Veteran Voices Episode 16

“My professor says, ‘you have to do a capstone in two years and you have to build a business.’  I’m like, I didn’t go get my MBA to build a business.  I want to learn about business, and working for somebody in a business, but it’s what we had to do. So I was like, what am I going to pick for a business? I thought, you know what, I’m going to build a library of Atlantis for veterans, military spouses, and dependent children. I’m like, why wait two years? I’ll just do it now.”

-Brian Arrington with VETS2INDUSTRY

In this episode of the newly re-launched Veteran Voices series, Scott welcomes VETS2INDUSTRY founder, Brian Arrington to the podcast.

Scott Luton (00:00:05):

Welcome to veteran voices, a podcast dedicated to giving a voice to those that have served in our country’s armed forces on this series, which is part of the supply chain. Now family of programming, we sit down with a wide variety of veterans and veteran advocates to gain their insights, perspective, and experiences. We’ll talk with many individuals about their challenging transition from active duty to the private sector, and we’ll discuss some of the most vital issues facing veterans today. Join us for this episode of veteran voices. Hey, good afternoon, Scott Luton here with you on veteran voices. Thanks for tuning in today. So today’s show we have got a great opportunity to talk with a veteran and business leader that is doing extraordinary things, especially serving and giving back to our veteran community. So stay tuned for that as we learn a lot more, uh, Hey, on a quick programming note, if you enjoy today’s podcast conversation, which my hunch is, you will find subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from simply search for veteran voices and make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a single thing. Alright, no further ado. Let’s bring in our featured guests here today. Brian Arrington, founder, and president of vets to industry Brian, how are you doing?

Brian Arrington (00:01:31):

Doing wonderful Scott. I appreciate it. I’m always wonderful though. Even when I’m not

Scott Luton (00:01:36):

Well, you know, uh, Brian I’ve admired, we’ve been connected on social media. You’re a tough business leader, servant leader, veteran leader to keep up with, but uh, really admire what you do to help so many more, so many veterans and giving back. Uh, it’s amazing to hear about some of your events and your, your massive volunteer staff. So we’re gonna dive in all that here today. And, uh, I think you’re going to share also some, some, uh, interesting memories and some humorous memories, uh, with our audience. So let’s dive right in what you say.

Brian Arrington (00:02:08):

Yeah, absolutely. So first I’d like to introduce myself a little bit. So, uh, Brian Aronson, I actually retired from the air force one, July, 2019. And if you do math right now, that’s a year in one month out of the service. So now you’re all thinking, why should I even listen to this guy up for a year? What the heck does he know about anything? Great point. So let me talk to you about my transition story a little bit.

Scott Luton (00:02:36):

I like how you bring your own questions to the interview. That you’re a very efficient

Brian Arrington (00:02:40):

Yeah, of course. Cause people are like, why am I even listening to this guy? He’s been out for a year? What does he know? I transitioned from the air force. We, if you look at my transition process, it was really about a year prior to that date, one July, I found LinkedIn by accident. So I’m gonna take you back to March, 2018. So I was at 19 years and you’re not commissioned officer in the air force at East seven. And I found like Dan lane late at night watching TV and this commercial came up joined 550 million of us. I’m like, what the heck is this? It looked like a job board or something. I couldn’t really figure it out. So I download the app. I go to sleep next day, I get home from work and I pop it open and fiddle around with it. And I type in veteran in the group section.

Brian Arrington (00:03:30):

Now I didn’t know what I was doing at the time. Right. But the veteran mentoring network popped up. For those of you who are not familiar with the veteran Metro network, go ahead and get into this group. Now I will tell you something. It had 130,000 veterans in that group. When I applied to enter it, it now has over 139,000 veterans in that group. And as soon as I applied to enter Tom cow, who is the founder of that group immediately messaged me and said, Hey, I see that you’re a transitioning service member. And you had joining our group. I said, how can you possibly know that? Like, and he’s like, what does you have nothing on your profile? And you’re trying to join this veteran group and say, Oh, you are very good at deduction. So I did my little intro of who I am, what I wanted to do or where I thought I might want to do. I didn’t really know what, the only thing I knew I didn’t want to do was be a cop because I had been a military police officer for 20 years, one month and 12 days. And yes, at one month and 12 days means stuff. So when people say, you know, you’ve been, Oh, as you are in the military for 20 years said no, 20 years, one month and 12 days. Because if I could have gotten out at 20 years, I would’ve gotten out 20 years, but I had to do another month and 12 days

Scott Luton (00:04:52):

Like payback. Do you remember that movie with Mel Gibson and payback? And he was collecting for, I’m going to get it a little bit off the 400, $4,372. And as he had to go through all those guys and gals, they want to give him a million. And in five minutes he kept saying, I only want my 4,300 set of

Brian Arrington (00:05:11):

What a great movie you want to be. Make sure we get it right.

Scott Luton (00:05:17):

20 years, one month and

Brian Arrington (00:05:19):

12 days, 12 days after the you’ll never forget that now. So, um, I put up my little introduction and within 30 seconds, I kid you not. I had a cold email from a guy by the name of Kenya spread. I now he’s. He goes by Kenny, Kenny spread a lot. So now I’m sorry, Kenny, you’re going to get a ton of InMails, but I didn’t even know what an email was and no clue. Cause it was able to dial up that mail. Like what is this thing? So I check it out and he says, Hey brother, I see that you’re retiring in a year from now. I’m also retiring a year. I got you by a couple months, but are you going to CMA tomorrow near Fort Benning? I’m an army [inaudible] ranger out of Fort Benning, Georgia. And so I’m like, what’s CMA. So I hit accept and I, we ran him back. I said, Hey brothers, it’s cool that you’re going through this transition to maybe we could do this together. What CMA? And he responds back Centuria military lines

Scott Luton (00:06:25):

Yet another veteran service organization. Right.

Brian Arrington (00:06:29):

But I don’t know that at the time. And nor did I know that word. So I said, what, what is, what is centrally military line? And he says, it’s a VSL. I said, Kenya, if you don’t stop with these army acronyms and tell me what the heck, this I’m air force. I don’t want, I don’t speak your language. And he starts laughing and he said, let me call you like, okay. I give him my number. He calls me up and he’s laughing. He’s cracking up. So yo man, it’s not an army acronym stands for veterans service organization. I said, Kenya, I don’t know what that needs that. I feel like we’re playing war on Hardy. Who’s on first routine right now. You know, like what’s on second. I don’t know what you’re talking about. And I said, what’s a veteran service organization. And he says, it provides free resources and support benefits to us and our family members during transitioning and after.

Brian Arrington (00:07:23):

Uh, and there’s tons of them as it. How have I never heard about this? Here I am in 19 years. So you’re not commission job. So we’re supposed to know everything about anything that, or knowing where to find it, where the guys, the mentors, the coaches for the junior enlisted junior officers teaching matters where the strategic advisors or the commanders where, you know, the pulse of the enlisted force are the top 10%. And how am I never heard of this before? So he said, Hey, well, can you go to CMA tomorrow? And I said, man, I’m a senior NCO. Of course I can go and go where I want to. And he said, we’ve got to with business casual. I said, okay, no problem. So there was two things I had to Google after that phone call because I wasn’t telling him seven, seven again, I didn’t know something because I had already told them too many times on the phone that he knows something.

Brian Arrington (00:08:11):

I had to Google where Fort Benning was because I was air force. I had no idea army and I had to Google what business casual was. Cause I had no clue. I thought, you know, it’s a suit without your jacket and with, or without a tie, it’s like, why did they just see that it was like, you know, sandals on the beach and rolled up, you know, khakis. And you know, I don’t know we have now to wear that. So the next day I find out where Fort Benning is and it’s two and a half hours away. I was stationed at Warner Robins, air force base,

Scott Luton (00:08:42):

Beautiful Columbus, Georgia. Right.

Brian Arrington (00:08:45):

It it’s it’s so it’s like making as a little bit, a little bit noise. It’s more around. Yeah.

Scott Luton (00:08:51):

I’m talking about Fort, I’m sorry. Fort Benning and beautiful Columbus, Georgia. Well, I wouldn’t

Brian Arrington (00:08:56):

Know. I didn’t get a lot to see there. Oh, I’m getting ahead of the story. My bag. Keep going. Yeah, you are, but it’s okay. Uh, so I get there, um, I leave at three 30 in the morning to get into the only suit that I have from Korea. And I’m hoping to gosh that I fit in it because it was when my eight years earlier, when I was flying rating, I get into it. Uh, I don’t have to wear the suit jacket. I was thinking, thank goodness. I didn’t have to wear that. I get down there. And in the first 30 minutes I’m sitting in class and I hear seeing the front row with Kenya and they say there’s over 40,000 veterans service organizations nationwide to provide free Reese wasn’t support for us and our family members. And I get peed off. I am furious.

