Ken Lacy started his Navy career in the Engineering Department on a Nuclear Submarine over a four year period. He followed this with 3 years of Security duty and then becoming an EOD-Explosive Ordnance Diver. He switched to the reserves and become a hard hat diver which then enabled him to become a Commercial Diver on the civilian side at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
He was injured on a dive job and during his rehabilitation, received his Bachelors in Business Management. He went on to retire from the Navy reserves with a combined 26 years of service.
He has two grown children and began investing in real estate in 2012. He has been investing with self-directed IRA’s in the local Charlotte market and has invested in delinquent mortgages in multiple states. In 2013, Ken developed an investment model of funding the acquisition and rehab of properties, placing tenants in them under property management and selling the properties to turn-key investors. In August of 2014, he began working with the Veterans Administration, and many non-profits within the community to place at risk and homeless veterans into properties. He is a member of the “Housing our Heroes” team to end veteran homelessness in Charlotte.
In order to maximize his ability to help more Veterans under the umbrella of a 501(c)3, he created Veterans Path Up. He established a board of directors and is now working to serve those honorably discharged veterans that want a path to home ownership. Through the network of a great team, Veterans Path Up is helping veterans build their credit while living in stable homes. This, in turn, gets them on the path to home ownership.
Adam Dillon serves VPU on the Board of Directors as an advisor for Real Estate and Contractor Services. He advises on contractor services, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) matters, insurance risk management, and Veteran renter liaison.
Adam W. Dillon is a sixteen-year Veteran of the armed forces, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the modern Defense of South Korea. He is currently an officer in the South Carolina State Guard and the Division Risk Manager/Safety Officer on the General Staff. He has served in such units as the 101st Airborne, 6th Cavalry, 5th Special Forces Group (A), 1st Special Warfare Training Group(A), and 4th PSYOP Group (A).
As a civilian, Adam is an Occupational Health and Safety Professional. He has earned a BS in Military Science and a MS in Military Psychology. He also holds certifications in every aspect of OSHA to include the Board of Certified Safety Professional, World Safety Organization, NC State IES, OSHA OTI, and is a Master Project Manager (MPM).
Adam credit his fellow soldiers with aiding in his growth to the leader he is today, stating, “As I was climbing the ladder of success there were many soldiers and leaders who helped me to be where I am now. No rung has ever been broken.” Adam believes in paying it forward while helping others reach their potential, explaining, “It is my job now to continue that mission to help other Veterans, if necessary, one at a time, to be as successful as possible at life after the military in the way so many have helped me.”
Outside of work and VPU, Adam enjoys spending time with his two teenage children, volunteering for other Veterans organizations and the South Carolina State Guard. He is also an avid whitewater kayaker.
Jennifer Huff began her Air Force career directly after graduating from high school and served in the Financial Management career field, first as an enlisted member for 10 years, then as an officer, after earning her commission through Officer Training School. She retired as the Commander of the 4th Comptroller Squadron from Seymour Johnson AFB after 23 years of service. Jennifer is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom as well as Operation Enduring Freedom.
After retirement, Jennifer worked in Financial Planning and Analysis at a healthcare improvement company in Charlotte for almost four years before resigning due to a family health issue.
Jennifer has been married to her husband, Brandon, also an Air Force Veteran, for over 5 years and discovered their passion for real estate, so they bought and renovated two investment properties in the mountains of western Carolina.
Combining her financial experience with her passion for real estate and helping Veterans, Jennifer was thrilled to join Veteran’s Path Up as the Treasurer, Board Member.
Michael Haire began his military career right after high school, enlisting in the United States Air Force. He served six years in the Security Police career field as a Security Specialist and four years in the Financial Management career field. After 10 years as an Enlisted Airman, Michael earned his commission through Officer Training School, serving as a commissioned officer in Acquisition and Financial Management career fields. A veteran of multiple deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Michael retired in 2017 after 27 years of service.
After retiring from the Air Force, he and his family settled down in the Charlotte area, where he works in the banking industry. Michael has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a Master’s degree in Organizational Management.
With a passion for service, Michael joined the Veteran’s Path Up Board of Directors in 2018, excited for the opportunity to give back to the local veteran community.
Patrick Twiest realized early on that hard work and a commitment to excellence were required to accomplish great things. As he grew older, he learned that accurate, relevant information and a sound decision making process were also part of the equation.
Patrick enlisted in the Army shortly after high school as an engineer. He used his GI benefit to graduate from college with a degree in accounting. After a professional career in public and private accounting and a successful venture as a restaurant owner, Patrick came to understand that he wanted more. His desire to have a direct positive affect on people lead Patrick to look for other opportunities.
In 1992 Patrick found his unique ability and chosen vocation, becoming a Personal Financial Advisor in the financial services industry. Using his accounting and tax background and the communications skills he acquired as an instructor and trainer, Patrick was a quick success.
When Patrick’s daughter, Gillian was born, Patrick and Holly moved from Minneapolis to Charlotte. In 2005 he joined Tim Alessi and founded Derse Morgen Financial Advisors. The name, loosely translated means, “The Best Future”. Derse Morgen’s entire purpose is based on the simple notion; clients are looking for objective- trusted advice, not to buy financial products.
In 2017 Patrick joined the Board of Directors of Veteran’s Path Up, once again fulfilling his desire to have a direct positive effect on people. VPU is an organization the ascribes to the, “teach a person to fish” philosophy. Patrick’s love for home renovation, financial skills, and leadership abilities have been instrumental in the growth of VPU.
Patrick has three grown daughters from his first marriage, three grandchildren and currently lives in South Charlotte with Holly, their daughter Gillian and their two dogs. He enjoys reading, golfing and having great conversations with family and friends, especially if it involves food and drink.
Jessica Otto is currently the Regional Development Director for the Autism Society of North Carolina, where she oversees development for the Charlotte- and western-region of North Carolina. Jessica is also an Executive Board Member for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Charlotte chapter. She holds a Master’s Degree along with certification as a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), a professional credential granted by CFRE International to those whom pass a rigorous examination and meet high standards for tenure in the profession, education, and demonstrate fundraising achievement. Fundraising & Veterans are a passion for Jessica who grew up an “Air Force brat”, as she affectionately refers to her childhood. Charlotte has been home for Jessica, Erik, and their two college-aged children since 1999.
Ian Morris is a third generation veteran and the child of public educators who instilled a strong commitment to service. He served in the US Army Infantry, completing tours in Iraq and central Africa. During his service, Ian was consistently promoted ahead of his peers and was distinguished and awarded for heroism involving conflict with an armed enemy.
Looking for new challenges, Ian moved to Charlotte to become an attorney. As a student Ian gained broad legal experience, including experiences with the Harnett County DA’s office, compliance at XOOM, and assisting a prominent real estate attorney. As a fulltime attorney, Ian has dealt with a variety of matters, including corporate law, business litigation, nonprofit law, and business-based immigration. He is a member of the North Carolina State and Mecklenburg County Bar Associations.
Ian lives in Cornelius, NC, with his wife Rebecca and two sons, Eli and Asa. He also participates in his neighborhood’s homeowner’s association and is an active member of local chamber and civic organizations. He is an avid cyclist and enjoys making this a source of exercise, service, and charity with the help of organizations like the Military Family Life Charitable Foundation and Honor the Warriors. Ian is a lifetime member of the VFW and participates in the NSU Alumni Association.