When you speak to many entrepreneurs regarding how they got their start or what their "lightbulb" moments were in their early careers, chances are you won’t hear "bagging sand" often as an answer. For me, it was this experience in the military that gave me a clear vision of where I wanted to take my career and provided me the motivation to make that vision a reality.

I decided to join the military when I was 17 years old, at which time the service seemed like my only option. I grew up in a rough area of New York as the youngest of nine children and the son of a hardworking father with three jobs. My father saw the effects public school had on my older siblings, and I was fortunate he was able to enroll me in private Catholic school. Even with this privilege, I still saw the impact my community had on my peers, often witnessing shootings and gang violence -- sometimes even directly impacting my family.

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