Brian Arrington (00:09:44):

I’m looking around the room like the kid, did you know this deal? What the heck? And I just stop. And I start thinking back to 2000 to 2002, I put on [inaudible] in the air force, a staff Sergeant, our supervisory rank and all of the airmen that I had let get out of the military since 2002 to that date, 2018. And hadn’t set them up for success in the outside due to my own ignorance and all the free resources that are out there. And then I started thinking about all of the airmen and how many of them have become part of the 22 who killed them. So the basis that, or unemployed or underemployed on substance abuse or divorced or homeless or incarcerated all because Brian Harrington, Sergeant Aerogen, didn’t set them up for success in the outside. Didn’t give him that one extra piece of hope that could have saved their lives.

Brian Arrington (00:10:44):

And still to this day, I have no idea how many of them, you know, statistically, there’s gotta be tons of them that have been affected by some of those things. And I felt so guilty just sitting in that seat. And that was the first 30 minutes of this class, you know? And so I went home and something that everybody needs to understand about me about Brian airy is I’m a very research driven individual, very analytical I had at the time two associate’s degrees, a bachelor’s degree in history of graduate certificate, Homeland security, a master’s degree in management. And I was concurrently working on an MBA in marketing and an ms in business analytics. Uh, and so with all that, along with the fact that I was in East seven, the fact that I didn’t know about this veteran service organizations was just, it was asinine to me.

Brian Arrington (00:11:35):

I had to know about this. I was mad at the department of defense, the DOD for not telling me about this. I was upset that veteran service organizations not understanding why they could go on base and tell us about it at the time. And then I was also upset every single senior noncommissioned officer who had not come back on base. Cause I know they had ID cards and tell me that these resources existed and fair or unfair, but that’s, that was my mindset at the time. I’ve learned a lot since then, but that’s my mindset at the time.

Scott Luton (00:12:07):

So let me ask you right quick at that point in time, did you, uh, as you were talking with other maybe veterans and S and senior veterans enlisted, uh, an officer for that matter, cause they all give feedback to folks that they advise mentor and whatnot that you taught any of your peers that may have that. So that was a, that would have been

Brian Arrington (00:12:30):

Just March, 2018. Yeah.

Scott Luton (00:12:32):

Did you talk to other officers and enlisted that had that same gap, uh, and, and y’all could kind of share in the, in the, the emotion of the epiphany.

Brian Arrington (00:12:42):

I was screaming it from them net mountain tops. I was like, I became the retention officer, if you will, making sure everybody knew everything about all these free resources. Um, like when I got, when I got home, though, I stood, there’s gotta be a place where all this stuff is located. So I’m doing research on veteran service organizations, military support, transitioning assistance. And I can’t find a single site repository where all the free resources were co located for veterans, military spouses, independent aged children. There’s take about eight months. Right. And I’m on LinkedIn and I’m going from the grades. I’m learning from Daniel Savage. I’m learning from Corey boat, right? I’m going from Eric or I’m learning from Shontay hall. I’m learning from Justin Pearson. I’m learning from Michael Quinn. I’m learning from herb Thompson. I’m like, I’m getting the prime Dela creme of the transition and how to transition.

Brian Arrington (00:13:40):

And I’m paying that forward. I’m giving that information out. I’m putting out content and I get to my school. My school starts in September and I’m starting with Syracuse university and I get in the class and it’s a, our orientation track. And my professor says, Hey, um, you all gonna have to do a capstone in two years and you have to build a business. I’m like, I didn’t go get my MBA to build a business. Like I want to learn like about business, like, you know, working for somebody in a business, but it’s what we had to do. And I was like, what am I going to pick for a business? So I thought, you know what, I’m going to build a library of Atlantis for veterans, military spouses and dependent children. I’m like, why wait two years, I’ll just do it.

Scott Luton (00:14:25):

All right. So let me ask you Brian, because when Fred Smith was Caitlin where he went undergrad, but he had the idea and a business model to some degree of FedEx. And I think he got a C a greatest C I think even a C minus on the paper. So clearly the professor, he shared that with did not see his vision when you shared your vision at that moment, I think that Syracuse was, it met with positive reception or they have a lot of doubters.

Brian Arrington (00:14:52):

I didn’t tell anybody yet because I didn’t have to, it was just some of them of the, we had to start thinking about, and they said we were going to have to do it. We ha we have to greet in a group. We had to pick three. Other of our classmates, you know, out of like, it was like 1500 of us in a, in a class. Right. And for MBA program. And we have to pick three classmates during this two year period to work with. And I said, I’m just going to convince him to do whatever I want to do. That was my mindset. That was the timeline there was going to, they were going to pick what I want. I was going to convince them to do it. Right. So, so I’m like, why wait two years, I’m just going to build this tonight. So I go home, I get it from my computer and you know what happens? I don’t know. I realize, and I forget that. I don’t know how to build a website.

Scott Luton (00:15:38):

Okay. First obstacle. But I’ve got a feeling you’re going to break right through it.

Brian Arrington (00:15:43):

Yeah. So I’m like, well, I’m thinking, okay, I’m working on my second and third master’s degree, 56 degree overall. I can figure this out. So I find a Wix and like, okay, this thing says, you don’t need to know anything and you can build it. I’m like, okay, I don’t know anything. So I’m going to build it. I, while I’m listening to the instructions. Right. Uh, and I’m studying three hours on the first intro screen. And like, I don’t think I can build the, the city of Atlanta is the library of Atlanta is on this. So I’m like, ah, I got two years. So it went from 12, 12 hours. It went from, I’m building this beautiful thing to, I got two years of work, talk about procrastination. And so I print it out on the background. Now I take you to December. And this was December, 2018.

Brian Arrington (00:16:34):

Yeah. So December, 2018, and I’m in my second tab class, I actually talked my way into the executive tap class, but that’s another, another part of the story. Uh, so I’m sitting in tap class and I ended up doing a post, um, cause an individual reached out to me. Uh, his name is Chris dove. I, for those of you who don’t know Krista, uh, make sure you’re following him. He is amazing individual. He was just getting ready to start working at Orion talent back then. And he reached out to me and say, Hey, Brian, I see that you post a lot of content on there for a lot of transition service members. I remember I hadn’t transitioned yet. I was still in the military. I was still active duty. And he said, I have access to 700 jobs in about a week, but I don’t have any transition.

Brian Arrington (00:17:23):

So there’s members in my network. Uh, I’m a Navy, he’s a Navy nuke guy, but he just didn’t have anyone in his network and said, can you help me out? I was like, Oh yeah, brother, I got you. And I was like, I was so happy. I was so pumped. I just hit, uh, you know, 500 connections on LinkedIn all the way up again, get on the big, big daddy, you know, what’s going on? Like, yeah, look at this. And I was like, yeah, I got somebody asking me for help. Like not realizing people have like 30,000 connections because all they tell you hit that 500 Mark and I just hit it. So I’m like, yeah, I got everybody right. So one little post and this one little post, I says, veterans career opportunities post below your desired career role geographic location. And when you can start working and my friend Krista will help them find a job anywhere in the United States. That’s how ignorant I was that then career help. And that post went viral. And when I say viral, remember I only had like 500 and something connections in one week we had 224,000 views on that one post in four weeks, 654,000 views of that post. We had 1400 comments. It was crazy.

Scott Luton (00:18:44):

So let me, let me ask you a question, undoubtedly, your network and your passion to help and, and that factored in, but that, do you feel that that level of activity in the views really speaks to the demand and in the need of assistance and trying to help finding a job and, and you name it?

Brian Arrington (00:19:03):

Yeah, because it wasn’t just that, but it was the comments that were made in there. Cause we had veterans, we had transitioning service members, we had military spouses, we had veteran advocates, we had recruiters, everybody posting in there. Uh, and what I found was, you know, people are looking for job, can work, looking for life, needs, all sorts of things. And we were, I was basically getting people jobs while still on active duty by connecting people that became like a massive connector while I was still still in the noise people. And um, the veteran advocates started coming and say, Hey, have you used I’ve yet? Uh IVMF yet have used four blocks. I’ve used bunker labs. I’ve used hire heroes called the fellowship program or hire heroes, USA, a warrior rising and or century military Alliance, DOD steel bridge. And all these people kept saying what’s that I don’t know what that is.

