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Executive Team

Georg J. Schlueter, Ph.D., President and CEO of United States Online University. He holds an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics, and an M.B.A. in Business Management. He has extensive business development and business management experience obtained in internationally operating large corporations.

He applied and expanded his experience in several startup companies, where focused and disciplined business management is an important success factor. Dr. Schlueter currently applies his long-standing expertise in his own management consulting firm, Hansa Technologies International, which provides technology-driven work process solutions and custom applications. His clients recognize him as a resourceful creator of effective change for organizations in transition.

Dr. Schlueter's cross-disciplinary work started at the Institute of Technology in Aachen, Germany, where, based on his degree work in Technology, he earned a Scholarship from the Volkswagenwerk Stipendium toward studies of Economics and Business Management. The influence of this cross-functional training stayed with him throughout his professional career. While Dr. Schlueter steadily progressed toward executive responsibilities, he accepted and performed technical as well as managerial assignments and often had the opportunity to combine the two.

Since 1994, Dr. Schlueter has been a faculty member of the University of Phoenix, San Diego Campus, where he has been lead faculty for the School of Business & Technology Management. He actively participates in the International Forum of Corporate Directors (IFCD) and serves on the Board of a technology-based start-up firm in San Diego. Dr. Schlueter published numerous papers addressing significant technical and managerial topics of pressing importance.

His personal interests include skiing, bicycling, and ocean sailing. He has his home in San Diego where he lives with his wife and an adult daughter.


Herbert J. Kellner, Ph.D., Vice President, Business Development. Holds advanced degrees in Psychology and Communications from both German and American universities. Dr. Kellner served as a Professor of Communications at Clayton University, established by the faculty of Harvard University, and also Director of Continuing Education Programs throughout Europe for New York University and Pepperdine University.

Dr. Kellner has published numerous articles in training and development journals. He is author of several books, contributing author to the Personnel Encyclopedia, and research author of "Creating Your Future, An Action Guide For A Better Tomorrow". (Co-Authors: Dr. Stephen Covey, Dr. Billy Graham, Art Linkletter, Dr. Betty Youngs, Zig Ziglar, et al.) He designed, produced and delivered more than one hundred video training programs for a variety of organizations, including eight Fortune 100 companies. He developed and produced the only competency-based, video-driven and computer-scored sales assessment program. His Sales Talent Assessment Review program (STAR) is published in five languages and over 1 million salespeople worldwide have participated.

Herbert was the recipient of the ASTD Professional Contribution Award and the European Award of Masters for Innovation. He received the German Training Award for his Sales Assessment Program FIT. A panel of highly regarded producers and the editorial staff of the AV Video & Multimedia Producer Magazine have selected him from a large pool of applicants as one of the Top 100 producers. Dr. Kellner has been honored for his excellence in Human Resources Development Research by the International Academy of Sciences of San Marino. He is a past President of the European Trainer Association and a national member of ASTD, the American Society for Training and Development.

His personal interests are in scuba diving and sailing. In 1987, he sailed with his wife and daughter on a 38' sailboat from Germany to California. Five years later, they proudly became American citizens.


Gitta H. Kellner, M.A., Vice President, Administration. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. in Psychology. Her scope of duties includes all aspects of project management, accounting, personnel management, scheduling and budgeting. Gitta was involved in the production of more than 100 off-the-shelf video training packages for sales and management. She organized the first International Trainer Conference for European training directors held at New York University.Gitta was involved in the launch of Training Magazine Germany, a publication for training managers and HRD consultants. She managed the production and distribution of the magazine.In her spare time, Gitta enjoys book reading, classical music, beach walks, jogging, cycling and gardening.

Connie Penn, Ph.D., serves as our Senior Vice President, Program Development. In this position, Connie leads the implementation of the Accreditation Program for Career Coaches. Dr. Penn is a clinical psychologist in private practice with degrees from UCLA and CSPP San Diego.
She is President of the Accrediting Alliance for Training and Development. Connie is coauthor of the widely used training programs “Conflict Management” and “Relationship Booster–The Heart-Body-Brain Connection”.
Connie is also on the board of directors of Mercy Force, a media-driven organization, utilizing the Internet, television, multimedia programs, seminars, workshops and conferences to empower homeless people to reverse their situation and restore their lives.
Dr. Mikel R. Walton is Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives. In this position, Mikel leads initiatives in support of the company's strategic priorities, including content development, international expansion, cross-platform opportunities, and digital growth.
He works closely with the executive team to ensure continued progress toward the company's goals. Mikel is a senior executive in United States Online University's Research & Development Council and primarily focused on instructional systems design and seminar development. He is Senior Editor for Lifelong Learning Magazine and oversees the Train the Trainer program worldwide. Mikel is also Co-Developer of Job Contender.

