john van steenburgh

Army Veteran

John Van Steenburgh


Brandon, FL


Summer 2017

John Van Steenburgh did most of his growing up in Brandon, Florida, where he was the youngest of three children.  John earned his Eagle Scout rank in Boy Scouts in 1982, and claims that this is where he developed his passion for the outdoors. In fact, he’s more than happy to tell you that his favorite place to be is “anywhere outdoors,” and he has long been active in backpacking and camping, water sports, snow sports, and road- and mountain-biking.  

Growing up as an “Air Force brat,” John developed a strong bend toward multi-culturalism.  With that in his background, and a clear drive to see and experience the world for himself, John was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force in 1996.  As a Manpower Officer, his ‘world tour’ began with an awesome assignment in San Antonio, TX, which John likes to joke was his first “overseas” assignment because of the uniqueness of the Texas culture and people.  John jumped from Texas to South Korea, and then to Germany, quickly expanding his diverse cultural experiences.  While there, he was given the opportunity to do a “career broadening” assignment, which is where he got his first taste of work in the diplomatic world, and he loved it!  But, after 13 years in the Air Force, John took a really big leap in 2008 and traded in his Air Force blue uniform for an Army green one when he transferred to the U.S. Army to be a Foreign Area Officer.  This change of military service and career field gave John the opportunity to develop and use his newfound passion for International Relations and National Security Affairs while he continued to serve our country.  So, following a few years back in the States, John moved back to Europe, this time to Italy, and followed that with a move to Ghana.  John will retire from the Army in October of 2017.  He enjoys talking about all of his time and experiences overseas, and says the final tally of countries he visited (for both work and play) is 34!

Somewhere in all this fun, John found time to start a family.  He is married to his wife, Ann, and they have two wonderful and very energetic boys, Isaac and Noah, who keep them really busy and having fun.  John has served as their coaches in Little League baseball, as well as their leaders in Cub Scouts.

John did his undergraduate work in Psychology and Engineering at Auburn University.  He’s a big fan of those Tigers and is happy to exchange a hearty “War Eagle!” with any Auburn fans that come around.  John has been to graduate school twice, once at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL, where he studied Experimental Psychology, and the other at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, where he studied Regional Security Affairs.

After his fellowship at the Dog Tag Bakery, John hopes to continue enjoying his life in the outdoors, sharing as much of it as he can with his family, and making a career out of it.  John plans to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities that will leverage his knowledge of the outdoors and his experiences in world travel.

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