If you're a veteran who owns a business and would like to be featured, email for more information! In the meantime, please enjoy these veterans' stories! 

Don't forget to support them by following, sharing, or better yet, use their services!
~ Cindy

March 2024 - Episode 019

Enhancing Lives in the Valley of the Sun: The Multifaceted Approach of a Life Coach Business

Article Credit: Derek Jeske, Life Coach - Valley of the Sun Life Coach, LLC


In the bustling Valley of the Sun, there is a remarkable life coach business that has garnered attention for its dedication to serving diverse populations. From veterans to advocates of social justice, transracial adoption, and individuals living with amputations, this business has made it their mission to empower and uplift those who have faced unique challenges. In this article, we will explore the multifaceted approach of this exceptional life coach business and how they have positively impacted lives in the Valley of the Sun.

Supporting Veterans:

One of the primary focuses of this life coach business is providing support to veterans. With a deep understanding of the struggles and experiences that veterans face, the life coaches bring a compassionate and tailored approach to help them transition into civilian life. By offering guidance in career transitions, coping with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and building strong support networks, these coaches empower veterans to forge a fulfilling and successful life beyond their military service.

Championing Social Justice:

Recognizing the importance of social justice, this life coach business actively advocates for equality and fairness. The coaches engage with clients from diverse backgrounds, fostering an inclusive environment where individuals are encouraged to embrace their unique identities. By addressing systemic barriers and promoting understanding and empathy, the business helps clients navigate the complexities of social justice issues and empowers them to become agents of positive change in their communities.

Navigating Transracial Adoption:

Adopting a transracial child can bring both joy and challenges for families. The life coaches at this business provide invaluable guidance and support to parents navigating the intricacies of transracial adoption. Through one-on-one coaching sessions, they address the unique needs and experiences of transracial adoptees and equip parents with the tools to create a nurturing and inclusive environment for their children.

Empowering Amputees:

Living with limb loss can be a daunting journey, both physically and emotionally. The life coaches at this business specialize in empowering individuals living with amputations to reclaim their lives and thrive. Through personalized coaching sessions, they help clients develop resilience, manage pain, explore assistive technologies, and cultivate a positive mindset. By emphasizing the limitless possibilities that lie ahead, these coaches inspire amputees to embrace their newfound strengths and live life to the fullest.


In the Valley of the Sun, this exceptional life coach business serves as a beacon of hope and empowerment for veterans, social justice advocates, transracial adoptees, and amputees. By providing tailored guidance, support, and encouragement, they help individuals overcome obstacles, embrace their true potential, and lead more fulfilling lives. Through their multifaceted approach, this business has become a vital resource for those seeking personal growth, resilience, and a brighter future. The Valley of the Sun is fortunate to have such a dedicated and compassionate life coach business making a profound difference in the lives of many.

Learn more about what Derek has to offer at and you can reach out to him at

March 2024 - Episode 018

The Critical Role of Strategic Planning in Fueling Startup and Small Business Success

Article Credit: Justin Spears - Owner & CEO - MXI Consulting

In the dynamic world of startups and small businesses, the allure of immediate action often overshadows the foundational necessity of strategic planning. While agility and quick decision-making are invaluable, the absence of a well-structured strategic roadmap can lead businesses into a cycle of tactical responses, hindering sustainable growth and long-term success.

The Pitfall of Neglecting Strategic Planning

Startups and small businesses are renowned for their dynamism and ability to adapt quickly. However, this strength can become a vulnerability when companies operate without a strategic compass. The consequences of neglecting strategic planning are multifaceted:

The Strategic Blueprint: A Roadmap to Success

Recognizing the pitfalls of neglecting strategic planning is the first step. The next, and most crucial, is the adoption of a strategic blueprint—a comprehensive roadmap that guides businesses through the complexities of growth and competition. Here's how a strategic blueprint can transform the trajectory of a startup or small business:

The Strategic Imperative

In conclusion, while the temptation to dive headfirst into operational activities is understandable, the importance of strategic planning cannot be overstated. A strategic blueprint is not just a document; it's the lifeline of a business. It empowers startups and small businesses to move beyond mere survival, to thrive and lead in their respective domains. As we navigate the complex business landscape, let's remember: strategy is not just a part of the game; it is the game.

For businesses looking to craft their path to success, embracing a strategic blueprint is the first step towards transforming potential into performance. It's time to shift from being reactive to becoming strategically proactive, ensuring that every step taken is a calculated move towards achieving your grand vision.<link rel=“canonical” href=“” />

Learn more about what Justin and his team have to offer at and you can reach out to him at

February 2024 - Episode 017

From Adversity to Inspiration: Aleha's Journey to Work Culture Transformation

Article Credit: Aleha Ingle, Culture Alchemist

Aleha's remarkable journey to founding Work Culture Works is a testament to resilience, determination, and the profound impact of turning adversity into a source of inspiration. Her path wasn't paved with ease; instead, it was marked by challenges that ultimately shaped her into a beacon of positive transformation for workplaces worldwide.

At the core of Work Culture Works lies Aleha's unwavering belief in creating better workplaces - a belief that sprouted from her own personal struggles. Her journey commenced during her tenure in the United States Air Force. What should have been a triumphant return from deployment took an unforeseen turn, plunging Aleha into the depths of a deeply traumatic experience - a survivor of sexual assault. The emotional scars ran deep, yet the response from her superiors lacked the empathy and support she so desperately needed.

Trapped in an environment rabid with toxicity, Aleha found herself teetering on the edge of despair. The pain she carried led her to contemplate ending her own life. Isolated and consumed by her struggles, she withdrew from her duties and the world around her, spending days confined to her bed. However, even in her darkest hour, a glimmer of hope emerged in the form of a compassionate colleague who recognized her silent pleas for help. His intervention not only pulled Aleha back from the precipice but also ignited a fire within her - an unwavering determination to rise above her circumstances and effect positive change.

Aleha's journey was one of unwavering perseverance and continuous growth. Armed with 21 years of military service and three Master's degrees, each specializing in I/O Psychology, she transitioned into civilian life with a singular goal: to foster safe work environments universally. In 2022, she embarked on her Doctorate in Leadership & Education in Healthcare at Nebraska Methodist College, with plans to graduate in 2025.

Today, Aleha's personal triumph over adversity infuses her work with unique insights and approaches. Her remarkable ability to uncover hidden organizational issues and offer effective solutions is a direct result of her own experiences navigating complex work environments. Work Culture Works isn't merely a consulting agency; it's a tangible manifestation of Aleha's journey - a journey that epitomizes resilience and an unyielding commitment to reshaping workplace cultures for the better.

Aleha's story serves as a powerful reminder that challenges can be transformative stepping stones to growth. From her tumultuous past to her thriving present, she embodies the belief that personal transformation can drive professional success. Her mission to cultivate healthier work environments isn't just a business objective; it's a profound calling stemming from her own struggles and the incredible strength she discovered within herself. Through Work Culture Works, Aleha is channeling her journey into a potent force for positive change, inspiring others to surmount obstacles and construct flourishing workplaces from the ashes of adversity.


