Veterans Mean Business!

The veteran community has only grown stronger with the development and progress of veteran owned and operated businesses. These businesses are either founded by veterans, founded with veterans in mind, or are being operated at a senior level by these veterans and offer insight into the leadership and entrepreneurial talent that exists within the veteran community. As these businesses continue to grow, it will mean more opportunities for veterans employment and their families as we know veterans hire veterans.

Greg Coleman, Sworkit

Greg Coleman, a 1995 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a pilot with over 60 combat and combat support missions, together with fellow Wharton MBA classmate, Benjamin Young, founded Nexercise; a technology company that makes the popular Sworkit mobile app with the goal to make the world a significantly healthier place, by creating a long-lasting, generational impact.

The team received notable recognition after appearing on NBC’s Shark Tank and Sworkit has received numerous awards for Best Fitness App of 2018. Coleman serves as the COO of the company and manages execution and business operations.


Eli Crane, Bottle Breacher

Bottle Breacher is one of the fastest growing Veteran Owned and Operated businesses in Arizona. Former Navy SEAL, Eli Crane, and his wife Jen brought to Shark Tank their sole product of the recycled, authentic decommissioned .50 caliber Bottle Breacher, manufactured in a one car garage. Having enticed Sharks’ Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary to invest, today we feature an ever-expanding product line serving customers both domestically and internationally.

Bottle Breacher aims to provide the best handcrafted, personalized man-gifts, groomsman gifts, and corporate/promotional products on the market. With Bottle Breacher’s success, they donated to over 200 non-profits in the last year alone, providing them the opportunity to support Military Veterans, Active Military Personnel, First Responders, Children’s Foundations and various other non-profits.


Renette Dallas, True Pop

Life by Dallas literally popped up in 1999 out of a desire to assist others in obtaining optimum health. It continues to be the mission of Dr. Dallas, founder, CEO, and United States Air Force Veteran. After teaching a fitness class, Dallas recommended the group increase their fiber intake with a popcorn snack, available at a health bookstore. Weeks later, the popcorn snack was discontinued. Dallas took her knowledge in science and nutrition and her experience in fitness training to her kitchen and created a healthier version. She began by selling small quantities in at a bookstore and Dallas Popcorn was an instant hit. A few home air-popping machines in the kitchen quickly expanded to a small commercial machine in the garage followed by two large commercial machines in the basement. She used her architectural and engineering experience to design and get approval for her own food processing center in Landover, MD, where a staff of 3 manufactured Dallas Popcorn for five years.

When Dallas was coined “America’s Fitness Trainer” on local radio and TV it helped garner much-needed exposure for the product in the DMV. With a devoted following, it quickly became a staple in Whole Foods Markets and health food coops. Steadily, Dallas Popcorn expanded direct service delivery (DSD) to other major health food outlets in the DMV including YES Organic, MOMs, and Wegmans, as well as, Costco roadshows. Simultaneously, Life by Dallas expanded to offer naturopathic services, raw food lectures and workshops, 3 books and 1 eBook by Dr. Dallas, solidified a great partnership with the province of Standerton South Africa to offer holistic education while planning a holistic center.

Fast forward to 2018, Dallas Popcorn became “True Pop Popcorn” with sleek film packaging but the same great tasting, nutrient-dense whole grain vegan snack which is non-GMO, air-popped, gluten free, peanut free, tree nut free, preservative free, no artificial flavors, low saturated fats, zero trans fats, and good dietary fiber. The popcorn, the company, and the woman behind it are nothing but the truth.


Abe Kamarck, True Made Foods

Abe was born in Washington, DC and grew up in Virginia, Brooklyn, and Maryland before attending Vanderbilt on an NROTC scholarship. After graduation, he served eight years as a Navy Helicopter pilot, deploying on counter-narcotics missions and for OIF. He spent his last tour in England where Abe earned his MBA from the London Business School and was introduced to impact entrepreneurship. This experience prompted Abe to leave the Navy and start a seven-year adventure in emerging markets as an impact entrepreneur. He spent time in Bulgaria, Ghana, Egypt, and China and even lived with his family in Qatar for three years. A sucker for challenges, Abe worked in difficult environments on “wicked” problems like migrant worker housing and funding startups in the Middle East. Upon returning to the United States, Abe launched True Made Foods; a start-up addressing the issue of sugar content in condiments. His products, which include ketchup, BBQ sauce, and many more sauces are naturally sweetened by vegetables, nutrient dense, and completely plant-based. You can find True Made Foods at Wegman’s, Sprouts, Safeway, Shop Rite, and HyVee markets.


