This week’s military and veteran heroes come from backgrounds in intelligence, entrepreneurship, small business and government contracting. Learn about their stories in deployment overseas and what they’re doing now back in the United States to continue to serve their country. Our heroes this week include StreetShares members such as StreetShares Foundation finalists and supporters of the veteran small business community.
Join us in ‘Highlighting Our Heroes’ with iHeart Radio and the StreetShares community, by learning about them and sharing their stories. Tune in to BIG 100 in the Washington, DC metro region each weekday at 5:00pm eastern or stream online at iheartmedia.com to hear stories of our veterans, service members and military families. Subscribe to the StreetShares blog to be the first to know who we’re featuring.
Nick Ksiazek, Marine Corps Veteran
Captain Nick Ksiazek, a StreetShares member, graduated and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant from the United States Naval Academy in May 2007, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations. He attended Infantry Officer’s Course, Ground Intelligence Officer’s Course and Scout Sniper Platoon Commander’s Course.
In 2008, he was assigned to be the Targeting Officer for Regimental Combat Team Eight, in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Enduring Freedom where he managed intelligence operations as one of his assignments. He has also been deployed to the Republic of Georgia and Afghanistan a couple of times. He served as Assistant Intelligence officer and Combat Operations Center Watch Officer.
Upon returning to the United States in 2011, he was assigned to the Intelligence Integration Division (IID) of the Capabilities Development Directorate and became the Geospatial Intelligence Branch Head.
Samantha Snabes, Air National Guard Veteran
Samantha Snabes, StreetShares Foundation Award Finalist, is an Officer in the Air National Guard and a Catalyst for re:3D facilitating connections between others printing human-scale and/or using recycled materials to create more access to 3D printable solutions worldwide. As a serial entrepreneur, she currently serves on the IEEE Entrepreneurship Steering Committee. Previously, she served as the Social Entrepreneur in Residence for the NASA HQ and Deputy Strategist supporting NASA Johnson Space Center’s Space Life Sciences Directorate after selling a start-up for a DARPA-funded, co-patented tissue culture device. Samantha holds a BS in Biology, BA degrees in International Relations & Hispanic Studies, an MBA with concentrations in Supply Chain Management & International Relations, and certifications as a firefighter & EMT-B.
Thomas Byrd, Marine Corps Veteran
Thomas Byrd, StreetShares Foundation Award Finalist, is a seven-year veteran of the Marine Corps. During his final two years in the Marine Corps and while working at U.S. Southern Command in Miami Florida, Thomas completed his MBA at the University of Miami using his GI Bill. While at U.S. Southern Command, Thomas was in charge of intelligence contingency planning for the region. Thomas still serves intermittently today as a Marine Corps Reservist in the same capacity.
Thomas began his first post-military endeavor in founding AlulA Aerospace. Thomas and his two partners vowed to seek a solution to avoid such a situation as MH370 from ever occurring again, while also incentivizing accountability with ROI for the industry. This required Thomas to reach back to knowledge gained from his undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Central Florida. During his civilian time, Thomas devotes all of his efforts on realizing his vision for innovative, and thus affordable commercial aircraft data streaming with AlulA. He currently lives in South Miami with his wife and son.
Chris Nichols, Navy Veteran
Chris Nichols, StreetShares Foundation Award Finalist, is the Founder of Narrows Hill and veteran of the U.S. Navy. He was a Surface Warfare Officer and served on board the USS Dwight D Eisenhower as a nuclear engineering officer during most of his time at sea. He is also the inventor of the Card Caddy, the only playing card case that converts to a discard tray, the flagship product of his company. Chris has donated hundreds of Card Caddies to deployed service members to help make the time before they come home pass a little faster.
Nick Fuhriman, Army Veteran
Nick Fuhriman, Contract Financing Officer at StreetShares and U.S. Army veteran, grew up in an Army family traveling the world. He lived in Ukraine, Syria, Kuwait, and Myanmar. After graduating from West Point in 2010, Nick served as an infantry officer where he completed a combat tour to Afghanistan. Now transitioned from active duty, Nick enjoys working with fellow veterans across the country to find financial solutions for their businesses such as term loans, lines of credit and government contract financing. In his spare time, Nick enjoys hiking and adventure racing, or anything outdoors.
Join the Veteran Business Community
We honor military veterans and heroes every day at StreetShares with the work we do with veteran business owners. By providing business loans, lines of credit and government contract financing to veteran entrepreneurs, we work every day to help them succeed. We share not only inspirational stories of our members, but also helpful tips and tricks for veteran business owners and how any American can support these veteran businesses. Subscribe to the blog to get instant or weekly updates.