To learn more about Aleha, her journey, and the transformative services offered by Work Culture Works, visit

You can contact Aleha directly at

February 2024 - Episode 016

BuilderComs: Revolutionizing Construction Communication and Project Management

Article Credit: Ron Nussbaum

Welcome to the world of BuilderComs, where we're redefining communication and project management in the construction industry. Our journey began with a vision to simplify the complexities of construction projects through innovative technology. Today, we stand as a beacon of innovation, offering a solution that transforms the way construction professionals collaborate, manage, and execute projects.

The Genesis of BuilderComs

BuilderComs was born out of the need to address the chronic challenges faced by the construction industry – fragmented communication. Our founders, experts in both construction and technology, envisioned a tool that would not only streamline communication but also integrate every aspect of project management into one seamless ecosystem.

Our Mission

Our mission is simple yet profound: to empower construction professionals with technology that enhances communication, boosts efficiency, and drives project success. We believe that the key to successful construction projects lies in seamless collaboration, real-time information sharing, and comprehensive project oversight.

What Sets BuilderComs Apart

Cutting-edge Technology

At the core of BuilderComs is our state-of-the-art platform, designed to bring modern solutions to age-old industry challenges. Our software is built on the latest technology, ensuring reliability, scalability, and top-notch security.

Comprehensive Features

BuilderComs offers a suite of features tailored to the needs of the construction industry:

User-Centric Design

Our platform is designed with the user in mind. It's intuitive, easy to navigate, and requires minimal training, ensuring that teams of all tech levels can use it effectively. If you can use Facebook, you can use BuilderComs!

Our Impact on the Construction Industry

We've helped companies reduce delays, cut costs, and enhance project quality. Our solution fosters a culture of transparency and accountability, essential in this high-stakes industry.

Building a Community

We're more than just a software provider; we're a community. We value the input and feedback from our users, continually refining our product to meet the evolving needs of the construction industry. Our commitment to customer service is unwavering, and we take pride in being a partner, not just a provider.

Looking to the Future

As we look ahead, BuilderComs is poised to introduce more innovations. We're exploring AI and machine learning to bring predictive analytics to construction management, and we're constantly seeking ways to enhance our platform's capabilities.

BuilderComs is not just a tool; it's a solution born from the construction industry's heart, designed to tackle its most pressing challenges. We're here to revolutionize the way construction projects are managed, one project at a time.

Join us in this journey of transformation and discover how BuilderComs can make a difference in your construction projects.

Check out BuilderComs and how what they offer can be a solution to common issues in the construction industry on!

February 2024 - Episode 015

From Survival Training to Skincare: The S.E.R.E. Soap Story

In a world filled with mass-produced skincare products, it's refreshing to stumble upon a brand that's as unique as it is purpose-driven. Enter S.E.R.E. Soap, a small-batch, handcrafted soap company founded by the dynamic duo, Austin and Richard Adair. We had the pleasure of sitting down with them to learn more about their journey, their passion for skincare, and the inspiration behind their wilderness-inspired scents. 


From Military Service to Soap Crafting 

The story of S.E.R.E. Soap begins with Richard's decision to join the military back in 2013. With a desire to make a positive impact on the world and a thirst for adventure, he enlisted as a S.E.R.E. (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) Specialist. His role was critical – preparing high-risk isolation personnel with the skills and knowledge needed to survive and return safely to their loved ones.  Richard's military service provided him with a sense of purpose and direction, even allowing him to participate in remarkable opportunities around the world. Back on the home front, his wife Austin, a licensed esthetician and owner of Forrest Esthetics, was making her own mark by offering spa and lash extension services to residents in the San Antonio area. 


The Birth of S.E.R.E. Soap 

The merging of Richard's expertise as a survivalist and Austin’s knowledge of skincare products and ingredients gave rise to S.E.R.E. Soap. They noticed a gap in the market, especially when it came to high-quality skincare products for men. After weeks of rigorous training and roughing it in the woods, there were no products that could leave Richard feeling truly clean and refreshed. 


S.E.R.E. Soap's wilderness-inspired scents are a testament to Richard’s military training experiences. Take, for instance, the "Kaniksu Hike," named after the Kaniksu forest, where much of their survival training occurred. Each soap is handcrafted with care, using all-natural ingredients and a cold-processed method. The result? Vegan, sustainable, pH-balanced soaps that are perfect for all skin types. Oh, and did we mention they smell incredible? 


The Power Couple Behind the Brand 

One of the most remarkable aspects of S.E.R.E. Soap is that it's a true labor of love between husband and wife. Running a business together can be challenging, especially when you factor in periodic moves due to military assignments. However, Richard and Austin wouldn't have it any other way. They tackle the adventure together, supporting each other's businesses while creating something truly extraordinary. 


Challenges and Recommendations 

One of the challenges Richard and Austin faced was reengaging in the social media world after a period of absence. They had to relearn the ropes and build a new following from scratch. Yet, they found that social media has become a fantastic way to connect with clients and share their unique products. 


For those looking to start their own business, Richard's advice is simple yet powerful: Just go for it! If you have a great idea, take that leap of faith and tackle one step at a time. Your "what if" can become a reality sooner than you think. 


Discover S.E.R.E. Soap 

S.E.R.E. Soap isn't just another skincare brand; it's a testament to passion, craftsmanship, and the desire to bring high-quality products to those who appreciate the finer things in life. Explore their diverse range of wilderness-inspired soaps on their website,, and treat yourself to an experience that's both rugged and luxurious. 


In a world of skincare conformity, S.E.R.E. Soap stands out as a brand that's bold, unique, and truly exceptional.

You can find all that S.E.R.E. Soap has to offer at !

February 2024 - Episode 014

Every Wreath Tells a Story

Article credit: Nicole Zettlemoyer

Nicole Zettlemoyer, veteran and owner of Wreaths by Nicole P, believes this wholeheartedly.  In the past 3 years, Nicole has hand-crafted over 2,500 wreaths to individuals in all 50 states.  Each of these wreaths belongs to a veteran, or their family, and each tells a unique story about that member’s service.  

With the option to send your own uniform or to use what Nicole has in stock, there’s options for every service member to customize their wreath to their liking.  She has a wide selection of service tapes, personalized name tapes, ranks, patches, ribbons, and buttons. 

Want to think outside the box? Nicole has created wreaths using a multitude of fabric, including VFW jackets, nurse flight suits, wedding dresses, fire turnout gear, and police uniforms.  She’s happy to listen to your creative ideas and make them a reality.  

Since the inception of her business, Nicole has created wreaths for a multitude of occasions and people, such as retirement gifts, funerals, and Gold Star families, and has used uniforms as early as World War I! 

Wreaths by Nicole P started as a little idea she and her mom had cooked up during a summer leave block, while Nicole was still in the Air Force. The Air Force was switching from it’s old ABU’s to its current OCP’s, and Nicole wanted to do something creative with her old uniforms. After creating the prototype and posting it on Facebook, she began receiving a few orders here and there, creating wreaths for friends and family for fun.  Then, in December of 2020, a local news station got a hold of the story and featured her on a popular news show. After this segment aired, major news outlets including People, FOX, CBS in the Morning, and Late Night with David Muir all reached out, asking for interviews about the Airman who makes wreaths. (You can check out all of these articles on her website as well.) One of Nicole’s biggest honors has been making a wreath for the 19th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Chief Joann Bass.  The wreath still hangs in the Airey house after three years! 

