Captain F.M. “Red” O’Laughlin, III, United States Navy
Author; Public Speaker
Though he received his first academic degree in the late 1960s’ Captain “Red” O’Laughlin has never stopped learning, and never stopped sharing his knowledge and experience with others. In addition to a BS in chemistry, an AA in quality control, an MS in systems management, an MBA in international business, and a diploma from the U.S. Naval War College, Captain O’Laughlin has also earned the distinctions of being a Certified Quality Engineer, Certified Reliability Engineer, Certified Quality Manager, Certified Professional Logistician and also a Distinguished Toastmaster. Captain O’Laughlin has also used his extensive knowledge and expertise to support such companies as National Semiconductor, Memorex, Dresser Industries, NL Industries, Boeing, and Halliburton and to train people in the corporate, academic, and military realms.
A 31-year Navy Veteran and Naval Flight Officer who flew nearly 1,000 flights, Captain O’Laughlin has been awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with numeral ‘1’, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation (with Operational Distinction), and the National Defense Service Medal, among other campaign and service awards.
Despite the breadth of his experience and education, Captain O’Laughlin has chosen to focus most of his teacherly attention on the lessons he has learned from aging and currently speaks and writes about how to age successfully, and how to continue to grow and achieve even later in life. Among his popular books are No Matter What You Can Do It, Failure Is Not an Option, RESULTS MATTER When You Want to Lose Weight and Keep it Off, Longevity Secrets for Health Aging, and his Amazon #1 best-selling book, The Joy of Ageless Health.
What does your company do?
I research the cellular cause and effect of disease. I write blogs and books on health and wellness, specializing in longevity. I speak monthly on topics associated with health and wellness to entrepreneurs.
What prompted you to launch it?
I was ‘retired’ early from Halliburton and decided that I did not want to work for another company. I became aware of self-improvement and motivation. I read a book a week for three and a half years, associated with a mentor, spoke at venues around the country, created and sold my books and CDs in the back of the room. When my wife was going through chemo for breast cancer, I started studying the causes of cancer and found that I like health and wellness much more than motivation and self-improvement. I started writing books and speaking in that field. It has evolved to meet the needs around me since then.
How has your military life educated and influenced your business life?
My father was a CPO in the Navy, an enlisted pilot, an entrepreneur, and a quality assurance professional. A lot of him rubbed off on me. I joined the Navy, became an aviator, and have several certifications in quality assurance and reliability engineering. He did not go to college and graduated from high school after ten years in the military. I have five college degrees and seven professional certifications. His inspiration and support allowed me to explore several things at one time. I worked during the normal M-F, went to school at night, taught statistics at college at night, and was gone three weekends a month with the Reserves. The discipline of accountability and the ability to plan and execute came from the Navy.
My aviation missions probably prepared me for what I do now compared to the normal desk job. We knew the general mission and the specifics needed for success. That is true in what I am doing. I know what is required, have skills to write and speak (also from the Navy), and know what I do not know. As with any business, you must know your business better than your competitors. My competitors in the military always kept me focused to be better than they were. I had a flight crew that excelled in many areas of antisubmarine warfare. The ability to develop their skills has helped me to further my skills in areas that I would not have believed ten years ago. Yes, the military was more of a backbone for my business creation, success, and future growth.
What do you hope to do with your business?
I was selected recently to be an authority on health and wellness for a baby boomer television network. I was in the first group of seven to be interviewed and the first person seen on television locally, and in 60,000,000 homes. I speak monthly at a local chamber of commerce and weekly at networking meetings. Until the COVID-19 interruption, I had plans to expand into the college area with a product offering I believe to be critical for success in college for incoming freshmen. I still plan to introduce it to those colleges opening in the Fall. I have several more books in various stages of progress. I help new authors craft their books and I publish them. I would love to work with veterans to capture their life stories. I have a system I developed that a person can write a book on their legacy, their hobby, their business in a weekend – literally – without the need for extensive editing and proofreading. Military personnel are my prime segment for this new part of my business.
What advice would you give other Veterans looking to own a business?
I could say, ‘Just do it!’ but that is not practical in many regards. Time, money, skill sets, and more are needed. The first thing to determine is what you can do to help others. What skills do you have right now that do not need enhancing to add value to peoples’ lives? Once you know that, then do the research necessary to find the business niche you want to be in. Research who are the top people in that niche? What books have they written? Read them! What do you offer that they do not? Who in your area does what you want to do? Talk to them.
Talk to the junior college entrepreneur office (if available) and determine what skill sets you need to develop. In Houston, they give preference to the military. Is there someone you can shadow and see how that person runs his or her business daily? Are there mentors (military or not) who can guide you through the initial stages of product/service development? Are there military services to help with social media and other entry-level business needs? Find a retired person living near you for you to be accountable for your weekly progress. There are so many things a military veteran can do to accelerate a new business if they approach it as they would a mission or job they had in the military.
What is the most important thing you want people to know about Veterans?
They have the experience that civilians do not have. The mature faster and are given responsibility far greater than their civilian counterparts. They sometimes have had to make life and death decisions – something a civilian rarely does. They have a stick-to-it attitude to stay with a program until it is mastered. They have a mentoring ability to help others progress at their own or advanced pace. They genuinely want to help rather than just collect a paycheck. They know the big picture better than their peers. They know how to deal with people and stress better than their peers.