Vanquish Worldwide, LLC team wins performance excellence award for educating, empowering teamwork at Fort Rucker, AL

Posted on March 13, 2018 with No Comments

Vanquish Worldwide, LLC will be recognized and honored with the 2017 Alabama Performance Excellence Award Team Showcase Silver Award at the Annual Alabama Performance Excellence Program Conference and Banquet in May 2018.
The award recognizes Vanquish’s Transporters Kaizen Team located at Fort Rucker, AL for their outstanding performance and efforts in applying quality principles while educating employees within the business unit. This Silver Award exemplifies the benefits Quality leadership and empowered teams can bring to an organization. Vanquish’s Management fosters continuous improvements as a matter of procedure and is aggressively implementing ISO 9001:2015.
The Quality first approach synchronized with Quality tools such as process maps, flow charts and the application of lean tools, including fish bone diagrams, to deliver excellence to the customer. The Vanquish team worked to resolve a legacy challenge hindering maximum transportation service performance. During the course of the Kaizen event, the team efficiently capitalized on additional opportunities to improve multiple processes which significantly increased not only bus readiness but also data collection and reporting for the Vanquish Fort Rucker team and their customer as well.
Upon the start of the contract in November 2016, Vanquish Worldwide quickly identified challenges in maintaining the required number of buses to transport soldiers daily on and around the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence. The Vanquish Transporters Kaizen Team analyzed the problem, determined a feasible solution and implemented a plan to improve bus availability. Transportation support is a key contract performance metric and a key indicator of business performance.
In addressing the challenge, the team spread the much-needed bus repairs over five vendors instead of two established local vendors. In three months’ time, the change improved bus availability by 21 percent while reducing maintenance costs. The increase in bus availability ensured the required support for Flight School Students without straining resources. As a result, bus readiness is now meeting 100 percent of the customer’s schedule with, on average, just one or two buses out of service or in shop for repairs versus the previous average of five buses.
Vanquish Worldwide, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business based in Maryville, TN, provides prime contractor support in material and facility maintenance and transportation at Fort Rucker, AL in addition to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The work at Fort Rucker and Eglin AFB is among five locations where Vanquish provides U.S. Army Logistics Readiness Center Support.

Peak Technical Institute educates 1,590 students, contributes $1 million-plus to community since 2009

Posted on March 6, 2018 with No Comments

MARYVILLE, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Maryville, Tennessee-based Peak Technical Institute would like to congratulate its 1,590-plus graduates over its eight years of operation. We are proud to have helped propel these students into the careers of their dreams. As of January 2018, Peak is no longer enrolling new students.

Operating as a comprehensive state-of-the-art training institute since 2009, Peak provided an unparalleled commitment to its students, using a blend of classroom and hands-on training in a simulated or real-life environment and supplying the tools needed to make the most out of its students’ chosen career paths. Peak Technical Institute held certificate-granting programs in commercial driver training (Class A CDL), unexploded ordnance, professional household management, enlisted aide training and equine-assisted leadership training.

Commercial Driver Training (Class A CDL)

Peak’s CDL training quickly became the school’s flagship program, growing its student base seven-fold since the program’s inception. In addition to training new truck drivers, the CDL program worked in conjunction with sister company, Vanquish Logistics, to provide solid in-house CDL training for its over the road line haul asset-based transportation and logistics operation.

In recent years, the family of companies owned by Dr. Eric Barton has tailored its conglomerate business focus and sold several sister companies as growing, profitable entities, including several businesses in the transportation industry. These booming asset-based transportation providers support FedEx Ground as a subcontractor for pickup and delivery and over the road line haul services in both the Nashville and Knoxville markets. In addition, the entities held large contracts with Nissan, C.H. Robinson, Lamtech and other clients.

Professional Household Management Training

Throughout its years of educating the next generation, Peak has been fully committed to nurturing students’ education and future careers. Peak Technical Institute has awarded scholarships or forgiven student debt totaling $895,550.31, influencing not only the lives of the students, but also their families and their livelihoods. Peak is proud to announce that 85 percent of its graduates were placed in lifelong careers, many of whom earn $50,000 a year plus benefits in their new careers.

Peak also secured partnerships with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity (WIOA) and G.I. Bill® (Veterans Training) to secure education funding for students in need. Dozens of students attended Peak Technical Institute utilizing WIOA or Veterans Training funding benefits.

Unexploded Ordnance Training

Additionally, Peak donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to its beloved community, including monetary and labor donations to Blount County Habitat for Humanity, charity golf tournaments, United Way of Blount County and other local charitable organizations over the years. Peak was even a major sponsor of the Kentucky Derby in 2015.