Nicole’s service dates back to January of 2014, when she stepped on the infamous yellow footprints at Parris Island. After four years in the Marine Corps, she got a taste of the civilian world and wished to be back in the military. 10 months later, she reenlisted into the Air Force and served four years.  While in the Air Force, she met her husband, started Wreaths by Nicole P, then had her son. Now, as a veteran, Nicole spends her time making wreaths, weight lifting, and being a mother to a very rambunctious toddler.

She also hand makes ornaments, which you can also find on her site. There are other cool pieces of merchandise on her website such as tee shirts, mugs, sweat shirts, and challenge coins. As a crazy dog mom and proud veteran, she regularly donates to K9s for Warriors through the business as well. 

Reach out to Nicole through her site or e-mail or Facebook page for any questions about how you can order you and your family your wreath! 

February 2024 - Episode 013

From Navy SEAL to Sea Explorer: Stephen Kaplan's Journey with Trident Adventures

Article credit: Stephen Kaplan

Stephen Kaplan is a retired Navy SEAL, now owner of Trident Adventures, currently living in Oahu, Hawaii with his lovely wife Andrea.  Steve began he’s Naval career in May of 2002, attending Basic Training in Great Lakes, at the age of 22.  Prior to joining the military, Steve graduated from Tolland High School, in Tolland Connecticut.  That same year, thinking he was following the will of God for his life, Steve enrolled at Elim Bible Institute, in Lima, New York.  Studying to be a pastor, Steve felt that God’s true call on his life was not to be in the ministry, but rather in the military as a Navy SEAL.  Without any real understanding of what a Navy SEAL is or does, he went through the recruiting process with the Navy and signed on the dotted line. 


While in the Delayed Entry Program (DEP), awaiting a ship out date, Steve began a rigorous training regimen for 9 months in order to prepare for the toughest military training in the world, Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL (BUD/S) training.  During that time, Steve took his body and mind to levels he thought would prepare him for the arduous journey of becoming a Navy SEAL.  After only allowing himself 4 hours of sleep a night, Steve’s daily morning exercises included 1000 push-ups, 1000 sit-ups, 1000 dips, 150 pull-ups, 8 mile runs, and 1 mile swims.  After the morning exercise routine, Steve worked at FedEx, loading and unloading trucks.  He typically did the job of 4-5 people by himself while his fellow employees would enjoy very long “breaks” at his expense.  Steve loved it though because it allowed him the think and train like a Navy SEAL while doing all his fellow employees jobs for them.  After a typical 5-6 hour shift, it was off the gym for weight lifting training.  Throughout each day, Steve was always training and thinking “how would a Navy SEAL do this…,” “How would a Navy SEAL think about this…”  It’s like a student in medical school being called “doctor” before they are actually doctors.  It gets the mind to think a certain way.  This manner of thinking is critical when everything hits the fan in training and it feels like the world is against you. 


After graduating Naval Basic Training, Steve then attended Aircrew Survival Equipment Specialist training, aka Parachute Rigger (PR) training, in Pensacola, Florida.  The school was only about 2 months long, and he finished top of his class.  Upon completion, it was off to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) located in San Diego, California where he was assigned to class 244.  If a student makes it straight through the program, it takes about 7-8 months to complete.  BUD/S is broken down into 3 separate phases, 1st Phase, 2nd Phase, and 3rd Phase, each about 2 months long with certain milestones to complete in each phase.  Prior to the true BUD/S 1st Phase start date, each potential BUD/S Student must go through BUD/S Indoc, which lasts typically about 6 weeks.   Indoc teaches the student about all the rules, regulations, practices, and expectations for each student and each class.  Typically, each class starts with about 300 students, but finishes with about 30.  


Steve’s time at BUD/S was just shy of 2 years.  During Indoc, he put a stick through his right forearm from a piece of the ‘low wall’ breaking off and impaling him on the obstacle course.  After getting all 7 inches of wood surgically removed, he was put in BUD/S class 245.  Having started off in 244 as one of the physically strongest men in the class, Steve was now one of the weakest students amongst his peers.  Persevering, he pushed through 245’s Indoc, and into 1st Phase.  The Thursday before the start of Hell Week, the infamous 5 ½ day, no sleep, continues training regimen milestone, which starts on the 4th week of 1st phase, Steve’s ear was significantly damaged.  He was hit upside the head, across the right ear by a paddle belonging to the BUD/S student behind him while being ejected from a small rubber boat a huge, San Diego, El Nino year, 20-foot wave.  Round 2 now for surgeries in BUD/S.  It took a tympanoplasty, which is basically a skin graft, to repair a ruptured/torn tympanic membrane.  Having to start training completely over again, to include the 6-week long Indoc process, Steve was now rolled into class 246.  While in this class, Steve finally made it to Hell Week for the first time.  On day 2, in the late-night hours, while he, plus the other 5 members of his boat crew were running with a rubber boat on their heads in the soft sands of the Coronado coastline, Steve stepped in a deep hole dug in the sand, hyperextending his left knee and taring the anterior tibial tendon that lies on the top of the ankle.  Also, he had ‘blow-out’ his other eardrum on day 3 of Hell Week.  Having sucked up the hardest part of the hardest military training in the world, with the help of God, Steve did complete Hell Week, with his severely injured leg and ear.  It took 4 months of physical therapy to heal his injured left leg and another tympanoplasty, this time in his left ear to repair the damage done.   After being rolled into class 248, upon that class’s completion of Hellweek, Steve did eventually make it through the remining 4 weeks of 1st phase, and completed 2nd phase Dive training, and 3rd Phase Land Warfare/small unit tactics training.  


After graduating BUD/S, Steve attended Airborne school with the Army at Fort Benning, Georgia and then SEAL Qualification Training (SQT) back in San Diego, California.  During SQT, each student is trained in the fundamentals of being a SEAL, which still leaves the students grossly underprepared for the real training and lifestyle of an active-duty Navy SEAL.  It still takes about another year and a half of training while assigned to a SEAL platoon at a SEAL Team before being fully trained and integrated with the 16 Navy SEALs you’ll be deploying with. 


Steve was medically retired from the Navy after spending 16 years in the SEAL Teams.  As a veteran of many deployments throughout the world, Steve’s combative experience includes hundreds of Direct Action (DA) missions, Special Reconnaissance (SR), Maritime Operations, Protective Support Detachments (PSD), any various others mission types.  He spent most of his career stationed at SEAL Team One, deploying and fighting in various places, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as scattered locations throughout the Pacific Area of Operation (AOR).  He also served in Guam at Naval Special Warfare Unit ONE for 3 years as a Country Officer acting as a liaison between the Special Operations Forces (SOF) community, the State Department, and the host nations of Indonesia, Honk Kong, and the Philippines. 


The last four years of his Naval career he served as the lead instructor in all Combat Swimmer /dive (closed circuit and open circuit) training, maritime operations, Close Quarter Combat (CQC), explosives, breaching, Helicopter HRST/Cast operations, small unit tactics, weapons, and various other lead instructor roles while functioning as a department head at Training Detachment THREE (TRADET-3), based on Oahu, Hawaii. 


Today, Steve is the owner and CEO of Trident Adventures (Trident).  Taking all his experiences in SEAL training, combat deployments, leadership, and instruction, Steve formed and forged Trident into a high-end adventure company and school house.  Steve carries a unique perspective, and high value for life that he would say comes directly from his faith in Jesus Christ.  Paired with his vast collection of experience, and a strong sense of wonder for God’s creation, it is unavoidably contagious to those around him to simply love life. 


