Bryant Griffith knows about seeking an identity after years in military service, and he’s sharing that insight with other veterans.
Griffith, 35, a Marine who served 10 years – including two tours in Afghanistan – is the owner of Arlington-based Junk and Waste Solutions (JAWS) and won a recent Second Service Foundation Military Entrepreneur Challenge pitch competition.
JAWS is a junk-removal business that not only hauls away unwanted materials, but repurposes and recycles much of what is removed, keeping it out of landfills.
“We put a lot of energy into that part of our business,” said Griffith. “We track how much we’re donating, recycling, and giving back to the community.”
For his pitch in the competition, Bryant focused on that aspect of his operations, and his aspiration to help other veterans in the same way that the military community has boosted him. During his presentation, he was accompanied by his service dog, Balboa, whom he calls his “barketing manager.”
“When veterans transition out of military life, the biggest challenge for them is the loss of identity and community that the military provides,” said Griffith, who lives in Kennedale with his wife, son and two daughters. “We’re looking to franchise and help other veterans.”
He said that the prize – a $2,000 capital grant and $25,000 in pro-bono legal services from Holland & Knight LLC – will help in that effort.
That sentiment struck a chord with the Second Service Foundation’s Challenge judges, according to Lauren Hope, the organization’s executive director.
“The military community runs deep and takes care of our own. We know that if we encourage and foster the empowerment of others, it will amplify beyond our reach,” said Hope. “Every time Second Service Foundation has an event, there is a ripple of goodwill that will continue to grow to help others. Bryant is the perfect example of this. He has clearly identified a pain point within the military community — a veteran’s loss of purpose and identity attached to serving others— and he is addressing it in an intentional, conscientious, and eco-friendly way with JAWS.”
In addition to the prizes he receives, SSF will connect with Griffith each quarter to assess his business’ progress and send him other opportunities to grow his organization.
Asked what made Griffith’s pitch stand out from the others, Hope said, “It ultimately came down to the passion and his story — as one of our judges commented, he has a passion for both service and relationship within the veteran community, and he is implementing a positive impact on veterans in the form of job opportunities.”
Griffith’s penchant for serving his community doesn’t stop there. He serves on the Kennedale City Council and is vice-chair of the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s Veterans Business Council.
He connected with the Second Service Foundation’s competition when he was engaged in a 6-month business cohort at UT-Arlington, Spark for Veterans. That helped reaffirm his mission.
“Most companies take junk and haul it to the landfill. There was really a need for us in the market,” he said. “To me, it’s purposeful work.”
The Military Entrepreneur Challenge pitch competition is open to military-connected small businesses and nonprofits. Nine semifinalists are selected for each regional competition, and each is allowed two minutes to pitch to a panel of judges. The top three are selected to make their pitches in front of a live audience, which will vote for the winner. For more information, visit https://secondservicefoundation.org/.