Miguel Pilgram: A Man of Honor

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Miguel Pilgram Sistrunk Developer

Navy Veteran Wins 52 Million, Creates Company to Transform Sistrunk and Downtown Fort Lauderdale Areas

Fort Lauderdale, Florida– “I didn’t create it because I had to, I created it because I wanted to,” explained Miguel Pilgram of his eponymous real estate company, The Pilgram Group. Pilgram, who is developing a trio of properties in the Sistrunk and downtown areas of Fort Lauderdale, started his career in the military and served as a Petty Officer in the US Navy in Desert Storm. While serving, he learned the skill that would be the key to his success today, which, according to Pilgram, is to be “fully committed to what you are are doing, and don’t leave anything to chance.”

After the Navy, he put that knowledge to use working security in the casinos in the US and Asia. But he missed the travel the Navy afforded, so he jumped at the chance to work abroad for Star Cruises, a Chinese/Malaysian company. That job brought him to China, where he tackled Mandarin, traveled extensively, and learned the way business is conducted in Asia. In 2002, Star Cruises purchased Norwegian Cruise Lines. Pilgrim was tapped to assist in the handover of the global security/surveillance program. “Not only did I have years of experience, it really helped to have an American who had been successful working within the Chinese mindset,” Pilgram explains. “The Chinese are extraordinary in that they are always thinking like entrepreneurs. Even if they work a 9 – 5 job, they aspire to be the best…they own it. They act collectively by instinct, and never think twice about sacrificing personally for the greater good.”

He worked for NCL for a decade, becoming second in command of Global Security and Surveillance in 2007. “Since I was constantly on a plane,! I had time to noodle around with my 401K in the stock market a bit, and developed rigid parameters,” says Pilgrim. His systematic approach to picking stocks provided an exponential return on a small four-figure investment that enabled Pilgram to buy his first property.

But as good as he was at picking stocks, he turned out to be even better at picking lottery numbers, winning a $52 million jackpot in the Florida lottery back in 2010. He elected to take the lump sum of $29 million and eventually wound down his responsibilities with Norwegian Cruise Lines to focus full-time on The Pilgram Group. In business since 2010, TPG focuses on renovating commercial, residential and maritime real estate, mostly in the Fort Lauderdale area, and tapping opportunities that help the community. TPG’s first substantial project was a 16-unit residential property in Coral Springs, which was sold after 3 years for a 35% gain. In 2015, TPG created the New York Subs and Wings brand, and launched a food truck to support the brand while they ready a new space. One of the biggest projects to date was the renovation of a marina and residential property in Las Olas on Hendricks Isle…that is, until now.

Currently, Pilgram is placing his faith — and his money — in the Sistrunk and downtown areas of Fort Lauderdale. Sistrunk used to be the richest black community in the area and has a robust, exciting history. Then in the 1980’s, the neighborhood saw a downturn. “Now that it is enjoying a renaissance,” Pilgram asserts, “I am immensely proud to be a part of that.” His company recently purchased three properties in the downtown and Sistrunk areas, all to be renovated and re-purposed by the group. “We’re taking advantage of proximity to the courthouse complex by offering services that are sorely lacking in the neighborhood,” he adds. First to open in early summer 2017 will be an executive office workspace called The Pilgram Group Executive Offices at 111 SW 6th Street. Vast expanses of marble in warm tones and bleached hardwood floors contrast bright orange walls for a modern, but not cold, feeling. Offices are available to rent for 6 months or more, and all have access to high-end amenities such as a 16-seat conference room equipped with the latest video conferencing equipment, a receptionist, a kitchen and a high speed copier.

Next will be the new home of New York Subs and Wings, a “fast casual” restaurant in a former office building at 100 S.W. Sixth Street that will bring the same food from the previous Oakland Park restaurant. That building will also house a jazz lounge called NYSW Jazz Lounge which will feature both indoor and terrace seating, a bar menu, and a wide range of jazz styles, as well as spoken word performances and Sunday afternoon movies for local kids. “We’ll present all sorts of musicians but will always try to showcase local talent.” Both the restaurant and club are slated to open no later than Labor Day of 2017. When asked about future projects, Pilgram explains, “I’m always looking for properties that will fit the portfolio and lift up the community where I live and work!” In fact, The Pilgram group just closed on a property in Sistrunk at 1448 NW 6th Street, and sold a parcel at 100 SW 6th Street to a developer who intends to put up a 30-storey residential tower. According to Pilgram, that property was purchased for $800,000 and sold three years later for $2 million – but while he doesn’t mind playing “The Pilgram Group Monopoly” when he receives an offer he can’t refuse, his heart is in developing the area to meet the needs of the community, and in so doing, provide the higher tide that lifts all the area’s boats.

Many people ask why he still works, when he could be “living the life”. The answer comes easily to Pilgram, who brought his children and other relatives into the business with him. “I lived in a great place and drove a Benz before I won the lottery, thanks to hard work and discipline. Now that I have even more means, I feel a responsibility to give back, not only by helping my family through meaningful jobs, but also by creating a stronger, more vibrant a community.” He still works 12 – 14 hours per day, but does it happily, because he is seeing his vision come to life. “My family is a military family — my Dad was in Vietnam, my sister and I were in Desert Storm, my brother served in the Navy, and now my son is in the Navy — so the idea of discipline and service to something greater than yourself is in my DNA,” he asserts.” That’s why along with his business, Pilgram spends considerable time on charitable initiatives.

