Secretary Slavonic serves as the deputy and principal assistant to the Secretary of the Navy, as well as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Management Officer for the Department of the Navy. Additionally, he oversees intelligence activities, intelligence-related activities, special access programs, critical infrastructure, and sensitive activities within the Department.
As the Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Secretary Slavonic was responsible for the overall supervision and oversight of manpower and reserve component affairs of the Department of the Navy. Prior to joining the Department, he most recently served as Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and was Lankford’s last chief when he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Prior to Secretary Slavonic’s service on the Hill, he was a senior leader at the Computer Sciences Corporation where he planned and executed several nationwide U.S. Navy community outreach engagements. For the past 40 years, the Secretary has held various civilian senior level positions in the communications industry and held positions with broadcasting and print organizations. He was also president of Flagbridge Strategic Communications, a consulting company focused on strategic communications and leadership development programs. Secretary Slavonic has written two books on leadership development and co-authored a book on American Olympian Jim Thorpe.
He also served as the Executive Director of the Jim Thorpe Association and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. In this role, the Secretary oversaw the annual presentation of the Jim Thorpe Award, presented annually to the “outstanding defensive back” in NCAA (Division I) football. His interest in sports lead him to become a minority partner with the Oklahoma City CAVALRY, a professional basketball team in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) league, which won the CBA championship in 1997.
Secretary Slavonic retired from the U.S Navy/Navy Reserve after a 34-year career. He began by enlisting as a Seaman Recruit and concluded a distinguished career attaining the rank of Rear Admiral. During his Navy career he held four command assignments, served in combat deployments to Vietnam, Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His final assignment was as the Navy’s Sixth Special Assistant to Chief of Information (CHINFO) and Director of Public Affairs Program (Reserve). The Secretary also served as the co-chair for the design and building of the USS Oklahoma Memorial at Pearl Harbor to remember the 429 Sailors and Marines who served aboard the battleship and lost their lives on December 7, 1941.
His service awards include Bronze Star Medal (two awards), Legion of Merit Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Action Ribbon and many other service and campaign medals.
Secretary Slavonic earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Oklahoma State University and M.Ed. from the University of Central Oklahoma, where he was recognized with the Distinguished Alumni Award.
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He was the National Communications Director for the country’s tenth largest personnel company winning every major industry award for advertising and public relations.
He also directed the advertising and marketing for one of retailing’s fastest growing concepts, Glamour Shots high fashion photography, as that company grew from 134 stores to 320 in three countries in two years.
He founded Atkinson Advertising Associates in 1975 and won awards throughout the country including the New York City Advertising Club Andy Awards, Oklahoma City Advertising Club Addy Awards, Ashland-Louisville Advertising Club Tobacco Pouch Awards, IABC Black and Gold Awards, IABC Silver Quill Awards, PRSA Bronze Derrick Awards, PIA Excellence Awards and the Philip Morris Public Relations Awards.
He holds both bachelors and masters degrees in Journalism and has taught courses in advertising, marketing and public relations at the graduate and undergraduate level. He has also hosted his own radio show, “The Afternoon Express,” a current issue talk program on WKY Radio. He is a frequent guest commentator on KAUT-TV Freedom 43.
During Operations Desert Shield and Storm he was recalled to active duty and was responsible for press operations in the United Arab Emirates as the Director of the Joint Information Bureau-Dubai. He also served as the Naval Liaison Officer for the Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management. A former Marine officer, he was decorated for service in Viet Nam. Mr. Atkinson retired as a Captain in the Naval Reserve.
He has advised governors and members of Congress of both parties, having served in the legislative branch of government as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and as Director of Communications for the Governor of Oklahoma. He is a recent inductee into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.
He is active in civic affairs as past vice chairman of Oklahoma’s Capitol Preservation Commission . He has served as president of the Rotary Club of Oklahoma City and the Committee of One Hundred, a trustee of the Cherokee National Historical Society and the University of Central Oklahoma Foundation and American Heart Association-Heartland Branch and is a co-founder of Friends of the Capitol.
He is Past President, Oklahoma City Council of the Navy League and a member of Church of the Servant United Methodist Church, Oklahoma Heritage Association and the Descendants of Nancy Ward Association
He is the author of “Internal Invasion,” a novel on bioterrorism that has been optioned for a screenplay. His newest novel, “Bloodmoon at Cabin Creek,” released in 2006, was named an official Oklahoma Centennial Project. He is currently working on his next novel, “Snowball’s Chance” a story of casino intrigue.