United States Coast Guard Lt. Adam Baker
Growing up in Boston, Adam Baker attended Middlebury College in VT and the enrolled in the USCG Officer Candidate School. Commissioned in June 1985, Baker served in the Coast Guard for five years. After leaving the Coast Guard, Baker received his MBA from Washington State University. After working at Nike, Under Armour, and Crocs, Baker decided to take a giant leap from supporting two-legged friends to four-legged ones. In 2013, he started True Dogs, LLC, which designs, markets and sells innovative dog toys and treats that are made in the United States and that have already won a shelf full of industry and popular awards and accolades, including the 2020 Vanguard Award by Pet Insight Magazine and People Magazine’s Best Chew Toy for Dogs 2020. They have also partnered with and contribute to CarbonClick (www.carbonclick.com), a New Zealand company that makes it easier to help fight climate change, so friends with two and four legs can have more nature to enjoy.
What does your company do?
We design, market and sell American-made dog toys and feeding products.
What promoted you to launch it?
It was a personal challenge. Could I create something from nothing in an industry where I had no experience and no contacts. I was tired of corporate life and wanted to build something of my own. I wanted to be the master of my own destiny.
How has your military life educated and influenced your business life?
The military was a great start to my career. It gave me early experience as a manager of people that were far more experienced than I was. It taught me to appreciate everyone on the team, no matter their background. It taught me that leadership is not about command and control, rather it is about influence and motivation.
What do you hope to do with your business?
I want to create innovative products that delight our customers and that deliver a great value – keeping our customers hungry for our newest and greatest product introductions. I hope to continue growing the business, to employ members of my community and to re-create American manufacturing. I hope to give back to dog-related charities.
What advice would you give other Veterans looking to own a business?
There is no such thing as an overnight success story. Building a business takes a lot of hard work and an extraordinary commitment to seeing it through the tough times. Everyone experiences tough times! The reward is that you control your own destiny.
What is the most important thing you want people to know about Veterans?
Veterans are team players. Being in the military is like being on a sports team. Veterans know how to play their part, do their job, and contribute to the overall success of the team. Veterans are disciplined. They are experienced in making sacrifices. They are strong minded and hard working.
Matt Robinson is a writer, editor, publisher, and content producer with over 20 years of experience. In addition to more than 5,000 editorial pieces, he has created and executed communications programs (including website copy, newsletters, biographies, press releases, development collateral, and other materials) for individuals and entities around the world. Matt also teaches writing at the college level and is a published author. His work can be seen at The Robinson Reporter