Experience: 50+ years
Ronald Drach is a subject matter expert in military and veterans issues with more than 50 years of experience. After losing a leg as a result of combat in Vietnam, Ron medically retired from the U.S. Army in 1967 with a Purple Heart. Soon after, he focused his life on working to help his fellow disabled veterans.
Following nearly three years with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), he joined the staff of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) in 1970. Beginning in DAV’s Pittsburgh office, Ron rapidly rose to become the organization’s national employment director in 1975. He was the first Vietnam veteran to be appointed a director at DAV. In this post, he established the reputation he maintains today as one of the nation’s foremost authorities on employment issues impacting veterans and others whose lives have been affected by disabilities.
Ron’s responsibilities led him to provide significant input into America’s response to the needs of veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder, homelessness, racial and gender discrimination and other socio-economic issues. He became a leading voice on questions involving Social Security disability benefits, as well as efforts to remove barriers that impede the lives and employment of people with disabilities. Many times throughout his career, Ron has appeared before congressional committees, offering expertise and recommendations for legislative change.
After leaving the DAV, Ron was employed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL/VETS). As the director of government and legislative affairs, he was responsible for working with congressional staff, the Department’s Office of the Solicitor and others within the agency on all legislative employment issues that affect the departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs. He is currently the president of Drach Consulting.
Throughout the years, Ron has served on many commissions that strive to enhance the lives of disabled veterans and other people with disabilities. Ron recently served as a member of DOD’s Recovering Warrior Task Force after being appointed by former DOD Secretary Gates. He has also served on the governing boards of the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans, the National Resource Directory and others.
Ron’s high-profile volunteer activity has included service as a team leader for the U.S. Paralympics Sitting Volleyball Team that competed in the 2000 International Paralympics Competition in Sydney, Australia. He was one of the founders and served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Wounded Warrior Project including four years as its president. He currently serves on the Boards of United Spinal Association and TransCen. He also serves in an advisory capacity to ThanksUSA and the DC Metro Business Leadership Network and chairs their Wounded Warrior Committee.
Ron is also a co-author and co-editor of the Warrior Transition Leader Medical Rehabilitation Handbook. He is a frequent contributor to the DC Metro Business Leadership Network’s electronic newsletter.
Ron lives in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., with his wife, Carolyn, a retired financial analyst for the Federal Reserve. They have two adult daughters, Tiffany and Amber, and two grandchildren.