In this episode, Brian Beckcom speaks with Former Marine Corps Combat Officer and now successful entrepreneur Blake Sawyer about an array of topics ranging from Blake's experience in Fallujah during the Iraq war to his experience working with the Columbian Navy where he used revolutionary drone technology to intercept massive shipments of cocaine from entering American borders. Blake is truly a remarkable patriot who used his wit and grit, along with his experience in the military and law enforcement, to develop his own successful private drone company.
Blake Sawyer is the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of one of the fastest-growing and most successful small drone companies in the world, he competes with some of the largest defense contractors in the world like Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, and he wins. Blake's success is a true testament to his patriotism, military experience, and entrepreneurial spirit.
[00:00:00] Brian Beckcom: [00:00:00] Hey buddy, I got Blake Sawyer. Blake is a long time friend of mine. I've known Blake for over 25 years. Like I talked about in the introduction. Blake is one of the most impressive people I know. He's a former combat Marine officer, former law enforcement officer, worked at a huge company, and has some specialties, some specialties that he'll talk about.
[00:00:27] And he's also an entrepreneur. And it started a multimillion dollar business, after his Marine Corps career and as law enforcement careers. So, Blake, how are you doing man? Thanks for coming
[00:00:37] Blake Sawyer: [00:00:37] on. How are you? I'm
[00:00:39] Brian Beckcom: [00:00:39] doing good. Hey, you know,, you are a super busy guy. You've got a lot of things going on in addition to your business.
[00:00:47] You've also got. What? Four kids now?
[00:00:50] Blake Sawyer: [00:00:50] Five kids.
[00:00:52] Brian Beckcom: [00:00:52] You got back home on
[00:00:54] Blake Sawyer: [00:00:54] eight, nine, 10 and 11.
[00:00:56] Brian Beckcom: [00:00:56] Eight, nine, 10, 11. Wow. Yeah. Nice. Well, you got [00:01:00] me beat by one. So yeah. I used to say like with one kid, you can play, you can play man defense with two kids. You gotta play zone defense and with three kids, you got to play it.
[00:01:12] There's like really no deep.
[00:01:14] Blake Sawyer: [00:01:14] That's why we played tennis.
[00:01:18] Brian Beckcom: [00:01:18] Yeah. Well, Blake, tell, tell, the listeners a little bit about yourself, where you're from, what you've done personally and professionally, things of that nature.
[00:01:29] Blake Sawyer: [00:01:29] Yeah, I mean, I'm, I was, I'm from Dallas, Texas, and, grew up in Dallas and, what's a and M, after high school.
[00:01:39] And I met you and a lot of great people at a and, M. And then after a and, M, I got a job in Taiwan of all places, work in semiconductor equipment, manufacturing as a, as a plasma engineer. So we just used plasma gasses to etch circuits and wafers. And. And that was a lot of fun until the bubble burst in Silicon Valley [00:02:00] and September 11th happened.
[00:02:01] And, and that led to really what my, what I always wanted to do in my life, but I never really had the, the courage or the catalyst to do it before. And that's what led me to the Marine Corps. And I ended up in the Marine Corps because they're the only ones that would take me. That fast as an older officer going in, it's, it's always a little bit of a challenge on where to go.
[00:02:24] But Raine said, we can get you in in three months. And I said, I'm in.
[00:02:28] Brian Beckcom: [00:02:28] And you were, you were, there were quite a few of our buddies, and the Corps cadets and also at other colleges and military academies and, and people that weren't even in college that after nine 11 happened, decided. That they were going to go fight for their country.
[00:02:44] So in other words, you were in the cork. You and I were in court cadets together, and we both coulda got a military contract and we did. And then you actually worked in the private sector for a little while. And then join the Marine Corps after that, which is pretty unusual. Right. So [00:03:00] what was it that, what was it that, you know, you said it's something you kind of always wanted to do but didn't really have the courage or the proper incentive or whatever you want to call.
[00:03:11] What was it, nine 11 that really drove you to it?
[00:03:14] Blake Sawyer: [00:03:14] What really drove me is, is my grandfather on my dad's side was a electrical engineer out of LSU. And right when he graduated, he enlisted in the Navy. This is world war II era. And he ended up in China as part enabled group China. And, that was a precursor to OSS activities in Asia where they were essentially looking for.
[00:03:40] mine's in the harbors and the ports and they were doing, and he was setting up communications equipment in China. And I thought that was really cool. And it was fascinating to me and that, that is where my military, my affinity for military history was born. And, and in a little bit, you know, unorthodox, non [00:04:00] traditional nonconventional military history.
[00:04:02] And so I think for me, I've always had this, it may be this is true with many of us are running the core cadets as we did. I just had this really strong idealism on, on service to my country and I always, it was a push and pull for me always on doing that. Serving my country in the military or going out and try to be successful in business.
[00:04:26] And, and it was just that mental languish and September 11th that, you know, the bubble bursting and Silicon Valley gave me an opportunity to revisit what I wanted to do. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. and that's what happened for me. And so I had this extraordinarily unique opportunity to.
[00:04:48] To deal with that conflict in my head by joining the military in the end. At the time, it was just simple. It was a simple decision. I mean, when you and I were at a, and, M, it wasn't a global war going on. It was, [00:05:00] it was relatively calm and was all about high tech and, and got booed. Well, Silicon Valley and the internet, other things that were competing, but after September 11th for me, it brought me back to that, that affinity for history, and you know, I wanted to be part of that type of thing.
[00:05:20] Some of it was realized. I was pretty naive, but
[00:05:23] Brian Beckcom: [00:05:23] you have a good way. Yeah. Well, and you, you, you, you're being a little modest about things when you talk about. Choosing the Marine Corps. I mean, you, you chose the, the branch. I think it's safe to say that, virtually guaranteed that you would be in a combat zone.
[00:05:41] I think that's fair to say. And so let me ask you this. Like when you did you have to go through officer candidate school? And then when you went through off a tell, tell people what OCS are.
[00:05:56] Blake Sawyer: [00:05:56] So I joined through a, the officer [00:06:00] selection office in Phoenix, Arizona of all places. That was the battle. I researched the offices that had a deficiency in officer recruitment, and Phoenix popped up as the number one.
[00:06:10] So I, I moved to Phoenix and joined there and I got in on a, on an eight in the Marine Corps. You can choose. Aviation or ground only options. You don't get to choose what your job is. You earn that it at TBS or whatever, so that he had one aviation slot open. I didn't want to be a pilot. I didn't want to be an aviator, but I wanted to get in and that was my ticket in.
