice on Veterans Day 2022 in my hometown of Bentonville, AR.  The first was at a Rotary-sponsored memorial.  The second was at Crystal Bridges Museum on the topic of defending our Constitution. 

Do you have any articles or publications? Have you been featured in any? If so, what were they? 

  • All on Amazon:
    • See Wars Then and Now
    • In Wars Shadow
    • The Army and Low Intensity Conflict

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