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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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!”
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.
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.”
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. The following blog is written by Lindie Barton, the middle child of two girls and three boys. In this first blog, Lindie shares her perspective on the impact LexLin’s Gypsy Gift program has made on countless lives across the country. The second blog will be written by Lexi and will be published on our website Sept. 1st, and 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.
A 10-year-old Lindie Barton poses for a photo with LexLin’s Lindie’s Promise in 2010.
My name is Lindie Barton, the 16-year-old daughter of LexLin Gypsy Ranch owners Eric and Mechelle Barton. Over the last six years, the most formative years of my young adult life, I believe – I have witnessed my parents’ ever-growing desire to do something big for society. One of their biggest charitable missions eventually became LexLin’s beloved Gypsy Gift program. This emotionally-riddled, yet awe-inspiring program has taught me some very important lessons in life. One in particular that has stuck with me over the years is that helping others is a priceless, precious gift.
This blog, LexLin Gives Back, begins a three-part series on the evolution of the LexLin Gypsy Gift program, why LexLin gives back, its charitable mission and the positive response we have seen from this wonderful program and how the horses have positively changed lives. I hope that you enjoy my take on the LexLin Gypsy Gift program.
Lexi and Lindie playing at the LexLin Ranch in Rockwood, TN.
My Mom and Dad created Rockwood, TN-based LexLin Gypsy Ranch in 2009 as a family business with the motto of “living the dream.” The ranch was named after my sister Lexi and I; and ultimately for LexLin and its owners, living the dream means giving back to the community. LexLin has donated 45 horses within the past 3 years: 6 being donated in 2013, 17 in 2014, 10 in 2015 and 11 more in 2016. Their goal was to donate at least 30 horses by the end of a three-year period from 2014-2016. Our family has exceeded that goal by putting tons of time and dedication into LexLin and its multiple charitable programs such as LexLin Gives Back – Honoring Our Heroes Event, Honoring Our Heroes’ successor LexLin Gypsy Gift Program and donations to veteran-based Smoky Mountain Service Dogs and other nonprofit organizations.
The LexLin Gives Back – Honoring Our Heroes Event was LexLin’s first charitable program dedicated to giving back to its community. It was a great program based on giving back to our veterans by donating a Gypsy Vanner to a veteran who has served at least 1 year in Iraq or Afghanistan. In 2011, LexLin held its first annual LexLin Gives Back – Honoring Our Heroes Contest. The winner of this contest was Chris Kelly, a veteran of California who won LexLin’s Braveheart. In 2012, LexLin held its second annual contest, which was won by firefighter Jason Warrenfeltz, who won LexLin’s Swade. The third and last annual contest for LexLin Gives Back – Honoring Our Heroes Event was held in 2013 and for the first time, fans and customers of LexLin chose the horse and its recipient. The horse donated for that final year was Stormy, a black and white tobiano Gypsy Vanner who won the hearts of many and was selected for the program. During the voting stages, two applicants quickly rose to the forefront of the voting phase. One applicant was an outstanding individual whose support was well organized by a family member and the other was the Equest Hooves for Heroes program in Texas. My parents quickly realized that the customers and fans of LexLin know best who could really use a Gypsy Vanner horse for therapeutic purposes. LexLin’s Gypsy Gift program was born.
Lexi and Lindie Barton goof off during the 2014 horse auction to benefit Smoky Mountain Service Dogs.
From Honoring Our Heroes came LexLin’s Gypsy Gift Program, which is a program to raise, train and donate LexLin Gypsy Horses for future careers in Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) for nonprofit centers accredited through PATH International. Through these PATH International Premier Accredited therapy centers, LexLin’s Gypsy Vanners work with military veterans and law enforcement suffering from PTSD, amputees, at-risk youth, autistic children, disabled adults, abused women and even families suffering the loss of a young child.
