Nate Boyer & Denver Morris – Merging Vets with Players

In this episode I’m joined by two veterans:  1) Nate Boyer, a US Army veteran and Special Forces soldier followed a path through football, playing for the Texas Longhorns and then a single pre-season game with the Seattle Seahawks, and 2) Denver Morris, a fellow Marine infantry veteran from 2/7 and Program Coordinator for the Los Angeles branch of Merging Vets with Players (MVP).

Nate, along with his co-founder Jay Glazer, started MVP with a mission “designed to address challenges that many combat veterans and professional athletes face when transitioning their service/professional life towards a new mission in their civilian life.”  They do this by challenging its members with group fitness classes and fostering peer-to-peer support among the team.   Denver, MVP’s first success story, joined them very early on and was their first employee.

In the interview we discuss:

  • The loss of identity when leaving the service and getting past it
  • Nate’s belief that anything is possible.
  • Denver’s brush with suicide and journey through homelessness
  • How Denver met Nate and joined the MVP team
  • The successes they’ve both had as well as their favorite success stories coming out of their program

Dan Helmer – From West Point Grad to Congressional Candidate

Our guest today is Army veteran Dan Helmer.  Dan began his Army career at West Point and after receiving his commission was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division, 1st Battalion 68th Armor Regiment, right after they had just invaded Iraq.  A lot of his service story will come up early in the interview so I don’t want to spoil anything, but I do want to highlight that he was instrumental in creating the Counter Insurgency Academy that would then change our strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Dan is now living in Virginia, where he continued his service in the Army reserves, and on top of it all is now running as the democratic candidate for Virginia’s 10th congressional district.

Two topics Dan made sure we hit during his interview were why it’s important for veterans to run for office, and why we need a new set o veteran democrats in congress.

We get to spend a good time listening to his ideas on leadership, problem solving in the military and how it translates elsewhere, and what he’s planning on bringing to congress.

Dan’s Book Recommendation:  Cicero

If you’d like to learn more about Dan’s campaign and or would like to help him our with a campaign contribution, you can do so at

Veteranology 26 – Alex Pedersen, COO at Polco

Today’s guest is Alex Pedersen, an Air Force Academy graduate and veteran who is now the Chief Operating Officer at Polco, a civic engagement and analytics company. Its primary product is a web-based platform for local governments to get input from their communities and then use that data to drive decisions.

Alex and I met at VETCON 2017 in March, where he competed against several other veteran entrepreneurs for $10,000 in funding.  It was his first “official” pitch but he’s be informally promoting Polco for a few years now.

Alex graduated high school in 2004 and driven by the events of 9/11 decided he wanted to serve his country.  After hearing about the Air Force academy from a friend he decided it would be the best place to challenge himself, not just physically but academically as well.  Once he graduated and was pinned a 2nd lieutenant in the Air Force he was accepted to grad school.  He attended Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government where he earned his Masters in Public Policy, focusing on International and Global Affairs.

He spent his operational time in the Air Force deployed to Germany where he acted in an advisory role to the Joint Terminal Attack Controllers stationed there within the US Army.  He later returned to the Air Force Academy as an instructor in Political Science.  It’s here that he meets Nick Mastronardi, a fellow Air Force officer and instructor.  From their discussions while teaching at the academy the groundwork would be laid for developing the idea that turns into Polco.

I’ll let you listen to the rest of his story in the interview.  Some of the main topics we cover are:

  • What it was like to attend and pitch his company at VETCON, a conference specifically for veteran entrepreneurs.
  • The biggest strength he took from the military and applied to his civilian career and entrepreneurship.
  • His decision to leave an amazing career at Google to join in on building a company from the ground up.
  • How Polco educates city officials and helps bridge the divide between constituents and those making policy decisions.
  • Examples of policies the Polco platform has helped cities develop and vote on.
  • Much more…

Links from the show:

The Polco website – find out more, reach out, and try out a demo!

Alex’s book recommendation: Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

Purchase a Veteranology Challenge Coin!

Veteranology on iTunes

Veteranology 025 Pt.2, Duane France

We continue and conclude our interview with retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Duane France, discussing his transition out of the army and into mental health counseling.  In the second half of the interview we dive into:

  • How veterans sometimes hold themselves back by not allowing themselves to make an impact on others’ lives.
  • The cohort of 9/11 veterans, their strengths, and their impact.
  • The irrepressible sense of self tied to being a veteran, and where it fits in among our other ideas of who we are.
  • General Mattis’s mention of “Post-traumatic growth”
  • And much more…

By far though, my favorite portion of part 2 is discussing the importance of finding both meaning and purpose.  These two ideas come together and without one or the other we hamper our feeling of hope.  Duane breaks down the distinction between the two and gives examples of what life is like when you have one, but not the other.

Important Links:

Headspace and Timing Blog

The Family Care Center in Colorado Springs

Torie Fisher – Founder of Backward Flag Brewing

Our guest today is Torie Fisher, a veteran of both the US Army and National Guard.

Torie is now the founder of Backward Flag Brewing, a craft brewery and taproom located in Forked River New Jersey. She started her business nearly 2 year ago with two other partners, and after they both quickly dropped out she carried on and moved forward on her own. Now she has a staff of about 8, made up almost entirely of veteran volunteers who she gives most of the credit to regarding the brewery’s continued success. On top of running the brewery, Torie is currently building a non-profit to run in parallel to her company, with the mission of teaching veterans brewing and business skills while building their professional network.

Discussed in this episode:

The Federal Technician Program, Helping other find purpose, Joining the National Guard after active duty service, the beers on tap, and much more.

