See His Seelio: Air Force Pilot and Entrepreneur, Robert Barlow
This week we want to introduce you to Air Force Pilot, Robert Barlow. Robert graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and is currently pursuing his Masters in Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University. Robert also interned with Seelio remotely for the past semester.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I was raised in the Quad Cities, which is on the Iowa/Illinois border about halfway between Chicago and Des Moines. Growing up I played all kinds of sports and in high school I turned out to be pretty good at football and wrestling. Because of this, I was recruited to play football at the United States Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, CO. I had other options such as Northwestern, Dartmouth, and the University of Iowa, but my gut feeling told me to head West. I played football for the first two years at USAFA and served as an assistant strength and conditioning coach my junior year before stepping down my senior year and focusing on Academics. I never really wanted to fly growing up, but once again, my gut feeling told me to go for a pilot slot. Luckily my overall performance at the Academy proved to be enough to earn a pilot slot, which is a fairly competitive process. Upon graduating in May of 2009, I moved to Enid, OK to attend Air Force Pilot Training. I don’t think I have ever worked harder academically than I did over the 52 week undergraduate pilot training course. The hard work paid off as I graduated #2 in my class of 30 and was selected to remain at Vance as a first assignment instructor pilot flying the T-6 Texan II. After my tour at Vance is finished, I hope to attend follow on training at Luke AFB, in Phoenix, AZ, to learn how to fly the F-16 Fighting Falcon or some other type of fighter/attack aircraft.
2. From Air Force to Masters in Entrepreneurship is an interesting transition. What made you decide to pursue a degree in entrepreneurship?
As part of the Air Force rank promotion structure, every officer is required to get a masters degree in order to advance in rank. If an officer fails to do this within the first 12-15 years of service, they will plateau at a certain rank. With this in mind, I wanted to get masters done as quickly as possible once I finished pilot training. As a management major at the Academy, I was exposed to many different facets of the business world. The one that I enjoyed the most and excelled at was entrepreneurship. After doing some research and asking other officers who were getting their masters, I decided on Oklahoma State’s program because it was completely online and had a great reputation. In the military, your job is never assured much past a few months so I want to prepare myself to be successful in the private sector when that time comes. I’d like to have my own business in the future and what better way to learn about starting one than a Masters in Entrepreneurship?
3. Why did you decide to create a Seelio? What made you want to work for the company?
Well, I actually started out by creating a TruApp profile before Seelio was even around! I firmly believe success in life is a mix of what you know and who you know. Seelio is a great way to connect with young go getters around the country and to get your name out to potential employers. Currently, I am not really in a position to accept a job outside of the military, but as I said before, I like to be prepared for the future and Seelio helps do that. I also really like the way the site is set up. It’s easy to set up, change, and navigate! I like it better than LinkedIn personally.
I actually met Moses Lee on an airport shuttle to the Tempe Mission Palms in Arizona back in January of 2012. I was on a cross country training trip and he was on his way to an entrepreneurship conference. I struck up a conversation with him and he told me about a few of his start ups. He gave me his business card and told me to check out TruApp. I did and I liked what I saw! I knew I had a class that was a virtual internship coming up so I sent him an email and asked if I could intern for TruApp in the fall of 2012. He agreed and the rest is history. I wanted to work for TruApp/Seelio because it was a social networking startup and I wanted to learn more about this form of business and make some connections. It has been a great experience thus far!
4. What have you learned from the Air Force that you will take with you into future experiences?
Where to start? I learned a lot at the Academy both academically and leadership wise. I studied everything from behavioral sciences to mechanical engineering to law to political science. The Academy’s rigorous academic requirements make you a well educated and academically rounded officer upon graduation. Additionally, as you progress through the cadet ranks (freshman to senior) you are tasked with being in charge of more and more people and take on more and more responsibility. Once I graduated, Air Force pilot training taught me the value of determination, focus, and the ability to buckle down and focus on one goal over a long period of time. It proved to me that hard work really does pay off. Finally, my current position has taught me that dependability it the key to success in large organizations. Additionally, it has taught me that different situations require different leadership styles and that flexibility is the key to accomplishing goals and the overall mission of my squadron, which is to develop, deliver, and deploy airmen. All of these lessons will stick with me until the day I die!
5. What is your favorite thing on your Seelio?
I would have to say that a few of my works are my favorite things. The first work, a video of T-6’s doing formation flying, is pretty unique. After scouring through a lot of different users, I didn’t really find anyone who had any aviation related works. I think it helps connect my about me portion to something visual and gives people an idea of what I do on a daily basis. The second work I am most proud of, is the Air Force Biodiesel Initiative power point. This slide show is just a small snapshot of a year of work and research I did for my management capstone at the Academy. We did a lot of work to help the Air Force start the process of going green and that project is still being worked on at the Academy. I guess you could say it is sort of the legacy I left in the management department at the Academy.
6. What is it you hope to do in the future?
As I stated before, I would love to have the opportunity to fly the F-16 Fighting Falcon. However, if that is not in the plans for me, I will be happy flying whatever the Air Force places me in. In my opinion, there is no such thing as a bad flying job! My plan is to stay in the Air Force as long as I enjoy my job and it makes sense personally. When the time to separate comes along I hope to have a lot of options. I wouldn’t mind flying for Southwest or FedEx. However, if I decide to take a non-flying job, I would like to start my own business, or be part of a business start up. Whatever I do, I want to ensure the financial future for my future family and myself. Once this is accomplished, I’d really like to teach high school history or physical education and coach football! Football was my first passion in life and I’m a huge football fan in general. I also think you can have a very positive impact on young peoples’ lives in high school athletics. I’m not the type of person who plans to far ahead though because you can plan all you want but you never know what life will throw at you. My goal is to always be prepared for whatever it is life throws at me!
The Seelio team also wants to thank Robert for his great work with us last semester! For more about Robert’s work in the Air Force and some of his entrepreneurial projects see his Seelio.
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