Kevin started his career as a logistics officer for a SWAT team, which gave him insight into the criminal justice world, and he soon found that through training SWAT teams better he could reduce the use of force while bettering the national security of our country. Fulcrum Tactical was born out of that idea, and within 18 months he expanded it from a charity to a for-profit company.
He started investing in startups on the side but focused on Fulcrum Tactical and his new venture, Fulcrum Farms a sustainable farm producing high-quality meat and eggs for families and restaurants in the Chicagoland area. After six years Kevin sold Fulcrum Tactical and moved on to investing in startups full-time by starting Fulcrum Investing. Kevin spends his free time co-hosting The State of Logic Podcast and has also continued his passion for farming.
- Who is Kevin Van Eekeren?
Kevin was the kid in school that struggled with dyslexia and didn’t learn to read until the 5th grade, but still had an entrepreneurial mindset. He began writing his ideas in a book. Some of the ideas he wrote down ended up being executed successfully by other companies, proving the validity and value of his ideas. Which motivated him to discover how to turn his great ideas into tangible results.
- The Journey
While in college Kevin earned extra credits by doing ride alonags with the police. What he learned from that experience was how to be a leader, and to think things through in a much more critical way. Those things in combination with his entrepreneurial spirit are what led him down the path to becoming a member of the SWAT team, and eventually his break into the business.
- What was that one thing that you learned from your time in school that you didn’t get from a book?
Understanding the world is much more complicated and nuanced than we would be led to believe. Kevin believes that a real education about any topic deserves the ability to make mistakes, understand, and learn from them.
- Is it better to find a mentor or go to university?
Kevin believes that the university experience has become worse and worse by teaching people not how to think, but what to think.
- What is an example of someone being taught what to think about how to think?
The difference, Kevin thinks is; treating students like the adults they are, and teaching them to process information no matter how disturbing or tantalizing it may be. In the most logical, analytical, and detail-oriented way so they can come to a correct conclusion that works best for them. He feels we are not preparing these students to deal with real life.
- What are “safe spaces” or “trigger warnings”?
A “safe space” is a place students can go to see a counselor for free. A “trigger warning” is a phrase that is said when a sensitive topic is being brought up so anyone who can’t handle being part of that discussion can leave.
- How do we go from this to the SWAT team?
During his time at university, Kevin studied criminal justice which he enjoyed and decided he wanted to give back to the community. So he started working as a logistics officer in the south suburbs of Chicago.
Every Logistics Officer has their own goal and Kevin’s was to “professionalize” the SWAT team. During this time he developed his leadership skills by learning how to convince veteran SWAT members to listen to advice from a 25-year-old college student about improving training to lower risk and save lives.
- You started a company that trained SWAT teams nationwide. How did you get to the point where they would listen to you?
By using his out of the box thinking Kevin discovered that no matter how well equipped officers are, the tools aren’t as effective unless they have been properly trained how to use them. With this information, he started to focus on training and saw that the survival rate during deadly encounters was at a much higher rate. With this proof, he starting spreading awareness in an authentic, influential way to gain his senior’s ear.
- How did you spread the message?
Kevin decided since cops love pranks he would play an elaborate prank on them. He started a fake company and made it seem as if his company was stealing all of their business. Once he had their attention he announced his true intentions about training and asked them to help spread the word. Which they agreed to.
- How did you make the transition from SWAT training to farming?
Due to the high stress of running a business and training SWAT teams Kevin needed a way to relax, which came in the form of farming. He started a farm without profit in mind, but rather an opportunity to work with the land, the animals, and grow his own food. Since he was producing more eggs than he could eat he started giving them away and eventually he received a calls from local restaurants asking if he could supply their eggs. Fast forward a few years and the farm is producing a variety of meats and eggs.
- How does the podcast fit into everything?
Kevin realized that the media wasn’t in the business of telling us the truth but actually just putting our eyeballs in front of advertisers. After he had a unique experience where he was featured in a fabricated story on the nightly news, Kevin felt that critical thinking needed to be taught and that’s what he focused on with his podcast.
Many of the social and political movements that get started are based on situations that turn out not to be true, verifying facts before you act is extremely important.
- What are the common sense business principles?
The first thing you have to realize is that you have an ugly baby. You have to be objective when it comes to your business and whether it will work on a larger scale. Hire slow and fire fast. Bring in people that have so much common sense on an executive level that you are irritated by it.
The biggest indicator that someone doesn’t have common sense is whether or not the business owner can admit mistakes. If you can’t admit your mistakes, you won’t be able to change the issue that is preventing growth.
The people are always more important than the product. The people have to implement it to make it work.
Perfection is the ultimate enemy of profit. Once you do your due diligence, ask people who don’t know you or what you’re doing and see if they would buy in.
- Kevin’s Takeaway
The first thing is to get outside opinions. Once you get some positive feedback, take the amount of money you think it will take to get started and double it. It will probably still be too small of an estimate.
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