The Vet50’s rankings were announced on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at the Vet50 Awards event by First Data, a longtime partner of the IVMF, during the first-ever Veteran EDGE national conference focused solely on developing veteran entrepreneurs no matter where they are in their business journey, and the companies who want to do business with them. The dinner featured keynote speaker NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, Captain (USN, Retired)
and guest speaker Medal of Honor recipient Jack Jacobs, Colonel (US Army Retired).
The conference and awards ceremony brought together stakeholders, veteran business owners, regional and national veteran services organizations, as well as the corporate partners of the Coalition for Veteran-Owned Business (CVOB). EDGE is the first-of-its-kind coalition of large companies supporting the success of veteran-owned businesses, connecting them with entrepreneurial education, training, resources, and networking opportunities.
“Veteran business owners bring unconventional leadership and grit to succeed. They have a history of entrepreneurship that goes back decades. This list will not only inform but it will inspire other entrepreneurs – veteran and civilian,” said Syracuse University Vice Chancellor of Strategic Initiatives and Innovation and IVMF Founder, Executive Director Mike Haynie.
About the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University
The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education, and policy issues impacting veterans and their families.
The IVMF delivers leading programs all over the country and online in career, vocational, and entrepreneurship education and training, while also conducting actionable research, policy analysis, and program evaluations. The IVMF also supports communities through coordinated efforts that enhance delivery and access to services and care.
The Institute, supported by a distinguished advisory board, along with public and private partners, is committed to advancing the lives of those who have served in America’s armed forces and their families. For more information, visit ivmf.syracuse.edu and follow the IVMF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The 2018 Vet50 list was created by using data gathered in the course of creating the 2017 Inc. 5000 list. Eligible companies have been identified with the help of the IVMF. Those companies are then ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2013 to 2016. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2013. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2016. The minimum revenue required for 2013 is $100,000; the minimum for 2016 is $2 million.
Kopis Mobile is truly honored to be recognized on the inaugural Vet50 list.
The weather was clear and sunny. The temperature was a cool 20 degrees. Snow covered the ground of a ranch house owned by the city’s Open Space and Mountain Parks. The location served as an excellent spot for a hostage scenario incident site.
The SWAT Team established an operations center at the main access road. Several role players found their positions at a house on the back side of a hill.
NTtv was quickly deployed in multiple locations. One system served as the primary link to the operations center. One served as a mobile link via the SWAT team leader who wore a MOHOC camera on his helmet.
The third system served as an overwatch fixed camera. Finally, a fourth system was slung beneath a drone to serve as an airborne relay.
The command element was able to watch the video streams from one rugged tablet.
We were very happy with the cold-weather performance of the system overall, especially battery duration.
For the afternoon scenario, the team deployed NTtv in a tree at the crest of the hill. As you can see in the video clip, the NTtv relay covered a large area. It enabled real time video from the MOHOC helmet-mounted cameras to stream virtually anywhere in and around the incident site.
This clip shows the tree emplacement. Video is transmitted essentially by the NTtv encoders ‘talking’ to each other over a secure network they establish themselves.
There is no need to be connected to any external WiFi network. This is super handy when working in remote locations like what you see in the videos.
Commander LeFabre and his guys were great hosts and really put the system through its paces. We started the company 5 years ago with the idea that we could develop products to improve the lives of military, law enforcement, and first responders. We couldn’t do it without their input during exercises like this.
We recently wrapped up the 40th anniversary of the SHOT Show in Las Vegas. It was probably won of our best trade shows to date since we have been in business. Our focus product for the show was NTtv and how video greatly improves performance.
I spoke to many people during the week who either conduct training or own a firearms facility of some type. I was blown away by the fact almost none of them utilize video as a way to improve the performance of their students. Let’s dig into this training subject a little deeper.
Subjective: “reality as perceived – rather than as independent of mind.”
What does this really mean? When something like an observation of an event is viewed in a subjective way, it is based inside of an individual’s brain. Things like life experiences, memories, personal biases and prejudices all command the subjective view.
To get even more crazy scientific on you, when a person looks at something in a subjective way, they see it as perceived reality instead of reality itself. The bottom line is a subjective observation can change wildly from person to person.
Now, let’s look at the opposite of subjective.
Objective: “the realm of sensible experience independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers.”
The real meaning of this is pretty simple. This type of observation starts and happens outside the mind of any specific person. In this instance, the action is observable by any other individual looking at the same situation. In order for this to happen, all subjective biases have to be removed.
I am sure you are wondering what point I am trying to make. If you are reading this blog, you have probably done some type of structure clearance. It could have been a few rooms, a small house or an entire abandoned mental hospital (they are pretty creepy, by the way).