Brian Arrington (00:20:00):

And then it took me back to March, 2018, eight months. I said, these, these people are me eight months ago. When I, when in Kenya spread, we reached out to me and said, Hey, are you going to CMA tomorrow? Right. You feel me? And then I said, these people can’t wait two years for Brian to figure out how to build a website. They need these resources. Now they’re going to become part of the 22 kilowatts as a day tomorrow. So, uh, after seeing that post and in this December, like the very next day I went online and I started looking on LinkedIn for air force, uh, who had, uh, any web design background. You know, I did the LinkedIn searches and I found, uh, one individual. I sent her a message. Her name is Bobby Young. And she actually runs her own web design business on the side inspired growth portal.

Brian Arrington (00:20:55):

And she took on one pro bono cases a quarter and she’s, she fell in love with what I wanted to do. And she says, not only will I take you on, but I’m going to take you on. It’s like permanent pro bono and wow. That soon as you website for free, uh, and she’s probably played it out 50 to $70,000 with the work in that website, it needs two years or a year and a half. I gave her 72 resources. So kind of like Jeff Bezos starting, you know, with the books and stuff, like you said, doing all that work and stuff. Like I started by curating and vetting 72 resources and giving it to her. And then she started doing her tech thing and made them, made them work. Since then, uh, on the website we had, we’ve had 700, we have about 700 resources.

Brian Arrington (00:21:47):

Now, every month we updated and curated with more free resources as we find them and embed them. It may have a community library on there. So people can actually go on the website and find resources now tab, they can go. And if they find that we don’t have a resource somewhere in the United States, they can actually input that resource into a text box, which goes to my resource team. And after they bet it made sure it was good to go, it will be included in our next update. So literally the whole community is building this library for each other, which is really beautiful,

Scott Luton (00:22:25):

Outstanding, outstanding.

Brian Arrington (00:22:27):

So, um, some of the metrics, I just want to tell them about some of the metrics like, well, okay, it’s a library, a big deal. What we wanted to do with this is create a single site, one stop shop so that you no longer have to go searching for something you don’t even know exists. So if you go to vest industry, you know, you’re going to find a library and you’re not going to have to type in, um, therapy animal. You know, you don’t even know that that exists as a resource active duty members can get a free PTSD service animal with multiple, multiple, uh, organizations around the United States where they can train your own animal to do it. You know, people don’t know about these military spouses can get a free year of gluten premium. Every PCs people don’t know about this. So you wouldn’t even Google, um, free year of LinkedIn premium for my spouse. Like that, wouldn’t be something you think about, but you go to like best industry, you can learn about all these things that are available for your benefits. And we give you directions to the like needs.

Scott Luton (00:23:30):

I like that element where it is there at your fingertips rather than the hours and hours of searching. Oftentimes what you, you’re not even sure what you’re looking for, but also really like how your team vets, before you add it to the library so that, you know, there there’s, there’s some sort of rubber stamp that, Hey, this is, this has been looked at, we’ve investigated it a bit. We’ve done our due diligence and this is, this is legit. So that, that brings a lot of peace of mind, especially given not just the, I mean, it’s a great thing that there’s 40 plus thousand via sows out there. Right? However, beyond that, we also know there’s, there’s thousands of companies that have different language that they add in the veteran word, and there’s a lot of ambiguity. And before, you know, it folks are doing things that they shouldn’t be doing and, and the veterans that just are looking for help, they’re the ones who get lost in the shuffle. So I really love that element of vets too.

Brian Arrington (00:24:22):

Yeah. And another thing. So right now we started with a very small volunteer force that was helping me during the career fair. Right. So we turned it into a virtual career fair that, that post, we could only manage it for about three months, a case managing 300 veterans at the same time. Remember, we’re all doing this, it’s all volunteer. Right. And we had the XL sheet of prioritizing, you know, um, you know, homeless veterans with a family, uh, homeless veterans, uh, without a family, you know, just going down the list. And

Scott Luton (00:24:57):

I want to ask you about that because, you know, going back to some of the frustrations you felt, um, early, as you were uncovering, you know, via sows and, and, and now it’s kind of fast forward to seeing the list and veterans with families that are homeless. I mean, that really, that, that for me, through some of our service work and, and, and hearing some of those stories and seeing some of the situations and that there’s just not enough help or other reasons that is just such a punch to the gut. How do you, how do you separate that emotional aspect to, to, you know, processing data, getting stuff done and continuing to expand? Yeah,

Brian Arrington (00:25:37):

That’s fair. I’m working on it. Actually. I’m working on one right now. We’ve been doing it for the last few days, but I’ve had to work in a best industry, got tagged in a post two days ago. There’s a Marine in Kennesaw, Georgia right now who, uh, is an extended stay, um, was about to get a, um, we didn’t have the money yesterday to pay for more. And so, um, you know, me and a couple of the other volunteers at the industry coughed up a $250. So they get to stay another week and we’re working on getting them employment of the father because he lost employment due to COVID, uh, in, he got out of 94, also his benefits, uh, you know, he doesn’t have any disability benefits. He’s tried three times and got denied. So I hooked him up with Andrew Vernon and associates, which is another partner organization of Vesta industry that helps with, uh, uh, benefit cases all the way up to Capitol Hill. So we’re working on getting him a permanent place to stay. I would multiple different organizations here in Georgia, but he was having a lot of trouble. So we’re still, we’re still not out of, out of the running for trying to get them help. So if you’re out there and you got some help for him in the Atlanta area, please reach out to me and I’ll give you that information later,

Scott Luton (00:26:59):

Brian has gotta be, you know, we had a family member serve in healthcare and for a portion of her career, she was in the ER. And it was very difficult for her to maintain some sense of, uh, emotional independence and not get too tied to patients that are in tough sets and circumstances. And then you can, and, you know, you can never do enough despite all you’re doing, you know? So that, that’s what I’m most curious about. Obviously you’re emotionally invested in that’s, that’s what I admire about you is a ton of passion that seems to drive the, the action and the real help. Do you ever get to a point where you’ve got to kind of keep moving and, and

Brian Arrington (00:27:35):

Yeah, I know what you’re saying, but you’re asking the guy who asked his wife today, the night that I found this guy, if we can bring him, his wife and his three daughters into our home to sustain our spare bedroom and put two of our kids together in a room. So his 16 year old, 15, seven year old can stay out. And the only reason why we did it was because of Kobe or a seven year old has a heart condition. So I haven’t separated that yet. So I’m probably not the best person to ask. Okay. Alright, fair enough. Fair enough. They literally wanted to bring him home, him and his family at home with, okay.

Scott Luton (00:28:10):

Yeah, I know you can agree. And, and it’s, it is such a, for as much positivity as your story brings, it’s disheartening that we still have all this heavy lift in these folks that we’re just, we’re not the system and all its departments and programs, you name it still leaves folks, um, without means and without a home and stuff. And that so admire the heavy lifting you’re doing. So vets to industry, you’ve spoken a little bit in terms of the founding. You’ve talked a little bit about what it does before we talk about what’s next. Anything else that you want to add to in terms of what it’s doing today?

Brian Arrington (00:28:45):

Yeah. There’s three main things that best industry accomplishes and accomplishes in different ways. So first is the resource library. That’s first and foremost it’s information. That is what we do, where information library of free resources. You don’t have to sign in. There’s a login, it’s free information out there for you. We have 134 volunteers that will help guide and mentor you. So if you go on the website or you send an email to support@bestindustry.com, um, and tell us, you know, get your ETS in sooner and things of that nature, you’ll actually get somebody to help guide you to the right resources and actually get support. And we stay with you for life. So if you’re six months out of the military and you’re in a job and you’re not feeling it because it’s something it’s probably a corporate culture that didn’t match up your values with really well, we help you through all that.

Brian Arrington (00:29:37):

The other thing is we have hopes these networking events that are just phenomenal and I’m, I am biased, but they are still phenomenal call, but that’s to industry for tool networking, circuit events, okay, what, this is a, it brings together recruiters, hiring managers, business leaders, business professionals, with veterans currently serving active guard and reservists their spouses along with, uh, Bluestone gold star, family members, dependent children, all and veteran advocates and veterans service organizations, all in one place where they can learn and they get together and talk about different opportunities that are out there. Um, we have businesses that really get business connections, and it’s amazing some of the things that get paired up and these meet ups every three weeks, the next event is actually September 12th, which I’ll cover a little bit later on in this special comment. You really want to go with the third. And last thing that we offer right now is webinars education webinars that we host with companies to talk about things like resume writing and interviewing techniques, corporate culture, and corporate language versus military language, financial literacy, and financial planning. Uh, we do things like dress for success or, uh, anything that vital and needed. Uh, we can cover and work with a lot of different organizations to do that and pass that information on

Scott Luton (00:31:11):

Love that. Okay. So current state, I think we’ve got identified and I can only imagine what you have up your sleeve, uh, for what’s next. So it really, I mean, what an engine and what a incredible engine built to serve and inform you have today, what’s next for vets to industry

Brian Arrington (00:31:30):

Teaser and Kevin want to give it all out and, and you will find out a lot of this, uh, on our, um, when you come to our networking events. So that’s my, that’s a little piece for that, but we have, we have a newsletter that just started, uh, August 1st. So if you sign up on our website for the newsletter, a lot of the announcements that you’re going to hear are gonna come on there. When you go to the website and you see a find resources now tab, there’s a map. It’s a map of not just the United States for the map of the world. So I have to say about that.