Outro Link:

Veteranology #20 – Jeremy Starr

Jeremy Starr always knew he wanted to serve his community and during high school he made the decision to join the ranks of the United States Marines.  He wanted to help in the Global War on Terrorism and ended up serving two tours in Iraq with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, as a mortarman within the Weapons Company.

His active duty service would not be his only call to duty.  After leaving the Marine Corps he decided to pursue a career as a firefighter, eventually starting his career in Milwaukee, his hometown.  Now, he’s recently been promoted to lieutenant of Special Teams, where he trains for urban rescue operations.  On top of that, he’s still serving in the Marine Corps reserves, which he joined two years after leaving the active service.

In this episode Jeremy and I discuss the important of finding your “why,” not just in life, but in your everyday decisions.  We tackle the challenges of feeling like the old guy amongst younger peers, and the loss of the “I’ve got your 6” mentality that is bred into your as a Marine.

Here are some links to important topics we discuss on the show:

The book The Tribe, by Sebastian Junger.

The MEPS Triangle (Mental, Emotional, Physical, Spiritual).  I couldn’t actually find a solid lead on this concept but I did find an amazing speaker, Andrew Wittman, who speaks with retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. John Folchetti about the concept.

The Paddy Brown Program which “provides support and financial assistance to post-9/11 veterans ensuring they have the resources needed to transition into civilian life.”

Looking for top notch t-shirts made specifically for veterans by veterans?  Visit Inkfidel now and get your hands one some great looking and fitting clothing.

Last but not least, if you have a moment, please let me know what you think about the Veteranology podcast!

Nic Gray – Founder & CEO of HyprLoco


In this episode of Veteranology I visit the HyprLoco Global Headquarters here in downtown Denver.  I got to sit down with HyprLoco’s co-founder & CEO Nic Gray.  Nic served in the Army from 2004 to 2007 as a Tanker.  Nic joined the Army halfway through his twenties after a long history of entrepreneurial endeavors starting all the way back when he was 10.  He served a tour in Iraq, was stop-lossed, and after coming back stateside, was quickly back out in the civilian world creating business opportunities. Diligence, research, and networking led him to an “Ahha!” moment shortly after meeting HyprLoco co-founder and CTO Damon Baker, a Marine Corps veteran entrepreneur with his eyes on the changing future marketplace.  They took their combined ideas and founded HyprLoco three years ago.

HyprLoco is an intelligence platform that is currently focused on allowing businesses to treat every one of their customers as a regular.  This is done by providing business intelligence to the companies on customers that have walked through their doors.  This empowers employees and gives them the ability to serve the customer in the best and most efficient way possible.

Also in this episode:

Nic explains how to approach entrepreneurship and what it takes to be successful.

We share advice for military members and veterans on how to have healthy and fulfilling transitions out of the military.

We talk about his first business card he had created when he was 10.


My favorite idea from the episode:

“Military service by far, taught me so much more about leadership, building culture, finding the right people, and not micro-managing then I ever did in college.”

Show Links:


Stop Soldier Suicide

Intro Links:


Don’t forget to use coupon code “Veteranology” at checkout for 10% off your order!

Veteranology survey:

Veteranology #12 – Eric Wright of Vets2PM

Dr. Eric Wright

Dr. Eric Wright

I get on the mic to speak with Dr. Eric Wright, PhD, PMP, and MPM.  Eric is a navy veteran who eats, sleeps, and breathes project management.  He and his partner, retired Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant Tim Dalhouse have created one of the most comprehensive programs for veterans looking to pursue a career leading projects and people in the civilian sector, Vets2PM.

Vets2PM’s mission is to help military veterans become project managers by inspiring them about the incredible value of their military experience to the lucrative field of project management, training them how to manage civilian projects and earn professional certifications, and preparing them to connect with employers who value their experience and expertise.

Logistics, Intelligence, Admin, and…Combat Arms.  If you’ve planned, executed, or briefed missions in the military than you probably have what it takes to get your Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

Links from the show:

Project Activities explanation for the PMI application

Links from the Intro:


Don’t forget to use coupon code Veteranology at checkout for 10% off your order!

Veteranology survey:

Veteranology #11 – David Shandera

Former Navy Corpsman (Greenside) David Shandera and I discuss his transition from the medical side of the military into the civilian medical field.  David lays out his advice for other veterans wanting to do the same.  He also gives specific advice for all veterans leaving the service on how to stay healthy and keep a positive outlook on life outside the military.

We also discuss the challenge and prestige of being a 19 year old Navy Corpsman with the responsibility of keeping all those around you healthy and safe, some of the negative situations that can cause a veteran to want to leave the military, and the initial pitfalls a veteran can face during their first year out of the service.


Show links:


Don’t forget to use coupon code Veteranology at checkout for 10% off your order!

Veteranology survey:

Veteranology #9 – Inkfidel

In this episode I sit down with Pete Bell. Pete Bell is a former Cavalry Scout who served with both the 82nd Airborne Division and 173rd Airborne Brigade. After leaving active duty in 2011 he returned to school completing his degree in Graphic Design with minors in Marketing and Art History. He has designed both the 2013 official Army Ten-Miler race tees and the 2015 IAVA (Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America) Veteran’s Day Parade hoodies. He is the CEO of the military apparel lifestyle brand, Inkfidel, which he founded in 2013. He currently lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife, Tristan and their three children.

Show links:


Don’t forget to use coupon code Veteranology at checkout for 10% off your order!

Veteranology survey: