Episode 240 Phil Kendro Veterans Beer Club Transcript

This transcript is from episode 240 with guest Phil Kendro.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host Scott DeLuzio and now let’s get on with the show.

Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast today my guest is Phil Kendro. Phil is a Marine Corps veteran who is also a founder of the Veterans Beer Club, which has the goal of helping veterans transition into civilian life after the military. So welcome to show, Phil. I’m glad to have you here.

Really looking forward to this conversation.

Phil Kendro: Thanks much, Scott. I appreciate it. And I have to correct you. I’m actually one of the co-founders, so there’s actually three of us total. So I can’t just say that it was solely my ID on this one.

Scott DeLuzio: No, absolutely. Yeah, and I think I misspoke there. I think I said founder, I meant to say co-founder.

But thank you for clarifying that. But we’re definitely gonna get into that a little bit [00:01:00] more, but why don’t, before we do, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your back?

Phil Kendro: So, originally grew up in the Washington DC area. Went to Penn State University, got my commission into the Marine Corps there 20 years in the Marine Corps.

Was a pilot, was an instructor. Pilot was a Ford Air controller. Was a company commander for the Iraq invasion. And a lot of operational time, a lot of convenient relations time as well. Transitioned outta the Marine Corps back in 20 15, and then did a little bit of business development for an IT company.

Did some airline. Actually was in the Marine Corps Entertainment Office, which was a blast too. And then, you know, during that time we discovered that the transit. What I thought, which I had a great network and some great mentors and both military and non-military mentors, which I think is really important.

Still had some issues finding a job. And you know, in 2016, got together with a couple buddies one guy named Brian Grana and Kevin Cortez both Marine Corps veterans here in San Diego. And were like, You know what? We need to change something because we’ve got these great networks and we’re having trouble finding jobs.

And, you know, in San Diego County, Such a large group of [00:02:00] active duty veterans and spouses. You know, we’re kind of blessed and cursed in the county. We’re blessed because we have so many amazing opportunities, but we’re kind of cursed cuz we don’t know where to go with all those opportunities. And so we said, Hey, let’s come up with something.

And the Veteran’s Beer Club came out of it a little tongue in cheek name and has been very successful since then.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s great and I’m glad that you managed to find that solution because you’re absolutely right. Sometimes it’s when you have too many too many opportunities out there.

It’s almost like drinking from a fire hose. And it’s like you, you can’t get it all and consume all of that information that’s coming at you. And when you have a group, like the group that you’ve created, and we’ll talk about that in a bit it really helps to kind of narrow in on. The particular opportunities that are available for a certain situation, for a certain individual.

And it helps, really helps people get on the right

Phil Kendro: track. Right? Yeah, definitely. So and so, you know, we came together and we kind of came up with a charter as well of things about what do we need to do, what does San Diego need, or what does San Diego [00:03:00] really not need? We have over 2000 non-profits in San Diego associated with military and Veterans Affairs.

That’s a lot. I mean, again, people just don’t know where to go to. We’re about 13,000 non-profits overall. So we got together and we said, You know what we have about 140 microbrews. Again, this was a few years ago before the pandemic and everything. I think we’re down to over a hundred now in San Diego County.

But we said, Hey, what’s a great place to get together? And so we went to a brewery called Second Chance Beer Company, which is almost walking distance from my house, which is great, and know the owners, which are absolutely awesome people. And just six of us got together and said, Hey, what can we do? What can, how can we make this.

And so we came up with charter. Basically said there’s three things that we need to do. Number one is help out with that transition, whether it’s your first transition or 15th transition. You know, most veterans don’t just transition once they’ve got multiple jobs. And so when they’re done with that one job, then they’re trying to look for something else.

We’re there to help them out. So if it’s networking, if it’s looking at resumes, A number of people on our Veterans Beer Club leadership team are actually hr experts, and so they have the ability to look at those [00:04:00] resumes with the ability to help out with your LinkedIn profile. We have the ability to help you network.

And we touch every industry in San Diego now. So no matter what, if it’s defense contract, I mean it’s non-profits and it’s government work. We have the ability to connect you with any of those folks. And that of course took a while. But those were all things and we said, Hey, first of all, let’s help out with the transition.

Second, all is that you know, as operators, a lot of us, man I’m not comfortable unless I’m running around with my hair on fire cause I’m gonna be doing so many. And so the second thing is we wanna translate that military service to community service. And so getting people engaged with nonprofits, getting ’em on boards, having them coach their little league team sitting on volunteer groups.

And so that was the second one. We determined the third one. We actually didn’t come up at first. You know, we thought it was great to have a beer meet with folks. Talk about the transition. How can we. But we didn’t really recognize about how big of a deal this was because next thing we know, we had people coming from outta city and state, coming to our group our meetings, and it was camaraderie people and multiple organizations.

They just didn’t have the [00:05:00] camaraderie that they had in the military service. And so this was a way for them to get together, have a beer, maybe trade some war stories, talk about what’s the good, the bad, and the ugly of going on in their lives and have those real meaningful conversations as necessary.

So that’s really, we came up with the charter for those first three things was a little bit of what we experienced, but then we were so shocked about, like, people was like, I need something like this just to get outta the house. Wife and kids, spousing kids crazy job. And I need a break for about a couple hours once a month.

And that’s really where we’ve excelled on that too.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And that camaraderie is such a huge thing. And I talk to veterans all the time through this podcast and other things, other events that I go to and stuff like that. And one of the biggest things that I feel like people are missing after they leave the military, and they don’t realize this as they’re transitioning out because they’re so focused on what’s next, education their job, things like that.

They’re not focused on things like camaraderie and. Sense of belonging that they had in their unit or whatever they were a part of while they were [00:06:00] in the military and when they get out, it’s now them versus the world and they don’t have that anymore. So this is a really important thing to have.

And when you couple that with the other things that they’re looking for as far as the networking and the career transitions and all that other stuff, the community service aspect of it that. Is a multiplier as far as the benefit to not only the individuals, but to the community.

Phil Kendro: Yeah, very much so.

And I’ll say honestly, a lot of us on the VBC are very involved in the community now. I, myself am president and CEO at Mount Soda National Veterans Memorial, actually doing our Veterans Day event tomorrow. So I’m pretty excited about that one. And then a lot of the guys do sit on the boards. You know, one thing we talk about civic engagement is getting out and helping out.

If it’s the elected officials, if it’s sitting on those sound school boards, any of that type of stuff to give back to the community because again, we got so much energy, what do we wanna do with that type of stuff? You. But there were certain things that we said that we were not gonna be. And I’ll tell you honestly, those were very important to us with the nickname and kind of have the tongue and cheek.[00:07:00]

Of the Veterans Beer Club is we wanna make sure people did not think this was a drinking club. We didn’t want people coming and getting there and just getting drunk and, you know, getting into fights and stuff like that. You know, we were more talking about there were beer fis and the servant leaders with the networking problem more than anything else.

And so that was very important to us early, especially because of some of the relationships we built with different companies, organizations, business chambers, elected officials, and we wanted to make sure they understood that that was a big deal for us. It also wasn’t an ego thing, not a look at me. Every meeting we hold for about two and a half hours, I’d say, at one of the breweries.

And we really have a very simple program, which lasts maybe 10 minutes. Hey, who needs a job? Raise your hand. And we actually have name tags with the color that says, Hey, I need a job. Hey, who has a job to offer? Different color name tag. Hey, I raised my hand. I got a job for you. Who has events and needs help with some of their different volunteer organizations.

It was very simple. And then we take a photo with our flag. And so it was so simple that that’s all we were doing was mostly about networking. A little bit of like, Who needs some help? Let’s get them in [00:08:00] front of every. And then let’s take a photo and hey, have a great night. I mean, it was really that simple and that was part of the secret sauce, as we call it, was keeping it simple.

Scott DeLuzio: Right? And I think that simplicity is really what helps out, because when you got people there and they’re looking to network with people, they don’t wanna sit there for an hour listening to people drone on about whatever it is that they have to talk about. You know, a short, sweet, you know, 10. Introduction type thing is perfect, you know, just to get the information out there that you need to get out and then allow them to go out and do what they came for, is to network and get to know the people who are there.

And you know, honestly I think networking is one of those things that is not done enough. Especially when people are first getting out of the military. You may not have contacts in. Different industries or businesses you may not know the people. And that’s one of the biggest things is getting to know the people who are [00:09:00] in that industry so that you can get access to those opportunities to job opportunities.

Or maybe there’s some career growth opportunities that come along. And just getting out there and getting to know people and meeting people is such a huge.

Phil Kendro: Yeah. You know, a lot of people always agree. LinkedIn, LinkedIn, LinkedIn. They wanna talk about LinkedIn. You know, LinkedIn I think is okay.

I really don’t think it’s great. I think it’s really just okay to kind of scratch the surface of really what you need to be doing. And that’s where a lot of our a lot of our approach to has been that crawl, walk, run. We’re kind of that crawl stage. You’re about a bunch, you’re around a bunch of veterans.

It’s a very low threat. You’ve got a lot of people to talk with that all dealt with this. And then after that, we kind of tried to get them to some of the other events in San Diego. Not necessarily VBC affiliated, but they were like, Hey, these are groups that really help us out. Like the North San Diego Business Chamber is a big military supporter in San Diego.

Hey, let’s go meet with them. The San Diego Business Journal. Hey, that’s some high visibility, high leadership in San Diego. That’s gonna be a little more difficult of networking. So we’re gonna build you up so you can go and meet and [00:10:00] greet with those CEOs of some of those large organizations and have a conversation.

So that was another thing We said, Hey, start here and we’ll walk you through to get you comfortable that you can go and talk to that CEO or that CEO of an organization.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, and it definitely does take practice to do that because I know when I was early on in my career and I started going to different conferences and other networking events and things like that.

It was the most uncomfortable thing for me to do. I felt like I. Sticking to the wall, sticking to myself, like I didn’t really get out. Take full advantage of the opportunities that were there. And honestly, it wasn’t until somebody else came over to me, introduced themselves to me and got to know who I was, what I did, and then they took me out and introduced me to other people who might be of interest, that we might have a mutually beneficial relationship by getting to know each other.

They just kind of took me under their wing. Once when that started happening, I just got more and more comfortable with getting [00:11:00] out there and starting to talk to someone. So having a group like this where there are other people who are in similar situations to you, like other veterans who are looking for different opportunities, it’s a.

Much less threatening environment than just walking into a room of random people with no similar background experiences.

Phil Kendro: Right? Yeah. And very much you’re talking about the networking thing. And the thing is, networking is a couple things. Number one takes time, and number two, you never stop doing it. When I first started transitioning out and now the Marine Corps one of my bosses really was big about like a number of years before I, together the Marine Corps.

It’s time for you to get out in the community and start meeting greeting. And I really thought that was very much about like, Hey, how can that person find me a job? And it was a totally wrong approach. It was more about building a relationship that would be able to support one another, no, no matter what they need and what I need if I can help them out.

And that’s what I really developed over time, was to learn more like. Hey, this person helped me with mentorship. This person helped me with introduction, stuff like that. What can I do for them in the future to help them with their business organization or themselves personally? So that was a big [00:12:00] one.

I would say honestly, on that one. The other thing too is never stop networking. I have this debate with my wife all the time why are you going to that event? Why are you going to this event and stuff? And it’s because the fact is you always have to have an opportunity around the corner cuz you’d have no idea what might happen.

And that’s why we say that we’re there for that first or that 15th transit. Because people have to leave their jobs for one reason or another. Sometimes they find something better. And that’s the reason why we never stop networking. And so people are coming out from the VBC a lot of times. They’re great, they’ve got a great job, they’ve got great organizations they’re working for, but you just never know.

There’s something else might be around the corner that might be even better. And so that’s another one. I think with networking, people don’t understand. Just because you got a job doesn’t mean that you should stop network.

Scott DeLuzio: For sure. And when you go to these networking events I think you touched on this, but the goal is not to say what’s in it for me all the time, right there, there has to be a mutually beneficial relationship that develops there, but very likely you’re not gonna go to a networking event day [00:13:00] one.

You know, something like the Veterans Beer Club or any other networking type event, you’re not gonna go there day one, meet someone, hit it off and get a job or get whatever it is that you are going there looking for. It’s not gonna happen just quick like that all the time. I mean, you may get lucky and sure that might happen, but More likely than not, it’s gonna be you’re playing the long game.

You’re really developing a relationship so that when there’s something that comes up years down the line, but perhaps that’s when those relationships are gonna come into play and you’re setting yourself up for success down the line and you know, Years ago I went to a conference met somebody, you know, got to know them, talking to them and stuff.

At the time, there was no potential for us to work together business wise. It just, it wasn’t anything that was on the radar. But years later, actually, just earlier this year, I ended up selling my business to. Him and his company. So it’s one of those things where if that, if I didn’t go to that event, I [00:14:00] didn’t get to know this guy years ago you know, I, that might not have happened.

You know, So, so it’s one of those things that you really have to play that long game.

Phil Kendro: Yeah, I mean my first job got from a guy that basically I met like probably about a year or two before, got hired into that position and it’s like, hey, I got the perfect person for that position. Now that guy’s actually one of my best friends here in San Diego, a guy named Sean Park who was on my BBC leadership team.

So, and you know, our team is amazing because, you know, everybody talks about diversity, diversity, and you have to have this, and you have to have mandates and everything like that. We didn’t have any of those mandates. We just had awesome people come together and we have this absolutely diverse.

Because it’s people doing good things and positive things in the community. And so I think this is another thing that I’m really appreciative, and it’s not just Marines, even though we start with Marines. We’ve got our Coast Guard friends out there and our army friends and Navy Air Force. On our team too, which is absolutely amazing.

So I love that. And with this secret sauce or brewing authentic connections, bac joke about is that it’s now gone national and we’ve got multiple chapters around the United States. Yesterday actually it was awesome. One of our vbc, West [00:15:00] Palm Beach ladies was in town. I hadn’t seen her for a couple years cuz she started here, moved out there and she started a chapter out there.

DC Austin. Orlando is a huge chapter, and so we’ve got very great connections now. We’ve got across the nation that we basically have a charter. We’ve got, Hey, here’s what you, we look for you to do. Usually we say rules of three, which is basically you need three leaders that are ready to kind of take it on because we’re all very busy.

And any time starting any type of organization like this, you need to have more than one person trying to run it. And so that’s been very successful now across the United States. And actually we even had somebody reach out in Europe, my posse starting up at it, and it’s, and again we’re not a non-profit.

Or just a group that gets together. Everybody pays their own beer, pays their own food, and just gets together. Have a great time. But one other thing now that’s been awesome this past year is we’ve already started into a veteran’s ambassador program for sports. So, you know, a lot of sports teams are always reaching out, Hey, can I get a color guard?

Can I get a flyover? I’d love to get some tickets to the military service members and their. How do I do that? Well, that works pretty good for a while [00:16:00] because that Sergeant Major or that major, who is the connection with the team, is there for two to three years and can help out well after that timeframe they leave.

And so now they gotta find out who’s that new point of contact within that unit that we can help with this one. So we’ve actually started a veteran ambassador program with pretty much all the major league sports teams in San Diego, except for the Padres, cuz they have an awesome military affairs lady up there already.

But pretty much with these teams and saying, Hey look, if you need flyovers, we can help you out with that. If you need a color guard, we can help you out with that. If you wanna have tickets. And a lot of these teams are like, I wanna give like hundreds of tickets away. How do I do that? And we’re like, Well, we can be there to help out.

And so this has been something we’ve just jumped into this year, which I’ve been very successful and been absolutely blessed. Cause we bring them into the vbcs, they get to learn more about the veterans and what we do. We just brought a lot of them to the Miramar Air Show, which is the largest air military air show in the United States and had a great time meeting greet with the military the folks there too, so, All these things are super simple.

It’s just that we have some people with a lot of energy, positive energy and have no egos and wanna [00:17:00] use that synergies with the different organizations just to make military or excuse make San Diego a better.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. And I would imagine that even having those connections with those sports teams, that there are potentially opportunities there too for some of those teams who are looking to hire people to get them involved in maybe some community outreach or some other things that they’re looking to hire for.

And, you know, having those connections is, One step closer to getting your foot in the door to having that opportunity open

Phil Kendro: for you, right? Yeah. I mean, very much so. I mean, we actually had a number of the sports teams have said that they’ve had, usually it’s not necessarily the higher up leadership roles and stuff, because of course these folks have been in sports for years, but they’ve definitely had a number of roles where they said, Hey, look, I need hiring.

And for anybody, especially with us, you know, one thing, we’re not an officers. That is one thing. We are definitely not we had to dissuade that that rumor early in our timeframe. And I’ll tell you on our BBC leadership team, we’ve got the sailor that was there for a single term up into the commanding officer one, the units and everybody in between.[00:18:00]

And so again, diversity of ranks, which has been great. And so, yeah, some of those roles in those companies, they’re throwing those at us. We like to say that we’re kind of like a virus in a way. Once we get inside of a company, you’re gonna want more of us, and we’re gonna bring more of us into the company to help out with that company.

I think that the military is that way a lot of ways. And you’ll see that a lot of different organizations have their veterans program. Some are very good, some just use the Label Veterans program, but when they’re really true, it is like a virus and they’ll bring in more people. Because of that energy and the fact that we’ve worked in diverse groups, we don’t mind working those extra hours and all that energy that you know, really works great

Scott DeLuzio: for any company.

Yeah, I mean, I think any company would. Lucky to find the right candidate in a group like this because there’s so much that military veterans bring to the table. Like you said, willing to work the long hours are capable of following instructions, you know, things like that. We’re easily taught how to do new tasks and learn new [00:19:00] jobs and things like that.

So, you know, it’s just a really great connection to have. Having a group like this, basically full of people who are looking for the next opportunity. You know, ready to jump in and just get started. You know, the one thing you sort of touched on you have chapters all over the country and there are there’s different organizations you know, all around doing basically the same thing that you’re doing out there in San Diego.

What if. I live in one of these areas that there is a chapter, I don’t know about the chapter. I don’t, Is there a place that I can go to, to look this up to see if there is a chapter in my area? Or is that something that you can list off somewhere?

Phil Kendro: Yeah, so we have our veteransbeerclub.com, which is our main website.

It’s just basically one word, veteransbeerclub.com. So that talks a little bit about it. We’ve got Facebook page, we’ve got LinkedIn pages. One of the things that we differentiate between Facebook and LinkedIn is Facebook. We actually kept to veterans only. We’ve got a lot of great organization.

We’ve got a lot of spouses and stuff that [00:20:00] want to join our VBC pages on. We said, Hey look, this is veterans only because there might be some conversations that we need just have with them. And I’ll tell you honestly, our Facebook page for Veterans Beer Club is pretty amazing because I could say everything from, Hey, does anybody know anybody at this company to, I need a veteran owned barbecue catering company, And I’ve had answers in 60 seconds, Hey, contact so and so, here’s their phone number.

They did this for me. And so the Veterans Bureau call to Facebook veterans only so we can have those conversations. The LinkedIn page. At Veterans Beer Club LinkedIn page, we allow anybody on there if it’s recruiters, if it’s spouses, whoever it is, so that way they can reach out and discover anybody out there.

I think that was one thing that was very big with our BBC for the networking part, is we don’t mind if people are hiring, but what we don’t necessarily like people to have this like, oh, they’re hiring people. Show up and just try to grab people because I can make people uncomfortable sometimes. So that’s why we also differentiate between the Facebook and LinkedIn page.

And LinkedIn is pretty much just wide

Scott DeLuzio: open. [00:21:00] And that makes sense too, that you would have that, because sometimes in a group you might have something that you want to talk about with other veterans and you want to get that kind of feedback or again, just. Building on that comradery and having that space to do that is a great opportunity there.

And then, you know, on the LinkedIn side, that tends to be more business focused, so it makes sense that you would open that up to businesses and other supporters and people who want to provide these opportunities or you know, learn more about the opportunities that are available.

And just opening that up that way because that’s really what people. Focus on when they go to LinkedIn is the business side of things, right?

Phil Kendro: Yeah. And then and, and then also I’ll tell you, one of the things we try to tell people is to tell your story especially on the BBC Facebook side, which like said just bill over for veterans is to tell your story cuz we’re very bad.

About talking about me. I myself, we’re really good about talking about the team. Hey, my team did this and something, and that’s the way we are. We’re as veterans, that’s what we do, but you gotta kind of sell yourself. And that’s where I really [00:22:00] try to get the veterans to say, I need you to tell me a story about you.

Who are you, what did you do? What are your certificates and education and what do you want to do when you grow up? And so that’s a way where also they can kind of spell that. So our VBC group can look and say like, I know somebody at this company would love to have you. Hey, you’re perfect for this position.

Hey, reach out to so-and-so. And so. That’s also where you can have some of this conversation, but we’re really bad. I mean, I can’t tell you how many times I’ll be at a vbc. I’m like, Man, tell me your story. Write it down, tell it. Let’s help you out on that one. And it’s that whole 30 second elevator pitch.

You know, if it’s in a group or it’s that two minute elevator pitch if you’re introducing yourself like for an interview. But we’re really bad about that, and we don’t practice that because we’re humble. We don’t wanna talk about ourselves in that way as a i, me, myself, it’s my, Oh, it’s always been by my team.

Well, it’s okay to be a little selfish as you’re transitioning and looking for that.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. And I don’t even know necessarily if that would translate to being selfish or if it’s I mean, I know a lot of people probably think of it as being selfish by talking about themselves, right? But it’s accomplishing a goal, right?

[00:23:00] Your mission right now is to get out there and find a job. And that’s one of the skills that you need to develop in order to get that job, because there’s countless other people out there competing for that same job. If you’re not able to do it, and they are, they’re gonna end up with the job and not you.

And so, so it’s really a skill that needs to be honed and you know, it’s great that they have an opportunity in a place like this with other veterans who are willing to work with them and help them with things like their resume and talking up their experiences and coming up with that 30 second elevator pitch too, because those things are all super critical when you get out there and.

Going on job interviews and talking to people recruiters or other people who are out there in the business.

