Harry Walters served as the 12th Administrator of the U.S. Veterans Administration, reporting directly to President Ronald Reagan. Serving from 1983 to 1987, Mr. Walters oversaw the second largest agency in government, managing a $30 billion budget and 225,000 employees. Twenty-five million veterans are eligible to receive benefits from VA.
Mr. Walters had a very successful career in both the public and private sectors. He served in a number of management positions, including President and CEO of Great Lakes Carbon Corporation, an international manufacturer of carbon based and artificial graphite industrial products. Prior to that, he was Chairman, CEO and owner of Potsdam Paper Corporation and St. Lawrence Pulp Corporation.
Before his appointment as Veterans Administrator, Harry served in the Pentagon as Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. In 2001, Mr. Walters returned to public service as co-chair of the President's Task Force to Improve Healthcare for America's Veterans, a two-year study recommending to President George W. Bush needed changes in the veterans' health system. Mr. Walters also was asked by President George HW Bush to Chair the Desert Storm Homecoming Foundation that hosted the National Victory Celebration for our returning troops from Gulf War 1 in July of 1991. The parade was witnessed by more than one million visitors.
In 2006, Mr. Walters co-founded and is currently Chairman and CEO of the Veterans Coalition, a 501©C3 organization, bringing together major veterans service organizations and many others, for the purpose of bringing about major change in veterans' benefits and services. Harry initiated two significant initiatives in the first two years of the Veterans Coalition. The first is a non-partisan, independent, Commission on the Future for America's Veterans on which Mr. Walters served as Managing Commissioner. The Commission developed plans to transform veterans' health care and benefits nationwide. Additionally, Harry facilitated development of a veterans-centric "think and do tank," the Veterans Coalition Innovation Center, focused on providing rapid, targeted solutions to significant issues affecting veterans today.
Harry Walters was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Infantry after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, class of 1959. He is a US Army trained ranger and paratrooper. He served ten years in the active and reserve Army.
At Mariemont High School in Cincinnati, Ohio he was a member of the Mariemont High School basketball team that won the State of Ohio Championship in 1953. He was also a football player at Mariemont and was accepted as a cadet at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York in 1955. He won honorable mention All American honors in 1958 as the fullback on the last undefeated Army football team featuring a "Lonely End" and a Heisman Trophy winner. Army was ranked #3 in the nation in 1958.
Harry has always been grateful for the education received at Mariemont High School and West Point. Both were extraordinary for their excellence in athletics and academics.
Harry and his wife, Illa, reside in Williamsburg, Virginia.