“If one horse on average reaches 56 people on a weekly basis that gives 45 LexLin Gypsy Vanners a chance to impact lives 126,000 times in one year alone, assuming that the horses need two weeks off during the year for sickness, holidays, etc. We’re not even taking into consideration the impact that therapy has on the families, friends and loved ones of that person working with the horse,” President and CEO Dr. Eric W. Barton said. “Imagine how many lives can be touched over 20-plus years with these 45 horses alone. The impact would reach 2.5 million lives.”
Lindie and Eric Barton spend quality father-daughter time together on the ranch.
These horses have touched the lives of many. I am always touched to hear about how these horses have made an impact in so many people’s lives. Little Lyric, a Gypsy Vanner donated in 2015, has helped several in grief counseling who had lost their young child.
“Lyric took on the ‘role’ of one of the children and actual laid down in the grass with one of the Moms. As everyone cried this Mom said she felt touched by the spirit of the lost child,” Carol Young of Healing Strides in Virginia said. “This had mirrored another Mom and another horse the previous week. Both very extreme responses for a horse to have in the presence of people, let alone two weeks in a row with two different people.”
LexLin Gypsy Ranch, hailed as the largest independent Gypsy Vanner operation in North America, is a family business donating 45 horses over a three-year period. The Honoring Our Heroes Event and LexLin’s Gypsy Gift Program were both two huge programs that helped them achieve their goal. These horses impact the lives of the developmentally disabled, sick, injured, troubled and developing lives on a daily basis through these programs.
“At LexLin Gypsy Ranch, we are so blessed to be able to donate these high-quality horses, many imported or first generation imports, to such deserving therapy centers and individuals who truly make a difference in countless lives,” Barton said. “LexLin is constantly looking for ways to give back to people all over the U.S.”
We are excited to see what the future holds!
The Barton children: Jon, Cody, Lindie, Lexi and Ben.
Posted on January 7, 2016 with No Comments
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the final article in a three-part series focused on Eric Barton and the Vanquish Worldwide portfolio of enterprises.)
By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
Strategy, a keen sense about business opportunities, and a desire to support his community clearly drive Eric Barton as he guides the continued growth of Vanquish Worldwide LLC.
“The military is a thread through many of the things we do,” the Owner, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Maryville-based company says. The knowledge gained from his service as a Marine and a contractor for government agencies has provided a strong foundation for the now eight-year old company.
Today, even as Vanquish Worldwide continues to support government clients, it is also focused on diversifying its portfolio, a strategy that Barton said became important as federal government needs in Iraq and Afghanistan began to change.
Two acquisitions in 2013 underscore the evolution at Vanquish Worldwide. One – Front Range Training and Consulting – was a 10-year old entity at the time that delivered training to law enforcement officers and U.S. Department of Defense personnel. Its client base was complementary, but the acquisition of Front Range added a broadened mix of services.
The other – Peak Technical Institute – was founded in 2009 to offer a certificate training program for technicians dealing with unexploded ordnances. Today, the company offers three additional certificate programs including a unique one in Professional Household Management (PHM) that fills needs in the military as well as private sector.
Barton explained that very senior military officers have enlisted aides who manage their households, much as PHMs do for high net wealth individuals.
“We have an exclusive contract to provide this training for all U.S. Air Force aides,” Barton says. The training covers everything from day-to-day operations to more specialized topics like international etiquette, household security, and emergency management.
The course for military aides is two weeks, while the one for private employers is four weeks.
Drawing on Vanquish Worldwide’s logistical and transportation work for the military, Barton and his team have become an Independent Service Provider for FedEx Ground, rapidly growing that business.
Even as Barton focuses on growing the Vanquish Worldwide portfolio, he’s also heavily involved in community activities. Barton and the company are generous supporters of a number of local organizations as well as causes related to veterans. We are well aware of his support for the Tennessee Veterans Business Association and its annual business plan competition.
“I wake-up every morning being thankful and wanting to be a good person,” he says. “I want to be pleasing to God and my family and have a good time.”
We asked Barton for some advice he would offer other entrepreneurs.
“There’s something magical about having one-, three- and five-year goals,” he says, adding “Write it down, think about it, and envision doing it.”
He clearly has been practicing that philosophy.
