Why this Military Veteran Turned to Franchising for his Second Act of Service
Storm Guard Franchisee, Jason Gibson, Breaks Down Why Military Veterans Excel in the Franchising Industry
Jason Gibson, a United States Military Veteran turned Storm Guard franchisee, shares his story and the valuable lessons that he learned while in service that have helped him to succeed within the franchise industry. Gibson served in the Marine Corps before returning home and now owns and operates one of the most successful Storm Guard Franchises in the state of Texas.
Since the day that I was born, I have always lived within a military family. My father, uncle, and cousin were all in the military and I knew that I wanted to follow in their footsteps. My first infatuation with the military came in high school where I became obsessed with becoming a pilot. I worked as hard as I could and had the opportunity to attend school at the United States Naval Academy. At the academy, I had the opportunity to spend a few of my summers with the Maries, learning more about their occupational specialties. During my time, I started to resonate with the culture and missions that made the Marines exceptional. I learned more about the occupation and started to make close friends with the people I was working with. This drove me to explore the Marines more intently. I learned that it was possible to become a pilot while in the Marines and decided that this was the path for me. After graduating, I spent my first six months at the Basic School (the initial infantry officer training for Marine officers) and then I went to flight school to learn how to pilot and maintain the cobra helicopter. While I was there, I learned how to provide close air support of ground troops and provide reconnaissance. Shotly after my graduation, I was assigned to my first squadron. We were a high preforming and intelligent unit based just north of San Diego. The lessons that I learned were incredible as you had to be able to think on your feet and be able to work in any situation. I then worked with the First Tank Battalion as one of the pilots on staff, providing liaison for the ground forces. Throughout my nine years in the Marine Corps, I was typically deployed to Okinawa, Japan where I would serve two, six-month deployments. On one occasion, I was deployed to Iraq during the initial invasion of the country. Throughout my time in the military, I learned valuable lessons that are applicable to my life today. Being able to think on your toes and learning while on the job are all things that I had to master to stay alive during my service. Today, I use these skills to help the people closest to me. Once my time in the Military was over, I knew that the skills I learned would be applicable to a future career.
What Led me to Franchising
When I returned to the United States, I thought that I needed to make a change in my life. I had a wife and two young kids at home and I wanted to spend more time with my family. I had always had an interest in investing and finance so I decided to apply to business school. I applied to Harvard Business School on a whim and was ecstatic when I found out I was accepted. My family and I moved to Boston in 2008. While taking classes I had an internship at The Boston Company, an asset management company which is owned by the Bank of New York Mellon. I started right before the market crashed which ended up opening more opportunities for me within the company. I soon became a senior analysist and ended up working for TBC for the next 11 years. While I was there, I worked on a natural resources’ portfolio with another analysist, within the central research team, picking stocks in the basic materials sector. During my time, we were able to grow the resource fund from $25 Million in revenue to $1.3 Billion by the time I left. After spending 11 years in Boston, my family and I wanted to be closer to relatives in Texas. We moved to Austin and I was interested in finding a new growth opportunity. I became interested in franchising after having a conversation with my daughter’s lacrosse coach who was in a similar position. I came out of that conversation with a new-found interest in franchising and decided to research different brands. What intrigued me about franchising, and more specifically Storm Guard, was that I didn’t have to recreate a business model or plan of success because Storm Guard already had a proven model. After my time at TBC, I wanted to franchise a brand that could be recession resilient and be successful in an expanding city like Austin. I did some research and found Storm Guard, an innovative and recession-resilient roofing and construction brand. I fell in love with the company, the culture, and the exceptional service that they provide. Soon after I met with Shane Lynch, President of Storm Guard, to discuss the next steps and ended up opening a Storm Guard location in Austin.
Military Skills Help Veterans Navigate the COVID-19 Pandemic
The skills that I have learned throughout my military service have been incredibly helpful within my new career as a small business owner. I was able to learn valuable leadership, time management, and logistic skills that have helped me to put together a team that I can trust. During the pandemic, we were forced to think on our toes and adapt to the changing world around us. With the skills that I learned; we were able to develop a targeted plan in which we saw continued growth of the brand. Not everything goes according to plan and you must support your team and establish a clear objective that everyone can buy into and get behind.
What Makes Veterans Well-Suited for Franchising
Military veterans are well-suited for franchising because we are all trained to constantly think on our toes and be able to succeed in any environment that we are thrown into. During my time in service, there were instances where you had to make split second decisions that could save your life. Every veteran has that instinct and it can be the difference between running a successful business during a time of uncertainty or going bankrupt. Every service member that I have had the pleasure of meeting is more than qualified to overcome these obstacles. We have learned what it takes to succeed in the harshest conditions through resiliency and strategic planning and can apply these characteristics to the franchising space.
Advice for Military Veterans Looking to Transition into the Franchising Industry
My advice for veterans looking to get involved with the franchising industry would be to do your research and find a brand that resonates with you. One resource that I recommend would be Franchising for Heroes, a newly formed organization with the goal of helping servicemen, women, and first responders find jobs and break into the world of business ownership. Take your exit from the military as a fresh start. You have learned valuable skills and life lessons that can be used in any business venture you choose. Your life experience is unique, use that to your advantage.