I am willing to bet many of you have had a lane grader, training cell or whatever your particular service calls them, tell you at the end of the run, “You went left instead of right in that room, on the fourth floor, at the end of the hallway, two rooms deep with the chair in it.”
Oh, and you aren’t the only one they have comments about. It makes you think there is no way in Hell they know what every single person in the stack did on a ten-minute run.
I actually knew some guys in training cell that could remember just about every single thing a guy did on a run, but I can guarantee you that it isn’t the norm.
The reason I bring all of this up is to prove the point that subjective evaluation lends itself to rely on memory and what an individual thought they saw. Objective evaluation is concrete, unbiased, and based on what really happened. The best example of an objective review tool is video. We all know pictures and video don’t lie.
Video review is a very useful tool. If it is used in a targeted manner at the right times, it allows a person to build a mental model of the correct skill. Watching video is a proven way to enhance the skill learning process.
Unfortunately, the video analysis of a training event doesn’t happen until the end of the day or even the following day. Immediate review can provide a person with the opportunity to improve a skill or technique by the very next training iteration – in a matter of minutes.
Video is saved for anytime use or evaluation to review the progress of individual skills. Video recordings reveal improvements or losses in one’s performance over time. It also is an invaluable tool in the diagnosis of a unit’s overall training program. Finally, it shows new members of a unit the performance of veteran, top performers by providing them a solid baseline in which to begin training.
Sports coaches are utilizing immediate video evaluation more and more to critique the performance of athletes at every level. Traditionally, the feedback process has been based upon a coach’s subjective observation of performance, which can be influenced by bias, emotion and previous experiences (Hughes and Bartlett, 2008).
For example, a football coach’s subjective observation process is known to be unreliable and inaccurate, since even experienced coaches have been shown to be able to recall just 59.2% of the critical events occurring during 45 minutes of football performance (Laird and Waters, 2008).
This lack of accurate recall ability can lead to ‘highlighting’, where a coach’s perception of performance becomes distorted by those events that they can remember (Hughes and Bartlett, 2008). Ultimately, this results in inaccurate coaching feedback and decision-making, which can be improved with the use of objective, unbiased and comprehensive information performance analysis that video is capable of providing (James, 2006; Hughes and Bartlett, 2008).
A few years ago, we participated in a military exercise and had the opportunity to interview some special operators. They told our engineers they were using action cameras on operations and had no way of sharing what they were seeing with other squad members. The operators already had the cameras and were issued some type of smart device, but they couldn’t understand why there wasn’t an easy way for the two talk to each other.
We iterated extensively with these and other operators to develop a solution to greatly improve overall situational awareness. This solution is called Networked Tactical Television or NTtv.
The system provides the on scene commander real time video of operations. This results in far better situation awareness than just describing what is going on over a radio. NTtv is an invaluable training tool that allows trainers to set the system up in any location to capture the actions of trainees.
NTtv now also includes a multiple video DVR (mvDVR) feature that adds the ability to instantly review multiple synchronized camera views of the same action without having to go through hours of recorded video to find what you are really looking for. This vastly speeds up the after-action review process and provides immediate feedback using video angles that matter for each training evolution.
There is a very good reason why video is used to improve performance. That’s because it works and it is almost immediate. You can’t correct what you can’t see.
Our last blog post was about the use of our FastForm 1306 system by the jump administrators and jump masters for the 6th Ranger Training Battalion. Andrew and I (Henry) were impressed by the professionalism and thoroughness of our contacts at 6RTB. A big thanks to our partners at 4K Solutions for setting this up. Here are a few “behind the scenes” photos and video of the jump day, with a little color commentary. You can click the link in the parentheses to watch the videos.
We joined up with the cadre jumpers from the 6RTB and a few guys from 4RTB and 5RTB near the tarmac, where there’s a shed to provide a little cover.
A C-130 from the Connecticut Air National Guard flew over from the main Eglin airfield, getting in an Assault Landing and then pulling up nearby. (video of C-130 arriving)
After some prep time, it was time for the first lift to load up!
The Commanding Officer of 6RTB loaded up last to be the first one out of the door (I don’t blame him – that’s gotta be the best view!) and the door closed up and the taxi to the nearby runway began.
The C-130 did a short field takeoff, (Loaded C-130 taking off) and basically had to kill 20 minutes of flight time to give the jumpers the necessary prep time once in the air.
Headed right back at us, the C-130 dropped off its first Pass of jumpers – five out of the right door and five out of the left.
There were two more passes on this Lift, and then another Lift with a couple of passes after that. All good, and all captured in the manifest put together by the FastForm system.