Not surprisingly, Pilgram’s community support mirrors his personal interests. Mission United is an organization that offers one-on-one mentoring to veterans, with a special focus on those who want to be self-employed. Because of the fond memories of how the YMCA taught him how to swim, he has been active with the Y and the Boys and Girls Club. “Writing checks is certainly part of it, but I love to become personally involved with the organizations that I support, and gladly give as much of my time as I can,” Pilgram says.

Pilgram signs his emails “A Man of Honor” and he truly is the embodiment of this sentiment. From his discipline in assembling real estate holdings, to his creativity in renovating/repurposing them, to his passion for helping those who need a hand, he is a unique force in the South Florida business world. “My goal is to leave a legacy,” he states, with typical succinctness. “I want to leave my ‘communities’ — both my family and the Sistrunk/downtown areas — stronger, happier and more vibrant than before.”

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Donation from Shoen Family of U-Haul to Restore a Pearl Harbor Icon

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HONOLULU and PHOENIX (Dec. 10, 2018) — The Ford Island Control Tower, the historic structure that witnessed and withstood the attack on Pearl Harbor 77 years ago, will soon be fully restored with a new working elevator thanks to a generous gift from the Shoen family of U-Haul International.

The announcement came Saturday evening at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum during the annual gala commemorating the events of Dec. 7, 1941 and the heroism of our WWII veterans.

Watch U-Haul Chairman Joe Shoen’s video to Pearl Harbor and WWII veterans: uhaul.com/about/veterans.

Repairs on the tower began in 2010, necessitated by decades of weather-related deterioration. This gift will allow the public to visit the tower’s upper deck, providing a 360-degree view of America’s first aviation WWII battlefield.

Pearl Harbor attracts about 2 million visitors each year.

U-Haul, founded by a U.S. Navy veteran and his wife as WWII was nearing an end in 1945, has been recognized repeatedly as a leading veteran-friendly employer. U-Haul proudly served as the Presenting Veterans Sponsor at the Pearl Harbor Day 75th anniversary opening gala in 2016.

“The Ford Island Control Tower remains an iconic symbol of Pearl Harbor’s resolve and the brave veterans who served there, many whom gave their lives defending our freedom,” stated U-Haul Chairman Joe Shoen, son of company founders L.S. Shoen and Anna Mary Carty Shoen.

“U-Haul honors our veterans and active military members for their service and sacrifice. One way we can do this is by helping to preserve a piece of American WWII history for present and future generations to appreciate.”

Elissa Lines, executive director of the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum noted the restoration efforts on the tower will now be completed before September 2020, when the global commemoration of the 75th anniversary of WWII’s conclusion will take place.

“This will be a day that we have all been dreaming about for many years,” Lines said.

The Ford Island Control Tower was a new building when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred, and was not painted until 1942. Today, the brightly striped structure is centrally located on the base, offering scenic views of the ships and memorials in the neighboring harbor.

Among those memorials is the U.S.S. Arizona, which holds special significance to         U-Haul and more than 3,800 of its 30,000-plus Team Members. The industry leader in do-it-yourself moving and self-storage has been headquartered in Phoenix since 1967.

“The restoration of the Ford Island Control Tower will greatly contribute to honoring the memory of those lost at Pearl Harbor and serve as a symbol of America’s resiliency and resolve,” said Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. “I thank the Shoen family for their commitment to preserving this important icon of history and their dedication to honoring America’s veterans.”

About the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Its mission is to steward America’s first aviation battlefield of World War II sharing the artifacts, personal stories, the impact and response to the December 7, 1941 attack and the pacific region battles that followed, honoring those who have defended our freedom so they might educate and inspire future generations. Contact: 808-441-1000; Marketing@PearlHarborAviationMuseum.org

About U-Haul of Hawaii, Inc.

U-Haul of Hawaii, Inc. has been in operation since 1984, when its first Honolulu store opened. Today, U-Haul serves the Aloha State with company-owned facilities on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island, as well as 22 U-Haul neighborhood dealers across 16 cities. U-Haul soon plans to open a second store on the Big Island in Hilo, complementing its 2014 store acquisition in Kailua-Kona. U-Haul offers moving solutions, including U-Box portable storage containers, for families relocating between the islands or the mainland. Reach U-Haul of Hawaii president Kaleo Alau at 808-836-0970.

