In the summer of 2018, I was the happiest man on earth, at least here in College Station, Texas (Aggieland). When you climb to the top of a mountain and reach the peak you absolutely need to take a moment to stop and celebrate that success:
I hand–selected every member of my team
I doubled my starting salary at a state agency over the past eight years
Our center was empowered with our own facility
We had significant contracts with the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Secretary of Defense
Cresting beautiful mountains applies to numerous metaphors, but in this story, these peaks will pertain to your career. When you reach the top, adjusting to your shortened breath by the altitude and hike, you stop to look out and see the amazing art of our creator. You can take it all in, find a smooth rock or a large tree, and claim your spot on the throne. You can head back down the path that you used to the top and continue with your busy life, or you can be like me, and look out on the horizon and realize there are other peaks in the range. Some are a little shorter, some the same height as the ones you are on, but off in the distance are the monster peaks! As I looked out at the pinnacle of my career up that point, all I could think about is what path would lead me to those peaks!
Mom Pauses*: Without reservation, I will admit, my significant other often asks me, “Are you ever content? Do you always want more?” I simply respond, “I am blessed beyond belief to have you and our three children. You all are more than I ever dreamed.”
Back to the Action: For me, it wasn’t that I wanted more, it was that I felt deeply that I could do more. The peaks that I seek are less traveled, with fewer trails or hints to paths to the summit. For my journey, I’m in search of the heights of mountains I call Public Safety, Defense Innovation, and Safe and Secure Cities.
There is no way to simply jump from one peak to another. So, the first step in this journey started with going back down the mountain. My dream job in 2018 came with good pay, a great team, and the security of benefits offered by state agency, all points weighing heavily in my decision making considering my four dependents at home. Here is where selecting every member of my team became my greatest strength. After pondering on the top of my mountain, I presented my dreams to set out for new mountains with my wife and trusted advisors.
It was the confidence in my vision and passion for commercializing technologies that enhance public safety, first responders, and our military that every person supported my plan to leave my “Dream Job” and go in search of more challenging mountains to climb.
*A few notes moving forward:
- In these blogs, there will always be a “Mom Pause” – I use these interjections to highlight my wife’s critical part in my own journey, even though I often blow up in the moment of her criticism.
- I have a sporadic brain, and I use both sides of it in tandem. The metaphors will change, but the entries will always be tied to my journey, including how I got the line “Burn it. Break it. Blow it up.” But that story is to be continued.
About the Author:
Caleb Holt is originally from Smyer, Texas, but has made College Station home after graduating from Texas A&M University; first with a bachelor’s in animal science, and later a master’s in agribusiness. After graduating with his master’s, Caleb began working at Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), where his dedication and passion for public safety technology took root. In 2019, Caleb left TEEX to begin the nonprofit Make Safe Tech, Inc. and the for-profit Axle Box. Both organizations work in tandem to bring innovative, ground-breaking technology from creators to the public safety sector. Caleb and his wife, Leslie, have three children together. Caleb is also a devout member of the College Station Noon Lions Club and is passionate about helping children with disabilities.
For more information about Make Safe Tech Founder and CEO Caleb Holt, check out this recent article from The Eagle on him.