Meet the Team
Joe is the managing director and founder of Steel Hearts. He graduated from the United States Military Academy and commissioned as an infantry officer in 2008. After deploying to Iraq with the 2nd Infantry Division in 2009, he attended the Maneuver Captain's Career Course (MCCC) at Fort Benning, GA.
After MCCC, Joe commanded a company at Carlisle Barracks and launched Steel Hearts with Chris Merz in 2014. He then deployed to the Sinai peninsula for 12 months, serving as a member of Task Force Sinai and the Multinational Force and Observers.
Joe left active duty service in 2017 to attend the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan for his MBA. He is excited to continue to grow Steel Hearts as a force for positive change and impact for the West Point community. Joe currently resides in Ann Arbor, MI with his wife Lindsey.
Chris graduated from the United States Military Academy in 2007 and commissioned as an infantry officer in the US Army. He served in the 75th Ranger Regiment and deployed seven times to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo in a variety of leadership and staff positions. Chris met Joe at the Maneuver Captain’s Career Course at Fort Benning, GA, and the two collaborated to bring Steel Hearts to life in 2014 to honor their fallen classmates.
After company command, Chris left active duty service in 2016 to pursue his MBA at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. He remains passionate about military issues and is a board member of the Foster Veterans Association, where he counsels and mentors transitioning veterans. Chris resides with his wife, Lauren, in Bellevue, WA.
John graduated from the United States Military Academy in May of 2014 and commissioned as an engineer officer in the US Army. He served in the 82nd Airborne Division and deployed to Afghanistan for 9 months in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel in 2017.
John joined the Steel Hearts team in the fall of 2015 and has worked to expand the Steel Hearts mission across a variety of social media platforms and grow the community while serving as Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer.
John will be leaving active duty service this summer to pursue his MBA at Harvard Business School and MPP at Harvard Kennedy School.
S. Alex Dooley
Alex discovered Steel Hearts after the loss of a dear friend and West Point graduate during Operation Enduring Freedom. She began volunteering for Steel Hearts in 2017 and officially joined the team assisting in marketing and outreach shortly after.
She was intrigued by this line of work through her personal experience working with those that have suffered from PTSD and their families. She is passionate about assisting those who have suffered a traumatic loss and honoring the life of their loved ones.
Alex graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2012 with a B.A. in Political Science. She currently lives in Denver, CO with her fiancé, Austin, where she works in marketing and design.
Chris graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 2009 with a B.S. in Systems Engineering Management and commissioned as a Pilot in the US Air Force. Since graduating, he has served as a C-5M Instructor Pilot in the 9th Airlift Squadron at Dover AFB, DE and T-6 Instructor Pilot in both the 33rd and 8th Flying Training Squadrons at Vance AFB, OK. He has flown combat missions supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Inherent Resolve, and Operation New Dawn. He is still serving as an Instructor Pilot on active duty.
Chris joined the Steel Hearts team in the spring of 2018 in an effort to expand Steel Hearts and honor fallen Air Force Academy classmates. He hopes to continue to grow the Air Force branch of Steel Hearts, to spread the stories of our fallen heroes as far as possible.