DiscoverBoots About Business
Boots About Business

Boots About Business

Author: Frank Strong

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Support for our military veterans has never been higher than it is today. Many businesses have an interest in employing veterans, but they don’t know how to connect, and they don’t really understand the skills veterans can bring to their business. Something similar can be said about veterans in transition and their understanding of the business world.
Hi, I’m Frank Strong, I’m a veteran, I’ve worked in businesses of all sizes, small-, medium and large, today I’m a business owner and I’m hosting a new podcast coming soon the PodCo Media Network called “Boots about Business.”
We’re going to interview business leaders, executives and entrepreneurs that all started their careers wearing boots in service of the US armed forces. This podcast will be equal parts about sharing great stories, helping veterans, helping businesses and ultimately helping them both understand each other.
The show will be available soon on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts. Keep an eye on the show’s website for the launch details.
13 Episodes
Reverse Sometimes veterans struggle to translate what they did in uniform into skills that make sense in the civilian world. Ruthie Bowls spent eight years in the Army working in intelligence. When she got out of the service, she went to work for a government contractor doing much the same thing. Still, she wanted something more and one thing the Army taught her it was to perform analysis, conduct ‘audience’ identification, and write and publish ‘content.’ So, while she didn’t have marketing experience per se, much of what she learned was certainly related. Today, she’s parlayed those skills into a civilian career and a business that’s made her – her own employer. Links: Ruthie’s business ( Ruthie on LinkedIn ( Ruthie on Twitter ( There’s a talent shortage in cybersecurity and it’s been that way for several years. Because of that shortage, some analysts forecast millions of cybersecurity roles will go vacant over the next few years. One source of cybersecurity talent is veterans because they have a natural inclination to protect information and gauging risk. That’s according to Tim Callahan, a 23-veteran of the Air Force, who today serves as the global chief information security officer (CISO) at Aflac. That idea is a big part of the conversation in this episode. See the show notes online at Links: • Tim’s employer Aflac ( • The Aflac Careers ( site • Tim’s 2017 RSA Conference presentation, where in part, he talks about veterans as a source of cybersecurity talent: An Aflac Case Study: Moving a Security Program from Defense to Offense ( • Find Tim on LinkedIn ( He was certain he’d drafted for Vietnam in the next 90 days. Rather than wait for the notification, he decided to shape his destiny and volunteered to join the Army. That was many years ago, but today, Bill Williams helps veterans shape their destiny when they decide to leave the service and transition back to civilian life. He runs a small company that helps "corporate refugees" and veterans, especially retiring military, move into franchise ownership. He calls franchises, “entrepreneurship with training wheels.” See the show notes online at Links: Bill’s business: Axxiom Franchise Advisors ( Find Bill on LinkedIn ( She went West Point and he went ROTC at the University of Alabama. They both wound up as military intelligence officers that first met at a pizza shop where they were stationed. Over time, that meeting grew into marriage, and the partnership would extend beyond the service when the pair went into business together and opened up a law firm. Today, Steve and Patty Shewmaker are partners at the Shewmaker & Shewmaker, a law firm outside of Atlanta focused on family law, criminal law and military matters. On this episode they tell us about that journey which provides service members considering a career in law with some ideas to ponder. See the show notes online at Links: * Shewmaker & Shewmaker Website ( * The law firm’s blog ( * Patty’s bio ( * Steve’s bio ( By any measure, Brian Butler was having a successful career in the Army. He served in Desert Storm, was chosen to work on the Homeland Security Council in The White House (where he worked on preparing for a pandemic no less!), and was selected for promotion to colonel (O6). And yet, after 22 years in uniform, he decided to do something else. So, he opened a business. That happened to be during a period of time we come to describe later at The Great Recession. Today he’s the CEO of Vistra Communications – a mid-sized marketing and communications firm near Tampa, FL. On this episode, he tells us about the highs and lows of business and offers his advice to veterans that are considering opening their own shops. Show notes online at Links: * Connect with Brian on LinkedIn ( * Visit his business: Vistra Communications ( * Read more about his business story: How this Army veteran's business survived launching during the Great Recession ( How do all great things start? Over a beverage. How do you execute on big ideas? You “out-work” folks. So says Bob Eisiminger who describes how he and a friend (and fellow veteran) were sitting on a porch have a beer and talking about “doing something bigger.” The former Army officer and West Point graduate would subsequently form a team and the “unbreakable excellence” philosophy