Originally posted on Teknovation.biz
Posted on January 6, 2016 with No Comments
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a three-part series focused on Eric Barton and the Vanquish Worldwide portfolio of enterprises.)
By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
Eric Barton of Vanquish Worldwide LLC clearly personifies the old adage of “plan your work and work your plan.”
In a little over two decades, the soft spoken resident of Friendsville has gone from being an enlisted 17-year old in the U.S. Marines to earning a Meritorious Commission to becoming an U. S. Army Chaplain and, most recently, being named “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce.
The last honor, bestowed at the annual “Pinnacle Awards” banquet in May, recognized the phenomenal growth that Barton and his team have spearheaded since the Illinois native founded Vanquish Worldwide in 2007.
“We have these goals that are very concrete,” Barton told us in relation to one of the 28 (and counting) companies that are part of his portfolio.
One could readily call it a meteoric rise for the business executive who says he initially planned to stay in the military until retirement. It is easy to understand why he might want to do so, having earned numerous college degrees (see previous article in this series), not to mention the commission and subsequent service as an Intelligence Officer.
“I learned a lot about leadership in the service,” Barton says. “I learned what is fair and balanced . . . how to treat people.”
Yet, he found himself working in 2005 as a Project Manager for EODT, a company now known as Sterling Global. Barton was stationed in the Middle East, coordinating logistics support. It was not his first work in the region, and it would not be his last.
A short time later, he joined with some friends to found Critical Mission Support Services, an entity later renamed Relyant. They bid on and won a contract to provide maintenance support in Iraq’s infamous Al Anbar Province, and Barton was off to the races.
“It was our first bid and, as luck would have it, we won,” he explained.
During those early years with Relyant, Barton spent much of his time in the Middle East. When he came back in 2009, the family settled in Friendsville, a place they had never previously lived.
“I got to know the region earlier,” Barton told us, explaining that the family traveled through the area when visiting his wife’s family in North Carolina or his in Southern Illinois. “East Tennessee was about halfway between the two.”
Barton started Vanquish Worldwide in 2007, but had not spent much time on it until he sold his interest in Relyant at the end of 2010.
“Vanquish became my primary focus in 2011,” he said. The results since then speak for themselves, ranging from strategic diversification to some significant contracts. Perhaps most notable is a $985 million IDIQ contract for which Vanquish Worldwide has already billed $65 million.
For those not familiar with the term, IDIQ stands for “indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity.” It is a government procurement process where the actual quantity and delivery requirements are set by specific task orders issued against the basic agreement.
NEXT: A look at some of the businesses that are part of the Vanquish Worldwide portfolio.
Originally posted on Teknovation.biz
Posted on January 5, 2016 with No Comments
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a three-part series focused on Eric Barton and the Vanquish Worldwide portfolio of enterprises.)
By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
The Vanquish Worldwide family of companies numbered three a little over two years ago. Today, Eric Barton says the count stands at 28.
To say that the Maryville-based enterprise has grown exponentially since its founding in 2007 would be an understatement. We sat down recently with the company’s Founder, a former Marine turned entrepreneur, to learn more about the Vanquish Worldwide portfolio that touches everything from global logistics to professional household management training.
“My drive in life was to impress my mother,” Barton told us. The Owner, President and Chief Executive Officer grew-up in Centralia, a community in Southern Illinois, with a mother who was the youngest of seven siblings.
“She was very loving to me,” he says, adding, “That’s where my inspiration and confidence came from.” It was clear that her influence had not waned when we interviewed the business executive in his recently acquired second Vanquish Worldwide office building near Foothills Mall.
Barton says he paid cash for the building, one indication of the success that he is now enjoying. The story, however, begins a little more than two decades earlier.
At age 17, Barton felt a need to leave his hometown. He joined the U.S. Marines and served for 11 years, rising from the enlisted ranks to become a commissioned officer. Almost immediately after arriving at Camp Pendleton, Barton says that he started pursuing his college degree.
“Education has been a big part of what I am,” he says, recalling a former Warrant Officer who “got me interested in books, leadership and success.” It is a calling that has driven him for years and one that is now a part of his portfolio of enterprises.
