LexLin Gives Back – Part 1 of 3: Living 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. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Barton children: Jon, Cody, Lindie, Lexi and Ben.

Category: Uncategorized

Teknovation.biz 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.

Originally posted on Teknovation.biz

Category: Uncategorized

Teknovation.biz 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.

Originally posted on Teknovation.biz

Category: Uncategorized

Teknovation.biz 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.

Originally posted on Teknovation.biz

Category: Uncategorized

Vanquish Worldwide President/CEO Eric Barton wins Knoxville Young Entrepreneur Award

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.

Eric at Ice Bar

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.



30% off Black Friday Select Gypsy Horse Sale Starts Today!

Posted on November 27, 2014 with No Comments

Black Friday Flyer

FedEx fuels Maryville defense contractor Vanquish Worldwide’s domestic growth

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

Maryville firm grows worldwide logistics business

Posted on June 13, 2014 with No Comments

By Robert Norris | bobn@thedailytime.com | Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014 12:00 am

Read article at TheDailyTimes.com

539a6c4711dd2.image 539a67d4db29a.imageVanquish 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.

Commercial contracts

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.

Gypsy Gift – Unique Program for Equine Assisted Therapy Centers!

Posted on February 13, 2014 with No Comments

Gypsy Gift Intro AnnouncementGypsy Gift™ has been in the planning phase for quite some time. We’re excited to roll out a new program on Valentine’s Day 2014 to match LexLin Gypsy Horses with sponsors to raise and train them for future career placement with non-profit organizations as equine assisted therapy and activity horses. There are 850+ Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) Centers across the US and around the world. Horses impact and enrich the lives of the developmentally disabled, sick, injured, troubled and developing lives on a daily basis through these programs. We believe Gypsy Horses are ideally suited to this type of work. Can Praxis, an equine therapy program in Canada, has had amazing results in working with post traumatic stress disorder in veterans and these results are similar to what happens on a daily basis in equine assisted therapy programs all around the country.

Eric and Mechelle Barton of LexLin Gypsy Ranch have enjoyed amazing success with their businesses over the past few years and are constantly looking for ways to pay it forward and give back to communities around the world. Their family and businesses have donated in excess of $6.8 million to charitable organizations, including land conservancy, United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Wounded Warrior, and others in 2013 and now feel that it is time to reach out and touch the lives of others by giving some of their much loved Gypsy Horses via Gypsy Gift™ to centers across the United States. LexLin Gypsy Ranch has donated several Gypsy Horses over the past few years to PATH accredited programs. We have received many thanks and glowing reports of the work our horses are doing and requests to expand our program.

Over the next two years LexLin Gypsy Ranch’s mission is to donate 30 registered Gypsy Horses (total donation valued in excess of $500,000) to  the Gypsy Gift™ program while simultaneously finding eligible sponsors who will train them for approved PATH accredited centers. If one center on average, reaches 25 people on a weekly basis, that gives 30 Gypsy Horses a chance to impact lives 39,000 times in one year alone! Imagine how many lives can be touched over 20+ years with 30 horses! LexLin Gypsy Ranch will donate Gypsy horses to centers after 2-3 years of a sponsor leasing and raising/training them through Gypsy Gift™ . The sponsor will give the horse daily handling in preparation to start their official training to become a therapy horse once they’re 3-4 years of age. This also allows the center time to decide if the horse will be suited to their particular program. By donating  young horses they will have many years to impact lives in the programs and can be trained exactly as needed for their job as a therapy horse. Ideally we’re looking for nominated centers who find a sponsor that will raise and train the horse for them for 2-3 years. The horse may be housed at the center or at the sponsor’s chosen facility. Sponsors may be Center board members, staff or others that want to participate in Gypsy Gift™. In some situations sponsors may opt to arrange to pay the center for the care of the horse which would enable the horse to be cared for directly by the center. This may qualify as a charitable donation if made directly to the center. This would enable the center to become directly involved with the care of the horse and give the horse the opportunity to interact with center members from the beginning of their 2-3 year lease period before donation.

We need your help to make this program a success!

