It was such an honor to connect with Preston, who runs the #1 Investing Podcast, We Study Billionairs, which has over 1 million downloads per month. In addition to that, he is ranked on Amazon in the top 35 Business Authors. Both of these are impressive enough on their own, but what really kicks this to the next level is the fact that Preston does all of this while serving on Active Duty in the military, as well as being a present parent of four kids. First of all - my apologies to both Preston and listeners, because I had some technical difficulties with this interview. Fortunately, Preston is always prepared, and had a backup recording of our interview, as my recording software crashed for the first time in 280 episodes during Preston’s interview. However, that recording did not have my audio, so I had to re-record this. So, bear with me if the audio quality of this episode is not as good as other episodes, but I assure you the content is absolutely top notch. Preston is humble and authentic in his advice, and I believe - regardless of your intended career path - you will benefit from listening to this episode.
Preston is the founder of The Pylon Holding company, which conservatively grows equity through the acquisition of private or public companies. He runs the #1 Investing Podcast, The Investor’s Podcast, with over 1 Million downloads per month. He a best selling author and ranked by Amazon in the top 35 Business Authors. He started out at West Point, served in the Army for over seven years. He holds an MBA from the Johns Hopkins University and has been accepted to pursue a Master of Computer and Information Technology at the University of Pennsylvania.
Why Listen: I LOVED my chat with Jeremy. He is a man who values authenticity in his personal and professional life, and he found a company - GoPro - that prizes that as well. In this interview we do a deep dive on both the Product Management and Product Marketing roles. We talk about Business School, and how to evaluate whether this is the right path for you. We talk about how what you did in undergrad and what you did in the military can inform what you do, but don’t have to dictate your path. And we talk about why Veterans may love working at a company with a physical product, just like GoPro.
About Jeremy: Jeremy Hendricks is a Product Marketing Manager at GoPro. He started out at the University of Scranton, and served in the US Army for 9 years - as Army Signal Corps officer, and then with the US Army Special Forces as a Detachment Commander, where his team specialized in military free fall ops and Special Reconnaissance. After his military service he got his MBA at the Berkeley Haas School of Business, where he did an internship with GoPro. Since graduation, he has worked at GoPro for nearly four years, starting as a Product Manager.
Why Listen: This is a unique interview in that (1) it's a panel of three employees and perspectives from Verizon, and (2) in addition to the audio podcast, there is a video version as well. This is a great look at what it's like to transition to a large company, and the advantages that provides. The three perspectives of Tommy, Robert, and Hector provide an immense amount of quality advice around interviewing, preparing for your transition, and why Veterans should consider a career at Verizon.
About our Panel: Tommy Jones is a Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition - Enterprise Sales & Services, as well as the Leader of Military Programs. He has been with Verizon for 6 years, and served in the Army Signal Corps as a Non-Commissioned Officer, retiring as an E-8.
Hector Milan(mil-e-on) recently joined Verizon as a Field Operations Manager. Previously, he served in the Army as a Master Trainer, Supervisor, and Recruiter, retiring as an E-8.
Robert Brandt has worked with Verizon for 22 years, holding roles as Facility Tech, Local Manager, and now as an Area Operations Manager. In his current role, he leads 12 local managers and over 200 associates across six work centers. He previously served in the Marine Corps Infantry.
Why Listen: In this interview we talk about networking & social media; we talk about interviewing and having a story ready to tell, as well as knowing what interests you; we talk about the functional expertise that occurs in the civilian world that doesn’t occur in the military; we also talk about Comcast NBCUniversal’s commitment to hiring over 21,000 members of the military community by the end of 2021; and we talk about all the ways in which Comcast NBCUniversal is a great place for the military community (including spouses).
About Carol: Carol Eggert is the Senior Vice President, Military and Veteran Affairs at Comcast NBCUniversal. She served for over 30 years as a non-commissioned and commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard, retiring as a Brigadier General. Her numerous overseas deployments include a 15-month combat tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as Chief of the Women’s Initiatives Division and Senior Liaison to the U.S. Embassy, Baghdad, where she conducted a full-scale analysis of women’s initiatives and developed a strategic plan for the economic and political empowerment of Iraqi women under the U.S. Secretary of State. She is the recipient of the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart. She holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies, two master’s degrees in instructional design and strategic international studies, and a doctoral degree in organizational leadership. Her leadership in the private sector has been recognized by HillVets, who placed her on their 2016 list of the 100 most influential veterans in America, and by the Philadelphia Business Journal, who named her one of their 2016 Veterans of Influence.