About U-Haul

Since 1945, U-Haul has been the No. 1 choice of do-it-yourself movers, with a network of more than 21,000 locations across all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces. U-Haul Truck Share 24/7 now offers customers access to U-Haul trucks every hour of every day through the self-service options on their internet-connected mobile devices. U-Haul customers’ patronage has enabled the U-Haul fleet to grow to 161,000 trucks, 118,000 trailers and 42,000 towing devices. U-Haul offers nearly 632,000 rooms and 55.2 million square feet of self-storage space at owned and managed facilities throughout North America. U-Haul is the largest installer of permanent trailer hitches in the automotive aftermarket industry and is the largest retailer of propane in the U.S. uhaul.com

Bringing Virtual Reality and 3D Technology To Real Estate

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Dustin Gardner, the founder of Reality Capture Experts, was the fourth generation in his family to join the military but joining up had not really been on his radar until a school friend asked him if he wanted to go to the Army recruiter’s office. 90 days later he was at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). He became an MP (Military Police), transitioning into a SWAT officer role (referred to as Special Reaction Team) and spent time near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in South Korea, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and was stationed near the Pentagon in Virginia. Eventually being away from his newborn son took its toll and he decided it was time to transition out.

Following his time in the military, Dustin was a corporate executive at Chase Bank where he managed a team of mortgage officers. Then came the crash of 2008 and Dustin felt it was time to reinvent himself. He created Columbus Car Connection with a colleague, exporting Lexus products to clients in Dubai, but this was not financially stable enough for two partners so he went back into banking out of necessity. He eventually found himself at a crossroad where life was less about money, and more about fulfillment – owning a business and doing something fun.

USING 3D TECHNOLOGY IN THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY

Reality Capture Experts started in late 2016 as a result of a conversation Dustin had with a high school friend living in Silicon Valley who introduced him to Matterport 3D  technology. Before that, he hadn’t seen or heard of this specific 3D technology before but once Dustin was introduced to the technology he could instantly see the practical application of this tech to help business owners (of any size) showcase their physical space.

Having spent 12 years in the mortgage industry, residential real estate was an industry Dustin knew well. Knowing how realtors think, gave him an understanding of their need to be thrifty and corresponding unwillingness to spend money on marketing. According to Dustin, “the top 20% of realtors make 80% of the money since these folks are willing to spend dollars on marketing.”

“What Reality Capture Experts does well is help create an emotional connection with a customer or prospect viewing a business owner’s space in 3D virtual reality. Our digital marketing is immersive, interactive and emerging.” The term in the industry for this is “virtual storytelling” – telling the story of what’s inside that building you drive by every day, but have never ventured into. The goal of using this virtual storytelling is to help their clients “crush it on SEO.”As Dustin says, “our product catapults them on [search engines] to help them get found faster on Google.”

Read the complete article On Bunker Labs.

Women Veterans in Los Angeles Get Needed Support To Grow Their Business

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microbiz.org

Los Angeles, CA – As of September 2017, there were more than 1.8 million women veterans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces with 143,211 of them living in California. More than 60,000 those veterans call Los Angeles county home.

Women who have served in the military face many challenges upon leaving and often feel isolated, financially dependent on others, and dismayed by their career prospects. Business ownership is a path to increased income without having the burden of functioning in a civilian workforce that may not empathize with their military experience

Resources do exist for women veterans who want to be business owners. However, when CAMEO (California Association of Micro Enterprise Opportunity) looked in the Los Angeles area, we found a need to outreach to this formidable community to foster the entrepreneurial spirit and develop local resources.

CAMEO hosted our first CAMEO’s WOVEN summit in 2014 at the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall in Los Angeles with keynotes by senior executives from the SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development in DC, inspirational stories from successful, decorated women veterans, and training in negotiating, marketing and business development.

Heidi Pickman, Associate Director of CAMEO, said, “The expression of gratitude from those involved compelled us to partner with Melanie Rae, founder of Guided Business Plan, to launch an ongoing community-learning program.”

CAMEO’s WOVEN (Women Veteran Entrepreneurs Network) fuels economic independence among military-connected women by facilitating professional alliances, ongoing mentoring and entrepreneurial guidance. We are a free peer support group that meets biweekly online and in-person to help launch and grow small businesses owned by military families.

Alicia, a United States Air Force (USAF) veteran, is an Arizona-based member who opened a store-front for her micro-blading and skincare salon. As an aircraft mechanic, her skin broke out and she found a solution that gave her near-flawless skin so she studied cosmetology and opened Exclusive Beauty. “After several discussions with CAMEO’s WOVEN members, I know that I’m not taking advantage of my full potential.”

Other success stories include:

  • Avis, USAF, participated in a VWISE conference after attending a meetup and practiced her pitch with us. She won $5,000 for her clothing line for women affected by cancer.
  • Joshica, USAF, has been featured on Etsy.com twice as a best seller for her beauty products. Through WOVEN she has been introduced to beauty industry leaders who have offered to mentor her. She served in the US Airforce within supply chain/logistics management which included storing, moving and tracking supplies, equipment and personnel.

More than 20,000 veterans will retire each year. They are looking to start their next chapter after devoting decades to their military careers. CAMEO’s WOVEN is well positioned to reach, guide and inspire the next wave of veteran-owned businesses as well as those separating after a shorter service period.

