Jon Smidt supports Catalyzer as a gifted, Senior Facilitator who brings patient insight, high energy, and rich experience. Having taught English at the United States Military Academy at West Point and Leadership at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Jon is a seasoned facilitator at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. His three decades of teaching experience, primarily with adult learners, is leveraged for curriculum development and program delivery (facilitation and coaching) support to the team.
Colonel (Retired) Smidt was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1982 and for more than 26 years, served in command and staff positions across the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East. He was a Senior Army Aviator and earned both Airborne and Air Assault wings. Additionally, he earned the French Commando badge; awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and Air Medal for Valor. While part of the Command and General Staff College’s faculty, Jon was selected to co-author the Army’s leadership manual. In addition to disseminating that doctrine to Army units around the world, he published a journal article and a book chapter as part of the project. Jon subsequently served as Managing Editor for the Army’s professional journal, Military Review, which involved him in rich discussions about the Army’s future and military professionalism.
Jon was graduated with an AB in English and German from Washington University in St. Louis, but also spent a semester studying at Eberhard-Karls Universität in Tübingen, Germany. While in college, he lettered in both football and track. Jon later earned Master’s degrees in International Relations from Boston University and in English from Northwestern. Following military retirement, Jon was the Director at Big Oak Girls’ Ranch, a 320-acre facility with eight homes for abused, neglected, and abandoned children; he left that position in 2015 after 6 ½ years. Now in the Chattanooga area, and in addition to his time supporting Catalyzer, he works with a homeless shelter for families, renovates homes, and travels periodically to provide media training for Army leaders. He and his wife, Joyce, have been married 37 years and enjoy six children and three grandsons. Jon enjoys reading, exercise, playing piano, and working with wood.