Peak has now sold its educational training programs. Graduates of Peak Technical Institute are encouraged to reach out directly to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission should they need assistance in the future with their certificates earned at Peak. We wish all of our graduates the best of luck in all of their future endeavors.


Equine-assisted Leadership Training 

Enlisted Aide Training

Step in the right direction; Mane Support gets huge gift for expansion

Posted on December 22, 2017 with No Comments

Editor’s note: The following story appeared in The Daily Times —

By Melanie Tucker

Mane Support, Blount County’s and Tennessee’s only free-standing grief counseling center, has received a wonderful gift just in time for Christmas.

That gift comes in the form of new fencing, additional horses and funding that will put this equine-assisted center on the path to reaching more clients right here and the opportunity to branch out much further.

Dr. Eric Barton, founder, president and CEO of Maryville-based Vanquish Worldwide and owner of LexLin Gypsy Ranch in Rockwood, is donating 14 gypsy vanner horses to Mane Support. Ten of those horses will be sold beginning at midnight on Christmas Eve. The money from the sale will be donated to Mane Support. Barton will also provide $30,000 worth of fencing so Mane Support’s two pastures can become five. That will give this ministry more work space for its grief counseling and also leadership training.

Kim Henry, Mane Support’s CEO and founder, is ready with her new campaign, The Power of the Post. She said the need is for 500 posts in order to complete the fencing of the pastures. Through a partnership with AgCentral Farmers Co-Op in Maryville, the community is invited to come alongside and help. Individuals, businesses or other organizations can purchase posts in honor or in memory of someone. The co-op will sell them for $8.19 each. Plaques will be placed on the posts for those who purchase them.

There’s Work To Do

The fencing will need to be in place soon, Henry said. She will be receiving four horses, two that will stay at Mane Support and two that will be donated to a therapeutic center in Morristown. Any of the 10 horses that don’t sell will also be kept here. The date for the horses to arrive is Jan. 19, 2018.

“This gift of Eric’s allows us to make a stronger foundation for Mane Support and its services, by adding posts to make it stronger,” Henry said. “Metaphorically, people who invest in Mane Support are that foundation of support that allows for more to be done.”

The horses being donated are gypsy vanners, Henry explained. It is a domestic horse that originally came from the British Isles. The gypsy vanner is known for its sweet disposition. The breed is strong but mild-mannered enough to be with children. Henry has one gypsy vanner at Mane Support now. She has used Hopeful Cherokee Gold in her work with first responders who worked during the horrific and deadly wildfires in Gatlinburg last year.

The fencing, rubber mats and horses are part of what is being called the Barton Legacy Project, Henry said. The funding will assist Mane Support in obtaining more staff and increasing structures here in Blount County. All of Mane Support’s programs will also be aided by this gift, Henry said. Programs include Supporting Our Schools, Horses Helping Heroes, Changing Reins, HOPE, which stands for Horses Offering Peer Encouragement for teens, internship opportunities and also individual, group and family equine assisted grief counseling services.

Clients of all ages work through their grief of losing someone they know, other trauma or post traumatic stress disorder.


Stretching its legs

The goal is to also implement the Mane Support Model training for other facilities nationally and to implement a partnership with Ridin’ High in Morristown. That would allow Mane Support to extend its reach from Morristown to Pigeon Forge and Gatliburg to White Pine and Johnson City.

MANE Support is licensed through EAGALA, Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association. The grief counseling is done on the ground instead of on horseback.

“All of this has one goal,” Henry said. “To reach more children, families, individuals and groups who have experienced the effects of grief and trauma, to provide opportunities for interns and practicum students so that learning and training takes place and the sustainability of Mane Support and the Barton Legacy continues. And lastly, to provide a safe and secure environment where grief and loss can be expressed when words are too difficult.”

Henry and Barton met back in 2013 when Henry took part in the Leading by the Reins Leadership Program which Barton oversees with his Peak Technical Institute.

Another way to pitch in

In addition to the campaign to purchase posts for the pastures at Mane Support, there is also another way this community can get involved. Henry will hold work days on Jan. 12-15, 2018 before the horses arrive. Anyone who would like to help is welcome. Henry said that could include school groups, churches, Scouts or businesses and individuals.

“On the work days we will need tractors, augers, those who know about fencing and those who don’t,” Henry said. “Whatever time can be given will be greatly appreciated as everyone’s time and skills will be important.”

Barton said he is proud to be able to help Mane Support with its mission of serving others. He said this donation of horses is being done though the Gypsy Gift program. Barton and LexLin have donated horses whose total worth is over $1.1 million.

Barton is the largest breeder of Gypsy Vanner horses in North America. He has imported more than 500 of the horses.

And while he has donated more than 65 horses to centers across the U.S., Mane Support is the first center Barton has donated to that does its counseling with clients who stay on the ground and don’t ride.

