The Academy Insider Your Guide to The United States Naval Academy

#017 - Jesse Iwuji '10 - Navy LT and NASCAR Driver

November 12, 2019 GRANT VERMEER '17 / JESSE UWUJI '10 Season 1 Episode 17
The Academy Insider Your Guide to The United States Naval Academy
#017 - Jesse Iwuji '10 - Navy LT and NASCAR Driver
Show Notes Transcript

Jessie Iwuji '10 - USNA Grad, Navy Football Player, Navy Officer,  & NASCAR Driver

So today we're joined by Jesse who is a class of 2010 graduate from the United States Naval Academy and was a member of the football team in 2007 when Navy beat Notre Dame in South bend for the first time in 43 years in triple overtime.

So we talk, we talk about that story, but we also talk about a ton of other things. We talk about Jessie's time at the Naval Academy, some of the struggles that he had with swimming. We jump into his career as a surface warfare officer. His transition to the reserves, his transition into professional NASCAR driving as well, his entrepreneurial ventures, including a drag racing event company and a trucking and transportation company.

Jesse is an extremely impressive individual. This opportunity to talk with him was a ton of fun. We share insight on a broad variety of topics about the Naval Academy and life after the Naval Academy.

If you're a fan of Jesse and you're not familiar with Academy Insider, Academy insider is designed to provide information to loved ones of midshipman as well as prospective midshipmen to provide them insight into what life at the Naval Academy's actually like. So if you want to learn more about the United States Naval Academy, what the midshipman experience is all about and what life after the Naval Academy is like, make sure to check out our webpage at https://www.academyinsider.com/.

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Links Mentioned in the Show

The Offical Website of Jesse Iwuji
Jesse's Racing Facebook Page
Jesse's Instagram

Jesse's Book Recommendation

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Speaker 1:

This is your host Grant Vermeer Naval Academy class of 2017 and I'm your Academy insider. It's my goal to be your guide through the Naval Academy experience by sharing my stories and providing you insight information into the life of a midshipman.

Speaker 2:

[inaudible]

Speaker 1:

Academy insider is in no way officially affiliated with the United States Naval Academy. All of the content on Academy insider is my own. It does not reflect the views of the United States Naval Academy, the United States Navy, nor the department of defense.

Speaker 3:

The Irish were the football at the one two point try looming after a questionable pass interference goal. Navy leads by two and triple overtime in motion. The tight end, right to left sharply pulls away. Hands it to Travis Thomas, crunch at right side for decades and futility lawsuits and narrowed it on a two point conversion one by Travis Thomas stuffed in the back field by the shit man.

Speaker 1:

Hey everyone and welcome to the Academy insider podcast. So a couple of weeks ago at the military influencer conference in Washington D C, I got the opportunity to meet Jesse at Wu G. uh, and I asked him if he wanted to be a part of the Academy inside of podcast to which he graciously accepted. So today we're joined by Jesse[inaudible] who is a class of 2010 graduate from the United States Naval Academy and was a member of the football team in 2007 when Navy beat Notre Dame in South bend for the first time in 43 years in triple overtime. So we talk, we talk about that story, uh, but we also talk about a ton of other things. We talk about Jessie's time at the Naval Academy, some of the struggles that he had with swimming. And then we jumped into his career as a surface warfare officer. His transition to the reserves, his transition into professional NASCAR driving as well, his entrepreneurship ventures, including a drag racing event company and a trucking and transportation company. Jesse's an extremely impressive individual. This opportunity to talk with him was a ton of fun. And we share a ton of insight on a broad variety of topics about the Naval Academy and life after the Naval Academy. If you're a fan of Jesse's and you're not familiar with Academy insider, Academy insider is designed to provide information to loved ones of midshipman as well as perspective midshipmen to provide them insight into what life at the Naval Academy's actually like. So if you want to learn more about the United States Naval Academy, what the midshipman experience is all about and what life after the Naval Academy is like, make sure to check out Academy insider@wwwdotacademyandsaturday.com and subscribe to the podcast. I really hope you guys enjoy the episode. Thanks. Alright. Hey Jesse, thank you so much for joining the, uh, Academy insider podcast. Really appreciate having you.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, most definitely. Thank you.

Speaker 1:

If you don't mind just telling the audience a little bit about your one midshipman self, like what company are you in, your major and a little bit background about you as a midshipman, but then also to where you're from and what brought you to the Academy.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, yeah. So I'm, you know, originally I'm from Dallas, Texas. I grew up there pretty much my whole life and I'm, you know, in Texas high school football was really, really big. So for me, I had this goal to go off to college and play college football for a good team and, and, and have fun doing that. So I mean high school I was really working hard to get my skills up because when I first started playing football, I didn't play football, like Peewee football and all that stuff. Like I didn't play football until that's all I was in middle school. So that's kind of the first time I've ever been exposed to school sports and team sports and things like that. So going into high school I didn't, I was a little bit behind people, man. I didn't have the skills I really needed to, to get myself to a a level. So for me, I just started grinding really hard in high school and finally got to a point where I was actually good and my senior year and during that time I started getting recruited by the Naval Academy. They came to the school, they were looking for different players and stuff like that. I fit the mold that they wanted. They wanted somebody, you know, I had good grades and also could play football. So I hit those two, those two points right there. So they recruited me. I looked at the opportunity as a good one to go to the Academy, play college football, get a great education and graduate and become an officer in the Navy and have a career starter for me. So I was like, this is a win in all three different ways. So I took that opportunity once the Naval Academy, like football there all four years. Yeah. Ran track also graduated in 2010 and that's when I became a surface warfare officer, which was the beginning of my Naval career.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. And in regards to the recruitment process, were you getting recruited by any other schools or kind of what stood out about the recruitment process for the Naval Academy?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, so getting recruited by the Naval Academy, I was getting recruited by some other schools, other smaller schools. Um, some other D one schools like, uh, Louisiana and Bureau, they were recruiting me, uh,[inaudible] state, I believe it was recruiting me at the time. Um, and some other smaller schools in Texas were recruiting me. So the Naval Academy was the best of all of them in all different kinds of ways. So I looked at it as, okay, go to the Naval Academy, get a top notch education, play for a great football team that was winning games and going to bowl games. You know, I couldn't, I couldn't ask for anything more than that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. And uh, so you mentioned, uh, that you commissioned and started serving as a surface warfare officer. Uh, was that what you always wanted to do when you're going through the Academy with SWOT? Always the, you kinda your main choice or how, what led you to that point?