Barton told us that one of his early goals as a Marine was to complete his college education, at least on the same schedule as his former high school classmates. In fact, the driven Marine took as many as 26 semester hours in those early years in the service to earn his B.S. in Electronics Management from Southern Illinois University. And, as the laser focused person that he is, Barton finished college ahead of his high school classmates.
Later, Barton earned three Master’s degrees – one each in Business Administration concentration in Information Technology, Public Administration concentration in Knowledge Management, and Divinity. Today, he is working on his doctorate in Business Administration with a concentration in Leadership.
Along the way, Barton started a family and had three children. He did tours of duty in the Middle East and Africa, including serving two years under legendary Marine Four-Star General John Allen. During those years, Barton was honing his skills as an intelligence officer.
While attending the Army Chaplain School, the Bartons adopted two sons.
“Seven of us were living in a 900 sq. ft. apartment,” he said, explaining times were so tough that, in addition to serving as a Church Youth Director, the family also signed-up for Food Stamps.
Formal education, service as a Marine, and the inspiration he received from his mother provided the solid foundation that has allowed Barton to not only build a vibrant new business in Maryville, but also give back to the community in many ways.
NEXT: From the Marine Corps to the corporate world.
Originally posted on Teknovation.biz
Posted on June 23, 2015 with No Comments
Vanquish Worldwide is pleased to announce that President and CEO Eric W. Barton was awarded the Young Entrepreneur Award during the Knoxville Chamber’s 2015 Pinnacle Business Awards Friday evening, May 8, 2015 at the Knoxville Convention Center in recognition of outstanding business practices and community support.
Barton was among three finalists up for selection for the Young Entrepreneur Award, which honors a professional age 40 or younger who is on track to be a top business and community leader. The Young Entrepreneur Award was sponsored by FSGBank.
“A Pinnacle Business award is one of the most prestigious honors a local business, entrepreneur, or organization can receive,” Mike Edwards, Chamber president and CEO, said. “We are proud to recognize businesses and businesspeople that are positively impacting our region by contributing to the economic prosperity of the community and making it a better place to live.”
Barton started Vanquish Worldwide in 2007 as a government contracting provider, and today the company, headquartered in Maryville, Tenn., is a booming U.S. transportation and logistics business that also contracts transportation, security services, facility support, vehicle maintenance and provides operational support in the Middle East for Department of Defense and other government agencies. Besides Vanquish, Barton is President and CEO of 22 other companies, everything from a top quality technical institute, Peak, to LexLin Gypsy Ranch, a state of the art horse ranch in Rockwood, Tenn.
“Eric’s success has allowed him to not only focus on his companies and employees but also has given him the means to look outward into the community and contribute to many essential non-profit organizations,” Jon Helpingstine, FedExTransportation Manager with Vanquish Worldwide, said.
“I have known Eric Barton since grade school and have been alongside him through his many degrees, his time serving in the U.S. military, the many successful company ventures both overseas and in the U.S., and I have seen him grow into the finest entrepreneur that I know, and at the young age of 39,” Helpingstine added.
At the age of 17, Barton enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and was quickly recognized for his outstanding leadership and devotion to the Corps, which is a characteristic he has taken forward in his companies. As a Mustang officer, Barton was meritoriously promoted from sergeant to lieutenant. As a captain, he served as the National Intelligence Center Senior Analyst for the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa National Intelligence Cell.
Barton received numerous awards and commendations for professionalism, leadership and service above and beyond the call of duty during his time as a military professional. He also has a decade of international business experience in overseeing complex programs specializing in intelligence, security services, staffing, training, K-9, life support and operational requirements in the Middle East and Africa. Barton has managed over $400 millionin contracts, successfully mobilized over 6,000 personnel around the world and has established several companies throughout the U.S., Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
In 2013, Barton purchased and became President and CEO of Front Range Training and Consulting, LLC, which specializes in security, firearms, tactical, instructor and medical training for government and law enforcement personnel and for enlisted aides assigned to service in a general officer’s residence. Barton also formed Peak Technical Institute, which includes former Colorado-based private occupational school UXO Global. PTI’s Unexploded Ordnance Technician 1 School has graduated 446 students in 32 classes since September 2009.
