My maternal grandmother, pictured right with my grandfather, was a Marine in World War II. They met when serving in World War II when my grandfather was in the Navy.
My paternal grandfather also served in World War II in the Army. My father is also an Army Veteran, one of many exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. With military genes, I grew up with the best preparation for my time in the military including reveille school wake-ups, nighttime weather and attack drills, and of course, lots and lots of explosives (fireworks, cherry bombs, and gun powder OH MY). I’m so thankful for my family of heroes that came before me, paving the way for me to be strong, fierce, kind and of service to others.
Anatomy of an Idea
I’ve been and done lots of things in my lifetime and one prevailing theme has been that I am an “ideas” person, the kind of person who dreams outside the box, creating and making, big and small. So, when I ran across the VA Gun Safety Matters Challenge, a quest for an implementable solution that effectively deters suicide, injury, and accidents by firearm and creates a safer environment via a voluntary, autonomous device or system, I knew I needed to put my thinking cap on. As a Veteran of both the Navy and Army, and as a VA employee, I am heavily entrenched in both the local and national Veteran community. My knowledge and experience with Veterans, their relationship with guns and the importance of peer connection to the entire transition and healing process, led to the idea of the Guard Dog. I proudly entered the VA Gun Safety Matters Challenge thinking I had it already won the competition with the idea and creation of the Guard Dog – and I didn’t even place in the top 3. The more I spoke with friends, family and fellow Veterans, the more I knew I needed to make the Guard Dog come to fruition, but I also knew I needed help.
Building the Team
I knew I needed help putting together a team that could help me make my idea a reality. I did not even have to think twice before asking Erin to be my first team member. Because Erin and I share the same passion for saving lives, are motivated beyond belief by our passions and challenge each other to be better on a daily basis, it was a no-brainer to ask her to join the Dog Tag Technologies team. I’m thankful she said yes!
Finding a second individual to invite to the team took a little more time. I was an Electronics Technician in the Navy (a.k.a. Twidget) and I know a fair amount about electronics, computers, and technology but since my transition into case management, I knew I needed someone with more current expertise and thanks to my Army buddy, Joe, I found TJ Emsley. TJ was the perfect fit for Dog Tag Technologies’ Chief Technology Officer because of his broad knowledge of the platforms we need to make our product work, his natural curiosity and ability to problem solve, and because he also brings his wife Sonya’s creativity to the table. Sonya’s contributions and gifts to Dog Tag Technologies have been invaluable.
Thus far, on our journey, Dog Tag Technologies has had no shortage of amazing support from talented and giving individuals including those who invested early in our idea – our families, friends, our Scout Team, Warrior Rising, Apple Box Cinema, and countless others.
Thank you for being on this journey with us and stay tuned for many good things to come!
Chief Executive Officer