[00:06:35] So I got in, I went to Quantico, Virginia, you have to go to OCS, which is an officer bootcamp. It's about a 10 week. At the time, it was 10 weeks, and the first day there, they whined all of the new candidates up on the parade deck, and they said, if you have an aviation contract, step forward. So a lot of people step forward.
[00:06:56] If you have a ground contract, take a step backwards. [00:07:00] Everybody stepped backwards. If you want to switch, go to that side of the parade deck. And so we had one other Marine went to the other side of the parade deck and he wants to be aviator. I wanted to be in the infantry. And we switched. So for me it was a stroke of good luck probably for him too.
[00:07:21] Yeah. You do 10 weeks of bootcamp, six months of training at the basic school, which is a, yeah. All Marines are trained as a basic rifleman. And depending on your standing in your class, you get selected for your specialty, which is one of 32 or 33 different jobs. And, um. And on mine, you list your lineal what you want to do.
[00:07:46] And I, I think I put infantry on every slot. Wow. But I was naive. I really wanted to go to war. I wanted to be in combat because I didn't know what. [00:08:00] What the hell it was. I thought I did. So, it was, it was naive. but I, you get what you ask for sometimes, and that's how I ended up there. And,
[00:08:11] Brian Beckcom: [00:08:11] and tell, tell, so you, you and I share a pretty deep, his family history of military involvement, but for the people that maybe aren't as familiar.
[00:08:23] what happened, like when you graduate from, officer candidate school and the basic school and become an infantry officer, you're, you're basically assigned to lead a group of people, right? So tell us, if you get out of all of the training you have to go through, how quickly is it when, when you get your own.
[00:08:45] Unit and you're in charge of people, and how quickly is it before you get shipped off to war.
[00:08:51] Blake Sawyer: [00:08:51] So, in my case, after the OCS 10 weeks, basic school, six months, that's the same for all new Marine Corps officers. [00:09:00] I got selected for infantry officer course after that, which is another three months of training.
[00:09:06] And at the end of that, you get assigned a unit. And in my case, it was a another, it was another opportunity for me that came at the expense of, of somebody's life. I was a combat replacement in Fallujah. So what happened for me is the day I graduated, I got orders to Iraq. Yeah. Pop that replacement in a light armored reconnaissance platoon.
[00:09:32] Brian Beckcom: [00:09:32] And what does combat replacement mean?
[00:09:34] Blake Sawyer: [00:09:34] The combat replacement means the rifle platoon commander, that proceeded me, was killed in Fallujah.
[00:09:41] Brian Beckcom: [00:09:41] Okay.
[00:09:42] Blake Sawyer: [00:09:42] I had to be there to replace him as the new unit commander.
[00:09:46] Brian Beckcom: [00:09:46] And as a true, I want to keep hearing more about this, but was it true when you were there that.
[00:09:52] Some of the enemy would target the officers, like they're, they're specifically trying to take you guys out, right?
[00:10:00] [00:10:00] Blake Sawyer: [00:10:00] Yeah. I think he was a, you know, the, I found in an urban environment city, and because of that translator that was assigned, every platoon has a translator. I mean, if you're lucky, you get a translator.
[00:10:15] And so the translator, the officer and the radio guy always stand together and deal with the local populace. So you are. You are exposed, you know, more than others for, for some sniper activity, improvise the tax with bombs and things like that. But yeah. I, I never felt endangered that way because I had my team protected me.
[00:10:38] I had Overwatch, I had Marines, I had the most competent people on earth in my platoon. I was really fortunate and it helped me being a little older going in because I wasn't a 22 year old kid right out of college. Sergeant and I were the same age and that helped. And I had a little bit of a background outside of.
[00:10:58] [00:11:00] college, which helped me help me. Not situation, but yeah. Everybody at the time was getting targeted if you were a Marine wearing, that type of uniform and, you know, yeah, it's reciprocal. A lot of people lack of fluids or were getting targeted, and some of them, you know. We're were, had the misfortune of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, just
[00:11:21] Brian Beckcom: [00:11:21] like we did.
[00:11:22] Yeah. So what was going, so literally the day after you graduate, or the day you graduate, you get orders and you're, you're, you're told you're going to replace it. Officer who was killed. what, what's going through your mind? Are you excited? Are you nervous? Are you scared?
[00:11:39] Blake Sawyer: [00:11:39] I think that was, well, it was a mix.
[00:11:44] It was a dry was adrenalized. I wanted to go, that was the whole point of the last year was I wanted to go somewhere. I didn't care if it was Afghanistan or I wanted to go, and I had that, you know, that. I think all [00:12:00] guys, really, every, all humans have this desire to test your own metal.
[00:12:05] Brian Beckcom: [00:12:05] Yeah. What,
[00:12:06] Blake Sawyer: [00:12:06] what are you, what are you really capable of?
[00:12:08] Are you really capable of practicing the trade that you've learned and are you going to be any good or not? And so I was ready to go. but I arrived into a situation that was really a fluid. Yeah, it, it, I didn't have the, the workup opportunity that usually precedes a deployment like that. And so I had to learn fast and I was learning as much as I could from the 1819 year old kids that had been in country for a month already.
[00:12:38] And in that, you know, in combat, your lessons are compressed. So in a, you know, a month in combat is probably worth a year training anywhere else.
[00:12:47] Brian Beckcom: [00:12:47] And is it fair to say that Fallujah at the time that you were deployed was, if not the hottest spot, one of the hotspots in
[00:12:54] Blake Sawyer: [00:12:54] Iraq? It was at the time, you mean the entire Western province in Iraq, [00:13:00] Al Anbar province.
[00:13:02] That's everything. Basically West of Baghdad to the Syrian border. Yeah. That was a Marine Corps, a first Marine division, area of operations. And, in Fallujah, the first time I was in Fallujah, it was, we had about nine battalions of Marines there. And, it was the hotspot. You remember that? We went back and forth on taking Fallujah, given it back, take it.
[00:13:27] The politics. It was all centered there. The media that the attention on, I mean, there was a large focus on, on Fallujah. The Marine Corps had a lot of pressure in my, my father-in-law was the chief of staff, in Iraq at the time. He was a Marine general working for an army. General, who's the head of the Iraq at the time.
[00:13:48] Yeah, it was, it was interesting to see, you know, I mean, I was in the middle of it, but in the strangely, I'm in the middle of the world's focus, but the only thing I'm thinking about it, the three blocks [00:14:00] I'm responsible for, no outside media. There's no book. There's no. Yeah, there's none at all. It's all about a three block area that my platoon was responsible for.
[00:14:14] Brian Beckcom: [00:14:14] Nothing like it. Shot at to concentrate your focus and your, and your mind. So what, what's it like, I mean, when you get to Fallujah, when you get to a hot, one of the hottest combat zones in the world at the time, I mean, what's, what, what's it like? Tell us what it's like when you get there.