that built Knight Point Systems. Knight Point was a managed services provider specializing in cloud and cybersecurity that Bob and his team went on to later sell to Persepcta (NYSE: PRSP) for $250 million in 2019. Show notes online at Links: • Find Bob on LinkedIn ( • Forbes: How Bob Eisiminger Brings Vision To His Role As CEO ( • Press Release: Perspecta Completes $250M Acquisition of Knight Point Systems ( • Charity: Johnny Mac Soldier's Fund ( About: Robyn Grable spent just shy of a decade as a sailor in the U.S. Navy – with tours in Iceland and Hawaii – before transitioning to the business world. Among her business assignment was a 15-year stint with ADP, the giant payroll processing and HR technology company. Today, she’s combined what she learned in the service and business to start Veteran’s ASCEND. She describes it as an “eHarmony for human resources” and she’s aiming to swap resumes for skills and help employers understand better the skills veterans can bring to their business. Show notes online at Links: • Robyn’s LinkedIn: • Veteran’s ACSEND: • Podcast: • Blog: • Twitter: • Instagram: • Facebook: • LinkedIn: Dianne Falk was as hard-charging as any Army officer, but when she was assigned to be the S2, a primary staff position for a cavalry squadron, her new commander didn’t want her, because she was a woman. So, before she even took the job, she was re-assigned to another position. That was a “kick in the teeth” that made her question her abilities. In this podcast, she shares how she recovered from that incident and later, parlayed the experience into a business career. She went on to spend 10 years at Capital One and eventually opened up her own shop as a management consultant an executive coach to the C-Suite at InCadence Associates. Show notes online at Links: • Dianne’s LinkedIn: • Dianne’s Business: Jack Child started his career first as an MP in the Army and he later became a pilot and instructor pilot in the Air Force. He left the military for a long career as a pilot with a major airline – a job he still holds today. However, after 9/11, the airlines took a hit and he started looking around for career options. That lead him down a path that eventually helped him found of G-FORCE Parking Lot Striping, a boutique franchise model business. Today, he works with exclusively with veterans to set them up with their own franchise and has 11 locations around the country. Show notes online at Note: If you are on the show’s website for this edition, Jack is on the left in the photo above – alongside Gordon Logan the founder and CEO of Sports Clips. Links: • Jack’s LinkedIn: • Jack’s business (customer facing): • Jack’s business (veteran facing): • Jack’s business on Instagram: • VetFran (program mentioned on the show): • As seen on Fox News: There are three things the Marine Corps taught BJ Schaknowski that he says are still true in business. First, highly diverse teams that are well organized are among the most successful. Second, the priorities of leadership business are still troop welfare and mission accomplishment. Third, the ability and desire to put in the work will pay off business just like it has in uniform. In this episode, he shares some of his ideas on what veterans can offer businesses and what they can do to prepare for a career in business. Show notes online at Links: * BJ’s LinkedIn: * BJ’s executive bio: * BJ’s company: By his own admission Fred Wellman has had an “unusual career.” He flew helicopters in both Desert Storm and in Operation Iraqi Freedom too. His second campaign was unique because “one day you are fighting and the next day you are building schools.” He’s been a spokesperson for Generals David Petraeus and Martin Dempsey. He once ran for mayor of a small city in Georgia. And he was fired from his first civilian job before opening up his own business and becoming a veteran’s advocate. Fred has an infectious laugh as he talks to us about how the Army taught him skills like speed planning and managing risk that have helped him to successfully navigate the business community. Show notes online at Links: Fred on Twitter: Fred on LinkedIn: Fred’s business: Article: 8 Things The Army Taught Me About Running A Small Business Article: How To Know When A Company Is Truly ‘Military-Friendly’ He got a second chance at West Point. It took him three tries to get through the US Army’s Ranger School. He was shot by an enemy sniper in Iraq and some doctors never thought he’d walk again. Today, Tom Deierlein is a married father of three, he’s leads a charity that helps other veterans in need, and he’s the co-founder and CEO of a company called Thundercat Technology. Tom joins us for the inaugural episode of Boots about Business to talk about things he learned in uniform – leadership, flexibility and grit – and how they helped him in business. Show notes online at Links: * Tom’s Charity: * Tom’s LinkedIn: * Tom’s Business: * Article: Veterans In Business: * Video: Presentation to Veteran’s in Transition:
Welcome to the Boots about Business podcast. We share stories from military veterans that have transitioned to the world of business. We interview business leaders, executives and entrepreneurs that all started their careers wearing boots in service of the US armed forces. This podcast is about helping other veterans advance their business careers and helping businesses to better understand the value veterans can bring to their team.
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