Why Listen: Special thanks to Dan Piontkowski from BTU #90 for making the introduction to Bezan. In this interview we talk about taking the long-game in one’s career, and not rushing to get rich quick. Bezan gives some spot-on, tactical advice on networking, resume prep, LinkedIN profiles, financials responsibility, and other topics that are broadly applicable to anyone going through a career transition. This is a resource-rich episode, so be sure to check out the show notes at BeyondTheUniform.io to check out links to all the books, podcasts, and more that we discuss.
About Jesse: Bezan Morris is a Financial Advisor at Raymond James, a public company based in Florida that provides financial services to individuals, corporations and municipalities. Bezan started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served in the Marine Corps as an Artillery Officer for over 6 years. His civilian career has included work at Toll Brothers, Turner Construction, Amazon, and Chewy.
Why Listen: After the loss of her leg, Patty continued to serve on Active Duty and eventually competed for the US in the Paralympics. In this interview she talks about how her accident changed her view on athletics, and how to shift one’s thinking from Post Traumatic Stress to Post Traumatic Growth. We talk about the difficulties Veterans face in their career transition around finding a new identity, and how to get out of your comfort zone and find new goals to combat this. We talk about the “imposter syndrome,” workalike balance, consulting, and more.
About Patty: Patty Collins is a Principal at the McChrystal Group, which has leadership development offerings that are designed to equip leaders with the knowledge and tools to shape culture and cultivate performance within their organizations. Patty served as an Army Communications Officer for over 24 years, and spent over seven years assigned to Special Mission units within the Joint Special Operations Command. After her transition from the military, Patty was a member of the 2016 US Paralympic Team, representing the U.S. in the sport of Triathlon in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Patty holds a Master’s degree from the National War College and a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University.
Why Listen: Lauren is the first person I’ve interviewed in the Cyber Security and Information Security space. This is an EXPLODING space that seems to be poised to continue to grow for a very long time. Lauren makes the case about how Veterans - regardless of your background - are well suited to this expanding field, which is very mission and team centric. There are going to be 3.5 Million unfilled security jobs by 2020… this is a BIG opening and opportunity for Veterans. We talk about how Cyber Security may meet a Veterans need for purpose and for a team-centric environment.
About Lauren: Lauren Burnell heads up Federal Programs & Cloud Alliances at FireEye, a company that protects customers from the impact and consequences of cyber attacks. She started out at the Naval Academy, after which she earned her Master’s Degree in Political Science & Government at the University of College Park Maryland. She served as an Officer in the Navy 5 years before joining PCM-G as a Security Systems Architect.
Why Listen: Dennis is a renaissance man. He started his career at Amazon, before transitioning to one of the nation’s pre-eminent nonprofits, Team Rubicon. Along with that, he has done the running of the bulls over 80 times over the last 12 years, and directed a documentary about his experience. Team Rubicon is an organization that should be on every Veterans radar. They unite the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. This meets a need for purpose, connection, contribution and excitement that many guests on my show have expressed they missed after their military service.
About Dennis: Dennis Clancey is the Deputy Director of Field Operations for Team Rubicon, a non-profit organization that unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. He started out at West Point, after which he served in the Army for over six years earning a Bronze Star for combat leadership. Since his military service, he has worked at Amazon as an Operations Manager, and as the Director of the documentary, Chasing Red.
Why Listen: Drew went from Active Duty Army Sergeant to Stanford Law School, which is an incredible leap. He talks about advice for getting into Law School, what it’s like, why Veterans may love (or hate it), what career options it opens, and more. He also talks about his decision to go into the corporate world instead of practicing law. We talk about his work at Hewlett Packard Enterprises, and how he served as Chief of Staff for the Chief Sales & Marketing Officer. We also talk about how Veterans are qualified to do project management and strategic operations work.
About Drew: Drew Kambic is the Director for Strategy & Planning as well as the Head of Operations for License Verification in the Americas for Micro Focus (formerly Hewlett Packard). He started out in the Army, where he served for over 8 years, most recently as a Sergeant and Infantry Team Leader. While on Active Duty he earned a B.S. and B.A at The Ohio State University, and after his military service he earned his J.D. from Stanford Law School. He has worked at HPE as a Senior Manager for Operations Performance, as well as the Chief of Staff for the Chief sales and Marketing Officer.
Why Listen: Elliot has a long history in startups and operations. In this interview, we talk about the hiring process on how to play competing offers off of each other in order to get the best outcome possible. We talk about a variety of ways to get a job. We talk about Elliot’s experience in the General Manager position, a role that may be appealing to many Veterans. We talk about changing one’s job title from a big to a small company and how to approach this. And we talk about operations - operations in a tech startup, as well as operations in the cost-driven physical products world.
