The journey to here..
It is funny how life events dictate the route you take. Ours was exciting, stressful, scary, but all in all worth it.. I spent 25 years in the army, starting out as a young infantryman and ending as an officer in special operations units. My journey changed in 1998 when I married this chick who thought (pretty sure she still does) I was awesome.. Over the years we went through multiple deployments and had 3 kids (all boys).
A time came in my career as a mentor asked me how I would define a successful career, what would I have to accomplish to call myself a successful officer.. That was hard to figure out, once I did, it was obvious. I loved being a leader, teaching, mentoring, and just being around soldiers. I decided that being a battalion commander would be my mark of success. Soon, I was given that opportunity, deployed to OEF twice with my battalion and completed a BRAC move… VERY busy, not much family time.
Once it was time to PCS to my post command job, Janelle and I sat down and talked about the next chapters, what we want, how, where, and why we want what we do.. Throughout a bulk of my career, my wife was battling a rare form of skin cancer and underwent multiple surgeries, most of which while I was away. She was alone with the kids. Quite a hard, almost impossible undertaking for her to keep sanity.
Knowing that my kids were approaching “teen age” and one little man to boot, we made the family decision to exit the Army and focus on the family. In itself, that sounds easy… Actually, it was more terrifying than a fire fight. How will I support my family, where will we move… I didn’t want a contractor job, wanted to start something new.
Fortunately, we moved to Anderson, SC, I started working at a tire manufacturer as a business unit leader (equivalent to a platoon leader). It was absolutely easy.. 25 years of leadership from squad to battalion level and here I am with 20 guys / gals. I have to say I loved it. The people there were absolutely awesome, the command climate was great. Then I was selected for a “promotion” to be a supply chain manager for an entire plant, the second largest rubber manufacturing plant in the world… If you know me, I love hard…
Much to my chagrin, this plant was plagued with issues stemming from leadership failures, the good ole’ boy network, and absolutely a toxic environment, even at the senior staff level.
Coming from USASOC and the 82d Airborne, I was quite a custom to pointing out my observations and recommending solutions. I even offered to mentor the junior level leaders to help them understand the dynamics of leadership, influence, and how to motivate there team. I went through all the staff, personnel, and even sought advice from others in the hierarchy… It was quickly pointed out that my military leadership experience and education was of no value. I was absolutely astonished by those EXACT words… Shortly after that, I decided to part ways with that company.
So today, here we are … American Patriot Designs. Doing something I love, sharing pieces of patriotism with everyone. Donating pieces and money to charities for veterans, working to start a veteran outreach program here.