Scott Luton (00:32:03):

Alright, that’s a good teaser. That’s a great teaser. Um, alright, so let’s, let’s shift gears a bit. So we’ve kind of talked about the program behind and the engine behind and, and the why behind bets to industry, but let’s talk about some of these, this army of volunteers, of passionate volunteers that helped make it happen. So, so I know it’s tough to pick. I know you, I think you’ve got 134 folks that help out, which is impressive, and it’s tough to call out just a couple, but who are some of the folks that really here lately, maybe that are really making happen?

Brian Arrington (00:32:33):

Yeah, I’ll definitely drop the, my leadership team. Um, they day to day killing it. Um, so in my HR section got a call out Carmen white, she’s phenomenal. She knows resumes inside and out. Uh, sorry, Carmen. Uh, my research team, Donald borne, he’s phenomenal. He’s the reason why you have 700 resources that are vetted and clear, and he’s just a phenomenal individual. Him and his wife, both volunteer for this industry, John born, uh, then you have warrants wild. Uh, you want to shout out quite a few of the operations team and they have, cause they’re the first contact with the veterans and the military spouses that reach out to us whenever we care for the whole military community, not just to that trans themselves. And I still Lawrence wild, w I L D E Alex Mims, uh, who is actually a currently serving service member at Sheppard air force base. Uh, he’s an amazing individual,

Speaker 4 (00:33:33):

Wichita falls, Texas Shepard. That’s where I went to tech school,

Brian Arrington (00:33:38):

No Academy, uh, instructor. He’s an NCO Academy instructor. So he’s a PME instructor. He doesn’t even retire for nine years and he’s on the medicine team, phenomenal with LinkedIn branding. He’s the guy I sent everyone to for our LinkedIn branding, uh, Sheila Jones, who’s our head of for interviews. Uh, she’s just an amazing executive director with the culinary industry. Then I have a phenomenal team of marketers, uh, led by Charles Butler, a phenomenal, uh, individual. And then we have Rob bounce guard. Who’s also our editor for the newsletter and also in charge of our logistics. So you see the swag I’m wearing. Now, if you all see that this is the new, the new new that just came out this week, uh, it’s a Odie green best industry, uh, shirts. Um, we’re getting the hats and soon. So I, I might be rocking the hat. I was hoping it was kind of today.

Brian Arrington (00:34:34):

That was more on the head tomorrow for the event, but let’s see, uh, we have our coins coming into it as well. Those are going to be on sale and there’s gonna be a special prize in the September 12th for some people with those points to be able to be meeting with them on 12th. Let’s just say that. Uh, and then I have my organizational development team. Uh, it’s really awesome at doing process efficiencies. They don’t like to be called out though. So I’m not going to say the names and my tech support. Uh, Bobby Young was inspired with portal. Uh, if you need a website built, I’m telling you, just look at our website, don’t go anywhere else. It, Bobby chooses phenomenal. It’s B O BBI, Y O U N G with inspired book portal, check out her stuff to blow you away. She’s an air force prior force and she’s single mom and she runs this website design business, and she’s just amazing.

Brian Arrington (00:35:29):

Awesome. And then Wendy went home. It kind of helps me manage all that. And then last but not least, uh, got to, to my special projects team of that Leslie coffee, who is my middle spouse, uh, coordinator and grants, uh, Matthew May for our suicide prevention and intervention team and the key DRA Houston, uh, who works for, uh, on our military sexual trauma. And then Brian Shu is the secretary of the whole organization. So we met her officer. So that, that makes, uh, my, uh, my core team. We do have a couple of mentors that I have to mention that they’re not in the tier leadership roles, but they are by far major leaders and, uh, Bruce Thompson, who is so powerful in the veteran committee that should have space. And if you’re on, if you’re not, I’m better, Ronnie, uh, which is a mentorship app for veterans.

Brian Arrington (00:36:24):

And you don’t pick up the phone and get on that app for better Ronnie and connect with Boosie Thompson and destiny Preet. Um, both of them with that’s industry, they are in the number three and four, um, members of a better variety. Um, the top 10 list and number three, number four, for most calls, they have boosted over 200 and, uh, she just had over 300, Destiny’s like 250 calls. And, um, so you gotta, you gotta hit these people up. The amount of knowledge they have, uh, Eric, the transition hacker Horton, phenomenal individual as well. I got so many, I don’t know how to shrink it.

Scott Luton (00:37:04):

Well, let’s shift gears cause I want to, I want to dive into a little bit more about your transition and kind of some of your background as well as your military service. So let’s talk about your transition for a minute. If you had to pick a couple of things, couple of big learnings, Eureka moments, things that especially others could benefit from what you learned firsthand, what would that be?

Brian Arrington (00:37:25):

Um, so first and foremost is you have to get a mentor. All right. Um, because the only way that you’re going to learn about what it is you need and what your, what your passion is, I Sue a mentor. Um, there’s quite a few ways of getting that. Um, you’re going to get ones that are assigned to you for a long period of time that you’re going to get the ones that’ll help you with informational interviews. And there’s a difference. So first and foremost, I want everybody who’s listening to get on American corporate partners. I is a phenomenal veteran service organization that pairs you up with a fortune 500 company executive something within your industry that you think that you want to do now 10 cause what you think you want to do now is not necessarily what you’re going to end up doing, but, uh, you can choose, you know, if you want a male or female, if you want somebody who’s been in the military or hasn’t, and there’s pros and cons to that, somebody who’s been in the military has less industry experience, but they can speak your language and try to translate it.

Brian Arrington (00:38:26):

Somebody who hasn’t been in the military probably can’t translate your stuff as well, but they can give you a deeper knowledge about corporate culture and corporate language, unless they’ve mentored quite a few people do ACP, and then they could help you with a lot with your civilian language, your military languages, civilian language. Yeah.

Scott Luton (00:38:45):

You’re in body language. I can tell security force is reading my body language. They’re a riot. So speaking of getting a mentor and, uh, from my experience and from talking with a lot of other veterans around their transition, you know, commanders have different approaches differently ways, depends on what your role is and what the squadron, you know, different dynamics. But if folks have leeway, especially when they’re still own terminal leave or still an active duty, maybe moving into their last year, is that when you advise, get a mentor as early as possible, or what’s your

Brian Arrington (00:39:16):

Get a mentor today, if you’re one year in the military, you know, what could happen if you saw, if you signed up for your four year tour, I know many of you out there have seen the people that were even in basic or, or, you know, your training tech school or your AIT who had to get out because of medical issues or administrative or something like that. And they didn’t, they were expecting to stay in 20 years or four years or eight years, and they didn’t expect to get out. So if you start now with your transition journey, learning about the free resources out there, learning and getting a mentor for guidance, um, that’s going to make you so much stronger. It’s going to help you build your network. It’s going to help you identify your positionality. Like Shawntay my friend shot. The hall likes to say, um, because that determines where you are in life and where, where your, your asthma is shooting towards, um, where your asthma is shooting towards not necessarily where you want to go. And if you don’t have the right tools to go there, you know, it could, if you shooting amount at risk, doesn’t mean you have the tools to climb up there. That way you might want to stop to a couple of stores and get what you need before you get to the destination you thought you wanted to be at.

Scott Luton (00:40:35):

Alright, so clearly getting a mentor as early, as, as, as possible as a big one. What else really sticks out from your transition, your lessons learned?

Brian Arrington (00:40:44):

So, um, you want to take advantage of programs out there, like the DOD skilled which program. So if you’re within six months of getting out, um, you’re going to want to, before you’re six months of getting out, you’re going to want to research heavily the department of defense, still Butch program. There’s multiple organizations out there that will help you with the paperwork necessary to do it and guiding you to find companies willing to assist you, uh, hiring our heroes for the fellowship program. You have a higher military shift.org, and then, or you can find a couple of yourself to intern with. It allows you to intern with a company for up to six months, but I suggest only three to four. So the company doesn’t know what they want you. After three to four months, you don’t want to work for that company anyway, and this way you can double dip, meaning collect the money from your, from the military.