About Us

CAMEO is California’s statewide network made up of over 230 organizations, agencies, and individuals dedicated to furthering microbusiness development in California. Annually, CAMEO members serve about 21,000 very small businesses with training, business and credit assistance and loans. These firms – largely start-ups with less than five employees – support or create 37,000 new jobs in California and generate a total of $1.3 billion in economic activity.

microbiz.org/woven

Diageo’s New American Anthem Vodka Donates to Families

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Diageo-American Anthem Vodka

Distilled. Distinct. Delicious. Dedicated. Here’s to American Anthem! Diageo, a global leader in beverage alcohol, is proud to introduce its new-to-world, 5× distilled vodka, American Anthem. This exceptionally smooth vodka offers a premium finish for a great value and is rooted in giving back.

Proudly American, this new brand of vodka is uniquely designed to celebrate the American spirit. American Anthem will donate $1 from each bottle made, split between Operation Gratitude and The Mission Continues—two exceptional charitable organizations that are dedicated to strengthening and supporting military personnel and their families.

With ingredients sourced from America’s heartland, this brand-new American vodka uses corn from Indiana and Iowa for a product that is delicious, versatile, and gluten-free. American Anthem is the perfect complement to backyard cookouts, rooftop parties, happy hour or by poolside, and it invites us to come together and unify. “American Anthem inspires us to unite with the pride, the generosity, the people and the uniquely American values of the place we call home,” said Ryan Robertson, Brand Director, American Anthem. “It’s a privilege to partner with two great charitable organizations, Operation Gratitude and The Mission Continues, and we’re honored to be able to offer additional local engagement opportunities for consumers to give-back with these partners via our brand website.”

“We are excited to partner with American Anthem to expand our support of our Military and our mission to give everyone over legal drinking age a way of expressing their appreciation to those who serve,” said Kevin Schmiegel, Chief Executive Officer of Operation Gratitude. “Providing opportunities like this for our nation to say ‘Thank You’ to service members and their families is critically important, because so many grateful citizens want to do so, but many don’t know how.”

“Our partnership with American Anthem vodka is an exciting new opportunity for The Mission Continues,” said Spencer Kympton, president of The Mission Continues. “Their contribution will further propel our efforts to empower veterans creating a positive impact in communities nationwide.”

For delicious American Anthem cocktail recipes and to find out where you can purchase the product, visit AmericanAnthemVodka.com.

About Diageo
Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Bulleit and Buchanan’s whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness. Diageo is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE) and our products are sold in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information about Diageo, our people, our brands, and performance, visit us at diageo.com. Visit Diageo’s global responsible drinking resource, DRINKiQ.com, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice.

Source: Diageo North America

Bob Woodruff Foundation and the Qatar Harvey Fund Launch $6M Qatar Veterans Fund to Support Texas Veteran Communities Impacted by Hurricane Harvey

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Bob Woodruff Foundation

The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF), a nonprofit focused on creating long-lasting, positive outcomes for post-9/11 impacted veterans and their families, announced that it has established a­ partnership with the Qatar Harvey Fund to support veterans who continue to be impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

The hurricane, which pummeled Texas in 2017, was one of the most damaging and costly in U.S. history.

BWF will establish the Qatar Veterans Fund using a grant from the Qatar Harvey Fund, a $30 million gift from the state intended to help the 41 Texas counties impacted by the storm.  The investment in the new veterans fund will be managed by BWF and will support Texas’ large population of former service personnel and military families.

“Following Hurricane Harvey, the State of Qatar established a $30 million fund to support the long-term recovery of the storm’s victims,” said His Excellency Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, U.S. Ambassador of the State of Qatar. “Our new partnership with BWF allows us to effectively and efficiently support the unique needs of the local veteran and military family population. The Qatar Harvey Fund is proud to be working with BWF with the shared objective of helping Texas veteran communities with the long-term rebuilding and recovery process so that they will thrive as they look to the future.”

The partnership was first announced by BWF board member and 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, on stage at BWF’s 12th Annual Stand Up for Heroes benefit on Monday, November 5.

“During my 41 years of military service, I had the good fortune to spend time in Qatar, as do so many young Americans who are stationed at Al Udeid airbase, home to over 11,000 US servicemen and women,” said General Martin Dempsey. “I was proud to announce the partnership with the Bob Woodruff Foundation and look forward to seeing the impact that this partnership will bring to our veterans in southeast Texas.”

“This new partnership allows us to pursue a goal we share with the State of Qatar:  to support veterans and their families impacted by Hurricane Harvey via those best-in-class service providers who bring measurable outcomes and local activation,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, executive director at the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “We know that our veterans and their families face a range of existing and emerging challenges – all of which are likely exacerbated by the storm’s impact. We look forward to using our expertise and proven approach, alongside representatives of the Qatar Harvey Fund and the Embassy of Qatar, to address both immediate and long-range needs for Texan veterans.”

The Bob Woodruff Foundation will be working closely with the Qatar Harvey Fund to coordinate the distribution of funding to a range of programs and expects to make further announcements early in 2019 regarding the first initiatives from the Qatar Veterans Fund.

To learn more about the innovative programs that the Bob Woodruff Foundation finds, funds and shapes, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org.

