Interviews with Entrepreneurs
Lori Steenhoek, Founder of Capital Pixel, 3D Design, and Love Lori Michelle, Jewelry
May 9th, 2019
Lori Steenhoek, founder of Capital Pixel, a 3D Design firm, and Love Lori Michelle, a jewelry design firm, spoke with Amanda Weathersby, from 100 Entrepreneurs Foundation, about her businesses. She studied architecture and became a 3D designer serving architectural and construction firms as well as individuals building new homes. She talks about building her business, including her referral network, pricing her work, and business development. Last year she hired her first employee, and she talks about how she found the employee and what she was looking for – education vs. portfolio. After years of rendering architectural drawings in a 3D world, Lori wanted another creative outlet, and started designing jewelry. Her pieces are printed out of silver and gold on a 3D printer!
Michael Malone, Veteran, Founder and CEO of We2Link
March 6th, 2019
Michael Malone is a wounded veteran and the founder and CEO of We2Link, an application in development to help people with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) more easily manage their everyday and participate more fully socially. TBI affects not just veterans, but civilians worldwide, due to accidents, surgeries, etc. Michael is part of a study on TBI at Walter Reed, and has an extensive network with the people affected by it, including the people with TBI and their caregivers and family members. His network also includes the doctors, therapists and researchers who study TBI.
Michael is currently working with a software developer to develop the App’s features and is raising money for his company. He spoke with 100 Entrepreneurs about his mission, the market, and the process he’s going through to build his product and company.
Franchise Consultant Faizun Kamal – All About Franchises!
October 5th, 2018
Faizun Kamal, a franchise consultant, shares with 100 Entrepreneurs details about franchises, becoming a franchisee, and why veterans make great franchisees. Did you know that 1 out of 7 franchisees are veterans and that franchises are looking to recruit veteran franchisees because they are particularly well suited to making franchise businesses successful? She also talks about VetFran, a program that offers discounted franchise fees to veterans interested in becoming a franchisee.
Pamela Hess Talks 100 Entrepreneurs about Arcadia’s Veteran Farming Programs
August 22nd, 2018
Pamela Hess, the Executive Director of Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, joined 100 Entrepreneurs to talk about the Arcadia farms, which were farmed by George Washington, after he retired from the military. She also talked about their Veteran Farming Programs, including a full-time, one year program and a Reserves-like program, one weekend a month and 2 weeks during a year. Veterans and their spouses learn all aspects of food production, farming strategies, finance, taking food to market and more. Arcadia provides a mobile market to sell their healthy food in lower income neighborhoods in the DC area at lower prices.
Pam describes the programs as well as how the participants have turned their experience into a career in farming. The Veteran Farming Programs can help veterans to learn how to run large acreage farms, specialty farms, and backyard farms. They even offer a portion of their farm to veterans who have attended the program to build a business. Arcadia is now taking applications for the program. Applications are available at http://arcadiafood.org.
Jim O’Farrell, Veteran and Co-Founder of AMSG, a Government Contractor
March 26th, 2018
Jim O’Farrell, a veteran, graduated from the Naval Academy and went on to work with several large government contracting companies and consulting firms. Eventually, he co-founded Advanced Management Strategies Group (AMSG). He talks with 100 Entrepreneurs Foundation about his background, how he came to start his company, how he and his partner have grown the business, and the government contracting industry. He also works with the Travis Manion Foundation to help teach middle and high school kids about character.
Dennis Foutz, veteran, Travel Guru, and Franchisee
March 6th, 2018
Dennis Foutz, a veteran, business owner, Travel Guru, and franchisee spoke with 100 Entrepreneurs about his experience transitioning out of the military, after 20 plus years, and finding his next steps. He started by looking at what he didn’t want to do, then began to narrow his focus on what he wanted to do. One of the positive experiences in the military was traveling. So he became a franchisee of Cruise Planners, a company associated with American Exress, and created his own business, Travel Guru. He talks about how he created and grew his business and his experience with a franchise. Dennis says, from his experience, if you are break even in year one, and making money in year two, year three should see a significant increase in income from recurring customers and more relationships with potential customers.
Justen Garrity, Founder of Veteran Compost
February 13th, 2018
Justen Garrity, veteran and founder of Veteran Compost talks about starting his business. He had no experience with farming or compost, but decided to help reduce waste by turning 2/3rds of waste produced into a sellable product – organic compost. He has built the company to picking up compostible materials from commercial and residential clients, turning it into highly desirable compost, and selling the end product to farms and residential gardeners.