Brian Arrington (00:41:33):

At the same time, you’re collecting money from your, your new company at the same time in your last three months, two months in the military, while you’re on your terminal leave. I also Willy expect everybody to get on LinkedIn as early as possible. Um, figure out your, when you figure out your why you want to do something that I suggest, and it’s find your five values, what five values are most important to you? And that’s for me, the five values that were most important to me was diversity and inclusion, integrity. Eco-friendly having a strong military connection and military hiring program and internal hierarchical or internal a military community. And the last was having a strong relationship with the employees treating employees, right, and their customers. And I found that in the company that I work for now, which is Wells Fargo, which is a great transition story in itself, how I got there.

Brian Arrington (00:42:34):

But once you find those five values, then you look for companies that match that. And how do you do that? No matter what city you live in right now, if you get on your computer and you type in, uh, into the search bar company headquarters, in whatever city, wherever state hit enter, you, then get a long list of companies that you, some of them you never even heard of before. And you take that list and then you go through each one of those companies and you read, and you try to find where it has your five values at those companies. And that’s how you’re doing that, that list. And now you have location based on where you wanted to go, and you have the values that match up to your, so you want to make sure that they have at least four or five values.

Brian Arrington (00:43:21):

This is culture fit. So that’s how you narrow down your culture, fit along with location. Then you’ll want to look at, okay, what kind of roles are there? And then that, then you look at what kind of pay is certainly windows down that list. Um, but you want to make sure you do that. So you want me to go into a little bit about my transition story please? Alright. So I started my real transition, um, resources or use of resources after ACP. I started that about August of 2018 at, when I learned about ACP was from obviously Centura, military lions and whatnot had a phenomenal mentor. Brian [inaudible] who was the program manager, or is for the simply brand at Coca Cola. And he’s just an amazing guy. We became so close friends, never served in the military, but he was the son of a veteran. And his grandfather was also a veteran after getting him, uh, then December comes around and I start with hiring our heroes, flip it fellowship program in Atlanta, on new John Phillips, who was a phenomenal individual who wrote the book boots to loafers. That’s right. Yup.

Scott Luton (00:44:35):

And deeds, not words is one of his mantras, which I love mr. Phillips, which he wrote, I guess he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the army. I believe correct with people.

Brian Arrington (00:44:47):

Yeah. A, he looks like Chuck Norris, by the way, that’s where your buddy and I got a haircut. Don’t Matt, the other day. He said, Brian, you need a haircut.

Scott Luton (00:44:58):

Well, you know, he’s got, uh, I’m not gonna get it. Right. But he’s got a new role with the department of the army where

Brian Arrington (00:45:04):

Aide to the secretary of the army. I don’t know if it’s secretary, army, Georgia. So they got, but it’s yeah. It’s something really, really cool. So yeah. Proud of you, John. I started using that, the hiring heroes fellowship program. And through that, I learned what a consultant was. I had never heard of a consultant. And what I wanted to do was be a marketing manager and John, God bless his soul. He said, Brian, you can’t be a marketing manager. I said, Oh yes, I can. I have a master’s in marketing or I have a master’s in management and I like marketing. So I took a class of it in my masters. They said, no, Brian, you can’t be, you can’t be a marketing manager. Yes I can, you know, watch. And so I was really hoping that Coca Cola was going to come to our cohort because they went before us and they hired somebody out of his class.

Brian Arrington (00:45:57):

And unfortunately they didn’t come to our class. So I was so bummed and like, nobody was looking for a marketing guy in my class. And remember I was a military cop. So, you know, nobody, you know, the only thing I knew I didn’t want to do was to be a cop. And at that time, Google came out with their MOS translator. I don’t know if Melody’s 2018, they try it. I tried it out and say, Oh, we support the military one with one of us MOS translator. And what the Google MOS translated told me I could do with all my degrees with like 20 years of military experience, I had 17 years of leadership, but my eight years of communication, five years of destructing was I could be a security guard, a prison guard or a cop. So what’s that what’s, that

Scott Luton (00:46:45):

Was that the experience other folks had a lot of other folks had with that. I remember that came out, know it was long after my transition. Was that kind of how it worked out for a lot of folks?

Brian Arrington (00:46:55):

Yep. All it did was tell you what your job was in the military.

Scott Luton (00:47:01):

It doesn’t illustrate the gap between, you know, veterans and have, and then, and, and the challenge I had to share all their responsibilities and roles and duties. You’re not, you name it with civilians. Google even has a hard enough time. Holy cow. You know?

Brian Arrington (00:47:16):

Yeah. So I mean, like, you know, uh, ask Google for help and they, they spell help. Like, no, I need help HD LP. No, you don’t understand that. So

Scott Luton (00:47:30):

How did you finally, I believe Wells is a very veteran friendly, uh, you and I have a, um, I’m sure I’ve joint colleague, Patrick haddock. That’s part of the Wells team and, and they are great supporters of the community. So how did you finally get connected with the right culture and the right organization and all that?

Brian Arrington (00:47:47):

Yes, that’s funny. So, um, I have, I’ve had, I had my five values, right? And I learned what a consultant was, um, through the hierarchy here is fully fellowship program. And then I went to four block at the same time that I was doing a higher euros or four block is a phenomenal and nationwide nonprofit. Roger Rowley owns the Southeast region. He is the best individual jolly old man. I love him to death. And he’s like another father to me, another one of my mentors. And he said the same thing, John did. I wanted to be a marketing manager, but I didn’t like assaulted. So it’s pretty cool. It’s it? Brian, you can’t be a marketing manager. I said, yes, I can. And why does everyone keep telling me I can’t be a marketing manager. I have a master’s in management and I like marketing.

Brian Arrington (00:48:33):

And he said, no, Brian, you can be a marketing analyst. I said, well, what’s a marketing analyst. He said, go look it up, say, okay. So I went to the Bureau of labor statistics.gov. And I said, no, I can’t be a marketing analyst. I mean, $40,000 a year. I got six kids. I got a wife at home. I don’t know if I’m going to get disability. I was dumb. And I was an Aesics. I took the career, a reserved bonus for, you know, $30,000, which ended up at 22,500 for all those Aesics. Other than what I’m talking about, I feel your pain. So I’m at 40% for the rest of my life at retirement. So I didn’t know, you know, what, what I could do, but I was like, no, I’m not coming in at debt. I had to come in as a marketing manager.

Brian Arrington (00:49:17):

I’m coming to that, that pay I’m coming at like 70,000. He said, no, no, no, you’re not coming in. And Mark analysts, as he’s like, you have no experience as a marketing guy. It’s like, sure, I do. I was on the top three. I did advertising campaigns. You know, I, I got people to come to events and stuff. It’s at Brian. You don’t know anything about analytics. You don’t know anything about the tools that are used. Like you can’t speak the language, like you’re not coming in. And so it was really, it was a kick in the butt that I needed. And my, I did my job market analysis. So I, I said, okay, I’ll become a consultant. I had a great informational interview with a guy named Obama, Dell, uh, Wendy he’s with KPMG and Bama Dell, maybe he was a reservist. He made me understand that while we’re in the military, we actually are consultants, but we just don’t know it.

Brian Arrington (00:50:08):

And for eight years I was on the way inspector teams, consulting and learning and using the domain of process, defining, measuring, analyzing, improving, and controlling by doing what we do every day, finding a problem and fixing it and then, or giving somebody an idea to fix that’s demand. We deal with every day in our, in our office buildings or when we go to other units to help them out. And then I had a mentor, um, two episodes a year named Justin Pearson. So I don’t know how many people out there know Justin Pearson, that Justin Pearson’s as a big known name in this space, both Wells Fargo and veteran community, and Justin had originally worked for, um, victory, uh, which would work with GI jobs. But he had in February, I remember this is what I’m in for block February, 2019. He gets a job with Wells Fargo on their recruitment team as a military source.

Brian Arrington (00:51:04):

And Justin was my mentor and just said, Hey, why don’t you come, come work for Wells Fargo? And I said, I don’t want to be a teller. And he starts cracking up, he’s busting up. And I said, what? He’s like, no, man, not a teller. We have consultants. I said, you do. He’s like, yeah. And then, you know, later on, you know, I’m thinking about it. And if I say to you, what’s the first thing you think about with ups, you know? And I don’t use apply guy, but the first thing that you think about with ups, what’s the first,

Scott Luton (00:51:37):

The Brown trucks and the drivers, right? I mean,

Brian Arrington (00:51:40):

Legendary. And you think about, you know, a big burly guy with short Brown shorts on delivering a package to your door. They don’t want to an office building, you know, you don’t think about the aircraft mechanic on a ups plane or the pilot or the it guys that are in the background or the people fixing the conveyor belt and all that stuff. I was blinded by just seeing the, the front, the front facing the customer facing stuff. And so all I could think about with Wells Fargo with the stagecoach was 1860s bank robberies. I’m serious. That’s why I think that because Wells Fargo is the stagecoach, that’s the logo. And then I started researching Wells Fargo and I’m like, yo, they got all five of my values and I never would have worked for a bank. I had no financial services background. Like why would a bank hire me?