“We are proud, happy and honored to be a part of this with Mane Support,” Barton said.

Gathering Intelligence: Former Marine Eric Barton Has Found His Callings

Posted on November 3, 2017 with No Comments

Editor’s Note: The following Veterans Spotlight story was featured in Knoxville’s Cityview Magazine.

By Chrissy Keuper, Cityview Magazine –

Eric Barton is leading a tour around the Villa Collina, his 40,250-square-foot Italianate mansion in Knoxville, high on a bluff above a bend in the Tennessee River. As he explains the energy improvements that he’s overseen, the art and design choices that he’s made, and the philanthropic events he’s using the house for, it becomes obvious that he is a person who knows exactly what he wants and how to get it.

His confidence is contagious:

“My mother was 13 years old when she got pregnant with me and I’m her only child… she had a tough upbringing. Growing up, she drank and did all the things she shouldn’t have been doing, but she told me I could do anything, told me I was the best thing that ever happened to her—that’s the first memory that I have. That brought me a lot of confidence. I am completely, 100 percent confident in myself and I want everyone to be that way.”

Barton was born on the 5th of December 1975 in the small town of Centralia, Illinois, and grew up down the road in Sandoval. He graduated high school in 1993 as a junior at age 17, one of a class of 31 people. He immediately enlisted in the Marine Corps:

“My father was a Marine. I actually looked at the Air Force, first. I wanted to be an electronics technician, a satellite technician, but chose the Marine Corps. I’m a little biased toward the Marine Corps. The Corps expects more from a person, you know: ‘the few, the proud.’ It’s what they hang their hat on.”

Following boot camp and combat training, Barton attended school for 13 months to be a satellite technician. Stationed in Okinawa, Japan, he was able to travel to other parts of Asia during his tour. He also began his Associates Degree in Computer Studies, through the University of Maryland’s Asian Division, finishing in 1996 when he returned to the US. It was the first of a handful of degrees he has earned, so far:

“Education is important. It makes me a more rounded person, and it sets an example…. Education is critical. It’s always been big for me, personally and professionally, so whenever I have free time, I’ll start another degree or do courses. I try to read a book a week, every week. I can’t be 5000 years old, but my mind can have 5000 years of wisdom.”

While he was stationed at Camp LeJeune, Barton began a Bachelor of Science in Electronics Management from the University of Southern Illinois, finishing in 2001, at the same University where many of his friends in Illinois completed their programs of study…and he had already been out of the country and seen part of the world. He was commissioned as a Sergeant and attended The Basic School, the Marine Corps’ officer candidates school in Quantico, Virginia. When he finished, there were four slots for Ground Intelligence, which is where he wanted to work:

“Ground Intelligence involves officers and commanders in the operating forces responsible for analyzing intelligence and planning deployment and tactical employment of ground surveillance and reconnaissance units.”

From 2001 to 2003, Barton was deployed in the Gulf of Aden with the 2nd Marine Division as an Antiterrorism/Force Protection Officer and Top Secret Control officer; then with the 1st Battalion, 10th Marines, where he was named a top lieutenant; then as Captain and Senior Analyst with the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa National Intelligence Cell in eastern Africa. He spent those two years on a ship in the Persian Gulf. It was the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in the US and it was a busy time in the region:

“We had 32 analysts and I was a Captain at the time, so I was in charge of briefings in the evenings. We would gather intelligence on transregional terrorism: people, equipment, and weapons of mass destruction, as they were moving throughout eastern Africa, across the Gulf into Yemen, the Saudi peninsula, and into Iraq.”

A Tug at the Heart

While deployed, Eric earned his Master of Business Administration in Information Technology, and he and his wife decided to adopt two boys from Ethiopia. “I got out in 2003 and I went back that next summer and brought them home to Georgia, where the family was living at the time, in November of 2004.” The boys are the youngest of Eric’s five children.

From 2003 to 2009, Eric was with the USMC Individual Ready Reserve, though not a part of the active military. “I’d been active for 11 years and I loved it, I’d had a great career, just a wonderful career. And the reason I got out—there was just a tug at my heart, something calling me to get out. It was a scary decision, to do that.” He earned a Master of Public Administration in Knowledge Management, began working as the Youth Director at Bethany Presbyterian Church in Conyers, and began attending Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta to earn a Master of Divinity degree: “I felt a pretty strong calling—early in 2000, really.”

In 2005, Eric became an ordained Presbyterian minister and attended the US Army Chaplain School at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He was also offered a one-year contract as a project manager in Baghdad, Iraq. “The offer was $250,000 for the year. I’d never made that kind of money before. It would definitely help us out, as we were trying to get out of school debt and adoption debt, and get me on track to find a more stable job in the States.” A friend told him that with his military background, he’d be perfect for the job.

