Colonel Todd Riddle
U.S. Air Force
Colonel Todd “Riddler” Riddle is a combat-decorated fighter pilot, former Air Force squadron commander, parachutist with the famous 82nd Airborne, and youth pastor. In addition to being a senior military leader, “Riddler” also served as a Secretary of Defense Executive Fellow with a Fortune 500 mobile technology giant, learning to apply the agility of C-Suite decision-making and innovation to the Department of Defense.
Todd thrives at leading teams to perform at their best when it matters the most. As a fighter squadron commander, Todd has led hundreds of America’s finest men and women on complex multinational global combat missions when the stakes are the highest. Fearlessly embracing facts while adding large doses of humor, modeling vulnerability, and finding the best fit for the needs, talents, and passions of each team member are skills he finds inherent to exceptional leadership. Todd has been a nationally recognized keynote speaker presenting to audiences of corporate, military, and church or service organizations for 12 years.
Colonel Riddle entered the Air Force in 1998 as a graduate of the University of Nebraska. He is a command pilot with more than 3,500 flight hours in the A-10 and T-38. He has served multiple combat tours across the Middle East, led multinational joint task force exercises in the Baltics and the United Kingdom, and served at the Combined Air Operations Centers at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia and Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. He has flown in support of Operations INHERENT RESOLVE, FREEDOM’S SENTINEL, ATLANTIC RESOLVE, ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and SOUTHERN WATCH. Colonel Riddle has commanded the 303rd Fighter Squadron and served as the Inspector General for the 442nd Fighter Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base.
Col. Riddle has a Master's degree in Organizational Leadership and is a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, Reserve Component National Security Course, Air War College, and the NATO Senior Officer Policy Course.
Colonel Riddle’s experience as the Secretary of Defense Executive Fellow was with Qualcomm Technologies in San Diego, Ca. While there, he was a member of the Strategic Operations section of Qualcomm Government technologies while also supporting the Corporate Development, Research, and Design, and Human Resources divisions. His experience included exposure to AI systems-on-chip design, image processing for self-driving innovation, and military applications of 5G technologies. The SECDEF Fellow program is designed to expose future senior leaders to the agile corporate decision-making, strategic planning, and leveraging of commercial innovation utilized by Fortune 500 companies throughout the nation.
Why Fighter Pilots Win: Personal Excellence when the stakes are the highest
Fighter pilots are trained to consider their own strengths & vulnerabilities when developing their combat tactics. Discover how knowing yourself, knowing your competitor and learning how to build a system of preparation and feedback is critical to peak performance. Ensure your team is at its best when it matters the most.
Band of Brothers: How to build and lead a winning team
Fighter pilots build tactics and squadron operations based on the mutual support and cross-functional abilities within a unit. Inspiring leaders are able to model courage, competence and humility in a manner that compels followers to perform at their highest level for a cause and purpose greater than their own interests.
Re-Ignite! Discover purposeful, passionate and balanced living in this crazy life
Combining lessons from the cockpit to the living room carpet, this keynote leans on the pithy wisdom of Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige to re-order our lives and priorities. Determining what makes each of us come alive and nurturing those passions, as well as grappling with the challenges of this world, provides the framework for a fun and deeply personal look at what we value and how we engage our world.
Serving from the front of the pack: Exceptional Leadership
Some of our nation's greatest heroes understood and modeled servant leadership. Gain unique insights as to how today's military leaders demonstrate, or fail to demonstrate, servant leadership and how your team can apply those lessons to your workplace and how you can earn the right to lead.
It's cold out, put your coat on! Maximize the impact of our own support systems
Fighter pilots always head into battle in groups. Mutual support is a key tenant of our tactics and each member has specific responsibilities to ensure mission accomplishment. Combining experiences in the cockpit to those humbling life events we inevitably share, learn how to engage all of your surrounding support systems to ensure personal and professional success.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Expectations and Contentment
Aspiring fighter pilots must quickly adapt to the realities of success and failure amidst an intense peer group. Research clearly ties our quality of life with our ability to assess and manage our own expectations. Passionate, purpose-filled living and working are possible when we're able to take a "mission oriented" look at our own expectations and life priorities.
"He established a connection with the audience from the beginning, had clearly outlined his presentation points, used great props and did a superb job-easily as good as any I've seen of the paid professional speakers we have employed as part of this program."
