Veterans Day Tribute: Strike Force Energy & True Made Foods
Veterans Day is a time to honor our military veterans and pay our respects to those who have served in the Armed Forces.
Even if we may not have a close friend or loved one who comes to mind on this particular day, it is important that we reflect and honor all of America’s veterans for their patriotism and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
And for many of our veterans, their stories of hard work, perseverance and drive to benefit others don’t end on the battlefield. Like Sean Matson, Bruce Schlee and Abe Kamarck, their experience and incredible contribution serving in the military only acted as a catalyst to motivate their succeeding ventures in entrepreneurship and business.
Strike Force Energy and True Made Foods are two veteran-owned, American-made brands that came to be from the visions and determination of these veterans. Mirus Promotions is proud to play a part in supporting these brands that we strongly believe in by helping to share their amazing products, history and mission with consumers.
We are grateful for the opportunity to work with and learn more about founders and CEO’s such as these, and in honor of Veterans Day, we are delighted to share more about their impactful, inspiring journeys.
The initial idea for Strike Force Energy’s beverage enhancer, liquid flavor packets came to inventor and co-founder, Bruce Schlee, as he was pouring ketchup from a packet onto a hot dog. This sparked the inspiration to create an energy drink mix package that could be shipped overseas to deployed troops.
Once a prototype was developed, Bruce shared it with Sean Matson, a retired Navy SEAL whom he had met while working on a robotics project for Helical & MATBOCK. Sean quickly came on board to work together in creating what is now Strike Force Energy.
Their ability to start up and run a business effectively is reflective of their experience and lessons learned in the military. “I run it like I run my platoon,” Sean said. “In my SEAL Platoon, I was the officer in charge, but my chief had the most experience. And on paper, I was his boss and needed to lead to lead the platoon, but his input was vital to our success.”
In the same way, the key to the company’s growth and achievement lies in their team-growth mindset and ability to support one another in various areas of expertise, while being open to others’ feedback and ideas. “I expect leaders to step up and then hold them accountable, but then I also expect them to listen to subordinates because leaders do not always have the best answers.”
What once began as a lean operation flourished into what Strike Force is today, offering a full range of energy products and constantly looking to expand into new horizons.
“We are very proud to be veteran-owned & American Made. We have seen some of the worst areas of the world and the free market that America provides all people is amazing. It also holds us accountable to our highest commodity, our customers.”
Moreover, Strike Force works to support our military, police, and first responders every year to ensure they have the energy they need, donating over $50,000 in product in 2018 alone.
True Made Foods, founded by two veterans, makes condiments that are naturally sweetened with vegetables and contain low or no sugar. The company is still majority owned and operated by its CEO, Abe Kamarck, who served eight years as a Navy Helicopter Pilot deploying on counter-narcotics missions and for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Between his last tour and present day at True Made Foods, Abe earned his MBA from the London Business School and spent many years executing various projects all over the world as an impact entrepreneur. You can learn more about his impressive accomplishments abroad here.
Amidst all of his endeavors as an entrepreneur, Abe’s experiences as a veteran directly play into his diligent thought process and how he goes about making wise business decisions:
Being an entrepreneur and surviving means constantly having to prioritize your time and resources. What most people don’t understand about running a startup is that ideas are cheap and easy – no one is sitting around wondering what to do. Instead there is way too much to do and too many demands for time and resources – both of which are highly limited. As a Navy Helicopter pilot I was trained to manage limited time and resource environments by always prioritizing. In Naval Aviation, we always prioritize and try to identify “what is going to kill you,” and we put the most time and resources to those items first – even if those things are small. For example, a missing tool can shut down the entire flight line or halt all operations for a day, because a screwdriver in the wrong place can easily take down a helicopter. As an entrepreneur, you have to figure out what will kill your business and always prioritize those items first.
In 2013 Abe returned to the DC area, where he was originally born, and was hired by the Coexist Foundation to develop and launch Coexist Coffee, which married his two biggest passions – food and entrepreneurship.
Abe continues to live out these passions as the CEO of True Made Foods, instilling his love for real food and healthy lifestyles. As a veteran-owned business, Abe also finds pride in the fact that True Made Foods products are made in the U.S.:
One thing that drove me into the food business was the frustration with the big food companies in America and how they have spent billions on marketing to position their junk food, their poison, as central to Americana and the American Way of life. Too many startups food startups trying to counter these food giants fall into the trap of being “anti” everything these food giants claim – including the Americana around family dinner’s baseball games and cookouts. This is a mistake! The backyard American barbecue does not need high-fructose corn syrup to be a great American past-time! I feel as a Veteran business using 100% American grown vegetables, we can successfully counter the sugar-pushers and create an iconic American brand for the 21st Century that keeps the community and family aspects together but with healthy, delicious foods instead of sugar-laden poison!
We’re thankful for our veterans and their initiatives to create amazing brands such as these!
If you’re a brand ambassador interested in promoting these brands, or if you’re a brand looking for more information about how Mirus may be able to support you, please contact us below:
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