About the Bob Woodruff Foundation

The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) was founded in 2006 after reporter Bob Woodruff was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq. Since then, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has led an enduring call to action for people to stand up for heroes and meet the emerging and long-term needs of today’s veterans. To date, BWF has invested more than $57 million to Find, Fund and Shape™ programs that have empowered impacted veterans, service members and their families. For more information, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org or follow us on Twitter at @Stand4Heroes.

About the Qatar Harvey Fund and the State of Qatar

Following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, the State of Qatar announced a gift of $30 million for the long-term recovery of the storms victims in Texas. The Qatar Harvey Fund was created to administer the gift.

Qatar is an independent state in the southern Arabian Gulf. It has a population of approximately 2.7 million people, the majority of whom live in and around Doha, the capital. Diplomatic relations with the United States were established in 1972; in the same year, Qatar’s first diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C. opened. The relationship between the two countries has always been friendly, highly productive, and reciprocal. Qatar is home to many Americans, and the United States is both Qatar’s largest foreign investor and its largest source of imports. Qatar-U.S. relations are growing continuously in multiple areas: economic, political, military, educational, and cultural. Qatar is a close ally of the United States and a strong advocate of building a peaceful, prosperous, and stable Middle East. Qatar has provided significant humanitarian and development assistance to countries around the world, including the United States. In 2005, the State of Qatar announced the Qatar Katrina Fund, which provided $100M in grants for housing, healthcare and education projects directly to local partners across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to support long-term recovery in the region after Hurricane Katrina.

Military Makeover with Montel set to air next week. Tune in!

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Military_Makeover_Montel

Military Makeover with Montel is a very special home improvement series that aims to respect those who have served our country, rebuild the homes—and even the lives—of these brave service men and women, and repay veterans for the service and sacrifices they’ve made for us.

Montel began his professional career in the United States Marine Corps, becoming the first black Marine selected to the Naval Academy Prep School to then go on to graduate from the Unites States Naval Academy. Williams earned a degree in general engineering and a minor in international security affairs and served in the military for a total of 22 years.

He is best known as the Emmy Award-winning host of The Montel Williams Show, which aired nationally for seventeen years. Along with being a New York Times bestselling author, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Montel is a passionate advocate for veterans, education and health.

He serves on the board of directors for the Fisher House Foundation and the Anne Romney Center for Neurological Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Montel is thrilled to be a part of Military Makeover, relishing the opportunity to give back to his fellow veterans.

Our military servicemen and women boast a proud history and a devoted dedication to serve. They are sworn to uphold the Constitution that guarantees our freedom, making the ultimate sacrifice when we need them most. But what about those who serve? Who serves them when they need our help?

Military Makeover with Montel offers hope and a helping hand here on the home front to members of our military and their loved ones. A veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Navy, talk show legend and military advocate Montel Williams seeks to transform the homes and lives of military families across the country. This special series enlists conscientious Fortune 500 companies, designers, contractors, landscapers and other home improvement professionals.

Military Makeover-Moyers

Watch the Season Premiere November 30 at 7:30 a.m. ET/PT at militarymakeover.tv.

Gordon Logan Creates Country’s Biggest Hair Salons

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Headquartered in Georgetown, Texas, Sport Clips Haircuts is a sports-themed hair care franchise for men and boys with more than 1,700 stores across the United States and Canada.

Established in 1993 and franchised in 1995 by Air Force Veteran Gordon Logan, founder and CEO, the company is one of the nation’s leading franchises and in 2018, is celebrating 25 years in business. It is ranked by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the “Fastest-Growing Franchises” and ranked number 10 in the “Franchise 500.” Sport Clips has also been ranked by FORBES as a “Top Ten Best Franchise” to buy for its investment category.

In the early 1990s, Gordon Logan recognized the huge potential, and relative lack of competition, in the men’s and boys’ haircut market. He wanted to create a place where guys could take care of one of life’s necessities—a haircut—and say, “This is my kind of place; I feel comfortable here” when they walked in the door. Assembling a group of passionate industry professionals, Gordon and his team worked together to develop the unique Sport Clips Haircuts concept we know today. While the Sport Clips logo and store design have changed since the first location opened in Austin, Texas in 1993, Gordon’s goal, and Sport Clips’ mission—to provide a “championship haircut experience in an exciting sports-themed environment”—remains the same.

Prior to founding Sport Clips, Gordon served as an Aircraft Commander in the U.S. Air Force, after which he worked as a financial planning and control consultant with Price Waterhouse & Co. in Houston, Texas. He is a graduate of MIT and The Wharton School of Business, at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a retired CPA in the State of Texas. Gordon later owned and operated salons throughout Texas, an experience which proved to be invaluable in his journey toward creating one of the most successful haircut franchises in the nation.

Game Plan for Growth

Soon after the first Sport Clips opened Austin, Texas in 1993, Sport Clips expanded into Houston and Dallas, and, based further expansion plans on where Southwest Airlines flew to keep travel expenses at a minimum. It took five years to open the first 50 stores, and by 2007, Sport Clips celebrated the opening of its 400th and 500th store in the same year. In 2012, the franchise expanded into Canada.

Today, Sport Clips is the only national hair care franchise with locations in all 50 states in the U.S., with more than 1,600 open in the U.S. and Canada. When you ask Gordon if he knew Sport Clips would be one of the fastest-growing franchise systems today, he’ll answer you, “Yes, I just didn’t think it would take this long!”