[00:14:34] Blake Sawyer: [00:14:34] Mmm.
[00:14:41] And just pure adrenaline. It's like going into a state championship basketball game. You're ready for it, train you, but you have to perform. The difference is instead of losing on the scoreboard, you lose with people getting hurt and so the stakes are higher. Yeah, [00:15:00] well, it's, it is a, you know, I don't look back and I, I do think there's a lot of people in, in more, everyone has a different experience on what's, you know, when I think of war, I, I still, even though I went to Iraq, multiple deployments, I still, when I think of war, I still picture, you know.
[00:15:21] The evil Jima movie when they're storming the beaches. I still picture saving private Ryan and I, I still picture that as a war. What I, what I was in, you know, it was a, it was a counterinsurgency. It was gang fights. It was, it was a different kind of, of war. So I think I share the same. Mmm. I guess the same assessment of what war is to what most Americans, whether they served or not have Iraq is very unique.
[00:15:51] For me, it was a, it was, it was definitely more of an, in the context of, the human context was, was real. It was, [00:16:00] extraordinary bravery for people that maybe they weren't going to get shot with a Howitzer, but they get, they step on a string that blows her leg off of the grenade. It was. It was a very interesting, strange place that I, I frankly, I miss it.
[00:16:17] I never, that's my life. I'll never have that level of responsibility or authority again. I was a little King of a fiefdom.
[00:16:26] Brian Beckcom: [00:16:26] Yeah. There's, there's a great book on, by a great book called tr try. It's called tribe or tribes. I'm not sure if you've read it by Sebastian younger. You also wrote some other adventure books.
[00:16:38] But anyway, he was a war correspondent. He was in Iraq, and you know, my dad was, my dad's a combat veteran, flew 200 combat missions over Vietnam, has a distinguished flying cross, et cetera, et cetera. And what younger talks about in this book, he talks about how a lot of veterans and war correspondents are depressed when they come back there.
[00:16:59] They're [00:17:00] there. They'd rather be back in theater for the exact reasons. You're talking about the adrenaline, the importance of the mission thing, things of that nature, and you were actually deployed more than once, right?
[00:17:15] Blake Sawyer: [00:17:15] Yeah. That feeling is real and a lot of people choose to go back. I, I had an opportunity to volunteer to go back and I did.
[00:17:25] Now the second after the second deployment, I don't ever want to go back.
[00:17:28] Brian Beckcom: [00:17:28] What happened, and this is what happened in the second deployment,
[00:17:31] Blake Sawyer: [00:17:31] it was a different, it was a different mission. The first. Did you think of 2004, 2005 in Anwar province? In Iraq, you have Phantom fury and Fallujah. You have a river blitz and hit Hadith, and you have, you have true American combined arms, joint interagency, international, applied combat power.
[00:17:56] So if you were shot from a building, you could call an [00:18:00] airstrike on that building. Yeah. As the war evolved. In Iraq. We went from nine battalions and Fallujah to one.
[00:18:08] Brian Beckcom: [00:18:08] Yeah.
[00:18:09] Blake Sawyer: [00:18:09] You think about battalion is roughly a thousand Marines. So the first time I was in Fallujah, there's 10,000 Marines there. The second time there was 700 Marines.
[00:18:20] Mmm. It was harder. We did more census patrolling, a lot more work during daylight hours where Marines, Lucy, and manage Americans. No. If I come to Houston, Texas and I try to fight a war in your neighborhood, your kids probably are going to get the beat on me cause they know they can climb over and they know what houses they can go in and out.
[00:18:40] They know they know things that I just can't, I can't obtain from my own intelligence collection sources for the second deployment, we lost more in that area that we did the first one, even though the fighting was more intense the first time. Yeah.
[00:18:57] Brian Beckcom: [00:18:57] Just sounds like just kind of a different kind of
[00:18:59] Blake Sawyer: [00:18:59] fighting.
[00:19:00] [00:19:00] Never had a fighting. It's a, you have one platoon instead of three blocks. I had 18 blocks. Yeah, and it's hard to do that
[00:19:09] Brian Beckcom: [00:19:09] way. And let me ask you this, but like, because I think a lot of, particularly Western Westerners, particularly Americans, don't realize the level of sectarian conflict in Iraq. They don't, in other words, they don't realize that Iraq is not really.
[00:19:26] A natural, natural country in terms of the people that live there. You have the sunnies, you have the Shias, you have the Kurds, you have all these tribes, and then you can get real granular on it. And I know you know what I'm talking about. But did that tribal conflict. Cause any, additional problems for you guys when you were over there.
[00:19:49] Blake Sawyer: [00:19:49] When you think of a rack, you need to think of three completely different countries or, yeah, we're bolted together by the British and they said, Hey, with no respect to [00:20:00] geographical, cultural boundaries. So. The first, the first time over there, it was a little different. Of course, I was younger too. I was at a different job the second time over there I was an advisor to the flu jab police, so I lived and worked with the Iraqis in the fluid, your police department patrols, and they were getting assassinated left and right.
[00:20:22] So I went from the same people that I was fighting before. Probably we'd probably kill each other's people. Yeah. So the year before, yeah. Well, I'm their advisor and they're getting killed by the news as the government that we inserted in Iraq. Okay. Switch from a, from a really a Gulf Arab state influenced leadership under Saddam and this to a Persian influence leadership from Iran.
[00:20:49] Yeah. Sectarian hit squads on the Shia side. Rose in power wanted and they wanted their pound of flesh out of the West. Yeah. [00:21:00] The Sunni's that we were working with the the truck. When you, when you think of the tribal stuff, it's not. My brothers and I, we've talked about this a lot. It's not like native American tribes that are, but it's, it is sort of like the command chiefs at the turn of the 19th century in Texas.
[00:21:18] Yeah. All these bands of people, they're the same. Ethnically, they're the same culturally, but they're, they're bands of gangs that fight and kill each other because that's what they do. Mix in that, and now you bring in. Kiowa or other, and that's what was happening in Iraq. So a lot of the sectarian violence was bleeding from the North and central part of Iraq.
[00:21:43] Into the West to take over the smuggling routes, which are lucrative. It's an old smuggling town.
[00:21:48] Brian Beckcom: [00:21:48] Yeah,
[00:21:50] Blake Sawyer: [00:21:50] it's a crossroads. It's a smuggling town on the Euphrates and whoever controls Fallujah controls all the smuggling between Iraq and Syria. Yeah, [00:22:00] and that's why that crossroad, that's why it's
[00:22:02] Brian Beckcom: [00:22:02] dangerous.
