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The Service Academy Business Mastermind (SABM) is a transformational program for Service Academy graduates who are building businesses. Our podcast features entrepreneurial success stories from the Service Academy community (West Point, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, Coast Guard Academy, and Merchant Marine Academy). To learn more, please visit: www.sabmgroup.com.
 
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“The big vision is how can we bring order to the mess that is the ocean transportation industry on the bulk side? $1.3 trillion is being spent to transport commodities annually…this is an international business and every ship is filled to the brim. The smallest shipment we’ve done is 50,000 metric tons. What that looks like is two and a half footba…
 
“Ingram Capital builds community through real estate…we buy dilapidated, abandoned homes, fix them up, and turn them into safe, single-family homes as long-term rentals.” - Wil Ingram (USNA ‘11) Wil Ingram is a U.S. Navy veteran on a mission to build community through real estate. His interest in real estate began while serving as a Surface Warfare…
 
“You have to be very selective about what you do and how you maintain your property as well as how you're going to get income…this is a whole new arena.” - Gary Klaben (USMA ‘79) Gary Klaben is the President of Coyle Financial Counsel, an innovative wealth management firm dedicated to helping families preserve and grow their wealth so they can have…
 
“We really believe that we’re going to change the global workforce by taking the best of military chaplaincy and pivoting that toward the corporate world…our commitment is to impact the company bottom line by increasing employee resiliency, engagement, performance and retention through chaplaincy.” - Alan “Blues” Baker (USNA ‘78) Alan “Blues” Baker…
 
“Look at the example of continuous performance feedback. We take it for granted that part of being a leader is providing regular, consistent feedback, both critical and complimentary. If you're in the platform, and it says, hey, it's time for you to provide feedback, you start developing that habit early and often.” - Scott Taylor (USMA ‘01) Scott …
 
“Our theme is having partners who are experts at what they do. One of the founding principles behind Blue Flag is we really want to do things that we’re great at. We’re not interested in faking it until we make it. We’re interested in doing what we’ve had decades to get good at.”- Christian Jensen (USAFA ‘96) Christian Jensen (USAFA ‘96) is a Manag…
 
“Academy grads have a special kind of independence and willingness to do things that are really difficult and see things through in the long term…I think that hardens your character and makes you push through…We really want to emphasize some of these core values: to present good opportunities to our team members and do operations in a way that’s ho…
 
“We are committed to our purpose, our mission to help our members live well and serve better so we like to think ahead as to what it means to craft a new model for housing and building wealth. We want to have a true impact on the main problems we’re attacking…not only on our members’ ability to build wealth, but also the connections our members are…
 
“For the last 20 years, I’ve either consulted or been a COO in small to medium-sized businesses so I know the specific pain that these ‘tweener’ companies have…my military experience really set the foundation…I want to bring those military values to my COO consultancy. My company values are military values without being militaristic. The deep value…
 
“Our goal is to help companies achieve their business goals faster…the people side is the hardest part of business and the knowledge piece is one of the core components of that people side. How do you document the knowledge that you have? How do you take that knowledge and impart it to the next generation? How do you ensure you can rapidly pass off…
 
Jake Dulle is the Pre-Deployment Program Manager at LocalVest where he helps military veterans raise capital through their innovative online platform and community based events. Despite their impressive numbers, Veterans receive less overall financing from conventional lenders than their civilian-peers, despite filing more applications to more lend…
 
“Loyalty, trust and transparency no matter what you’re doing in life–whether it’s running a business, having a family, being with your friends–if you keep that mentality and look after each other, you can make that path to success much easier.” - Tyler Laverick (USMMA ‘06) Tyler Laverick is a U.S. Merchant Marine Corps Academy grad and results-driv…
 
“My goal is to see this become a billion-dollar brand in the home services and construction industry. I want to get there by helping people build a sustainable source of wealth for themselves and their families. I want to get there by helping people build really solid businesses where they can define their participation…I don’t want to get there an…
 
“We hang our hats on every deal and, with that, we’ve been able to make a real impact on the market we’re in.” - Kimberly Gile “A lot of the success that we’ve seen and that we’re having is because we’re ready. We’ve got the investor money ready, we’ve got the structures ready, we’ve got the tenants ready…that’s the secret sauce, just being ready t…
 
“There’s a lack of transparency in a system where we’re dealing with people’s health…it’s a tricky, frustrating space, but we’re just trying to do our small part to change that.” - Jason Belvill (USAFA ‘08) Jason Belvill is the Co-Founder & Director of Operations for BodySpec where he combines a passion for athletics with singular expertise in engi…
 
“I helped several veterans in franchising start businesses that they otherwise would not have found and do things that are good for their communities, but this is a way where I’m helping potentially hundreds, thousands, millions of people through the type of lending and investing that Sansbank is doing so I thought I’d go for it.” - Josh Emison (US…
 
