Meet The Team
Strategic Operations has changed the face of tactical training by introducing to the training world “Hollywood” movie and TV-making techniques to make live training as realistic as safely possible. This innovation has been made possible by Stu Segall who brings to Strategic Operations more than 35 years experience as a producer of feature films, television movies and episodic television series.
In 1984 he joined with Stephen J. Cannell Productions to produce the television series Hunter for NBC.
Stu brought the television series Silk Stalkings to San Diego in 1991 creating the first and only full service studio in San Diego. This facility provided prime time network quality Television Series, Movies of the Week and Pilots. Stu Segall Productions was one of the largest independent TV and film studios in America with 10 sound stages on 20 acres.
Stu has produced over 900 hours of primetime television series, including Renegade, Pensacola, Wings of Gold, The Invisible Man, The Chronicle, 18 Wheels of Justice, High Tide, Cover Me, Rising Son, Veronica Mars, Desire and Secret Obsessions.
Stu Segall Productions has produced for ABC, Beacon, CBS, Disney Channel, Fox, NBC, Paramount, Showtime, Sony/Columbia/Tri-Star, Studios USA, Universal, UPN and Warner Brothers.
In 2002, Stu created Strategic Operations, of which he is President, with a mission to provide “hyper-realistic” training for the military, law enforcement, first responders and other organizations responsible for homeland security and public safety.
Using the “magic of filmmaking,” Strategic Operations creates tactical scenarios in great detail by controlling and manipulating both the physical and sensory environment. Design experts and public safety officials help movie industry professionals create a state-of-the-art, next generation tactical training environment unique in the U.S.
Executive Vice President
As Executive Vice President, Kit Lavell has helped Strategic Operations grow to where in the last eighteen years the company has provided Hyper-Realistic ® training support for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom to more than 950,000 military and civilian first responders.
Kit Lavell is a graduate of the University of Illinois, has done graduate work at California State University Fresno and attended the Naval Postgraduate School. He flew 243 combat missions as a Naval Aviator in Vietnam. He has written extensively on military and technology issues for newspapers and magazines. His book, Flying Black Ponies: the Navy’s Close Air Support Squadron in Vietnam, was published by Naval Institute Press.
The San Diego Union-Tribune published his six-part feature series, A Revolution in Warfare: Defending America in the 21st Century in the Sunday Insight Section.
Kit was President of an engineering and construction company that developed, among many innovative projects, a patented small-scale modular cogeneration system, which the company engineered, manufactured, installed, and maintained in hundreds of sites across the country.
Kit has been an executive with the City of San Diego, has served on the board of directors of the national POW/MIA Freedom Foundation, the Vietnam Veterans Leadership Project, and has worked with disadvantaged veterans, for which he received a Presidential Citation. He has served on various boards and commissions for the City and County of San Diego.
He was the recipient of the California Affordable Housing Award presented by the Governor for innovative housing projects for the elderly and handicapped.
Kit holds Airline Transport Pilot and Civilian Flight Instructor Ratings. His military decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, 21 Air Medals, 5 Navy Commendation Medals with combat “V,” Navy Achievement Medal with combat “V,” and the Combat Action Ribbon.
Chief Financial Officer
The Chief Financial Officer, Russ Lowell, joined Strategic Operations in 2010. Russ brings 25 years of management experience to STOPS spanning a broad spectrum of industries, including manufacturing, software development, R&D and wireless.
Russ played a key financial role at divisions of L-3 Communications and General Electric before joining STOPS. For the past 10 years, he has been associated with companies providing homeland protection, and high-tech military hardware.
Russ brings with him a track record of being recognized as a successful team leader and problem solver, with a focus on process improvements, financial controls, staff development, and the bottom line.
Russ Lowell is a graduate of Cal Poly University with a BS degree in Business Management. He also earned an MBA from Cal State University, Fullerton. He served in the U.S. Navy and holds an Extra Class amateur radio license.
Russ is a member of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), the Association of Government Accountants (AGA), and Financial Executives International (FEI).
Vice President of Contracts
Kevin Waskow enlisted in the US Navy as a nuclear machinist mate in 1982. After successful completion of the nuclear power training pipeline he reported aboard USS AUGUSTA (SSN 710). In 1986 he was selected to attend Officer Candidate School (OCS).
After OCS, Kevin attended Naval Supply Corps School. His Supply Corps tours included sea tours on board USS PARCHE (SSN 683) and USS ESSSEX (LHD 2). Shore tours included positions at Pearl Harbor, HI, Singapore, Monterey, CA, and San Diego, CA. He also completed an assignment as the Deputy Comptroller for the Coalition Provisional Authority, Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Kevin retired from the Navy as a Commander in March 2005. During his career he was certified Defense Acquisition Workforce Level 3 in Contracting and in Business, Cost Estimating and Financial Management. He was a selected member of the Acquisition Professional Community.