Teamwork with Heart

At the heart of Sport Clips’ culture is its values system, which was inspired by the same core values Coach Lou Holtz used to build championship football teams: “Do your best. Do what’s right. Treat others as you want to be treated.” Gordon and his family put these values to action in 2013 when they pledged to donate $1 million to Georgetown, Texas-area nonprofits, where Sport Clips, Inc. is based, and have been recognized for their philanthropic work with numerous programs including Habitat for Humanity, R.O.C.K, and the Boys and Girls Club, and the Gratitude Initiative.

Military Support

As a veteran, Gordon has also made it his mission to support the military. He has received the VFW’s famed “Citizenship Award”, and since 2007, Sport Clips stores across the nation have worked together to raise nearly $5 Million for the VFW Foundation through its annual “Help A Hero” fundraiser, which has helped thousands of deployed and hospitalized U.S. service members call home through the VFW’s Operation Uplink™ and is providing scholarships for veterans transitioning to civilian careers. Sport Clips, nationally and at the local level, is also a proud supporter of the American Red Cross Blood Services, Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the Aleethia Foundation, Honor Flight Austin, and others.

Fast Facts

  • Founder and CEO Gordon Logan is a pioneer of the unique sports-themed haircutting franchise, including the development of the Sport Clips All-Star haircutting systems, operating procedures, and marketing programs.
  • Sport Clips is the only one listed in Entrepreneur Magazine’s annual “Franchise 500” ranking and has been ranked in the Top 10 for 2017 and 2018.
  • Designed to target a previously underserved market in a multi-billion dollar industry, Sport Clips caters to men and boys by providing hassle-free hairstyling in a unique, sports-themed environment.
  • Qualified veterans who are interested in owning a Sport Clips are eligible for a 20% discount on the Sport Clips’ franchise fee of $59,500 through participation in the Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative, also known as VetFran.
  • The VFW’s “Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship” program has awarded more than $4.1 million in scholarships to almost 1,000 military and student veterans.
  • Sport Clips Haircuts, took on a new role this summer in the reality TV series The Look: All Stars, featuring hosts actress Tori Spelling and recognized stylist Kim Vo. The syndicated series aired on the CW and MyTV networks beginning June 24 and focused on head-to-toe makeovers in a team competition setting.

Source: sportclips.com

Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation Supports Paralyzed Veterans of America on Veteran’s Day

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Brad Keselowski presents check to Bill Lawson

WASHINGTON (Nov. 13, 2018) — Earlier this year, NASCAR driver and 2018 Richtopia Top 100 Philanthropist, Brad Keselowski, announced his Checkered Flag Foundation would support Paralyzed Veterans of America’s employment program, PAVE (Paving Access for Veterans Employment).

Team Penske partners’ Alliance Truck Parts, Snap-On and Würth have also joined these efforts, and on Friday, Keselowski presented a check for $25,000 to Bill Lawson, former president of Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Started in 2007, the PAVE program provides career assistance and vocational support to transitioning service members, veterans, military spouses, and caregivers across the country. Through the PAVE program, clients receive high-touch engagement as they look for meaningful employment. PAVE staff work with members of the veteran community to provide one-on-one support with resume development, sharpen interviewing and networking skills, and build a strong LinkedIn profile. PAVE operates through eight locations nationwide and in 2018, PAVE staff has placed 319 individuals with meaningful employment opportunities.

“Supporting America’s heroes is something that is very important to me, so I’m glad the Checkered Flag Foundation and Paralyzed Veterans of America partnered earlier this year,” said Keselowski. “I’m incredibly thankful that some of my Team Penske partners joined myself and the foundation in our efforts to support this program. This donation will allow Paralyzed Veterans of America the opportunity to continue to serve veterans by providing them, their families and caretakers with career support via the PAVE program. It’s very fitting that we were able to do this on such a special weekend, where we honor and remember all of the veterans who have served.”

Paralyzed Veterans of America not only supports disabled veterans, but all veterans. The organization advocates for quality health care and governmental benefits on behalf of veterans who have rightfully earned them. In addition, the organization is also a champion in fighting for job opportunities for veterans.

“We must be diligent in our efforts to combat unemployment and underemployment of veterans. This summer the veteran unemployment rate was 3.8 percent, an increase from a year ago. But, most concerning, is that nearly one-third of veteran job seekers are underemployed at a rate 15.6 percent higher than non-veteran job seekers,” said David Zurfluh, national president of Paralyzed Veterans of America. “When organizations such as Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation support our veterans’ employment program, together we are able to improve the lives of veterans, making them unstoppable in their quest for meaningful employment.”

For additional information about Paralyzed Veterans of America’s PAVE program, or to make a donation, visit pva.org.

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About Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation

Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation honors and assists those who have sacrificed greatly for our country. Since 2010, the foundation has supported more than 250 organizations and individuals in order to help veterans and first responders during their road to recovery. There are numerous ways for those interested to become involved. Visit CheckeredFlagFoundation.org for details.