About Elliot: Elliot Wilson is the Vice President of Operations at ZipRecruiter, which is the smartest way to hire and get hired. He started out at the Air Force Academy, after which he served in the Air Force for nearly three years. He has worked as a Senior Product Manager at Pictage, General Manager overseeing 250 employees at Lovejoy, and Area Director of Distribution at Sherman-Williams. He holds both an MS and MBA from Loyola Marymount University.
Why Listen: Mike had an incredible military career of 22 years, where he received the Purple Heart and where is exploits were chronicled in the movie, Black Hawk Down. His Civilian career has been equally impressive. He is the author of the book, In the Company of Heroes, which details the story after Black Hawk Down’s credits roll. He worked for six years and then started his own company, Pinnacle Solutions, which has nearly 400 employees and over $70M in revenue. This is a great interview for aspiring military Veteran entrepreneurs, as well as those who are interested in the Government Contracting industry.
About Mike: Mike is President & CEO of Pinnacle Solutions, which provides a wide variety of products and services to NASA, the Department of Defense and industry partners including aircraft and weapon system Original Equipment Manufacturers. In ten years, Pinnacle has grown from a home office-based startup to over 375 employees and more than 70 subcontractor personnel operating in fourteen U.S. and international locations, with over $70M in revenue.
He was a member of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Night Stalkers) as a Blackhawk helicopter Flight Lead and Instructor Pilot. He retired from the Army as a Chief Warrant Officer 4 Master Aviator after participating in combat operations Prime Chance, Just Cause, Desert Storm, and Gothic Serpent, during which he was shot down and held prisoner in 1993 after a raid in Somalia, which was chronicled in the movie, Blackhawk Down. His awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star with Valor Device and the Purple Heart. He was inducted into the Army Aviation Association of America Hall of Fame in 2008.
Cal Newport is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, who specializes in the theory of distributed algorithms. He previously earned his Ph.D. from MIT in 2009 and graduated from Dartmouth College in 2004. In addition to studying the theoretical foundations of our digital age as a professor, Cal also writes about the impact of these technologies on the world of work.He is the author of the recent book Deep Work, which I am reading next. The book we’ll discuss mostly today, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, argues that “follow your passion” is bad advice. Inc Magazine listed it as one of the best business books of the year, and Cal’s related Oped in the NYT was one of their most emailed articles for the entire site.
Kelly Perdew is the Co-Founder and Managing General Partner of Moonshots Capital, which he founded with a fellow West Point grad, and exists to invest in exceptional entrepreneurs with world-changing ideas. He started out at West Point, after which he served in the U.S. Army as an Intelligence Officer. Since then he has worked as a Founder, Board Member, CEO, COO, CFO, as well as in Business Development, and Sales. He has raised institutional financing, grown businesses, down-sized businesses, and sold businesses for 8-figure exits. Perhaps most uniquely, he is the Season 2 Winner of The Apprentice, after which he apprentice to Donald Trump and was involved in multiple real estate projects with Donald Trump. He holds both an MBA and JD from UCLA.
Kelly has such a unique background and has had so many different aspects to his civilian career. In this interview we talk about what it is like to be an investor, and advice for Veterans wanting to pursue this path. We also talk about entrepreneurship, and advice to Veterans who want to start their own company. We talk about work life balance, recovering from failure, what those final moments were like on The Apprentice, and so much more.
This is a terrific episode for any member of the Armed Forces. Rob joined Aol as their 500th employee and was there for their growth to over 10,000 employees. He went through a similar process with eTrade. But he got his foot in the door, directly out of the military, by applying to be a customer phone support person! His story is one of failing and taking risks, or being part of an internet revolution, and continuing to change his career path over time. I found his story inspiring and hope that you do as well.
Bill has had an eclectic career and covers a lot of ground in this interview. In addition to talking about how to find and join a high-growth startup, he also talks about his experience starting his own consulting company. He also has fantastic advice about networking - how to approach it and why it's so important for veterans to learn how to do this effectively.
In the past I've interviewed veterans involved in Franchises. Gordon started a company that has become a franchise with over 1,700 locations, and many of their franchise owners are veterans. He gives an incredibly vivid look at what it is like to start and grow a company, how to remain fresh and grow with your business, and how failures are never final.
For those interested in a career in Management Consulting, Kristen does a fantastic job of breaking down what the projects and day-to-day life are like, as well as very tactical steps to prepare for your interview. But even if you're not interested in consulting, Kristen has great advice on how to explain your skills and make a connection with the person interviewing you for whatever job you pursue.
Trevor managed to go directly from Active Duty military to Bain & Company, something that less than 7% of military veterans in Management Consulting are able to do. He talks about preparing for one's transition to a civilian career as early as possible, and also being willing to take a step back and take the longview on one's career.
