Sponsor Spotlight: Monty Heath from PrimePay
Thanks to the generous support of sponsors like PrimePay, Bunker Labs PHL continues to inspire, equip and connect veteran entrepreneurs with the tools they need to start and grow their businesses.
We spoke with Monty Heath, U.S. Navy SEAL, business owner, motivational speaker, and current Director of the Veterans in Business Program at PrimePay. Monty served alongside America’s finest as a U.S. Navy SEAL for 11 years and has received the honor of two Bronze Stars with combat Valor designations. Here’s what he had to tell us about his experience as a veteran in business.
As a child, Monty recalls being full of energy, which he channeled into playing many different sports.
“I played nearly every sport you can think of. Unfortunately, I didn’t apply myself, or care enough to do what was necessary to reach my potential in any of them. Most things came easy to me; however, I never gave 100%. In my senior year of high school, I was undefeated and setting school records in the breaststroke. I began to enjoy success and wanted more. Right before the state championships however, I was thrown off the swim team, and was not allowed to compete. It was a painful lesson; but, it drove home the necessity for complete commitment and dedication. Looking back, I needed that. My goal was to become a Navy SEAL, arguably the hardest military training/selection process on the planet. I didn’t know it then, but I’ve always had a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset. I’ve always looked at the goal, at the mission, and everything else - all the obstacles or hoops to jump through were irrelevant,” he explained.
Monty joined the Navy SEALs at the age of 18. He had just begun training with the Naval Special Warfare Development Group when 9/11 occurred. He joined hundreds of servicemen and women in Afghanistan following the attacks. One of his most notable missions was Operation Anaconda, which has been turned into multiple books and a movie, released in 2004.
“Seven of my brothers died that day,” he recalled. “Until that point, I felt indestructible, most of us did; we were young. We experienced one win after another – until that day. It was humbling.”
After five deployments, and 11 years with the SEALs, Monty honorably discharged in 2004.
After returning home, he spent several years in the defense contracting business, as well as in executive protection, where he traveled globally protecting numerous Forbes 400 families and some of the world’s leading business executives. Following that experience, Heath began pursuing volunteer efforts with a number of nonprofit organizations.
“For the past four and a half years, my drive for helping humanity, specifically veterans, has become a passion,” he noted.
Monty became the Director of Military Programs at Higher Ground, an organization that provides free week-long recreational therapy programs to veterans battling trauma from their time in the military.
“Quite frankly, it’s allowed me to work through my own tough experiences because I had to face many things I had been compartmentalizing for so long,” said Heath.
Higher Ground currently has three locations; their flagship location in Sun Valley, Idaho, one in California and one outside of Buffalo, NY. They plan to expand to 10 locations over the next 10 years. The organization provides 14 unique week-long programs where veterans discuss daily themes such as building bonds and healing tools. Participants also create several goals which Higher Ground follows up on for three years after they complete the program.
Additionally, Monty is the Executive Director of VetToCEO, a nonprofit that provides veterans with free entrepreneurial instruction and coaching from leading veteran business owners. VetToCEO hosts weekly veteran guest speakers on a virtual webinar platform with a live chatroom for cohort members to engage with veteran speakers. Past speakers have included Major Mom who appeared on Shark Tank, and Evan Hafer from Black Rifle Coffee Company. The program launches four cohorts each year.
“We’ve done a franchise-specific course with VetToCEO,” Monty explained. “We’re starting to see more veterans go into franchises because it just makes sense. When you buy into a franchise, you’re given a set of rules, a playbook, an operations order and those are things veterans are used to. A franchise by its very nature has succeeded in at least one if not numerous locations. The brand has already been built.”
Monty has been working alongside PrimePay, one of Bunker Labs PHL’s sponsors, for a few years. Currently, he serves as the Director of PrimePay’s Veterans in Business Program. This program was established to support and give back to the veteran community. Additionally, it provides veteran business owners with a special product offering: two months of free payroll processing fees, plus a 30 percent lifetime discount.
With more than 35 offices nationwide, PrimePay has been helping small businesses get time back in their day to focus on what matters most. “I like to tell veteran business owners they should be thinking about big picture initiatives, long-term planning, their own products and services, not HR and payroll. Let PrimePay handle that.”