About Paralyzed Veterans of America

Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For more than 70 years, the organization has ensured that veterans receive the benefits earned through service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.

As a life-long partner and advocate for veterans and all people with disabilities, Paralyzed Veterans of America also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, and provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation. With more than 70 offices and 33 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans of America serves veterans, their families and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Learn more at pva.org.

David Goggins Defies the Odds

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Chief Petty Officer David Goggins stands at attention with members of the U.S. Naval Academy’s triathlon team

David Goggins is a hard guy. A survivor of abuse and bigotry who overcame asthma, a learning disability, a stutter, obesity, crushingly low self-esteem and countless fears. A world-record-breaking endurance athlete who once performed 4,030 pull-ups in 17 hours.

A Navy SEAL and combat veteran.

After Goggins lost several friends in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 2005, he started running as a way to support severely wounded warriors and their families. Since 2005, he has helped raise funds and awareness for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides scholarships and grants to the children of fallen special operations soldiers.

Nothing stops him—except his emotions, especially when speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) in Kansas City, Missouri, who awarded him the 2018 Americanism Award. Choked up, Chief Petty Officer Goggins paused a long moment as he thanked his mother and uncle, then began a heartfelt speech, saying, “I want to thank the VFW very much for giving me this award. It means more to me than anything I have received in my entire life.” He noted that if his grandfather, Sgt. Jack Gardner, were still living, it would be the happiest day of his life to see his grandson accept the award.

After receiving two standing ovations, he told the crowd, “All my life, all I wanted to be was an uncommon man. I was not that. In fact, I was much worse than that. But I read a book about the Medal of Honor—stories about men like you, ‘Doc’ [Donald E. Ballard, Medal of Honor recipient], who had the courage to jump on grenades.”

“I used to look for courage,” Goggins said. “I thought courage was a man who received the Medal of Honor (MOH). It is, but courage is the man who is willing to put those boots on every single day of his life to go out there and fight for his country.”

“I am not a hero. I served with heroes,” he concluded. “I have the upmost respect for all of you in this room. I know what it takes to be a combat soldier.”David Goggins running in triathalon
He knows because he served in Iraq.

In an interview with U.S. Veterans Magazine, he reflected, “I know what a lot of the veterans have gone through. A lot of these vets have been in combat. To put those boots on every day, not knowing if you’ll come back, and the fear you live with all the time and the sacrifices you make to be in the military, I have no words. I only have feelings.”

While the retired 21-year Chief Navy SEAL was defending his country, he says he was rescuing himself.

“To be a veteran is everything to me,” reports Goggins, 43, “[Serving] saved me from the person I was.”

From 1994 to 1999, Goggins served in the United States Air Force Tactical Air Control Party. He left the military and was working in pest control when he decided he wanted to try out to be a Navy SEAL. He weighed 300 pounds, couldn’t learn without rewriting books word for word (filling dozens of notebooks), and was afraid of deep water.

It was sink or swim. He did plenty of sinking, but he didn’t drown. His commanders wouldn’t let him, and, ultimately, he wouldn’t let himself.

Using scenes from the movie Rocky as inspiration, and willing to suffer through anything to achieve his goals, he failed and failed … and then he thrived.

After enduring three hell weeks, he was assigned to SEAL Team Five in 2001, and in 2004, Goggins graduated from Army Ranger School as “Enlisted Honor Man.”

“A person who is driven and obsessed … they don’t give a damn what’s in front of them,” he says. “A person who is singularly focused on a mission can get it done.”

Tough love didn’t hurt.

Navy SEAL David Goggins“I found in the military a way to find myself through discipline, through training. It was a kick in the butt.”

That discipline and training—and a nearly-inhuman capacity for suffering—are forged in his character to this day.

Goggins is one of the greatest endurance athletes in the world. He has completed multiple ultra-marathons, triathlons, and ultra-triathlons, setting new course records and regularly placing in the top five. He’s run more than 200 miles nonstop in 39 hours and placed third in the toughest foot race on the planet: the Badwater 135, which takes place in Death Valley during the summer.

He set a Guinness World Record with those 4,030 pull-ups (the record was later broken).

“My greatest strength is my mind,” reports Goggins. “I figured out one thing: Life is one big mind game … and you’re playing against yourself.”

Goggins’ achievements made him the subject of a feature in Runner’s World, where he was named “Running Hero.” Outside Magazine named him “The Fittest (Real) Man in America.” The Navy SEALs tagged him as their poster boy and lead recruiter.

In November 2015, he was the subject of the New York Times bestseller, Living with a SEAL, and since leaving the military, he’s become a prize public speaker. He’s spoken to professional sports teams, Fortune 500 companies, and other large organizations in both the public and private sector.

Everyone wants to know what it takes to become a SEAL, his fitness tips, his inspirational mantras and how in the heck he ran 205 miles in 39 hours.

It was 2005. Goggins got hit with bad news: Several of his buddies had died in Afghanistan in Operation Red Wings. Goggins, never a natural runner, decided to pound ground in the San Diego One Day, which raised money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

He said he wasn’t motivated. Motivation comes and goes. He was, and is, driven.

