THE GENERALS

Lt. Col William Gus Pagonis and Brigadier General Nick Halley

Present

“General Knowledge”

 

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Catherine Crier

An Emmy, duPont-Columbia, and Gracie Allen Award-winning journalist, Catherine Crier joined Court TV’s distinguished team of anchors in 1999. She served as Executive Editor, Legal News Specials, in addition to hosting Catherine Crier Live, a fast-paced daily series, covering the day’s “front-page” stories. Crier, a Texas-bred independent with a spirited passion for justice, released her first book, the 2002 New York Times Bestseller, The Case Against Lawyers , an eye-opening and plain-spoken treatise on the law. Prior to her accomplished career in television journalism, Crier presided over the 162nd District Court in Dallas County, TX, as a State District Judge. When she took the bench in 1984, she became the youngest elected state judge in Texas history.

Crier currently manages her production company, Crier Communications, developing television, film and documentary projects. She is involved with many organizations and serves on several boards, including Soldiers For The Truth, dedicated to objective military reporting and assistance to America’s troops; PAX, an organization working to reduce gun violence in America that targets the nation’s children; The NY Law School Committee on Media; and Law and Developments in Literacy, working to expand education for girls in the nation of Pakistan.

TOPICS

You Make a Difference
Empowering the individual in a society that often discourages leadership, creativity and assertiveness.

The Supreme Court and You
A controversial yet enlightening discussion of the Supreme Court, its power and influence, and the role of politics within the nation’s third branch of government, this presentation will reveal the backstage maneuvering, the political strategizing and the extraordinary influence these nine justices have over our every day lives.

Behind the Bench: Big Trials of the 21st Century
Basing her remarks on the many dramatic cases she has covered Catherine Crier will take you behind the scenes in the country’s “big trials” including those of Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson, Robert Blake, Phil Spector, Michael Skakel, David Westerfield and Winona Ryder.

The World is Watching
In this presentation, Catherine Crier examines the extraordinary changes the U.S. has undergone in recent years, and the important role of television and the media in initiating and sustaining these events.

Government and Politics in the 21st Century
As the world changes and border lines blur between countries’ economies and populations, who really governs in the emerging global society? Catherine Crier evaluates the status and future of citizenship and democracy in the new millennium.

Examining Current Events
Catherine Crier takes a timely look at the domestic and international scene within historical context and political analysis to better understand this moment in history and where the future may lead.

Full Biography

An Emmy and DuPont-Columbia Award-winning journalist, and the youngest state judge to ever be elected in Texas, Catherine Crier is now a managing partner in Cajole Entertainment developing television, film and documentary projects.

Crier, a native of Dallas, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and international affairs from the University of Texas and received a Juris Doctor in two and a half years from Southern Methodist University School of Law. She began her career in law in 1978 as an Assistant District Attorney then Felony Chief Prosecutor for the Dallas County District Attorney’s office. From 1982 to 1984, Crier was a civil litigation attorney with Riddle & Brown, handling complex business and corporate matters. In 1984, she was elected to the 162nd District Court in Dallas County, Texas as a State District Judge. During her tenure on the bench, Crier also served as Administrative Judge for the Civil District Courts and worked extensively with the ABA, National Judicial College, and Texas Legislature on legal issues. Shortly after her reelection (unopposed) to a second term on the bench, a chance meeting with a television news executive led to a dramatic career change.

In September, 1989, Crier was hired to co-anchor the premiere evening newscast on CNN. Additionally, she co-anchored Inside Politics, all election coverage, and hosted Crier & Company, a talk show covering news, politics and international issues.

Crier joined ABC News in 1993, where she served as a correspondent and as a regular substitute anchor for Peter Jennings on ABC’s World News Tonight, as well as a substitute host for Ted Koppel’s Nightline. She also worked as a correspondent on 20/20, the network’s primetime news magazine program. Crier was awarded a 1996 Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for her work on the segment “The Predators” which examined nursing home abuses throughout the United States.

In October of ’96, Crier became one of the founding television anchors for the Fox News Channel, with her prime time program, The Crier Report, a live, hour-long nightly show, during which she interviewed the leading newsmakers of the day. Additionally, she co-anchored the evening news, election coverage and Fox Files, a magazine news show aired on the parent network.

Catherine joined Court TV’s distinguished team of anchors in November 1999. She served as Executive Editor, Legal News Specials, in addition to hosting Catherine Crier Live, a fast-paced, live daily series, covering the day’s “front-page” stories, until joining Cajole Entertainment in 2007.

Crier released her first book, the NYTimes bestseller, The Case Against Lawyers in October, 2002. Her second book, A Deadly Game: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation became a #1 NYTimes bestseller and was followed by Contempt—How the Right is Wronging American Justice, Final Analysis: The Untold Story of the Susan Polk Murder Case. Her fifth book, Patriot Acts—What Americans Must Do to Save the Republic, was published on November 1, 2011.

