871. On-the-Job Training as a SWAT Team Member
Kevin Van Eekeren
“I’m severely dyslexic. So I was spending way too many hours with tutors just being able to barely keep up. As I grew older, I started to understand that while dyslexia is a pain to overcome, it also gave me this amazing ability to solve problems. Think about the letter ‘K.’ It could be backwards, it could be upside down, it could be missing a piece of it. And so your brain is going to have to memorize two or three versions of the English language. I had to do it so much that it just became innate in me that I had to solve problems better than most.”
Kevin Van Eekeren is currently the CEO of Fulcrum Investing, but he started off his career training SWAT teams nationwide. Recognizing a gap in the market in 2008, Kevin started Fulcrum Tactical, a realistic, tactical training charity available to law enforcement only. When the time was right he took it for-profit and grew it to a national organization. In 2014 he sold the company to get into investing. Fulcrum Investing was born. The process Fulcrum Investing uses to vet startups is very entrepreneur focused, with over 50 investments nationwide.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
For two years in college, Kevin was very focused on criminal justice. One of his fellow students had an aunt who was a private investigator and was looking for a part time assistant, so he took the job, serving subpoenas and “following people.” He soon realized his boss was serving the subpoenas that were easy to serve. He was the one that had to go in and get chased by Rottweilers and talk to some very scary people to be able to serve them papers. “So I quickly had to learn how to think on my feet and how to deal with dogs and with very angry people. It was actually a very good life lesson─though there were a few times I was pretty sure I was going to die.”
The Most Powerful Lessons and Experiences?
1) When you are asked to do a task on a new job, don’t assume you know everything about how that company wants the job done. Ask for training, even demand training.
2) Do not put too much emphasis on immediate gratification. “I worked for years for free simply to get the information I needed so I could do what I wanted to do. And I think a lot of people forego that because they’re trying to achieve what they want to achieve now, today or yesterday.”
3) Try to make yourself better one day at a time. If you get 1% better a day, that means in four months you are going to be a whole heck of a lot better than you were. But that takes a tremendous amount of courage, effort, and consistency.
4) It is important to learn from failures and know your own deficits. Kevin was still on the SWAT team 30 hours a week, was running a company, and had an investment on the side in a tech company. The “kids” running the tech company just weren’t doing well. Kevin jumped in as an interim CEO until they could find the correct leadership, but he just couldn’t make everything work, and that company failed. “That was horrible,” in his words, but it was also the most important experience in the business world because it made him realize: he was fallible; he needed to be far more humble: and he needed to learn an odd dozen different things and never let those things happen again.
Connecting With Kevin Van Eekeren
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