Meet The Team

>> Mike Ferraro
President & Founder

As President and Founder for Bridging The Gap for Veterans Foundation, an IRS Fully Determined 501C3, Mike is an accomplished corporate, government, military and business entrepreneur with strategic, operational and tactical leadership talents and an exceptional record of establishing and cultivating long term relationships, creating sustained revenue generating programs, and leading new business ventures. 

At Bridging the Gap, he leads a national effort to help educate and advocate the military community to find rewarding career paths.  Using an innovative program, Mike launched the Bridging the Gap Career Academy to enable all veterans to succeed during a career transition. He has hosted a grassroots career program called “Top Gun IGNITE Your Future” on military installations and via webinars with tremendous success for military candidates to meet hiring employers since 2016. 

Mike is a businessman and serial entrepreneur.  He is also the CEO of MMR Management Group LLC started in 2018 developing a Coffee and Beverage Distribution company serving 80+ Supermarkets to date and growing.  Following a similar Newman’s Own business model, 100% of the after-tax profits are donated to military veteran and first responder non-profit programs.    

In his past civilian career, he has held technical and leadership positions in several Fortune 500 companies to include AT&T, Booz-Allen, Emerson Electric as well as within the federal government.  As an entrepreneur, he has focused his passion and purpose in life by establishing military veteran career and educational programs that make a difference with a direct impact to veterans and their families. 

During the culmination of nearly 32 years of honorable military service in both the active and reserve components, Ferraro achieved the highest rank of Command Chief Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force.  Before his retirement from military service in June 2013, he had leadership oversight of nearly 28,000 Airmen at Number Air Force levels at 18 military bases, Wing and Squadron levels and participated in numerous worldwide missions involving wartime readiness campaigns, humanitarian airlifts and strategic policy force development and employer outreach.   

A frequent guest speaker before veteran friendly employers and radio shows, he can be heard on the Welcome Home Show, 101.3 FM WIBG station, and CBS Radio 1210 AM Saturday Night Live with Philly Labor as well as RVN Streaming Television.  

Because of his exceptional leadership talents, Mike was appointed in 2020 as the New Jersey Chairman of the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (Nj ESGR) with oversight of 80 volunteers and 2 fulltime staff. 

He earned an M. S. in Aeronautical Science and a B.S. Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Mike currently serves as one of the Board of Advisors for www.ThanksUSA.org and previously many others non-profits. 

He is a long time New Jersey resident of Wall, New Jersey residing with his two daughters.


>> Toni Gianatiempo
Director of Career Services

As Director for Career Services at the Bridging the Gap for Veterans Foundation, Toni Gianatiempo engages the military community providing Career Coaching and helping to uncover a career direction for veteran candidates leading to meaningful employment.  She is a retired School Educator with 35 years in the public sector and 5 years  in the private sector.   She has been a coach and motivator to 100s of children during her career leading by example.  Toni is experienced as a small business entrepreneur who fully understands how to create and cultivate relationships and bring the best out of every individual so they can reach their full potential.  
 
Born into a proud patriotic family, her Dad served honorably in the United States Army during the Korean Era. She received her bachelors degree from Georgian Court University and her masters degree from Detroit Michigan.  In 2001 and in 2006, Toni was awarded by the New Jersey Department of Education a Certificate of Recognition for being an outstanding teacher in New Jersey Public Schools.  She is recognized for using affective instructional techniques to develop an environment that inspires students, fosters their feelings of self-worth, and encourages their love of learning. Toni is also a member of the American Aerobic Associations International/Sports Medicine. She has received four certifications in the area of fitness and has three dance licenses.  Toni’s enthusiasm and positive outlook is infectious and she is a great asset to this company. 



>> Robert E. Smyth
Client Account Executive
 

Bob has over 30 years of Management experience in Industry, Government and Military/Veterans service. Management Consultant-Community Affairs/Veteran, Military and Seniors support services, Business Development and is a former Business Executive, Military Officer and Elected Official. Former Congressional Field Representative - Military and Veterans Affairs for the U.S. House of Representatives, NJ Third District in Burlington and Ocean Counties. Captain, U.S. Army (Honorable discharge).  BSci. degree - Clemson University and post graduate management programs.
 
Military & Veteran Service:       
 
Captain, U.S Army (Honorable Discharge) Commanding Officer in Vietnam and U.S. responsible for operations at nine logistical support bases with 250 soldiers and attached units. Recipient of the Bronze Star, Vietnam Campaign/Commendation medals, NJ Distinguished Service medal and Burlington County Honorable Service medal.  Scabbard & Blade military honor society. Washington Crossing Foundation Award for Military and Veterans Service. Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legion, Vice President - Association of the U.S. Army, NJ Area Chair - Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, Vietnam Veterans of America, Military Officers Association of America, AMVETS,Yellow Ribbon Club, Military and Veterans Affairs Programs for NJ, Chairman, Borough Military & Veterans Affairs, Burlington County Military Affairs Committee, Ocean County Military Support Committee,  NJ Vietnam Veterans Memorial, NJ Veterans Chamber of Commerce, Director - Armed Forces Heritage Museum. Field Representative - Military and Veterans Affairs for NJ Third Congressional District.

Directed Military and Veterans Affairs activities for Congressman, staff and public affairs initiatives and lead role as keynote speaker, briefer, panelist, distinguished guest, honored guest and presenter at 1000s of events. Led community outreach efforts for military and veterans to over 70,000 veterans and families.  Chaired Service Academy Nominations Advisory Board and liaison to high school Junior ROTC cadets and Civil Air Patrol cadets. 


>> David Hargrave
Operations Officer​

As Operations Officer for Bridging The Gap for Veterans Foundation, an IRS Fully Determined 501C3, Dave is an accomplished military logistics officer; managed the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) on Fort Dix, and currently facilitates employment workshops for transitioning service members.

At the culmination of nearly 28 years of honorable military service, Dave retired as a Colonel in the United States Army in 2015.  During his career, Dave held leadership positions from platoon leader to battalion commander; as well as being a Director in the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command and the Army G-4 (Logistics) at the Pentagon.  Dave deployed twice to support combat operations in the Middle East.  Dave’s last assignment was as the Command Inspector General for Fort Dix.
After retirement and a few years spent being a stay at home Dad raising his son and daughter, Dave ran the Fort Dix Military TAP on Fort Dix.  It was in this position that Dave first met Mike to support and market the Bridging the Gap Top Gun IGNITE program.  Dave continues to lend his time and talent to support the Bridging the Gap Coffee Program. 

Dave has a M.A. in Strategic Studies from the Army War College and a B.A in Sociology/Criminal Justice from Monmouth University.  He was raised in Collingswood, NJ and returned to NJ after finishing his Army career at Fort Dix.  He currently resides in Southampton, NJ with this wife, Caryn, and his son and daughter, David and Audie.  

 


>> Gary Rich, Senior Career Transition Coach

>> Gianna Ferraro, Communications Specialist