John Gallina and Dale Beatty, Founders of Purple Heart Homes
November 27th, 2017
John Gallina and Dale Beatty were both wounded in Iraq and when they came home, had the full support of their communities. They realized that this was not the case for Vietnam veterans. In the military, they learned to never leave anyone behind, and this included all veterans. Together, they decided to provide housing solutions to veterans throughout the country. They started their first project almost 10 years ago. They have organized communities in 30 states to help them make homes accessible, secure, and comfortable for fellow veterans. In 10 years, they have completed 100 projects, are working on 50 more and have 141 projects in the pipeline. Throughout the process, they have learned how to build a nonprofit organization, which is ultimately a business with the help of mentors.
Les Owen, Veteran and Documentary Filmmaker
September 13th, 2017
Les Owen, Army veteran, produced the documentary film, “Victory Remembered, Legacy of the Black Devils,” about the First Special Service Force and the first joint US and Canadian fighting force, created to fight in Europe during WWII. This secret unit was named the Black Devils by the Nazis. The First Special Service Fource was undefeated in a military campaign that liberated Italy and ultimately lead to victory for the Allies. The film is now distributed on Amazon, iTunes and various cable channels. He spoke with 100 Entrepreneurs about how he created and produced the film, how he funded it, and what he’s working on now.
Bob Nilsson, Founder of 100 Entrepreneurs Foundation
August 30th, 2017
Bob Nilsson is a Marine Corps veteran who was in Vietnam. His next career was at Turner Construction. He was president of Turner International when he retired. After 9/11, he began visiting wounded veterans at Walter Reed hospital occasionally and ultimately commuted to spend time with them four or five days a week. Bob realized they needed help finding the next steps in their careers. As a result, he founded 100 Entrepreneurs Foundation and for the past decade has been providing wounded veterans and caregivers with monthly classes and lunches in Bethesda and at Ft. Belvoir to help them find their great idea. 100’s of entrepreneurs and business experts have joined the participants to talk about their businesses, their industries and their lessons learned. Veteran program leaders have joined us to talk about the opportunities they provide. These include Dog Tag Bakery, Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture, and Bunker Labs.
In this Podcast, Bob talks about starting a nonprofit foundation and the 100 Entrepreneurs program.
Sarah Steel, Owner of Urban Referrals and Steel Management Group
March 6th, 2017
Sarah Steel owns two businesses, one is Urban Referrals, an online construction referral business for residential clients, and the other, Steel Management Group, is a construction project management company that works with commercial clients. Sarah is hiring veterans! Check out how she started Steel Management Group and purchased Urban Referrals. The companies have synergies because many of the contractors work with both companies.
Interview with Tammy Phipps and Josh Himan
January 11th, 2017
Tammy Phipps, an Occupational Therapist in the US Army, developed a driver training and vehicle modification program at Walter Reed and was interested in expanding the program to all drivers after she retired from military service. She met Josh Himan, a wounded Marine and business major, at Walter Reed. Josh has a Masters in Science from George Washington in Finance and a Masters in Science from Johns Hopkins in Economics. Together, with the help of a lawyer who was volunteering for the Red Cross at the hospital, they created the foundation of their new company, Driver Rehabilitation Center of Excellence LLC, or DRCE. The business is capital intensive, with vehicles and space requirements, so the partners needed funding, and with an excellent business plan they brought in an angel investor. In this podcast, Tammy and Josh talk about how they started their business, how they launched it with all the major local networks covering the launch, and their lessons learned.
Edward Simms, Veteran, NFL Player, and Entrepreneur
October 13th, 2016
Edward Simms decided as a very small child that he was going be the first in his family to attend college, and he was. He decided he was going to play football in the NFL, and he did. He decided to join the military, and he joined. Now he’s determined to succeed as an entrepreneur, and it seems like a very good bet he will! With a business partner, Edward Simms started Bryan’s Paving and has been working through the complex maze of a business startup for the past year, including buying large equipment, hiring teams, selling new business, pricing jobs profitably and funding projects before the company is paid by clients. Edward joined 100 Entrepreneurs Lessons Learned to talk about how he became an entrepreneur and what he’s learned along the way.
