MEET OUR DEDICATED TEAM
Brett is the founder and President of Backpacks For Life. After serving a 6-year term with the United States Marine Corps., Brett has found himself giving back to his brothers and sisters by serving the homeless and at risk veteran community. Brett deployed to Afghanistan in 2014 and returned to realize a large gap in the care that was provided to veterans coming home from war. From this, Backpacks For Life was born. When Brett isn’t speaking at events, working with veterans around the clock or hosting fundraisers, he is working as a Checker in the International Longshoreman Association.
James M. Di Piazza is CEO/Founder of Bond Street Mortgage LLC. James lives in Nutley, NJ with his wife, Costanza, and two children, Sebastian and Daniela. He has been in the financial services industry for over 20 years and founded Bond Street Mortgage LLC in 2009. James has a passion for helping people realize the American Dream of homeownership and has made it his goal to help all those that are willing to work at achieving this dream. He is involved in various organizations, and has made it a goal to have Backpacks For Life help veterans obtain housing.
Holly Stoll is an 8-year Navy veteran and mother of two. When she is not serving with Backpacks For Life, Holly is a warehouse manager for NAPA Auto Parts. After finding out her own father, a Vietnam veteran, was hiding from her that he was homeless, Holly realized veterans like him needed our help.
Holly works as an advocate for all veterans, with a primary focus on females within Backpacks For Life. In 2013, Holly was one of six female veterans who helped to have two bills passed in New Jersey that support the way that veterans receive care and their access to resources.
As an attorney turned businessman, Greg has advised Backpacks For Life in all legal and financial matters from its inception. Greg is the brother of our founder, Brett and has been a true supporter of Brett’s mission to serve our country and now our veterans. When Greg isn’t supporting Backpacks For Life at events or in weekly meetings, he is either snowboarding or golfing.
Alexa is the co-founder and Vice President of Backpacks For Life. She is also Brett’s girlfriend. Upon Brett’s return home from Afghanistan, Alexa saw first hand just how challenging it was for Brett to reintegrate back into civilian life. Alexa works closely alongside Brett to ensure our veterans are taken care of. With a degree from University of Rhode Island in Public Relations, Alexa oversees all communications, events and operations for Backpacks For Life When she is not working at BFL, Alexa is working in New York City, as a Retail Planner for Sam Edelman.
Mike is a US Navy Veteran who served in the Gulf War during Operation Enduring Freedom. Mike is employed at Bond Street Mortgage and has been in the industry for 14 years. He specializes in the VA Home Loan arena after spending time in a different area of the mortgage world and realizing he could better help people and most importantly, veterans looking to use their benefits to purchase a home. Mike’s mission is to educate veterans through the process of obtaining a VA Home Loan. In 2007, Mike lost his brother to suicide after he had returned home from a yearlong tour in Iraq. Mike has joined our team to continue serving his brothers and sisters who may be experiencing challenges as his brother did.
As our Design and Systems Engineer, Tim Johnson is responsible for developing the various features and accessories that make up the BFL backpack. Tim graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He moved on to work for Machine Design and Maintenance, specializing in automation and robotic systems. On the side, Tim helps people with prototyping ideas for inventions. While Tim is a civilian, he feels passionately for our veterans, as his grandfather was a Veteran of 3 wars.
As part of our Program Development and Advancement Team, Kara is dedicated to ensuring our initiatives are comprehensively researched, implemented, and progressing accordingly. Kara graduated from Vermont Law School with a Juris Doctor and a Master's Degree in 2017. She is currently a Law Clerk in the Superior Court of New Jersey. When Kara is not supporting Backpacks For Life, she is either doing yoga, rock climbing, or making tapestries for her Etsy Shop.