Team Rubicon

What We Learned From 43INC With Jake Wood, Founder and CEO of Team Rubicon

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Jake Wood is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Team Rubicon USA, the purpose pillar of Mission43. Prior to Team Rubicon, Jake served in the Marine Corps with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2010, after recently seperating from the USMC and watching disaster unfold in Haiti, he took it upon himself to take a small team down to help the people in a country devastated by an earthquake. That action led to the creation of one of the most impactful veteran focused non-profits in the country.

Team Rubicon’s primary mission is providing disaster relief to those affected by natural disasters, be they domestic or international. By pairing the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders, medical professionals, and technology solutions, Team Rubicon aims to provide the greatest service and impact possible.

On March 15th, 2018, we sat down with Jake Wood for another installment of 43INC. It lived up to its name by creating an opportunity for all of us to “Innovate” with new ideas on display, “Network” with over 125 members of the M43 community, and “Connect” to opportunities to make Idaho a better place. Here are our three takeaways from that great evening:

Be Prepared To Fill The Purpose Void

You have to be very deliberate about filling a void in your life when you depart the military. You served with some of the funniest, most hardworking, and enjoyable people, but all that comes to an end. Jake Wood took this to a whole new level and turned it into something amazing. This didn’t come by accident, he intentionally made the decision to find a way to have purpose in his life. No one does this for you, it’s up to you to seek it out.

Surround Yourself With The Right People

If you are in Team Rubicon you belong to a culture that isn’t satisfied with the status quo, especially in the way relief organizations support people affected by disasters. The TRibe is very intentional about analyzing what they are doing and then seeing things through to make them better. So think about what is it that you value, and do the people you associate with share that same idea? You are a reflection of the company you keep.

Have a Bias For Action

On the battlefield, we inherently had to made quick decisions with imperfect information and limited resources. This is tough to teach, and we are the very few who were fortunate enough to have been through the experiences that require us to be that way. Maintain that bias for action when you leave the military, it brings value to those around you.



2017 Accomplishments

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At the end of 2017, Mission43 was still less than two years old as an organization. However, we didn’t let our age get in the way of making things happen through our pillars of education, employment, purpose, and connection. By creating quality opportunities in these areas and bringing forward the attributes of veterans and military spouses, we can make Idaho communities a stronger place.

Each pillar organization brought solid leadership to the table with a similar mindset that veterans are not victims. This fresh perspective from those on the team who are currently serving military, recently transitioned, and military spouses, permeated through the opportunities we created throughout the year. We met incredible people along the way who have inspired us and we are proud to now call friends.

Each year, over 200,000 men and women leave the service. Despite billions spent, it is our opinion that military transition programs are largely unaccountable in effectively providing the tools for a successful transition. To that point, here are a few things we can stand behind as 2017 accomplishments in making Idaho possible for families after the military:

  • Guild Education has maintained an 87% retention rate for those enrolled in one of their five partner universities.

  • Hire Heroes USA has empowered over 250 veterans and military spouses in finding their next career in Idaho at an average starting salary of $52,000.

  • Team Rubicon’s membership base in Idaho grew by over 200 new members for a total of 450 throughout the state.

  • 43INC, the new connection pillar, was established and created monthly networking opportunities.

  • We conducted 47 events that included trainings, employment workshops, networking, and fitness opportunities.

  • The Welcome Kits started shipping to those who took our new member survey, getting quality Mission43 gear into the hands of veterans and military spouses.

  • More than 2,000 people are now registered with Mission43

Check out our 2017 highlight video to see what all this looks like in action. We appreciate the support of all those involved and couldn’t be more thankful to have the opportunity to meet incredible people along the way. Looking forward to 2018 and the years to come!