[00:22:02] It hugely as strategically important too. It sounds like
[00:22:05] Blake Sawyer: [00:22:05] it's a tough cloud, whether you're a Sunni or a Shia in Iraq. Delusions are looked at as delusions, even though they're mostly Sunni. Yeah. When people say Ballou Generac, they all rolled their eyes. That's, that's, that's,
[00:22:25] Brian Beckcom: [00:22:25] yeah. That's like a, that's like the people from new Orleans, right?
[00:22:28] They're Americans, but they're, they're, they're a totally different tribe
[00:22:31] Blake Sawyer: [00:22:31] or their own tribe. And so I, and I came to. I went from hating him to actually respecting that, that I respected the grit they had in the, in the way that they lived was just, you just realize that we're pretty blessed in our country.
[00:22:49] Yeah. I mean, we don't, we worry about things rightfully so, but we really don't have much to worry about in that, in the content, you know, in comparison. Yeah. [00:23:00] And I think the biggest lesson I learned in Iraq was just that, is that. Every day that we have in our country is, is pretty extraordinary. Yeah.
[00:23:10] Either with a Pang, it's extraordinary.
[00:23:13] Brian Beckcom: [00:23:13] Yeah. And, and I, you know, one of the reasons I wanted to get you on Blake is because we are talking, right in the middle of this pandemic. And most of us are staying at home most of the time. And there's a lot of uncertainty about what the future holds. And. Having experienced what you've experienced gives you I think, a pretty good perspective on, on life in general and on, you know, kind of how we can cope mentally as a country and frankly as a human species with, with all this uncertainty and change and stuff.
[00:23:48] And so I really, I really appreciate hearing about all this stuff because I do think it kind of puts things in a, in a little bit different. Context. So you did two deployments. How, how [00:24:00] long were the deployments that you were doing?
[00:24:03] Blake Sawyer: [00:24:03] Six months and seven months.
[00:24:05] Brian Beckcom: [00:24:05] Six months and seven months. And then, and then you were, you were done after your second deployment.
[00:24:13] Is, is, is, is that
[00:24:15] Blake Sawyer: [00:24:15] I went over to a jungle warfare school in Okinawa and went and worked as an advisor to the rock Marines for a little while in Korea. Gotcha. And because I volunteered on my second deployment, after that cycle was up, that tour was up. I had an opportunity to, to go do something completely new.
[00:24:36] which the Marine Corps, you don't really get a lot of chances to, to. Pick and choose where you go. And in, in my case, I had that opportunity. And so, I seized, it ended up, cause I knew I was going to get out and I knew that there was nothing in my career rank or otherwise that would crest my first a few years on active duty.
[00:24:56] Yeah. Yeah. And I just, you [00:25:00] just can't ever get that back. Yeah. And I knew that, that I didn't want to spend the rest of my life going in and out of a rack, but I was interested in bigger geopolitical things and I was fascinated with the Western hemisphere, South America, central America, counter drugs, cocaine.
[00:25:22] Right? Not, not that I wanted to go out and snort a bunch of cocaine. I was interested in how cocaine was used as a diplomatic tool between, yeah, and so I had an opportunity to go down to key West Florida to join an agency task force itself, which is commanded actually by a coast guard
[00:25:40] Brian Beckcom: [00:25:40] Admiral. Are you still attached to the Marines at the time?
[00:25:43] Blake Sawyer: [00:25:43] I was still attached to the window. I knew when I made the transfer over there, I was still attached to another counter-drug program in Columbia with state department.
[00:25:53] Brian Beckcom: [00:25:53] Yeah. So you went from, being a Marine Corps combat officer and, and, and in a way working [00:26:00] almost as a law enforcement officer in Iraq to being a law enforcement officer or attached to a law enforcement unit in the United States.
[00:26:09] So. You know, that's another really cool, story. So tell us kinda what you, what your experience with law enforcement was.
[00:26:19] Blake Sawyer: [00:26:19] So, the, the mission out of key West, which covered 42 million square miles South of key West, so all the way down to LA and back up around central America, all the way out to the Galapagos, into Mexico.
[00:26:35] And so. For me that that job was, although there was some law enforcement interdiction that was more of an intelligence, job detection and monitoring job, we were identifying supply routes being used by, suppliers, sources and suppliers in Colombia and Peru, and how they removing the, those drugs in a maritime environment.
[00:26:56] So my job was to identify. A fishing boats [00:27:00] that were used as supply. So if you're a, I mean at the drug world fascinates me because of the innovation. It's pretty amazing. It's how I ended up doing what I'm doing right now. But what happened is. Yeah, as they were building at the time, a little submarines in the mangrove swamps in the Western side of Columbia.
[00:27:19] These are boats that are, that float just underneath the surface of the water, and they would grab these poor fishermen that make $200 a month normally on their fishing boats. They would grab them and say, you're going to drive this, this boat to Mexico, and here's the route you're going to take and you're going to go four miles an hour.
[00:27:40] From here to Mexico, and you're going to go West of the Galapagos islands, which is 600 miles due West of the Ecuador, Colombian border, and a summary in a, in a, in a boat that sits just underneath the surface, like a U boat. You don't carry eight to 10 metric tons of cocaine [00:28:00] and every. Seven or eight hours, you would have to stop next to a fishing boat and refuel.
[00:28:07] And so my job was to identify the boats that were getting extorted with fuel. So U S assets and our apartment nation assets in the air could identify where these boats might pop up because you can spot them with traditional. Detection technique. And, so I spent some time doing that and I was fascinated.
[00:28:29] And then I moved to the airside where the Colombians in the us state department have a, yeah. Let's see. What's, what's open source now? Because the program doesn't exist anymore, but essentially the Colombians on Colombian and authority and you asked support could identify and shoot down illegal. Mmm.
[00:28:50] Air smuggling operations at a neighboring countries. Yep. And
[00:28:54] Brian Beckcom: [00:28:54] is that when you got into, cause I know you've got quite a bit of experience with drones and drone technology [00:29:00] and things of that nature. Is that where you started kind of getting into that stuff or you already know a little bit about that?
[00:29:06] Blake Sawyer: [00:29:06] I had a, one of my jobs was using, seized drug money to buy equipment for our partners.
[00:29:13] Yeah. Drugs are seized in international waters. We have. This big international fight over who's going to, you know, money and guns come South, drugs go North. And so when you're seizing money, what do you do with that money? Permanent justice has a program that disseminates that into certain, baskets, so to speak.
