Founded by Don Soderquist, Meet The Northwest Arkansas Team | The Soderquist Center
The Soderquist Center

Our Team

Don Soderquist Founding Executive

Don Soderquist | Founding Executive | Watch Videos Featuring Don

Don Soderquist is the business leader for whom our Center is named and officially serves as our Founding Executive, providing direction and inspiration to our team. Don spent over 20 years with Walmart, and after Sam Walton died, Don became known as “The Keeper of the Culture.” Don led the company as Chief Operating Officer during a period marked by exponential growth. Under his watch, Walmart grew from being the largest retailer in the world with sales of $43.9 billion the year of Sam’s death, to becoming the largest company in the world with sales over $200 billion. Walmart’s success is grounded in the highly ethical, performance-focused, servant leadership philosophies that Sam and Don instilled in the hearts of every associate. Don's passion now is to teach those same principles to companies and organizations around the world.

Chuck Hyde, CEO, Soderquist Center

Chuck Hyde | Chief Executive Officer | Email | Reading List

Chuck Hyde provides direct leadership in all areas of the Center including execution of vision and strategy, performance to budget, all human and capital resources, and long-term sustainability of the organization. He has provided leadership in a variety of capacities since he joined the Center in 2005. Prior to his work at the Center, Chuck spent 12 years leading teams and strategic projects for Kimberly-Clark Corporation. His professional experience includes roles both in manufacturing facilities and central staff assignments in operations, operations support functions, and project leadership. Chuck currently sits on the School Board for the Siloam Springs School District. Chuck earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Arkansas in 1992 and his MBA from John Brown University in 2008. Chuck and his wife, Brian, have two sons, Charley and Jonathan.

Tom Verdery, Executive in Residence, Soderquist Center

Tom Verdery | Executive in Residence | Email | Reading List | Watch Videos Featuring Tom

Tom Verdery serves as Executive in Residence for The Soderquist Center and also teaches in the Graduate Business division at JBU. Tom has over 34 years of experience working with Procter & Gamble, of which the last 14 years spent at the senior leadership level working exclusively outside the US with Wal-Mart, Inc. Tom came to Northwest Arkansas in 1989 when P&G asked him to be part of the first supplier team with Wal-Mart. Tom’s areas of expertise include: Strategic Planning & Execution, Executive Coaching, Leadership & Ethics, and Starting and Leading Multifunctional Customer Teams. Tom holds an MBA in Management from The University of Dallas and a BBA in Marketing from Texas Tech University.

Steve Trainor, Executive in Residence, Soderquist Center

CAPT Steve Trainor, USN, Ret., Ph.D. | Executive in Residence/Director of Research & Strategic Innovation | Email

Steve Trainor serves as Executive in Residence and Director of Research & Strategic Innovation for the Soderquist Center. Steve has over 30 years of Active Duty Navy experience as an operational helicopter pilot, executive human resources manager, and most recently as the U.S. Navy’s first Permanent Military Professor of Leadership. As Chair of the Leadership, Ethics and Law Department and Director of Leadership Education and Development at the U.S. Naval Academy, Steve envisioned, designed and led the expansion and transformation of leader development efforts across the institution. A recognized teacher, scholar and researcher in ethics, culture, professional identity development, Steve’s work has been featured in The New York Times in Leadership, The San Diego Daily Transcript, and on C-SPAN. Steve serves on the editorial board of the U.S. Air Force Academy Center for Character and Leadership journal, POLARIS and he holds masters degrees from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA. Steve received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park and he and his wife, Robin, have three adult sons who are each in training to become U.S. Navy Officers.

Alex Cornett, Executive in Residence, Soderquist Center

Alex Cornett | Executive in Residence | Email

Alex serves as Executive in Residence at The Soderquist Center. With over 30 years of experience in the consumer package goods industry, he joined General Mills as a manager in 1983 and advanced to the role of sales director before his retirement in 2014. During his time at General Mills, Alex led sales and marketing efforts across the Supercenter and Division 1 formats and was also responsible for leading the General Mills partnership with Walmart’s rapidly growing Small Format division. Throughout his time there, Alex worked with the General Mills International Team to aid in the emerging international partnership between Walmart and General Mills, established the initial Quarterly Planning Process with Walmart, served as the supplier lead for Walmart’s Sustainable Food and Agricultural network, and led the startup of the General Mills Walmart Nielsen Center of Excellence team. Alex is on the Board of Directors for JOYN LLC, has been active on the Development Council for The Jones Center and the Walton Arts Center, and is a Board member for the Center for Retailing Excellence at the University of Arkansas. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas-Arlington.

Lori Chalmers, Director of Operations, Soderquist Center

Lori Chalmers | Director of Operations | Email

Lori serves as the Director of Operations for The Soderquist Center and provides overall leadership to the operational aspects of our customer programs. In addition, she serves as a facilitator, responsible for delivering values-based leadership, team development content, and meaningful experiential learning. This work includes the utilization of a variety of assessments to help leaders identify their strengths and development needs. Lori comes to us after serving as an executive at Ozark Guidance, the local community mental health center. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Nationally Certified Counselor. She received her Bachelor’s in Biblical Literature and Psychology from Ozark Christian College and her Master’s in Community Counseling from Pittsburg State University. She is passionate about adoption and foster care issues.