Speaker 4:

When I got into the Academy, so my freshman year, I pretty much made a decision that I was going to go slow. But you know, I did have some thoughts about potentially trying to, you know, go aviation and be a pilot. But for me, I was an awkward rock. So my swimming skills were not up to par. I did not float very well. And because of that it made it very difficult to do all the swimming qualifications and, and ask all the different requirements needed to, to be a pilot. So because of that I was like, you know what, I'll just pass on the pilot thing, let me go the slow route, do my thing and then you know, eventually go off and do some other big goals and dreams that I had in life.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. And if you don't mind talk, talking, there are a lot of people that are nervous about the kind of swimming aspect that is included in the Naval Academy. I would say curriculum. How did you manage to fight through that and get through that as someone who wasn't great naturally as a swimmer?

Speaker 4:

Yeah. So you know, swimming at the Academy, they have a lot of different requirements and I'm not sure exactly how it is now cause you know I graduated 10 years ago now, but back then, you know we had this thing called the 40 year slim. So the 40 year was basically where you had to swim for 40 minutes and I can't remember how many laps it was around the pool, but there's a lot of laps. And I remember coming say tag me, I'm like, there's absolutely no way I'm going to be able to do this. Like I can barely go down and back. I mean in going down and back on a 50 meter pool, I mean that was me resting for about five minutes at the time. I get to the 50 theater point and then coming back like I, it, it just is difficult because yo, my thing was I was never afraid of water or anything like that. It was just when I get in water, I don't float. So me staying on top of the water, trying to, you know, swim all the way across, I'm fighting two different forces. I'm fighting this sinking force and I'm fighting the drag going through the water. So you know, doing both of those are really tired me out pretty quick. So that was going on and then I think it was my junior year or maybe going into senior year, they got rid of that requirement and I was like, thank you Jesus. So now I guess I asked, we got to graduate the Academy and I go on. So now they had liked it. They basically kind of brought things down and I believe he had to just pass kind of some basic stuff. Like if the meter swim my 10 meter underwater tests yet to jump off the 10 meter, um, what's it called? Ledge or whatever you want to call it. Yeah, the tower or whatever you the jump off of there. Which Oh, scary for a lot of people. It's a little freaky if you never jumped off from anything that high, but we have to do that and then you have to do a five minute float test, which was one of the toughest and most physically challenging things I've probably ever done in my life for for five minutes.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. And uh, just for anyone listening, if you are inserted in the Academy, not a great swimmer, there is a ton of help that they give you for swimming. A ton of instructors and like PE staff that are specific to swimming and they have remedial courses to help you like literally from the start and basics of learning how to swim and they will help you get to that point because at the end of the day, we want to graduate leaders, we want to graduate officers' named Marine Corps and they're going to help you get to that point so you shouldn't let it deter you if you are interested in the Academy[inaudible] we find way in, there are people to help you get to that point.

Speaker 4:

If I can do it, then anyone can. So yeah, all you gotta do is want to do as long as you want to pass, you will pass there a ton of help. I went through swimmer medial stuff every year. I was there from the time I got there until senior year. So there is a ton of health. They won't leave you hanging or anything like that. They will, it will help you and teach you what they can and as long as you want to pass you will pass.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. Sweet. All right, well as we are recording this episode, currently it's air force week and air force week and army week usually leads to pretty good stories at the Academy. They don't have to be specific to air force week, army week. But Jessie, do you have any, uh, like favorite stories from your time at the Academy, whether they be funny or just kind of important or monumental to you?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, funny stories on man a a lot. Uh, so, um, you know, playing against air force is definitely a big game for us. You know, army obviously is a huge game, but air force is a good one too because I'm not sure where air force is scheduled or not scheduled a record is right now. But I know when we were playing them, they were always a threat. Like they were always really, really good. So, you know, playing, um, you know, it was always, you know, nothing was ever guaranteed. You know, when we played army at that time, we pretty much were guaranteed to win. No, I guess air force, it wasn't, I mean they always played us tough. They always a really solid team. So four years of, you know, just kind of barely squeaking by them every year. So, um, that was fun. But yeah, um, playing it. So me being at the Academy, you can definitely feel the culture. You can feel the tradition can feel all that. Everything start to slowly change when you get to air force week. And because that's the beginning, that's like kind of the preseason before army, you know, like it's your chance to finally experience something, whether you're a plead youngster, second class, first class, you name it, it's your chance to experience that Raul rivalry week. And uh, it's pretty crazy if they kind of me because everyone, and not that rules get thrown out the door, but rules kind of get like, is robbery week, it's air force week, let's you know, beat air force. So it's a really good week for everyone at the Academy because everyone really has fun with it as a good time and it's just a nice relief kind of week where you're just like, okay, it's time to have fun and you know, let's get away from all the seriousness that we go through and getting yelled at all time and this and that, whatever. Let's get to like just having fun. Like, Hey, let's go all come together as one. They don't care if you're a plea, but whatever, it doesn't matter. It's come together as one and this go beat air force. That's the cool thing about that week, this week. And you know, I'm looking forward to the game.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. All right. So in addition to all of that, you know, four years at the Naval Academy, it's a pretty long time. And now that you've had about 10 years now to kind of look back on your time at the Naval Academy, how would you describe, uh, your Naval Academy experience? Like how was your time? Uh, in Annapolis?