Rita Davenport

Rita Davenport is an internationally recognized expert in the principles of success, time management, goal-setting, creative thinking, and self-esteem and confidence. Her unique background as an entrepreneur, corporate executive, author, speaker, humorist, and broadcaster sets her apart and has made her one of the most beloved and widely admired role models on the speaking circuit. She produced and hosted her own award-winning television shows in Phoenix, Arizona, for 15 years. Read more

Gary Marlon Suson

9/11 photographer Gary Marlon Suson lives in New York City. On September 11, 2001, his life, just as all American’s lives, was turned upside down by the attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon. Initially, after photographing the Towers’ collapse from his rooftop, Suson returned to his studio, deciding he wasn’t going to shoot anything else having to do with this tragedy. He didn’t want the stress of being in the midst of the chaos taking pictures, and especially didn’t wish to be wrongly viewed as someone trying to exploit a situation.  Besides, he felt that trying to document something of this enormity was pointless – “Who am I to think I can capture the magnitude of all this?” he thought. However, he slowly realized he had a responsibility to try to document for future generations what terrorism was.

After creating a website called SeptemberEleven.net he posted his photos and captions, providing a pictorial commentary on what had happened. Unexpectedly appointed the Official Photographer at Ground Zero shortly after the tragedy at World Trade Center, Suson took photos on behalf of the Uniformed Firefighters Association and Uniformed Fire Officers Association. The culmination of his efforts became the Ground Zero Museum Workshop, a not-for-profit museum that houses not only his stunningly gripping images, but exhibits of relics and effects recovered from the site.

 

 

GARY MARLON SUSON ARTICLES:
International Business Times

GARY MARLON SUSON BOOKS:

 

Full Biography

Ground Zero Workshop Museum Founder Marlon Suson is a professional actor-playwright who resides in Manhattan & an Honorary Battalion Chief in the Fire Department of New York (FDNY). Just months after the attacks of September 11, 2001, he stepped away from his theatrical career after he was requested to take on a unique role: To be the Official Photographer at Ground Zero for the Uniformed Firefighters Association & Uniformed Fire Officers Association (FDNY). Like all New Yorkers and wanting to contribute to the relief efforts in any way he could, he began shooting on the morning of 9/11 and was appointed Official Photographer at Ground Zero in late December of 2001. He spent six days per week and approximately 17 hours per day “living” at Ground Zero, where he documented every phase of the ‘Recovery’. His work was overseen by FDNY Chief of Department Daniel Nigro. He was allowed access to every area at Ground Zero and given strict guidelines, which included:
• Not to release any of the images until the Recovery was over
• Not to shoot images of human remains.
• To share future proceeds with 9/11 charities.

In addition, he was not salaried by anyone and had to take out bank loans in excess of $8000.00 in order to finish his documentation of the “Recovery.” The FDNY first caught wind of Mr. Suson’s work in December of 2001, when the Manhattan Trustee for the Uniformed Firefighter’s Association, Rudy Sanfilippo, was receiving complimentary immunotherapy and vitamin drips at a well-known holistic clinic. Mr. Sanfilippo, a survivor of the WTC collapse on 9/11, was having lung complications. Mr. Suson had arranged the free care for several firemen who were experiencing breathing problems from September 11. It was this impromptu meeting between Suson and Sanfilippo that led the Uniformed Firefighters Association to view Mr. Suson’s award-winning website, SeptemberEleven.net, and then allow him full, unrestricted access to every area of Ground Zero. Early on, he didn’t shoot very much; choosing instead to focus on becoming friendly with the Chiefs and fixtures that ran the WTC site. Firemen were at first spooked when they saw Mr. Suson shooting and were uneasy. They feared he was exploiting the sacred site but this changed quickly as they got to know him and also noticed that none of his images were showing up in any of the daily newspapers. This spoke volumes to the many men who had lost family members and whole fire companies on September 11. Slowly, he was welcomed into the Ground Zero “brotherhood” and was even allowed to document the private Honor Guards from only a few feet away without the men so much as blinking an eye. Mr. Suson recalled, “I have to say I felt as if I was always at home there. I looked forward to seeing the men (and women) every day. It was an honor for all of us to be the ones to help out firsthand in the recovery efforts. We knew we were making a difference.” Whenever financially possible, Marlon Suson’s non-profit Museum donates to assorted charities and is particularly supportive of charities having to do with Mesothelioma research, such as the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center (MAA Center).

