By ryan buck
One will not find a more polished and articulate man than Boardman native Evan Beard.
More than 11 years after his graduation from Boardman, Beard has an incredible resume ... and a seriously impressive LinkedIn profile.
After five years of military service, three degrees, a burgeoning business career and more life experiences than he can recount, it’s almost too impressive to believe.
But in the summer of 2002, even the ever-composed and articulate Beard saw his world turned upside down.
On the first day of “plebe summer,” the rigorous indoctrination program required of all incoming freshmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, he got a taste of what the next four years of his life would entail.
So did his parents, who dropped him off that day and were invited, like all parents and guardians, to spend the day on campus.
“My father instantly recognized the value of a Naval Academy education,” said Beard, who chose Navy over offers from several Ivy League universities, as well as Duke. “My mother obviously was less than pleased; ‘What did I just drop my son off at?’”
It was not just his indoctrination.
“I was not from a military family,” Beard said. “It was so foreign to me. To see their first-born run off to this bizarre place, there was culture shock for sure.”
Bruce and Phyllis Beard watched older Midshipmen berate his son and his classmates. Overwhelmed as they felt the achievements of their youth diminished to nothing, they recited the school’s oath on command and other pieces of “knowledge,” stood in awe of storied Bancroft Hall (the largest dormitory in the world), and watched admirals and other military dignitaries walk the grounds as F-18 fighter jets flew overhead.
The best, however, was yet to come.
Now a Senior Consultant in Deloitte’s Strategy Group in Washington, D.C., Beard struggled, then thrived in his time at Navy.
“I sort of snuck in on a football scholarship and I’m competing with folks who have dreamed of and worked every day of their lives to be there and they had built that educational acumen,” Beard said by phone from his home in Washington.
He credits his experience as the refinement of the vast potential he exuded as a boy growing up in Youngstown.
“I got a lot out of the academy,” he said. “I was challenged intellectually and physically.”
Beard played linebacker for the Midshipmen for three years before an ACL injury ended his career. He was an excellent student and earned a degree in economics.
He arrived just as they Navy football program took off.
“I thought I would go to the academy, get a great education and be able to play a lot on a bad football team,” he said. “They had a 20-year dry spell. We ended up going to three bowl games and we had a really successful football team.”
Off the field, thanks to an interest in investment management inspired by his father’s profession, Beard earned his Series 7 and Series 63 licenses.
He hosted seminars for classmates in wealth and income management and even gave financial advice to his coaches in Paul Johnson and Ken Niumatalolo.
Johnson hired him to be his investment manager. After Beard graduated in 2006 and stayed on to teach economics coach for a short stint, Niumatalolo asked for his advice on choosing an agent. When no candidates could match his standards, he asked Beard, who later negotiated the largest non-BCS contract in the country on his behalf.
“It happened organically,” Beard said.
The former linebacker served five years in the Navy as an Intelligence Officer, specializing in negotiation with Middle Eastern governments. He put his fascination of geopolitics to use as an analyst at NATO, the daily briefer to the Director of Naval Intelligence.
“For a while I was traveling from one middle eastern country to the next each week,” he said. “I joke around with friends that I was a Naval Officer, but never spent any time at sea.”
While living in Washington, Beard earned a degree from St. John’s College when he wanted to gain a better understanding of debate. Later, he earned an MBA at Oxford when he was stationed at the U.S. Embassy in London.
He returned home, married his girlfriend, Anya, and began his current role with Deloitte.
“I figured I’d better get to work,” he said.
Beard takes every opportunity to travel with Anya and their baby daughter.
He looks back to his time at Boardman when his path to Navy began.
“My entire life was concentrated on one thing and that was about securing a scholarship to play Division I college football,” he said. “It was the essence of my being.”
The events of Sept. 11, 2001, changed that.
“I had no idea of how pivotal of an event it would be in my life and those of all my colleagues,” Beard said.
Beard humbly accepts praise for his service, but deflects credit to friends and classmates who became Marines, Navy SEALS and fighter pilots.
“I played a small role,” he said. “I was always an Intel guy out there negotiating. A lot of my classmates served that a lot more valiantly than I did.”