“Number one, don’t give up. Number two, think outside of the box. And, number three, build a strong team. If you have those three things working for you and a half-decent idea, you’ve got a good chance of making it.” - Eric Johnson (USNA ‘81) Eric Johnson is CEO and Director at HELM Audio, a company focused on audio innovation. HELM Audio was found…
 
“I genuinely believe that this pathway was made for me and I had to meet the right people and take the right steps and have the right hardships and the right adversity to be the person I am now to write these songs that I’m putting out there…that’s what makes a song so good, capturing an emotion that’s real and raw. It’s a work of expression.” - Ch…
 
“All of this is very easy to do if you form a relationship with a firm like ours very early because we can crawl with the business, we can walk with the business and then run with the business as it goes from the idea phase to the startup phase to the growth phase…depending on where you are and how mature your business is, you can always reevaluate…
 
“I think a lot of us as entrepreneurs need to hit that home run in the beginning, early. We just need to get something and we’re going to crush it. But it’s those singles and doubles, and winning those little by little, getting one client. Making them very happy with your service, or your product, then doing it again and again.” - Freddie Kim (USMA…
 
“If you want to build resilience in kids, the first rule is to take them into an unfamiliar environment…and the second rule is to plan it in a stepwise way meaning plan, discuss, do and then revisit the shared memory together….We built this curriculum for a ship out of a need, but this isn’t just a Navy thing this is something that everyone can ben…
 
“My personal mission statement in a phrase is to eliminate the civilian-military divide in the country…what we bring with us as veterans, those underlying soft skills are precisely what today’s corporate leaders say they desire for success for their businesses in the marketplace.” - Matt Louis (USMA ‘91) Matt Louis is a leading expert in career tra…
 
“Once you start thinking about residual results, meaning you do something once that will pay you in perpetuity, then things change in your life. I try to do more things to create these residual results because that gives you so much more capacity, autonomy, and control over your time.” - Kirby Atwell (USMA ‘05) Kirby Atwell started his first full-t…
 
“I think all of us who left the Academy know how to adapt and learn in often a rapid, stressful environment. I think that’s the hallmark of Academy grads…all of us have learned the skill of learning how to learn. Part of it is having the confidence to know you have that skill.” - Niv Caviar (USAFA '90) Niv Caviar is the CEO of Spine Ovations, Inc.,…
 
“We want to be the dominant player in professional education and usher in an entirely new era of professional education. We want to be the medical education platform for a mobile generation.” - Christ West (USMA ‘88) Chris West (USMA ‘88) is the Chief Operating Officer of ConveyMed, the number one app for Continuing Medical Education (CME) that agg…
 
“Grittiness and the ability to wear multiple hats simultaneously are the two areas that I see as being big lessons from my time in the military and that have carried over and proved true in spades as the leader of an early-stage startup.” - Matt McBride (USNA ‘06) Matt McBride is a dynamic healthcare leader that has spent the last decade guiding ea…
 
“Being the leader of a business is sometimes a lonely spot to be in whether you’re leading 10 people or 1000 people. The ability to have someone else to lean on and ideate with, to have conversations with and to think about the next steps with is really important. The more you understand about yourself, the better and more effective you will be as …
 
“Almost 80% of the buyers' journey is not attributable. We focus on the 20% that is. Our recommendation is also to focus on the dark funnel, where that 80% are feeding and getting their thought leadership from.” - Matt Bolian (USMA ‘11) Matt Bolian is the Co-Founder of RevPartners, a company that designs, builds and executes revenue operations to s…
 
“My formula is 1) develop your relationship with God, 2) when you make big decisions, seek advice from those who are wiser than you, and 3) act. Action says I’m prepared to accept the risks and any consequences associated with this decision. This kind of mentality will help you move forward in any area of your life.” - Burnie Lund (USNA ‘03) Burnie…
 
“Not having a paycheck for the first time in my life and taking a jump into the unknown was scary as hell, but honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more fulfilled in my career since making that decision. I was thinking, this feels great…I’m having a blast. For the first time in my life, it opened my eyes to the fact there’s a different way of liv…
 
“What I discovered, which is the most important message of everything we're saying, is that you have to become an authentic person. An authentic person knows who they are, you have discovered your gifts and powers, you have forgiven those that have wounded you, healed the wounds, you are trusting your intuition, you're confident, you're courageous,…
 
“There have been times through the years when I've had a complex relationship with my experience of going through the ups and downs of being a student at the Naval Academy. But now, at this point, I would say that for the last 10 years of my professional journey in particular, it's explicitly no question that my experience in the military has been …
 
“My belief is not what the business is, but in people, that’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my career is teaming up with the right people.” – Henry Russell (USNA ‘03) “I’m a true believer that the strength of your ally determines the strength of your outcome. It’s never about me, it’s the team that we put together and about the people who are o…
 
