Richard Brion can trace his career path back to his teenage years.
“I joined the military at 18 years old, fresh out of high school,” he said. “I found a career with the intelligence portion of the Navy that gave the balance between everything I was looking for.”
After his time in the Navy, Richard found himself taking on various roles. His career path was by no means orthodox, but every opportunity happened for a reason.
“I’ve done a little bit of everything. I made money in whatever way fit my skillset. And then I just kept figuring it out until I got here.”
Eventually, Richard knew he had to start honing his professional development. He sought guidance from a career specialist at the VA, and together they decided Richard was a businessman at heart.
“In the back of my mind I knew I could be an entrepreneur, but there wasn’t specifically a plan. I just stumbled along in the dark until I found my way into it. Just kicking any can.”
From the start, Richard was more concerned with moving people than moving product.
“I’m more interested in whether I make an impact. If people forget my name 20 years after I’m dead, then they forget my name. I just want to feel that I created something that made a difference.”
Richard decided he wanted to revolutionize the world of agriculture during his time in Afghanistan. There, he learned about farming obstacles he’d never considered before.
“They can’t grow a lot there from a geographical standpoint, and they couldn’t really grow anything people wanted to buy because their farming practices were out of wack. That jumpstarted me onto the path of rethinking how to grow food.”
Richard’s desire to make an impact led him to connect with several like-minded entrepreneurs. One of these colleagues encouraged him to attend a Bunker Labs event. He saw the perfect opportunity to bring his farming idea to life.
“A friend in Silicon Valley said, ‘Hey, just show up and tell me what you think.’ It was a bit of timing and luck. But as they say in entrepreneurship, that’s always what it is.”
Bunker Labs, a nonprofit committed to helping veteran entrepreneurs launch their business ideas, seemed to Richard like the perfect opportunity. He applied to the program and was accepted, and right away, Richard started to see his skills sharpen.
“I noticed that I grew in terms of having a better understanding of the entrepreneurship landscape and how to navigate it, which is much different than my previous business experience.”
During his time at Bunker Labs, Richard launched Revolution Agriculture, a company trailblazing the “micro farming” technique, which allows crops to grow just about anywhere.
“We officially broke ground in January of this year. It’s been about six months. We’ve been working on building the business by showing up at events in between farming.”
In a few days, Richard will have the opportunity to pitch Revolution Agriculture to a panel of judges in San Diego. This competition, called The Muster, gives veteran participants the opportunity to win a cash prize. Richard is feeling more than prepared.
“The presentation is three minutes. I’ve got two minutes and forty five seconds to recite word for word. But I’m allowing myself that extra time to go with the energy in the room.”
If Richard doesn’t come home a winner, he’ll be pushing onward with his business idea. He already has next-steps in place continue growing the company from the ground up.
“Outside of building our first farmland, we’re also trying to build the community that will become our customer base. We want to find those people that really buy into our mission about creating that local produce.”
No matter where his business journey takes him, Richard is committed to his initial goal of providing fresh, local crops to people everywhere.
“The idea is to make all produce local to everyone, so they join us in trying to change how agriculture works within the country. And then hopefully around the world.”