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We can sum up September 2017 with the 9.11 Moving Tribute, Team Rubicon Sawyer Training, and lots more quality hires! The team is always ready for a challenge, so we embarked on a pretty ambitious way to honor 9.11. Last year, the Mission43 pillar organizations carried the flag from sunrise to sunset around Kleiner Park in Meridian and we learned the community really saw this as a meaninful tribute. This year we decided to carry the Flag of Honor, bearing the names of all the first responders and civilians who lost their lives in 2001, 40 mile across the Treasure Valley. It brought awareness to a day that many have already forgotten or don’t even know about and we were able to work with 10 first responder departments who helped as escorts. The brainstorming has already begun on how we can make this even bigger next year! Any thoughts?

Team Rubicon is already preparing for wild fire mitigation in the spring of 2018. On September 23 and 24th, 10 TR members because qualified Sawyer Level 1 operators. This means they can safely operate chainsaws to cut and clear debris, which will be crucial when they go out to clear the kindling that can create a fire danger near our Idaho communities. Sawyer Level II is coming soon!

We also launched our first 3-week Entrepreneur’s Sprint in partnership with the Boise State University Venture College. We have seen more and more demand for this knowledge so we found a way to run a flexible course (after normal work hours), challenging (fast paced and packed with knowledge), and affordable ($48...just enough buy-in that only our serious friends showed up). We had 15 people in the course and it was impressive what was accomplished. New businesses were formed, others refined, and equally important, some folks needed to head back to the drawing board. Keep an eye out for the next don’t want to miss this!

As a result of the quality and consistent services provided by Hire Heroes USA, September brought in 16 more hires for people using their services. Each hire represents a leader heading into the Idaho workforce and we are thankful they put their trust in Hire Heroes USA to help them find their next career. Look for more opportunities to attend an in-person workshop! We have a Federal employment focused workshop in October and our first military spouses specific workshop in November.

Finally, thanks to Jesse Iwuji, NASCAR K&N pro series driver, who hooked up Mission43 with rides in his modified two-seat car. Five people were selected who have been volunteering or going above and beyond to use Mission43 to create opportunities for themselves. And big thanks to all the volunteers who came out to participate in the Fit One Mission43 water station. By far the best one on the course and only one runner yelled at us.  We are pretty sure it was because he didn’t train at all and was suffering by the time he got to us!

Check out our upcoming events!

Idaho’s 2017 September 11th Moving Tribute

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2017 marked the 16th anniversary of the the September 11, 2001 attack on our nation. For those who recently served, it is the closest we can come to understanding what Pearl Harbor meant to our grandparents. This year in an effort to honor those we lost, we carried a flag bearing the names of all the first responders and civilians who were killed on 9.11.2001, over 40 miles on a route across the Treasure Valley. This event was called Idaho’s 9.11 Moving Tribute.

0846 Flight 11 Hit the North Tower

We began at 0846 at Lucky Peak Reservoir, the same time Flight 11 hit the North Tower. Over 60 people carried the flag throughout the day, stopping only to mark the times the planes struck and when the towers collapsed. At 0937, when the Pentagon was hit by Flight 77, we had the family of Brady Howell, one of two Idahoans killed in that moment, carrying the flag in his honor. Ten different police and fire departments provide escort throughout the entire nine-hour tribute, a great symbolism of the respect between first responders and the military.

The pillar organizations of Mission43 came together just like they do on a daily basis supporting the military community in Idaho. Each took responsibility for a leg of the relay by finding volunteers within their organizations to help carry the flag, and by ensuring they met the next pillar organization in time for the hand-off.

60 People Helped Carry the Flag Over 40 Miles. 

At the end of the 40 miles, we arrived at the future home of a Mission43 Firebase, the Caldwell Veterans Memorial Hall. We had food, drinks, and brought closure to the day with a ceremony led by Noah Siple. We couldn’t have been more proud of the way 9.11 was honored by the leaders, volunteers, and public who took part in this tribute.

Keep an eye out for next year. We will be looking to do something bigger and bolder and will need even more people to help carry the flag in honor of September 11th.


Team Rubicon Cleans Up After Flood Waters Recede

When a group of Idaho Team Rubicon members heard there were contaminated sandbags and debris along the Boise River that needed to be cleaned up, they got to work and helped Ada County Emergency Management restore the riverbank to normal as flood waters receded.

