Tag Archive for: Veteran CEO


Jay Parsons Founder and CEO of Big Time Tailgate photoIf you love football and tailgating, Jay Parsons, Founder, and CEO of Big Time Tailgate, is your guy. Born in Miami, Florida but raised in West Melbourne, he played as a football running back from fifth grade through his senior year of high school. After graduation, he and his father launched a small vending machine and arcade game business together. Some of the vending machines sold hot popcorn, so Jay started selling this at his alma mater’s Friday night football games. If you knew Jay or went to his school back then, that guy you saw in the giant yellow foam cowboy hat and marketing himself as the Sunshine Popcorn Man? Yup, that was Jay! Even at 18, he was already thinking BIG!

The onset of the video game craze allowed Jay and his father to expand rapidly. But just as quickly it vanished, so they sold the business to a larger company. After selling, Jay enlisted in the Marines and served four years of active duty. Upon returning home, he partnered with a platoon mate, starting an auto detailing business applying Teflon finish to cars, boats, and planes. The business was short-lived, and Jay and his partner parted ways to enlist in the Marine Corps Reserve. Jay’s time was cut short due to an injury during active training. After recovering, Jay discovered boat building. He began to learn the ins and outs of building boats by working overtime and volunteering in many projects.

Throughout the years, he gained the knowledge and experience to launch Big Time Helmets™. The inspiration came in 2001 after hearing a radio ad about tailgating. Jay thought, “Wouldn’t tailgating inside a giant football helmet be an awesome way to party?” Uh, we think so! From there, the idea grew, and the design of a helmet cabin mounted on a trailer became the goal. Big Time Tailgate, LLC, was born.

Inside the cabin is a wrap-around settee that comfortably seats six adults around a football-shaped table. A satellite antenna mounted on the roof supplies four televisions tuned to four different channels. Two 40″ flatscreens and a 55″ curved screen is mounted inside with a 55″ flatscreen outside on the rear of the trailer. WOW, sounds like a dream. But wait! There’s more! An AC/Heat pump keeps the spacious interior cool in the summer and warm in the winter. A Kegerator (oh yes!) and a Minifridge/Microwave are also options. Cabinets and under-seat compartments provide storage as well. There is a 4-burner gas grill on the outside. It raises and lowers on linear actuators enabling the grill to be stored below the countertop when not in use. Can we park this baby in our backyard?

While Jay had a “Big Time” product on his hands, he needed a little direction on how to get himself in the right mindset to make better decisions to be successful in business and life. He came to the CEO Mindset Phase I course to learn these practices and better enable his goal of becoming the CEO he had in mind for himself. “To be more effective, I need to implement proven practices that enable me to make better decisions.” The worksheets given in class and one-on-ones with Juliann Nichols were the most rewarding takeaways for him, especially brain dumping. “This helps me sort out my thoughts and eliminate the chatter, fostering better planning and decision-making.” Jay Parsons A-ha moment CEO Mindset

Jay is currently attending our Phase II course and believes the next six weeks will better improve his management skills and help him learn to have a structured and proven approach to solving problems. We love your drive, Jay, and look forward to seeing your Big Time Helmets™ at every stadium!

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JULO Strategy and Veterans Florida

Program expenses for all Florida veteran participants are covered through funding provided by the Florida Legislature and Veterans Florida

April Caldwell CEO of fayVen Vendors and VenuesApril Caldwell is Founder and CEO of fayVen, which offers a brokerage between venues that have additional space to rent out and mobile vendors that need a place to sell their goods and services. She is a ten-year Air Force veteran, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and is currently obtaining her MBA for Small Business Entrepreneurship.

Previously, April owned The Princess and The Popper – a gourmet popcorn company. In 2018 she launched her company fayVen. fayVen solves the needs that mobile and home-based vendors have when trying to find space to sell their goods and services who can’t afford their brick and mortar. “We solve venue owners’ issues of lacking revenue to keep their rent paid by helping them find complementary businesses to rent out space to.”

