Tuesday, 23 April 2013


Tony Watson is a 31-year Navy veteran who commanded nuclear submarines at sea. Having spent three decades in government service, he gained unique perspective of the complexities of new technology as well as the inner workings of government processes. Born in Chicago in 1949, he was raised in the public housing community of Cabrini-Green on the near north side of the city, where he attended Lane Technical High School. He received an appointment to the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, where he was twice elected class president and the first African-American to achieve the rank of Brigade Commander as a third year midshipman.

A 1970 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, he was assigned duty on six different nuclear submarines, which included a deployment to the North Pole under ice. He was Commanding Officer, USS Jacksonville, a Los Angeles Class fast-attack nuclear submarine, where he conducted the first live-fire, at-sea depth charge test of a submarine since USS Thresher in 1963. From 1989 to 1992, he was Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy. In 1992, he was commander of Submarine Squadron SEVEN in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, with 13 fast attack nuclear submarines under his command.

He was the first African-American in the Navy’s submarine force history to be promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral, and was assigned to the Pentagon where he worked on the Joint Staff when General Colin Powell was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Following that tour of duty, he was Commander of the Navy Recruiting Command, an operation with a recruiting team of 6000 people nationwide. His military awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, four Meritorious Service medals, three Navy Commendation Medals, the Navy Achievement Medal, and others.

Following retirement in 1997 he became CEO of The Center for Military and Private Sector Initiatives, a non-profit organization which created follow-on career opportunities for transitioning and prior-service military professionals. During his three years in this role, he placed more than 2000 personnel and generated revenues in excess of $5 Million through the creation of partnerships with major corporations who sought highly qualified technical personnel with military backgrounds.

In August 2000, he founded and was CEO of U.S. Alliance Group, a military and diversity executive search firm located in Arlington, VA. In just over two years he built the business to over $3 Million in revenue, and sourced hundreds of professionals for corporations, including placing a Senior Vice President for a Fortune Top 100 company.

In 2003, he was invited to startup a new government division for QualxServ, a nationally renowned IT service provider with revenues of over $150 Million. While CEO of U. S. Alliance Group, he recruited nearly 300 personnel with security clearances for QualxServ, helping the company meet their critical IT equipment deployment needs on military bases nationwide. As a result of the strong relationship, he and his recruiting team were invited to join the rapidly growing QualxServ, where he served as CEO of QualxServ Government Solutions.

He is currently CEO of Alliance Leadership Group, a consulting firm that specializes in diversity achievement and executive recruitment. His familiarity with government agency operation and small business issues creates opportunities for companies, large and small, to create alliances that benefit all; thus the company name Alliance Leadership Group.

His awards and achievements reflect his diverse background. He was selected as the Black Engineer of the Year, Government, in 1988; he was the recipient of the NAACP Roy Wilkins’ Meritorious Service Award in 1990; and was presented the Order of Lincoln Award from the State of Illinois, the state’s highest award. He is currently Co-Chairman of the Black Engineer of the Year Alumni Association.

He considers his greatest achievements to have graduated two daughters, Erica and Lindsay, from college, and the establishment of the Tony Watson/Chicago Youth Center Math and Science Scholarship, a more than $200,000 cash scholarship for youth in inner-city Chicago, where he grew up. His work continues to focus on issues of diversity, seeking to recognize the potential of men and women particularly in the area of engineering and technology.