Brian Searcy, Founder and CEO of Paratus Group, joins the show to share a bit of his military background and journey and details for us his post-military business exploits. Brian shares his challenges, wins, and big areas of growth over the last several years. A very informative and insightful conversation!


Aaron Spatz  00:00

You’re watching America’s Entrepreneur on Youtube. Welcome to the show. I’m your host, Aaron Spatz. And each week we interview entrepreneurs, industry experts, and other high achievers as a detail their personal and professional journeys. Before we jump in, hit the subscribe button and be sure to hit the bell icon so you’re notified every time we release a new episode. Thanks so much for tuning into America’s entrepreneur. I’m so excited that you’re joining me for yet another weekend. Another exciting episode. So we’re gonna dive right into today’s show, I just want to thank you in advance for subscribing for sharing just some of these impactful episodes. And again, I know I know, I’ve said it several times. But I’ve used a lot of these conversations as introductions as conversation starters for folks. And I’ve had I’ve had other people reach out to me, told me the exact same thing like Hey, I use this interview with so and so as a launchpad for a great conversation, a great discussion around any any number of business items. And so I would encourage you to do the same. So anyway, we’re gonna dive right right into it. I’m excited to welcome a good friend to the show, Brian Searcy. Brian is a retired US Air Force colonel, he spent a career inside of the United States Air Force. And since then he’s he’s been on a really cool journey of just different business opportunities, different ventures, whether it is lantern, Inc, whether it is being the chairman of the board for us Africa, Chamber of Commerce, or to his most recent venture as the president of Paratus. Group I’m excited to and I’m honored call him friend, but I’m excited to, to introduce him to you and explore some really fun conversations. So Brian knows well, welcome you, man. Thanks so much for being here.

Brian Searcy  01:34

Aaron, thanks for having me. And it was great seeing you at the celebrity softball tournament, we hadn’t seen or talk to each other for quite a while. So it was great to reconnect. And you

Aaron Spatz  01:43

know, and that was a great venue to to reconnect. That was quite that was quite the event. And for those that are wondering what we’re talking about, there is a there is an event that happened here in the Dallas Fort Worth area at the Rangers new new ballpark. And it was a it was a fundraising event for charity for Folds of Honor and veterans for child rescue, we raised $10,000 each for each of those organizations to bring awareness to their cause and what they’re doing. And it featured a veterans game on the front end, and then it and then it featured a celebrity game. And we had some just amazing people there. And it was it was a lot of fun. And I don’t think anybody got injured, which is great.

Brian Searcy  02:21

Yeah, nobody got injured. And I was actually watching the celebrity game prior to the All Star game. And the biggest difference that I saw wasn’t necessarily the level of celebrities, but this the veterans and the celebrities that were part of what we were involved with. They were athletes and they could actually play softball it was it was very interesting to watch.

Aaron Spatz  02:42

Yeah, there there is. There’s some fun plays, there’s, there’s there’s a there’s a lot of fun things I’m hoping if the if the event happens again next year that we can just continue to drive awareness. So again, if you’re watching or listening to this, and you live in the Dallas Fort Worth area, or you’re interested in sponsoring, or you simply just want to gift tickets to folks that you mean no, in this in this large in this large Metroplex of, of the cities here, it’d be it’ll be about it’ll be June of next year, assuming it happens again. So anyway, be be on lookout for that you can stay tuned. I’ll probably send that out in a newsletter at some point in the future. But, uh, Brian, let’s let’s, let’s visit your story. Let’s talk a little bit about your, your journey, your background. So you’re you’re a military guy. I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for for fellow military veterans, you’ve made a career of the Air Force, but kind of take us a little bit back to kind of where it all started. What inspired you to join the military and then give us a little bit of sense. Again, we got a mixed audience here of veteran, a non veteran, so give us a little bit of a sense of what you did while you were in the Air Force.

Brian Searcy  03:47

Yeah. Thanks, Aaron. So when I was getting ready to go to college, I actually considered going to the Air Force Academy and was in the process of the application getting the congressional sponsorships was moving fairly well along and my mom noticed that I was squinting at the TV. So she took me to have my eyes checked and found out that I, I had a stigmatism and at that time, and late 19, or the late 1970s, early 1980s, if you went to the Air Force Academy, and you had any kind of AI problem, the chances of you actually being a pilot were zero and I was that’s the only thing I wanted to do. So I ended up going to college in Wisconsin. Got a job with SC Johnson Johnson wax did that for about 18 months, but realized after about those 18 months that sales wasn’t for me and I got the bug again to serve my country. So I went to recruiter, I took all the tests and I told the recruiter I want to fly. If I can go to nab school, I will you know, gladly join the Air Force. And that’s what ended up happening. Went to officer training school down in San Antonio went to major force base out in California. And it was it was to be you know, just blunt without patting myself on the back it that was something I was meant to do. I graduated number one of my class and then spent 23 years flying, commanding and an overseas a lot of my time overseas supporting most of the conflicts that we were involved in from 1987. Till I retired in 2010.

