I grew up in Upland, home of Taylor University, where my parents both worked. After graduating from college with a degree in physics, we served for 22 years in the U.S. Navy, 12 on active duty in the submarine force and 10 in the reserves serving on various command staffs. I didn't make a mistake when I said "we," individuals don't join the military, families do. My family starts with my wife of over 31 years, Sharice Pratt. She blessed me one spring evening in 1987 on a carriage ride in downtown Indianapolis when she accepted my marriage proposal and radically transformed my life. She's had a significant impact on me and the many who have crossed our path. Together, we raised three kids, Tyler, Tanyale, and TJ, and now have three grandkids. After leaving the navy, we settled in West Michigan. We finished raising our kids while I managed a power plant. When an opportunity opened as the Vice President of Operations for a power services company, I accepted it and spent six years in that role. In 2018, we left that job to become small business owners, starting a leadership training and development company, Employment 2 Deployment. Our mission is to help people discover the keys to unlock their leadership potential so they can find purpose and meaning in all areas of their life. We have enjoyed the ups and downs of business ownership and are rewarded often by seeing people grow as leaders.
My initial sea tour I split between the USS Ohio (SSBN 726) and as a member of the pre-commissioning crew on USS Tucson (SSN 770). Following 4 ½ years of sea duty, we attended the Naval Postgraduate School, earning an M.S. degree in Engineering Acoustics. Following our time in Monterey, CA, it was off to Groton, CT for another school and then to the USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723) as the Engineer Officer. I ended my active duty time on the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) as the nuclear propulsion inspector. Once in the reserves, I earned my Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) certification and had tours at United States Pacific Command (PACOM) and on the staff at Submarine Group 7.