Beginning on Friday, February 14, 2014, and continuing through July 3rd 2014, we will begin taking nominations for PATH accredited centers interested in receiving a Gypsy Horse through Gypsy Gift™. As nominations come in we will post them on LexLin Gypsy Ranch’s fan page on Facebook for you to “like” and share to spread the word in support of your chosen center. There will be five centers selected on July 4th to receive horses. The top 4 nominated centers with the most fan “likes” and 1 center chosen by LexLin staff will be entered into a lottery drawing on July 4, 2014 to select a horse for their program. The 5 horses drawn on July 4th will then be ready to immediately enter into a lease agreement with the nominated center’s sponsor for 2-3 years before being donated to the center for their program. Most of the horses in Gypsy Gift™ will be geldings, though all horses in the program will be DNA verified Gypsy Horses registered with the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society.

The horses available in the program will be announced on Friday, February, 21st. We will need your help to select the first 5 Gypsy Horses via Facebook likes between February 21, 2014 – July 3, 2014. Those 5 Gypsy Horses will then be selected by the 5 nominated centers from the lottery in the order their numbers are drawn.

Gypsy Gift™ is our primary focus for 2014 and will be the focus of our 5th Annual LexLin Gives Back: Honoring our Heroes. Honoring our Heroes will resume as traditionally run in 2015. We will share more Gypsy Gift™  program details and officially start on Valentine’s Day!

Questions? Watch for full program details to come on Valentine’s Day, and feel free to contact us via info@gogypsy.com or call 865.816.2761.

Vanquish Worldwide Announces Its Acquisition of Front Range Training and Consulting LLC

Posted on January 11, 2014 with No Comments

Vanquish Worldwide, a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) dedicated to providing Government and commercial contractor services since 2007 has acquired Front Range Training and Consulting, LLC, a SDVOSB specialized in training and program support for Government and commercial clients.

MARYVILLE, Tenn.–()–Vanquish Worldwide is pleased to announce their recent acquisition of Front Range Training and Consulting LLC (FRTC). FRTC is a Colorado-based Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) that was founded by Kevin Cooper, a retired U.S. Marine with considerable experience in the Force Reconnaissance and Diplomatic Security/Marine Security Guard (MSG) community. FRTC has been in business since October 2003, and has quickly and effectively demonstrated that it is a leader in the training industry. An example of FRTC’s dedication to supporting the security of this country is through the development and delivery of Programs of Instruction (POI) for the Department of State’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) program.

Ongoing training initiatives include Unexploded Ordnance Technician 1 Certification, Tactical Life Saver Training, Law Enforcement Explosive Entry Technician (EET) Training, Advanced Armorer’s Training, and several Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) and Tactical Team Leader Development courses being delivered to numerous local, state, and federal law enforcement officers throughout the country. FRTC’s S.W.A.T. school has been used to stand up entire teams in New Mexico, South Dakota, and Nebraska, and is considered the preferred sustainment training vehicle for agencies in those and other states.

Additionally FRTC was selected as a sole source to Securitas USA, one of the world’s largest security providers, as the recipient of a long term contract providing high end weapons and tactical training to operators providing security to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) critical assets throughout the nation.

Cindy Cooper has assumed the position of Corporate Manager of Training and Educational Services for Vanquish Worldwide. Cindy has been the Vice President of Operations for FRTC for 10 years and has been instrumental in the growth of the company. She has been the Instructional System Design Team Lead which has produced thousands of hours of FRTC programs and coursework.

“I have been very impressed with Vanquish and quickly understood how Front Range would complement and support their customer strategy and direction. In today’s market, the opportunity to bring our teams together creates a tremendous advantage for both organizations,” Kevin Cooper, Vice President of Operations for Vanquish Worldwide, “I am confident that our customers will benefit from services offered by the expanded Vanquish Team.”

Both companies have a long history of growth and profitability, share similar philosophies, and a strong vision for future growth and diversity.

About Vanquish Worldwide

Vanquish offers significant experience working for the US Government and commercial sector from coast to coast in the US, in combat theaters, developing nations and austere environments. Vanquish is headquartered just outside of Greater Knoxville, TN, with offices in Seattle, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina; as well as international offices in Afghanistan, Uganda, and Iraq. www.govanquish.com. Training programs and courses offered by FRTC can be found at www.frontrangetraining.com.