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James Reese: From Delta Force to TigerSwan CEO


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What is it like going from the battlefield to running a small business? How can a veteran adapt to civilian life? There’s no one better to ask than James Reese, former Special Operations Commander and CEO of TigerSwan.

James Reese served for 25 years as a Non-Commissioned and Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Army. He retired in 2007 as a Lieutenant Colonel, having been called “one of the finest special operators in the modern military!” Towards the end of his service in Iraq, Reese came up with the idea of TigerSwan: a security firm that now operates in over fifty countries. With ideas and assistance from a friend, James Reese was able to launch TigerSwan in 2008.

The biggest help Reese and his friend received to start the company was from none other than the U.S. government. The government gives support to SDVOSBs-or Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses, which are businesses where a disabled veteran owns the majority of the company. However, Reese states that the government’s support of SDVOSBs was a plus for starting a business, not his sole motivation. What Reese really wanted to do was change the world through TigerSwan by hiring veterans and like-minded individuals to grow the company.

Though he was a previous Commander in the U.S. Army, James Reese found being the CEO of TigerSwan very different from leading soldiers on a mission. One of his biggest concerns was budgeting and finances, including being responsible for people’s paychecks. Reese said: “When you’re responsible for people’s lives–not just from the military leadership perspective but from a business leadership position–you’re responsible for people who have kids in college and they have to pay mortgages and all these type of things…that’s a big burden to carry.” Reese also had to consider budget when deciding who to hire for TigerSwan. He has found that “you have to always be looking out for talent.”

However, Reese’s driving force for hiring an employee isn’t the budget-it’s the person. TigerSwan boasts one of the best teams in the industry, and Reese puts it down to his employees. He prides the company on its “hybrid” work force, as Reese hires veterans, military personnel and civilians. Reese claims that having both former military and civilian employees is beneficial for the company because they have different mindsets. One thing all of the TigerSwan employees have in common, though, is a strong work ethic.

Though TigerSwan might have begun small, today it is known globally, and it all started as a small business created by a disabled veteran who is truly living his American dream.

Read more here https://www.tigerswan.com/meet-our-team/