“Didn’t mean to, just saw an opportunity.”

A private security team picked Eric up at the airport in Baghdad and transported him to the Green Zone to help manage an IT contract for the Forward Operating Base (FOB) Shield. “I’d been in seminary for two years and then all of a sudden, I was in a war zone.” When the job was finished, he was offered another opportunity to assist the US military’s transition to private security contracts, devising a security plan for truck convoys that were moving fuel and materials all over Iraq to and from Camp Taji, where the Iraqi Mechanized Division was located. “Two hundred and fifty places we’ve gotta deliver, it was taking tens of thousands of troops, it was dangerous, so the idea was to see if contractors could do it cheaper and more effectively. We were coming up with a methodology for doing this.”

He ran the convoys at night with a mixture of American and Kurdish personnel. “We delivered everything on time, or early, and no one was hurt. A few bombs blew up in front of us, or hit the back of the truck, but none of our people were hurt.” As a result, Eric contracted for the next three years, working with 25 teams. That experience led to Eric starting Critical Mission Support Services in Maryville, Tennessee (sold in 2010 and rebranded as RELYANT). “That set a foundation,” and in 2007, he started Vanquish Worldwide, LLC. (In 2011, Vanquish won a $985 million contract with National Afghan Trucking, delivering fuel and materials to all of the US FOBs in Afghanistan and the Middle East.) He was running multiple companies at the same time and employing about 11,000 people.

He also fell into the restaurant business, buying into Fort-Lauderdale, Florida-based Froots, and helping the company win a contract to provide a healthy alternative to fast food on US military bases.

“Didn’t mean to, just saw an opportunity,” is a statement that appears to be Eric’s business mantra. “In 2008, I was in Dubai looking for a car and I saw this magazine with these beautiful horses on it and I thought, ‘I’ve never seen this kind of horse.’ It looks like a Clydesdale, but it’s smaller.”

Gypsy Vanner horses are named after the Romany Gypsies (the name Vanner comes from “caravan”). They’re bred to be able to pull heavy wagons or vardos and to be docile enough for children to care for and learn to ride. Eric and his family bought some land and opened LexLin Gypsy Ranch in Rockwood, Tennessee, for breeding and selling Gypsy Vanner horses. “We also have a leadership course—we take police officers and executives and people who’ve never been on a horse and do a weekend leadership seminar, using the horse as a training aid.” Some of the horses are sold and some are donated to therapy centers across the country.

These are only a few examples of Barton’s business endeavors and philanthropy efforts. His companies hire lots of veterans and former military members and in 2010, he got involved with the Tennessee Veterans Business Association, supporting veterans as they become entrepreneurs themselves. He has sponsored refugees from Iraq and other countries; is a member of various philanthropic boards; and donates millions to charities, foundations, scholarships, and endowments.

He attributes his success mostly to his theological and military backgrounds. “My personal faith has helped me understand and love and cherish differences and not be, in any way, shaken by someone else’s faith.” The Marines provided him with the experience of working around people with lots of different cultural and religious traditions. “It’s the majority of the foundation of who I am. From 17 on, it was the experience and the leadership that the Marine Corps gave me. Some of it’s haphazard, some of it’s not.” Barton’s experience provided a network of people and potential business contacts, and it taught him that if something needed to be done, he should learn how to do it, himself.

“We needed weapons, so I became pretty proficient at understanding the Department of Defense trade controls and licensing process. I go to a country to do logistics, but I need security, so I find out how to do security. And I’ve gotta have good communications, so I figure out how to have a communications system, based on my background as a satellite technician. I have a trucking company [Vanquish Express] and I need drivers, so I started the school in 2009 [Peak Technical Institute in Maryville], and we graduate 50 students a month, now.” Eric himself qualified for a commercial driver’s license so that he would know what was involved. And you can call him Dr. Barton. In 2016, he received his Doctorate of Business Administration in Leadership.

Category: Vanquish Worldwide

Jenny of LexLin Making Strides in Therapy Center Work After LexLin Gypsy Gift Donation

Posted on January 9, 2017 with No Comments

With the donation of 45 Gypsy Vanner horses over the past three years as part of the LexLin Gypsy Gift program, LexLin Gypsy Ranch has seen these horses affect 169,000 lives on average per year or 3.4 million lives, not including their families, loved ones and friends, over the next two decades.

Each horse’s impact is unique, but LexLin is honored to share updates on their Gypsy Vanners’ positive impact in PATH International Premier Accredited therapy centers across the U.S.

Indiana-based Reins of Life Inc. Therapeutic Riding Center was awarded Jenny of LexLin in the 2015 Gypsy Gift program. Since arriving at the therapy center, Jenny has completed training to become a therapeutic riding horse.