Rivers swelled and stayed in flood state all across Idaho after a record 2017-2018 winter. While the sandbags helped defend local homes and apartments against the rising waters, when the river returned to normal levels massive amounts of debris and hundreds of sandbags remained along the riverbank.

"This was dirty but important work. The contaminated sandbags needed to be removed before causing health issues for residents of the affected community. This is a great example of how former military are still serving their communities. Local Team Rubicon members came together, worked in 100 degree heat, and made quick work of the task, saving Ada County money in clean-up costs and helping a community return to normal." - Brian J. Von Herbulis, Team Rubicon Idaho.

There are opportunities to get involved for both military and civilians. Learn more: Team Rubicon Idaho Facebook page or Join Mission43 and select “Team Rubicon.”

July 2017 After Action Review

July was a solid month for the Mission43 team. We wanted to check in and give you an update on what was accomplished and what was happening behind the scenes. So first, central to Mission43’s purpose, are the four pillar organizations:


Education: Guild Education brought another school on board for Mission43. The University of Denver brings the total number of schools we are working with to five. This is important because we are finding more schools that give appropriate academic credit for military service, while expanding the number and types of degrees available. Coupled with Guild Education’s expertise in using your benefits, this is starting to change the standard for our academia friends in supporting military students.


Employment: 176 hires in 16 months; average starting salary of $51,000, 94% full-time positions. Think careers, not jobs. The Hire Heroes USA machine is achieving unmatched results in Idaho.


Purpose: Team Rubicon conducted another Idaho disaster relief operation, this time supporting flood clean-up as the high waters from winter runoff have receded. TR members removed sand bags and debris, showing service to the community doesn’t end after the military. In addition, Brian Von Herbulis, Idaho’s TR lead and National Wildland Firefighter Coordinator, has facilitated the deployment of over 50 veterans to fires around the country.


Connection: Team Red, White & Blue continues to stay active with weekly runs, mountain bike rides, and social events. Chad Rohr, the Boise chapter captain, is now known as the “guy carrying the flag” everywhere he goes! Team RWB also recently hired their Boise-based Program Manager, Cody Sohn. She joins us from Fort Benning, GA and will be re-locating to the area in August. We are excited to have her on the ground and helping to grow chapters around the state!


Mid-July also welcomed the 31st Annual Twilight Criterium to Boise, one of the top cycling road races in the country, so we kicked off the event with a Mission43 INC Happy Hour at the veteran-owned Powderhaus Brewery. Our official partner, Team Twenty20, a pro-cycling team with their eyes on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics joined us to hang out and raffle off a ton of prizes from their sponsors. After that, we hosted a VIP tent at the Criterium and watched Team Twenty20 take the win in the women’s pro race. We had a great turnout at both and enjoyed the opportunity to network and connect with Mission43 friends and families! Check out our photos from the event.

We have good momentum heading into August. Keep an eye on our events and feel free to join us when the time is right!

$15,000 Winner of the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge

Brian Von Herbulis, Team Rubicon BLM Program Coordinator, just took home a $15,000 first place prize for his tech-focused idea at the 2017 Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge. Class I, V, and VI (food, ammo, and booze....well not really booze) is often hard to re-supply for those on the front lines. Brian knows this from experience as a commander of warriors in Afghanistan, and he used that knowledge and a lot of ingenuity to develop a one-time use drone that glides to predetermined coordinates with almost 700 lbs of supplies. He says this isn't limited to military use because there is much more this technology can do in terms of opportunity and capability. Think of the potential for disaster relief or support to wildland fire fighters! 

The Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge was hosted by the Boise State University Venture College and was open to any college or graduate student throughout the state of Idaho. Brian competed against over 70 other entrepreneurs, ideas, and teams.

Brian is the epitome of "Lead. Learn. Inspire." and we just want to congratulate him on a hard earned and much deserved first place prize. Nicely done!