Brian Arrington (00:52:34):

Like, that’s, I’m a cop. You know, why would they hire me and how the heck would I translate my skills? And then the coolest thing happened. I learned that the pony express vote for Wells Fargo and that’s what did it for my nine year old internal self as a kid. And I’m sorry if I lose power because there was a storm, but my nine year old internal self was like, I have to work for the company at the pony express work for all things that got me to want to work for Wells Fargo. It was that. And then the fact that it matched up all wifi values,

Scott Luton (00:53:13):

Who would have thought that the pony express continues to be the gift that keeps on giving, you know, that, that is, that is awesome. Um, all right. So lots of stuff, a ton of, of takeaway there that I think a lot other folks can learn from when it comes to transitioning. And for that matter, I think a lot of folks that aren’t veterans, uh, that I graduated from college, I think there’s some takeaways and what you shared there, especially about not making assumptions based on a little bit, you know, that we all have plenty, I’ve got swaths and swaths of things that I’ve just don’t know that I don’t know. And we’re all of us have some degree of that. So I really appreciate that, that component. So let’s shift gears. We want to cover two, two buckets of your story. Uh, before we, we kinda moved to wrap and one of those, I think I want to reverse, let’s talk about you military first, and then let’s wrap up with kind of like your roots and where you’re from and stuff. So with your military, right, w um, 20 years, one month, 12 days, what, you know, when you think back first off, explain a little bit more about your role in the military, know that security forces, but for some folks that may be completely oblivious in a nutshell, what’d you do?

Brian Arrington (00:54:20):

Alright. So my, when I first got in the military, I came in as a security forces specialist, which is just a fancy word for a military cop. Um, so at the same as like, if the Navy master arms or the army military police MP, so, uh, started off as a gate guard and security guard out on the flight line. Cause we have an air force base. One of the cops guard like, like our, the flight line, all the planes and make sure people don’t go out there. And this is, this is back in 1999 folks. So, you know, phones were still a humongous, uh, things like that. You know,

Scott Luton (00:54:58):

They weren’t quite this big, but they were, they were, they were still pretty big.

Brian Arrington (00:55:03):

Yeah. Yeah, no, not everybody had them. That’s true. I actually have a funny story about that. With, with that, there was a special unit that the security forces had and it’s called security forces. Raven. Now I only expected to come in for four years and it’s kind of, kind of goes into why I joined the military, which kind of goes into my other story. Um, but I joined the Raven program kind of spur of the moment, took the test on a Thursday and ended up in the class on a Friday, taking the PT test for it and made it through a very, very difficult 50% washout rate, uh, for the course. And it was beast mode. That is the waving still is they provide security, uh, downrange, uh, in austere locations where there’s no security or security has been deemed inadequate by the department of defense.

Brian Arrington (00:56:02):

And we go and fly security fields aircraft. So we can be in China one day and two days later, it’d be down in Paraguay of provide security. Then a couple of days later, be in Djibouti or, and, uh, you know, Egypt, whatever, and just be hopping around the world, dropping off supplies and people, personnel, uh, or people, um, property and, and other things that can and cannot be named. So, uh, you know, it was pretty, uh, pretty awesome. I got to travel. I’ve been in 90 countries, five of the seven continents, uh, three humanitarian missions, uh, including, uh, Haiti. One thing that, uh, I guess my most beloved, the most beloved thing that I’ve achieved or received, uh, in the military is the humanitarian medal. And I got that for actions down at Haiti. Um, if you’ve never been on a humanitarian mission, like a true humanitarian mission where people are running for their lives, you’ll, you’ll never know how much that metal means to somebody. So it’s a pretty fun experience.

Scott Luton (00:57:15):

Yeah. Big part big. Uh, it sounds like you still have some, some big memories and take away from your time in Haiti.

Brian Arrington (00:57:22):

Yeah. And then would have power Thailand during the tsunami. In 2004, I was over at, with the palate Thailand for 45 days, uh, doing C CEO on 30 missions in and out of, uh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia, of course, Thailand. Uh, it was just a amazing, you know, getting to see all the destruction and then people leaving with just nothing. I mean, they, they sandals or one sandal, you know, and, you know, the Buddhist monks coming onto a plane for the first time. They never seen one before. And no idea how you put the seatbelts on. So we’re using sign language, arm, enhancing those to try to teach them how to order plane, um, you know, some amazing things that you see. So, um, I grew up part of this is, you know, I grew up in a, a very diverse community. Uh, I’m biracial, my dad’s black, my mom’s white.

Brian Arrington (00:58:22):

Um, they were, uh, they came together during the days of segregation and they had to deal with a lot of, a lot of that issues. Um, and you know, I was fortunate that my dad started working at the United nations. And so I was privileged to be around a lot of people of different races, ethnicities, religious backgrounds, and I got to travel. I went to four different countries by the time I was 10 years old. Wow. Yeah. So I was able to really build up a cross cultural sense when I was younger, um, got to go to Sayers and, um, Baptist churches and just all over, um, you know, about high faith events. And it was just, it was great to be able to explore the different of humanity. There’s always taught about the equality of men or women and, uh, and humanity, and then growing up a lot of those same qualities and social teachings really helped me while I was in the military and especially on the Raven missions, because we’re, we’re landing in places where they’ve never seen much less a plane and they were seeing, you know, somebody that looked like me.

Brian Arrington (00:59:35):

Right. And they weren’t really sure what I look like because there’s not a lot of guys that look like a Puerto Rican and getting off a plane and I’m not even Puerto Rican, you know? So, you know, like what is Egypt so that I could pass the Egyptian when we went to Egypt, you know, and Somalia I could pass, but it was like other places like, you know, when we go to South America, I would pass is Spanish and people would come up to me speaking Spanish, like I don’t speak Spanish. I’ll shock, you know? So it’s very, it was very cool to be able to communicate, even if I couldn’t communicate in their language and not get frustrated

Scott Luton (01:00:13):

To visit all those countries you did before 10 is, is a huge, that offers perspective. Most folks don’t have at least a lot of folks that I grew up with maybe. And then by extension to visit you, did you say 90 countries when you’re in the air force, 99, 99, zero

Brian Arrington (01:00:31):

Comments, I missed all that guy

Scott Luton (01:00:33):

To have that level of, you know, like as you put it, build to explore and experience those different cultures and communities and, and customs and languages that the food, the people, I mean, what a huge, so no wonder going back to your teaser on the front end, and I won’t say anything more, cause I don’t know any more than, than what you shared, where you’ve got a map of the globe featured in the whole world and what all the potential there to help even more people. So let’s talk about one, one thing about one other component of your military service. And then let’s talk more about you, the people you work that you served with and, and there’s, there’s no shortage there when you serve as long as you did. But when you look back a couple of folks, either that worked for you or that you work side by side, or maybe you reported to who are those, those folks that made you better?

Brian Arrington (01:01:19):

Yeah. Too easy. So first, um, I need to need to really shout out and she’s still in my life, which I will. I appreciate it. But she really turned me into the man I am today. She’s my second supervisor, Dawn Roby started lovely. And, um, she actually happens to, we connected about a year and a half ago, the blue, it was great. I found her, found her on LinkedIn and talk about the toughest female to ever could meet like, talk about gig, right? She’s like the black GIJ she’s awesome. And she, we smoke all of us in PT. Like she was, she was like mama there, but she would crush our souls, crush ourselves. And, um, she, uh, she would always, you know, keep us young airman and checking our us baby pups. And, uh, I gained all of my professionalism, all of my what’s right. And what’s wrong really from her. I was a spoiled brat coming in and military and tech school, a Willie to change me, but then really Dawn Roby. She, uh, she turned me into a man. That’s one of them said, I wouldn’t be who and what I am today without her.

Scott Luton (01:02:43):

You connected with her couple of years back, what does she do now?

Brian Arrington (01:02:46):

So she’s a HR professional, but she’s actually out of work right now. She’s looking for opportunities. She’s up in Rhode Island, but she’s looking at moving back down to Atlanta, Atlanta area. Awesome. Love to find her next great opportunity. And I back her 100%. So I would leave my job if it would give her a job for a day. Wow.

Scott Luton (01:03:08):

Powerful testimony there. Anyone else come to mind that really made a huge Mark?

