Archive for January, 2016 on Eric Barton, PART 3: Community service part of Eric Barton’s philosophy

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.

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Category: Uncategorized on Eric Barton, PART 2: Eric Barton personifies “plan your work and work your plan”

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.

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Category: Uncategorized on Eric Barton, PART 1: Vanquish Worldwide family continues to grow

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.

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