On our way out, we made a quick stop at the Gator Pen. (Gator pen at 6RTB) Can anyone tell me why there are two sets of bleachers at the Pen? What sort of show goes on there?!?
Thank you, men and women of 6RTB, for what you do. Rangers Lead the Way!
Andrew and I were excited to be a part of the monthly admin jump at the 6th Ranger Training Battalion this week. For those who don’t know, the 6RTB is where the third and final phase of Ranger School is conducted. It is what’s known as the Jungle Phase and is at Eglin AFB in the Florida panhandle. Jungle Phase is often considered the most difficult mental phase – and they are all difficult.
The guys there were excellent hosts as they tested our FastForm 1306 product for creating jump manifests. We’ll have a follow-up blog post with some background photos and videos of the jump, for those who’ve never had the opportunity to be around something like this, or if you have jumped at Camp Rudder and would like a little nostalgia.
This post is about the nuts and bolts of using FastForm 1306 and how it can make a difference for jump masters and jump administrators like the SSG and MSG we worked with at 6RTB. Our SSG contact spent a few hours earlier in the week putting together, like he always does, a draft of the 1306 using the best info he had available – which is always incomplete.
Then, as the jump gets closer, he has to update it by hand and then go back and forth with new print-outs. I took a photo of one of the last versions, just before the jump, and you can see the changes even up to the last minute.
Because they hadn’t used our FastForm 1306 system before, our 6RTB contacts asked us to be there the day before when they would have a walk-through of who was jumping.
We set up the software for the jump zone, aircraft, and jumping organizations in about 10 minutes (which won’t have to be done again) and swiped in all the jumpers – about 5 to 10 seconds each – in less than 10 minutes. We printed out 1306’s from the wireless printer – enough that we ended up blowing through all our ink.
The next day, we returned with the tablets and were able to update all changes quickly in the software. The final result was a very clean, ready to submit, DD Form 1306 and a .csv file for any other purposes.
The old-fashioned way: at least a couple of hours spent on the days prior to the jump, an hour on jump day with handwritten changes on soggy paper, and an hour after the jump to straighten it out and make copies. No CSV file, no PDF ready to send to the PJs, AJs, flight crew, etc. Rinse and repeat.
The 21st Century way: swipe the jumpers as they show up for prep (10 minutes per 100 jumpers), put them in the chalks as desired (20 minutes), and make digital changes until jump time (10 minutes). Get a crystal clear 1306 PDF and a CSV file with accurate name, grade, DOD ID, unit, and jump type. Spend time on something other than paperwork!
We hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year. After taking some time off from writing during the holidays, I wanted to start the year off with short article about an incredible entrepreneur.
Jeff Bezos has managed to build a huge, diverse empire in a relatively short period of time. He just surpassed Bill Gates as the wealthiest person in the world. That doesn’t come from sitting on your hands and hoping opportunities fall into your lap.
Even at a young age Jeff Bezos was a driven entrepreneur. He consistently took risks and did things others thought was a dumb idea. More importantly, he has never ‘taken his foot off the gas pedal’. That means never settling for what you have or you think you have.
With $105 billion in his pocket, he obviously never needs to work another day his life. That is not what he chooses to do however. He never slows down or stops looking for other opportunities. He doesn’t settle for what he has already built.
As a young company, we certainly know the value of never slowing down. We have a long way to go before we can match even one of Bezos’s companies. That is good goal to have though. And, there is so much to be gained from following what has made others successful.
Not everyone can be a Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerburg. I do however, think anyone can be an entrepreneur. It takes a lot of commitment, drive and tons of hard work. A lot of failures and mistakes will happen along the way. We have made several of each over the last five years, but we have learned from them. The goal is trying not to repeat them.
Recently, we were fortunate to tell our Kopis Mobile story via a podcast hosted by Thor Conklin. Parts one and two, out of the three segment block are now up on his site. Hopefully, some folks can learn a little from us, like we have learned from others. The next Jeff Bezos is out there.
I had the distinct honor of attending the Army Navy football game last weekend. It was one of those bucket list type deals for me. The history of the game is one of things that make it such an unique event. The very first football game was played in 1890 at West Point.
The ceremony preceding the game is absolutely amazing. It really makes one proud to be an American, at least it should. With so much negative news and bad things going on around the planet, the game made things a little brighter for everyone in attendance.
If you didn’t see the game, there is one thing you should take a look at. It was the singing of the National Anthem by a combined group of West Point Cadets and Navy Midshipman. Click on the National Anthem link to watch it.
Those kneeling NFL players need to see it. The game served as a perfect representation of how our country should be. All walks of life coming together for a single purpose.