Speaker 4:

So my experience at the Naval Academy, I thought it was pretty good. And you know, at the end of the day, going to the institution that's going to be a tough institution. It's not going to be easy, but, and if it was easy to let everybody in, but they don't, you know, all of us, I got selected to go there. We had, there was thousands and thousands of other people who wanted to be there and couldn't. And because we got the opportunity, we kind of knew when we signed, signed on that dotted line that Hey, you want someone that's going to be tough. It's not going to be easy and we better, you know, grind our way through to get through. So, you know, my time, I feel like it was good. I learned a lot and gonna helped shape me into who I am today. Um, you know, I taught me a lot of different lessons about being resourceful heart, you know, hardworking. You know, how to, uh, manage situations and stress and time. You know, it will challenge you in all those different ways, but it does it in a way to help you succeed. You know, it's not, the Academy is not there to break you down. Yeah. And not build you back up. It's there to build you, you know, and in building you, there's going to be some breakdowns here and there, but it's trying to build you up so that when you get out there to the fleet, they're ready to go out there and, and fight the good fight. So I learned a ton at the Academy. I had a lot of fun at the Academy, a lot of good times. Um, a lot of good times, you know, a lot, some people like to think that you go in the Academy, you're just kind of like almost in prison the whole time, whatever. No. Like you do get to have fun. You can't, you can still live somewhat of a regular life in a way, you know, you can still have fun, especially, you know, outside of the Academy and stuff. You know, you got downtown Annapolis right outside the town, me, which I had a ton of fun and you know, some years, um, you know, to go to DC a lot. Uh, I got to go to, um, Baltimore a few times and I traveled outside of that too, you know, so, um, I had a good time and I'm happy I went in and it, you know, it, I'm glad it was structured the way it was because it allowed me to focus during the school week because you know, you really couldn't go anywhere. Um, but then on the weekends you got to kind of take off and go beat the regular you, the normal you.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. 100% agree with you. I like the point you brought up where it's like, Hey, yeah, they break you down, but they don't, they're not, the purpose is not just to break you down and leave you there. The purpose is to build you back up. And, uh, I kinda always go back to the mission statement of the Academy, which is to develop midshipmen morally, mentally, and physically. And that development process, it requires a little bit of breaking down and gets you out of your old habits. I kind of establish a baseline, but as you make your way through the Academy, they're there to build you up there. They're the mentor. You're there to teach you. They're there to coach you and help you like on that process to becoming the best individual, the best teammate you can be, uh, in the best person you can be. And I think that really helps because you get a bunch of people around you who are with that same goal. And that's kind of what I want to get to next is do you still keep in touch with a lot of your roommates, classmates and teammates that have gone through this journey with you now that you've kind of scattered far and wide after graduation?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I'm definitely keep in touch with some of them for sure. So you know, playing a sport at the Academy, which you know, anybody going in Academy, I highly suggest like, you know, try to become part of some type of sport. You know, some of the sports are obviously a little bit tougher to be part of like ball because they recruit, you know, most of their players in and only three people get to walk on to the team. But, um, there's a ton of sports at the Academy and, and you know, even track like, um, you know, track well the soccer, whatever is it, you name it, like be part of some type of varsity sport if you can. And, um, it will be really cool. It'll, it will help your time through the Academy. Um, you'll build some relationships with a lot of cool friends that you will hold onto forever. Um, you know, the, the Academy brotherhood, like the football team, um, you know, are the alumni alumni from the football team, you know, they keep in touch all the time. I mean, I, I get emails every single week from our alumni of the football team. So yeah, it's pretty cool. And, um, you'll build these bonds and relationships while at the Academy with, you know, whether you're in sports or not, you'll build these on the relationships with people that you'll hold onto forever. Like the Academy network after you graduate is huge. And, and, and is not just Naval Academy has really kind of the Academy as in like all the academies together. It's huge. But Naval Academy's particularly, um, we stay pretty tight. We help each other out a lot. I've received a ton of help and all the things I'm doing now, especially, you know, racing a NASCAR and all that stuff. But, um, you know, that that bond, you'll form it at the Academy. And you know, friends I used to have in high school who had thought, Oh, these are my great friends or whatever. It's almost like they kind of just disappeared at one of the ones that Academy was like, okay, these are my new friends, these are my new people. And you'll hold onto that forever.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. And you kind of talk about the network of the Academy in general, but specifically the brotherhood of the Navy football program. Um, what lessons did you learn as a Navy football player, uh, that you have brought to racing, to business, to life? Like what were some of those things that you learned within the brotherhood that you continue to carry with you to this day?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, so, um, definitely for sure grind, right? Right. So, you know, being, being on the football team and the Naval Academy, um, you know, most of the teams we played against all these big teams, we were at a little bit of a disadvantage, um, when we played them, whether it was, you know, S uh, speed or, or size or strength or whatever, all that stuff, we'd tag. We weren't, we weren't the big teams, we weren't the fast team, we weren't all that. We were just a bunch of grinders. We were a bunch of people. We put us all on the field and we were going to give a lot more effort than the other team. And a lot of times that effort is what beat some of those teams that had more quote unquote talent. So that's kind of the first place I learned that it doesn't, talent does, doesn't automatically make it to where you win a game. Notre Dame, right? You know, recruits four star, five star athletes every year. I mean they're at the top with the recruiting class stuff every single year. So how in the world does this two star team basically full of two star athletes, you know, beat this five-star team? Well, I quickly learned while