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Steven Cole ’91 is a West Point graduate and retired Army lieutenant colonel who served for over 20 years in military public relations roles. Early in his career, Steven taught history at West Point and served in numerous management and staff assignments in armor and cavalry organizations. Steven is the current vice president of advancement at Veterans Bridge Home (VBH), a Charlotte-based organization that connects Veterans and their families, in any state of transition, to the community.   

Head shot of Steven Cole '91

Steven Cole ’91 is a West Point graduate and retired Army lieutenant colonel who served for over 20 years in military public relations roles. Early in his career, Steven taught history at West Point and served in numerous management and staff assignments in armor and cavalry organizations. Steven is the current vice president of advancement at Veterans Bridge Home (VBH), a Charlotte-based organization that connects Veterans and their families, in any state of transition, to the community. 

Steven entered Country Day as a third grader in 1981. By Upper School his leadership was apparent; he served as freshman class vice president, sophomore class president, and student council president senior year.  Steven also enjoyed running track and cross country for four years.  He found inspiration from his teachers at Country Day. “Far and away, Mr. Kelly had the greatest impact. He was my academic advisor, I studied history with him three out of four years, he was the Student Council advisor, and I still consider him a friend. I majored in history as an undergraduate, received a masters in history and taught in college, and he was a big influence on me through all of those years.” Steven credits Ed Kelly with teaching him the discipline that he carried over to the Army. 

What advice would you give your high school self?

“Set goals, achieve them, and set them again. To put an old saying in Army terms, you miss 100% of the targets you don’t aim at.”

Steven always knew that he wanted to attend West Point and become an Army officer. “One of the great things about West Point is that you know if you graduate you will have a job. So, while you are there, the choice of your major becomes about what you want to learn instead of choosing a major because you need a certain qualification to get a job.”


What led you to earn a masters in African history? 

“History is more than being good at Trivial Pursuit. It trains you to question sources, look at questions from alternative viewpoints, challenge preconceived notions, and create a persuasive argument based on all available facts. These skills have been invaluable to me since I finished that degree. ”

During his career Steven served as a film and TV liaison in LA. “Having a chance to represent the Army and all of our soldiers and families in arguably the most influential media market in the world was an incredible experience. Mostly we worked behind the scenes with people you have never heard of to ensure the Army was represented accurately. One day at the Sony Pictures lot I had a meeting with Adam Sandler about a film he was making, and I ran into Mike Tyson all within a thirty-minute period. That didn’t happen too often.”

Returning Home

After 20 years in the Army, Steven retired and returned to civilian life. “We were ready to put down roots. Our kids were getting older and our son, who had already attended two elementary schools, was going to start 5th grade at his third school. We decided to move to Charlotte to start over and be close to our families and a network of friends who were here. A West Point classmate encouraged me to meet with Blake Bourne at VBH and he connected me with a whole new set of people in Charlotte who had served and who I would never have known without their help.”

It was a tough transition and I had to swallow my pride, bet on myself, and really work hard to prove that my work experience was relevant outside of a military context.

 Steven has walked in the shoes of the veterans served by VBH. “The transition from the Army to the civilian world was jarring. In June of 2015 I was one of three people, out of the Army’s 2.8 million, who decided how and when the Army would work with some of the biggest media companies in the world. In September 2015 I was struggling to get a call back for jobs that had little responsibility and paid less than I made months earlier.”  

Since 2016 employment has been the top need for veterans, followed closely by housing. However, COVID has shifted those priorities; veterans now request housing and employment, followed by social capital. COVID restrictions have created a sense of isolation that makes social connections difficult. Steven believes that “everyone could use a friend. Veterans miss being with others who share the same mission and values.” At VBH Steven enjoys helping to connect veterans with each other, both those who need new opportunities and those who are looking to give back to the community. Organized networking events create space for relationships to form.

Steven would encourage alumni to get to know Veterans Bridge Home and tell others about the great work being done there. VBH publishes a weekly newsletter and holds events (both virtual and in-person) to engage area veterans, their families, and their friends so that veteran families who move to the Carolinas have a robust personal and professional network to help them succeed after their military service.  

If you are an alumni veteran, please share your name, class year, branch of service, and rank with the Alumni Office. We would like to update our lists and properly recognize the contributions of all alumni veterans in the community.

You can connect with Lt. Col. Steven Cole ’91 via his LinkedIn page


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