(1) Franchises - we continue our deep dive into a career as a franchise owner - why this may be appealing to veterans and how to succeed at it. (2) Honesty about skill set - Eric talks about how vital it is - in franchising and in any career - to be exceptionally honest and reflective about your strengths and weaknesses. (3) Long-term investment - Eric talks about viewing a franchise investment as a 5-15 commitment (which, coin end tally is a great asset of veterans who often have approached the military as a long-term commitment). He talks about doing your homework - especially around culture, and making sure the business won’t be uprooted by technology in the long-term (4) Market Research - Eric’s career has been in market research and he provides some insight into what this sort of career is like.
Management Consulting is the fifth most popular career route for Veterans of the Armed Forces. Today we’re going to be doing a data episode, specifically with information from LinkedIn, that I’ve put together to discover the different paths veterans have taken within the field of management consulting. This is something I’ve been thinking about for nearly a year. It’s just been difficult to carve out the time to sift through all the information that is on LinkedIn. Rather than waiting to publish this information as a massive e-book, I thought it might be better to start out with a podcast. I would really appreciate any feedback you might have. It will help me drill down on what people are interested in learning more about. Feel free to leave that feedback in the shownotes.
Francis went directly from the Navy to consulting at Deloitte, and has worked at Apple, in startups, and now at Facebook. He talks about each of these career paths, why veterans may love operations, and advice to help in interviews and finding your ideal career.
John W Francis runs Next Level Franchis, Inc in Minnesot, where he helps franchisors, franchisees and supplier companies with their business issues by offering perspective, experience, advice and connections to help move them forward. He started back in 1' helping in his family business, The Barber’s Inc, which a the franchir of Cost Cutters, City Looks, and We Care Hair Salon. Over the next 5+ years he elped to grow he business internationally, eventually selling to the Regis Corporation in 1999. Since then he has directly worked with franchises, as well as served as an advisor, board member, consultant, and speaker to any people and companies in the franchise world. He is known as “Johnny Franchise” and is a Franchise Expert.
In this interview we discuss a variety of topics relevant to veterans in any industry. Nick has great advice for veterans about checking one's ego at the door, rolling up one's sleeves and doing whatever it takes to improve whatever task you're given. He shows how a willingness to learn has allowed him to transition - and be successful in - wildly different industries. And how a mindset of happiness, learning and humility can make all the difference.
Jason gives a very raw and honest assessment of his entrepreneurial journey that will be a huge resource if you're considering starting your own company, but also an exhilarating story no matter what your intended career path.
Jason Hodell is the CEO of Skullcandy, which markets headphones, earphones, speakers and other products. Skullcandy was founded in 2003 and acquired in October 2016 by Mill Road Capital for $200 million. Jason started out at West Point, after which he served as an Infantry Officer in the US Army for five years. After the Army, he picked up his MBA at Wharton.He had an impressive career prior to Skullcandy, which we’ll discuss in the interview, and joined the Skullcandy team initially as their CFO & COO. Since that time the company has grown revenue from $210M to approximately $300m, and he was appointed as the CEO of Skullcandy about one year ago.
Jim Vesterman is the CEO of Raptor Technologies, which is the nation's leading provider of integrated safety technologies for K-12 schools. He got his undergraduate degree at Amherst College, after which he worked at both the Monitor Group and for a software startup. He deferred his MBA to join the Marine Corps as part of 3rd Force Recon Company. After he got his MBA from Wharton, he started an entrepreneurial vehicle called a search fund - which we’ll get into - called Liberty Place Capital. Liberty Place Capital ultimately purchased Raptor Technologies in 2012 and he has been running that company for 5 years.
Ray and Samantha Allen are both 2009 Naval Academy Graduates. After graduation, Ray went to flight school & became a Navy Helo pilot while Sam became a Marine. Samantha served as a Marine for 5 years at Marine Special Operations Command (2nd MSOB) and weapons training Battalion. Ray is an HSC pilot now instructing at the Naval Academy. The two live in Annapolis, MD with their three daughters, and have been building their business together for four years.
Justin Cooke is the Founder at Empire Flippers, a company that helps others buy, sell, and invest in profitable websites and online businesses. He started out in the Navy, where he spent 6 years as a Sonar Technician 2/C (STG2). Empire Flippers is an INC 500 company - Justin runs a 22 person team and has $27M+ In Online Businesses Sold.
Nick Taranto is the Co-Founder & CEO of Plated, a company whose "Mission is to Help People Eat Better, and Live Better." Plated has raised over $55M in funding, and been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, NYT, Wired Magazine and more. He started out at Dartmouth College, after which he worked at KOMPIP Microfinance before going on to Harvard Business School. After HBS, he graduated from the Marine Corps' The Basic School, where he Drilled as an active reservist for 3 years. He also worked at Goldman Sachs as a Private Wealth Advisor prior to starting Plated.