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.