Dog Tag Bakery’s Meghan Ogilvie and Kyle Burns
August 10th, 2016
Dog Tag Bakery is a successful company, a restaurant and bakery business offering delicious and prize winning fare on Grace Street in Georgetown, near downtown Washington DC. Dog Tag Bakery is also an excellent five-month business education program designed for wounded 9/11 veterans, spouses and caregivers. The nonprofit program provides hands-on business skills development, from marketing and networking to human resources management, as well as courses through Georgetown University. The fourth Cohort of up to a dozen participants is underway now, and applications are being taken for the fifth Cohort, which starts in January. Dog Tag Inc.’s CEO, Meghan Ogilvie, and Senior Director, Kyle Burns, spoke with 100 Entrepreneurs Foundation about building the program, how it works, who should apply, and what their graduates are doing today. Check out this terrific program. If you want to find out more about the bakery and restaurant, check out www.dogtagbakery.com.
All Marine Radio Founders, Michael McNamara and Paul and Danielle Gage
July 13th, 2016
Marine Corps veterans Michael McNamara and Paul Gage, along with Paul’s wife, Danielle Gage, founded All Marine Radio and launched the internet station on June 1, 2016. Their mission is to reach veterans with frank talk about relevant issues and their culture, and in the process, provide entertainment. They will devote a portion of their programming to post-combat mental health and will aim to improve the lives of combat veterans struggling with mental health issues. All Marine Radio launched with an interview with the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Robert B. Neller. In the first month, 10’s of thousands heard their programs and they have reached more than 100,000 on Facebook per week. Listen to how they have created their business and grown it so quickly! And tune it to All Marine Radio!
Army Veteran, Joe DeRing, on Empower Adventures
March 28th, 2016
Joe DeRing, an Army Veteran, started Empower Adventures based upon his experience in the military and the Army’s Confidence Course. Since 2009, Joe has built the business from one location in Connecticut to additional locations in Virginia and Florida. Empower Adventures includes zipline parks and provides leadership development, adventures and fun for friends and family groups as well as corporate teams. Joe talks about starting the business, how he found funding during the Great Recession, and how he has expanded it with support from his family and growing base of partners and employees.
Cindy Flanders Talks About Funding A Small Business
November 19th, 2015
Cindy Flanders, formerly a Sr. Vice President at Bank of America in charge of small and mid-sized business markets and a CFO of a publicly traded company, talks with 100 Entrepreneurs’ Amanda Weathersby about how small businesses and startups can secure funding for their businesses.
John Lee Dumas, Founded A Top Downloaded Podcast, Entrepreneurs On Fire
September 30th, 2015
John Lee Dumas, Army veteran, founded Entrepreneurs On Fire, one of the most successful podcast companies today, in 2012. It has already grown to over 1,000 podcasts and over a million downloads per month from all over the world. He has expanded his business with Podcasters Paradise, webinars and a Mastermind group. His Fire Nation story shows how building free content online can ultimately bring in revenue and profits. He provides advice about starting a business, building an online business, and setting and meeting goals. His book, “Podcast Launch” is available on Amazon.
Kevin Blanchard Talks About Franchises and Startups
September 30th, 2015
Kevin Blanchard, wounded veteran, worked for the International Franchise Association as the Program Manager for VetFran, designed to help franchise companies recruit veterans and family members as franchisees. Kevin talks about franchise options, the process of becoming a franchisee, programs available to help veterans and family members define which franchise and funding alternatives to purchase a franchise. He also compares franchises to startups of original business concepts. Recently, Kevin has started his own online business, Journey Beyond Recovery, which is set to launch in the next several months.
HT Tran, Veteran, Created and Built Anvil Builders in San Francisco
January 29th, 2015
HT Tran, a veteran, created and built Anvil Builders, a building and engineering construction company located in San Francisco, California. He and two partners have 50 employees. Their mission is to recruit and hire veterans to provide construction and infrastructure services for large public works.
Ryan Seelback On How He Went from the NFL to Creating a Nightclub
January 15th, 2015
Ryan Seelbach worked for the NFL before creating his first business. Driving through New York City to DC, with nothing but a business plan, some clothes and a car, he panicked. Would he find investors? Would the business work? Could he do it? He and his business partner found the funding and built The Huxley, an upscale nightclub and event venue in DC. Sellback entertainment group is now working on a restaurant.
Joel Damin, Veteran, On His Restaurant and Commercial Real Estate
January 15th, 2015
Joel Damin, veteran and entrepreneur, talks about his restaurant in Fayetteville, NC, and his move to purchase commercial real estate. Amanda Weathersby, from Mindful Profits, interviews Joel to learn how he got started, how he got funded, and how he manages his businesses to keep them profitable.