~Mary Z. Hill, Col (ret), Director HQ AFRC Yellow Ribbon Program
"He was warm, energizing...I feel like we're best friends and I just met him"
~David Dane, US Air Force Public Affairs
"Todd Riddle is first and foremost a man of Character. He has a servant’s heart. He is a servant of those in his family, profession, community, country and to God. He has proven organizational management skills in the four critical areas of Planning, Organizing, Leading and Coordinating/Controlling. Todd is a speaker with knowledge, passion and the ability to persuade to action."
~Mr. Johnny Clark, Senior Vice President/Advisory Board Member American National Bank
"Todd is an excellent motivational speaker who was asked to speak to the church on numerous occasions and whose remarks were always well received by the church. Todd inspired people to action with words that were spoken with clarity, organization and humor. His personal leadership skills were evidenced by the change and order that he was able to initiate among the staff and members of the congregation and by the influence that he had on the Board of Directors."
~Rev. Ron Barnard, Heritage Assembly of God church
"He has the unique ability to demand excellence from all around him while maintaining a professional bearing that people want to perform for. In short, he cares about people and the mission without thought for himself or his career. He is a LEADER and then a manager and we can't find enough of those in this day and age"
~Col. Brian Borgen, Commander, 442 Fighter Wing
Colonel Todd Riddle
Col. Riddle is the 442d Operations Support Flight Commander at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. The 442d Fighter Wing is an Air Force Reserve A-10 Thunderbolt II unit. As the OSF Commander, Col. Riddle is responsible for directing the intelligence operations, flight equipment and aviation records programs of the 442d Fighter Wing. Recently serving as the 442FW Inspector General and Director of the Commander’s Inspection program, Col. Riddle leads the inspection and strategic planning schedule for the $80M/year FW operations program. He also maintains a combat mission-ready status as an A-10C Instructor Pilot.
Col. Riddle is a 1996 graduate of Evangel College and a 1998 ROTC graduate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He served 10 years in the active duty Air Force in A-10 and T-38 instructor assignments. During his first A-10 assignment, Col. Riddle parachuted and trained with the 82d Airborne as a Battalion Air Liaison Officer. His subsequent tour with Air Education and Training Command was at Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, where he was a flight commander, squadron safety officer and check pilot for the multi-national mission.
Col. Riddle is a command pilot with more than 2,850 flying hours. He has flown combat missions in support of Operation Southern Watch, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Atlantic Resolve. Col. Riddle has been credited with engaging and destroying enemy forces while flying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom as well as leading Combat Search and Rescue missions.
Education & Scholarship
1996 Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, Evangel College, Springfield, MO (Magna Cum Laude)
1993-1996 Teaching Fellow, Behavioral Sciences and Biblical Studies Departments, Evangel College, Springfield, MO
1996 ‘Most Promising Graduate’ Behavioral Sciences Department
1996 Research Assistant, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
1998 Air Force ROTC, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE (AFIT Blue Chip Graduate –Top 15% of Nat’l grads)
1998 Air Force ROTC USAA ‘Spirit Award’, given to cadet demonstrating high character and leadership
2001 Joint Firepower Control Course, Nellis AFB, NV
2005 Squadron Officer School, in residence (Top Third Graduate)
2012 Masters of Organizational Leadership, Evangel University, Springfield, MO (4.0 GPA, Top Scholarship selectee)
2012 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
2013 Reserve Component National Security Course, National Defense University, Ft, McNair
2013 Air War College (enrolled, by correspondence)
2014 Reserve Officer Exchange Program, Euro Fighter, German Air Force
2014 US Air Force Inspector General Officer of the Year
Awards & Decorations
Meritorious Service Medal (2)
Air Medal (8)
Air Force Commendation Medal (2)
Air Force Achievement Medal (3)
Air Force Combat Action Medal
Meritorious Unit Award
AF Outstanding Unit Award w/ Valor Device (5)
Combat Readiness Medal (3)
National Defense Service Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Rating: Command Pilot
Flight hours: More than 2,850
Aircraft flown: T-37, T-38, AT-38, A-10C
Afghanistan Campaign Medal (3)
Iraq Campaign Medal (3)
Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon w/Gold Border
AF Longevity Service (3)
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
AF Training Ribbon