PMI Southwest Ohio Chapter

Mark Foster

Speaker Profile


Mark Foster

Advanced Systems Manager / Program Manager

Excellence to Confusion and Back: A Warfighter goes from Boots to Suits

Most people understand the stress and uncertainty regularly associated with transitioning from one job to another. Often times, changing jobs involves getting a new boss, integrating into a new culture, and meeting your new co-workers, however; the job itself typically remains the same. What if the job you were leaving involved jumping out of airplanes on a regular basis and directing precision airstrikes onto enemy positions? How do you successfully transition from being a warfighter to the drastically different world of program management? Using juxtaposed real-life “military vs. civilian” examples, you will follow along through a series of discussion topics focused on a veteran’s journey into managing the stresses, obstacles, and changes faced when entering the world of program / project management. You will discover how to embrace change, effectively manage the stress, and you will learn about the complexities of replacing a hard-knocks battlefield leadership style to one of employing emotional intelligence to become an effective servant leader. Finally, you will learn how to conduct useful self-evaluations throughout the process.

Strategic & Business Management PDU: 1

Learning Objectives:
  • How to recognize when change is needed
  • How to actively recognize gaps in your emotional intelligence
  • How to conduct self-evaluation

About Mark

Mark Foster retired from the US Air Force in 2019 after 24 years of service where he assumed a variety of roles within the Special Warfare community as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC). Mark completed 7 combat tours to Iraq and 5 combat tours to Afghanistan, earning six Bronze Star Medals (one with Valor) and numerous other battlefield commendations. His last position on active duty was at the Pentagon where he served as the Air Force’s JTAC Program Manager. There, he led & directed integration, policy, & training programs affecting 2,500 JTACs across all Major Commands. He also served as the Air Force’s principal partner nation representative on the Joint Executive Steering Committee. Mark received his Associate’s Degree in Information Systems Technology from the Community College of the Air Force and a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management from AMU. Mark completed his Project Management Professional certification in 2019. He is currently a Program Manager at Ball Aerospace in Dayton, Ohio where he leads a variety of teams of engineers and support staff, devoted to numerous programs and projects aimed at delivering technology to warfighters across the Department of Defense.