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Keynote Speaker, Rob Salome
Salome spent over 27 years in the US Army before choosing to retire with his Family and build a new life in Middle Tennessee. While Rob has served all around the country and the globe, the incredible Citizens that support Fort Campbell and its Soldiers, Veterans, and Families aligned perfectly with Rob’s desire to continue a lifetime of service to the Nation.
Rob is a retired Army Colonel who served in leadership positions large and small across the globe. He exercised transformational leadership in the Nation’s most elite military organizations – the 101st Airborne(Air Assault), the 82d Airborne, and the 173d Airborne in Vicenza, Italy. His servant leadership style suited him well as he led Airborne Rangers across the United States, Europe, North Africa, prepared them for Iraq and Afghanistan, and led them in the most arduous of conditions.
Rob served in critical roles at the highest levels of government; serving as a Military Aide to Vice President Biden, the Director of the Commander’s Initiatives Group in the Army’s Forces Command, and as the Garrison Commander and City Manager of over 65,000 people at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Rob knows what it means to be on a team, lead from the middle, and serve from the top. He has led innovation efforts on strategic level teams within the Department of Defense dealing with topics ranging from complex problem solving in combat environments, cultural shifts to stimulate economic growth in Afghanistan, to curbing social dynamics in military communities.
Since his retirement in 2017, Rob has served as the Director of Strategy and Leadership Development in Nashville for Solutions 21, a nationwide consulting firm that specializes in developing millennial leaders into strategic decision makers who are prepared to fill the roles of baby boomers who are retiring at ever increasing rates.
Rob is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point with a BA in Mechanical Engineering. He holds a Master’s Degree in Management and Administration from Central Michigan University and a Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College. Rob is a US Army Ranger and decorated combat veteran with 3 Bronze Stars, a Meritorious Unit Citation, and numerous other commendations.
Honorary Chair, Kelly Lovelace
Lovelace was born in Paducah, Kentucky but was primarily raised in Hixson, Tennessee on the outskirts of Chattanooga. He currently lives in Franklin, Tennessee just a few miles south of Nashville.
Upon completion of basic training in the United States ARMY, Kelley received the coveted Distinguished Honor Graduate Award recognizing him as the top soldier in the company. He continued to excel in the military and obtained the rank of specialist (E-4) before receiving an honorable discharge for faithfully completing his two-year term of service at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia.
As a cum laude graduate of Belmont University, Kelley began working and writing at Larry Butler’s music publishing company, Perdido Key Music. In just three years he became President of this publishing company, owned by Shug Baggott, and dubbed it Music Alley before choosing to write songs full time and landing a song writing deal with EMI Music Publishing.
As a writer, he has had many songs recorded by artists such as Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Kenney Chesney, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Sheryl Crow, Lauren Alaina, Randy Houser, Scotty McCreary, Terri Clark, Montgomery Gentry, Joe Nichols, and many others. Among these recordings are 21 Top 10 Billboard / R&R / Mediabase hits: 16 of which have reached the #1 position.
Kelley has also received Song of the Year nominations for “He Didn’t Have To Be,” co-written with and recorded by Brad Paisley, from the Country Music Association (CMA), the Academy of Country Music (ACM), and the TNN Music Awards. Kelley’s first Grammy nomination came in 2002 in the category of Best Country Song for “The Impossible” recorded by Joe Nichols, co-written with Lee Miller.
He has been awarded Song of the Year for “He Didn’t Have To Be” by the TNN Music Awards and Music Row Magazine and is co-author of a gift book for stepfathers entitled “He Didn’t Have To Be.”
He is an ordained Deacon and has served at Brentwood Baptist Church. He also donates his time and talents as the celebrity spokesperson for Bethel Bible Village; a Christ centered home for children in crises. He personally organizes and performs his songs live to help raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities and ministries such as St. Jude, Live Beyond and Search Ministries.
Master of Ceremonies, Holly Thompson
Holly Thompson is a nine-time Emmy Award and multiple Associated Press Award-winning journalist who’s ready to wake you up in the mornings! She co-anchors News 4 Today and also anchors News 4 at Noon. She produces and reports special reports and news segments throughout the year. Holly joined the WSMV news team in June 1997. She’s literally tried every hat in the television business – producing, shooting, writing, editing, anchoring, reporting and even spending some time as a weather caster at the CBS affiliate in the Tri-Cities (Johnson City, Bristol, Kingsport).
Holly sharpened her reporting skills while in St. Louis and Washington, D.C. She graduated with Distinction of University Honors from Middle Tennessee State University, receiving her degree in Mass Communications. Holly received the university’s Young Alumni Achievement Award and graduated from Georgetown University’s Institute on Political Journalism.