Excellence in Human Capital Services
Human Performance is a mindset forged from experiences, education, and a strong sense of purpose. HigherEchelon’s approach to leader development is grounded in principles from the science of high performance and organizational psychology; and has been solidified through our experiences working with experts in business, military sport, and surgery. HigherEchelon’s mission is to enhance the self-awareness, agility, and adaptability of leaders through customized programs designed to meet your unique challenges.
Two decades of research has shown resiliency in an organization starts with the leader’s ability to deliberately and consistently apply cognitive and emotional skills to enhance performance. Resilient individuals can cultivate positive emotions in themselves and have the skills to elicit positive emotions in others because of their ability to effectively communicate, solve complex problems, and the confidence to lead in challenging environments. Resilient leaders align their own values and vision with that of the organization, while inspiring those around them to thrive to push the organization forward.
Human performance is regulated through cognitive, emotional, motivational, and decisional processes, especially during setbacks and challenging circumstances, thus leaders should invest in the development of adaptive mindsets, goal achievement, energy management, situational awareness, and self-awareness to improve performance. HigherEchelon understands the systematic approach to building resilient and adaptable leaders.
Visit the Resilient and Adaptable Leader© web page to learn more about the benefits of our program.
Meet the Team
Dr. Ross (Retired, US Army) is the President of HigherEchelon, Inc., which is an Organizational Performance consulting firm with offerings in leadership, technology, and engineering to both public and private sector clients. Joe’s background includes diverse leadership assignments, years of performance study, and the development of organizational effectiveness programs, culminating in HigherEchelon’s flagship program, The Resilient and Adaptable Leader ©. Since 2012, Dr. Ross has been the lead consultant for Army Game Studio in developing the GoArmy Edge, a free software application adapted to help football athletes learn their team’s playbooks, make proper reads and play calls, and mentally practice their assignments in a virtual environment before taking the field. GoArmy Edge takes virtual coaching simulation and training to a new level through unprecedented detail and customization, helping improve football team performance through more effective and safer player practice capabilities. Joe works with NFL, college, and high school teams, Nike Clinics, and Football University Camps about state of the art technology to enhance coaching and player learning.
As a 1995 West Point graduate, Joe was a three-year letter winner and co-captain of the 1994 Army Football team. During his career as an Infantry Officer, Joe led 144 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division and deployed to Kosovo in 2001. The Secretary of the Army commended Joe’s unit for capturing two insurgents on the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) top ten most wanted list and bringing the Serbian and Albanian leadership together to start a dialogue of reconciliation. Joe served as the Director of the Military Enhancement Program at the United States Military Academy (USMA) from 2003 – 2008. During his tenure, Joe consulted with Pentagon leadership to operationalize the Warrior Ethos by changing the culture of the Army to be more agile and adaptive. Dr. Ross helped write the Soldier’s Creed to establish a warrior mindset and advised the Army on developing a standardized framework for training all military personnel about the intangible emotional and mental skills of performance. In 2009, Joe joined the Army Football coaching staff as the Special Teams and Fullback Coach, where he helped lead Army Football to the 2010 Armed Forces Bowl victory. Joe received a Master of Education in Athletic Counseling from Springfield College and his Doctorate in Organizational Psychology from Walden University.
Rick Roper is the Vice President of Human Capital Services for HigherEchelon (HE). Based out of Kansas City, he oversees the “people” aspect of HE’s framework for optimizing performance thru “people, processes, and tools”. In this capacity, Rick leads HE’s business development and capture efforts, and maintains oversight on programs related to human performance and leadership development for both government and private sector clients who are seeking to optimize organizational performance.
Rick has a diverse background with over 21 years of applied leadership and operational experience as an officer in the U.S. Army. As a former college athlete, he was an early student in West Point’s Center for Enhanced Performance, which oriented on mental skills and high performance training. In addition, he taught undergraduate studies at West Point—one of the nation’s most renowned leadership institutions.
Subsequently, while serving as Director of Operations and later as Chief of Staff, he established leader development programs and oversaw the strategic planning, training management, process improvement, and program/project management for organizations consisting of several hundred to several thousand people. Rick has also served in advisory positions helping leaders overcome systemic organizational problems related to human resources, supply chain management, and operations. Later, he was an assistant professor at the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College, which is a graduate-level institution focused on leader development and education. There, he developed curriculum and learning solutions focused on design, critical thinking, training management, and problem solving for students now serving in executive positions world-wide.
Rick is a 1995 graduate of West Point, and earned a Master’s degree in Administration from Central Michigan University.
Dr. Eric Bean is a high performance and leadership consultant. Through both one-on-one and group trainings, Eric has worked with Army Special Forces, Navy SEALs, surgeons, business professionals, and athletes on the psychology of high performance, leadership development, culture, and team dynamics. Recently, Eric developed a comprehensive leadership development program for leaders of all levels at UCSD Health. Eric is a Certified Consultant through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology and works with individuals and teams to strengthen their ability to lead others, maximize team functioning, perform at an elite level under high-pressure conditions, and maintain consistency despite changing circumstances. Dr. Bean has taught a master's level Leadership Theory and Application course at Boston College while also consulting with Fortune 100 companies, government agencies, and athletes of all levels. Eric received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology from the University of Southern California, a Master’s of Science in Sport Psychology from Cal State Fullerton, and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Sport and Exercise Psychology. Eric lives in San Diego, Ca with his wife, two young sons, and two dogs.
Mark C. Bartholf is a Deputy Program Manager at HigherEchelon. Based out of Huntsville, Alabama, Mark oversees two of HigherEchelon’s programs - Army Multi-Source Assessment and Feedback (MSAF) Coaching program and the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration Executive Leadership Coaching and Training program. Mark is a Special Forces Officer in the United States Army Reserves with experience spanning 29 years in operational, training, and joint staff positions. His corporate experience includes information technology development/deployment, financial services, contract administration, and as a small-business owner. Mark is a 1987 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute where he earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in English. Mark also earned a Master’s in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA and completed the National Defense University Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, VA.
Dr. Nic Bencaz is an accomplished learning and development professional with over 14 years’ experience aligning employee strengths with organizational strategic plans. Dr. Bencaz has led numerous efforts developing individuals and shaping performance and training needs in private, government, military and educational spheres. His specialty is translating high level strategies and goals from concept to delivery through practical, grounded solutions relevant to all key stakeholders. He brings a wide-breadth of knowledge and background into this position, with prior roles ranging from Program Manager and Lead Scientist, to Associate Professor and Subject Matter Expert. When not working to improve the lives of others at work, Dr. Bencaz spends his time with his wife, and two sons in Oviedo, FL.