[00:29:34] So one of those baskets was in my, agency and what we were doing, and I ended up with the drone portfolio. Yeah, I'm talking about drones. I knew they existed, but in my mind, a drone was a best buy, quad copter, buy off the shelf, not the type of stuff that. Really existed at the time. And so this is post predator Reaper when drones are getting a little smaller, but [00:30:00] they're bigger and they're somewhere in between the big reapers and the best buy drunk category was new to me.
[00:30:07] And so I ended up with this portfolio, but I ran scout technology scout looking for off the shelf commercial equipment that I could buy and give to entities like the Columbia Navy. Yeah, that's how I got into, that's what fascinated me about drones. That was the seed. my boss was a different agency.
[00:30:27] You have to be in the FBI, assistant director of intelligence for the FBI. I worked in his task force and we were prosecuting these smugglers. through Panama express and Florida. And, one of the U S attorneys involved in that at the time was Michael McCall, who's a Congressman now.
[00:30:45] Brian Beckcom: [00:30:45] Yeah, sure.
[00:30:46] Blake Sawyer: [00:30:46] Between him and my FBI, our taskforce boss, I had an opportunity to, to get out of federal service and come to Texas and work in state. And that's how I ended up at DPS. And Texas [00:31:00] took over the state police and asked me to join him. And so. That's how I ended up there. It was kind of a,
[00:31:08] Brian Beckcom: [00:31:08] you were actual DPS officer.
[00:31:11] Blake Sawyer: [00:31:11] I was a deputy chief. I was not a trooper. Remember I was a federal guy that came in. It was a good business and life lesson too, and I think it's, it's like anything, if you're a, if you're a basketball player and you've got a coach that actually played basketball, maybe. Decades before you, but, but knew exactly the, there's something about the credibility factor that matters for sure in law enforcement and other entities.
[00:31:43] So I did not want to command troopers. I ended up having a lot of troopers that worked for me, but I was never really comfortable at DPS and in the pure law enforcement role. So I ended up convincing the state leadership to allow me to build the. [00:32:00] Rachel reconnaissance LPO piece on the board. So she did identify smuggling operations on the border, cause that's what I know.
[00:32:07] That's what I do. So I turned into a policy guy. Yeah. State on the border. Nice. And
[00:32:15] Brian Beckcom: [00:32:15] so, so you go for it. At this point, are you out of the Marine Corps?
[00:32:19] Blake Sawyer: [00:32:19] Mountain, the Marine Corps.
[00:32:21] Brian Beckcom: [00:32:21] what, what were you captain when you retired captain yet, and so that then you're working with, how long were you with the DPS?
[00:32:29] Five years. And where are you doing mainly the border stuff that you were talking about earlier?
[00:32:36] Blake Sawyer: [00:32:36] I was the deputy chief for the capital region. So I was responsible for, operations at the state Capitol, the 30 blocks or so around the state Capitol. And I had the border ops until we moved that to the Texas Rangers.
[00:32:52] Gotcha. Now the Texas Rangers do all the border ops, and that job was less operational and more political. [00:33:00] I got to, you know, that's where I learned to brief the legislature and deal with lobbyists to deal with all the competing interests from the federal government and money and, and, uh. And I don't know if it turned me on to politics or turned me off.
[00:33:16] Fascinating to see how easily influenced certain personalities were and how a polished brief that makes no sense at all might very well become your new policy if it's brief. And so how you communicate your messaging is really important. I learned that from my job at the state. Now, the reason I was there five years is that.
[00:33:39] If you come from federal government. So federal law went to the federal law enforcement training Academy in Glynco, Georgia before DPS, and instead of, instead of moving into federal law enforcement and stayed on that path, I was at that, that 10 year kind of federal Mark where you stay and get out. Yeah, I'm getting out.
[00:33:58] I go to the state and [00:34:00] you can buy all your federal time back up to five years and if you work five years, you get your 10 years invested. So that. So, so I worked exactly 60 months and zero days
[00:34:13] Brian Beckcom: [00:34:13] yet, you know, my dad did the same thing. My dad was a retired Lieutenant Colonel. He retired after 20 years.
[00:34:20] Service and he became a teacher, but it was kind of same deal. He could retire a couple of years early based on his certain formula was military service. And he certainly did that. So that, that's the perfect segue. So we've got, we wanted about your
[00:34:34] Blake Sawyer: [00:34:34] operational
[00:34:34] Brian Beckcom: [00:34:34] experience as a Marine Corps officer, and now you've got some more experience with, the politics and the bureaucracy.
[00:34:43] And. That seems like the perfect segue into, your entrepreneurial career, which has been phenomenally successful, frankly. So tell, tell our listeners a little bit about after the DPS. You [00:35:00] started a business and became an entrepreneur, how did that go?
[00:35:03] Blake Sawyer: [00:35:03] You said, if you could remember a few minutes ago when we talked about my portfolio, I had in my, in my state department where I was buying using drug money to buy seeds.
[00:35:16] Assets for our partners in the course of that which was, which needed DPS by five years, I could never get, I went up to Silicon Valley and I, I met with this professor, the associate Dean of, aerospace engineering at Stanford and in this small warehouse outside of Stanford. He had incubated this.
[00:35:34] Really unique drone, and it was a ducted fan. think of a helicopter without rotary blades. And I remember looking at that thinking, man, this would solve a lot of mission gap problems that I had as a Marine. It would solve a lot of problems I have at sea down in South America. Yeah. And it would have solved a lot of problems on the border with Texas.
[00:35:59] So instead of, [00:36:00] you know, building a border wall, we could build a virtual. Network of these systems that could launch and recover on, you know, using AI. And I was just fascinated with that.
[00:36:09] Brian Beckcom: [00:36:09] And I, and that's one of the things I've noticed, like reading, I read about a lot of entrepreneurs, is a lot of times starting a business or being an entrepreneur is just about identifying gaps in the market that need to be filled.
[00:36:21] And so you, you, you, you, you, because you had worked in this market, you knew. Where are the gaps, essentially?
[00:36:29] Blake Sawyer: [00:36:29] Yeah. Well, I knew, and this is true across any industry. and you in your profession, there are a lot of law firms that, that can represent a client on, on a personal injury case or, or a Jones Zack case or whatever.
[00:36:46] But there aren't very many law firms that recognize that, that your job, isn't it? I'm trying to, I'm applying this to my drug in here. Yeah. Easier for people to [00:37:00] kind of grasp is that is that you listen to, you identify what the problem is. It might be really nichey, but the client feedback means a lot more than, than what you think they need.
[00:37:14] It's what they actually need versus what your perception of the need is. And so I knew that this drone, because I was that end user
[00:37:23] Brian Beckcom: [00:37:23] or the client. Yeah,
[00:37:24] Blake Sawyer: [00:37:24] you were the client. I was the client. And so I knew that, that if I ever had an opportunity to get out of government service, which was never my intention to be a career guy, I was going to go back out to Stanford and I was going to sit down with this guy and try to get him to sell me this IP, this buy in, this aircraft, this, this small team of two people that he had.