Steve has worked tirelessly to bring all the “fun” aspects of being a Navy SEAL to the world through Trident Adventures.  In its beginning, back in January of 2019, Trident simply offered snorkeling and scuba diving tours.  It has now grown to offer training and Navy SEAL-like experiences which includes, live fire gun shooting on a private gun range on the North Shore of Oahu, HI, as well as Navy SEAL ‘style’ / high-end hunting tours on the island of Lanai, HI.  Trident also offer training in various hand-to-hand combat disciplines through Krav Maga and Jiujitsu while blending those skills into a CQC environment utilizing simulated gun fighting warfare.  Beyond that Trident also offer skydiving out of helicopters, night vision goggle training, helicopter casting into the ocean, and so much more.  Within the first 6-months of opening, Steve created the academic arm of Trident Adventures, developing a school offering elite training to its students who earn professional ratings in both scuba diving and helicopter casting, recognized by PADI and the FAA, respectfully.  As a schoolhouse, Trident Adventures has now certified thousands of students from all around the world!


The most exciting, new development Trident now offers is their VA approved term classes for all professional level Scuba Diving certifications!  Anyone who has their VA benefits can now come to Trident and use their GI Bill to pay, in full, for all the training to become a PADI Divemaster (DM), Assistant Scuba Instructor (AI), Emergency First Response Instructor (EFRI) and an Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI).  As long as the military member, dependent, or veteran has enough educational months still allocated to their account, the training has no cost to the student.  For all veterans that go through the training, they also receive their Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) for Oahu, Hawaii, as an E-5 with dependents, throughout their entire time in the course. 


The most unique aspect about Trident is their helicopter operations!  Trident is the only company in the United States, and likely the world, that offers helicopter (helo) casting into the water, for fun! The youngest so far to do this activity is 3 years old, while the oldest so far is 84.  Working with the FAA, Steve not only got this activity approved for civilian purposes, but even created an entire curriculum, and new type of career field through the helo casting.  Now, the VA has even recognized the head role of this profession which is called a Helicopter Cast Master.   Just like with all the professional level Scuba certifications, anyone that wants to utilize their Gill Bill can now do so to become a Helicopter Cast Master!  It’s an incredibly intense and fun 3-week course of instruction that prepares the student for, in Steve’s opinion, the best job in the world! 


Beyond the daily tasks of running Trident, Steve also works as a military/SEAL technical advisor for various television shows and feature films filmed in Hawaii.  He’s also a member of the Scene Actors Guild (SAG) performing as a stuntman and occasional actor.  He also does a lot of Key Note Speaking, primality speaking about leadership and living a courage life in various venues.  His greatest passion however is leading a weekly Bible study and mentoring young men in becoming the 10 out of 10 version of themselves.  His next 2 goals in life are to finish writing his book called, ‘The Trident and the Cross.’  It’s Steve story about his time in the SEAL Teams and his relaying on faith throughout some very intense times in his military career as a SEAL.  Upon completion of the book, he’s going to flight school to become a helicopter pilot himself.

Trident Advenures offers Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Gun Range, Axis Deer Hunting, Helicopter Casting (jumping), Skydiving, and more!

Eligible Veterans, Military Members, and Dependents can use their Post 9-11 GI Bills and VR&E benefits to pay for their Scuba Diving and Helicopter Cast Master Certifications through Trident Adventures too!

You'll want to check out the amazing things that Stephen and his his team are up to and learn how you can have a once in a lifetime experience with Trident Adventures at

January 2024 - Episode 012

From Combat Deployments to Culinary Excellence: Meet the Marine Behind Mach 1 Hot Sauce

Meet Cassidy Nolan, one of the co-founders behind the flavorful phenomenon that is Mach 1 Hot Sauce. Cassidy's journey from serving in the US Marine Corps (USMC) to becoming the driving force behind Mach 1 Hot Sauce is nothing short of inspiring.

Cassidy served in the USMC from 2008 to 2013, earning the rank of Corporal (E-4) as an 0231 (Intelligence Analyst). Stationed at the renowned Camp Pendleton with the 1st Marine Division G-2 (Division Intelligence), he embarked on two combat deployments as an accredited Collections Manager. During these deployments, Cassidy's focus was on ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) platforms and assets, analyzing the intricacies of the battlespace to provide vital intelligence.

Now, Cassidy and the Mach 1 Hot Sauce team are taking the culinary world by storm. Their hot sauce offerings are flavor-forward and designed to elevate your dishes without overwhelming your taste buds. At Mach 1, they firmly believe that hot sauce should never force you to choose between scorching heat and bland flavor. Much like the aircraft depicted on their iconic label, Cassidy and the Mach 1 team are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of flavor and embracing the spirit of American innovation.

Mach 1 Hot Sauce was established in 2021 and has quickly gained recognition for its exceptional flavors. While their delectable sauces can be found in stores and served at restaurants across Northern California, they're also easily accessible online and available nationwide through their official website and

Supporting Mach 1 Hot Sauce means not only savoring delicious flavors but also honoring the dedication and innovation of a service-disabled veteran like Cassidy Nolan. It's a culinary adventure with a purpose, and it's just a few clicks away.

At the time of this article, they offer Mach 1, Mach 2, and Mach 3, and I have no doubt that there will be more to come.

Check out their site at and you might just find a tasty recipe too!

Go Mach 1!

January 2024 - Episode 011

Leading with Purpose: An Interview with Alejandro Rodriguez, CEO of KAVEO Leadership

At the Veteran Owned Business, we take pride in showcasing inspiring stories of veterans who have transitioned into successful entrepreneurs. Today, we're excited to introduce you to Alejandro Rodriguez, the Founder and CEO of KAVEO Leadership. With three lines of business - Coaching, Assessments, and Facilitation - KAVEO Leadership is transforming the way organizations approach leadership development. 


Meet Alejandro Rodriguez: A Visionary Leader 


Alejandro “Ale” Rodriguez is a U.S. Air Force veteran with a remarkable career trajectory. After serving our nation, he embarked on a new mission: empowering leaders and organizations to thrive through effective leadership development. His passion for leadership and service is at the heart of his company, KAVEO Leadership. 


The KAVEO Leadership Difference 


What sets KAVEO Leadership apart is its holistic approach to leadership development. The company offers three distinct but interconnected lines of business: 


Coaching: KAVEO Leadership provides personalized coaching to help individuals and teams unlock their full potential. Their certified coaches work closely with clients to set and achieve meaningful goals, foster leadership skills, and drive positive change within organizations. 


Assessments: Understanding your leadership style is crucial, and KAVEO Leadership offers a range of assessments to help individuals gain clarity on their strengths and areas for growth. These assessments provide valuable insights that inform targeted development strategies. 


Facilitation: Effective leadership often hinges on communication and collaboration. KAVEO Leadership offers facilitation services that create engaging and interactive learning experiences. Their facilitators guide teams through workshops and training sessions using real world examples to inspire growth and innovation. 


Unlocking Leadership Potential 


In our interview with Alejandro, we dove into what fuels his passion for leadership development. He shared insights on the challenges leaders face in today's rapidly evolving business landscape and how KAVEO Leadership is uniquely positioned to address them. 