Aaron Spatz  05:12

Let’s say you served in a busy era, right there was like there’s there’s those dark years between Vietnam and Persian Gulf. And there’s, I mean, there’s some stuff going down in South America, but and then, other than that, it was really cold war minded. And so once once the Gulf War started, man, it’s like, haven’t looked back since?

Brian Searcy  05:32

Well, absolutely. When I came in, in the in the late 1980s. The riff wasn’t placed. Basically, that means they were they were asking people to retire. And because I had just come in, I didn’t have to worry about but like you said, two years after that. We had the the first Gulf War, and from that time on, that has not been a problem.

Aaron Spatz  05:54

That’s crazy. That’s crazy. Yeah. So again, so so so for those that don’t, don’t understand the military world as much as they can give us give us a just a quick tour of like, you know, what, what kind of aircraft for you with what did you do? Like, what, what levels of responsibility did you have before you before we punched up?

Brian Searcy  06:10

You bet. So graduating in pretty high school, like I said, I had my first choice. And I could have gone fighters, I could have done a number of things. But I chose AWACS. It was a mission that I had really researched, really liked, traveled around the world. Still got to do that. But in different ways, because like we just talked about we went to war not too long after I after I got a whack. So I went to Tinker Air Force Base, who AWACS did that for about four years. From there, I went down to Melbourne, Florida, where I was part of the initial cod re to fly the J stars. So I worked for a detachment that all of the training manual development for J stars which meant I had to become proficient in the airplane fly the airplane become an instructor in the airplane. But it also turned out that while I was in J stars down in Melbourne, Florida, the Bosnian wars kicked off, so we got to spend two Christmases in Europe, Flying J star supporting that conflict. From there. I was part of the initial cadre that moved the J stars test assets to Robins Air Force Base, where they started the first j star wing, we were a blended wing. So we were guard and active duty at the same time. Okay. And that’s important, because that’ll come back up in a little bit. Okay. From there, I went to school. After school, I went and had my first assignment at the Pentagon, worked in SAF AQ AI. So I had a good opportunity to learn acquisition, and all the things that happened on on that side of the fence and had an opportunity to be the executor general officer, and that was probably one of the best and most rewarding assignments that I ever had. I learned more listening to him and watching his interaction, both with the leadership perspectives of an Air Force officer. But in a QA we were we did a lot of things over in NATO and spent a lot of time in Brussels. So watching him interact at as on the political level with our our fellow allies was very, very rewarding and very, very eye opening. From there, I went to school again, then I went back to J stars was a Assistant Director of Operations then was the do when we deployed for the second Gulf War. From there, I went to school again, then back to the Pentagon, and I worked again for the the general officer that I was an exec for at the time, he was a, he was a one star. He was a three star when I worked for him the second time, and he was the director for the Missile Defense Agency only spent a year at the Pentagon that time, headed back to Robins Air Force Base. I was the deputy OG which was this gets into the guard thing. So guard has a totally different chain of command than the active duty does. So the guard had it up had a group commander and I was the deputy group commander, but I was also the active duty ops group commander, say for all of the active duty so we both were on what’s called G Series orders, which means we have the authority over the the airmen that that you know, fly in our organization. And then I was promoted from there to be the vice Wing Commander slash active duty Wing Commander. So I went from OG to Wing Commander and that’s when I where I retired in 2010. Wow.

Aaron Spatz  09:31

Wow, that’s, that’s awesome. And just you know, thank you from one military professional to another thanks. Thanks for your, for your many years of service. So it’s a that’s that’s quite fantastic. And for those that are like wondering, what what is a wax once J stars so just think again, I’m going to put it like really just really generic I mean, this is you’re talking to a marine Ground Combat Element guy, so I don’t I don’t speak aviation as well. But think of like a like a 747 looking looking at craft is designed to either offer command and control, whether it’s surveillance, any any number of other types of things. Obviously, Brian, you could talk laps around me on this. But, but that, but that’s kind of the general idea of those of those platforms is to help gain information, relay information, any number of functions. So if there’s anything you want to add to that, Brian, you can say a lot bear with me,

Brian Searcy  10:23

we’ll just add it. And that was, that was great, probably with a wax, probably most of the listeners might have seen one of those. That’s the one with a big with the big black dome on the top. And that radar is designed to have airborne command and control. Like you just said, the J stars has a 24 foot canoe that’s under the under the fuselage, basically starting at the forward right aft of the forward nose gear going back for 24 feet, and its responsibility is to track ground targets. So there’s a major interaction with ground elements with J stars.

Aaron Spatz  10:55

I gotcha. Okay. Yeah. So thinking AWACS more of like, air and command control, and you got J stars more ground?

Brian Searcy  11:02

Yeah, exactly.

Aaron Spatz  11:03

That’s cool. Super cool. All right. So then, so let’s let’s talk about then your your, your transition out, you’ve made that you made the decision to retire and and then kind of take us through a little bit of the a little bit the entrepreneurial journey, or, or was it a did you dive into the corporate road first? Or have you kind of done both? What’s that? What does that look like for you?