[00:37:50] And I went out there and, and, and, and it's the seed of Silicon Valley. And I convinced the guy to sell me this platform, the [00:38:00] software, everything that comes with it. But he had a very lofty Silicon Valley valuation. Right? There's a guy with no sales. He's building this in a garage. but he's in Silicon Valley where everything is, the valuation of companies is based on future potential, not current earnings.
[00:38:17] Yeah. And so I knew I wanted it, but I thought, this isn't gonna work, but I could never get it out of my head. So I came back to Texas and I just, I talked to my wife about it and I said, I'm just like, this is going to solve a lot of problems. I have to figure out a way to take that duct tape prototype out of Stanford, bring it to taxes, turn it into a production airplane, and then try to figure out how to get it back to the people that I used to work for.
[00:38:46] And it was as simple as that. So I found a, I found a guy who, you know. Blake Stovall. Sure. Blake was one of the original, Reaper pilots in the air force, and [00:39:00] he's the only guy that I knew that really understood autonomous systems. And their application into the military.
[00:39:08] Brian Beckcom: [00:39:08] And when you say Reaper pilots, are you talking about like drone pilot, like combat drone pilots?
[00:39:13] Blake Sawyer: [00:39:13] on the drones, the, he was a BBQ bomber pilot and they also joined the military late like I did. So we were connected because he was an engineer at Boeing. And then after September 11th joined the air force. Yeah. He ended up flying bombers and then transitioned to the Reaper program. and those were the first armed predator drugs.
[00:39:36] So that when you started your, this is the first time in history where we've had drones that could watch from the United States, fly overseas, engage a target and come home. Yeah. One take a guess. And so he was one of the first people to do that. And so I talked to him about this and said, who could we find to invest in this idea?
[00:39:58] And because we have, [00:40:00] I have virtually zero business experience. Yeah. No one's going to loan me money on my public affairs degree from LBJ school, but what are they going to, what are they gonna loan money on? Well, you, maybe there's somebody who's idealistic as me or somebody that has them, has a vision that, that might want to participate in this with me.
[00:40:21] Not as a silent investor, but as a true partner. Yup. We're going to do this. So, and that's where Marvin UAB comes from. Rubin Martin out of Kilgore, Texas, went out and, got the valuation way down because his checkbook was real monument. No, not at the time. Yeah. And, and you know, here we are, but it's taken, you know, it took a long time to get it in that area.
[00:40:48] Taking a piece of technology, like the VBA, which is the name of our aircraft. Yeah. And taking it from where it was to a production aircraft. It's [00:41:00] not an easy task. Right. We're only way to do that is with a lot of money and a lot of forward thinking and investing in people. Yeah. So we went out and found the best people that we could find.
[00:41:13] Mmm. That, that shared our belief, that understood that even though our product was in a very nichey space. Yeah. There was nothing to fill those niches. Yeah. And, and that's, and that's what happened. It took about four years. I remember the third year. And so two years ago, our company was, was, you know, over $30 million in debt.
[00:41:34] Yeah. And we were not sure we were going to make it, even though we had some contracts and we knew we'd lot about platform. Our competitors are very few, but there are big companies going on all three, Lockheed Martin, and here we are a small, you know, 60 person company. but we knew if we were persistent and we focused on the client's problem and not the, the, the grander [00:42:00] lobby around the political, the industrial defense, they are meth in Washington.
[00:42:07] Eventually our product would solve enough problems where we would get the momentum. And that's what what's happened. And so now he's doing really, really, really well
[00:42:15] Brian Beckcom: [00:42:15] that that is a phenomenal entrepreneurial lesson right there. They're there in every business. I don't care whether it's a drum business or a law business or a coffee shop, there's always going to be bigger businesses you've got to compete against, right?
[00:42:30] There's always going to be the 800 pound gorilla. And so a lot of people think, well. What am I going to do when Walmart moves into town? Am I just going to go out of business? And yeah, some people will go out of business, but if you can do what you're talking about, which is fulfill a need that customers actually have.
[00:42:48] Like in some ways a smaller business has some advantages over a bigger business. Cause you can be more agile, you can be more nimble, you can be more in front of your customers. And so. Like in my [00:43:00] business, we've intentionally tried to stay pretty small specifically because we want all the clients to be able to know their lawyers.
[00:43:09] Whereas it, these big firms, you may never meet your lawyer the entire case, but, but anyway, that's it. That's a phenomenal entrepreneurial. Lessons. So what, what's the, what's the status of the business? What's the status of the drone technology right now? I know there's probably some of some of this stuff you probably can't talk, talk about for various
[00:43:28] Blake Sawyer: [00:43:28] reasons.
[00:43:29] Our drone, and it's at its heart, is a scout drone, a intelligence surveillance reconnaissance drone. And we focus, our biggest strength is on the ocean. We're really good on the back of ships, nonstandard vessels, which are vessels that the United States. Uses for military operations, but they, they don't really look
[00:43:51] Brian Beckcom: [00:43:51] like a million.
[00:43:53] Blake Sawyer: [00:43:53] And the reason we focus there is it's, it's right back to what you just said about your law firm, is that. [00:44:00] We focused in areas. I mean, for a small business, a five or $6 million business case, which might be two of our systems and a crew is it does significant things to your point, female, right? For sure.
[00:44:14] Yeah. Lockheed Martin is not interested in a five or $6 million business case. Yeah. But we're in, we're operating now in 28 countries. Nice. All of them started with little seed cases that were one or two systems where we could devote our time and we frankly could not have dealt with a a Marine Corps production contract or an army production contract two years ago because we weren't big enough.
[00:44:44] We went from being able to build about one of these systems every three months to now we build one every week.
[00:44:49] Brian Beckcom: [00:44:49] Wow. Nice.
[00:44:51] Blake Sawyer: [00:44:51] We'll triple that production by August by focusing on, well, you know, we use, I mean, I use this as a, you can take a piece [00:45:00] of land and you clear it. And you plant your crop on it. When you have to start with the right soil, the right seed, you got to nurse those seeds.
[00:45:09] It takes you a while. Well, until you can grow that big enough to justify doing that audit with automated machinery. And so you got to do it by hand. And every business should start that way. You should look for a piece of land or whatever it is. And so in symbolic nature and, and your seed, and take care of that one seed until it grows into something and then you prove to yourself.