at the Academy that just because you're two star talent doesn't mean you can't have five-star heart, right? So we have five-star heart five-star effort with two star talent and easily beat five star talent any day at that five star talent. As you know, one star heart or one star, you know, effort. So, um, I learned that and that's what I've in all apply to what I'm doing now with racing and business and all that stuff is, you know, I'm not the most talented person in the world and come into the racing world just with all the skills in the world as came into the racing world with a ton of effort and grind in, in just knowing that as long as I believe in myself, I pushed hard, I set the goals, I go after them, I keep going and never let anything stop me. No matter how many times I get hit and knocked down, I'm going to eventually get to the ultimate goal, which is a top level and ask are. So I'm, I've been grinding and working my way up and making that happen, but I learned what I needed to learn to even be able to do it and be comfortable with doing what I'm doing with taking these risks from what I learned at the Naval Academy, playing Navy football. Um, and I've applied it to the life from, you know, racing business, everything.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. And you've got to a certain point where you actually transitioned out of active duty in, into the reserves. Um, why not just get out completely? What made you want to stay in and be in the reserves? Um, and kind of with that, where do you drill in and what does that include in your, your normal life nowadays?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, so I'm right now I drill out of Ventura, California. I'm at Naval Naval base of Interra County. Um, you know, my, my unit is out of there. It's Naval beach group one, uh, that one, one nine. And uh, the active component is based down in San Diego Coronado area. Really though I go down there, it's core Datto and drill once a quarter. But, um, you know, what made me go from active duty to the reserves was, you know, because I was pursuing this big thing of, you know, racing and NASCAR and trying to build my business empire and all that stuff. I knew there's was gonna come a point where I couldn't really go back to the ships and do the daily duties and daily grind of being on a ship, being a department head, um, you know, running a division, running a department and whatever. I couldn't, it was gonna be very difficult to go do that and go underway and go on deployments while trying to, you know, build this racing career and NASCAR on national TV and build my businesses and all that stuff is going to be really difficult. So I made a decision that, Hey, like I still want to be in the Navy, I just don't want to be active duty anymore and daily, daily, daily. I want to go to something where I'm just doing it once a month and I can still wear the uniform because there'll be part of it and still, you know, be right there for the call. So, um, I made that decision in 2017 and after seven years of active duty transition from active duty to the reserves and it's been a pretty great, this isn't, and I've loved it and um, it's been fun so far. Definitely different than active duty for sure. Um, you know, being active duty for seven years. You think you've learned the whole Navy and you know everything[inaudible] notes that the reserves and it's a completely brand new Navy. It's different, you know, so I'm like, what the heck? What's cool is it's refreshing. It keeps it different, keeps it new, keeps your mind going. And it's not like boring like you, it's just, it's a different world and I am still learning it. Two years in. I'm still learning a lot.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Um, we so absolutely kind of moved into the service, but you actually started your transition into NASCAR and into business while you were active duty. How did, how was that process and how, how did you manage and balance the, uh, the military aspect, the lifestyle? We'll also try to start this passion of yours to, to start racing.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, it definitely a balance for sure. Um, so for me, uh, going from or being an active duty and also starting this racing journey and the business stuff, so I didn't start at all until I was actually, um, on shore duty. So on shore duty I had a lot more free time, a lot more free weekends and all that stuff. So I wasn't on the ships anymore. And um, that's why I didn't start racing and doing all of stuff on the ships cause I knew that it was just going to be too hard. Like there's no way it's not going to be stable. Things are going to be all over the place. It's not going to work well. But when I was on shore duty then I knew I had a stable life. I knew I was gonna go to work from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM and that's every day. Monday through Friday, I wasn't gonna have much going on at all. Navy, uh, Navy wise, um, uh, on the weekends so that I knew, okay, this is my schedule. I'm good. I'm not like deploying anytime soon. I'm not going underway. And not doing this, doing that. Like I know this is my schedule, I'm good and I'm going to office. I can actually, you know, use my cell phone and it not cut out cause I'm in the middle of the ship or something. Like I can, I can do all this stuff. So that's when I was like, okay, now it's time to go after this goal of racing. So, um, there's still the time commitment part of it. I mean, you're in the office 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, so that takes away, you know, eight hours of your day right there. Well then I had to use the other 10 hours of my day to really focus on, uh, you know, this grind to get to where I'm at right now. And so typically, you know, I go to work 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM come back home. Let's say I'm home by four 30 to 5:00 PM in that range. Um, I jump on my racing simulator from 5:00 PM till 7:00 PM eat dinner from between seven and 8:00 PM after eating dinner from about 8:00 PM till midnight. Work on, you know, the business stuff and sponsorship stuff and connecting with people and networking and just building my brand and content creation, all that stuff for four hours and then of are around midnight or so from there, go to sleep, uh, wake up again at 7:00 AM and then and do that grind, you know, over and over and over. And then, and then I started doing a thing at one point for a few months where I would wake up at five, 5:30 AM and then he'd grind until about 7:00 AM and get ready to go to work at eight, 8:00 AM uh, work until 4:00 PM and come back. And then, uh, you know, work on, you know, do my simulator stuff, eat dinner, all that stuff until about midnight or so. So, Oh, I did that for a little while and that helped me get a little bit more of a, uh, helped speed up a few things from me.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. Like you're saying the grind grinders just got to keep going. Um, and you mentioned, you mentioned your simulator. Can you explain a little bit about what the simulator is, how you use it? Um, it kind of, yeah, I dunno. Tell us about it.