If you're looking for valuable leadership insights and guidance, this interview is a must-see. Alejandro Rodriguez's experience as a veteran and his dedication to helping others make this interview a goldmine of knowledge. 


Whether you're a leader seeking to enhance your skills, an organization looking to elevate your team's performance, or simply someone interested in the world of leadership development, KAVEO Leadership's interview is a treasure trove of wisdom. 


Stay tuned for this illuminating interview with Alejandro Rodriguez, the visionary leader behind KAVEO Leadership. We're excited to share his journey, his insights, and the invaluable lessons he has learned along the way. 


At The Veteran Owned Business, we believe that showcasing stories like Alejandro's is a testament to the resilience, determination, and entrepreneurial spirit of our veterans. We can't wait to introduce you to the man behind KAVEO Leadership, a company that's making a profound impact in the world of leadership development.

You can learn more about KAVEO, Alejandro, his team, and their services at

Alejandro can be reached by emailing

January 2024 - Episode 010

One Fire Fight - Founded on Faith, Family, and Community

We are five brothers from a family of 10 children who know what it means to serve, protect, and

defend our nation and freedoms. Our father retired from the United States Marine Corps, and

we saw at a young age the selfless service and sacrifices that servicemembers make. We have

continued to follow in those footsteps as we have grown and started our own families. In

September of 2021, we decided to start up One Fire Fight Apparel Company to support and

give back to Military, First Responders and Medical Professionals.

Our company is based out of Columbia, SC but are spread out over the country with brothers

living in Texas, Connecticut, Michigan and Greenville, SC. We love any opportunity to share our

story and describe how we give back and support the local community.

One Fire Fight is a Veteran-owned and operated custom apparel company that supports and

gives back to those who serve our country, families and communities. Our company went live

on April 15, 2022 with a focus on every single person who is out there “fighting,” but highlights

the service that our Military, Police, Fire Fighters, EMS, and Medical Professionals provide to

everyone. Our company is built on the pillars of integrity, quality, customer service and


One Fire Fight (1FF) is a company founded on faith, family, and community. We are all in a

“fight,” whether it be physical, emotional, or mental and 1FF is built to encourage and represent

your personal “fight.”

Our team is comprised of five brothers with a wide array of backgrounds:

· Arthur Athens is an active-duty Army officer, serving over 16 years in numerous

leadership positions managing multi-million dollar projects and leading troops during several

combat tours overseas.

· Andrew Athens is currently a Deputy Sheriff in South Carolina and a head lacrosse

coach of a world team. Andrew was an NCAA Division I lacrosse player and went on to be a

collegiate associate head lacrosse coach.

· Jonathan Athens has spent the last seven years at a Fortune 500 company, a leader in

the uniform and apparel industry. He has held numerous leadership positions across every


· Peter Athens is serving as a police officer in Texas and was a two-sport collegiate

athlete at the Division 1 level.

· Stephen Athens has spent six years serving as an active-duty Coast Guardsman with

several counter-narcotics deployments in the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. He also

specializes in material fabrication, multimedia production, and personnel management.

As we startup and grow we provide the very best products to our customers and share our

financial success with non-profit organizations that support Military, Police, Fire Fighters, EMS

and Medical Professionals. We donate 5% of sales to the “Semper Fi, America’s Fund” that give

back to those who are in the “fight” every day and support our communities and freedoms.

We do a majority of our sales online but also go to numerous live selling events in SC, NC, MI,

TX and GA.

You can visit our website at: or on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and

Instagram @onefirefight

Thank you for the opportunity to help One Fire Fight reach the community as we support local



Arthur, Andrew, Jonathan, Peter and Stephen

One Fire Fight

January 2024 - Episode 009

One Team One Coffee: Brewing Unity in Every Cup

Veterans have a unique bond. Their shared experiences, challenges, and achievements forge a unity that's unparalleled. This bond doesn't just end when they hang up their uniforms. Many continue to serve their communities in myriad ways, even after their active service days are behind them.


Enter One Team One Coffee, a testament to this enduring spirit of camaraderie and service.


From the Barracks to the Brew, The Veteran Owned Business podcast has always been a platform that celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of our brave servicemen and women. In our latest episode, we dive deep into the aromatic world of One Team One Coffee, a veteran-owned company that's making waves in the coffee industry. 


What Makes One Team One Coffee Stand Out?  At the heart of One Team One Coffee is a mission - to bring the highest quality coffee to the masses while upholding the values of unity, strength, and community. Every bean they roast tells a story of dedication, passion, and commitment. 


1.     Quality First: One Team One Coffee sources beans from the best farms worldwide. Their commitment to quality ensures that each cup you brew is nothing short of exceptional.

 2.    Veteran Values: As a veteran-owned company, they bring the ethos of service, dedication, and camaraderie to their business model. When you sip their coffee, you're not just enjoying a beverage; you're becoming a part of a community. 

3.     Serving the Community: This isn't just about coffee. One Team One Coffee is committed to giving back. With every purchase, they support various causes close to the hearts of veterans. 


This conversation where the Veteran Owned Business meets up with the brains behind One Team One Coffee was both enlightening and inspiring.


The journey from the battlefield to the coffee farms and finally to our breakfast tables is a tale of grit, perseverance, and passion.  Hearing first-hand how the company was conceived, the challenges faced, and the victories celebrated, gives coffee enthusiasts and veteran supporters an inside look into the world of gourmet coffee, infused with veteran values. 


One Team One Coffee is not just a brand; it's a movement. A movement that celebrates the best of coffee and the best of our veteran community. Their story is a testament to what can be achieved when passion meets purpose.  For those eager to experience this aromatic journey, tune into the Veteran Owned Business podcast and immerse yourself in the world of One Team One Coffee. And the next time you brew a cup, remember the veteran spirit that's been poured into every bean.

Check out our full interview below!

You can learn more about One Team One Coffee or order at

Greg can be reached through the website or by emailing

April 2022 - Episode 008

It was March 11, 2011. A 9.0 earthquake hit off the coast of Fukushima, Japan. Shortly after, the PA system went off announcing the risk of tsunamis - even thousands of miles away from the epicenter. 

Life after was not normal. At least not for awhile. 

Immediately after the first hit, the train system which is the primary mode of transportation, was shut down forcing many to have to walk to/from home or work. Many people even had to walk for several hours in the cold. Homes and police stations along major roads opened up to give pedestrians a place to stop to warm up. 

Traffic on the roads were backed up - causing what normally would have been a 30 minute drive to take several hours in gridlock because traffic lights were out and many people were trying to find alternate modes of transportation, or were in a hurry to run to the store for provisions. 

Children were separated from family members for extended amounts of time. Cell phone lines were so tied up that many couldn’t even reach their loved ones by phone. Power was out in many areas. 

Days later, media announced not only was there a double natural disaster, but also a nuclear disaster. There was an issue with not just one, but three of the reactors. The reactors were successfully shut down in time, but there wasn’t enough power, causing cooling systems to fail. 

For many months, Japan felt the aftermath of these disasters. Some lost their lives or loved ones. Others lost their homes. Many lost power in rolling blackouts - even hundreds of miles outside of the Fukushima area for many weeks. 

While this situation seems a bit of an overkill, it is, in fact, a real life situation. No one was prepared for all of these events to take place at one time. This caused confusion and panic, which made things even more dangerous than the actual disaster themselves. 