Brian Searcy  11:23

Yeah, so when I retired, I did what a lot of retired seniors, senior officers do. And I went and I did go work for a defense contractor here in Texas, did that for about 18 months, but it was my wife that pointed out when I was unhappy after about 18 months, he goes, didn’t you try sales before you entered the Air Force? And I said, Yes. She said, Did you like it? I said, No. She said, Well, what made you think that business development and as you would like business development and sales, you know, 23 years later, so she kind of hit the nail on the head. So after that 18 months, I got together with a group of guys you mentored mentioned Hunter Wimberly group, we started putting together algorithms to help with how to help put technology onto our border, in a smart, holistic way. And unfortunately, politics is a big part of that it really didn’t go anywhere after a couple years. You know, we gave it a good try. For from there. You mentioned lantern ink, that’s the commercial apparel screen printing company that my wife actually founded in our garage. About that time, then she was really starting to expand. So I went in and worked with her to put a business plan together, we actually bought an existing company, tripled the size of the company added went from one employee to 10 employees. And she is doing fantastic with that today. She’s running that all on her own. I did that for a few years. And then when, where you and I first met got involved with a gentleman named Mark Stratton for two found Main Street pilot, we both had a desire to try and solve the problem that’s going on in our society today that where most people unfortunately don’t have personal skills. And it’s a big problem, as you were aware, because you weren’t, like I said, You were part of it for a little while. We were doing a lot of work had a lot of things going and then Mark ended up dying. And when that happened, that pretty much ended Main Street pilot. But right about the same time, I was asked to get involved with about 13 or 14 other former military law enforcement to look at the school shooting and active shooting issues that are going on our country today. There were a couple of days we I was invited up to Connecticut and we got behind closed doors and looked at how do we solve the problem. One of the key things that came out of that was that trying to tell people what to do with an active shooter is way too late. What we really need to do is to be proactive and figure out how you stop those events from happening. And that ended up turning into what what is now the product group. But came back from Connecticut with a with a few other guys, we put together a group that really was at the time focusing on that active shooter, how do we go in and do assessments for schools, churches, businesses, help them with a holistic approach. Give them the training that they need for an active shooter and we changed and how many companies did it where they’ll give a short active shooter training after about a two hour presentation, we’d give about an hour presentation, the new four hours of active shooter escalating scenario, so people really learn what stress is all about. And put them through many, many different scenarios instead of one because one of the things we realize behind closed doors in Connecticut is that you really have no idea what the scenario is going to be. So trying to tell somebody what to do in a specific situation is really setting them up for failure. Yeah. I then put together a training program based on my background in the Air Force to provide micro elearning to be able to prevent active shooter events so they were committed In the the assessments the actually active shooter response with how do you develop situational awareness so that you can prevent things from happening. The Secret Service, the FBI both say that over 93% of all active shooting events can be prevented because the shooter goes through a process of depression, anxiety, but potential suicide, there’s a whole host of things that happen, there’s a lot of things that they say that they portray, in their in their behavior and their activity that if people could see those things, we could do something about it. But most people don’t see it because people don’t have situational awareness today. got excited about that, the guys really just wanted to focus on the active shooter stuff. So I founded the product group late in 2019. Again, the focus was on situation awareness training, we are a we are a boutique company where we’ll do the other pieces as well. But I really won’t go into a church, a school of business, and to provide them any of that other information unless they learn situation awareness, because what we found is you can provide technology, you can provide other training, but if it’s not empowered by people, knowing what’s going on around them, and having their own situation awareness, habits and behaviors, to know what to do, all of that great technology doesn’t do anything. And then I realize, right before the pandemic started was, I’m focusing on active shooter. But there are dozens of other threats that are out there that we face every single day, you’ve got cyber, which we’ve seen hit us big time here recently, sexual harassment, bullying, sexting, human trafficking, that love some of that turns into suicide, we have high rates of depression, anxiety going on in our, in our society today. And situation awareness, the learning of that, along with the 10 critical skills that we teach goes a long way to prepare in people not or how to deal with all of those things that are going on. And then by default, when you learn situation, awareness in the process we teach, you actually learn how to respond. So we came to the conclusion that we’ve been doing it backwards for 53 years trying to tell people how to how to respond, when if we tell them how to prevent things from happening, by default, they’ll learn what they’re able to do in a stressful situation.

Aaron Spatz  17:13

Well, because like, what you’re doing is you’re helping people, like you said a minute ago, with the escalating situations, you’re, you’re slowly kind of ratcheting up the tension and the pressure and it’s, it’s forcing people to kind of think through the weather. And like the one thing you said to really got me thinking, the whole idea of situational awareness, it’s like, you’ve probably you’ve been in the store before, and you’ve seen, like out in the parking lot, right? I’ve just somebody who’s just completely clueless got their nose down in their phone. And if somebody was to roll up on them and try to snatch them, I mean, they they’d be completely helpless. Versus like, you know, let’s say, let’s, let’s, let’s just for the sake of just an example, right? It’s like, you got a young lady with some kids with her at a store. And she’s got her situational awareness up, and she’s got like, her keys and her hand ready, ready to stab somebody and keeping an eye on just all the different factors. I mean, there’s a, there’s a huge difference in the way that those two individuals are ready to respond. And what could possibly be a life changing moment, right?