Phil Kendro: Yeah, it’s funny. One thing too about smart events, we don’t necessarily call them like wallflower defenders or something like that, but it was funny when the networking groups I’ve been in San Diego was, they literally had people walk around the networking group looking for wallflowers.

So if there’s anybody sitting by themselves, standing by [00:24:00] themselves, They would go up to them, Hey, what’s your name? What are you looking to do? Hey, come with me. I’m gonna introduce you to so and so. So we don’t necessarily have something designated that way. But I’ll tell you, that’s something as well that I walk around personally and look around who’s not being engaged, that we can help engage with them because it is a difficult process.

And just start a conversation with ’em because they just may not know what to do. And so I think that’s something that when you go to a networking group, it’s very easy to go up to your friends that you know and have a conversation about what’s going on, but it’s even more difficult and, but better to go up to those folks that maybe aren’t being engaged and they need a little bit of help to help them out.

So, I know that’s something that I personally look for is when that one person’s standing by themselves and just doesn’t know how to start engaging

Scott DeLuzio: with. Right. And if you continue doing the same thing that you’ve always done, you’re gonna end up getting the same thing that you’ve always gotten.

And that’s true in most areas of your life. And this type of thing is, I think it’s probably just as true in this situation because you keep talking to the same people that you’ve always talked to your friends or people [00:25:00] that you’ve already been introduced to. The limited number of opportunities that are available to you are gonna continue to be available to you, and you’re not gonna expand that network and expand your reach.

So it’s a great opportunity to expand that and push yourself outta your comfort zone too, because let’s face it, it’s not the most comfortable thing for a lot of people to just go up and talk to a random stranger, right? So it, it’s a hard thing to do, but it’s worth it in the long.

Phil Kendro: I’m sure you can tell I’m very introverted and stuff too, so it’s very difficult to No.

And that is one things too is that there are a lot of introverts that hate doing this and it’s really trying to find a fun way. I honestly, we’ll say it’s fun. Vbcs are a lot of fun. It is a lot of smiles. It’s a lot of laughs. And it’s some serious conversations as well. But the one thing is that we are trying to make sure that introverted extrovert or whatever.

Whatever in between that we’re making sure they get what they need as they transition again, their first or 15th time. I’ve done five or six jobs since I’ve left the Marine Corps. And you know, that’s only been seven and a half years [00:26:00] ago. So, that’s something that I think a lot of us will never they never understand about the fact that like, hey, this is not your job.

Once you transition, you may have many more after that. So, and that’s why we keep it alive. Yeah, for sure.

Scott DeLuzio: If I, if someone who’s listening to this goes to the Veterans Beer Club website, veteransbeerclub.com, and they check it out and there don’t happen to be any local chapters in their area or close enough that they’re willing to travel to, to get in touch with some of these people.

What’s the process look like to get a chapter started in their. So a

Phil Kendro: lot of times I’ve had people reach out on LinkedIn. My name’s Phil Kendro, I’m sure it’ll be in the, of course, the note, the words notes there. So they reach out to us, say, Hey, I live in so and so. We basically divided the United States into three different zones and we actually have regional basically regional commanders, regional folks that help out with each one of those areas.

And so then we would put them in contact with them. They basically give ’em our charter. They give our little packet that says, Hey, here’s what we do, here’s what we don’t do. And then they go, Again, it’s rules of three. So usually if you’re in an area and having at least three [00:27:00] veterans that are there, they can help out because again, we’re all busy with family and jobs and other organizations we’re working with.

And then basically they go in, find a brewery. You know, one of the things, we go to brewery, we don’t pay for event space. We’re very big about that one because again, we’re not getting any money for this. And so we go to the brewery and say, Hey, look, we’ve got a bunch of veterans who would like to be here on this date at this time for a couple hours.

We love to host it here. We’re gonna take a photo. We’d love to have you and maybe come up and talk about your breweries so they kinda have a little bit of feed in as well. And then go and do it. I mean, honestly, it’s that easy. And then getting the word out, of course via social media has been big.

We have Instagram page, like I said, the Facebook and LinkedIn page as well. And this run from it from there. Some areas are very easy. San Diego, huge concentration DC huge concentration. Some places are not so easy in the smaller cities. But you know, we’ve really seen that we’re not competing with the VFWs or American Legions.

If anything, we’re trying to use synergies again with them. We bring them in as well. There’s a big army, navy game that happens at one, the American Legions here, and Encinitas and San Diego County, [00:28:00] and we help out with that one and advertise that one. So again, all these organizations that may have a little bit of, they need a little bit of energy and jolt.