The name fayVen came from a combination of two target markets: VENdors and VENues, their fayVorite way to connect! April’s mother, Faith, was also a big inspiration. “I wanted to give the nod to her with the company name. She passed away in January this past year.” The company logo, a lightning bolt, is a God-given symbol for April. She associates lightning with bright light in a dark world. Coincidentally, Tampa is also the lightning capital of North America, which worked out nicely.

April has a wide array of accomplishments, including the previous supervisor at The Department of Veterans’ Affairs; Veterans in Residence with Bunker Labs; Action Zone Ambassador; alumni to Action Zone’s Action in Motion program; Event Coordinator for Military Spouses Professional Network Tampa via Hiring Our Heroes; Institute for Veterans and Military Families alumni for Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE), EDGE, and STRIVE; alumni of VETtoCEO; alumni of JULO Strategy, CEO Mindset; featured on Military.com; Austin Angels Ambassador; and Children’s ministry at Champion City Church.

April was selected to be the Vice President of the Filipino American Heritage Group while stationed in Germany. She did a lot of their folk dances for their cultural heritage shows. “No, I am NOT Filipina; I just love the people, culture, and of course…the food!”

April attended JULO Strategy’s CEO Mindset™ course to network with like-minded entrepreneurs and learned new skill sets to deal with difficult decisions. “I want to be able to speak in front of people more comfortably and confidently and work on my pitch for investors and competitions.” After completing Phase One, she learned that she didn’t need a HUGE crowd to be successful; she just needed the right people/target market to believe in her and her business.

“It was eye-opening to learn how much I valued myself as a CEO and learn what I needed to do to start making the revenue I need to reflect that. I enjoyed being able to hear the issues other CEOs were having, a lot which mirrored things from past and current experiences. I’ve since been able to pivot my business model to create new revenue streams.” April Caldwell fayVen A-ha moment from CEO Mindset

April has since completed our Phase Two program and has increased her fees, improved her target market, and gained new clients. We love seeing you and your business succeed, April, and can’t wait to see where it takes you!

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Psst! Want to do some online shopping with an array of great vendors?
Click Here to get your tickets to fayVen’s next event!

JULO Strategy and Veterans Florida

Program expenses for all Florida veteran participants are covered through funding provided by the Florida Legislature and Veterans Florida

 Jay Wirth D'Ogee Pet Waste ServiceJay Wirth, CEO and Veteran Business Owner of D’Ogee Pet Waste Service, was raised in Pensacola, Florida. He joined the US Navy in 1993 and was an Air Traffic Controller until separating from service in 1997. Jay attended and graduated from Florida State University with a BS degree in Communications. He worked at FSU for 12 years, then left to pursue the life of an entrepreneur.  

That’s when he decided to start D’Ogee Pet Waste Services in 2018. The idea was to help dog owners keep their yards, and the environment clean.  “Dog waste can be hazardous to people, dogs, and the water we drink. I saw a need that people either don’t like to remove the dog waste, don’t have the time, or can’t because of physical restrictions.” 

Since starting, Jay and his company have removed more than 4 tons of pet waste from residential, apartment buildings, condos and commercial buildings. They are currently looking to expand into government contracts. By keeping people’s yards, community and general green spaces clean of dog waste, they reduce the chance of spread of bacteria that can cause sickness.  

“My business is a conversation starter! I get the best laughs out of people when I tell them about my company… We are the #1 in your dog’s #2 business! It is very unconventional, but people like to know about it!” He currently resides in Tallahassee, FL with his wife Aimee and two daughters, Ansley and Eliza, and their dog, Wally. Ja Wirth D'Ogee Pet Waste Services A-ha moment

Jay attended JULO Strategy’s CEO Mindset course to expand on opportunities and seize new growth. He learned that talking with the other veterans and hearing he’s not alone in how he was running his business was a rewarding experience. He continued into the Phase II program and learned how to grow his business and run it like a CEO, and not as an employee, by following processes and steps to get shit done! He increased his clientele by 10% and revenue by 5%.  

We think you are a Rockstar Jay and we look forward to seeing how you and your business grow! 

Apply to CEO Mindset ™

JULO Strategy and Veterans Florida

Program expenses for all Florida veteran participants are covered through funding provided by the Florida Legislature and Veterans Florida