Gerald Young

EBV alumnus Gerald Young launched Young G's Barbecue Sauce in 2010. (Photo provided)

Success Stories

Before Gerald Young was deployed to Afghanistan in 2003 as a specialist in Iowa’s U.S. Army National Guard, his father promised to share the family’s secret recipe for barbecue sauce upon his son’s safe return home. Young suffered a spinal injury in combat and four of his closet friends were killed in action. He returned determined to honor their service by starting a business.

With his father’s recipe in hand, Young used his experience in the 2010 Krannert EBV program to introduce Young G’s Barbecue Sauce to the market. Patriotically packaged in jars with a red, white and blue label, the product is now available on the shelves of Hy-Vee grocery stores in eight Midwestern states.

Young is finalizing agreements with two other distributors and plans to increase production to 3 million jars and expand to nine distributors nationwide. He also is working to secure preferred purchasing status for U.S. commissaries. “The EBV program was instrumental in giving me all the tools I needed to succeed,” he says. “My passion for the business is greater than ever, and I’m confident in my product and my abilities as an entrepreneur.”

Ryan Ottosen returned home to Arizona following an eight-year career in the Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserves, including a deployment to Iraq as a machine gunnery sergeant during the taking of Baghdad and seizure of the country’s Ministry of Defense building and Secret Police headquarters.

There, he worked as a police officer and real estate agent before getting married and moving to California. He used what he learned in the 2012 EBV program at Krannert to launch Ottosen & Company, a property-management firm in the Los Angeles area that he co-owns with his wife, Traci.

“We specialize in creating positive cash flow for nonprofit organizations with a focus on neighborhood revitalization and transitional housing for veterans,” Ottosen says. “It’s gratifying to know that the benefits and resources I gained through the EBV and Krannert are now being used to impact the lives of others.”

Another 2012 EBV alumnus, retired Army Lt. Col. Craig Triscari leveraged his 25 years of experience in the military with the skills he honed at Krannert to form Blue Marble Eco Inc., a recycling center and materials collection facility in Indianapolis. The operation now employs more than 30 people and includes two subsidiaries that provide transportation logistics and consulting services for the recycling industry.

“I witnessed veterans coming out of their dark places and experiencing a sense of worth that they seemed to have lost after leaving the service,” Triscari says of his EBV experience. “The program provided a reconnection of the brotherhood and armed students with a firm base of knowledge on becoming an entrepreneur. It inspired us to be more and to strive for a better business future.”

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