We’re always there to help.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. And there’s, there is some crossover there, there’s things that, that they do that, that you also do and vice versa. There is some crossover there. But I’ve always said, even with like things like this podcast there are other people who have similar podcasts where they’re trying to help out veterans with various issues and things like that.

And I’ve even had some of them as guests on the show to help promote their podcast. As far as I’m concerned, if. The end result is there is a veteran at the end of the day who’s life is improved or better off somehow because of what any of us are doing, then we’ve won we’ve accomplished our goal for the day.

And so, yeah, that wouldn’t make sense that people like the VFW or you know, an American Legion or something like that would be considered a competitor or competing organization. Right. Everyone is out there trying [00:29:00] to make things better off for the veterans in our community. So, yeah, definitely working those relationships as well and networking with those people too.

leadership in the local posts of the VFW or American Legion or whatever other organizations are in your area would be super important too to get some of that crossover synergy there.

Phil Kendro: Yeah, a big about cooperation, not competition. And again, that was another thing too. We talked about there’s no egos there, just there’s just no room for it.

There’s no need for it, especially when we’re just trying to do good stuff and get some positive energy towards all these efforts that we’re doing. So, that’s one thing very blessed to have is there’s, everybody just wants to have a fun time and do good things, so I love it.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. So one thing I wanted to circle back to, you mentioned this early on in this episode, and I want to go back to it and you mentioned how after leaving the Marine Corps, you went back to the Marine Corps Entertainment Office and I’m interested in learning a little bit about that because that was something that when we chatted before, I wasn’t very familiar with that [00:30:00] and I’m kind of curious how you got into that and what that all entailed.

Phil Kendro: Yeah, so it’s very interesting. Most people don’t know that each one of the services has an entertainment office. Of course, probably most people can tell because the top gun maverick there was a Navy entertainment office cuz SCO knows that they were pretty busy here last few years. But each one of these services has a entertainment office and that entertainment office basically helps you if a movie studio, production studio wants to do a.

TV show, documentary or a lot of our office, the Marine Entertainment Office actually was jumping on YouTube. And none of the d o d other services were jumping on YouTube. It was hugely successful. One of our videos we worked on had like 7 million hits within like a few weeks, so did a great job with the USC fighter, grappling with some of our Marines at the Camp Pendleton.

What up happening is because of my stuff on the. Again, I have to run around with my hair on fire. Is that working wasn’t enough. Creating the VC wasn’t enough. Being on the mount solo ad board wasn’t enough, You know, it just kept doing more things. So I really got into a lot of public relations and media relations.

A lot of that was stemming from my time at Miramar [00:31:00] with the air show. Unfortunately, I was the on scene commander for an F 18 crash years ago. And ended up being front of the spotlight with the media on that for a bit. So, but it really got into public relations, media relations, and so this opportunity came up with a marine that I worked with at third Marine Aircraft Wing.

I was on LinkedIn, reached out to her and said, Hey, I’m interested in this position. And worked in that worked in that office for a couple years, which was absolutely amazing. Working major motion pictures, one you’ll see coming out next year. Mission Impossible seven. So pretty excited about that one coming out.

We helped out with the premier for Top Gun Maverick here in San Diego, which was a blast working with Paramount MTV News. And then, like I said, some of the videos we’re putting together on YouTube are absolutely phenomenal too. So the Marine Corps Entertainment, and it was funny because, you know, you’re asking, you ever heard about it really?

Well, Most Marine Corps hasn’t heard about it. And so it would be funny sometimes working on, we have a, a. Show chopped, of course it’s out there and we reach out and people are like, I don’t believe that your office exists. Can I talk to your boss? Type of thing. So, that was something that you would see that [00:32:00] most people didn’t know our office existed either.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. And that’s the thing. I wanted to mention that because I’m sure, like me, a lot of the listeners probably didn’t know about this even existing either. And you know, Military backgrounds, like a lot of the listeners have this might be something of interest to them to kind of coordinate you know, with some of these movie production offices and other things like that because maybe they’re interested in getting in, involved in entertainment and things like that.

So, you know, I wanted to at least mention it. Again, part of this podcast is talking about all the different opportunities that are out there and you know, I felt, feel like I would probably be remiss if I didn’t mention it and bring that back up just because someone might have been listening at the beginning of this episode.

Like, that sounds interesting to me. And then, Radio silence about it for the rest of the episode, so I wanted to at least touch on

Phil Kendro: it. Yeah. The so the entertainment offices for the Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force Army, Coast Guard you know, those are very much affiliated with active duty and active forces.