“Reins of Life received a grant from St. Joseph Community Foundation to pay for training Jenny. She was sent to Elizabeth Grainger, owner/trainer of Grainger Dressage in South Bend, IN for three months of professional training,” Reins of Life Instructor Holly Byers said. “Once she was back home, she received another three months of in-house training with Elizabeth and the instructors at Reins of Life.

“While it was a big task for a therapeutic riding center to take on a horse that wasn’t trained to ride, many involved with her will agree that she was one of the most trainable horses they have worked with,” she added. “She is so incredibly smart and willing to please.”

Jenny was introduced to the Reins of Life herd with her very own jubilee; complete with pink princess tiara cakes, a blessing of the herd and a demonstration of Jenny’s abilities to an audience of close to 100 people.

“It was her very first public performance and she acted like a seasoned pro. Everyone involved with Reins of Life quickly fell in love with her,” Byers said.

Jenny began working with students in the spring of 2016, and she now participates in 3-4 lessons a week and continues to work with the instructors to continue developing her skills.

“She is quickly showing that her specialty lies with some of our youngest students. They love to play soccer on her,” Byers said. “Thank you again for this wonderful mare. She is my princess and I adore her.”

Peak Technical Institute’s new Hospitality Programs prepare individuals for ‘exciting, rewarding’ careers, boost local economies

Posted on December 27, 2016 with No Comments

Maryville-based private occupational school Peak Technical Institute is pleased to announce the roll out of its newest hospitality and professional service courses Housekeeping Training and Food & Beverage Service starting in early 2017, preparing individuals for an exciting, rewarding career in a robust industry.

“Individuals can come here and change their careers and lives in just a matter of weeks in our hospitality programs,” Peak Technical Institute President and CEO Dr. Eric W. Barton said. “Imagine the impact we can make in Knoxville, Tennessee and the nation.”

Peak’s Housekeeping Training Program hones roles and responsibilities of a housekeeper/room attendant, reflecting high standards of work, customer service, personal hygiene/attributes, cleaning methods, rooms, housekeeping services, laundry, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and many more relevant topics. The Food & Beverage Service program prepares students in food and beverage service, hygienic food and beverage, resume writing 101, customer service and basic knowledge on understanding risks and preventative measures at work.

Both the Housekeeping and Food & Beverage Service programs are approved through the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

Program Director and Instructor Jason King said the two newest hospitality courses under the Peak brand are “revolutionary” for the region’s industry.

“These types of trainings are new and revolutionary for the hospitality industry, offering students a well-rounded education for whenever they start their new careers,” King said. “Students in our Food & Beverage, housekeeping or hospitality programs will graduate better prepared for the industry and will be one step ahead of their competition, increasing their potential for future success in this robust industry.”

Peak will be collaborating with the Greater Knoxville Hospitality Association and area Chambers of Commerce in an effort to place graduating students in successful, rewarding job opportunities.

GKHA, a nonprofit membership organization for hotels/lodging, restaurants, venues, attractions, services and suppliers of hospitality and tourism sectors, encompasses more than 9,000 lodging and hotel rooms within the Knoxville region of Knox, Anderson, Blount, Roane and Loudon counties.

“The hospitality industry is the No. 2 industry in the state of Tennessee,” GKHA Executive Director Jill Thompson said. “With 225 hotels in just the Knoxville area alone, this new program will not only be pivotal for individuals looking for a new career with vast opportunities but will also be beneficial for our local economies.”

For more information or to sign up, visit or contact Peak at 855-399-7325.

Category: Uncategorized

DEMA Announces Association Expansion to Tennessee, Offers Additional Services for Members

Posted on December 27, 2016 with No Comments

Domestic Estate Management Association (DEMA), an international educational association for the private service community, is pleased to announce expansion of its member offerings worldwide with new office space in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The added space, with the support of existing DEMA offices in Michigan and Orlando, will open in early 2017. In partnership with local private occupational school Peak Technical Institute, DEMA will offer training workshops and program offerings in the hospitality and professional service industries, utilizing the magnificent Villa Collina mansion, the largest multimillion dollar home in the state of Tennessee.

DEMA is thrilled to have this opportunity to expand our support with this new DEMA location. With members throughout the U.S. and internationally, our new Knoxville office offers centrally-located support with new opportunities through the Villa Collina,” DE
MA President and Co-Founder Matthew Hack said.

The Villa Collina, constructed in the late 1990s, is a 36,720 square-foot mansion poised on 8 acres of rolling hills at the bank of the majestic Tennessee River in Knoxville, Tennessee. The beautiful Villa Collina features 50 rooms, including 8 bedrooms, 11 full bathrooms, indoor and outdoor pools and features a host of unique entertaining amenities, including a 2,600 square-foot wine cellar, sauna, dance floor, exercise room, tri-level library, home theatre and staff quarters.

