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Rodney Brenneman

Name: Rodney Brenneman

Where were you born and raised?
Born: Orrville, Ohio. Lived in Orrville and Columbus, OH 9 yrs, then 9 yrs in Memphis, TN through high school and 1st yr college at Univ. Tennessee Knoxville, moved to California, attended San Diego State, grad 1983 BS Mechanical Engineering, So Cal ever since.

What’s a short story around the biggest transition you’ve faced in life?
My biggest life transition was coming out of college, a free spirit with an engineering degree and transitioning to the business world and my first job at a large medical device company. I had spent the last couple years of college offsetting week-days of academics and studying with weekends of rock climbing, outdoor trips, sleeping on the ground and living a free-spirited wilderness life. Beginning my career in an office environment, wearing a tie each day, sitting in a cubicle and learning to deal with large company structure, politics and constraints was a major adaptation. I did adapt to the change, was very successful and transitioned ultimately to smaller companies, where my more entrepreneurial nature could evolve and thrive.

What’s the once piece of advice you’d give a younger you?
Ask for help…and sooner. I’m a very independent person by nature and by not seeking help earlier in my younger life, I forced myself to struggle and make more mistakes than necessary. The opportunity to mentor is my way of offering others the chance to avoid a few potholes.

Your Personal Why?
I want to experience and enjoy life while improving the quality of life for others.

How does your Why drive you to be a part of the THF Ecosystem?
When I became aware of the challenge faced by transitioning SOF veterans at THF, I saw a natural fit to insights and perspectives I could easily offer. Guiding SOF vets into the civilian business world seems an obvious way to contribute and help highly talented, motivated individuals.

Military Connection or Why do you respect Special Operators?
I had already been reading business books by SEAL veterans and understood the skill set overlaps with great leadership, drive and discipline in the business world. I greatly respect the unique skills, never-quit spirit, dedication to team and service and ability to learn diverse new information.

Favorite THF Value, and why?
Number 5. Give feedback – it’s a gift. Helping THF students with honest feedback on their skills and how to effectively message to the civilian business world is a critical step in finding a good job but also the right cultural fit.

Area/Industry of expertise:
Medical devices, small company, entrepreneurial, start-up environment.