Brian Arrington (01:03:14):

Yeah. So I have two officers, uh, well, three, but I know it’s time limited. So, uh, two officers that really made a big impact on me. It’s hard to pick, but, um, Scott Foley is huge for me. He was my security forces commander at Lackland air force base. Um, talk about a servant leader who really loved the troops so much. I mean, he did everything with us and he would, he, his conviction, his integrity just was beyond words. He’s the best commander I’ve ever worked on her before years in the hands down. Um, matter of fact, I, I just asked him last month, if you would consider to be on my board at best industry. So he said he has a lot of things on his plate, but he’s considering it. So that’s like, like people that I’m actually trying to bring into my organization, uh, you know, that’s two of my people from past Don Robey and Scott fully retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Scott Luton (01:04:19):

Alright. So Colonel Foley, no pressure, but Hey.

Brian Arrington (01:04:24):

Yeah, pretty much like, so I don’t want him under the bridge here now. Um, the third is somebody who I actually am working on trying to get him hired for a role here in Atlanta. But I can’t say with which company right now, I think we got him a very big, big name company, a very senior position, but major general, Robert Roberta, uh, he was the base commander at joint base Lackland or whoever the air force LaFollette. And I ran off. Um, and he was this talk about the energy. You, you all think I have energy. This man would run from one base to another, to do like multiple calls, come commander calls and then do a couple of awards ceremonies, and then still go home and still go to his office, knock out some stuff. And then you’ll be at like 12 o’clock in the morning and you post checks, you know, stuff. This guy never slept. And he just helped the Jews. And he was bringing you to a general at the time, like who does that? You know? Um, and you just an amazing man, but he’s, uh, if he gets this, this role that I’m hoping he gets, he’ll be coming here to Atlanta. So to get them here,

Scott Luton (01:05:50):

Outstanding, the special people, it sounds like, and we’re only scratching the surface. I’d love to maybe next time he come on, we have to dive into more stories behind, uh, your interaction with each of these Dawn Scott and Robert. Alright, so let’s switch gears here. As we start to wrap up, let’s talk more about you and to our listeners, especially if you listen to all of our other podcasts, uh, we got some great feedback from Brian to kind of reverse how we typically do things. And Brian, I think it’s worked that vets to industry. Just like you said, that gets your juices going, especially the, the purposeful impact you’re making on so many folks and making their, their life easier. Um, all right. So let’s talk about you. Um, I know you love to talk about everyone else, uh, that that’s, that’s the heart of a servant leader, but let’s talk about you. Let’s talk about, uh, cause I think you are now, where do you live now?

Brian Arrington (01:06:40):

I live in Dallas, Georgia, which is about 40 minutes West of Atlanta,

Scott Luton (01:06:44):

But that’s not, you are not from there. Right? Where did you grow up?

Brian Arrington (01:06:48):

Uh, so I was born in Mount Kisco, New York, but uh, lived in Katonah New York because of the only hospital around Qatar. That was now Kisco. Yeah, it was a small little Hamlet. Matter of fact, you all know a Martha Stewart. She owns a house in Catona New York. Wow. Yeah. Wow.

Scott Luton (01:07:08):

Wow. That’s some highfalutin neighbors you’re rubbing up bows with.

Brian Arrington (01:07:12):

Well, that’s where I grew up until I was 10. And then when I was nine, then we moved to white Plains, New York. Cause my grandparents, my grandma passed away. She was the last, um, so we got that house. And so I grew up in white Plains, New York, which is about a 40 minute train ride from New York city. So it’s in Westchester County.

Scott Luton (01:07:38):

So what was that? White Plains in New York. What’s it like growing up there? How long were you there?

Brian Arrington (01:07:43):

What was out there? Eight years or nine 98 before I enlisted.

Scott Luton (01:07:47):

So. Alright. So you were kind of already, you were, uh, what in, in grade school and high school,

Brian Arrington (01:07:53):

I guess I had turned 10 right after we moved there. So summer of 89, when you there,

Scott Luton (01:08:03):

When you look, when you think back of your formative years, um, and everyone has a different definition of exactly what those are, when you think of some of your, your most favorite memories, is it from your time growing up in white Plains?

Brian Arrington (01:08:16):

Yeah. Wait plans is, is, is it that’s that’s that’s the beauty time,

Scott Luton (01:08:22):

So, all right. So you gotta give us, uh, your, one of your favorite memories or two grown up in white Plains.

Brian Arrington (01:08:29):

Yeah. So, you know, it’s really about how I grew up because, uh, and I’ll be honest, growing up mix is probably isn’t what you want to hear it, but I’m going to tell you anyway, um, growing up mixed in, in the eighties and early nineties, uh, it was hard because, uh, I didn’t belong to either group. I would be asked a lot, like what, you know, which one do you like better your white side of your black side? Um, I was called, you know, monkey Oreo, or, you know, uh, coffee with cream, you know, all sorts of things. And, but I was, I learned how to become chameleon, uh, which is certainly really good now because I can, you know, I don’t say manipulate, but I can, I can get into different groups and assimilate my vernacular. I can change very quickly, depending on what environment I’m in.

Brian Arrington (01:09:27):

It became strong when I was very young, because when I was in white Plains, I was living in a very affluent area, which is predominantly white and that’s where I went home from school. And then you had the projects where my grandmother lived on my dad’s side, which turns on the other side of the town. Then when I would visit her, my vernacular, how I would walk, I mean, everything would change. And you talking about the hip hop days, nineties. Now the thing is, I didn’t understand hip hop when I was growing up because I didn’t have any of that to listen to it. My dad was into the blues and jazz and my mom was in the classical. So, you know, that the closest I got to hip hop was, uh, when I was 14, I found the, um, boys to men close to me, they got to hip hop, you know?

Brian Arrington (01:10:20):

And so this is the funny thing is I didn’t know the words that they were talking about, you know, uh, and some circles that had to be quiet cause I was trying to learn what they were saying. So I could try to pretend that I knew what was being said. Uh, and then when I go back and forth, like I would play with a lot of the kids from the projects during school, um, at recess. And then when I went home, I would play with all my white friends and it was only one other black kid in the whole neighborhood. Um, then when we played football and basketball together, cause it was a whole other side of it, the areas that, um, but they were my best friends. I’m still best friends with those kids in the suburban neighborhood to this day. Like we still talk all the time, uh, which is awesome. We just don’t get to see each other as much. Yeah. I mean, we could pick up the phone right now and Hey, let’s fly out there. And if I have the money, I just fly right out to they’re all in the same area, Westchester, they’re all in the same area.

Scott Luton (01:11:20):

Um, so given that background and some of the challenges you’ve described and as we, as we fast forward into the current challenging environment where, um, I mean, we worry that we’re all going through now in different waves. I’ve come to really embrace this phrase. I think it’s, um, we’re in different boats, we’re going through the same storm or something like that. I’m I might have a backwards, you know, H how do you reflect back on how you were able to persevere through some, I mean, I I’m ashamed to hear some of those, those experiences you just shared. What are some of your thoughts on what we’re going through now?

Brian Arrington (01:11:56):

So it taught me to be a great mediator. I, I was the one who would bring those groups together. So when the projects in the Suburbans played games together at football after school, I was the one that organized it. I was the one that brought everyone together and that’s still in doing that to this day. So I think that’s, that’s where my strength is. One of the things I like to say is that my superpower is social telekinesis, kidding aside

Scott Luton (01:12:26):

With mediator. I mean, you know, one of the, one of the things that really seems to stand out to me is, is there’s not a healthy dialogue and Don long put it great earlier this week, when he talked about, you know, they’re these polar opposites, there seems to be for some percentage of the population. Absolutely no middle ground. And so there’s no communication, there’s, there’s no empathy. And, and frankly, there’s a lot of hatred and vitriol. And part of it seems to STEM from the fact that folks aren’t sitting down and taking the opportunity to kind of do, even though we’re doing this remotely to connect and learn from each other.

Brian Arrington (01:13:04):

So you didn’t see. So two months ago I did something called voices of hope, where I did an actual, the whole networking event where people can just scream and cry and do whatever I plan to do another one of this summer. Actually, I was going to do one of this, uh, this August, but, uh, just has hasn’t happened yet, but it was voices of hope. It was a town hall, had about 30 people in it. And it was the ability for everybody to come learn from each other, speak about anything that they were upset about, or that they wanted to see change, or just get their perceptions about race and about injustice or justice and, and get that all out. And a lot of people learned a lot from this event. It is about bringing people together, which is one of the strengths that I love because I can, I can help bridge gaps because of the fact that I both black and white have that connection, have that relationship.

