Rocket-propelled grenades are designed to destroy, but for Dawn Halfaker, losing her arm in an attack proved to be a catalyst for a new business.
With the assistance of retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, Halfaker channeled experiences garnered from time spent in the U.S. Army, training military police in Iraq into creating Halfaker & Associates.
Formed in 2006, the Arlington, Va., contractor provides consulting and IT services to the military, including modernization practices for recruiting and personnel for operations and intelligence centers.
In its first year of operation, Halfaker & Associates posted $300,000 in revenue. Last year, the company posted $15.5 million.
After serving four tours of duty in Iraq, Sean Lane, a former Air Force intelligence officer, returned home to launch BTS, a Columbia, Md., mobile telecommunications technology and software company.
BTS Chief Operating Officer Craig Cummings, a former Army intelligence officer, said he and Lane recognized from experience the needs of soldiers on the battlefield to quickly share intelligence information.
“We both felt like . . . we could make a bigger impact outside of the military than we could make inside the military,” Cummings said. “We could be entrepreneurs but we could still serve the same cause.”
Like Halfaker, Lane and Cummings used their military connections and battlefield experiences to gain credibility and access to government officials to grow their business.