Fred Malek, Thayer Lodging Group

Fred Malek is Founder and Chairman of Thayer Lodging Group, a private equity firm that has acquired over $3 billion of hotel assets and has consistently earned top returns for investors. Thayer recently acquired the largest independent hotel management company in the world, Interstate Hotels, and in addition to its U.S. interests has three hotel related ventures in China. Mr. Malek is also the Founder and Chairman of Thayer Capital Partners, a Washington D.C. based corporate buy out firm.

In addition to his business activities, Mr. Malek is the 2011 Chairman of the Board of Visitors of West Point, Chairman of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring, Chairman of the Republican Governors Association Executive Roundtable, Founder and Board Member of The American Action Network, Founder and Chairman of the American Action Forum, and Chairman of the American Friends of the Czech Republic. He also serves on the Board of Directors of CB Richard Ellis and Dupont Fabros Technologies where he is Lead Director.

In addition to his business career, Mr. Malek has served as an advisor to four U.S. Presidents. He entered government as Deputy Undersecretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. He later became Special Assistant to the President of the United States, and Deputy Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget under Presidents Nixon and Ford. Mr. Malek advised President Reagan as a member of the executive committee of the President’s Council on Cost Control, as a member of the President’s Commission on Private Sector Initiatives, and as a member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. More recently, he served President Bush as Director of the 1988 Republican Convention, as Director of the 1990 Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations, with the lifetime rank of Ambassador, and as Campaign Manager for President Bush during 1992. Mr. Malek served as National Finance Chairman for the 2008 McCain Presidential Campaign and in 2008 was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Mr. Malek is a graduate of West Point and the Harvard Business School, and was an Army Airborne Ranger serving with a Special Forces (Green Beret) team in Viet Nam. He resides with his wife in McLean, Virginia, and is the proud parent of two children and Grandfather of five. Besides family, his passions include biking, hiking, and cross country skiing.


Jack Mook, Jack’s Boxing Gym

Jack Mook is the owner of Jack’s Boxing Gym and is the recipient of the 2018 Pittsburgh Vetrepreneur Award. Mook, who is a retired detective with the Pittsburgh Police, launched his full-service and family-run fitness facility in December 2016 outside of Pittsburgh, PA. In the first year of business, the gym acquired more than 200 members. Mook also volunteers as a coach at Steel City Boxing, which aims to provide youth with a structured and safe environment to practice the sport of amateur boxing.

Years ago, while still on the police force, Mook met young brothers Josh and Jessee Lyle at Steel City Boxing in Spring Hill, where he volunteered as a trainer. After becoming concerned about their home environment, he became the boys’ foster parent in 2012. By September 2014, the boys officially became Mooks.

Mook served in the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army from 1988-1992 and spent nine months in Iraq during the Gulf War.


Ryan Hogan, Hunt-A-Killer

Ryan Hogan is the co-founder and CEO of Hunt A Killer. Hogan is an entrepreneur with a career-long dedication to finding ways to merge fictional storytelling with real-life experiences through event activations, responsive membership boxes, obstacle racing, film and premium content platforms.

Hogan manages all growth and marketing initiatives for Hunt A Killer and takes the lead in listening to its community to deliver unexpected scares through innovative mediums. Prior to and in conjunction with pioneering the interactive entertainment industry and building a multi-million dollar organization within its first year of business, Hogan served in the U.S. Navy for 15 years and is now a Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve. Hogan’s entrepreneurial and event contributions have been recognized by top news publications such as BizBash, 2013 Event Innovators, and The Baltimore Sun, 10 People To Watch Under 30, among others.