CSU Hires Army Commander-Turned-Business Executive for Key Role

Scott, LareseCOLUMBUS, Ga. — Scott Larese, a retired Army colonel and former Fort Rucker garrison commander who’s now chief operating officer of an Alabama consulting firm, has accepted the position of managing director for business and leadership development at Columbus State University’s Cunningham Center. Larese will report directly to CSU President Tim Mescon and be a part of the university’s leadership team.

Larese’s primary responsibilities will be business development for CSU’s Leadership Institute, the Cunningham Conference Center and the Cunningham Business Enterprise Center.

He will work to reinforce Columbus State University’s outreach to the city of Columbus, the region, Fort Benning’s command team and economic development organizations across the Chattachoochee Valley, Georgia and Alabama.

“We are looking forward to Scott joining our team and playing a pivotal role in the operations of the Cunningham Center and the continued development of our Leadership Institute,” Mescon said. “His corporate and military history is a great match for our needs. He will be a great partner to Ed Helton, executive director of the Leadership Institute, who has done a magnificent job of managing the Cunningham Center on an interim basis over the last few months.”

Larese was in the U.S. Army for 25 years, leading from bases in Germany, New York, and Virginia before arriving at Fort Rucker, in 2004. He was quickly promoted to commanding officer (the military equivalent of a city manager) of Fort Rucker Garrison, a large, diverse military helicopter training center consisting of more than 19,000 residents, 2,500 buildings, five airfields and 17 heliports, with an annual operating budget of more than $165 million, spanning three distinct communities. More recently Larese was senior vice president for operations at Navigator Development Group, a consulting firm offering leadership management, strategic planning, military operations, systems acquisition, and war game development and execution.

Larese, a native of Columbus, Ohio, is a combat decorated Army aviator, rated in AH-1 Cobra, AH-58D Kiowa Warrior and AH-64 Apache helicopters. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and a Master of Science from the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.

Active in many civic organizations and executive boards, he’s past president of the Fort Rucker Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America; president of the Wiregrass Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army; chairman of the Enterprise Military Affairs Committee; member of the Enterprise Planning Commission; member of the Army Aviation Association of America; president-elect of the Enterprise Rotary Club; president of the Jerry B. Brunson Foundation and vice chairman of the Friends of Fort Rucker.

Larese and his wife, Julie, are the parents of two daughters, Ally and Andi, who is currently a CSU student. 

“Everyone at CSU has made me and my wife feel so welcomed into the family,” Larese said. “I cannot tell you how excited we are about this awesome opportunity and to join and contribute to the great CSU team. What a wonderful place to invest our lives. We are looking forward to continued growth as we together will take CSU to new heights.”

He will start on Sept. 23.

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