Veteran transitions to small business owner

Nov. 11, 2013 @ 10:09 AM

Former U.S. Navy SEAL member and area business owner Dan Schreder considers Veterans Day a perfect time to remember the people who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Reflecting upon his 20 years of service, Schreder says that his career seems minuscule compared to all of those who served before him.

“I have tremendous gratitude and respect for those who went before us, the horrific battles they endured, the sacrifices they made,” Schreder said. “It’s a time to give pause for the people I didn’t know who gave their lives for our country and our freedom.”

Growing up in a patriotic community in Ceder Rapids, Iowa, probably had a subliminal influence on his decision to join the military, Schreder said. However, as a teenager he realized that he specifically wanted to join the Navy SEALs.

“Really the unique draw was to the SEAL teams,” Schreder said. “When I was a junior in high school, I saw what it was all about and I wanted to be a Navy SEAL.”

After retiring from his military career in 2008, Schreder moved to Cosby with his wife and their two children, where he opened two small businesses: Outdoors in the Smokies, which hosts adventure races, ATV and motocross riding and racing and private shooting and shooting instruction, and a screen-printing company called Team Guy T-Shirts. Schreder said that running his business is aided by his time with the SEALs.

“In the SEALs we needed a variety of skills to execute tasks,” Schreder said. “It’s the first time I’ve really thought about it, but maybe there’s a relationship between the SEAL team and our business model because we’re kind of all over the place. We do a little bit of everything.”

Schreder said that the transition from Navy SEAL to business owner was a natural one.

“My wife and I looked to retire and move on with our lives,” Schreder said. “We got some property in Cosby and we said, ‘yeah, let’s go for it,’ and it’s just been one day at a time.” The biggest takeaway he has from his service was the companionship he felt, Schreder said. “There’s a certain camaraderie that the SEAL team had,” Schreder said. “It’s a very unique fraternity, really unique organization.”

Schreder said he hopes that all Americans can take time on Veterans Day to appreciate the sacrifices of the men and women in all branches of the military, past and present.

“All give some and some give all,” Schreder said. “I gave some in my 20 years, and unfortunately a lot of people gave all. (Veterans Day) is a good day to remember them.”