While I was a Combat Instructor, in between training cycles I was able to get a lot of time off. During this time, I joined up with a man I served with to help him start up his own company called Ares Armor. Ares Armor at the time was going to provide products for military and law enforcement including field gear and equipment. I assisted in the building up of the company scratch in the store front that he had leased out in Oceanside, CA.
As the company grew, we began developing our own field gear, making packs and vests and other accessories using various Nylon products commonly found in Military “Tactical” gear. We designed several products, working with customers to build custom packs and vests. During this time, I filled a role as a “Product Manager” when we met with a member of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Units (EOD) on Camp Pendleton. I went out to talk with the unit to collect customer requirements in the design of a new pack made just for them. Through out this process, I gained experience in the following:
- Working with customers (end users) in collecting user requirements, specifications, and preferences in the design of the product.
- Designing a product, with a focus on function and utility.
- Developing an initial prototype and testing it out in the field.
- Delivery and presentation of the prototype to the customer, giving them the ability to test it out with their actual tools, developing a list of necessary changes and improvements.
- Redesigning of the product, and the creation of a final working prototype.
- Working with the customer to ensure the product meets their needs and getting their approval.
- Assisting in the first production of the product and managing the distribution of the new products to the customer.
- Maintaining contact with the customer, bringing customer feedback.
- Determining product costs and deciding on a final product cost.
- Developing marketing for the product for other customers and officially adding the product to the company’s product line.
I was able to repeat this process developing a nylon sleeve for the Helicopter Blades for Cobra and Huey helicopters with the Marine Corps Air Wing on Camp Pendleton. Unfortunately, after completing this product, I had to return to my duties as a Combat Instructor. In the following year, I returned to work at Ares Armor utilizing my Web Development skills to try to upgrade the company website. During this time, my responsibilities on Active Duty began to take a faster pace, and I left the company to focus on my Active Duty responsibilities.