Brian Arrington (01:14:05):

And I can be able to feel what people were feeling and give a different perspective than they might have. No, like I had to talk, my dad gave me the talk that most people don’t know what the talk is. Like I had to learn about what to do and please stop me before I even knew how to drive a car, you know? So, and that’s, that’s something that you shouldn’t have it that she exists, you know? Um, so being able to be on that, on that side and, and, and, and relate, and then how you communicate, it’s just like, it’s just like us in the military. How do you communicate your value proposition to civilian terms? Well, how you communicate to somebody who’s white and has a privilege, uh, and doesn’t understand that that is a type of privilege to somebody, you know, that, you know, this black, or how do you, how you communicate solely black, that these white people don’t, you know, they don’t understand why they want reparations things.

Brian Arrington (01:15:08):

Like how do you, how you broach it and how do you help the people who don’t know what to do with their hands right now? Like they don’t know if they see something that they in trouble or not see something they in trouble there, because I understand their perspective too, because I’ve been in that situation too, like I’m mixed and I’m scared to say something right now like that it happens. And, you know, you know, my, my daughter said something the other day when I was playing out, um, PR uh, president Barack Obama, and I was him, you know, some black people on my wall and she said, daddy, you can’t say black people. And I had to explain area she’s a quarter black and explain it and say, no, it’s okay. So, you know, you have to say African American and you’re trying to explain to her, you know, yes, we identify people at certain categories and know that that is necessarily right, but it’s how humans operated always operate. How, you know, as long as you don’t treat that category in a negative light or a certain, right, like, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s understanding how, how you’re communicating, not a negative connotation. I didn’t say connotation there, but that’s, that’s the, you know, the play, the, the, the impact, right.

Scott Luton (01:16:24):

That makes sense to me. And I hate, I hate some of these conversations we have to have. And, and, and some of these conversations that, that when I was growing up, my folks didn’t have to have with me that, that clearly the talk that you referenced I’m had just that, that breaks, breaks your heart. It breaks my heart to hear that. Uh, and, and, and I’ve heard as I’ve, my personal journey have tried to seek first to understand and be empathetic and put ourselves in their shoes, because we don’t have certain experiences it’s back to that. You don’t know what you don’t know. And it is, um, you know, I hope, I hope that we, we’ve got a lot more of, a lot more willingness to lean in and really have Frank transparent, even if they’re going to be uncomfortable, even if they’re going to be, you know, painful conversations, but just having them, we got to start somewhere after all these decades of, you know, uh, this, this tough journey we’ve been on. So I appreciate you sharing those experiences here. Um, I know that that’s going to resonate with our audience and, you know, I really commend your, uh, you said voices of hope,

Brian Arrington (01:17:28):

The town hall I did, and I’m going to try to do them more often. It’s just, it was hard to want to do it in July. It was at networking events and me starting school back up again. It was just too hard to get it on the schedule, but I’m going to, I’m going to try to hit it up in September and do another one in September, and then I’m going to get it out. I’m going to make every effort to do that again, because it needs to happen again.

Scott Luton (01:17:52):

Absolutely. And let us know, you know, we, we’ve tried to have something similar and we, we had a great, uh, panel, uh, Frank panel, kind of the state of race and industry. You know, we’re kind of tackling it from a, as you might imagine, a supply chain standpoint, but had a wonderful Frank learning opportunity, uh, with some of our network colleagues. So with all that said, uh, Brian, what, uh, an incredible conversation here today, what a extraordinary journey that your own, and there’s so much more left to it to come, and you couldn’t let all the cat out of the bag today, but we look forward to staying in touch and having you back on it to update assume so. How can folks connect with you and with bets to industry?

Brian Arrington (01:18:35):

Yeah, so perfect. Um, the easiest way of connecting with me, uh, is on LinkedIn. Uh, so if you go to my profile, uh, it should be www dot LinkedIn, uh, slash I N uh, slash Brian Arrington nine three three, if you can’t put me on there, um, just realize I get like hundreds of notifications that day, and I, I try to answer every single one. Um, but if you reach out to me and you’re at the end up at the bottom of the list, because it’s so way people reach out, I do it by top down. I will get to you, uh, all the guys. And do you want to reach out to best industry, please send an email to support at that’s to industry.com. Also, I want to plug our September 12th event. Uh, it’s going to be sponsored by spectrum cable. Um, there was going to be, it’s going to be in memory of September 11th and all those who died based because of the terrorist attacks. And it’s going to be an honor of all of those. Who’ve fallen due to the global war on terrorism, or we’re going to have a very military theme that actually general, uh, Robert, the Buddha is going to be our keynote speaker for that event. So you don’t want

Scott Luton (01:19:53):

Admire what you’re doing, and we’ll, we’ll try to make those links very easy for folks to connect and, and participate, learn more information, you name it and really admire your deeds, not words, approach to leadership, because that’s what it’s about. Whether you’re doing veteran’s things and helping that community or driving change in some of these other areas that has to happen when it comes to our racial relations and, and, and the heavy lifting that clearly we still have to do there and plenty other aspects of society. So really appreciate the admire your leadership, Brian Arrington, founder, and president of vets to industry. Thanks so much. Thank you. All right. So to our audience, Holy cow, that 90 minutes or so will, you know, really left a Mark with me and I admire so much, and it really appreciate the opportunity to hear Brian’s story and his calling and his mission and the resources that vets to industries offering our veteran community.

Scott Luton (01:20:49):

So, uh, on a much lighter note behalf on behalf of our entire veteran voices team, we encourage you to connect with us. If you like, what you heard today, be sure to find us and subscribe where you get your podcast from. You can find us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and Hey, if you, if you’re listening to this and you’re, you’re a veteran with a story to tell, reach out and we’ll see if we can’t get you booked on a future episode. So on behalf of everything else, our team Scott Luton here wishing our audience something, but the best, Hey, do good. Give forward. Be the change that’s needed. You got all the reasons in the world. And on that note, we’ll see you next time here on veteran voices. Thanks. Goodbye.

Would you rather watch the show in action?  Watch as Scott introduces you to Brian Arrington and Veteran Voices through our YouTube channel.

Brian Arrington, USAF (ret), M.S. is CEO/Founder of VETS2INDUSTRY LLC and Vets2Industry Foundation, Inc. and is a Business Initiatives Consultant with Wells Fargo.  Brian retired July 2019, from the United States Air Force with Robins AFB, GA as his final duty station. His distinguished career led him to deploy to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Qatar and provide humanitarian relief throughout SE Asia during the tsunami, Haiti during the earthquake, and in Turkey supporting refugee evacuations during the Israel-Lebanon Mideast Crisis. Brian’s career has taken him to 90 countries and 5 of the 7 continents.  In his last year of 20-years devoted service to the U.S. Air Force, Brian learned there were over 45,000 Veteran Service Organizations nationwide that provided free services and support to U.S. military families and realized a huge gap existed between available free Veteran, Military Spouse, and dependent children resources and benefits and the knowledge of their existence among our nations heroes and their families.  With this newly discovered knowledge, Brian vowed to eliminate the knowledge gap and ensure the success of every veteran and their families by creating an online library, a free single-site repository of every free Veteran Service Organization to include providing mentorship and information services to each knowledge-seeker.  Since the library’s creation, March 2019, Brian has led VETS2INDUSTRY’s growth by reaching 16,000 veterans and military spouses with over 46,000 page-views and he continues to supply employment opportunity success with the ever-growing grassroots volunteer force of veterans and military spouses he leads.

Brian is married with 6 children, resides in Atlanta, is a Global Goodwill Ambassador (GGA), an active alumnus of Centurion Military Alliance, Hiring our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program, FourBlock, American Corporate Partners, volunteers with VETLANTA, the National Black MBA Association Atlanta Chapter, Minority Veterans of America and is a student veteran leader and student ambassador at Syracuse University where he is currently pursuing his MBA and a concurrent Masters in Entrepreneurship. He holds 2 A.A.S. from the Community College of the Air Force, a B.A. in History, a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security, and a M.S. in Management from Thomas Edison State University and is a certified Georgia State Hostage Negotiator. Learn more about VETS2INDUSTRY here: https://vets2industry.com/

 

Scott W. Luton is the founder & CEO of Supply Chain Now. He has worked extensively in the end-to-end Supply Chain industry for more than 15 years, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Dice and Quality Progress Magazine. Scott was named a 2019 Pro to Know in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Executive and a 2019 “Top 15 Supply Chain & Logistics Experts to Follow” by RateLinx. He founded the 2019 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards and also served on the 2018 Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and holds the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. A Veteran of the United States Air Force, Scott volunteers on the Business Pillar for VETLANTA and has served on the boards for APICS Atlanta and the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance. Follow Scott Luton on Twitter at @ScottWLuton and learn more about Supply Chain Now here: https://supplychainnow.com/

 

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