[00:45:30] That you can do it and then you can grow in three the next year. And it just, it doesn't law firms in the same way, you pick one that you know you're going to do well and you do, you do the best you can on that case. And what does that do? It leads to the next case and the next, and you don't start, you can't start as a Lockheed Martin, but if you look at, in our case, Northrup Grumman, Lockheed Martin.
[00:45:55] They all started with one individual that had a division, [00:46:00] had had one seed to plant. Yeah. That's what, that's all we did is follow the lead from a hundred years ago.
[00:46:06] Brian Beckcom: [00:46:06] But you know, that's that, that, that w that is. Absolutely fantastic advice. And it kind of reminds me of something, my wife and I was talking about last night and we were talking about it in the context of the pandemic and, and some of the things that are gone on right now.
[00:46:21] And I'm convinced that the most powerful thing in the world, it's been the most powerful thing, all of human history. And it will always be the most powerful thing. Is a power of ideas. And so, you know, you had an idea and look where you are now. You're in 28 different countries, people, you know, Steve Jobs.
[00:46:41] And Steve Wazniak had an idea literally in their garage, and now it's the most valuable company on the planet. And so, you know, some, some of the time when I'm thinking about whether I should do something or not or try something. You know, my attitude is like, well, somebody's going to do it. Why not me?
[00:46:59] Right. It's [00:47:00] not somebody who's going to do it for sure. So, well, that's great, Blake. So what's the, what's, what's kind of the outlook? What's your business outlook? What's kind of your. Your plan for the next few years or so?
[00:47:11] Blake Sawyer: [00:47:11] I think that once you, once you get into a business like this and you realize that you're able to see other problems that exist out there in the course of our UAV business.
[00:47:25] we started looking into artificial intelligence and the ability to use computer vision to, to land UABs autonomously and, and so on. The tech side, fascinated with that. So we're making some investments in those areas. Some of that's using U S government investment money, and some of it is our own.
[00:47:44] to date, we've, we've only used our own money in development. We've never used a penny of the U S government's money. So we're completely a commercial product, which means what? Not limited to the, you know, the USDA. You can sell anywhere in the world. Yeah. I noticed in the [00:48:00] logistics chain that it was really all these ports.
[00:48:02] A lot of these ships were having trouble getting gas, getting petrol, getting diesel, getting JPA, JP five jet fuel. I thought, man. Why is it so hard for a ship to pull into it, report in Corpus Christi and not get fuel? Yeah. Well, because nobody focused really on this big portfolio except the big companies like Chevron, Exxon, and whatever.
[00:48:25] And, and so now we've, we realized that all these big companies have a set aside requirement or services abled companies or small businesses to help them bridge that gap between the defense industry requirements for fuel and gas, which is 150 billion, I think, a year. And they're flattened. So, but again, it's about the customer.
[00:48:48] They're focused on pipelines and storage and tankers. But no one's focused on the coast guard captain that needs to fill up his little speedboat. It's credit card. So anyway, we [00:49:00] started vet jet fuels. We hired a, one, and we have one employee there, and that's a, it's kind of a, another entrepreneurial spinoff.
[00:49:09] I'm still a defense contractor. That's my primary life. Yeah. That jet fuels was started about six months ago. We have two contracts instead of selling jet fuel to a U S military also.
[00:49:26] Brian Beckcom: [00:49:26] And again, this is, this is what we're talking about just a few minutes ago. This is absolutely, you know, the quintessential entrepreneurial skill.
[00:49:34] And that is being, open minded enough to see where there's gaps or there's problems or there's. There's a need in the market and going in and filling it. I mean that, that's, that's kind of the definition of entrepreneurship. And now that you started another business, I think it's fair to say you're not only an entrepreneur, you're a serial entrepreneurs.
[00:49:54] Blake Sawyer: [00:49:54] Maybe. I think it's, I think you point [00:50:00] in my career, I mean, I'm 44 years old. I have an opportunity now to, to, to do things that I'm passionate about. What are those things? I love technology. I love the world. I like different countries. I feel like the world is a lot smaller than people give it credit for.
[00:50:19] And I want to be a part of all of that. So, so everything that I do now does have a tie into that. I mean, everything I do now is very international. Yeah. I mean, a full half of my drone business is international. Yeah. And, and I, I love that. And that's why this coven 19 is, um. It's tough because I spend most of my, my professional life engaging with these different customers around the world.
[00:50:46] Every time you do that, you learn of other potential opportunities that you can do. And so the biggest challenge, I think people like you and me and others that. That we have is you can't do everything you want to [00:51:00] do at once. Yeah. And have a good family life and a good work balance life. And so the, you know, my priority is to be a good dad, be a good husband.
[00:51:08] First things that I'm proud to do, in my professional life. That have a direct, tangible impact with the people that use my products or use my services. And if those three things don't align, then it's just not worth it.
[00:51:25] Brian Beckcom: [00:51:25] Yeah. Yeah. And that's, that's great advice. And I was actually, and I'm cognizant of your time, and I again, really, really appreciate all the time you're giving us, because I know you're, you're in demand and your time is valuable, but.
[00:51:39] You know, the pandemic obviously is pretty much what everybody's thinking about right now. And as somebody who has had a lot of experience and a lot of very chaotic environments, a lot of experience with a lot of uncertainty, fear, things of that nature, what advice would you have for [00:52:00] people listening, about how to get through these very, very strange times.
[00:52:07] And come out the other end in, in good shape. Like what, what are you doing? What's your advice to people?
[00:52:13] Blake Sawyer: [00:52:13] No, I, I have been fortunate that I've, I've seen my, my own mortality. Yeah. And I've seen it closely a couple of times and more than a couple of times. And so for me. I think the first thing people have to recognize is that every day matters.
[00:52:32] Life on earth is transient. None of us are gonna live to be a hundred years old. but respect the fact that it's transient for everybody. And so I think take advantage of, you know, do things now that, that you've just ignored her or you've had the excuse that you haven't had time to do it. You've had legitimate reasons you couldn't do it.
[00:52:55] Do those things. I don't know what the [00:53:00] answer is on the, on the pandemic. I think that the world can, you know, the world will, will, you can set an example that's different than the political example and move outside of the political. Elm and everyone has their preferences. Everyone has their, their tribal influences.
[00:53:19] We all do for sure. Outside of that, when you focus on the stuff that's really important to you and your family, I mean, you've got kids. I've got kids. My focus is on them. I want them to have a good life and I want them to look back. Yeah. 2030 years from now. And I read an article, I think it was in the wall street journal opinion page, but it was bad.
[00:53:40] But when you and I were kids, you know, we had, you know, I guess we graduated high school. We had like the Somalia thing was going on Koresh. Anyway, those are all like individual things. Our kids are gonna grow up and say, man, the whole world was locked down.