One Battalion Chief in particular, Stephen Zaderiko, took Mr. Suson under his wing. “He spent time educating me on different aspects of the site, which included the art of making a recovery. He literally taught me how to dig when I wasn’t shooting; showing me what to look for in the way of remains. It was an honor to be able to dig but quite frightening the first time I did it. That’s when everything got quite real for me. No more hiding behind the lens. I really looked up to him; he was always at Ground Zero, even on his days off and always stayed upbeat.” Another Chief Mr. Suson credited for his images and emotional support was Battalion Chief Jim Riches. “Chief Riches lost his son on 9-11 and God himself couldn’t pull Chief Riches away from Ground Zero. I called him the gentle giant as he never spoke much but when he did, it mattered. He was very supportive of my work and genuinely cared about everyone at the site. It was quite a day when Chief Riches finally found his fireman son, Jimmy, Jr. in the North Tower area.” One last catalyst to Mr. Suson attaining his unique images at key moments during the recovery was a volunteer recovery worker known simply as “Mike The Beard.” A bear of a man who sported a thick beard, overalls, size 14 work boots, coke-bottle thick glasses and was always covered in the trademark brown-gray, Ground Zero mud, “Beard” often drove Mr. Suson around the site in an ATV. “He’d often wake me up at two or three in the morning while I slept in St. Paul’s Church and told me to be outside in two minutes. He would do this when he thought there was something happening down in the hole that should be documented, so he’d pick me up in this muddy, Honda ATV “Gator” and whiz me down to wherever the action was happening. I attribute some of my best photographs to his being so attentive and involved in my documentation.” Mr. Suson, who stockpiled his collection of images for many months, was virtually unknown to the media until the fire union granted him permission to release the images in the last week of the recovery at Ground Zero. On May 28, 2002, the New York Times broke the story of his singular journey into Ground Zero with a feature, half-page, color photo story entitled, “From a Camera at Ground Zero, Rare Photos of an Agonizing Dig” by Susan Sachs. The morning that the story broke, Mr. Suson was contacted by every major media outlet in the world, including Fox News Channel, CNN, SKY (UK), CBS, NBC and ABC. His first major interview, a five-minute featured segment on CNN Worldwide, was shaky. “I was only a few days out of Ground Zero and suddenly I had to talk about my experiences with a camera in my face and I couldn’t do it. I got choked up every time I opened my mouth, so CNN was kind enough to pair me up with a very sensitive producer who made sure I felt comfortable, which included my not being able to see the video camera. It was a slow process, that first interview, but the final product was an accurate tale in words and images that told the story of my journey into the heart of Ground Zero. I still get choked up every time I watch that interview as I can see just how emotionally vulnerable I was during that period.” That five-minute segment remains to this day the longest taped story ever produced on CNN. Gary Marlon Suson was a guest numerous times on Fox News Channel and recently did radio interviews on INSIDE MAC RADIO and for AUSTRALIAN RADIO for the 7-Year anniversary of the W.T.C. attacks.

Book offers quickly followed and Mr. Suson, courted heavily by Judith Regan of Regan Books, signed with the smaller Barnes Noble Publishing to release, “Requiem: Images of Ground Zero”, a 200-page pictorial of Day 1 through the closing ceremonies. The book was endorsed by the most notable firemen in the FDNY, with the foreward penned by highly respected Assistant Chief of Operations Joseph W. Pfeifer, whose brother Kevin was lost on 9/11. In keeping with his promise to the fire union, he donated hundreds of autographed books to the Uniformed Firefighters Association, to FDNY headquarters in Brooklyn, to 9/11 families and to firehouses all over the New York area. In addition, he sold books and museum posters for the UFA Widows Children’s Fund. His works were featured on the FBI Training Network in Quantico for their Homeland Security and Policing videos and in 2003, 8 of his images were reviewed by the Pulitzer Prize Committee for the 2002 awards. In August of 2002, Mr. Suson was a guest of the U.S. Secret Service at The White House, where he was given a private tour and signed dozens of books for the staff. From there, he came back to New York where he was an honored speaker at the U.S. Postal Service’s “Tribute To Heroes” ceremony, moving the packed audience with an emotional power point presentation of his Ground Zero images set to music. In September of 2002, Mr. Suson was a guest on Fox News Live with David Asman and then appeared on CNN with Connie Chung, accompanied by FDNY 9/11 Family Members Lee Ielpi and John Vigiano. Says Suson,”This was an emotional segment to be a part of, to say the least. I admire both men’s incredible courage to subject themselves to such a tough interview just one year after losing their sons.” His travels also included going to England, where he accompanied British Fire Chief David O’Dwyer of the Hereford Worcester Fire Brigades to the peak of a centuries-old, mountain fortress called “British Camp”, where Mr. Suson dug a hole and buried World Trade Center glass and dirt in a secret location in memory of the British citizens who died on September 11. The dirt was given to Mr. Suson by retired FDNY Lieutenant Paul Geidel, who spent nine months looking for his missing son, Gary Geidel, of Rescue-1 in Manhattan. Since then, Mr. Suson has spoken all over Europe on his work and experiences at Ground Zero, often showing up at firehouses with historical images for people on the opposite end of the world to remember the fallen. In 2002 and 2003, he had two different museum exhibits at The New-York Historical Society. One exhibit, “9/11: Loss and Remembrance”, featured the “Band of Dads” from Ground Zero.

