Meet the Team
Our talented and dedicated team is passionate about empowering Veterans as they transition from military service to civilian life.
Chief Executive Officer and Founder
BJ Ganem leads the organization and coordination of all administrative functions for Sierra Delta. BJ is a natural leader whose personal experience with military-to-civilian transition influences his insight into what support veterans need when returning home.
Prior to becoming CEO of Sierra Delta in 2017, BJ's journey led him from the United States Marine Corps to nonprofit organizations such as the Semper Fi Fund. BJ joined the Marine Corps in 1996. At the end of his first enlistment, BJ left active duty but stayed in the ready reserves. While on active duty, BJ worked as a District Sales Manager for Kraft Foods. In May 2004, BJ's unit was called to serve in support of operations in Iraq.
On November 25, 2004, the vehicle BJ was driving was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device (I.E.D.). The attack left BJ with an amputated left leg, mild brain injury, and shrapnel wounds. Above all, the attack left BJ with the unprepared realization he would no longer be a Marine Infantryman in the fight for freedom.
After navigating the landscape of transition, BJ found his purpose in helping other men and women transition into society. He became an outspoken advocate for veterans and left a 10-year career at Kraft Foods to pursue helping veterans. BJ worked for Semper Fi Fund as an accredited Veteran Service Officer. This role allowed him to assist veterans by helping secure their federal and state benefits. BJ also ensured veterans received accurate discharges.
BJ graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Social Work with an emphasis on military life. Apart from his duties at Sierra Delta, he is captain of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Football team (WWAFT). The father of four children, BJ and his wife Sarah live in Reedsburg, WI with their family and two English bulldogs.
Sean Downey is Sierra Delta’s Executive Director. Sean ensures our operations are streamlined and implemented so more Veterans and dogs are served.
Sean joined Sierra Delta as a board member and consulting COO in January 2020 while maintaining his role as CEO of Buddies Inc. My Buddy’s Place is a software company and online marketplace dedicated to improving the lives of animals and their pet parents. In October 2020, Sean accepted his role as Executive Director to dedicate his efforts to create a complete circle of customized training, community, and care for veteran-dog teams.
Sean has been an active entrepreneur in both his corporate and personnel life. After graduating from Rice University with a Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship, he came to LA to start a unique journey. Since early in his career, from working with Simpson’s and Butterfinger to being a professional entertainer, he is always on a path less traveled.
Director of Veteran Programs
Mick Gillitzer is the Director of Veteran Programs for Sierra Delta. He is responsible for program management, development, and strategic growth. Mick assesses veteran needs and ensures that program objectives are met.
Mick has provided non-clinical case management for wounded, ill, and injured service members since 2010. He served as a District Injured Support Coordinator for the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment. Later, Mick served as a Veteran Lead with Semper Fi Fund.
With twenty years of service in the Marine Corps, including multiple overseas deployments, Mick is passionate about empowering veterans to attain success. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin Lacrosse with a Bachelor of Science degree in History and a Master’s Degree in Military History from the American Military University.
Director of Veteran Relations
Heidi Sigmund is a clinical psychologist and the Director of Veteran Relations for Sierra Delta. She is responsible for assisting with program development and helping veterans and family members navigate our program’s partner providers. Also, Heidi acts as a liaison between local, state, and federal resources and our qualified service members.
In her work as a clinical psychologist, she is first and foremost an advocate for the Veteran community and dedicates her time to working collaboratively with those who have served. She creates and implements innovative strategies that are driven by the voice of the Veteran. She is also an expert in the assessment and treatment of trauma-related issues.
Heidi also works to develop and implement effective, Veteran-centered programs locally and nationally. These programs bridge gaps between local law enforcement entities, 911 dispatch, and mental health resources to identify Veterans in need, assist them during times of crisis, and connect them with the care they desire. She also devotes effort toward the mission of decreasing suicide in the military population through Cover Me Veterans, her nonprofit organization dedicated to this mission.
Heidi received her doctorate from Nova Southeastern University, completed her predoctoral internship at the Miami, FL VA Hospital, and her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. Most importantly, she is the very proud daughter of a Vietnam combat Veteran.
Director of Development
Breezi serves as the Director of Development and is responsible for developing and overseeing donor relations, special events, and specific marketing and fundraising efforts. Breezi manages the communications of Sierra Delta, including social media, to build successful and strong relationships with constituents.
Prior to her involvement with Sierra Delta, Breezi worked as the Marketing and Communications Specialist for Holidays For Heroes. Driven by a passion for creative thinking and helping others, Breezi has organized TEDx conferences and designed various entities' websites.
Breezi received her Bachelor of Arts in Management from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, in 2016. In her spare time, Breezi is happiest when surrounded by books and her dog Sodapop.
Community Outreach Director
Regina serves as our Community Outreach Director. This will require her attention in the work of developing Sierra Delta’s plan on how to communicate with various groups about the organization, veterans who apply for the ambassador program and donor development, and fundraising.
Regina has worked as an office administrator, teacher, education administrator, and is currently building her own business that helps women have tough, bold conversations about the unspoken things. Married to United States Marine, SSgt. Chad J. Simon (1972-2005), Regina began serving veterans and their families as a Family Coordinator when Golf Company Marines deployed to Iraq in 2004. She has continued to serve Veteran’s families in many capacities since Chad's death in August of 2005.
She raised their son (now 21yo) through some tough times, but being vulnerable about those hardships gave her personal experience that builds up Gold Star Families; some who are Veterans. This service continues to be one of the most rewarding and healing experiences she has had. Public speaking, fundraising, and leading other ambassadors in giving back to our Veteran and Gold Star community are among the many activities she does regularly. Regina anticipates using the skills she's learned to help the veterans as a part of the Sierra Delta team.
Regina is a Georgia born, Wisconsin raised, self-professed book nerd who graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994 with an English Degree and again in 2000 with an Elementary Education Degree. She taught in the Madison Metropolitan School District until Chad's injury. She later returned to Cardinal Stritch University for her Master's Degree in Building Administration + Leadership Development. Regina and her son relocated to Texas in the summer of 2015, she remarried in 2018, and currently resides with her husband, Mark, in North Texas.