Disaster preparedness is not something that should be taken lightly. While we can’t plan for every possibly scenario, having a general outline of solutions for a variety of possible disasters is important. 

Fire plans. Escape plans. Active shooters. Equipment failure. And many other possible scenarios. 

How prepared are you and your employees? 

Do they all know what to do, where to go, and who to call in the event of an unforeseen emergency? 

What about if cell service is down or limited? Do you have a landline to call for help? 

How often are plans that are in place reviewed and rehearsed? 

How will your business and employees be able to recover in the event of a disaster? 

Meet Erika Andresen. CBCP, JD, MPA, and founder of EaaS Consulting LLC. 

EaaS (Erika as a Service) provides consultation services to help businesses with disaster preparedness and business continuity. She helps them plan for a disaster, survive the disruption, and survive the aftermath. Because, let’s face it - the effects of a disaster are felt long after the disaster itself is over. 

While she’s worked in the industry for more than 9 years, this veteran owned business only came about in 2021 - after her active duty service in the US Army as a JAG. 

“It’s very difficult to plan for something that may or may not happen, but you’d rather have something that’s just in case versus just in time, or nothing.” 

You won’t want to miss this discussion with lots of insight that you may or may not have considered to help better prepare you and your company with being ready to face a disruption, recover, and resume operations as quickly as possible. Plus, there are great resources Erika provides for aspiring business owners.

And if you are in need of someone to review your company’s existing program and help you fill the gaps or to tailor a plan if you don’t have one yet, Erika offers services nationwide. Her services are built for medium and large sized companies, but she is also working on a program for small business owners as well.

To learn more about EaaS, visit 

Erika can be reached by emailing

April 2022 - Episode 007

As time passes, certain memories are sure to slowly fade.

Memories of children, parents, grandparents, friends, and even pets.

First steps, childhood memories, marriages, births, progressions of life.

We live in a world where it’s so much easier to capture these moments, but it’s still not foolproof and this wasn’t always the case.

Printed photographs, slides, negatives, 8mm videos, reels, VHS tapes…

Recently, I received a box of items after my grandmother passed. In that box were old letters that my dad had written before I was born. 10 years’ worth, actually. Additionally, there were some old photographs. Many worn, some still in decent shape. My aunt had sent them to me because she figured that of out of all of the people in my immediate family, I was probably the one to appreciate them the most.

As I read through the letters and looked at the photographs, I found some that I thought my dad would enjoy. I took a photo with my iPhone Pro, but it definitely didn’t them justice. My $500 scanner wasn’t much better. Also, I didn’t really have the time and patience to scan them all, so I only sent over a couple.

As expected, my dad enjoyed them. But a few months later asked if I could send one of them to him again. I have no idea where those images went - I had deleted them shortly after sending them off. The originals are packed in a box somewhere with my recent PCS.

In another instance, I was proactive and had backed up my wedding and honeymoon photos on an external hard drive. Too bad that both my computer and the hard drive both crashed at the same time. Not that this is likely to happen to anyone else, but heaven forbid that photos I got from my aunt got lost in a PCS, or something happened to them when I wasn’t home.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to get these items (old and new) nicely preserved in a safe place and easily sharable? I wouldn’t have to spend hours looking for my kid’s senior photos from 6 months prior when his father’s aunt asked for a copy.

Well, the good news is that my next guest’s veteran owned business does exactly that. AND more.

Geoff Weber - Founder and CEO of Heirloom Cloud

Geoff Weber is the founder and CEO of Heirloom Cloud Corporation. Prior to 9/11, he joined the Navy as an Intelligence Officer, and very recently retired. (Congratulations to Geoff and his family!)

Prior to joining the Navy, he had founded 2 other startups. But this veteran owned business was founded while he was still serving on active duty, and has been running 3 years strong!

So how did it all start?

Being active duty, he and his family constantly moved during his 20 years in the service. Every PCS, he and his wife struggled to preserve all of their family’s precious memories in different media formats. Eventually he figured out a way to digitize everything into the cloud. Family and friends heard about their process and wanted to preserve their memories as well. After spending countless hours helping them, he realized there was a problem.

Heirloom became the solution.

But, if preserving memories wasn’t enough of a reason, Geoff had an additional purpose. As the father of an autistic son, he knew how these talented men and women on the spectrum have an eye for detail, strong focus, and can perform repetitive tasks at a high level and wanted to incorporate supporting them. Heirloom will be hiring several autistic employees in September as they expand.

AND they are making a positive impact in the transitioning service member community by being a part of the DoD Skillbridge program! They have over a dozen on their team through the program - learning new skills and helping to make a difference. While they don’t have any openings currently, definitely keep an eye out for future opportunities!

“Founding a new startup takes perseverance and determination. You have to have a solid mission and vision to stay focused on the long game. Success in a startup doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of dedication and long hours to make it happen. You also need to surround yourself with a team that you trust. Leveraging the talents of your team is essential if you want your business to not only survive, but to strategically become the reality of your vision.” Excellent advice, Geoff!

Heirloom launched their “No Memory Left Behind” Kickstarter Fundraiser Friday, April 9th. Funds generated through this will be used to open a new fulfillment center that will hire up to 10 autistic workers by September, as well as develop new code for their platform, supporting contracted coders in war torn Ukraine. Kickstarter rewards will offer digitizing discounts that save clients up to $12,000 in digitizing their precious memories.

But don’t let those savings scare you. Their pricing is incredibly affordable, and they have some amazing upgrades to their offerings coming later this year.

You can find out more about Heirloom Cloud at

Their site has easy to access contact information, and if you take a look at the banner at the top, you can get more information about their Kickstarter Fundraiser!

This blogcast is 100% volunteer ran and currently not taking donations of any kind. If you’d like to help, please consider sharing! Don’t forget to support this and other veteran owned businesses by following and interacting their social media platforms as well!

View all of our interviews on our YouTube Channel!

April 2022 - Episode 006

Paul Cummings - CEO of Whole Cyber Human Initiative

Every time I meet someone who says that they’re interested in either of these fields, I ask them, “Do you know Paul?”

Paul Cummings is a veteran. A retired Navy Chief. Fellow shipmate. Vets2Industry volunteer, among other entities. And from personal experience, I can tell you he’s one amazing individual.

He’s also the CEO of Whole Cyber Human Initiative Inc. - a non profit organization.

The mission of The Whole Cyber Human Initiative is to redefine how the industry as a whole identifies and trains these individuals. Growing awareness and providing opportunities for learning and growth for all aspiring IT and cybersecurity professionals of all ages and walks of life.

Read that again: Growing AWARENESS and providing OPPORTUNITIES for learning and growth to ALL aspiring IT and cybersecurity professionals of ALL ages and walks of life.

So, yes - their services are available to EVERYONE. Veterans. Spouses. First responders. Or none of the above.

Retirees. Middle aged individual like myself. Young adults.

In fact, their youngest candidate in the program is actually 16 years old!

You can participate in their program from anywhere in the world, and you can go through the program at your own pace. Game changer for those who have a job - particularly active duty service members who deploy.

Gain knowledge. Gain experience. Learn practical skills and not just learn how to pass a test.

They offer a workforce development pipeline. They have a candidate pipeline to help individuals figure out what they actually want to do in the field. They get to know their candidates and provide guidance to best prepare them for what’s to come after they successfully complete the program.