DEMA will utilize the estate for a variety of DEMA functions, including conferences, workshops and member gatherings.

“2017 is going to be an exceptionally exciting year for DEMA,” Vice President and Co-Founder Michael Wright said. “The Villa Collina is a beautiful piece of Tennessee history that will greatly benefit DEMA and its members.”

Prided as the largest private service professional association, DEMA has expanded to over 50 states and 18 countries to raise industry standards.

Vanquish Worldwide Announces President and CEO Eric W. Barton Receives Doctorate Degree

Posted on December 1, 2016 with No Comments

eb-walden-graduation-20Vanquish Worldwide, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, is pleased to announce Founder, President and CEO Eric W. Barton received his doctorate degree in business administration with a specialization in leadership from Walden University on July 16, 2016, building upon his dream of becoming a well-rounded entrepreneur and offering practical experience to other growing small businesses around the country.eb-walden-graduation-13

Dr. Barton’s dissertation, “Perceived Best Practices of Small Business Executives in War Zones,” builds upon Barton’s practical experience overseas single-handedly helping his small businesses and startups, including Vanquish Worldwide, become and maintain profitability for over a decade.

“A goal of mine since childhood was to earn the title Dr., the highest form of scholarship. Over the past 7+ years, my family and friends patiently supported my aspirations,” Barton said. “Thank you for your support and friendship over the years.”

Degree commencement was held at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Md.

In July and August, Dr. Eric W. Barton co-authored several articles to be published in peer-reviewed journals. He is also up for Walden University’s doctoral study research award for the year.


LexLin Gives Back – Part 3 of 3: Understanding The Dream

Posted on October 1, 2016 with Comments Off on LexLin Gives Back – Part 3 of 3: Understanding The Dream

LexLin Gives Back is a three-part blog series that tells the story of LexLin’s Gypsy Gift donation campaign through the eyes of the children of LexLin Gypsy Ranch owners Eric and Mechelle Barton. Cody King, the eldest of two girls and three boys, writes the third and final installment in the blog series. Cody writes on how Eric, Mechelle and the LexLin family has inspired him to want to change the lives of others. From all of us at LexLin Gypsy Ranch, we hope that you have enjoyed this unique perspective from LexLin’s next generation.


Cody is the eldest of Eric and Mechelle Barton’s two girls and three boys.

My name is Cody and I am 22 years old, which makes me the oldest of the five children. Throughout my life, I have had the opportunity to spend time with my parents while the younger kids were able to play. At times, I enjoyed the quality time. On the other hand, I had to do “adult” work, but now I would never trade listening to my parents’ dreams and ambitions for LexLin.


As I listen to the people that now have these incredible horses, read testimonials on the programs that they are in, and mostly see the change that is happening around me every day because of Gypsy Gift, I pause in my life. I am impacted! My life changes because I can reflect on how blessed I am to have a family that instills giving back. I am not personally injured. I am not a veteran. I am not sick or disabled BUT being a part of this and seeing the growth of Gypsy Gift reminds me to thank those who are heroes and fight for our country as they are all around us every day. This program instills passion and allows me to see without judgment, as we never know when our own life could change in an instant, what our families and communities may face throughout life, or what our future children and neighbors will experience in the future. To see life through a different lens is sometimes hard but very necessary at times. This is what seeing this project means to me.

As I reflect back on LexLin throughout the years and read my sisters’ blogs, I thinking about Debra Rogers’ testimonial on her experience with Stormy.

From left, Lexi, Eric and Cody pose for a photo at a Gypsy Vanner horse ranch in Wales in 2010.

From left, Lexi, Eric and Cody pose for a photo at a Gypsy Vanner horse ranch in Wales in 2010.

“I have seen and interacted with one of their Gypsy horses. The horse I refer to is Stormy with Equest Hooves For Heroes (H4H). I just have never seen a more calm, friendly horse in all my life! Not only does Stormy possess strength, great build, and great color, he has an excellent disposition. I’m thankful to LexLin for this donation and can testify that if all their horses are like Stormy – then all their horses are awesome!”




It really hit home when I read that word. All of the horses at LexLin may not have the same personality or end up walking a similar journey, but they cultivate a unique and powerful disposition through their home base at LexLin Gypsy Ranch. They are able to reach a greater potential than ever imagined.

A young Cody learns how to ride a horse.

A young Cody learns how to ride a horse.

It is more than just a horse. It is these horses’ journey through the hearts and hands at LexLin that love and care for these lively creatures that enables them to have a giving heart to the people and places that they come in contact with through Gypsy Gift.


