Member Spotlight: Joseph Bohling (B.A., ’90)

Bohling at Nissan’s global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan

By Ann Gill (M.A., ’76)

Joe Bohling was born in the Philippines and came to the United States in the early 1970s after his mother married an American serviceman, who adopted him. He has parlayed outstanding communication skills, a law degree, and an impressive work ethic into extraordinary success in the corporate world. This Alumni Association Life Member and past president of the Alumni board of directors lives with his wife Tammy and their teenage daughters Ava and Ella in Frisco, Texas.

The Bohling family during Homecoming & Family Weekend

Bohling attended Skyline High School in Longmont and, after being named All-State split-end, he was recruited to play football at the Air Force Academy. When he tore his ACL in the state quarterfinals, he was unable to attend the Academy. He also had been accepted at CSU, but without a football scholarship, his family had no way to pay for school. So, Bohling secured a full-time job at Kmart as appliance manager and picked up additional part-time jobs to make ends meet while taking 12 credits a semester. During his time at CSU, Bohling was deeply influenced by philosophy professor Willard Eddy; he also “fell in love with the art of rhetoric” and, for a time, participated on the debate team. He also was co-captain of the men’s indoor volleyball club and a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.

After graduation, he enrolled in law school, keeping his full-time position at Kmart. In his second year, he was elected Case Note and Comment Editor on Law Review and landed a clerkship with Fairfield and Woods, a Denver law firm, which then hired him full-time upon graduation.

After a year as an attorney, Bohling was offered a position at West Hudson, a management consulting firm, for double his salary. He worked with Duke Medical Center, and after closing a $5 million deal with Parkland Hospital in Dallas, he was made one of the youngest vice presidents at West Hudson. When it was sold to Allegiance Healthcare, Bohling got stock options; then Allegiance was acquired by Cardinal Health. This was Bohling’s introduction to mergers and acquisitions, stock options vesting upon change of control, and how wealth is created rapidly. He explains it was “an educational and magical experience relative to where I came from.”

Joe and Tammy Bohling at a CSU event

During the “dot.com boom,” Bohling was recruited by i2 Technologies to run their Mergers and Acquisitions unit. Huge corporations, including Dell and Frito Lay, became clients, and annual revenues increased to $1 billion, with a $50 billion market capitalization value for the corporation. He was responsible for one of the largest software company mergers and acquisitions integration in history, Aspect Development for $9 billion. He explains, “this was an era of private jets, fancy sports cars, and dramatically increasing wealth. Wall Street fell in love with i2 Technologies.”

When the bubble burst in 1998-99 and everything was lost, Bohling bounced around a bit, working senior HR officer roles for various Fortune 500 companies, eventually leading global Human Resources for AFLAC as CHRO. Then in 2012 Berkeley Research Group (BRG), a global consulting firm, recruited him; he now is a global managing director/senior partner working with various clients located in Dallas, San Francisco Bay Area, London, Tokyo, and Dubai. He was instrumental in creating and now leads three of BRG’s “Strategic Business Lines.” The Legacy Academy helps Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) individuals who have amassed huge wealth grow as individuals and do something good for their fellow humans, both in the current generation and the intergenerational wealth transfer that follows. The Dynamic Capabilities practice is focused on strategic business capabilities building, human resources performance improvement, and executive coaching. The Health Transformation Institute, which focuses on improving clients’ organizational and personal resiliency in fighting burnout, while at the same time helping these organizations and their employees with their broader COVID-19 response, recovery, and transformation plans.   If this were not enough, Bohling also last year with a couple of his BRG partners, formed Pilatus Capital, a Venture Capital firm, where he serves as the managing partner & chief investor relations officer, focused on high tech, clean tech, and bio science start-up investment opportunities for his UHNW clients seeking to diversify their financial capital in U.S.-based NewCos.

Bohling also finds time to be a regular speaker and writer for national periodicals, news outlets, and conferences. He is widely acknowledged as an expert on topics ranging from organizational performance improvement, innovation, and effectiveness to talent management and enhancement of employee engagement. This Ram has traveled an extraordinary distance during his lifetime both figuratively and literally, with his nearly 3.5 million cumulative air miles on American Airlines.