And if this weren’t incredible enough, the program is 100% free - and includes 100 hours of training, labs, and hands on experience. Taking a holistic approach by teaching different roles within these industries to help make their students marketable in different fields.

Learn more about this incredible initiative and how it came about, plus hear some great advice about starting a business, and ways to grow by listening to the full interview in the video below. Don't for checck out our previous guests on our YouTube Channel.

If this program sounds incredible to you and you want to learn more, check out The Whole Cyber Human Initiative on their website.

If you’d like to help, there are a few ways you can:

veteran owned business non profit whole cyber human initiative support by purchasing swag cups tshirts coffee

* Donate

* Shop their store on their website. They’ve got COFFEE, shirts, cups, and other items through Proper Patriot.

* Spread the word!

They are working on a scholarship program that they’re building to help students get certifications.

They are also looking for companies that see value in their approach that would be interested in a direct hire program. So, if you’re a company or business that would like to hear more about this, reach out to Paul, or connect with him on LinkedIn.

This blogcast is 100% volunteer ran and currently not taking donations of any kind. If you’d like to help, please consider sharing!

April 2022 - Episode 005

Peak Safety Solutions Inc. on the VOB

Dan Hughes of Peak Safety Solutions, INC. 

Whether or not you consider it, safety is a key factor in success - particularly for companies and business owners.

Accidents may happen, but many are preventable.

Regulatory knowledge, implementation, and enforcement should not be compromised for any reason. Assessments are also a key factor in ensuring that awareness is customized to the hazards faced based on a worker’s job duties as well as their environment.

Safety isn’t a chore. It’s a way of life.

Failure to plan and to keep safety first and foremost could lead to countless losses.

Money lost by way of fines, workman comp payouts, medical fees, and more.

Man-hours lost (which also means money) due to injury or illness, investigation, broken equipment, or perhaps workplace destruction - resulting not only in those work hours lost but also loss of morale. With that comes a loss of productivity.

Then there are the negative results relating to the worse loss possible - life.

And while a company has to keep the momentum of moving the business forward, this is why it’s important to not put safety on the back burner. Because instead of taking 2 steps forward, a safety infraction or fatality could force them 2 steps back.

While larger companies may have a safety professional on staff, smaller and mid-sized businesses may not have all of the boxes checked off to ensure that their company and employees are in the safest environment possible.

This is where a safety and health consultant comes in handy. They can assess various hazards that most workers and employers take for granted because they are familiar with regulations that are set forth by regulatory standards to help keep workers safe. And if that’s not enough for you to call one in right now, they can also save you a ton of money in the long run.

I would love to take this opportunity to introduce you all to Daniel (Dan) Hughes, a U.S. Army veteran, and certified safety professional (CSP).

Dan Hughes of Peak Safety Solutions Inc on the Veteran Owned Business (the VOB) - Safety.
Dan Hughes of Peak Safety Solutions Inc on the Veteran Owned Business (the VOB)- Profile.
Dan Hughes of Peak Safety Solutions Inc on the Veteran Owned Business (the VOB)- Training.

Dan joined the Army 6 months after graduating high school and served as an infantry medic for nearly 6 years. And for those of you who don’t know, safety and health go hand in hand.

Fast forward a few years, and Dan was hired by an oil refinery and chemical plant where he worked his way up from laborer to equipment operator, then process unit operator back to laborer. As you may have expected, this industry has more than its fair share of accidents. He has witnessed several workplace fatalities that deeply affected him - increasing the impact that safety has in his life.

He was given the opportunity to get into safety and health and emergency response a few years later, but a little over a decade after that, he was laid off and had difficulty finding employment. This is when he started his first consulting business which was fairly successful until he was offered a full-time position as a construction safety manager. 21 years later, he retired as a senior safety director.

But, as anyone who truly lives safety to their core knows, safety doesn’t just stop - not even for retirement. His passion for safety still burns strongly, and he’s not ready to stop his passion after nearly 40 years. And while he’s felt accomplished in what he’s contributed so far, he’s got many, many years left to dedicate to his life-long passion.

So Dan started his second veteran-owned business - Peak Safety Solutions Incorporated.

Peak Safety Solutions offers a variety of services - perfect for any business who wants to ensure the health and safety of their employees. He offers valuable safety and health consulting to include training, short term projects for construction safety oversight, investigations, expert witness, leadership engagement, audits and inspections, and safety program reviews. But that’s not all. He can offer practically any service a potential client may need to improve their safety and health atmosphere in a multitude of industries.

While he is located in central Indiana, he’s willing to travel to any location. To him, safety and health is about making an impact in people’s lives. His ultimate goal is to help others make it home safely. Not just today, but every day.

Experience, integrity, and heart. This veteran-owned business has it.

To hear more about Peak Safety Solutions as well as Dan’s impressive background and journey, various businesses and life tips, as well as resources, check out the full interview on our YouTube Channel. You’ll be glad you did!

Dan can be reached at:


Dan Hughes of Peak Safety Solutions Inc on the Veteran Owned Business (the VOB).

March 2022 - Episode 004

Crayons Ready-To-Eat on the Veteran Owned Business (theVOB)
Frank Manteau on the Veteran Owned Business

Frank Manteau of Crayons Ready-To-Eat

Making the decision to join the military, regardless of branch, means that you are part of a bigger family.

We support each other. Have mutual respect for each other. Both while in, and maybe even more so after transitioning back to civilian life, as veterans (hence, how The Veteran Owned Business came to be).

While we all serve the same main purpose - defending our country - like siblings, we like to torment each other too. You may or may not be familiar with the playful banter between the military branches.

Sure, there’s the Army - Navy games, but each branch has its own nickname as well. Only, they aren’t really nicknames used within the branch…just…by every other branch. But it’s all in good fun.

Names like:



“Crayon Eaters.”

Yes, crayon eaters. And, yes, they are over the age of 3.

Frank Manteau, The Crayon Eater King, is a Marine: 0311 Infantry and Marine Security Forces. Originally from the sticks of Ohio, he returned after his time in service. Dealt with some hardships - only to eventually pick up his family and move all the way out to Southern California.

From Corporate America to starting his own woodworking business, he eventually worked on a project which lead him to the epiphany of where Crayons Ready-to-Eat all began.

Crayons Ready-to-Eat is a veteran-owned business. They’ve made the joke of calling Marines “Crayon Eaters” a reality by creating the first edible, colorable, chocolate crayon. Yes, we said edible. And colorable.

The business originally launched in 2018, became an LLC in 2021, and will be ready to ship on May 1st. His story and journey is absolutely fascinating with lots of twists, turns, and incredibly helpful people (you’ll hear who in the interview).

CrowdFunding. Business Showers. Pitch competitions.

He’s a do-er. Determined. Resourceful. Inventive. A problem solver. Persistent. Inspiring.

You’ll want to listen to this entire interview on The Veteran Owned Business’ YouTube Channel.

And don’t forget to get your pre-orders in now!

Crayons Ready-to-Eat LLC

Social media: @crayonsreadytoeat

Crayons Ready-To-Eat on the Veteran Owned Business (theVOB)

March 2022 - Episode 003

Veterans Ascend Logo on the Veteran Owned Business (theVOB)
Veterans Ascend Team on the Veteran Owned Business (theVOB)

The Veterans Ascend Team 

Changing jobs is never an easy feat. You’re at a new location, with new people, possibly doing new things. It takes a little time to acclimate.