Brian Searcy  18:19

Well, absolutely. A couple things to follow up to that. First off, situation, awareness is a God given gift, we all actually have it, that hair on the back of the neck of that gut feeling. The problem is, and this is not, this is not the product group. And this is not Brian Searcy, but the Harvard Business Review, two years ago, did a study where they found that less than one in seven people today actually have situational awareness. That’s how bad that has gotten over the last 53 years. And without situation, awareness, you can’t, and you and you can’t take advantage of that God given gift because you don’t know what it is. Even if you know what it is you don’t trust it. You’re unaware of what the threats are. But then even more importantly, you haven’t thought about what you’re going to do. You know, from your time in the mill in the Marines and my time in the Air Force, we’ve drilled and practiced over and over again, so we had muscle memory. It’s also your lizard brain, that part of your your brain that you go to under stress. That’s what has to be developed. So that’s why we came up with a process based off the military’s OODA loop. So that on a regular basis, you’re thinking about and analyzing what’s going on around you, so that you can make sure that you’re you are in that prepared state. We teach Lieutenant Colonel Cooper’s situational awareness colors, because that is that escalated level of preparedness that’s listening to, you know what’s going on, you’re in your body when you do get that hair on the back of the neck. You know, most people don’t know that if your heartbeat gets above about 115 beats per minute, you start to lose your fine motor skills. You know, so if you go from zero to 110 seconds, and your heart rate goes way up, that’s why people get tunnel vision. That’s why people freeze and they panic. To your point, when you learn how to pay attention to, to what’s going on around you into to trust those sensations that you get, or trust those things that you see, you escalate your preparedness, and then you take action, preferably to prevent something from happening, and not letting it get to a point where somebody is going to be a victim. Exactly, right.

Aaron Spatz  20:20

Yeah, that’s huge. That’s huge. What let’s let’s shift gears into a little bit more macro level of just just the entrepreneurial experience. And so kind of walk us through then the, the journey that’s been on, like, what what have been some of the big learning some of the big challenges that you’ve had to overcome just to just in the, in the multiple, iterative process that that’s been for you.

Brian Searcy  20:43

This may be something that a lot of your people say, but I failed, obviously, a lot more than I’ve succeeded. But that’s positive. I actually, when I was talking about general brain when I was the exact that’s one of the key things he talked about is, it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s not okay to commit crimes. But when you make a mistake, you own up for it, you you fix it, and then you move on, and in the entrepreneurial work that has been going on. And, you know, for me since, I guess, 2003 ish, 2004. That’s been one of the big things, a lot of times, it’s two steps forward, one step back. But hard work is what makes is what pays the dividend. And also, you know, if you are convinced that what you’re doing is valuable. And I mean, it’s good to have validation from other people. But for me, and I think I mentioned it, my wife had been hit the nail on the head, I needed a mission, I needed something that was going to be the mission that I wanted to, you know, get up for every single day. And you know, making our communities safe is that mission for me now. With Hunter Wimberley it was probably more of a business. That may be one of the reasons why it didn’t take off. It could but I think a big part of it, though, was the who was in office at the time and the climate, and those types of things that were going on, because we did talk to a number of sheriffs on the southern border that were excited. But then there was nobody that was willing to pay for it. That’s a problem that happens a lot with entrepreneurs. Right. Mainstreet pilot, again, with Mark, we were extremely excited about what we were doing. We coined the term compass of right, we were, you know, marching along, getting ready to, to do some great things, and then that that, hey, that changed. The other thing that I’ve gone through a few times is trying to raise money. And that can be very, very difficult sometimes, especially if you’re the only one that’s passionate about it. With the project group, I did not go out for to look for any seed money or anything like that we’re doing it, we were fortunate to get some early clients. And that has allowed us to take advantage of some technology in our learning for our learning management system. We’re just using a third party for that. And that’s the other reason I think that we didn’t have to spend a lot of money with the product group is we are taking advantage of third party pieces out there. Ultimately, our goal is we do want to have our own learning management system, we want to build it ourselves or merge with somebody that has a really cool one. Yeah, and there, there are a few ones out there. But we have a very good learning management system so that we can we can get our micro elearning platform out there and allow for that development are the habits and the behaviors.

Aaron Spatz  23:25

Oh, that’s Yeah, that’s great. Well, you know, there’s, there’s a thing that you said a minute ago, and I think it’s important to kind of sit there and we’ll talk about this for a second because I think this is a another area this is an area that’s near and dear to my heart because I’ve I’ve struggled with the idea of sales previously, I’ve I’ve kind of overcome that, by the one thing that you just said, and it’s the belief in what it is you’re doing that it’s actually making a difference that there’s a there’s a tangible output now, it’s it’s not like if you’re going to sell something that you don’t, that doesn’t have benefit, like of course just about everything we sell is going to have some type of benefit might couple exceptions out there. But when you when you really can internalize it and you believe it and you see not just that but you see the impact, like quality of life or quality of business impact or you know, saving lives or in your case making community safer. It adds a whole nother level to that belief factor that you’re holding on to and so that comes through when you’re quote unquote selling to people because you’re not really selling to people at that point and there’s a there’s a gentleman that I stay connected with incredibly wise on this topic, Bob Berg, I’ve had him on the show he’s written a number of books on, on on selling and everything else but but when you but when you are out there giving to people and there’s this there’s this value exchange, right, there’s this there’s this thing that you’re doing that you know that is making a tremendous difference in the lives of people. And so you’re not really selling you’re just looking for opportunities to help people. Right and I know it’s a little bit of work Smith three, but that really makes a difference.

