Links made through military service led to business ownership for Jeff Black – The Fort Morgan Times
Jeff Black grew up in Estes Park and considers himself a Colorado native. After graduating from college in finance, he was working in a cabin in downtown Denver when he thought there had to be something better in life. His father was an Army veteran, and when he visited a friend who was in the military, Black decided to give it a try, too.
“I have always admired the military. I’ve always been a little bit in love with national security and wanted to serve to some extent, ”Black said.
He enlisted in the Army Reserves in 1997 and began working to earn a graduate degree to fall completely in love with the Army and its structure. In his search to try something rarer and to continue pursuing his passion for foreign languages and new cultures, Black enlisted in Psychological Operations (PSYOP), which is part of the Special Ops community. He loved it so much that he decided to go on active duty and was posted to Fort Bragg in North Carolina while not busy working in Southeast Asia, his area of expertise.
At the end of his four years of active service, he began to outsource because he and his wife were ready to return home to Colorado and start a family. They decided to take a vacation in Europe to reintegrate into civilian life. Then September 11 arrived. Black watched from Rome as he knew his time in the military was far from over. A stop-loss was adopted, meaning that Black’s active service was extended until further notice, although it didn’t matter at this point. He knew he would have come back up no matter what.
“Even if I wouldn’t have been forced to go home, I would have stayed. Just the call to duty at that point was so intense that there was no way I wasn’t going to stay and do my job. leave and be with my friends who were going to be part of the global war on terror at the time, ”he said.
Instead of immediately traveling to Afghanistan, Black thought it would be more helpful for him to focus on his specialty and put to use his experience and knowledge of Asian cultures and languages. He spoke to colleagues from Special Operations Command Pacific in Hawaii and was able to be stationed in the Philippines in March 2002. In October of the same year, a suicide bomber struck Bali, Indonesia. As an Indonesian specialist and someone who spoke the language, he returned to South East Asia and lived in the city of Jakarta, later living in countries all over from Bangladesh to Malaysia to Cambodia. .
In 2008, Black felt it was finally time to settle down. He left active service and returned to his home country, setting up a consulting firm – doing similar work to what he did in Southeast Asia – with a friend. He and his wife, Jill, began to expand their family, having three daughters between 2008 and 2012. Black remained in the Army Reserves, where he still teaches and writes doctrine for the US Army John F. Kennedy. Special Warfare Center and School (SWCS) at Fort Bragg. He also remained a member of the SOCOM Care Coalition, an organization that provides support and tuition for children of special operators who have been killed in the line of duty. His dedication and involvement in the military has now marked more than a quarter of a century.
“I hadn’t expected it to be 25 years, but Al Qaeda had other intentions, I guess,” he said. “If 9/11 had not happened, I would have returned to the civilian world and who knows where I would be today.
Back when Black was in Southeast Asia, his acquaintance Tripp Narrow, who also worked in PSYOP, focused on Afghanistan and other countries in the Middle East. Due to the extremely small nature of the PSYOP community, the two knew each other and even shared a common close friend named Roy… the same friend that Black would found his business with.
“Tripp was very much along the same lines. We worked with these specialized teams that were working out of these embassies in more non-traditional parts of the world where we didn’t have (a lot) of troops. We have worked with foreign military, foreign governments in their culture and in their language. We had an almost identical military background, ”Black said.
Black had finished his job at the company due to the expiration of some government contracts and was fully focused on his family when he received a random call from Narrow. Narrow was considering buying an existing business and wanted business advice from Black. The two met for coffee and exchanged war stories, business advice and plans for the future for hours.
“We walked away from this (meeting) without really thinking that we were going to go into business together, but a week or two later he called me back (and) offered me the idea of a partnership.” , Black said.
Black said if Narrow finds something financially viable and in a less populated area of Colorado, he would strongly consider the partnership. Six months later, Narrow called him and explained that he had met Jerry and Monica Wolfswinkel, a couple in Fort Morgan who were trying to sell a waste business called Wolf Waste Removal.
“As soon as he said Morgan County and Fort Morgan, I knew right away. Growing up in Estes Park, I played Brush (in sports). I knew the whole region. I thought, this is a great region with great people, people of the salt of the earth. I think it was just a really good game, ”said Black. “I am so lucky to have stumbled upon such a great company, and we are blessed every day to deal with great employees and exceptional people in the community. “
Black and Narrow bought the business in 2016 and will celebrate six years as owners in February 2022. They credit the Wolfswinkels for building such a renowned brand within the community, while leaving room for growth. in northeast Colorado. They also attribute the time spent at PSYOP to their customer service skills, stressing that you have to deal with a wide variety of people to be successful in business.
On this Veterans Day, Black said he would personally take the time to remember the men he served with, both those who are still alive and those who have passed away. He also encourages everyone to continue to be courteous and respectful to those who have served in the military, noting that a simple “thank you” goes a long way.
“The company has done a great job, especially over the past 20 years, showing the military’s respect and gratitude for the service the military provided after 9/11. I just hope we can maintain this and recognize that it is difficult. I think it’s important for civilians to understand that the veterans did a lot of things, and they also saw a lot of things, ”he said. “I am happy that we have Veterans Day and other times throughout the year where we stop and reflect in the service of those who ensure that these freedoms are not taken away from us by a foreign power. . I hope we will continue with this.