Ret. MG Keith Thurgood, Ph.D.

Professor of Practice,
Strategy and International Management,
The University of Texas at Dallas Director of MS Healthcare Leadership and Management, The University of Texas at Dallas


301 Sparkman Drive
Huntsville, AL 35899
Campus Map


Keith Thurgood is a Clinical Professor of Healthcare Leadership and Management at the Jindal School of Management of the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) where he also leads the graduate program in Healthcare Leadership and Management. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship at UTD. In addition to his responsibilities at UT Dallas, Dr. Thurgood is a faculty member and senior advisor for the Thayer Leader Development Group (West Point, New York).

Dr. Thurgood brings a unique perspective on healthcare, operations management and leadership having served in senior-level leadership positions in for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Most recently, Dr. Thurgood returned to UT Dallas following a sabbatical for an appointment by the Secretary of Defense Chief Management Officer to lead the largest global community services reform effort in a generation. 

Previously, he served as President of Spend and Clinical Management at MedAssets, President and CEO of Overseas Military Sales Corporation, and Senior Vice President of Operations for Sam's Club. He was also CEO of The Exchange (formerly the Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), the U.S. Department of Defense's $10 billion global for-profit retail enterprise. He has also held executive positions with Frito-Lay and PepsiCo. In addition to his civilian job, he has over 28 years of Army service, both active and reserve. Major General Thurgood served as the Deputy Commanding General and Chief of Staff for the United States Army Reserve in Washington, D.C. His last assignment prior to his retirement was as the Deputy, Business Transformation, Office of the Secretary of the Army.

Dr. Thurgood holds a B.A. in Political Science from Brigham Young University, an M.S. in Strategic Studies from the Army War College, an M.S. in Business Administration from Boston University and a Ph.D. in Organizational Development and Leadership from Capella University. He is a frequent nationally recognized speaker on leadership and operations management.


  • Ph.D., Organization Design and Leadership, Capella University
  • M.S., Military Strategic Studies, Army War College
  • M.S., Business Administration, Boston University
  • B.A., Political Science, Brigham Young University


  • Executives in Action
  • Hire Heroes USA
  • America's Future Series
  • Blue Star Veterans Network

Honors & Awards

  • Distinguished Alumni Award, Brigham Young University, 2011
  • Distinguished Leadership Award, Brigham Young University, 2008
  • Distinguished Leader, U.S. Army Transportation Hall of Fame, 2004
  • Distinguished Military Graduate, Brigham Young University, 1981
  • George C. Marshall Leadership Award, 1981


  • Transformational Change
  • Organizational Development
  • Leadership
  • Leader Development
  • Strategy Development and Strategic Planning
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Operational Excellence
  • Supply Chain Management

Recent Publications

  • K.L. Thurgood, "Enterprise Leadership in a VUCA World: A New Model," Conference Proceedings, MBAA International, 2023

  • K.L. Thurgood, "Enterprise Leadership: A Comparative Analysis," Working Paper, January 2023

  • K.L. Thurgood, "Character as a Market Multiplier," Working Paper, December 2022

  • K.L. Thurgood, "Enterprise Leadership in a VUCA World: A New Model," MBAA International, October 2022

  • K.L. Thurgood, "Hic Sunt Leones: Effective Leadership and The Challenge of Change," Journal of International Management Studies, October 2015

  • K.L. Thurgood, "Ethics, Character and Effective Leaders," Working Paper, 2015

  • K.L. Thurgood, "The Journey: Effective Leadership Development and Succession Planning," The Scholars Press, OmniScriptum GmbH & Co. KG., 2015

  • K.L. Thurgood, "Leadership and Character: Why it Matters," Institute of Behavioral and Applied Management Conference, 2014, Proceedings Published 2015

  • K.L. Thurgood, “The Defining Characteristics of Effective Leaders,” Institute of Behavioral and Applied Management," October 2014.

  • K.L. Thurgood, The X Factor: Sustaining Organizational and Personal Xcellence, March 2011.