Under Barton’s leadership, Vanquish has proven to be a successful business. In August 2011, Vanquish was awarded the National Afghan Trucking contract, the largest DoD transportation in Afghanistan. The company is now one of only nine, and the only U.S. small business, still working on the current contract. Vanquish has also won an ongoing contract providing vehicle maintenance for the Marine Corps and broke into the commercial sector in March 2013 as an independent service provider for FedEx Ground’s delivery routes across Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn.Vanquish currently handles over 30 percent of all FedEx packages that come in and out of the Nashville terminal.
In October 2013, Vanquish Worldwide moved from a small government contractingoffice in Friendsville to a 17,000 square-foot secure building in Maryville and paved six acres of the 7.7-acre facility, allowing Vanquish to accommodate its expanding logistics and transportation business. In late 2013, Vanquish purchased a fleet of trucks and trailers, hired drivers and used its proven operating procedures from years of transport and logistics experience overseas to further invest in the commercial sector. Since branching out, Vanquish has uniquely positioned itself to be a transportation carrier of choice and now supports over 50 commercial customers across the U.S. and Canada.
Beyond his commitment as a leader, entrepreneur and visionary, Barton continues to further his education and professional certificates, giving him hands-on, practical knowledge while striving to provide comprehensive and high quality services to government agencies throughout the world through Vanquish.
“My research is hands on and I enjoy immersing myself in the training so I understand how the business will work from the inside out,” Barton said. “This also allows me to relate better to those I employ and work alongside daily.”
He holds several degrees, including a master’s degree in business administration, public administration and divinity and a bachelor’s degree in electronics management. He is currently working towards completing his Ph.D. in public policy, concentrating on international business and trade relations.
“As a 39 year old who has been through and seen a lot, I am aware I still have much to learn and hope to fill my next 39 years continuing to learn and leading from the front,” Barton said.
Barton and other 2015 Pinnacle Awards winners were honored during the black tie-optional gala Friday evening with a dinner and awards program emceed by WBIR’s Robin Wilhoit. The evening, which has become one of Knoxville’s premier social events with nearly 600 business and community leaders in attendance, culminated in a champagne toast to the winners.
“Going forward I plan to continue to show others the importance of being a good steward and strive for positive change and improvements in our local community and worldwide,” Barton said. “As I did for my country, I still seek first to serve and lead others to serve, whether it be my family, colleagues or employees.”
The Chamber received more than 180 nominations and was tasked with reviewing and scoring nearly 100 applications for this year’s 11th annual Pinnacle Awards, which recognizes and celebrates outstanding local businesses and business people.
Posted on November 27, 2014 with No Comments
Posted on July 9, 2014 with No Comments
By Shelley Phillips Kimel, Knoxville Business Journal
Posted July 7, 2014 at 4 a.m.
Read full article below or at knoxnews.com
As U.S. military operations in Afghanistan draw to a close, Maryville-based Vanquish Worldwide is shifting gears to domestic opportunities and expanding into new lines of business.
Vanquish has translated its experience moving fuel, equipment and supplies for coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan into a domestic trucking division. The company is also expanding into vocational and career training services through the acquisition of two Colorado-based firms.
To give the company more room to grow, Vanquish opened in June a 17,000-squarefoot headquarters in Maryville.
Eric Barton, a 39-year-old Marine veteran who founded Vanquish in 2007, hopes the diversification will insulate the company from the ups and downs of government contracting.
Growth at home, however, won’t be at the expense of the company’s original operations, he adds. Several recent contracts will keep Vanquish in Afghanistan in the foreseeable future.
“Even after the majority of the troops withdraw, we’ll still be performing retrograde services. Even the sustaining forces and the Afghan government will require bullets,Band-aids and food,” he says.
A relationship with global delivery giant FedEx, however, is fueling Vanguish’s domestic trucking operation, as well as recently inked deals with Denso and Rubbermaid, both of which operate in Blount County.