Even though we call it “Gypsy Gift,” as we visualize these horses gifted to PATH International Premier Accredited centers, we forget about the relationship and journey that continues to grow and develop mutually between the centers and the horses. The caring individuals at LexLin are making a difference in the centers by providing a well-trained and beautiful Gypsy Vanner but more importantly a horse that has a heart bigger than imaginable that is able to love the people that he or she meets. The programs that these Gypsy Vanners are becoming a part of are making a difference, and the opportunity to see Gypsy Vanners from LexLin take part in being one piece of the puzzle is truly inspiring.

Cody and Eric Barton pose for a photo during an Honoring Our Heroes event for law enforcement, firefighters and EMTs in 2015. The event was hosted by sister companies Vanquish Worldwide, LexLin Gypsy Ranch, Peak Technical Institute and Front Range Training and Consulting.

Cody and Eric Barton pose for a photo during an Honoring Our Heroes event for law enforcement, firefighters and EMTs in 2015. The event was hosted by sister companies Vanquish Worldwide, LexLin Gypsy Ranch, Peak Technical Institute and Front Range Training and Consulting.

LexLin is continually pushing forward and living out the motto, “Living The Dream.” A dream is exactly how this started in the first place, and the dreams of my family and the people that we call family on the ranch are always ready to listen to new ideas and opportunities. My parents are “go-getters” in the work place, and I am excited to see what is to come in the rest of 2016. If you know either of them, then you know 2016 is not over until the ball drops. LexLin hopes to donate 10 more horses in this year alone, and I cannot wait to see where these horses will go and the changes that will be made.


It is exciting to see the many opportunities that have risen from LexLin’s events new and old such as Honoring our Heroes, LexLin’s horse auction benefitting Smoky Mountain Service Dogs, our open houses, and donating part of individual sales to local charities in the community.

Dances With Horses was an event that LexLin took part in this year. I was able to spend time with friends and family, learn more about local businesses and impacts horses make, watch my mom perform a dance routine in the entertainment part of the night’s fundraiser, and mostly see LexLin help another incredible program Horse Haven.


Ben, from left, Cody and Lindie, three of Eric and Mechelle Barton’s children, pose for a photo at LexLin Gypsy Ranch.

Ben, from left, Cody and Lindie, three of Eric and Mechelle Barton’s children, pose for a photo at LexLin Gypsy Ranch.

LexLin went beyond its three-year goal of donating 10 horses a year and now has donated 45 horses over the past three years. The LexLin motto “Living The Dream” is not about my dream, my parents’ personal dreams or business dreams, my siblings’ dreams, or the dreams of the programs and charities that we collaborate with throughout the years. It is a LIVING dream that continues every day and does not belong to one individual. It is the collective life dreams of everyone coming together and breaking through what one could create on his or her own.

Give back. YOU can help someone and maybe that person will do the same for another just as these Gypsy Vanners dedicate their life purpose to helping others.


Whether you want to attend a LexLin open house, help or donate at a LexLin charity event, simply share a charity contest on social media, or take part in something in your own community – remember to live the dream. Share your unique ideas and dreams with others around you. You never know the imprint that you may leave on somebody or the impact something may have that could positively change your life.



The Barton family, along with their companies LexLin Gypsy Ranch and Vanquish Worldwide make a donation to Smoky Mountain Service Dogs during a 2014 SMSD Benefit Auction at LexLin.

The Barton family, along with their companies LexLin Gypsy Ranch and Vanquish Worldwide make a donation to Smoky Mountain Service Dogs during a 2014 SMSD Benefit Auction at LexLin.

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LexLin Gives Back – Part 2 of 3: Sharing The Dream

Posted on September 1, 2016 with No Comments

LexLin Gives Back is a three-part blog series that tells the story of LexLin’s Gypsy Gift donation campaign through the eyes of the children of LexLin Gypsy Ranch owners Eric and Mechelle Barton.  Lexi Barton, the eldest daughter of two girls and three boys, writes the following blog. In this second blog, Lexi shares her perspective on how LexLin has seen an outpouring of support for LexLin’s Gypsy Gift program over the years and how countless lives have been impacted across the country. The three-part blog series will conclude with a final blog written by Cody, which will be published Oct. 1st. From all of us at LexLin Gypsy Ranch, we hope that you enjoy this unique perspective from LexLin’s next generation.

Lexi Barton, the eldest daughter of two girls and three boys, shares her perspective on how LexLin has seen an outpouring of support for LexLin’s Gypsy Gift program.

Since we have begun this “Give Back” journey, we have seen our LexLin following grow exponentially. Being a part of this experience that provides services for others has been an incredible journey. Providing people in need with an opportunity to impact and enrich the lives of the developmentally disabled, sick, injured, troubled and developing lives on a daily basis by receiving one of LexLin Gypsy Vanner horses is an honor. Gypsy Horses are gentle loving animals and we at LexLin do believe our horses are fit for this type of work.  I believe that LexLin has given me the surest way to find happiness in my own life, which is to help others find happiness in theirs, whether that be across the U.S. or around the world.

