My Transition From Military Service

I was ashamed to admit that I just plain ran out of gas. Like everyone I know in the military, we collectively put the mission before our personal needs. In fact, it is easier to put your head down and stay focused on that 5-meter target for years at a time than it is to take one moment to assess your life. So, after 11 years I decided to make a drastic change and pursue that American Dream we hear so much about. I reached out to a mentor of mine for some counsel on the next phase of my life and he put me in touch with Phil Randazzo. I gave Phil the elevator version of my transition plan, consisting of going back to school to get my MBA while working part time jobs in the beer industry to gain hands on experience. Phil asked me a simple question. Why an MBA? I thought about it for some time and realized I was going back to school to buy myself time and space to figure out my life, even though I already knew that I wanted to open my own business. Basically, I created a well-articulated plan of procrastination that would hold up to any family member who wants to know what’s next. I am now using the entrepreneur classes on Americandreamu.org to jump start this process instead of getting my MBA for the wrong reasons.

cropped-cropped-jrd-2.jpgI started a beer consulting business in January 2017, combining recently acquired beer certifications and my advisor, leadership and problem solving experience gained as a U.S Army Special Forces Officer. While attaining my new-found beer expertise, I realized there is a growing need for increased education at retail locations, to keep up with the ever-growing craft beer craze and the customer’s incessant desire for variety and flavor. Small businesses lose significant amount of revenue due to lack of education on draught beer service. This problem is not a zero-sum gain where by making the business more profitable it reduces customer value. My mission is to protect flavor (good for the customer) while reducing waste (good for the business). The best part for retail businesses, in 90% of the situations, the business has all the required equipment on hand. I love the current craft beer movement because it is full of small business owners risking their financial stability to produce a quality product while providing value to local communities through job creation. I want to protect these small business owners from losing their livelihood by retaining customers and reducing inefficiencies in an industry renown for razor thin margins.  

Freelance Support for Oktoberfest Event
Pouring beer during a two-day Oktoberfest event in Nashville, TN.

To kick start the launch of my business, I will be hosting a 30 min webinar on January 9, 2017, for industry professionals to lay out my case for investing time and money in staff education. I will explain the current craft beer trends, what it means to the retailers and how to best capitalize on this growing trend. After spending the last 11 years deploying to far flung places helping locals solve problems, I am extremely excited to put that experience into good use helping fellow Americans improve their livelihoods.

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