Mission Wisconsin is fortunate to have several SkillBridge interns for the first half of 2023. Last week, we introduced Jack Warren, and this week, we welcome Braden Schrock.
Learn more about Braden and his post-transition goal: Purchasing one quality business in southeast Wisconsin.
All about Braden
I am a 13-year veteran of U.S. Navy Special Operations. I’ve had many unique posting and with my teams have cleared piers and ports of explosives, trained Korean Navy SEALs, delivered humanitarian demining training in East Africa, designed software for the Department of Defense (DoD), and developed support equipment for U.S. nuclear weapons.
Along with my wife and two kids, I’m ready to come back to Wisconsin and grow into the local community. Operating a small business is a continuation of what I’ve done to this point – work that is impactful. I want to build something that gives people a sense of purpose and value.
With an aerospace engineering degree from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Northwestern University, as well as varied leadership positions in the military, I believe I am the right person to lead the right business. Grey Harbor is my business entity founded solely to buy and operate a single Wisconsin business.
Why I joined the SkillBridge program
SkillBridge is a great program to ease the transition from active-duty military to civilian life. There’s no program like it in the entire DoD. What I appreciate about Skillbridge is the flexibility it gives to the servicemember. As long as you can find a company that is in your desired geographic location and industry, you can work with them. As with anything in DoD, there are still hoops to jump through, but the ability to spend up to six months in a civilian job with basically no risk — while still receiving a military paycheck and benefits! — is incomparable.
Why I was attracted to Mission Wisconsin
I found Steve and Mission Wisconsin via a contact at the Waukesha County Center for Growth. This contact mentioned that Steve had recently given her an excellent presentation on the services that Mission Wisconsin provides for both transitioning servicemembers as well as local Wisconsin businesses. Mission Wisconsin operates in a unique space, connecting servicemembers with businesses who need to hire — so MW is creating a lot of value for all sides. I appreciate that MW is serving military members who otherwise might have a more difficult time in their transition.
Bridging my SkillBridge experience
I am using my Skillbridge time in a sort of “DIY” fashion. Leveraging Mission Wisconsin’s network and mentorship, I plan to identify, acquire, and operate a single, quality Wisconsin business. Mission Wisconsin is a particularly good fit for me because I have the freedom to search for this business while still being able to rely on Mission Wisconsin for networking and mentorship. Steve has already been a big help on both these fronts.
My wife, who I met overseas, is originally from Brookfield. I have always loved coming back to visit her family here and have always loved the people of Wisconsin. As a Midwesterner myself (originally from Michigan), I just love this part of the country even after having lived on both coasts and overseas. The pace of life and the friendliness are unmatched anywhere.
Advice for other transitioning service members
Start early! Leverage your network. This includes people you know from your past, people in the geographic area you’d like to move to, family, etc. Possibly the most valuable group of people you should leverage are those fellow servicemembers you know who have recently gone through their transitions. There is always someone else who has gone through what you’re going through, so you’re not alone and you don’t need to figure it out from scratch.
Also, don’t artificially limit yourself. Think long and hard about what you want to do and type of future you want to shape for yourself and your family, and then get after it. Anything is possible if you simply find the right people to help you along the way.