As a candidate of the Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program in Colorado Springs, I was fortunate enough to receive interviews with many of the program’s most competitive sponsors. They included some national names like Amazon, Lockheed Martin, and Northwestern Mutual, and other, perhaps, less common ones like DaVita, Summit Technical Solutions, Zenith Advisors Group and one or two other local area businesses. I spent more than two weeks preparing for and attending interviews with many of these companies; Zenith Advisors Group was the final interview.

[Transitioning Service Member? Click here to apply for the Fellowship.]

The CEO, Bruce McClintock, and I had exchanged a few emails trying to schedule a meeting, and we eventually agreed on a coffee shop outside the Air Force Academy’s north gate with panoramic views of the front range. Bruce and Jeff Vandenbussche, a Zenith Advisors Group consultant, introduced themselves and then jokingly welcomed me to Zenith’s “corporate headquarters.”

The interview quickly evolved into a wide-ranging discussion of the lean business model (and why Bruce adopted it), entrepreneurial ventures, our shared expectations for the fellowship, and outdoor recreation – a common interest among the group. We spent a long time discussing the genesis of Hike for Life, a new and exciting venture started through the company. Hike for Life is a social impact business founded by Bruce and Jeff to provide a day-hiking guide service in Colorado Springs, where they offer curated hikes along the beautiful front range while providing instruction in safety and conservation. They casually referred to it as the “Lyft of hiking.” At the end of our discussion I made the decision to fellow with Zenith.

Every fellow in the Hiring Our Heroes program chooses their own corporation for their own reasons. What really set Zenith Advisors Group apart from the big guys—national companies with widely recognized names—was their personal approach to our meeting, their openness and candor, and their interest in helping me successfully transition from military service to owning my own small business.

Stop by our corporate HQ during the fellowship – we’ll buy you a cup of coffee and tell you more!