Imagine changing jobs every 2-5 years at the same company. Any time there’s a change - software, different management styles, equipment - you’re up to the challenge and you succeed. You learn the ins and outs at every new job, and you’re the go-to when someone needs certain tasks accomplished. Some parts of your job are the same with each move, but there’s always something different.

And you’re REALLY good at your job. Especially if you’ve been building your skillset over the last 20+ years.

When your friends and family ask you what you do, you have a difficult time translating it into terminology that they can understand. Your family tries to translate what you do in terms that are more relatable for them, but they only understand a small fraction of the details.

Now, imagine leaving your company after years of dedication. Moving where they want you to, - when they need you to. Spending more time at work than with your own family.  Years of dedication to your work.

Trying to communicate how your work experience can fit well with your new company can be challenging. Terminology is different. They’ve never heard of the equipment and software you’ve worked with for years.

There’s a gap in translation.

To the interviewer, it sounds like you lack experience.

This is what our transitioning service members deal with every day as they try to leave the military and join the civilian workforce. Unless they’re applying for a job with a company that’s contracted with the military, it’s difficult to find the right words from their expertise and the skills they possess.

Robyn Grable, a veteran of the US Navy (GO NAVY!!!) recognized this pitfall. From her early days in the service, she advocated for our service members. She grew up in this lifestyle as a stepchild, later becoming a female in the military when some ratings (careers) were restricted for women.

With this unique experience, and as a single parent of a gifted child, she’s a defender for people to be recognized for their skills and not dismissed for something someone else thinks they may be missing.

This is why she created Veterans ASCEND.

Veterans ASCEND is an Ai-powered talent sourcing platform created in 2019, although Robyn has been in the industry for about 30 years.

It helps companies build an investment and a talent strategy that is 100% intentional and inclusive. No resume. No application upfront. Helping employers pinpoint what skills are needed for their positions and the company overall, and matching them with high-quality candidates that have these skills. Pricing is based on the size of the company, and she has over 60 employers that are currently using the platform - many of whom have been using it since the very beginning.

On the talent side of things, it’s a national program available to all active service members, Guard, Reservists, Veterans, and their spouses. All at no cost to them. Helping them to pinpoint their skills which are translated from their military or civilian occupational background. Helping them see where they fit best.

To hear more about Veterans ASCEND, Robyn’s story, and what they can do to help both employers and job seekers, check out the
full interview on our YouTube Channel!

You can reach out to Robyn and her team with any questions by emailing them at

February 2022 - Episode 002

Trevor Kinkade logo on the Veteran Owned Business (theVOB)

Trevor Kinkade

Some businesses have done it intentionally, while others have done it by accident, but any successful business owner (veteran-owned, or not) can tell you how important quality branding is in contributing to their success.

Why is branding so important?

Because it’s memorable and shows your clients what they can expect from you. It’s a way a business can distinguish itself from its competitors. Branding helps clients, as well as potential clients, recognize a business’s products, its reputation, and the viewer’s perception. It shows consistency, which leads to recognition, reputation, and trust. It helps a business stand out.

Think about Apple. Whether you own Apple products or not - or even like them or not - chances are if you saw their logo of the apple with the bite taken out of it, you’d know exactly who they are. That’s successful branding.

Branding is best done before you start your business, however, it’s also very common that branding changes over time. It takes a lot of thought, research, and soul searching. And sometimes help.

Here’s where I’ll introduce our next guest - Trevor Kinkade with Trevor Kinkade Design.

Trevor is a former logistics officer in the Army, and his story is unique.

While many in the industry started at a young age and probably went to college for graphic design, marketing, or something of the like, Trevor went to college for something else. It wasn’t until he was in the Army that he realized his love for graphic design and “how powerful a great design could be in increasing morale.”

As a platoon leader, he realized that their logo could use a little work. So he created a new one and eventually was creating logos for other platoons, companies, battalions, and brigades - building his skill practically every off-duty hour.

Overall Trevor has 8 years of experience in the industry, however, Trevor Kinkade Design wasn’t established until 2018. He’s based out of Colorado Spring with clients all across the U.S.!

He helps “dreamers bring their ideas to life through well-crafted brands and logo design that lasts.”

“Nothing feels better than an idea coming to life.”

So whether you are a small business owner or a large corporation - a solid brand reputation and an amazing logo are very important in growth and recognition. This is where veteran-owned and operated, Trevor Kinkade Design can support you and help you grow and tell your story.

Check out this video short, but don’t forget to visit our YouTube channel for the full interview.

Then, of course, take a look at his work, and reach out if your business can use his talent!


Grove Cookie Company on the Veteran Owned Business (theVOB)

We all know that when you do a little research on the internet, chances are that you’ll come up with conflicting answers.

Strangely enough, I recently found myself googling, “ When was the first cookie invented?” Because that’s important to know.

Final verdict? Most likely in the 7th century in Persia, although I found the first chocolate chip cookie was credited to Ruth Graves Wakefield in 1937.

I know, I know….you didn’t come here for a history lesson. You probably came here to hear about one of the many veteran-owned companies out on the market today, or maybe you’re here to pick up an entrepreneurial tip or two.

As you may have guessed, this blog post features our very first veteran-owned business, which just happens to do with cookies.

While I’m a long-time fan of these tasty desserts, I recently became a fan of Grove Cookie Company, based in Beaverton, Oregon. Beaverton is a small city just outside of Portland.

Writing a blog takes a little bit of research, and I can’t just look at cookies and not eat them, soooo.… I’m glad listened to my stomach and just placed an order while I was “working.”

Gourmet, indeed.

Grove Cookie Company's Cookies on the Veteran Owned Business (theVOB)
Some of the many delicious cookies that Grove Cookie Company has to offer.

Founders Marie and Grayson Hogard are a husband and wife team who craft small-batch gourmet cookies out of their kitchen using quality ingredients from companies known for their ethical treatment of animals and who are also committed to sustainability. Companies such as Ghirardelli, Bob’s Red Mill, and Vital Farms.

Grayson is a veteran - prior Army - MOS 31B and 31E - military police and corrections. He handles the business side of this endeavor, while Marie is the baking mastermind behind it all. Both have been working, and continue to work from home with their corporate jobs since Grove Cookie Company first began.

Originally, they had thought they might just sell their delicious cookies to friends and family, but somehow things got out of hand (as they tend to do at times), and they ended up with a full-fledged business. One year later, and things are going stronger than ever!

Their mission is to enhance client relationships, one cookie at a time.

They’ve spent 7 months fine-tuning their process to provide the best product for their clients.

Primarily their clients are companies, although they take personal orders as well.

Gourmet cookies, custom notecards, lovingly packaged and protected so that their clients’ recipients receive a beautiful (and tasty!) gift to help build business-client relationships. What a great way to leave an impression!

So if you’re looking for a delicious gift to thank a client, Grove Cookie Company could be the solution. They’re also a great idea if you want to send a gift to a loved one whether it be for a birthday, holiday, or “just because”. They ship nationwide!

And if you’re ever in the Portland area, you’ll want to stop by their brick and mortar location, expected to open by November 2022.

Check out this video short, but don’t forget to visit our YouTube channel for the full interview.


One Fire Fight - Founded on Faith, Family, and Community