Brian Searcy  25:03

No, I agree with you 100%. And one of the key things that you, you said that really hit on everything that we were talking about is, you know, I said when I went to work for Johnson wax, and then when I went to work for the defense contractor, it was sales, I was selling a product, I wasn’t passionate about it, even though it was something that was very, very valuable. Now, I don’t think I’m doing sales, I never think of myself as I’m actually doing sales, because I’m so passionate about it. Sometimes too passionate about it. Many, many people would tell you that, but I never feel like I’m selling. You know, I’m talking about what this is. And, and that is probably we’re talking about struggles. That is one of the things that are that that one, but education. And changing the paradigm that is out there is probably one of the biggest things that I am focused on right now. Traditional training, a one hour seminar or a two hour class is what everybody does to throw out to try to try and solve problems. And that’s can’t go on anymore. We have to get out of that traditional mode where we’re allowing for the development of habits and behaviors and taking advantage of the development of processes to make a difference. And that is one of my big struggles, because businesses all for 53 years, I’ve just been doing that traditional type training. So we’re working hard on that. But that is probably one of the big struggles right now. But yeah, I agree with you, 100%. And just my personal experience in those two opportunities when I was in a real sales job. You know, that’s why I didn’t like it. There are setbacks today. There are times when I think I’m going to close a deal with somebody, there’s times when I’ve decided to do it for free. My wife will say I’m doing that way too often. But there’s a method to that madness as well. Sure. And and that’s where we’re making the headway.

Aaron Spatz  26:56

Yeah. Yeah. And doing things for free or heavily discounted sometimes can help just build up that case study. A case study catalog. Right. So there’s, yeah, there’s there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, that’s a that’s a very wise way to kind of get get some type of track record out there. So yeah, the so there’s nothing you said. And I again, I’m not I’m not picking at you, I think I think you’re just you’re opening up a really awesome point that I think a lot of people can I learn from because you’ve learned this as you’ve gone through it, but how do you? How do you not allow like the over passion to come through and like scare people off or coming on too strong? Like, like, what have been some things that you do to help to help you not do that? Like, I don’t know if it would be scaring people away? Or you’re coming on to too strong? If it’s a deal, because you’re, obviously, we do the things we do because we’re passionate we love what we do we believe the impact we’re doing. So how have you balanced that?

Brian Searcy  27:55

Yeah, so when you met me in Main Street pilot, I wasn’t very good at that I was way too passionate, and I and I would be overbearing, that was one of the things Mark was trying to help me with Mark Stratton was a lifelong salesperson sales guy. And so he taught me a few things. It’s interesting, one of the key are the number one personal skill that we teach at the product group in our situation, awareness training is active listening. And Mark as well as a few other mentors I have in this other group that I’m in, have really helped me work on asking questions and listening, and then finding where the impact can, what their need is, what is their problem, and then take my passion. Once I’ve asked all those questions, turn it around, and then solve their problem. So instead of just going off and talking about all the great things that situation awareness does, and the product group does, listen, first, have some questions that you’re going to ask, listen, and from their conversation, ask some further clarifying questions to get to what it is that they need. Because, you know, if you’re going b2b, to business to business, especially with my product, because we tailor it for every company, because every company is different, I now am forced to have to listen to what is important to that Vice President or that President that’s over safety, or HR, and find out what their pain points are, and then apply how we can we can, you know, really help with that. We help with a much bigger, broader area than that, but finding out what their pain point is what is important. I’m probably at about an 85% success rate where I actually do that now. So I still catch myself getting way too excited sometimes. But I’m okay with that.

Aaron Spatz  29:45

Yeah, that’s, you know, that, that I’ve, I’ve, I’ve relayed this to some people that have asked me questions personally about some of this. And I’m like, you know, it’s it’s growth, right. Like if I look back on where I was a year ago, what would I assess my performance in this one area to be, uh, you know, it’d be like, you know, maybe a five out of 10. This year, maybe it’s a seven or an eight out of the year. Right? So it’s like, it’s growth. It’s, it’s, it’s progress, know that that’s really needed. And I know what you’re talking about, because there are, there are people that that I have in my in that I consider mentors of mine. And it’s funny because you’re, you’re saying the same thing. And I noticed it’s this. It’s the certain type of person. And they’re like, the ultimate connectors, they know everybody, and they just kind of are able to, like Ninja their way through conversations. And they, and they have such a selfless way of interacting with people. And I’m like, Man, I need to be more like that. Because they just they look like they’re loving life and living in the moment and enjoying themselves, but they still somehow managed to get it done. And I’m like, Dude, I don’t know how you’d pull that off. But man, I’ve got I’ve got to figure out a way to bottle that I need to get some of those people on on the show as well. But yeah, it’s it’s neat, because I guess I’m just I can relate to you in that, because I’ve had a similar I’ve had a similar experience.

