There are a lot of incredible compelling stories of innovative, dynamic, inspiring and hardworking military entrepreneurs. These stories reflect passion, innovation, dedication, and faithfulness to their military roots. Blake Hall, the CEO of ID.me, created a secure technology platform to accurately identify individual people in a virtual environment. William McNulty and Jake Wood created Team Rubicon, a global social entrepreneurship venture, to assist recovery efforts following natural disasters. Betsy and Emily Nunez created Sword & Plough, a company that creates fashion items and bags from military surplus gear. These companies and others are all amazing efforts.
I have selected three other military entrepreneurs that rose in my opinion above incredible odds and adversity to be successful. I selected these three because they represent core military attributes in business. These businesses are successful, passionate, innovative, entrepreneurial, and they are unabashedly pro-American and pro-military.
Product / Services: Battle tested & fashionable tactical nylon backpacks and an adventure / endurance event, the GoRuck! Challenge, that places participants in varying levels of military-SOF style endurance challenges.
CEO: Jason McCarthy.
Military Background: US Army Special Forces Soldier.
Slogan: “We build the best gear right here in the USA, we lead team-building endurance events based on our experiences in Special Forces, and we love to ruck.”
What Makes Them Unique: GoRuck! Started with a mission to build better backpacks and ended up building better American’s who wear better backpacks. GoRuck! created the GoRuck Challenge as a way to challenge Americans to undertake some of the fitness challenges of the military but also as a way to help bridge and overcome the civil-military divide by exposing American’s first hand to military fitness challenges.
Company: Ranch Road Boots
Product / Services: Fashionable cowboy boots and Western wear accessories.
CEO: Sarah Ford.
Military Background: US Marine Corps Logistician.
Slogan: “Exude an air of adventure. Make your mark on the world with feet firmly planted in a killer pair of boots. Texas Ranch Roads connect you to the soul of cowboy boots and send you packing to destinations ready to be explored.”
What Makes Them Unique: Ranch Road Boots enabled Sarah Ford to create and sell a luxury line of boots that were inspired by her grandfather. You can buy boots anywhere, but Ranch Road Boots are meant to be a styled, premium, uniquely American, and uniquely Texan form of fashion expression.
Company: The Next Objective (TNO)
Product / Services: A social entrepreneurship organization. TNO provides motivation, community, support and assistance for military veterans to create a lifestyle of fitness and health that inspires personal success and empowerment.
President: Derek Weida.
Military Background: US Army Airborne Infantry Soldier – Purple Heart Recipient.
Slogan: “The Next Objective aims to engage our returning warriors, seeks to encourage them in new and challenging endeavors designed to inspire confidence, and intends to empower them to once again recognize their inherent abilities and seize their full potential in a new life outside of the armed forces.”
What Makes Them Unique: The Next Objective is all about personal empowerment and success through fitness, community, and team work. TNO seeks to give back and restore that personal sense of purpose and mission that military personnel possess in the military and then sometimes lose when they leave military service. TNO is small but it is empowering all those veterans it touches with a strong sense of fitness, purpose, and personal responsibility.
These three military veteran entrepreneurs are only a few. Know some great military veteran entrepreneurs and businesses? List them below and tell us why they are great!
About the blogger:
Chad Storlie is the author of two books: Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and Battlefield to Business Success. Both books teach how to translate and apply military skills to business. An adjunct Lecturer of Marketing at Creighton University and Bellevue University in Omaha, NE. Chad is a retired US Army Special Forces officer with 20+ years of Active and Reserve service in infantry, Special Forces, and joint headquarters units. He served in Iraq, Bosnia, Korea, and throughout the United States. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Special Forces Tab, and the Ranger Tab. In addition to teaching, he is a mid-level marketing executive and has worked in marketing and sales roles for various companies, including General Electric, Comcast, and Manugistics. He has been published in The Harvard Business Review blog, Business Week Online, Forbes, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, and over 40 other publications. He has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.
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