There were no protests, no fights (that I saw), and no disrespect to be found. I am not saying there wasn’t plenty of animated smack talking between services, but it was all in good fun.
Many like me have had far too many friends come home with our flag draped over their coffins. How does anyone in their right mind, especially those who make millions of dollars playing a sport, think it is a good idea to disrespect anyone who has served this country, the flag or the country in general?
I have a recommendation for all of them. You should use all of those millions you make and put into a positive cause. Have at least enough respect to stand during the National Anthem and honor all of those that have ever supported and defended this amazing country.
Ok, enough ranting. Even if you don’t like football, I highly recommend every American to watch it at least once. If you don’t watch the entire game, then watch all of the ceremony leading up to kick off. It will make you proud, stand up a little straighter, stick your chest out a little farther, and be very thankful you live in the greatest country on Earth.
Situational awareness, the buzz phrase that took 2017 by storm. But what does it really mean? Simply, it means be aware of your surroundings. We learned this fundamental rule when we were children.
Walking, riding a bike or rollerskating in the street, our parents told us to watch out for cars. Walking in the woods or by a body of water, we were always told to watch out for snakes. Check under your bed for scary clowns like Pennywise from IT.
Later on, they told us to park in well lit parking lots, carry the keys a certain way, and stay out of certain areas. One of the biggest rules, know your exits out of a building in case of an emergency. The biggest threat back then was probably fire, but now it is likely an active shooter.
An active shooter situation is likely the most terrifying thing most of us may encounter in our life time. Nothing can stop us in our tracks faster and make our blood run colder, than hearing of an active shooter.
How would you react? Even more so, how do you survive? Well it all comes back to situational awareness. You HAVE to be aware of your surroundings and always prepare for the worst. Having a “This won’t happen to me” mentality may just make you a statistic unless you have your *hit together. Just like walking through the woods and encountering that Cottonmouth, you have to know what to do, how to get away or how to treat a bite if bitten.
How do you do that? Do your homework. The Department of Homeland Security has a whole webpage dedicated to Active Shooter Preparedness. Although it has been critiqued, the Run.Hide.Fight video has some very enlightening ideas.
Take a seminar. Many police agencies are offering half day seminars on what to do in an active shooter situation. I’ve taken one and it was not only informative but entertaining enough to keep everyone’s attention.
The most important thing you can do is to put that cell phone down, look around and use common sense. As you walk into a building, search out the exits. For example, when you walk into a restaurant, look for the kitchen. When was the last time you were eating and saw someone take the trash out through the front door.
Be prepared and aware. It empowers you. Learn what you can learn, use common sense and constantly practice situational awareness.
This is the third installment of the Inc. 5000 conference takeaways. To catch up, go to Kopis Mobile’s website (just click our name) for the previous blog posts. Here is Henry’s final recap:
Beyond our interactions with Norm Brodsky and Brene Brown, Josh and I were able to have front-row seats for talks by Brian Smith, the founder of Ugg brand, Alan Mulally of Boeing and Ford and Daymond John, Shark Tank investor and FUBU founder.
Josh literally ran into Brian a few seconds before he was going on stage, and Brian was extremely polite – he clearly is a very laid-back person. His personal story reflected that attitude. Neither Josh nor I had a full picture of Daymond John before his talk, and we both came away impressed and fans.
A key impression from those talks was that companies have stages – you can’t skip them and probably don’t want to skip them (Norm had said this also). While we should all want to be the best in the world. The key is to understand that will mean you have to go through the process of becoming the best in the world; by learning from others and your own mistakes, by trying new things, and constantly evolving and getting better.
Brian’s four secrets to success were to 1) Feast Upon Uncertainty, 2) Fatten on Disappointment, 3) Invigorate in the Presence of Difficulties, and 4) Enthuse Over Apparent Defeat. His reasoning behind those secrets became clear in the end – that these four attitudes take away the mindset of Victimization. We will all have uncertainty, disappointment, difficulties and defeat but, our success comes from our response to them. Enjoy being where you are, do it well, and then over time look back over your shoulder and appreciate your successes. And, like Brene Brown said, “you decide what defines that success”.
The second day was also pretty exciting. I was interviewed by Microsoft and MSNBC .
If that interview makes it on the air, we will definitely be posting about it.
The conference wrapped up with a black-tie gala, which my father Frank and brother John flew out to attend with us. It was great to hear our company’s name called and see it up on the big screen. We hope to make the list again, and attend next year in San Antonio!!
All of us at Kopis Mobile are so proud of this achievement. We don’t look at it as a “feather in our hat” but more of a validation of the company moving in the right direction fueled by hard work and passion for excellence.