Brian Searcy  31:01

Well, I’m not that connector. Yeah, you and I do know, a number of we have a number of those people in common. And I, I would really like to get under their wing, I would love to follow a couple those guys around just for a week. And really pay attention to how they do it. Because we see them when they’re out. You know, shaking hands and all that kind of stuff. I want to see how the sausage is made. Exactly. So

Aaron Spatz  31:25

it’s like, what are you doing in the office? Or like, what do you do? Like, what like, what are you doing? Like, it’s like, yeah, man, I’m right. There I am. I am right there with you. For sure. For sure. The so Alright, so we’ve talked a little bit about about growth, about some challenges. And maybe maybe we can come back to that if we have time. Maybe additional points there. But what like, what are some of the things that you’re like you’re the most proud of? It could be it could be an accomplishment? It could be personal growth? It could be I mean, any number of things like what’s what’s been something that you’d point to that you like, you know what, I’m really happy with the way that that turned out that maybe? Or maybe that turned out better than I thought it would?

Brian Searcy  32:03

Yeah, so with the product group. What I’m most proud is some of the not some of is actually the results that we’re seeing both with our active programs and some of the proof of concepts that we’re doing out there. At the end of last year, we did some analytics with some of the schools that we had, and the results about how much more situational were almost 87% of the people that were taking the course felt, and that’s a big part of their ability to be prepared and, and live life situationally aware and, and knowing what’s going on. Almost 50% of them were not only had made themselves more situationally aware, but they were teaching it to their spouses, and they were teaching it to their kids. So that’s expanding the reach. And I think that’s just amazing. And then there was a almost 20% Not quite 20% of the people that were part of our program at the time. So they actually got that hair on the back of the neck or that gut feeling. And instead of just letting it go, they actually acted on it. We never had anybody that actually had to totally respond to something where they would have been a victim if they didn’t with one exception. But they actually acted on it and really felt empowered, that they were not going to potentially be a victim. That’s number one. Number two, I’m working with a young, not young Hey, a woman a professional up in Poy sippi, Wisconsin, a small town, just northwest of Oshkosh. She’s again in one of the professional groups that I’m in her name is Charity burrow. And she has created the tribe in this town where a bunch of young men and women are part of this tribe, and they have conversations to improve themselves to learn crafts, learn different things, and providing our situational awareness program to them. And within a week, we had one of the young teens who was at a campground got saw a car driving around the campground that hair on the back of their neck went up. They said this doesn’t look right. They actually called the police, the police responded. And that car was driving around looking to steal catalytic converters. And that’s just one of dozens of examples that we’ve seen where people have become more safe. They’ve actively taken action because of the process that we teach that that potentially kept them from being a victim. Very good friend, a good friend who worked for us for a little while prior to the pandemic he had to go do some different things as things slowed down and we were pivoting everything to to the learning management system. Prior to to being with a product group, he had never learned anything about situation awareness. He’d be one of those seven out of eight people that didn’t have it. But he started going to our training, he started learning it he started practicing it and then he started educating his kids on it the way that that happens is through contagious behavior not sitting down. It’s lecturing him. It’s by your kids watching how you behave. It’s watching you go through the steps it’s watching you do go through all the motions, they ask some questions, you find those learning opportunities, which again, that’s what situation awareness gives you as you find those learning opportunities, and you educate your kids. About six months after being with us, his daughter was driving home from high school 10 o’clock at night, and she got sideswiped. And the car that sideswiped or pulled in front turned down a dead end alley. And at the end of that dead end alley, it was pitch black. Well, her dad had always told her if you get into an accident, you’re supposed to pull over and exchange information. Well, she got the hair on the back of her neck that this didn’t feel right that they turned down this dead end alley. And instead of ignoring it, she trusted it. And then even more than that, she acted on it, she didn’t turn down and she went home. The next morning, her dad saw the damage to the car and asked her about it, she at the time was afraid to tell her dad that she got into an accident and didn’t stop and exchange information and didn’t tell him about it. Until she explained what happened. And then that’s when he felt blessed that he had learned this skill was able to share it with his daughter to potentially keep her from being a victim. So it’s those types of things that are that I fall back on when I get frustrated when I you know, I don’t close a deal or something happens, or I know that we’re making a difference. And and what we’re really looking forward to is getting the program into the hands of hands of parents so they can learn this skill and do the same thing he did. And through that contagious behavior teach their kids.

Aaron Spatz  36:37

Yeah, I mean, I think you’ve got something there. I think there’s a there’s a wide array of practical application. And I mean, that’s a, that’s a great case study, you know, and there’s no telling how that situation could have played out and, you know, getting a good on her for following her gut and, and for being sensitive enough to understand like, hey, this, this just something about this doesn’t feel right, you know, and so being able to move through that I think is I think is really awesome. And, you know, as a father, I mean, I’ll take I’ll take a damaged vehicle over the other possible outcome every single time. Right.