Speaker 4:

So if you see this thing back here is the simulator right there? That's me. So, um, basically what it is is though, so I have simulator rig in a room in my house and um, basically what it is, is it's a, it's a, it's a racing seat steering wheel, uh, pedal like pedals, like, you know, your gas pedal, brake pedal, clutch pedal on, and then a shift or you know, it's a six speed shift there. And basically I have this, uh, software on my computer called iRacing and iRacing is a simulator software that that basically has, it's, it's looks like a video game. People will think it's a video game if you don't know any better, but, um, and actually simulates real life racing. So when you get in it and you started driving the vehicle using your equipment that you have, um, it, it, it, the feel, uh, dynamics, all that everything feels the same. The tracks look the exact same as real life. Um, everything to kind of simulate real life racing. So you get on there and you, and you race against other people. You don't race against the computer or you can practice by yourself and train by herself. But I use it pretty much, you know, a couple of hours a day to really hone my skills and train. I since I can't go test real race cars all the time because testing real race cars gets really expensive really quick.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. Um, and people see all of this stuff that you're doing. You're talking about, Hey, I was training for my NASCAR stuff. I was going to work. I was coming back, I was training more, I was building my brain, I was doing my business, I was doing all these things and people see all that you're doing. You think PO possibly like I, how could I even start to do all those things and accomplish all those things? And that's at the Academy too. It's like, how do I get all this stuff done? I have the military aspect, I have the academics, I have athletics, I have all this stuff going on. So, I guess my first question for you is how were you at managing your time at the Academy and then what advice would you give to all of those people who are kind of feeling conflicted about how they should prioritize their time in order to reach their goals?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, so at the Academy, how I manage my time was, um, you know, kind of similar to what I do now in a way. So, you know, obviously going to school, you know, for morning until late afternoon, I'd had a football practice, um, you know, uh, in the afternoon until evening, eat dinner and then work on homework stuff from around eight or so, PM 7:00 PM seven, 8:00 PM or so, all the way to about midnight. Our social, same kind of similar breakdown as I have now. But in a day, there is time in a day. Um, you know, there's 24 hours in a day. Really, honestly, all you need is really six hours of sleep, you know, any much more than that at all. You know. So, um, you know, a lot of people will say, Oh, I don't have a lot of time, blah, blah, blah, this and that. A lot of time they're saying that because they waste a lot of time during day, they literally break down their day and see all the stuff that they're doing. They'll start realizing like, Hey, I actually waste quite a few hours of my day doing whatever. You know, like maybe don't watch that Netflix show, don't watch some TV, don't, um, you know, sit there and thumb through Instagram for an hour, you know, don't, uh, you'll get off of Tinder and Bumble, like all that stuff, you know, like, yeah, swipe it. You know, cause like all that stuff, it seems like you're only doing it for a few seconds. But if you actually, like if you, if you were like a fly on the wall and you actually saw how many times you're doing whatever you're doing and how long you're actually doing it, you count it all up. You'll see that like, eh, as could be like two to three hours of your day. Um, it's your spending, you know, messing around on whatever you're messing around with. Um, throw that stuff away and use that time to focus on some goal or whatever you want to go after. Um, the I, the end of day when you're trying to go after some goal and dream up personal time, your life, you got throw that away. Like that's gone. You know, like you gotta make a decision. Like who are you going to become? Are you going to become the person who just wants to have all this meaning eat personal time? You're going to be on the person who's like, I'm gonna focus my energy every free moment I have towards, you know, my business. I want to build my, my goal, a sports school, whatever you're trying to get to, uh, you know, focus time and energy on it. Cause there is time to do it. Like there's no excuse. There is no excuse if I don't have the time, you definitely have the time. If I can do what I'm doing and I know all the stuff I'm doing in a day, you can do anything you want to do.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. Um, and so we talked about, Hey, the fact you're, uh, you're still in the reserves, Naval officer, professional NASCAR driver, uh, but you also have a racing event, a racing event company, and a transportation company. Can you tell us a little bit about both of those ventures that you've gotten into and how you're taking or how you're going along those routes and doing those things?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, for sure. So, um, yeah, I, my first business I started was the events company. So I started that back in 2015. Um, the idea was sparked while I was on deployment or the end of 2014. So I had another guy on the ship who was on watch with me and he was another entrepreneur himself. And he was, as, you know, he would teach me all these entrepreneurial things and, uh, you know, teach me how to build a business from businesses, start businesses, all that stuff, you know, while on deployment, you know, after watch, even if it was, you know, 3:00 AM or something like that, like he'd take a few of us to, you know, some open room on the ship. And just kinda teach us a few things. We'd have like this entrepreneur session, um, you know, after watch a lot of days. Yeah. Um, you know, my goal was to help him get more physically fit cause he wanted to get more physically fit. His goal was to help me learn, you know, some entrepreneurial tactics. So by doing that, that's what sparked the idea to put on these drag racing events that I was putting on in California. Um, because, uh, you know, I'm a car guy, I love cars, I love racing and I figured I could put on a good event cause I knew a little bit about social media marketing. So I use a lot of social media marketing tactics and learn how to really pound the pavement on social media and get people to, you know, buy in on something. And I was able to build this event and you know, started off with the first event in 2015 maybe having only 300 people total to the second event, having about 2000 people, you know, so, uh, um, the event, I just had a, you know, last weekend in Phoenix we had over 4,000 people and it's the largest I've ever had. So it's been growing. Um, it's definitely had its ups and downs. I wouldn't say it's always gone up. They had this trend where it went up, up, up, up, up like crazy. Then it started dropping, dropping, dropping, dropping, and then it started going up a little bit and kind of staying steady and then now it's going back up. And you know, you never know. I mean, a lot of things play into it. Weather, things like that, especially when you're putting on events, you know, you never know what's going to happen, but, um, yeah, I just keep crying and keep trying to find new ways to keep you full, excited about it. And, you know, we keep on, uh, you know, making good results and doing a lot with little, so that was the start of the events company, which I still put events on. Um, and then I started the trucking company, uh, late 2018. It was November, 2018 when net started. But uh, prior to that, um, you know, I had nothing to do with trucking and transportation industry and nothing, I've never driven a semi truck in my life. I don't have family in that world. I don't know. I knew one driver, one driver, and he's the one who kind of sparked my interest in that because he was just telling me that all the things about trucking and all that stuff, we were on a long drive together. He just telling me all about trucks and semi trucks and how they work and all that stuff. And it just caught my interest. I'm like, Oh, that's pretty cool. And then I started reading up on a little bit more and I noticed that there's a shortage of drivers. And I was like, okay, maybe there's opportunity here and maybe there's opportunity to build a business here because you know, people need shipping stuff no matter what. Like things have to be shipped, like they have to go from terminal to terminal. So, uh, you know, in, it was like July, 2018 from then til pretty much October, November, 2018 I would wake up like at five something in the morning and do some research for a few hours each morning learning the trucking industry. I basically use Google and YouTube. That's it. Cause he, both those two things and then, uh, eventually got connected. The two or three other people who actually were in the industry and own their own little businesses in it and ask them some more specific questions that I wasn't really getting the answers from, from YouTube or, or Google. And once I got all that, put it together and boom, started my own company. Um, I need a little bit of investment to get the truck. Obviously the truck isn't free, but, uh, my brothers both had some extra money saved up, so I got them to buy in on giving me some money to start this thing. And they were investors in the company and you know, they have a, you know, they have a share in it, shares in it. And um, you know, we started it and it's been going good since

Speaker 1:

that, that, that's awesome. And that entrepreneurial spirit and all those things that you're doing have really given you, um, kind of a stage now. And you were actually recently a speaker at the military influencer conference in Washington, D C which I attended. Um, and you're awesome. How do you, how do you feel about having this platform now to share your story, um, and being an influence on so many people? Like has that, has that settled into you yet and how do you kind of feel about that whole thing?