The company operates about 34 percent of the Nashville pickup and delivery market for the FedEx terminal there, delivering about 1.2 million packages. It invoices $1.4 million with FedEx annually for the operation. Barton would like to do the same with FedEx’s Knoxville routes, which he plans to acquire this summer.
Vanquish also began in February providing FedEx line haul services, delivering loads between terminals, prompting Barton’s confidence that the company can garner $10 million in FedEx revenue for 2015. Currently Vanquish carries excess orders FedEx’s own drivers cannot fulfill, but is working toward its own dedicated routes. “That’s really where the growth and sustainability is for us,” said Barton.
Barton is expanding Vanquish’s capabilities to qualify for that opportunity and others organically and through acquisitions.
A $5.6 million deal to acquire Nashville-based PAC Trucking, with 23 trucks, is expected to close in August.
Finding qualified drivers — an industry-wide challenge — is more difficult for Vanquish because of its defense contracts.
With the acquisition of Colorado-based Front Range Training and Consulting and its sister company Peak Technical Institute, Vanquish is looking to create its own solution.
“Peak Technical Institute is really a core growth business of ours,” Barton says. “Government contracting can have its ups and downs with markets and budgets, but people need to be trained. As the economy is coming back, manufacturing is moving back into the states, things are being moved, people need to be trained.”
Peak, which provides training primarily to off-road delivery drivers from Colorado’s oil fields, earlier this year added a commercial driver curriculum and is awaiting licensing by the state.
Other Peak programs include training for unexploded ordnance technicians, hazardous waste operations, emergency response, and oil and gas safety awareness. Peak is also launching programs in protocol and professional household management.
Front Range’s core offering is law enforcement training and its programs have been used by police forces from Chicago to Los Angeles. The company will soon train SWAT teams in Maryville and Blount County.
The new ventures won’t eclipse overseas services in the near future.
Barton estimates $9 million of the company’s $12.5 million first quarter revenue came from overseas.
The company continues to deliver materials within Afghanistan, and recently reopened an Iraq office after a two-year hiatus, he adds.
“I guess every person has to decide what makes them tick, and for me it’s being around different people, different challenges, and so the companies, — as diverse as they may seem, they have a common vision — that’s delivering excellence,” Barton says. “In transitioning into the civilian market, we do the same things here that made us successful over there — have the best equipment, the best-trained people and team that’s passionate about the job we’re doing.”
© 2014 Scripps Newspaper Group — Online
Posted on June 13, 2014 with No Comments
By Robert Norris | firstname.lastname@example.org | Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014 12:00 am
Read article at TheDailyTimes.com
Vanquish Worldwide. The name evokes power and distance with a sense of precision and vagueness all at once. Sort of like the military. That’s no coincidence.
Consider the founder, president and CEO. Eric Barton spent 11 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He intended to make a career of the corps. Stuff happened.
Stuff happening today includes a ribbon-cutting at Vanquish Worldwide’s new headquarters, 235 S. Old Glory Road, Maryville. The event will last 3 p.m.-6 p.m. with the ribbon sliced at 4 p.m. There will be refreshments, music, door prizes, even exotic horses.
Vanquish Worldwide describes itself as “an asset-based premier transportation provider that delivers a wide variety and the highest level of transportation and logistic solutions for government and commercial clients.”
Here’s what Barton calls his elevator speech: “We’re a supply team management government contracting firm. What we do is deliver excellence to our clients.” The stuff they deliver includes fuel, food, ammunition, armored vehicles — all sorts of materiel the U.S. government moves around Afghanistan.
“Our mantra in our years overseas has been: Support the war fighter forward in developing nations in hostile environments. That means a lot of things to a lot of different people. But we support the war fighter in the mission they have, which means beans, bullets, Band-aids, transportation, helicopter support,” Barton said. “That’s been something we’re very proud of. To do something you really love to do that’s challenging, diverse, means something.”