“Our priority is to do well while doing good…Diversity says there's a difference between one person and the next. Inclusion identifies the value of that difference. That's what we need for our veterans, that difference needs to be valued by the civilian marketplace, and it needs to be harnessed so that the collective can be better than the individu…
 
“I just want to double down on the idea of letting go…you have no idea how quickly the universe will deliver what you want if you get out of the way. What’s the beam of light that you want to stand under? Don’t block it! It’s important to have goals. Be true to what you actually want to achieve, don’t place any filters on it, write it down, and let…
 
“If you want to find a way to transition out, it's possible, right? It's possible but it really starts with knowing what you want…just because you're not a commander doesn't mean you're not a leader. You can still find other ways to lead…there's so much opportunity in the civilian world, to still make a difference and influence people in a positive…
 
Ryan Martin (USMA ‘11) is a West Point graduate and Co-Owner of Fulfillment CO, a personable and startup-friendly fulfillment center in Colorado Springs, CO. Concurrent to Ryan's military career as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, which includes two combat deployments to Afghanistan, Ryan handles all new client outreach, software integrations, and onb…
 
Frank Scappaticci is a U.S. Army veteran and full time real-estate professional and partner with Gray Line Investments. Over the past five years Gray Line Investments has become successful in single family and small multi family investing and completed over 100 deals. The company now focuses the majority of their attention on self storage facilitie…
 
Scott Leishman (USMA ‘77) has over thirty years of experience in B2B sales and marketing. After working for West Point Association of Graduates as Assistant Director of Career Services, Scott decided to buy a shipping and freight franchise with his son. InXpress is an international shipping and freight consulting firm and authorized sales partner f…
 
“My whole goal, whoever I coach or whoever I’m working with, is clarity. I want you to have clarity about where you’re going…I help people get better at what they do.” -Gary Slyman (USNA '81) Gary Slyman (USNA’ 81 ) is President and Founder of Great Transitions Strategies, a Leadership Consulting and Coaching practice with the mission to empower in…
 
“The most important thing you know is what you don’t know…we present opportunities to people. We look at the law, we look at the code, and we say here’s something you could do that will have this impact.” - Geoffrey Dietrich (USMA ‘00) Geoffrey Dietrich (USMA ‘00) is a full-time Managing Partner of Cantley Dietrich, PC, a national boutique law firm…
 
“The goal of this program is not to give you a checklist of things you have to do in ten days, the goal is to shift the way that you’re showing up so that your reflexive self becomes your best self...You can’t un-see the perspectives that you create as a result of what you do through Madefor. You’re going to see things a little bit differently and …
 
“Networking is not what you can get, it's what you can give. If you’re willing to give and to give over time and to give without an ulterior motive, then more than likely if you need something it will be available in the network that you’ve established already because you gave first.” - Kymberli Speight (USAFA ‘87) Kymberli Speight (USAFA ‘87) is p…
 
“Abandon the fantasy of, hey, I’m going to get to this level and have everything figured out. That’s a dangerous mindset to have because you should always be trying to get better and learn more and keep pushing yourself...don’t have the grass is greener mentality. The comparison game will kill you. It’s always a grind and I have utmost patience and…
 
“It’s great to get together with like-minded individuals to discuss the things that bring us together and certainly, the vetrepreneur community that we’re part of is something that’s growing and thriving...we wanted to create a fund that addressed the veteran network because we know how veterans have this incredible ability to execute and get thing…
 
“When starting a business, subject matter expertise makes all the difference and it gives you credibility.” - Simone Zacharias, USAFA ‘12 Simone Zacharias is an Acquisitions Officer in the U.S. Space Force and COO and Co-Founder of GoBeagle, Inc, a company that helps business owners conquer corporate compliance by helping them keep all their legal …
 
“I am extremely happy...waking up and going to work everyday is fun. The "Sunday Scaries," those feelings you get before going back to work on Monday, are gone. It’s fantastic.” -Beth Sutey (USMA ‘07) Before leaving active duty military service, Beth Sutey served in Italy, Afghanistan and Iraq. Following active duty, Beth worked for Amazon.com in T…
 
“I always struggled to fit into a mold...people in Africa didn’t want to fit me into a mold, they wanted to know who I was. There was no mold to fill and I really held onto that. I saw the impacts of having genuine conversations with people with no expectations or knowledge on either side of who the other person was or who they were in the past. Th…
 
“For me, the greater the challenge, the more fun it will be.” - Scott Chesson Scott Chesson (USNA ‘84) is a highly experienced finance executive with over 20 years of experience as the CFO of several small to medium-sized businesses. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy with a mathematics degree, Scott served as a Surface Warfare Officer an…
 
“We work with people who are unwilling to accept that life is going to be boring...people who want to go out and grow together, to be excited, to make things an adventure, to look at the next challenge as a mountain to climb rather than a drudgery to push through. We’re looking for people who want to be better leaders, who want to show up more auth…
 
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