As a lifelong student of Theology, Mikel has served as Executive Director of Christian Camping Programs and as an Associate Pastor for a large regional church. Mikel lives with his wife Debbie and their four children in coastal north county of San Diego. As an avid cyclist, hiker and surfer, Mikel enjoys the variety of outdoor recreation that only Southern California can offer.


Gary Kinnee, Director Marketing, brings over 30 years experience managing people and programs for large multinational aerospace firms. He has also served as a management consultant to Hughes Aircraft Company.

As a field engineering manager for Air Traffic Control programs, DOT Traffic Management programs, and shipboard and submarine display, radar and tactical data systems, Gary was responsible for marketing, programs and support personnel assigned throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

Gary began his career as an electronics engineer and was instrumental in the development and deployment of the advanced submarine systems program. He organized numerous technical, management, and leadership development seminars. Gary is a senior executive in the University's Research & Development Council and primarily focused on the design and development of the competency simulator.

Gary lives in Southern California with his wife Dana. They have two sons and four grandsons. He enjoys traveling, private piloting, hiking and camping.


Michael Fischer, Director, Network Development, is a sales and management trainer and a performance consultant. He conducts seminars in Australia, Germany and the United States. Michael is a Senior Executive for Research & Development and primarily focused on instructional systems design and seminar development.

In 1988, he became a partner in an international training company. Five years later, he started his own training company, designed and conducted seminars and consulted many well-known companies like IBM and Pacific Bell.

Michael lives in California with his wife Patricia. He loves to walk and is an avid reader. In his sparetime he coaches Empowering the Teen Spirit, a seminar organization specialized in motivating teenagers and young adults.


Prof. Dr. Peter Hardegger, M.B.A., Senior Executive Research & Development. He has over twenty-five years of professional experience in adult education. He was a sales trainer at Mercuri-Goldmann, International Training Center for Leadership and Sales. In this capacity, he developed and conducted several international training projects for Fortune 500 companies and designed and delivered more than twenty training programs for different clients.

After starting his own training and consulting business, Peterr served many organizations as a trainer and consultant. He pioneered the use of competency-based, video-driven and computer-scored assessment programs in Europe. During the last ten years, Peter focused his training and development activities on the insurance industry. Recently, he introduced and implemented a competency-based development system for a well known insurance group in Germany. This system made it possible to significantly reduce the cost for recruiting while boosting competency levels, performance, Return of Investment and Value of Investment.

Peter is a regular contributor to the Lifelong Learning Magazine and an expert in online learning. His personal interests include acting in a community theater, swimming and bicycling.


Dr. Folkert Klaassen, Director, Public Relations. He holds a B.A. in Human Behavior and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Communications. His career highlights include correspondent and editor to the German Broadcasting Corporation. He was Vice-President for the American Television Network, Inc. (German television in America).

Dr. Klaassen has served many organizations as a consultant. His clients include Jaguar, Best Western Group etc. He has over 25 years professional experience focused on three major areas: journalism, television production, and public relations consulting. As founder and publisher of the exclusive VIP Online Magazine, he has covered many important events worldwide and interviewed numerous public figures and celebrities.

He is the American ambassador for the Club of Europe. In 1994, he was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz, one of the highest German decorations, because of his special merits for the spreading of German culture on the North American continent and because of his pledge for indigent people. In 1995, Folkert. Klaassen was distinguished with the Pyramide di mani in gold by the German UNESCO Ambassador Ute Henriette Ohoven because of his contributions to the relief organization Children in Need.


Steven P. Hadar, M.A., Director, Research & Development. He has been a student and teacher of leadership, behavioral sciences and organizational development for over a quarter of a century. Holding a B.S. in Psychology and an M.A. in Human Resources Management, he had over 20 years in practical experience as a leader in the United States Marine Corps. As a senior officer, he commanded an organization of over 1,000 highly motivated individuals.

While Head of the Leadership and Management Department of the prestigious Marine Corps Command and Staff College, he incorporated the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as a self-assessment and team-building tool for hundreds of officers and several military and civilian organizations. Known for his passion for leadership, Lt.Col Hadar was invited two consecutive years to lead seminars at the annual Russell Leadership Conference hosted at the FBI Academy.

After his military service, he also served as an executive in corporate America. He founded Eagles Unlimited, an association of management consultants providing time management, personal development and organizational effectiveness seminars. Steve is an active member of Toastmaster International and an accomplished speaker and trainer. As such, he has conducted seminars throughout the United States, Canada, and the Far East. Steve Hadar served as Assistant Professor for Management at Newport University.

His personal hobbies include dancing, skiing, physical fitness, hang gliding, and enjoying San Diego.