Jerry Marlatt | Founder and Owner of Command Post Technologies and First Team Sports Group | High Speed Low Drag Podcast 38

Jerry MarlattJerry Marlatt is the founder and owner of Command Post Technologies and First Team Sports Group. He services clients as a professional football agent and baseball advisor.

Jerry retired from the United States army after a 20 year career in the signal corp and a tour of Iraq. He also hosts career and sports podcasts to provide entertaining, insightful and powerful content to help those aspiring to have a career in sports.

HSLD: Besides the little background that weíve give about you, could you tell us a little more about yourself?

Jerry: I am a retired US army officer from the signal corp. I served in the army for 20 years retiring in 2006. Shortly after retiring I started a telecommunications reseller business where I actually took the expertise and the need that I saw of deployed forces. I built a business out of that. That really kind of rode the way for the Iraq war. At the conclusion of that business I had to look out and determine what I wanted to do from there.

Thatís when I saw the need for sports representation business for the mentorship that I was able to provide young army officers and soldiers who were also young athletes.

I started First Team Sports Group and Iíve enjoyed it ever since.

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HSLD: Letís start with your success quote. What is it?

Jerry: One of my favorite quotes is

ďA goal without a plan is just a wishĒ

That is by Antoine de Saint-Exupery who is an award winning French author and world war II military aviator.

Every time I begin a new endeavor I employ some of the tools that I learned in the military. I start with mind mapping because I think you have to have that plan to accomplish the goal.

Mind mapping for me is an exercise where I start with a blank sheet of paper and I write down everything that comes to mind on a particular topic. From there I identify different task groupings such as marketing, social networking opportunities, business development, all the way down to the minute things such as bookkeeping and just anything that might have to do with the business.

I continue to refine that until I have a finished product and a framework of the tasks that I have to accomplish in order to be successful.

HSLD: Letís focus on your military experience. Tell us a story of your most pivotal moment in the US army and share with us some of the lessons you learned.

Jerry: Hereís a little bit of a background. My journey in the military started in a met station in Seattle, Washington.

Iím the guy who married his high school sweetheart out of high school and I have to say I am happily married still but my reason for joining the military was the fact that I had to support my new wife and I didnít have the money to pay for college.

I took advantage of some of the opportunities that the army was offering at that time- army college fund GI bill. I really didnít know if my tour in the army would go beyond those initial 4 years.

I came in as a single channel radio operator at Fort Gordon, Georgia. When I came in I didnít know what it was all about but I was fortunate as on my very first assignment I was able to earn 21 college credits. I was in a Persian missile battalion basically as a signal enlisted guy and I really didnít have a mission following some reduction treaty that kind of took those missiles out of the arsenals.

So I had time to go to college, move to Germany after just a year in that first assignment in Oklahoma and I was really able to continue to pursue the college aspect, get closer to my bachelorís degree but I also really came to love the army.

As I was working towards my college degree my first AHA moment was that ďI really like what Iím doingĒ. I liked the people and I liked the purpose of what we were doing so I decided that I wanted to become an officer.

At that point I basically put in a packet, wasnít accepted the first time but got the OCS packet the second time, came back to the States for a short time before going to OCS.

From there it was just a myriad of assignments. I can tell you stories of having troops almost having set the airstrip on fire- just some fantastic assignments from being a platoon leader, company commander to having the opportunity to serve in Italy for a three and a half years- just a dream job there in a small NATO outpost in Verona, Italy. It really allowed me to connect with family again, coaching all my kidís youth teams.

Towards the tail end of my career, I came back to Texas where I was born, served in the first cavalry division, deployed with them and had a crazy year.

I went to Iraq and had a crazy time over there- getting about 4 hours of sleep a night. Being a Christian man and my wife a Christian woman, we both of prayed separately what we were going to do next.

I was the guy who had planned on making the army a 30-year career but we had gotten to that point. We separately prayed about it, came together and when I returned from Iraq, we had that conversation. I said that I was ready to do something else and to my surprise she said that she was right there with me.

That served as our transition out of the military.

 

motorola-logo_412893HSLD: Letís focus on your transition out and the failures, challenges and lessons you got from it.

Jerry: My transition kind of goes with my success quote which is a goal without a plan is just a wish.

My plan was to conduct research. Having been deployed I knew what some of the pitfalls were. I knew as a guy who has a masters in telecommunication, I knew we did not have the coms packages that were required.

