Patrick O'Connell serves as the U.S. Navy’s chief of naval personnel and draws on past leadership experience as interim program and strategy director with High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd. In this position, he set in place an ambitious high speed rail project that is set to be completed in 2033. With nearly two decades of experience living abroad, Patrick O'Connell has made his home in countries such as Japan, France, and Spain, and he seeks out authentic cultural experiences wherever he is.
One of Spain’s most unique traditions is La Tomatina, which is held annually in the village of Bunol in eastern Spain each August and includes “tomato battles.” The roots of this festival are said to extend to 1945, when a food fight broke out involving gigantes y cabezudos (giant-headed parade figures) and young revelers. The next year the animosity repeated itself in another massive tomato confrontation, which law enforcement officers ultimately gave up trying to quell, and it soon after became a signature regional event.
With “fun” the operative word, La Tomatina now centers on a massive tomato fight that brings in 22,000 visitors each year, and requires tickets reserved in advance. With strict rules in place that all tomatoes must be crushed before being thrown to avoid injury, some revelers go so far as to wear a snorkel mask to protect their face as some 150,000 kilograms of tomatoes are flung.
Patrick O'Connell, the current chief of personnel for the US Navy, formerly served as the interim program and strategy director for High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) in the United Kingdom. Aside from his professional success with HS2 and the US Navy, Patrick O’Connell draws personal satisfaction from traveling to far-flung corners of the world.
One of the many places Mr. O’Connell has visited is the Bandhavgarh region of India, which is home to a world-renowned tiger reserve of the same name. Bandhavgarh National Park boasts the highest density of tigers in India. As such, it is considered an essential stop on any tour of the region.
Other than tigers, Bandhavgarh National Park has more than 250 species of birds, 22 species of mammals, and 70 species of butterflies. Other mammals found in the park include leopards, Bengal foxes, striped hyenas, and wild boars.
Currently chief of naval personnel with the US Navy, Patrick O’Connell is a respected organizational administrator who previously served as UK interim program and strategy director at High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd. At HS2, he oversaw efforts toward establishing a high-speed rail system that will connect Leeds, Manchester, and London. Outside of work, Patrick O’Connell enjoys traveling all over the world and has visited places such as Zimbabwe, where he embarked on an elephant safari.
Zimbabwe maintains a coordinated National Elephant Management Plan that represents a bright spot in the fight against illegal poaching of elephants. With elephants in the country facing potential extinction in the 1980s, officials set a target population of 35,000 elephants, which has been thus far surpassed. In 2014, the population stood at 83,000 elephants.
At the core of Zimbabwe’s unique approach to conservation is the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources, or CAMPFIRE, which allows those living on communal lands to benefit from wildlife conservation by granting them rights to manage the wildlife there. Nevertheless, serious conservation issues still exist, as witnessed by the recent poisoning of 10 elephants by cyanide in the vicinity of Hwange National Park.
The former director of HS2, Patrick O’Connell is the chief of naval personnel with the United States Navy. An active member of his professional community, former HS2 director Patrick O’Connell belongs to Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS), the international honor society of business programs.
As part of its efforts to encourage academic achievement in business, BGS grants members access to numerous resources, including the Center for the Public Trust Ethical Leadership Certification Program. Made possible through a partnership between BGS and the Center for the Public Trust, the program is part of BGS’ attempt to assist members facing ethical dilemmas in the workplace. All collegiate members of BGS are eligible to enroll.
The program is offered online through six self-guided modules, which feature various Fortune 500 CEOs who discuss different topics relating to ethicality in the professional realm. Topics include ethical decision making, conflict management, and organization support. At the end of each module, students take a test to ensure they have learned the necessary information.
Upon completion of the course, students receive Ethical Leadership Certification, which gives them an advantage when applying to jobs.
The chief of naval personnel for the United States Navy, Patrick O’Connell has more than three decades of public and private senior executive experience.