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successful orientation strategies

Skilled SOS

About Us

​Skilled SOS a nonprofit founded in 2009 to help students and workers make better career, education and finance decisions. With the influx of Afghan refugees in the USA, we recognized the need for resettlement assistance as well as our unique position to have resources to aid in school and work placement. We've expanded our outreach to newly-arrived immigrants in Utah. Our mission is to provide skills, abilities, and resources to help individuals to become self-sufficient and to promote cross-cultural understanding.

A Beckon  of Hope

successful orientation strategies


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Robert C. Sorenson
Chairman of the Board of Directors

Sorenson has been involved with educational processes for 30 years.  As a senior Pfizer, pharmaceutical consultant, Sorenson trained and educated doctors and hospital staff on complex medications and provided expert field knowledge to senior Pfizer executives.  Sorenson’s strategic and conceptual abilities are critical in identifying and overcoming road blocks and obstacles to bring projects together and make them financially feasible to insure all parties will benefit.  Sorenson left pharmaceuticals and helped form several start-up companies including SideKick ICS, to help improve education through technology innovation.   Sorenson is a former Chairman of the Board of a Utah Credit Union and a graduate of Utah State University.  He resides in Alpine, Utah.   

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Christopher B. Shirley

Christopher Shirley has been involved with educational processes for over a decade. As a Masonry instructor Shirley has trained and educated high school students for a career in the Masonry industry. Shirley has served on numerous Boards to assist in the promotion of engaging student interest in Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathways and the promotion of the Masonry industry. Christopher was the President of the Masonry Instructors Association of Pennsylvania and Maryland. As well as the President of the Indiana-Armstrong Home Builders Association. The Vice President of CCenergy Solutions, Christopher is part of a resourceful team that uses recyclable and reclaimable materials for future energy needs. Shirley is the director of utilizing Scholastic Esports to assist in establishing career pathways in computer related courses in High Schools.  Christopher has a Master’s Degree in Workforce Education and Development from the Pennsylvania State University. Shirley is working with Watersmark to establish CTE courses in Haiti.

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David G. Beckstrand

Beckstrand is an expert in bringing people and organizations together through partnerships and joint ventures, creating win/win strategies through proven managing change and conflict resolution principles and processes.  For many years, Beckstrand was responsible for Citibank’s Consumer Human Resources organizations in the United States and Latin America.  David retired from the corporate world as a Senior Vice President over Human Resources for Kelly Services, a fortune 400 company.  He moved west, became a real estate developer and helped form several small companies including Skilled SOS.  He has devoted the last few years of his life developing creative educational solutions to help students make smart career choices.  He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and resides in Utah. 

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Brian Ballard

Ballard is an experienced software designer, developer, and systems analyst with expertise in systems planning, deployment, communication development, data design, collection strategy and application.  He helps companies identify and implement critical technology needs.  He is founder and President of Hoplite, LLC. 

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Mark Nelson

National Account Manager

Conley Equipment Company

Mark has been in sales and marketing for over 20 years in many industries including health, construction and power.  He has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing from the University of Northern Colorado and resides in Lehi, UT.   

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Trina Brinkman
Advisory Board

Trina Brinkman is a skilled communicator with a marketing degree from BYU and a masters degree in business administration from the UoU. As an adjunct professor of communications for BYUI, she teaches subjects such as marketing, public relations, and presentation. As the Director of Speaker Development for SnappConnerPR, she specialized in fine-tuning the unique benefit each speaker brought to their audience. With a focus to give back to her community, she joined five other founders to start Renaissance Academy, a public charter school located in Lehi. When she isn’t speaking to middle schoolers about their individual worth and impact, she enjoys participating in Toastmasters and assisting clients with insurance and real estate investing needs.

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Josh Barney
Advisory Board

My personal philosophy is to "Give more than I take." I believe in giving value to those I surround myself with. I want a better world and I am not going to wait around for someone to make it. I believe in action and I see the world as it could be. I am passionate about esports and creating experiences.
My position previous was the Director of Technology with the Utah Jazz, overseeing the technology that the basketball team and practice facility uses, consumer-facing technologies (digital signage, point of sale, wifi connectivity, etc.) at the Vivint Arena, and emerging platforms and innovation within the sports and entertainment industry. Previously I was Director of Esports where I started the Jazz Gaming (NBA 2K League) team and was responsible for the profit & loss and operations. I also serve as an Esports Steering Committee member for SEAT.
Prior to joining the Utah Jazz, I was with the State of Nevada working on building out the education network infrastructure within the state, for university and K-12 schools. I have also spent time at State Farm Insurance and consulting for the US Air Force.

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Pete Kayll
Advisory Board

Kayll is a former British Royal Marine with over two decades of service in the military and security industry.

A senior security consultant with extensive experience operating in the Middle East and Europe, with current extraction and turn-key business faciliation worldwide.

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