Florida Accelerator
Skip Lange is the Florida Accelerator  manager working with Invictus.  To reach Skip +1.772.600.5269+1.772.600.5269 or eMail: Click Here.
Michael Corbit can be reached at 866-482-4473+1.866.482.4473 x 438.

Invictus -- Marine Corp To Security Stars

Phillip Noblin, Patrick Miller Michael Corbit

Recon Marines believe in honor, courage and integrity, so when Patrick Miller and Phil Noblin sat down at the kitchen table for their first business planning meeting, it was easy for them to define their core values.  Having served together they knew they could count on each other and that’s a critical attribute when you’re starting a company.  They also committed to doing it right.  Sometimes that is not so easy when building a business but that was their commitment and it’s worked well for them.

Skip Lange Phillip Noblin Patrick Miller

For the founders of Invictus, a security, training and logistics company headquartered in Boynton Beach, it hasn’t been a straight line to success.  In fact, they’ll be the first to tell you it hasn’t been easy.  “There were a lot of mornings we both showed up red-eyed from lack of sleep.  But we’re Marines so we kept on going” said Miller.

They felt they were in the right place at the right time as budgets for law enforcement were being slashed even though the need for security people was ever-increasing.  Military members with security training were leaving the service every day and would make excellent security personnel.  Indeed, in Florida the unemployment rate of young military veterans is over nine percent.  But by the end of 2012, things were difficult and Invictus needed a boost.  “Government red tape had us dead in the water.  It seemed everything we wanted to do just was taking more time than we had planned on.  We just needed something to get us moving again” explained Noblin.
That boost came from a nonprofit dedicated to helping military veterans who had their own business and wanted to move to the next level, Veterans’ Pathway.  Founded in 2011 by Jerry Kramer, a decorated Korean-war vet who returned to New York City “with no money, no skills but a lot of desire” says Kramer.  “I started selling cutlery door-to-door in New York City and got lucky because one of those doors was opened by a lumber company owner who offered me a job.”  Again there was no straight line to success but Kramer did well enough to initially fund Veterans’ Pathway to Business Success and it subsequently provided a grant of $30,000 to Invictus.
Shooting Instruction

Literally trapped in small, run-down offices that had minimal space to offer the Florida-certified security training that has become a cornerstone of Invictus’s success, a change was needed.  The $30,000 provided the impetus to effectuate those changes.  Entrepreneurs typically look at their P&L to see how they’re doing and that can result in either a smile or a frown.  And in some cases an ulcer.  But for Miller and Noblin the grant was just what they needed.

A tour of their renovated offices evoked prideful smiles.  “This conference room didn’t exist which was just as well because we wouldn’t have had a table for it anyway.”  Bedecked with awards and pictures of Miller, Noblin and fellow Marines it was something to be proud of.  “These desks and chairs out here in the office space are all new and our staff’s morale jumped up the scale” said Noblin.

Invictus Team with Michael Corbit

“But the best thing is our two new training rooms” smiled Miller. “We run training programs every day of every week and these two rooms help us to deliver training that exceeds the Florida state standards.  Employers sometimes offer our graduates jobs before they even complete the training.  That comes from doing it right.”  Targets cover the walls in both rooms.  “Before we even take our trainees to the firing range, we train them here on how to simply handle an unloaded weapon.  When we get to the range, they’re much more able to focus on firing a weapon.  We’ve found that’s the right way to do it” says Noblin.  “If they’re not ready, they get another day of classroom training.”

“The grant from Veterans’ Pathway really helped.  It made a world of difference” said Miller.  Veteran’s Pathway is a new partner with Career Source Research Coast and Florida Accelerator.  The three partner organizations help existing businesses accelerate their growth by providing marketing, management and financial counsel and mentoring.  Veterans’ Pathway was brought into the fold in order to help veteran and veteran-family owned businesses move to the next level.  “After all our service members have done for us, it’s an honor to give back to our vets and their families” says Arthur Esch, Managing Director.

“We’ve helped raise over $12 million in the past 18 months and using the state’s formula for job creation, that will help create over 200 new jobs.  We believe that a key way to create jobs is to make Florida companies more successful rather than trying to lure businesses from other states.  This kind of organic growth is much more beneficial than simply buying jobs” explained Michael Corbit from CSRC. 

Veterans’ Pathway no longer offers grants but does provide individualized education, mentoring and financial counsel to both veteran and non-veteran owners and senior leaders of growing companies.  “That’s the exciting part for us.  When we needed help before, Veterans’ Pathway was there.  Now they’re here for us again as we’re ready to take the next step of our growth and expand” concurred Miller and Noblin.

For more information, contact Skip Lange, Managing Director at SLange@FloridaAccelerator.com or call 772-600-5269.