Brian Searcy  37:13

So that’s, that’s one of the things we actually introduce, but then we don’t want to use it, I guess we do harp on it continually through the program is that if you get that feeling, you need to trust that feeling. I’ve had people ask me over and over again, well, aren’t you becoming paranoid or these types of things? I said, No, I’m becoming prepared. But something that again, when I was young, in the Air Force was conveyed to me both directly and indirectly. You know, if you get that gut feeling, it’s better to trust it and get a little bit of egg on your face, then to have not made a decision because you had that gut feeling and an airplane crashes or somebody becomes a victim, I’d much rather, you know, look bad for a day or something along those lines, because I, you know, I trusted my gut feeling. But that’s something people have to do you get that hair on the back of the neck, you get that gut feeling. That’s your system telling you that something isn’t right. Again, it’s a gift that we all have. We just have to trust it and then know how to know what to do about it. And the unique thing about the product group as well is, you know, I talked about with the active shooter, they’re telling people what to do in situations. Because we use this micro learning what we’re working on, are the individuals developing their own understanding of what they’re capable of doing. So that I’m not going to ask, you know, somebody like my wife, who’s five foot 225 pounds, to do the same thing that I would do that I’m setting her up for failure, I need to help her figure out what she’s capable of doing to set her up for success. And that’s a big part of what our programs do.

Aaron Spatz  38:45

Yeah. Wow. All right. So let’s so let’s roll up the clock. If you could go back to your to your first entrepreneurial venture self, and give yourself some advice now, knowing what you know, now what what might that look like? Wow. Wow. Yeah,

Brian Searcy  39:07

I bet you do stump a lot of people this question.

Aaron Spatz  39:09

I actually haven’t asked it as much as I as I should, because I feel like I get really, the responses are actually really unique. Because I don’t I obviously didn’t give you a heads up on this. And I that’s, I’m sorry, no, no, no, like no pushing.

Brian Searcy  39:24

I don’t know. I’m buying time to think of something. Yeah. Well, I mean,

Aaron Spatz  39:29

how I’ve cuz I’ve been asked that question before. And I’ll be like, well, well, there’s just so many to choose from, like, let’s

Brian Searcy  39:35

know that. I learned about how you raise money I learned about I’ve made a mistake. And Mark and I made a mistake bringing people on board that were not as passionate as we were. That really were more looking at it as a business opportunity than it was for that the passion that Mark and I had. I think that’s one of the reasons when I started the product group. I was a little bit shy to go out and enjoy doesn’t bring people on that weren’t as passionate about this as I was. There were some people that I did bring on board that, again, the pandemic may made a big change to how that was going to go. And so now I am looking for a few key people to bring on board with the product group as we really worked to accelerate this. So I was, I felt blessed that I had the leadership experiences from the Air Force that I was able to fall back on. One of my big mantras is leadership is a verb and not a noun. So it’s got to be active. And that also helps with by passion with, with situational awareness, because you can’t be a good leader without situational awareness. It’s not all about cash flow. That’s something else that I learned. So I am an an advocate of Sir Richard Branson, and some other folks that say, take a big bite out of the elephant and chew as fast as you can always, you know, always say yes, and then figure out how to do it. But I think I’ve matured a little bit from the early days when that was my full mantra, and now got to make sure that bite isn’t too big, you’re right, and make sure that you still can take care of all of your obligations. And then the other thing I really learned is, and this also is valuable that I learned in the Air Force is that even today, I don’t have 100%, right? I don’t even have it close to 100%. Right? So we’re consistently making changes to the program, we’re consistently pivoting and learning how to adapt. I think that that was very, very valuable when the pandemic hit, because I didn’t sit back and say, What was me or anything like that we just, we rolled with it, we, I guess if you could we use our situation awareness process and, and did some identification and analysis and then did some prediction and figured out what we needed to do. But the other thing is, I’d say is, you know, if you’re passionate about it, and get up every morning and work the problem, work the problem every single morning. That’s one of the things that I learned I back with 100 Wimberley, and then even early on with Main Street pilot, you know, when things didn’t go the way I expected, I had these grand visions of how they were going to go and it didn’t pan out, I would get frustrated. And that dramatically impacted my ability to move on the next day. Now I’ve so one of the things that I’ve learned is, you know, if the answer was no, or somebody said, No, we’ll try to figure out why. But don’t dwell on it, learn from it, and just keep going. You know, those memes that we see where people stop right before the dam breaks, or right before they get to the top of the mountain. And, you know, if you’re when you’re passionate about it, and you you believe in what your mission is, then you just get up every day to do that.