After retirement he returned to Baghdad as a contractor working at the Joint Contracting Command – Iraq/Afghanistan. He has been with Strategic Operations since February 2007.
Director of Medical Products and Services
Steve Markham has been the Director of Medical Products and Services for Strategic Operations since 2012 after retiring from the Navy as a Senior Chief (HMCS/SOIDC/FMF/MCD/PJ) after 23 years of service.
During his 23 years he served 19 of those years as a Reconnaissance Corpsman (SARC/SOIDC) with the Marine Corps. He deployed 8 times, 4 of those into combat zones. Steve has experienced combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He served in leadership positions at all organizational levels in and out of combat zones that included: 1st Marine Division Navy Senior Enlisted Leader, Regimental Senior Chief in Afghanistan, Recon Battalion Leading Chief Petty Officer (LCPO), Recon Company Operations Chief, Company LPO, Assistant Platoon Sergeant, Reconnaissance team member and Fleet Marine Force (FMF) Corpsman.
Steve has been recognized as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for training and education both in his military and civilian life. Since retiring he has been sponsored by the countries of Poland and Brazil to speak on combining the best practices of training and simulation. He has presented at both international and national level conferences with attendees from around the globe. While in the Navy he was stationed at both Amphibious Reconnaissance School (ARS) and Field Medical Service School (FMSS) where he served in positions of: Academics Officer, Master Training Specialist (MTS), Curriculum Developer, Course Administrator, Reconnaissance screener, Platoon Advisor and Team Lead. He also sat on the requirements board for the Fleet Marine Force (FMF) 8404 Corpsmen, Reconnaissance Corpsmen 8427/8403, and Reconnaissance Marines 0321.
Steve is a graduate of the Army Special Operations Medical Sergeant’s Course (18D); USMC Combatant Diver Course; Navy Combat Dive Medicine Course; Jump School; and numerous other military tactical and medical courses. Among his awards are the Meritorious Service Medal; four Navy Commendation Medals; seven Navy Achievement Medals, Army Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon and numerous other personal/unit awards.
Director of Canadian Operations
Fernando Martins joined the Canadian Army in 1985 as an Armour Officer, with the Royal Canadian Dragoons. His career was diversified, serving in numerous command and staff positions with his Regiment and with other units throughout Canada. He is a graduate of Canadian Land Force Command & Staff College (Army Management College), Canadian Forces Staff School (Army Administrative School), and the US Army Armor Officer Advanced Course (US Army Leadership Academy). He also served on operational tours in Mozambique, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Recognized for his professionalism and distinguished actions, he was awarded the Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure & Environment) Award, and the Army Commander’s Commendation. He was recently awarded the Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command Commendation for his support to the Medicine Hat flood response Task Force.
His final military position was the G3 (Base Operations Officer) at CFB Suffield, Alberta, the largest Army Base in the Commonwealth. He retired as a Major from the Canadian Forces in 2007, after 22 years for notable service. He continued to support the military as a Public Servant with the Department of National Defence, and remained at CFB Suffield. Here, he was the Base Technical Services Officer (G4) providing logistical support to this large Army Base, the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS), and Defence Research Development Canada Suffield (DRDC).
In November 2013, he joined the Strategic Operations team as the Director of Canadian Operations. He brings a wealth of experience in leadership, management, training, contracting and logistical support.
John "Rick" Bowen
Rick retired from the United States Marine Corps, where his primary duty was UH-1N “Huey” helicopter pilot - spending the majority of his career in the cockpit on the West Coast aboard Marine Corps Air Stations Camp Pendleton and Miramar, which culminated with a Command Tour with Marine Aircraft Group 46 Detachment A. During his Marine Corps career, Rick also spent time at the Naval Air Systems Command aboard Patuxent River, MD as a Deputy Program Manager for Marine and Navy H-1 helicopters where he supervised – procurement, engineering, logistics, and budget – of all H-1 support. His final tour as an Active Duty Marine was with the Marine Air Ground Task Force Staff Training Program (MSTP) aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA; as a member of this premier multi-functional team responsible for instruction management, curriculum implementation, and multi-service doctrine development for the Marine Corps.
Rick transitioned as a Lieutenant Colonel and joined the Strategic Operations, Inc. Team as the Program Manager focusing on Marine Corps operations and soon assumed the responsibilities of all aspects of Training Operations for STOPS.