Speaker 4:

Yeah. Um, it's been pretty cool to have the platform that I've, I've had now, um, and it, and it's continuing to grow cause the story's not over. I mean, I'm probably like a third of the way through this whole journey. Oh, not even anywhere near the finish. So, um, you know, it's been cool to have the platform to be able to talk about it and, and hopefully inspire and motivate others to, you know, get up and go after what they want. That's the biggest thing, you know, I'm just trying to show people that it's possible. Like when people, there's a lot of negative people online on social media, all that stuff of like a negative, like a lot of negativity. A lot of people who tell you you can't do something for whatever reason. And the funny thing is they never did it. Like they actually never did it themselves, like better than most of them never even attempted it or[inaudible] it was like, how can you tell me if you'd ever gotten to the finish what it takes to get to the finish line? You don't know. Like I can't even, I can't even tell a football player, you know, trying to go the NFL, what it takes. Even though I play college football, I never made it to the NFL. So I can't literally tell you what it takes to get there because I never made this. I really don't know how to get there because I had never even done it. So, you know, listen, only the people who are there, you know, they can help you, you know? But people who aren't there don't listen to them and there's so many more people who aren't there. Then there are people who there and everyone likes to listen to the opinions of people who, who just don't know. You know, they, they, they just don't know. So, um, you know, lit, surround yourself around good people who have good energy and are only trying to see you and help you go up and they're not trying to do that. They're trying to keep you level. If you down throw them away, they're just not worth it. Yeah,

Speaker 1:

absolutely. Well, thank you for taking the time to share about some of the stuff that you're doing. Uh, your current career as a, a NASCAR professional NASCAR driver and all of your entrepreneurial, um, uh, kind of things that you're doing, uh, in addition to driving and being in the reserves. But I'm gonna shift this back a little bit, uh, to the Naval Academy again. Um, and so we have on Academy of Saturday a lot of parents and loved ones of midshipman, um, supporting people at the Academy and who at the Academy, excuse me, who are seeking thoughts on how to positively influence the people that are currently there, who are struggling, uh, with a lot of the difficulties and rigors of the academic in the military, stress at the Academy. Uh, what would you offer to them, or what advice would you share, uh, to the loved ones about how to best support midshipman at the Academy?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, the biggest thing is, so if you're, you know, if you have someone, whether it's family friend or whatever, um, you know, girlfriend, boyfriend, whoever who's at the Academy, you know, uh, you know, the best way to support them is, you know, for them, sometimes they need a sounding board, right? So they're going through whatever they're going through at the Academy. They're young, they're 18 to 23 years old or whatever, some of them little older. Um, and uh, you know, they're, they're going through a lot. They're still young and they're going through a lot at the Academy. They sometimes they need a sounding board that needs somebody to sometimes complain to sometimes one too. Yeah, they did. They do need that. And, and with, and with you being a loved one or whatever, and, and not being at the Academy or knowing what it's like to go to kind of meet isn't really a lot that you can tell them, you know, that they might even really listen to because you're not there. So sometimes you just gotta listen to them. Just listen to them. You didn't, maybe you don't have to really offer a much, just listen to him, be there for them. Be like, Hey, look, anytime you need something, somebody just to throw your stress out on do that, you know, and then maybe at the end, maybe you might have a few little outside of the box thoughts or whatever that might help them. Who knows? But the biggest thing is just, you know, listen to them and be there for them. Um, you know, be a V just always be available for them that, that will help them a lot. Um, you know, when they, when, when the Academy folks come in, the mission man come home, you know, for whether it's Christmas break, Thanksgiving break, spring break, uh, you know, anytime in the summer or something like that, when they come home, you know, make sure you're there for one to take them out. It's a good time. Make them feel normal and regular, like a regular civilian would, you know, uh, you know, whether, you know, when they're at home, just so they can kind of experience that and, and kind of get away from the Academy and get away from the military in a way and, and, and just feel like their regular life again. And sometimes that helps because you have to get away, get away from the stress of that stuff that makes you get stressed and, and allows you to kind of relax and, and feel relieved. And then then before you go back to the Academy and get back grinding again and going hard. So sometimes you do need that relaxation and try not to talk too much about work or thought, you know being at the Academy and all that stuff like that stuff is, yeah they don't want to talk about that all the time, you know, or sometimes they're in such a crime mode that that's almost all they could talk about and try to help them get away from. They'd be like, Hey you're at home now. Like let's not talk about not having me talk about, you know, your 20 credit hours. Let's talk about regular life and what's going on in the world and let's go have some fun and relax and chill and all that stuff. Like that's what you need when you, when you leave the Academy, get away, you know, get away and find your escape before you come back. Cause you don't want to just be completely, just all like blinded and just, you know, eyes on your books the whole time. And you know, ma yeah, you got to get out a little bit. You gotta, you gotta have that get away.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. In a shameless self plug here, uh, parents loved ones. That's why you have me. If you have questions you can ask me, I'd be more than glad to answer them so you don't have to ask those questions. And you can encourage them to just kind of be in the moment and be home, unwind and relax. Um, because that is, it is a difficult thing and it, it does help with the constant academic and military stress that you do have at the Academy is when you get home is to really just have it be a break. Um, so thanks for that Jessie. Um, and then also for all former midshipman that come onto the podcast, I do have a lightening round of questions, uh, related to their time at the Academy. And are you ready? I'm ready. All right. My first question for you is what is your favorite spot on the yard?

Speaker 4:

My favorite spot on the yard honestly would be M T court fee court would be my Tecumseh court is my favorites by the reason why is because if I say in the summer when everything's all green and stuff or it's spring going into summer, all green, it is like the most beautiful scene ever. You've got all the big trees, the green grass, you have T court right there, this huge massive Bancroft hall right there. And just to see all the architecture and the and how everything was skull sculpted and everything. I mean it's really cool. And while at the Academy, like when you're going there like you really didn't understand cause you're just in the daily grind. But once you leave, especially for quite a few years and then come back, you know, I, I was, you know, left the Academy in 2010 I didn't come back again until, I think last year was the first year I was actually back at the Academy on Academy grounds. It was good. Eight years or so. So to see everything again, I was like, wow, this place is gorgeous. So I'm, you know, that's probably my favorite place right there.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. And I agree with you when you're able to go back to the Academy after you graduate, you really, you finally realize, you're like, wow, this place is like super beautiful. I was just so caught up in daily life. Um, absolutely. All right. Second question. Who were who or what, um, has the biggest influence to your leadership style today that you can trace back to your time at the Naval Academy?

