Guest Blogger: Rick Schumacher, Tillman Military Scholar Class 2, Park University
This past week I had the privilege of attending Inc. Magazine’s GrowCo event in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was quite an experience! As a Tillman Military Scholar, I was selected, along with fellow TMS Tim Smith, to attend as part of Inc.’s Military Entrepreneurs program (ME). The ME Program, in its first year, has provided access to this event as well as the Inc. 500/5000 conference, which was held in D.C. this past September.
I started the week off with a very early flight out of Austin, arriving in NOLA at around 9:00 a.m. and meeting up with Tim for some obligatory brunch and a walk down Bourbon. Just in time, we met up with the delegation and were fortunate enough to go on a tour of Intralox, a company that manufactures plastic formed conveyor belts for every purpose imaginable. From there we met up with the GrowCo attendees and mingled. Finally, Hunter Riley took Tim and I to eat at a favorite local food spot called Mississippi River Bottom (MRB).
The next morning we were in for some great speakers and abundant learning opportunities. The speakers included some of the brightest minds in business like Dr. Alexander Osterwalder, Neil Blumenthal, Jay Lapeyre, Chef John Besh and the indescribable Norm Brodsky. Additionally, we had a personal meeting with Shark Tank personality, Daymond John, the creator of the FUBU brand. We also had the opportunity to listen to political powerhouses like New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne and, amazingly, President Bill Clinton. These speakers were each outstanding and having the opportunity to listen to them was really what being a Tillman Military Scholar is all about for me. The Foundation gives me opportunities that I would not otherwise have.
Most importantly, I had the opportunity to network with other veterans and military spouses as well as 500 other business owners. We had opportunities to be advised by successful business owners and exchange ideas with a mentor; mine who I’ve already exchanged emails with after leaving the conference. Thanks to the Pat Tillman Foundation, this has been one heck of an opportunity – one that will help shape the formation of my business for years to come.