It started when Barton joined the Marines at age 17. He was a “satellite technician for five years, got a meritorious commission, spent the last six years as an intelligence officer, had a sniper platoon for a couple of years, did a few pumps (deployments). Spent my last two years in Horn of Africa traveling around gathering intelligence for war.
“Which helped me out tremendously as I got out later on and went to seminary and transitioned to government contracting. It wasn’t planned.”
So naturally, Barton ended in seminary school in Atlanta and worked as a youth pastor in Conyers, Ga. His career path is anything but boring.
“Writing his bio can be challenging at times,” said Dawn White, sales and marketing manager for Vanquish Worldwide.
White outlined what’s happening now at the company. Vanquish has just been awarded a National Afghan Trucking contract (NAT 1.5) in Afghanistan — one of seven contractors selected for the more than $200 million deal. Vanquish’s cut will be $37 million. The company also just landed a Corps of Engineers HVAC contract in Loudon.
As U.S. involvement in Afghanistan winds down, the company is expanding into commercial trucking. It has contracted with FedEx and has trucks at the delivery firm’s Nashville terminal. It’s on schedule to add 11 FedEx trucks with drivers at the Knoxville terminal by the end of June. The company plans to acquire another trucking company and its 23 trucks in August.
As part of its diversification, Vanquish Worldwide has a couple of subsidiaries, Front Range Training & Consulting LLC. That sister firm recently completed a class training U.S. Air Force airmen to be aides for three- and four-star generals. New law enforcement training classes are filling up now in the Western U.S., and the company is looking into SWAT training for East Tennessee law enforcement, White said.
Peak Technical Institute provides condensed vocational training programs. It currently provides Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) classes, and a BETA equine leadership class is scheduled to begin in early August.
Equine leadership? It doesn’t seem so outside the box considering Barton also has LexLin Gypsy Ranch in Rockwood. Barton said it is the largest Gypsy Vanner horse farm in the U.S. The breed of draft horses (think of small Clydesdales) comes from England, Ireland and Wales.
LexLin Ranch recently sold more than $75,000 worth of horses in one month. The ranch plans to make 30 horse donations over the next two years to therapy centers. The gentle nature of the breed makes Gypsy Vanners well-suited for equine therapy for recovering military as well as autistic and special needs children. A horse auction is planned for July 26, with 50 percent of the proceeds going to Smoky Mountain Service Dogs.
White cited a number of other community involvement and charitable contributions, ranging from United Way of Blount County, to Foothills Land Conservancy, to Keep Blount Beautiful, to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, where Barton established an endowment of $100,000 and matches other donations that come in dollar for dollar.
On the job in Iraq
It’s a lack of dollars that eventually turned Barton into a businessman. He had planned to rejoin the Marines after seminary school, but while in Atlanta he and his wife, Mechelle, found themselves in a 900-square-foot apartment with five kids and in debt. Two of the children had been adopted from Ethiopia, where Barton met the founder of Americans for African Adoptions.
“So I started going to job fairs, and I found a guy that had a contract in Iraq making decent money — more than I’d ever made before, that’s for sure. So I said, I’ll take it.”
He’d never seen a government contract, but Barton ended up being the first contract manager for the company.
“We were very successful. In fact they went from a $40 million company to $285 million in a year-and-a-half,” Barton said.
Barton quit that job, deciding to start a business of his own. He was familiar with East Tennessee because he, an Illinois native, and his wife, from North Carolina, had often driven through Knoxville. They moved to Friendsville, where he founded his first company in 2006, Relyant, “a global provider of solutions to complex projects.”
Over the years Barton founded, closed, bought and sold several companies. Now, with Vanquish Worldwide at the core and Front Range Training and Peak Technical Institute as wing firms, Baron is adjusting to a business environment less reliant on government contracts.
“All three companies share the same thought process of delivery excellence to the client. It’s important for us, how we do business and how we treat our customers — make sure we’re asked to come back again. It’s a long-term vision not a short-term profit,” Barton said.
It’s almost like playing a pinball machine with three balls bouncing down the table at once.
“It’s the symphony in the chaos, that’s for sure,” Barton said.