Speaker 4:

Yeah. People from the Naval Academy to have the biggest influence on how I lead today. So, um, yeah, I would probably save w uh, one of my company officer, my first, I will say my, I believe it was my first, first company officer first or a second. I can't remember one of them. Hey, where's one of my company officers that I had, um, while they got him and he was a Marine. I can't remember his name exactly. It's been a while now, but, um, just kind of the way he let us. Um, I, I really liked it a lot. Like at first, you know, being a young man, shit man, uh, you know, I was scared of him cause he's a Marine and, and my experience with Marines when I went to naps and stuff like that with you, all these drill sergeants and all that stuff and they were so hard and this and that, you know, so I was like, Oh my God, I got a Marine, this is going to be horrible. And it wasn't, you know, he actually, the way he led us was great and that's kinda the same leader chip style that I took when I led my divisions and all that stuff while I was on the shifts was, you know, he, we, he, we knew what he expected. He put that out clearly, but he wasn't very super hands on with us. He let us experience, he let us make mistakes. He let us, you know, he empowered us to, to go out and, and, and be who we are. And um, you know, he wasn't the type that was going to sit there and micromanage every little thing that we did. He just kind of let us do our thing. And he was always kind of arms length, just kind of watching and just, you know, supervising and in and letting us learn. And the biggest thing, just let your people learn, empower them to go out and take ownership of something, let them learn and let them make mistakes, let them trip and fall a little bit. It's okay.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. Uh, that absolutely great advice in that. That's awesome that you had a company officer like that because company officers and senior lists leaders can have a major impact on your life at the Academy. So to have someone who empowered you, get you guys and gave you the freedom to kinda to, and learn and make mistakes and do those things is definitely, definitely really helpful. Um, alright, next question. Now I know you're a bit of a slow debater, so rules of the road, you're not allowed to say rules of the road, but do you have, have a favorite book? Is there a book you like, um, to read or one that's really special or important to you?

Speaker 4:

The funny thing is one, I had never actually read it but I completely understood everything it was about message to Garcia Garcia. Like you know, I still pretty much apply it to my life now and, and still tell people that pretty much and yeah its message to Garcia figure it out. You know like w when when you're not given much resources you're not giving once info at the end of the day the mission still has to get accomplished. Like the mission isn't waiting on anything and the mission knows no excuse. Let me just didn't only knows either, you know, happy like the mission either gets executed or fails like one of the two. That's it. So you have to just figure it out. So messenger at Garcia.

Speaker 1:

Uh, that's awesome. Uh, for anyone who's interested, I'll actually put a link to another one of my podcast in my show notes cause we a that Bronco bring on a guest and we talk all about message to Garcia, its impacted role in plebe summer and at the Naval Academy. So, so good answer. I liked that one. Um, all right. Next question is, is what is your greatest memory, um, from your four years at the Naval Academy? What's your favorite moment that you had

Speaker 4:

greatest memory from four years of Naval Academy? Honestly, uh, was probably when we beat Notre Dame, I would say when we ordered Dame first time, not even the second time, the first time because we were, yeah, yeah, it was, uh, it was a S a sophomore year there. Um, we went into it and that was the up and down year. I mean, that was a crazy year for college football in general, both for us and the Academy. We were so up and down, we were winning games, losing games, winning games, losing games, you know, scores were really high. We were taking people to the last final minute, like every game was like, uh, a Nailbiter just like, let's go ahead. And same thing in Notre Dame. I mean, we went in there and with a season we were having, we were like, Oh man, it's gonna be really tough to be a Notre Dame this year. And then all of a sudden we were hanging with them and then we were actually racking up quite a bit of points on them or defense wasn't doing great cause as many points as we were racking up on offense, their offense with wrapping that, racking that up on our defiance. So you know, we get to the final quarter, the final stand, we go on the triple overtime I believe and reps and they're like, we're going to triple overtime here at Notre Dame. It's like a hundred thousand stands here or whatever it is. They're like, we're here in their place and we have an opportunity to beat these guys fourth down, triple over time like this. Stop right here on the goal line on the goal line. By the way, it's right here could end it. And by the way, this team is our athletes. Bigger offensive line against our small, tiny defense. I mean we had an outside linebacker that was only 180 590 pounds, you know, whereas we had offensive tackles and guards who were all three 25 degrees. Now somehow, some way we made a stop on the goal line, fourth down third over time and, and ended up winning this game. It was crazy. So to be able to rush the field, feel that energy and just, I mean, I will never forget like just rust in the field and look her ambulance, we just don't that day 40 something 43 years or something like that. At that time it was crazy. We hadn't beat him in forward. I mean, you know, there generations that haven't seen the victory. Yeah. So a man that was,

Speaker 1:

yeah, that's insane. That's the stuff that you dream about as a kid right now. Obviously, obviously my dreams were, were basketball related. I love basketball, but I mean that's uh, that's the kind of stuff, triple overtime Fort down on the goal line at Notre Dame, that's like, you know, five seconds left, you're down by two. It's Duke versus, you know, North Carolina in March badness, you know. Um, so what, uh, what a crazy story. What a cool, cool memory. That's awesome. Alright. And the final question for you, so a portion of our audience as well, in addition to having someone who's currently at Academy are people who are interested in the Academy. Um, what advice would you give someone, uh, who's a high school student or a candidate about what they should consider when trying to decide whether or not the Naval Academy is the right place for them?