He nearly died. He tore muscles, broke all the metatarsal bones in his feet and endured screamingly painful shin splints. On bathroom breaks, he was urinating blood. He knew his body was breaking down, but his mind? That’s another story.

“I am scared to death of one thing: disappointing God,” he said. “I know there’s something above David Goggins … I believe in God, and that’s my strength.

“I used everything that God gave me and created a miracle.”

He wants to inspire others—especially those abused in their homes, or stricken with health problems, or living in fear and despair—to do the same.

On December 4, his book, Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds, will be released.

If you want a quick fix, it’s probably not for you. Miracles, Goggins believes, are made, and that’s good news.

“I got tired of ‘In five easy steps you can fix your life,'” he said. “You’re not going to get better with that mindset.”

How do you improve?

“Suffering and grinding,” he said.

David Goggins stands at attentionHere are some highlights from the book:
• He thanks people who insulted him, even bigots. “You want to get back at people who don’t like you? Be the best.”
• He elaborates on his 40% Rule. The upshot? You can push past pain, demolish fear and reach your full potential.
• He writes about the concept of the “only.” That’s short-hand for the feeling you get when people isolate you, or you isolate yourself. Goggins said it need not be a negative. “It was my fuel.”

Goggins, who works out about five hours a day, needs fuel. He’s a human conflagration of passion, which is ironic, because he’s a wildland firefighter. Putting out fires is another way to fuel his commitment to serve.

For the last couple of years, he’s spent the fire season slowing and knocking down fires with his crew mates.

He’s in a position where he doesn’t have to do it. That’s the exact reason he should dig fire lines, he says.

“I’m just a guy on the line, man. I’m a guy who sleeps in the dirt … and digs ditches.”

It’s a metaphor for his life. In the face of overwhelming odds, he digs and digs.

“My legacy would be: That was one guy right there that if you told him he couldn’t do it, he is going to find a way through all the doubt, through all the throes. That’s my legacy. A man who didn’t stop trying to achieve more.”

TARC Executive Director J. Barry Barker to retire

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Barry Barker_Headshot_TARC

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that TARC Executive Director J. Barry Barker is retiring after nearly 25 years leading the city’s public transportation agency. His last day is Nov. 30.

TARC Assistant Executive Director Ferdinand L. Risco Jr., who joined TARC in February 2017, will begin serving as Interim Executive Director after Barker retires.

“I am so grateful to Barry Barker for all he has accomplished at TARC and in leadership roles with non-profit and professional organizations at the local, state and federal levels,” Mayor Fischer said. “In true Barry style, of course, he’s already said that he plans to continue helping our city through volunteer work, and I look forward to continuing to work with him as he transitions to that new role.”

“It’s been a great ride, and I know the TARC team, along with an outstanding Board of Directors, will do great things.  I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to have served TARC and our city,” Barker said. “After nearly 25 years with this great organization, I’m now looking forward to staying engaged in volunteer organizations, traveling and enjoying family and friends more.”

TARC Board Chair Cedric Merlin Powell said Barker’s “indelible imprint on Louisville’s transportation system has provided access, opportunity and enhanced quality of life to all citizens of Louisville Metro.”

“He is a national leader in public transportation and a true public servant, the rare public official whose heart is even bigger than his service,” Powell said. “I, and the Board, wish to express our sincere gratitude in recognition of all he has done for TARC and the community.”

Risco, a U.S. Army veteran with more than 20 years of experience relating to transportation with private, public and non-profit organizations, said, “This is an exciting time at TARC with improvements underway.  I’m honored to serve as Interim Executive Director and to work with Barry Barker and everyone on the TARC team.”

Before joining TARC, Risco was Executive Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Association.

Early next year, TARC will launch a “tap and go” electronic fare payment system on all buses and a new mobility website with start-to-finish trip planning options linking TARC, ride sharing and biking.  The region’s first Bus Rapid Transit route will begin operating in late 2019 along Dixie Highway for faster service linking downtown and southwest Jefferson County.

And in May, TARC will host the American Public Transportation Association’s 2019 Bus and Paratransit Conference, which will bring 5,000 transit industry representatives to Louisville.

Under Barker, TARC was designated in 2006 as the nation’s Urban System of the Year by the Community Transportation Association of American.  The next year, Barker was recognized as the Outstanding Public Transportation Manager of the Year by the American Public Transportation Association. In 2012, the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies honored Barker with the Sharon D. Banks Award for Humanitarian Leadership in Transportation.

Locally, Barker has served on more than a dozen non-profit agency boards, including in leadership positions, and in 2010 headed Metro United Way’s annual fundraising campaign.

TARC provides 12 million passenger trips a year, with 63 percent of riders traveling to and from work, and another 20 percent on school trips.

“TARC moves the workforce of today and tomorrow, and we’re critical for people to access opportunity and all life has to offer,” Barker said. “I have always been motivated by the belief that the quality of life in our communities is only as good as it is for the least advantaged members of our communities. Access to life’s opportunities is a must if communities and individuals are to thrive.  I’ve been fortunate to champion these beliefs at TARC and in the community.”

The Mayor will work with the TARC board on next steps.