Lexi pictured at the Smoky Mountain Service Dogs Auction, where LexLin donated proceeds from the day’s horse auction to the nonprofit program, which helps disabled veterans by pairing them with service dogs.

Lexi pictured at the Smoky Mountain Service Dogs Auction, where LexLin donated proceeds from the day’s horse auction to the nonprofit program, which helps disabled veterans by pairing them with service dogs.

For me, I have been in awe over the years witnessing all of the positive feedback on LexLin’s Facebook and other social media accounts. I love to read the testimonials and positive feedback these horses have been making in people’s lives. LexLin has donated 45 horses within the past three years with plans to donate many more to PATH International Premier Accredited therapy centers. These have an impact on 169,000 lives on average per year or 3.4 million lives, not including their families, loved ones and friends, over the next two decades. Here is some feedback we have gotten over the years that have really touched my heart.

LexxiBeth, a Gypsy Vanner President & CEO Dr. Eric W. Barton named after his eldest daughter, Lexi.

LexxiBeth, a Gypsy Vanner President & CEO Dr. Eric W. Barton named after his eldest daughter, Lexi.

“I have experienced first-hand what a difference a good horse can make to a therapy program!” Ginger Krause said. “It is just incredible that 10 of these gorgeous and kind horses will go to such deserving centers from the generosity of the LexLin Gypsy Ranch!”

Lexi, far right, and her younger sister Lindie pictured during a Veteran’s Day parade.

Lexi, far right, and her younger sister Lindie pictured during a Veteran’s Day parade.

And another:

“I have seen and interacted with one of their Gypsy horses. The horse I refer to is Stormy with Equest Hooves For Heroes (H4H). I just have never seen a more calm, friendly horse in all my life! Not only does Stormy possess strength, great build, and great color, he has an excellent disposition,” Debra Rogers said. “I’m thankful to LexLin for this donation and can testify that if all their horses are like Stormy – then all their horses are awesome!”

Gypsy Gift Mapping-01

Through Gypsy Gift, the community plays a pivotal role on which PATH center will receive a Gypsy Vanner horse. How the voting process works is based on fan favorites. When in the running, the community will vote for a fan favorite by “liking” and sharing through Facebook to spread the word. After the centers have been selected, the top nominated and one client selected by Lexlin staff will be able to enter the Lexlin Gypsy Gift program.

This year’s Gypsy Gift campaign received overwhelming support with 33 therapy centers receiving a combined 171,675 votes in less than two months of voting. Several of the winning centers received more than 1,000 votes in one day towards the end of the voting phase, and the winning centers from No. 3 through No. 11 varied fan favorite placement day to day. The 11th place center received 13,000 votes and was only 161 votes behind the 10th place center.

A teenaged Lexi shows affection to the Gypsy Vanners at the LexLin Ranch in Rockwood, TN.

A teenaged Lexi shows affection to the Gypsy Vanners at the LexLin Ranch in Rockwood, TN.

While our family has seen an overwhelmingly positive response to our Gypsy Gift initiative, it has been even more powerful for me and my family to witness the positive impact LexLin’s Gypsy Vanner horses are making in countless lives each week. According to feedback we’ve gotten from some of these therapy centers, each of the horses regularly impact 50-100 lives on a weekly basis. And as you can see in the graphic included in this blog, these horses and therapy centers are spread across the United States.

“We were really excited about receiving the horse,” Emily Gardner, with one of the therapeutic centers receiving a Gypsy Vanner said. “It will add additional spots to our schedule that we couldn’t have done before.”

Giving to PATH-accredited centers was the perfect fit and exposed the Gypsy Vanners to an even greater potential of positively influencing as many lives as possible. PATH International, dedicated to promoting safe and effective therapeutic horseback riding throughout the U.S. and Canada, has more than 850 member centers and nearly 7,600 individual members in countries all over the world today who help and support more than 54,000 men, women and children with special needs each year through a variety of equine-assisted activities and therapy programs.

LexLin only picks the very best purebred Gypsy Vanners, which are DNA verified Gypsy horses registered with the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society, providing the horses with only the best care and professional training.

“Gypsies are wonderfully suited for therapeutic purposes with their build, temperament, size and love for people,” LexLin President and CEO Dr. Eric W. Barton said. “We want to enable people in need around the U.S. to have access to these extremely tractable horses as it’s amazing to witness what these horses can do for improving health, skills and overall improved healing and quality of life for many people. PATH-accredited centers are giving back to people on a daily basis and we strongly believe in their programs and want to give back to communities around the U.S. in this special way.”


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