About Dom Raso

Please describe your service to our country (years in service, rank, deployments, etc): Dom Raso joined the Navy at 17 years old and immediately knew he wanted to become a Seal. He headed right to BUDs then straight over to Seal Team 2. As soon he could, he moved to DEVGRU and spent 7-8 years there. He had 13 combat deployments, never taking a breather but instead engaging in deployment after deployment.

This warrior had a passion for fighting up front, remaining flexible, staying mobile, and being a point man. His desire was to become a sniper and recce guy, so he attended sniper school. Having the ability to sneak up on a target and possess solid marksmanship were important to him and that drive led him to be one half of the top shooting pair in his class. His partner got top shooter, which meant that Dom was an excellent windcaller.

He has maintained this ability to stay up front through different aspects of his mentality and the desire to always be first on target. This drive carries through to Dynamis Alliance in very practical ways. From developing the right gear to the training he provides, Dom wants Dynamis to be on the edge, leading the industry.

As his career evolved, he saw the world change from both a threat and cultural standpoint. He feels the enemy is more complicated and low vis now so he has adapted what he knows about overt covert protection. This gives Dynamis the ability to lead in low vis protection – for its consumers to have maximum impact but not draw attention to themselves. He desires for those he influences to become extremely capable combatants in a low vis manner but for the world to be none the wiser to their skillset. This is how Dynamis was born.

Although Dom readily admits the tempo of his hundreds of operations was insane, he wouldn’t change it due to the experience he gained. When he pauses for a moment to reflect, he admits it was absolutely amazing to accomplish what he did during his time as an Operator. His biggest takeaway from time on the Teams is working with and being surrounded by some of the highest level people in the world in an environment where the best rise to the top and you either quit or didn’t quit. Dom explains that when you look at the pyramid of the people who say they want to be a SEAL, then those who actually go, then those who make it all the way to then chase bad guys – it is ridiculously low numbers. When you work with that type of people, you can take it for granted but when get out, you realize how lucky you were to be in that position.

Losing the guys who were at that level is definitely where Dom finds his fire to forge a new mindset and live a life of no excuses. This comes with a lot of pressure, but it worth it. Dom’s take away from losing all those guys is that he would not be where he is without their sacrifice. There is power when people are able to harness the meaning of those lives who were lost. He observes that people who have been through this tend to go either one way or another – they either shut down or they don’t. It is not an easy choice, but the more repetitions you have making that choice to keep going, the easier it becomes. On his first deployment, he lost a buddy and then on every deployment thereafter. As he sought to understand this type of loss and use it for energy, it became who he was. He believes that all Special Operations Forces as well as everyone in the military go through this and although hard to explain, you can either go one way or another as a result. He knows that everything happens for a reason and tries to thread living this way through everything he does in life.

Injuries, if any? Dom explained that it was more of a breakdown for him. His shoulders, knees, and ankle have seen remarkable wear and tear from beating himself up over the years. However, he said he has nothing to complain about in light of what others suffer.

When did you retire? Dom exited at the end of 2012 because he saw politics hindering his ability to perform his job.

Please describe what the SOF brotherhood means to you: Dom describes this in one word: leadership. Some of the best leaders he had weren’t necessarily those he looked up to in terms of rank but rather those men standing shoulder to shoulder with him on his left and right. He looked to those leading by action. In the brotherhood, every member is responsible for accountability and ownership. This is a serious connection to why they do what they do in leadership as operators. Dom explained that these men are the best in the world – men who rise to the top and will do anything to achieve what they are after, from jumping into the train on stack or as an officer.

How has the transition from warfighter to civilian gone? This transition has gone “really great” for Dom. He took the energy and passion he possessed when in the Teams and didn’t skip a beat. Admittedly, he was not ready to leave but felt forced out because he was not allowed to do his job as a result of politics. Due to these constraints, he hit a ceiling at the highest level of command and it gave him a very limited feeling.

Since he always had an entrepreneurial spirit, he didn’t skip a beat upon entering civilian life. He relayed that some people get out and simply want to relax. Instead, he took all his energy and effort and poured it into something. He laughingly says that you’d think he was still in the Teams because of his actions and drive. There is a lot of hard work that people don’t understand but it is worth it. He feels incredibly blessed and appreciates the opportunities that come his way.

One of the hardest parts is saying “no” because he wants to do everything for everybody. The biggest shock for Dom was finding out that it is incredibly rare for anyone in civilian culture to understand loyalty and honor. Therefore, he had to restructure his mind on how to approach business relationships because expectations can hurt you. These must be based on facts because you will get burned later relying solely on honor. Most business relationships are based on profit, which is cold, shallow, and superficial to Dom. He feels he can’t simply lead with honor in the business world because not everyone puts honor first or even understands that concept. Learning this has helped protect himself and his team.