Aaron Spatz  42:50

Yeah, that’s a that’s a really great. There’s a great illustration, I’d like to kind of piggyback on what you just said, there’s a there’s a guy I’ve seen, I’ve seen his teaching, debating whether or not to say who it is, maybe if I decide to later I’ll put that in the notes there. Maybe I’ll link to it later. But the the visual that he gave was, Is this is this an above the waterline or or below the waterline movement. And the point being is like you could be several inches below the waterline, but you’re making movement towards breaking the surface. But you don’t see that like it’s like this invisible progress that you don’t, that you’re not maybe completely cognizant of, but then it breaks the surface. You’re like, holy crap, okay, it was there. Yeah, it’s been there the whole time. It’s just been slow. It’s just been steadily growing with with enough patience and with enough time. And so I think that’s been kind of a that’s been an illustration has really stuck with me, because I I relate to a lot of what you’re saying there is, there’s, there’s this consistency to showing up. And I love what you said, Brian about working the problem, because again, it puts it, it gives you something to sink your teeth into, right. And I think there’s this tendency that we can get into to obsess over all these different random details. And I think what what you’ve demonstrated is one, there’s this eagerness, there’s this willingness to learn. And I think that’s a hallmark trait of every leader that I’ve ever known as being a perennial student, you’re, you’re wise enough to adapt, and it kind of goes back to what you’re even what you’re teaching other people to do. Right? Right. But, but like, but there’s a there’s an element of that, where it’s like, okay, this is our core problem we’re solving that part doesn’t change. But maybe the elements in the methodology of how that gets solved, can change over time, or it must change over time. Right. And so you’re kind of, you’re always kind of tweaking and honing and, and just making that edge a little sharper and figuring out ways to just deliver it a little bit better. Right. And so I think that’s, I think it’s, I mean, me literally everything you said was just tremendous advice, tremendous insight into that kind of the journey that you’ve been on. So yeah, it’s great.

Brian Searcy  44:58

With the product group, I Usually illustrate Einstein’s definition of insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over again. And I use that when I talk about how this traditional type training that we’ve been doing year after year doesn’t work. And there are statistics around human trafficking and suicide and, and sexual harassment that demonstrate that just basic, traditional one or two hour trainings Don’t, don’t do anything, they don’t move the needle. Yeah. But that’s also applies to us as leaders or as entrepreneurs. Because if you’re, if you are just doing the same thing over and over again, and you’re not learning, you’re not adapting, I call it we use, we use the term learning agility is one of the 10 skills that we have and I that’s from you know, hot washes that we used to do after flying an airplane. You guys probably had something similar in the Marines, you guys get in a room, all the rent comes off, and you everything’s out on the table of what went what went right, what went wrong. People take responsibility for their actions. You learn from it, you come back out, it’s over with, it’s all designed to move forward. But I’m consistently doing that on a regular basis.

Aaron Spatz  46:04

Yeah, that’s, that’s tremendous. And I mean, I’m, I’m, I’m cheering for you, man, I think I think you’re heading heading in the right direction. It’s cool seeing you, you know, accumulate these different case studies and solving solving real real problems. And so I think it’s, I think it’s tremendous. And I’ll kind of turn the floor back over to you, if they if there’s anything else that you want to share, I’ll ask kind of like, what’s the what’s the best way for people to get in touch with you? How can they learn more? How can they follow you?

Brian Searcy  46:31

Yeah, so again, thanks. Just being on the on the on your podcast, because I love what you’re doing is an opportunity to get my you know, name and the word out there. Again, one of the things I’m really focused on is educating the need to have different types of training, whether it’s a product group, or it is somebody else about situation awareness, don’t just do that static one or two hour class or even a two or three hour scenario, you’ve got to take advantage of the 2190 rule 21 days to establish a new habit, 90 days to establish a new behavior. So it becomes something that you’re going to do on a regular basis, and then something that you’re going to use for the rest of your life. So turn this, this whole philosophy of that traditional training upside down. That’s one of the key things I’d like people to take away. And that doesn’t just apply with situational awareness, it applies with everything being a parent, leader in a company. So that’s one of the key things. Our website is WW paratus dot group, we’re getting ready to upgrade it a little bit. There it is. Absolutely. And my email is Brian at Protestant group, and throw my number out, it’s 940-231-3195. We talk to anybody because the goal at the product group is truly to get out and educate people. Because first we want to teach people how to be able to take responsibility for their own safety. And most people today don’t know how to do that. But then once you learn how to take responsibility for your own safety, we can start taking responsibility for our communities as a collective group. A quick story two weeks ago, driving to my daughter’s house in North den, come up on an accident that just happened. Do what I always do, I pulled to the side of the road came out made sure nobody was injured. Major 911 was called it was actually very interesting, because the car that was in the middle of the road, everybody bolted. So they obviously didn’t want to meet the police. But I ended up I ended up directing traffic for 25 minutes. Oh, wow. It’s that time period, what we call as the response window, that time when something bad happens until the emergency responders get there. That’s when we all are responsible for what’s going to happen. And because our police are so busy, because our fire are so busy, they just were not able to get there. So 25 minutes later, a fire truck finally pulled up. I know they were out on another call. I know they were busy, but it just is what’s going on in our society today. You can’t rely on the police or the you know, get into your house if something bad is going on, or those types of things. So we need to all learn how to take responsibility for ourselves. But even again, more than that work together to take responsibility for for our communities.

Aaron Spatz  49:10

Very, very well said very well said Brian, thank you so much, my friend. Thanks for Thanks for taking some time to be with me today.

Brian Searcy  49:15

Thanks for having me on air and thanks.

Aaron Spatz  49:20

Thanks for listening to America’s entrepreneur. If you enjoyed the show, please leave a review or comment on your preferred social media platform. share it out with friends, family, coworkers, others in your network. And of course you can write me directly at Erin at Bold media.us That’s a Ron at Bold media.us Till next time

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