So the first thing I did was during my off time- two months prior to separating- I formed those strategic partnerships with Motorola, with Del, with different radio providers and by myself engineered a coms package that would serve the deployed forces.

My transition really started with attaining certifications- with Cisco for example- just putting in those long hours prior to separating so when I did and the retirement came, I would have those relationships in place.

For me a lot of the prior planning was done a few months leading up to my retirement.

 

HSLD: What was that first civilian step that you took?

Jerry: As the founder of Command Post Technologies, I relied heavily on relationships that I had with various military majors, colonels, captains- people that were either deployed or about to deploy. I contacted them and said ďI know you donít have all of the coms that you need. Tell me what your requirements are.Ē

Literally I got a copy of Quickbooks and started my business. I knew I had to manage these purchase orders and invoices.

I remember the first time somebody said ďweíre ordering this equipment, send me a purchase order for thisĒ and I didnít know what a purchase order was.

I had to learn the basic things- getting the business certified- I did that. And then it was just a matter of literally going out there and hustling, trying to find where I could make a sale.

I felt good about the products that I was offering, knowing who it was going to serve and the fact that the need was out there. So really those first steps were just building the business. I was fortunate that within a couple of months being in the business I had a 1.1 million contract for communications equipment so it really took off from the onset.

I know thatís not everyoneís experience but I was just really blessed with the fact that the business took off from the 30th day.

 

HSLD: Can you share with us an AHA moment that you have had that has really spurred you on?

Jerry: My AHA moment really had to do with the civilian sector after Command Post and that was with First Team Sports Group.

I had this idea that big organizations were really the successful ones in business and that they had all the answers. The more I talked to people the more I realized that my military training and experience made me just as qualified as the people that I was doing business with.

Iíve seen that time and time again and now my eyes are more open.

When youíre in the military youíre truly removed from the civilian sector. You donít see it for what it is.

When you look at other guys working and running their own businesses, you realize that you can do that too. That was my AHA moment.

A second one was what really led me into getting into the sports representation business was when I was watching Sports Center one night. There was a particular player on there who was suspended for the fifth or sixth time.

I thought to myself that there has got to be a better way. I wondered who was talking to these guys , who was their voice of reason?

I hate to say it but in the Sports representation business, too often agents and other straphangers are just blowing smoke up the NFL playerís rears. Theyíre not telling them the truth.

Iím kind of known as the ďkeep it realĒ agent. If youíre messing up, Iím going to tell you that youíre messing up. If youíre doing great, youíll hear that from me. If guys need mentorship, Iím there to provide that.

I kind of saw that as my niche coupled with the contract negotiation skills that I learned in the telecommunications business. Both have prepared me to serve as an NFL agent.

Career in SportsHSLD: What is one thing that has you most fired up about your business today?

Jerry: Right now Iím most fired up about my podcast. I launched that three and a half weeks ago and Iíve had the pleasure of getting to talk to some very interesting people.

If Iím literally on a plane or at a conference somewhere and inevitably that conversation of ďwhat do you doĒ comes up, I say that Iím an NFL agent. Generally people think its cool and we talk about it and as much as telling them the cool parts of the job, I also tell them the dark side of it too.

Inevitably, people tell me that they would love to work in sports so I started career and sports podcasts and interview folks who work for teams and different facets of sports.

I have fun putting together the podcast and the blog so that if people want to pursue a career in sports they can go to mycareerinsports.com , look at what I hope is valuable content and just hear from the people who are doing what they aspire to do.

 

Jerryís Lighting Round Answers

  • What is the most difficult adjustment you had to make to the civilian world? Realizing who youíre responsible for.
  • What is the best business advice that you can pass along to people that are making their transition now? Clearly define goals. Set the steps that you need to take to achieve those goals and constantly assess your progress.
  • What is one of your habits that you believe contribute to your success? It has to be prioritization. If itís not something Iím excited about I say no.
  • What is the biggest generalization that you had to overcome in the civilian world? I really havenít had to overcome any generalizations.
  • If you can recommend one book what would it be? All the Malcolm Gladwell books and in particular David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and The Art of Battling Giants.
  • Whatís the best way that we can find you? And one last parting piece of guidance. Never discount your training and experience in the military. Focus on what youíve done and what youíve accomplished. Draw among those strengths in whatever you do as a civilian.

The best way to connect with me is thru twitter- @jerrymarlatt . You can also go to the blog and podcast site which is mycareerinsports.com