[00:53:57] Brian Beckcom: [00:53:57] It was not amazing.
[00:53:58] Blake Sawyer: [00:53:58] And demic. Yeah, [00:54:00] and that happened in the year 2020 and I was, I was just a kid.
[00:54:04] When that happened, someday they're going to have that conversation and what are they going to look back and remember. And I don't know about you, but I remember my grandparents and my, when they died and I looked at the Footlocker, there were still food stamps and war bonds and ration, and it was like, what?
[00:54:20] Our kids are going to have some memory like that and how do we help them understand that, that this too shall pass. Yeah, but man, what a, what an interesting time that you've got a timestamp as a kid in this. Global panic of the first time in history, the whole world shut down.
[00:54:41] Brian Beckcom: [00:54:41] it's absolutely unprecedented.
[00:54:45] And it is, nothing like this has ever happened in human history. And you know, I, what I was thinking about early on during the pandemic, Blake, was how it's so rare. It happens every once in a while, but it's so rare that an event [00:55:00] happens that literally impacts. All of human consciousness in every corner of the globe, and that's all everybody's talking about.
[00:55:07] The last thing I can think about that was maybe summer, that was nine 11 I remember like most people don't remember exactly where I was or exactly what I was doing on nine 11 I've been a journal or for a long time, and I, I still occasionally go back and look at my nine 11 journal entry because the very first sentence says, things will never be the same, and they weren't, and I haven't been.
[00:55:31] And I don't think things will ever be the same after this pandemic either. Although I am optimistic that things will change for the better because this pandemic will show us that there are certain things that maybe we should rethink and that we can do a little bit better and certain things that maybe we should continue to do that we do well.
[00:55:48] But I'm cautiously optimistic that the pandemic, once, once we kind of get through this. it'll make us stronger, not only as a [00:56:00] country, but as a, as a species. And I, you know, I think if you listen, and I, I've been listening to podcasts from virologists and epidemiologists for about eight months now. Some of this stuff is extremely scary.
[00:56:11] I mean, these people are studying. Viral and bacterial infections that kill 60% of the people that get infected. And so, in a way, we're very, very lucky that this virus doesn't appear to be particularly harmful to children, specifically. And that the, and that the death rate. It appears to be, it's, it's higher than the flu, but it looks to be relatively manageable.
[00:56:36] And so it's almost like we had an opportunity, I mean, can you imagine if, if, if this pandemic was one of these viruses at the scientist study that literally killed more than half of the people that it affects? I mean, I, I don't know what we would be doing right now.
[00:56:51] Blake Sawyer: [00:56:51] I think there's a. It is. It's some point soon.
[00:56:55] We don't have, that's a week or six months from now or [00:57:00] mid coronavirus. It'll be another bad illness, but it won't be the only illness. Some point that the reality in that you can't just focus on one problem because we don't have that luxury. We have other people that have other elements that. also need the same attention, but they're, they don't get it because then it's unprecedented.
[00:57:21] The world has this, you know, and we're learning about supply chain. We're learning about,
[00:57:28] Brian Beckcom: [00:57:28] wow, what a great example that is.
[00:57:31] Blake Sawyer: [00:57:31] I mean, and how that impacts us. For example, we, we buy our engines from Germany and Switzerland. Yeah. So it's the only part of our plan that we don't build is the engine.
[00:57:40] Brian Beckcom: [00:57:40] Yeah.
[00:57:41] Blake Sawyer: [00:57:41] And because of that, because of that, you know, you have to, okay, what is, what is Germany doing differently than us?
[00:57:48] Yeah. Why does that matter to me? Why does it matter to the U S Navy? What happens in Germany? Because some of their aircraft are powered by engines that are built there. And so. [00:58:00] I think that it's a, it's a good opportunity for the world to make the supply networks and supply chain more robust in areas that are more vulnerable to collapse in the supply.
[00:58:10] I think of China trying to build a lot of stuff. Trying to build a lot of stuff because America and other Western countries put their manufacturing plants there, took advantage of smart people that work for cheap and they create these, these networks that are not sustainable in the longterm. But how is that going to balance out?
[00:58:30] So the world's not never going to be the same. And I think a lot of that is going to be focused on how, how does the world supply itself? Like how do we. How do we buy medicines? How do we buy watches? How do we buy batteries, cars, airplanes? All of that's changing and we get to be part of that right now and we get to see how that happens.
[00:58:51] And we get to watch the world's political leadership learn from. Commercial businesses around the world. How [00:59:00] best to do that. Yeah, just can't, they just can't do it. Industry is going to figure that out. It'll be interesting to watch.
[00:59:08] Brian Beckcom: [00:59:08] Good. Couldn't, couldn't agree with you more. And you know, w one of the things that I've, and I don't want to sound like a old man, but one of the things I think that particularly in America is we've gotten soft.
[00:59:23] I mean, we've gotten, we've, we, we've been. So wealthy, so privileged, so protected for so long that I think a lot of people are just scared to death of this virus. But at some point, and I'm not an expert in any of this stuff, but at some point we're going to have to get out there and go back to work. We're going to have to just accept that there are going to be people that get infected with this and we're just going to have to deal with it.
[00:59:49] We're just going to have to be mentally. Resilient. I think some of the time, and again, particularly I'm speaking about American citizens, cause I know a lot more about that than other countries, but [01:00:00] we, our risk profile is too low. We're not, we're not willing to take some smart risks. And the problem, as you know of course, is if we don't get the economy restarted.
[01:00:13] And we can do it in different ways, you know, slow rollouts and stuff like that. But if we don't get the economy started then, and truly the, the death and disease and addiction and all that, it'll be way worse than, than the virus was. And so we're just going to have to, you know, tighten our belts a little bit, I think.
[01:00:30] And toughen up. And you know, the other thing that's great like, is like you mentioned, we can see what other countries are doing. United States, we have the advantage of. Having a federal system where the States can do different things. And so we're going to see George's opening. We're going to see how that works.
[01:00:48] And if that works, we can follow that model. We can do different models in different places. So, well, Blake, listen, we were past an hour now and you know, you and I could talk for [01:01:00] hours and hours and I hope to see you saying, but. But I know you've got other things to do. So let me ask you this question before I get off the phone.
[01:01:10] Where can people find you and your company online? If they're interested,
[01:01:14] Blake Sawyer: [01:01:14] they can firstname.lastname@example.org and that's Martin with an
[01:01:19] Brian Beckcom: [01:01:19] eye. All right. Awesome. Well, Blake, tell your family I said hi. Thanks again for all your time, buddy.
[01:01:29] Blake Sawyer: [01:01:29] All right, thank you, Brian.