In 2004, Mr. Suson, feeling unfulfilled in his mission to educate people as to what transpired during the Ground Zero Recovery, began writing his next Off-Broadway project, AMERICAN BROTHER – a ground zero-themed play. Mr. Suson recently penned a feature screenplay based on his own experiences at Ground Zero as the Official Photographer of record during the Recovery. Academy Award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis has offered to act in the project when it comes to fruition. Mr. Suson travels to different fire expos around the USA to sign books & museum posters for 10 assorted charities, including Artists 4 Hope, NYC Fire & Police Widows Fund, The FDNY Chief Raymond Downey Memorial Fund, The UFA Widows & Children’s Fund, HugsAcrossAmerica.net, Firefighter Ralph Geidel 9/11 Fund and the Brian E. Sweeney Memorial Fund. In 2004, Mr. Suson participated in a Ground Zero chemical detoxification program designed by the Church of Scientology and campaigned by actor Tom Cruise. Mr. Suson continues to raise awareness of the courage of the Ground Zero firefighters, police and volunteers through his unique and singular images. Most importantly, these images keep the memory alive of all those who perished on the fateful day of September 11, 2001 . Mr. Suson has often stated, “Time has a way of dulling our memories and so I hope these photographs will keep people from forgetting how we need to consistently fight the war on terrorism.” Mr. Suson, in 2005, opened the Ground Zero Museum Workshop in the Meat-Packing District of New York, which conducts daily, guided tours for tourists from all over the world, as well as hosting 9/11 families and survivors groups. Mr. Suson speaks around the world about his experiences as the Official Photographer at Ground Zero for the Uniformed Firefighters Association & Uniformed Fire Officers Association. Mr. Suson’s role as Official Photographer at Ground Zero for the Fire Unions (UFA & UFOA) was a one-time position that ended when the Ground Zero Recovery ended and he no longer shoots photography for either union. His affiliation was with the 2001-2002 UFA administration from the Ground Zero Recovery period and not the current UFA administration, whose members were not elected officials nor were in office during the events of September 11 or during the “Recovery” at Ground Zero.

Jerry Gay

Jerry Gay

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Jerry Gay has spent a lifetime capturing the nature of man throughout the United States. Over the past 4 decades he has driven 500,000 miles of America’s back roads and highways to pursue his ongoing research of everyday life. With humor and acute philosophical perception, Gay’s highly animated motivational presentations bring his visual insights to every audience he touches. His pictures and philosophy convey a positive and persuasive analysis to help others find hope and see solutions to the unique challenges they face. Read more

Dan Holdridge

Dan Holdridge

In April 2001, Mr. Dan Holdridge was one of the youngest Program Directors at General Dynamics Corporation in Needham, MA. Dan oversaw computer engineering operations for General Dynamics and was sent to the United States Pentagon to support the construction of the newly renovated section of the Pentagon. On September 11th, 2001, Dan’s life almost ended when he was injured in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon. Recovered physically, Dan dedicates his time speaking to people across the country about his experience that day, what helped him heal and how he became an even stronger person than ever before. Read more

Nick Halley

 

Brigadier General Nick Halley (U.S. Army, Retired) is a recognized expert on leadership and terrorism. He has commanded thousands of our soldiers in combat in three conflicts – Vietnam, Grenada, and Desert Storm. He is an army paratrooper, army ranger and special operations veteran. He has been awarded many significant decorations, including two Silver Stars for bravery in combat actions, four Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts for wounds in combat operations. Read more

William "Gus" Pagonis

 

William G. “Gus” Pagonis is the author of Moving Mountains: Lessons in Leadership and Logistics from the Gulf War, published by Harvard Business School Press. Now retired, three-star US Army General Gus Pagonis masterminded logistics for the 1991 Gulf War, earning accolades from General Norman Schwarzkopf. In 1993, he left the military and took his logistics magic to Sears, Roebuck and Co., where as executive vice president of Sears Logistics Group, he played a key role in transforming the retail giant. Read more

Scott O’Grady

Scott O’Grady

An American Hero and New York Times Best-selling Author, Air Force fighter pilot, Captain Scott O’Grady was shot down over Bosnia while helping to enforce the NATO no-fly zone in an F-16. Alone and facing death, capture and the elements he discovered within himself the spirit to go on, and relied on the skills learned during a lifetime of preparing for the unthinkable. Even while isolated behind enemy lines, Captain O’Grady remained a member of a carefully drilled team. Read more

Charlie Plumb

Charlie Plumb

A testament to the strength of the human spirit, Charles Plumb endured the most extreme hardship and used

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