Run As One 2017 Pictures

The Idaho Falls crew!

The Idaho Falls crew!

The Treasure Valley crew!

The Treasure Valley crew!

The Boise Team Red, White, and Blue chapter took the lead in bringing together Team Rubicon, The Mission Continues, and the community for Run As One in the Treasure Valley. Close to forty people, including including lots of families, came out for the near perfect weather in Kleiner Park in Meridian. We were also joined by Brandon Frank, the owner of Fleet Feet Meridian, who has been a great friend in the community and has included Team RWB in their weekly Wednesday runs.

The day began with a group walk around the park. Old Glory looked good surrounded by veterans, families, and friends! After the walking lap, Chad Rohr kicked off the 5k run with the leader of the pack coming across the finish line in under 23 minutes! 

The day finished with food and refreshments supplied by Team RWB. Chad did a fine job on the grill and served some delicious grilled cheese sandwiches. Run As One 2017 was a great way to kick-off the arrival of warmer weather, which means lots more activity outside!

43INC Happy Hour with Team Rubicon

Task Force Locust (aka Mission43) came in to Payette Brewing Company, took up space, enjoyed some beers, and had a great time with other members and our community partners. This 43INC Happy Hour had a Team Rubicon slant with the Regional X Administrator, Aaron Mallary, flying in from his HQ in Seattle. He presented Sandra Rollings the very first Region X challenge coin for for her leadership in Operation Payette Forward (learn more about this first ever Idaho TR op here). 

We also had a few of our community partners swing by to talk about how they are working with Mission43. 

  • Trailhead is providing scholarships for their stackable front-end code school classes. More to follow on this...we will be announcing how to apply for the next class starting April 24th
  • Keller Williams Front Porch Properties is helping us connect our members to veteran real estate agents (especially those out of state) who want to learn more about the local area. They also have some pretty cool incentives to pile on with your closing costs. 

Next 43INC Happy Hour is April 27th...swing on by!

Clay Hunt Fellowship- Team Rubicon Now Accepting Applications

Each year, Team Rubicon selects a cohort of fellows for a 12-month leadership and training program within Team Rubicon. A recent graduate (and now the dude cruising the country running the TR Mobile Training Center, Jerome Deniz, came and briefed the Idaho Team Rubicon members on his experience. 

Here it is in a snapshot: train to be deployable, deploy in different roles on TR operations, work with a mentor along this journey, complete a TR capstone project, all wrapped up in a year of self-discovery to achieve a successful life and transition!

We recommend you check out this video on the CHFP to learn more. We haven't had an Idaho Clay Hunt Fellow and you could be the first!

Team Rubicon Clay Hunt Program Information and Application.

Jerome Deniz, briefing Idaho TR members on the Clay Hunt Fellowship Program.

KTVB's Viewpoint Features Mission43

Bryan Madden (M43 Program Director) and Brian Stann (CEO of Hire Heroes USA) sat down with Doug Petcash, host of KTVB's Viewpoint. They talked about the what is happening nationally and at a local level for veterans and military spouses transitioning into civilian life. You can check out that segment here: VIEWPOINT.

After the Brian and Bryan show, Sandra Rollings from Team Rubicon talked about what they have been up to, including the recent Operation Payette Forward.

Behind the scenes on KTVB with Doug Petcash (left), Bryan Madden (middle), and Brian Stann (right).

Behind the scenes on KTVB with Doug Petcash (left), Bryan Madden (middle), and Brian Stann (right).

Operation Payette Forward

This operation represents the growing presence of TR in Idaho and their first ever Idaho based operation. More veterans are taking steps to find purpose after the military and actively serve their communities.

In order to make this happen, the Rubicon City Coordinator Sandra Rollings (Army combat medic with two Iraq deployments), did a damage assessment and determined it would beneficial to the Payette Community for Region X (Team Rubicon uses the same regions as FEMA for organization) to deploy. Then, just like she did in the military, she pulled together all the assets needed for the mission, utilized the right people, and went to work.

