2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

Entrepreneurs in Bureaucracy: Military Innovators

#sxsw #Military

Returning from a decade of war, emerging military leaders had been required to innovate their way through countless cross-cultural interactions while deployed overseas. Stateside life has proved otherwise, as bureaucratic realities crush combat-tested, entrepreneurial minded officers. Recognizing this, junior officers have self-assembled to create ad hoc, informal advocacy organizations within the military to promote outside-the-box solutions. Groups such as Disruptive Thinkers and the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum have galvanized lumbering military institutions to look to Start Up culture in motivating the Millennial Generation.
This panel will explore the challenges faced and lessons learned by junior officers and enlisted personnel pushing Information Age solutions through an Industrial Age hierarchy. Their stories of being both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs will give valuable lessons to those desiring to navigate and innovate within large, established organizations.



Ben Kohlmann


US Navy

Ben Kohlmann is a F/A-18 pilot with the US Navy, and co-founder of both Disruptive Thinkers and the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum, organizations dedicated to bringing a culture of innovation to the Department of Defense. He is a frequent contributor to numerous military publications and blogs, and is currently a founding member of the Chief of Naval Operations Rapid Innovation Cell. Prior to this, he was a F/A-18 instructor pilot with the US Marine Corps at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.

He received his bachelors degree from Northwestern University in 2004

Lindsay Rodman

Judge Advocate

US Marine Corps

Lindsay L. Rodman is a captain on active duty as a judge advocate in the United States Marine Corps. She is currently assigned to the Office of the Legal Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where she advises the Joint Staff on all military justice, personnel, and health of the force issues. Capt Rodman has served as a criminal defense attorney, legal assistance attorney, and operational law attorney deployed to Afghanistan. She has also served in multiple positions within the Pentagon.
Capt Rodman is also a proud board member of the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum, and spends as much time as she can writing, reading, and engaging on matters related to innovation within the military bureaucracy and improvement of the military personnel system. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School, the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and Duke University.


Nate Fick


Endgame Inc

Nate Fick is CEO of Endgame. He has more than a decade of experience in the security community, and is an operating partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, where he focuses on defense and intelligence technologies. Before joining Endgame, Nate was CEO of the Center for a New American Security, a national security research organization. He served as a Marine Corps infantry officer, including combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. His book about that experience, One Bullet Away, was a New York Times bestseller, a Washington Post "Best Book of the Year," and one of the Military Times' "Best Military Books of the Decade." He graduated with high honors in Classics from Dartmouth College and holds an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School and MBA from the Harvard Business School. Nate serves as a Trustee of Dartmouth and a Director of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, and he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Victor Glover



Victor is a Naval Aviator currently training to be a NASA Astronaut. He has flown over 40 aircraft accumulating over 2000 flight hours, 400 carrier landings, and 24 combat missions supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

He was most Legislative Fellow in the United States Senate, working on the personal staff of Senator John McCain.

Previously serving as a test pilot, he was awarded the 2009 Black Engineer of the Year Award and Modern Day Technology Leaders Award.

As an undergraduate at Cal Poly, he was a NCAA Division-I Wrestler & Football player, led efforts to establish the first student-funded outreach and retention center in the California Public University system, and was awarded the College of Engineering Service to the Community Award.

He is an advocate for underrepresented youths in higher education, a a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, serves on the Cal Poly College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council and dreams of becoming a master Djembe drummer.

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