Our Team – Strong Advice

Our Team

mike_strong_headshot_may101_qfb1Mike Strong


With a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois, USA, Mike Strong is the thought champion behind STRONG ADVICE. As Founder and Director, he has spent 30 years in the Middle East and currently resides in the United Arab Emirates. Mike is a versatile man who has served in various HR capacities during his 27 years of service at Saudi Aramco, Dhahran, KSA. He has served as an organization specialist, job evaluator, and supervised training and development groups. As a father of three sons, and various roles as a supervisor and director, Mike knows the challenges of a leader in an international setting. He wants to share those insights. Helping others become better leaders is his personal goal and mission for his company.

me2Melony Strong

Curriculum Advisor

Melony has been married (to Mike) for more than 35 years and they lived in Saudi Arabia for 27 years. Together they have raised 3 sons in this international inter-cultural environment. Creative expression has always been a part of everything she puts her hand and heart to work with. She loves to find a unique and interesting way for people to grasp the concepts taught in a memorable way. Whether teaching children or adults, she wants to make sure the content is applied practically. In addition to her passion for training, she enjoys meeting with women on a one-to-one basis for mentoring and coaching. She holds a Masters in curriculum development from Oklahoma University, USA.

Horst Simon

Director – Risk

Horst Simon is a veteran in banking operations management, mergers, take-overs and implementation projects. He is now at the forefront of thinkers on the Future of Risk Management with Risk Management Concepts and Risk Culture Building programs that disrupt and transform organisations to build sustainable competitive advantage. A career of almost 4 decades with leading Global Banks and Professional Services firms; living in 4 countries and working in more than 20 on short-term assignments and transformation projects.


B.J. Cocilo

Marketing Manager

B. J. Cocilo brings nearly 30 years of business experience to Strong Advice. In his career he has worked 21 years internationally. He has had significant experience as a Business Consultant with a focus on opening new markets for clients. BJ’s unique understanding of Arabian Gulf Culture and his ability to speak Arabic have allowed him to be an influencer of influencers. These coupled with Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees have allowed BJ to be an effective consultant, coach, and mentor over the years. He is a highly committed family man, married to his wife, Karen, for 31 years. They have raised 3 children cross-culturally. One of his other passions is building-up people.

drc pass photoDennis Cox

Lead Trainer

Dennis Cox has 37 years experience working in International Business and Industrial companies in the Middle East. He is from the USA and has worked in the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Yemen. His experience in Engineering & Management in companies such as McDermott International, ARAMCO and Chevron-Texaco gave him rich experience in multi-national companies. His experience with local firms in the paint, water & food industry gives him a deep understanding of how local companies operate in the region. Dennis is the proud father of 4 children and 4 grandchildren. Mr. Cox holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech; he also has a CELTA certificate. At heart, Dennis is an entrepreneur and has started several businesses and opened branch offices for multi-national companies. His first love now is to see emerging managers & leaders become equipped to succeed and make a positive contribution to their companies.