There is a group called the [00:33:00] Veterans and Media Entertainment vme that is out there, that they are a group that actually is very active mostly of course in the LA Southern California area. But it’s very easy to join. And then they talk about all the different events that they have. If you’re learning about screenwriting, learn about production.

Hey, we’ve got a screening coming up of a movie which was really neat. We just did a screening for one of our movies called Mending the Line which was a very timely filming because it’s about an Afghanistan marine that comes back. And it gets mentored by a Vietnam Marine dealing with post-traumatic stress and and it’s through fly fishing.

And during that filming time was basically right after that. Was the fall cabbott and what was happening during the fall of cabal? Well, there was a lot of Vietnam veterans that were reaching out to us, Afghanistan, veterans in saying, Hey, look, it wasn’t for, not, You saved your brother. You saved your sister.

Be aware that. You were not there for nothing. And so that was such an important story that ironically we were just filming to talk about the subject and then this happened in real life. And so we just did the screening for that movie and they’re gonna hopefully get picked up with a [00:34:00] movie, a major motion picture office and hopefully be out there minding the line.

It was really excited about that movie. It was great to work with that team.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah that’s awesome. And. Just the coincidence with the timing of everything. You know, unfortunately things happened the way they did, but you can’t change the past. You can always look for forward to the future. But having something like that available to those veterans who are even still now to this day, sitting there scratching their head like what’s going on?

What happened? That’s a great thing to have. So, so yeah, I wanted to mention that in all the opportunities with available with the entertainment industry because you know, I know there are people out there that they’re creative, they want to get involved in that kind of thing. And this is just one more opportunity that’s available to people.

And you know, I’m sure that it’s something that even gets discussed in the Veterans Beer Club from time to time as.

Phil Kendro: Yeah, all good. And I’ll tell you one thing, if back to that Afghanistan thing, One of the projects, one of the most interesting projects we worked on was called Escape from Kabul, which is on HBO Max hour and a half long documentary.

And you know, they came to [00:35:00] our office and said, Can you support this? And that went up to the highest levels of D O D because we had Marines talking about something that could be somewhat politicized. And it wasn’t the show was. Or the documentary wasn’t, but they interviewed the Marines that were there during the follicle.

They interviewed the Afghanis and they even interviewed the Taliban. So I will tell you, you wanna talk about a powerful documentary, whether I know you don’t wanna hear from the enemy, but the fact was, it was very interesting to hear from three perspectives about it, and it was done very well. And that was, I was really proud our office got to work on that one because it was very, very,

Scott DeLuzio: That is interesting.

And the, just the ability to get there and talk to people like the Taliban who traditionally are pretty closed off. They don’t, they’re not as open as some other people might be to get on camera and actually start talking to them. You know, I would imagine that whoever was there with the camera probably has Balls of steel going over talking to some of these people.

But you know, it’s important stuff to do and it’s a lot of [00:36:00] it’s probably pretty fun too. So I encourage people who are interested in that entertainment industry to to look into that as well, because that’s definitely another opportunity. Well, anything else that you want to talk about with the the Veterans Beer Club or anything else that you guys have going on?

I’d love. To give you that opportunity. Before we wrap this up.

Phil Kendro: Well, like we talked about, I think just to wrap it up, you know, we’re there for your first or 15th transition. Never stop networking. I mean, that’s the thing, never, never, never stop. Cause you just have no idea about what opportunity around the corner.

And if you’re ever in one of the VBC cities, we love you, come join us. Usually it’s the last week of the month. Is when we do it we’re actually helping out with the Marine Corps ball coming up. We’ve got some golf tournaments even helping out. So it’s amazing all the opportunities that have come out because of this.

Cuz again, it’s just people doing great things for the veteran community and the community as a whole.

Scott DeLuzio: Awesome. Well, again, I will have the links to everything that we talked about in the show notes for the listeners so that they can find that rather easily. If you want to get involved with a local chapter of the Veterans Beer Club or even start your own check out the veteransbeerclub.com [00:37:00] and.

Phil, it’s been a absolute pleasure speaking with you today, learning more about the Veteran Spirit Club and everything that you guys are doing. Keep up the great work. I really think that you’re making a difference in your area of the world and soon to be spreading out even

Phil Kendro: further. Well, thanks Scott.

Really appreciate it. I gotta have a better love me. I love me while behind me. I don’t have a really good stuff behind me today, but no, it’s awesome to talk with you today, Scott. I appreciate it. All right, thanks.

Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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