Gary Swyers, Senior Program Manager

Gary Swyers | Senior Program Manager | Email

Gary Swyers serves as our Senior Program Manager. An experienced outdoor leadership and experiential learning instructor, Gary oversees operations and facilitation for the delivery of our customers’ experience through content and experiential learning. Prior to joining us, Gary served as Director of the Center for Experiential Learning at Indiana Wesleyan University. He has extensive outdoor and education experience, having contributed to the development of adventure leadership programs, college level courses, ropes courses, and an international service program for university students. His experience also includes: facilitating with Prison Fellowship, curriculum development, and teaching at the undergraduate level. Gary earned a Bachelor’s degree in Theology, a Master’s in Ministerial Education, as well as completing 13 hours of post-graduate work in leadership. He also holds certifications in rock climbing and rappelling; high and low ropes course technical skill and facilitation; Emotional Intelligence and 360 assessments.

Sandy Tush, Manager/Facilitator

Sandy Tush | Senior Facilitator and Program Manager | Email | Reading List

Sandy Tush serves as a Senior Facilitator and Program Manager on our delivery team. She is involved with the creation and facilitation of both customized and open enrollment programs. This work includes the utilization of a variety of assessment instruments to help leaders identify their strengths and development needs. Sandy brings over 30 years experience in adult education and leadership development. She served as the Executive Development Center program manager at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., before joining our team. Prior to that, she held the position of Content Developer / Facilitator for Home Office People Development. She also taught Computer Science courses at community colleges. Sandy is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and also has multiple certifications, including Professional in Human Resources (PHR), EQ-i, The Birkman Method, and many more. She can be found on the local running trails and also enjoys time at home with her husband, Mike.

Doug Turner, Manager/Facilitator

Doug Turner | Manager/Facilitator | Email

Doug serves as a Facilitator here at the Soderquist Center and is responsible for delivering values-based leadership and team development content, coupled with meaningful experiential learning. This work includes the utilization of a variety of assessment instruments to help leaders identify their strengths and development needs. Doug comes to us after serving one year in Honduras working with abandoned children in a rural setting. Prior to his time in Honduras, Doug spent 20 years in the golf industry, beginning with managing golf courses and ending with the last 13 years working for the Professionals Golfers Association of America (PGA) as an Employment Services/Career Counselor. Doug received his Masters Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary after receiving his Bachelor’s Degree from Ouachita Baptist University. Outside of his work at The Soderquist Center, he enjoys triathlons and has completed an iron man distance triathlon. In addition, as a PGA Member, he also enjoys a good round of golf. Doug is the proud father of twins adopted from Guatemala, and is passionate about the plight of the orphans around the world.

Brock Erdman, Customer Relations Manager, Soderquist Center

Brock Erdman | Business Development Manager | Email

Brock serves as Business Development Manager. Prior to joining The Soderquist Center, Brock worked in retail as the Human Resources Training manager at Cabela’s outdoor store in Rogers, AR. Brock graduated from John Brown University with a Bachelor’s degree in Bible and Theology. After graduation, Brock worked at John Brown University as an Admissions Counselor before joining the Soderquist Center as a Fellow. During his time as a Fellow, Brock worked in Business Development and Project Management while earning his Master’s degree in Business Administration. He and his wife, Sarah, met at JBU, and as of June 2014 have a son named Fritz. Outside of the Center, Brock is the head rugby coach for JBU and enjoys woodworking, hunting, fishing and anything else outdoors.

Terry Grafton, Customer Relations Manager, Soderquist Center

Terry Grafton | Business Development Manager | Email

Terry serves clients in identifying high impact solutions in areas of leadership development. He comes to The Soderquist Center with over 25 years of experience in the marketplace. In his most recent role, Terry served as President of Therapon Skin Health®, a medical supply company serving plastic surgeons and dermatologists. Terry brings to the Center his expertise in business development, product development, marketing, corporate strategy, and global market development. Throughout his career, Terry’s experience has spanned across multiple industries including medical, specialty food products, manufacturing, sports entertainment & media and specialty retail. He holds an MBA from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science with studies in biology/microbiology from the University of Florida. Terry enjoys exploring outdoor adventures with his wife and two teenage children.

Clayton Anderson, Strategic Innovation Manager, Soderquist Center

Clayton Anderson | Strategic Innovation Manager | Email

Clayton supports a strategic effort at The Center to commercialize new opportunities in leader and organizational development. He and the small team are exploring innovative products and services, new partnerships, and additional formats for delivering content and experience. He also serves as faculty advisor for the Enactus team (formerly SIFE) in the Donald G. Soderquist College of Business at John Brown University. Prior to his current role, Clayton supported marketing and communications at The Center. He holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from John Brown University.


Helen Hall, Administrative Assistant Helen Hall
Administrative Assistant
Sue Axmark, Administrative Assistant Sue Axmark
Administrative Assistant
Anna Buck, Receptionist Anna Buck
Jenni Payne, Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable Jenni Payne
Operations Coordinator
Lesa Cross, Greystone Estate Manager Lesa Cross
Greystone Estate Manager
Patty Murphy, Greystone Estate Coordinator Patty Murphy
Greystone Estate Coordinator
Frank Laakman, Greystone Estate Maintenance Frank Laakman
Greystone Estate Maintenance
Christy Hall, Graphic Designer Christy Hall
Graphic Designer
Ashlyn Moore, Soderquist Fellow Ashlyn Moore
Soderquist Fellow
Andrew McIntyre, Soderquist Fellow Andrew McIntyre
Soderquist Fellow
Ann Simmons, Soderquist Fellow Ann Simmons
Soderquist Fellow
Caroline Finney, Soderquist Fellow Caroline Finney
Soderquist Fellow
Grant Roe, Soderquist Fellow Grant Roe
Soderquist Fellow
Jeffrey Essary, Soderquist Fellow Jeffrey Essary
Soderquist Fellow
Meghan Shoop, Soderquist Fellow Meghan Lane
Soderquist Fellow