Please describe your service to our country:  Ten years in the US Army, SSG, 2 deployments to Iraq, 2 to Afghanistan. I started in a heavy vertical engineering unit, spent some time in PsyOp and finished out my career as a Special Forces Green Beret.

Injuries, if any? Purple heart from a head injury after an IED blast, shrapnel in my leg from a training accident

When did you retire? I separated from the Army in 2013.

How has the transition from warfighter to veteran gone? It has had its ups and downs.

What is the name of the business you started? Coalition Tea

When did you start it? 2019

Why did you start this company? Health and lifestyle changes brought tea into my life. Knowing that I’m not the only veteran who saw a need to make healthy lifestyle changes both physically and mentally, I saw an opportunity to bring something unique to the table.

Please describe your products/services: Certified Elephant Friendly loose leaf teas and herbal infusions.

Where is it located? Central Oregon

What does this company mean to you/why is it important? To me, it represents change with a concern for the environment and the beings on the planet, as well as personal health. The tea we source brings me back to the area my Grandfather served in WWII. Tea is often thought of as a British, Asian or Middle Eastern beverage, but I wanted to put an American spin on it.

What have been some challenges as an entrepreneur? Food and beverage products are highly regulated by the government and there are a lot of hurdles to clear. We were able to partner with the owner of a phenomenal company called Inspired Leaf Tea, who has been incredibly generous with her expertise and packs all of our teas for us in her DOA approved facility.

What is the best part of being an entrepreneur? If you like to work more than everyone else but be able to make it to your kids’ important events, peel off for a hike whenever you feel like it and work with the people who are most important to you, being an entrepreneur is the way to go.

How did your SOF career prepare you for what you are doing now? (In what ways have you drawn on your experiences as a SOF soldier in your business life?) In Special Forces, we were all given tasks that needed to be completed without oversight and the bigger picture was dependent on all team members’ tasks coming together. Being an entrepreneur, you have to be able to task yourself to get things done when they need to get done. I don’t like to wait until the last minute, and that’s a strength as a business owner.

What do you offer the consumer not only through your business, but also through your expertise as a SOF Veteran? SOF values dictate quality over quantity, and that value is foremost in our tea. My current blends give my customers a taste of the places I’ve been.

Who has influenced you as an entrepreneur? My dad. He moved our family across the country and built a whole business in a new place that sustained our family through my young adult life.

Family? My family is my wife and our two kids.

Why do you live where you live? This is where I grew up and it’s good to finally be home.

Favorite food? Tacos

Favorite place in the world? I’ve been to a lot of great places – Germany, France and Hawaii among them.

Favorite movie? Shrek

Favorite book/books? Call it Courage

Pets? Two pit bull mutts

What do you like to do in your spare time? Hike

Words you live by (ethos)? Never quit.