The Operation Payette Forward volunteers removed snow off of roofs and cleared the way for the upcoming melt over a four day period. Look out for more TR activity in Idaho!

A Partnership with the ESPN Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Mission43 partnered with ESPN’s Famous Idaho Potato Bowl to provide over 2,000 tickets for military families to watch the University of Idaho take on Colorado State. We also hosted a tailgate for the first 500 people to show up for the festivities in our exclusive Mission43 tent that featured local brews, BBQ, and coffee from Cafe Mule (Idaho veteran owned business!). A few lucky military spouses even won access badges to the heated sky box!

No game is complete without a flyover from something that burns JP-8. Thanks to the 391st Bold Tigers, an F-15E squadron from Mountain Home Air Force, for the three ship that hit the timing perfectly.

Team Rubicon Palantir Training

Damage assessment anyone?

How does Team Rubicon decide on what areas to focus when they deploy on a natural disaster? One of the tools they use is Palantir.

Palantir is a technology platform used for things like picking apart terrorist networks. Now it has been adapted for Team Rubicon to figure out where they can have the biggest impact in serving those who need it most. Good initial data collection on an operation is key!

Now, a group of TR members in Idaho are qualified on this tool after completing this training. Thanks to those who attended and the Team Rubicon training team that came into town to help out! There is more Palantir training coming in 2017, so what our events page and we will post it.

Team Rubicon Red Card Training

This Idaho based training almost didn't happen. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had their 2016 Team Rubicon Red Card training schedule set, but with Team Rubicon's new increased presence in Idaho with Mission43 and Boise having the National Interagency Firefighting Center (NIFC) we were able to make this happen. 

Classes were held at NIFC and the field training portion was done up the road near Idaho City in the Boise National Forest. Over 20 veterans completed the course and earned their "Red Card," which certifies them to fight wildland fire on a Type II crew. Now, in partnership between Team Rubicon and the BLM, they can be called up short notice to deploy around the country and be on the front lines of fire. 

What did their schedule look like?

  • Day 1: In-processing and 45lb weighted pack test.
  • Day 2: Classroom ops covering ICS, fire behavior, PPE, and human factors.
  • Day 3: Field Day! Learn to use the tools and operate safely on the fire line.
  • Day 4: Wrap up and graduation.

If you are interested, we are already planning on doing this next year. As always, watch our events page for that announcement. 

Run As One

Run As One is an opportunity to establish and renew bonds with our brothers and sisters in Team RWB, Team Rubicon, and The Mission Continues. Shared purpose and hard work towards a common goal builds the strongest communities.

This year's event was spearheaded by the Boise chapter of Team Red, White, & Blue and held at the campus of the Boise VA Medical Center. A couple of laps and some camaraderie, nothing better!

The Launch of Mission43

Scotty Smiley, author of Hope Unseen.

Scotty Smiley, author of Hope Unseen.

Mission43 officially kicked off at Boise State University's Stueckle Sky Center on March 15, 2016. The room was packed with leaders from the community, currently serving military members from the Idaho National Guard and Mountain Home Air Force Base, military spouses, and veterans who came to hear about this different approach to supporting transitioning military families.

Mission43 isn’t for the veteran who thinks he is owed something after volunteering to serve in the military.
— Bryan Madden, Mission43 Program Manager

Scotty Smiley gave the keynote address. He was blinded by a vehicle born IED in 2005, but went on to graduate from Duke with his MBA, became the first active duty blind company commander, climbed Mount Rainier, and authored the book Hope Unseen to tell his story of never giving up. 

Jake Wood, CEO and co-founder of Team Rubicon, talked about what it takes to be a TR member and the reason why so many of us are ready to answer the call when our communities need disaster response support. Blayne Smith, Executive Director of Team Red, White & Blue talked about the eagles ethos and the importance of enriching the lives of America's veterans through physical and social activity. Finally, Brian Stann addressed the crowd via video and talked about the Hire Heroes USA team behind each veteran and military spouse who are there every step of the way in the search for their next career.