Now he approaches things from a more probing standpoint to see if another business understands honor first. If not, then he reaches out with facts and goals. Most companies want numbers first instead of honor. Businesses such as these are not willing to stand with you. He believes that if businesses could create this type of shoulder to shoulder relationship, it would be much more powerful than just selling goods.

What is the name of the business you started? Dynamis Alliance

When did you start it? 2013

Why did you start this company? Dom started Dynamis because he saw a distinct need for leadership in our country and culture. He stated that he couldn’t even verbalize the top 5 leaders in our country and wondered who kids look up to. As a result of asking what he could do to create leadership for kids that don’t have any place to find a leader, he decided to break through the mold. As a former operator, Dom knew the answer: he could lead by creating an attitude and warrior culture. An expert at hunting people down, he decided to reverse engineer that process in order to create solutions through proper training and gear, enabling people to protect themselves.

Please describe your products/services: Everything Dynamis offers is born from experiences that have been learned in blood. From chasing bad guys overseas to protecting family members at home, Dynamis constantly studies to make products and provide services to defend and protect against modern day threats. Dynamis relies upon the best in the world to accomplish that mission for one reason: someone’s life could depend upon it.

They have 3 strategic anchors that set them apart in any endeavor: 1) Connection to reality 2) Tier 1 quality for the best in the world offered from the best in the world 3) Innovative and cutting edge. Everything Dynamis offers must pass that 3-part test.

Where is it located? VA Beach

What does this company mean to you/why is it important? “Everything.” Dynamis Alliance is Dom’s opportunity to leave a legacy that integrates honor with everything they do. To be a part of Dynamis takes an understanding that there is honor in everything – what we wear, how we wake up, the purpose for our lives – and that we must stay accountable to that fact. Dynamis provides that clarity.

What have been some challenges as an entrepreneur? The biggest challenges for Dom are getting people to understand honor and finding the right people with whom to work. He relays that because so few have honor, people come and go so it is difficult to find the right team. Because he is responsible for his own team, he desires to surround himself with those who continue to push him and thus validate what Dynamis is doing. He feels that the word “entrepreneur” should be redefined in our society. Everyone wants business first but it should be in a much more meaningful way of making an impact through leadership, action, and example.

What is the best part of being an entrepreneur? Dom relays that the best part of being an entrepreneur is that because he has complete control of everything he does, he can make a difference in people’s lives. He feels he has succeeded when he reads notes describing how his influence has changed someone.

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?) A career in SOF helps this warrior in making decisions, both big and little, every day. Due to his extensive background, he has the experience to know that hesitation and confusion won’t help you. He is used to making decisions and doing his best work when life is on the line so he approaches every choice in that manner – like life depends on it. In living this way, he believes everything matters, even small decisions.

What do you offer the consumer not only through your business, but also through your expertise as a SOF Veteran? Dom offers real experience in a world that is lacking such. When engaging with someone, he has real experience upon which to draw. He has the utmost confidence and believes in everything he does because he’s seen it hundreds of times and understands what works.

Who has influenced you as an entrepreneur? Matt Patricia, the  Patritots Defensive Coordinator, has influenced Dom as a leader because he is one of the hardest working guys Dom knows – up early and to bed late. Dom says that as Belichick’s second in charge, there is tremendous pressure for Patricia to perform so he looks up to the coach’s ability to dial in decision-making and effort. The guys who work with him at Dynamis also greatly influence Dom through their leadership. He says it is cool to look at the people around you and how they teach you about yourself, just like the guys who were around him when he was in the Teams. “You can look left and right to learn, not always up.”

Why do you live where you live? There is a high concentration of people he worked with there in VA Beach so he feels no need to move. In addition, he likes the area. He can work remotely on a lot of projects but anticipates living there for a while.

Favorite food? Lobster

Favorite place in the world? One of Dom’s favorite places is Italy, not only to enjoy but also to be strengthened in aspect of his faith. He has a strong draw to being overseas. Soaking in the sun of Kuai is another favorite.

Favorite movie? “The Bronx Tale”

Favorite book/books? “Warrior Ethos” and the Bible

Pets? 2 German Shepherds

What do you like to do in your spare time? Down time for Dom is rare, but he enjoys spearfishing. He and his friend Luis Souffront (Dynamis created a shirt in his honor) used to talk about going spearfishing. When Luis was killed in action, Dom made him a vow to take on the sport. Because of this, when he is able to go, it is a very spiritual experience.

Words you live by (ethos)? “The Will to Fight.” Dom explains that we are constantly trying to forge our minds to have a better life. In so doing, most people try to figure out how to make life easier. He believes, however, the correct way to gain a proper mindset comes when you finally figure out that life is a fight.

Anything else you feel is important to include about yourself, your story, and/or your company: “My biggest hope, wish, and something that I pray for is I hope everybody continues to live a life that those who have gone before us would be proud of.” God and finding how to apply what God has done for us is also central to his life. He hopes we might all focus on what Christ has brought to earth to teach us because that will strengthen everyone.