Speaker 4:

Um, the biggest thing is to have them look past the Academy, right? So, you know, line up all the schools that you're looking at, right? If you're looking at like, I'm from Texas, so let's say university of Texas tech saying, um, um, Oklahoma, whatever, and then Naval Academy, you have all these schools, right? Like look past the Academy. Don't just look at just the Academy. Look, pass it, like look into the future. 10 to 20 years past the Academy, be like, where do I want to be in life? A lot of times the Academy is going to take you exactly where you want to be until it be in life. Yes. You have to go serve for at least five years or so. Or if you're a pilot a little bit more, but um, you know, you don't obviously have to stay in the military for your whole life. If you want to get out at five years completely fine, we'll get out after 10 years. That's fine. If you want to make a career of it, that's fine. But the Academy is pretty much the only school out of, you know, all these schools out there minus the other academies where um, you have the opportunity to, once you sign the dotted line, as long as you don't get in trouble and you just pass your classes and stuff and you get through, you have a career started for you. Like you don't, you don't have a job right after the Academy. You literally have a career if you want it to. Like, you don't have to do anything else in life. You can just stay in for 20 years, retire age 40 to 43 or whatever and, and, and, and, you know, get paid by the government every month for the rest of your life. You know, like, I mean that is a pretty cool deal and the pay isn't bad at all. I mean a lot of people struggle going, other schools coming out, they struggle getting a job, you know, and you know, they spent all this time in school just to get out just to, you know, barely make any money or even find that job. Whereas the Academy, like you have one immediately day one, I mean two weeks after graduation you get a check, check, check. You know, I, I don't know what it is now cause obviously it's gone up. But I know for me, you know, 10 years ago I graduated, two weeks later, I think my check was 26 2,700$2,700 and I was like, Holy crap. I was like, that was nice. I didn't even have anything yet. So how many people can say that? I mean literally say two weeks after graduating school you immediately are getting checks in the mail, in the mail. But you know, getting, you know, direct pay or whatever direct deposit hit. Yeah, exactly. And you are pretty much guaranteed. As long as he don't get in trouble or do anything stupid, you're guaranteed every two weeks for the rest of your time. In the military, you get a check like that is really that you can really plan your life. You're like, I know you can literally look at these. There's a million calculators on the internet, so in, you know, pay scales and all that stuff, you can see how much we're going to get paid for a while. So you can't do that with any other school. Other schools, you can say, yeah, I'm going to go get a degree in this and try to apply that to this job. Well, guess what? You're not guaranteed a job. You're not really guaranteed anything. Like you can go get a degree in whatever you want and you're not carrying T you might have to go get your masters at that. Just even maybe have an opportunity to get whatever job you're looking for. So, um, it's tough. You gotta look at that, you know, and that's what I looked at. I was like, I'm gonna look past school time. Yeah, you might have fun at the other schools, you know, a little bit more fun. You might be able to go party with their friends and blah, blah blah, experience call is life, quote unquote, whatever. But at the end of the day, that's going to be gone. At some point you're going to get to a real life after that. And I want it to be set and when I look back on it, I had a whole lot more fun after I graduated the Academy than I would have ever while in school and college at a regular school because you actually had money.

Speaker 1:

Uh, absolutely. And, and that's what, um, I'll see your SIS. I look like look in past your time there. That was always what my dad would tell me. He's like, Hey, when you're making a college choice, especially like the Academy, you're not making a four year decision. You're making a 40 year decision. Right. And that's, that's something like you were saying is that Hey, when you choose the Naval Academy, you're setting your life up for success. Um, when you do that cause you, you're just put, put on the right path and like you're saying, do you have a, you have a career starting day one. Um, so thank you Jesse. I can't thank you enough for taking the time to come on the podcast. Share these stories. Talk about your time at the Naval Academy, share some of your difficulties with swimming. I feel you, that's really difficult. I'm not much of a swimmer either. I hated it. I'm a land animal. That's what I do. Um, if people want to learn more about you, about your racing career, about your business ventures, anything like that, um, where would you direct people to go to learn more about you?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, for sure. They can head to my website. Uh, they can look up Jesse will g.com. That's J E S S, E I w, you J i.com. Also they can find me on any social media platform I post to keep my social media updated on daily basis, especially Instagram and my Facebook, a racing page. Those get updated on a daily basis. Twitter. I update it every couple of days or so, but I'm following me on there. Just look up my name. If for some reason you can't remember how to spell my name, just go on Google and type in Navy, NASCAR driver, Navy, NASCAR driver. I'll be the only one that pops up for ages. So I'll look me up, uh, find me, uh, you know, follow my journey. I'm super open guy, so you know, can you shoot me a message or whatever, do that. I answer every message. I got tons of DMS that come in every single day, so I'll just feel free to throw something at me. I'll go get an answer. Sure. I can help on a lot of different ways. So, um, yeah, that's uh, that's kinda the best way to reach me.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. I don't know what you're doing though. Yesterday you posted that video with[inaudible]

Speaker 4:

fighters on air, man. I always like, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa signers on my timeline right now. It was crazy. I saw that somewhere. I stared at it. I saw it on my Holy Mo is nuts. I was like, I don't like spiders. And the bigger one. After all, I was like, Oh man, burn out mat for me.

Speaker 1:

All right. Uh, well Jesse, again, thank you so much for taking the time to come on. Uh, I really, really appreciate it. Uh, thank you. Thank you so much.

Speaker 4:

Well definitely. Thank you so much for having me.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. And for all the listeners out there, thanks so much. I hope you enjoyed it. If you want to find anything we talked about in the show, it will be in the show notes to make sure to check that out. Otherwise, I hope you'll have a great day and uh, I look forward to posting the next episode. Thanks.

Speaker 4:

Awesome.

Speaker 1:

Thank you all for listening to the podcast and I hope you enjoyed this episode. Uh, as me and Jesse shared a ton of fun stories about his time at the Academy after the Academy and his current ventures both in business and life and NASCAR and all of the above. Please leave me a review on iTunes and be sure to subscribe to the Academy insider podcast if you want to learn more about the United States Naval Academy. And the midshipman experience. Go to my webpage, www.academy insider.com and check out my Facebook page, Academy insider. All links discussed in the show are listed in the show notes. So if you want to learn more about Jesse will cool link to his personal website, uh, as well as a link to message to Garcia, which is a classic book choice for us, a Naval Academy grads. Um, so all of that information will be in the show notes. Check it out. Again, I'm agreeing for me or the Academy insider. Thank you so much for letting me be your guide to the United States Naval Academy.