Lieutenant Colonel Steve Gribschaw has spent 20+ years honing his craft in the US Army, and now we have the honor of working with him for the next three months. Through the DoD SkillBridge Program, Steve will be joining the SCV + SCVX teams as he transitions to the next phase of his career.
It's been such a pleasure getting to know Steve, and now it's your turn!
Strategic Cyber Ventures: Hi Steve, welcome aboard! Before we get into the meat of it all, can you introduce yourself?
Steve Gribschaw: My name is Steve Gribschaw. I'm getting ready to retire after a little over 20 years in the Army. I graduated from West Point back in 1997. I had decided I wanted to go sometime around sixth grade. My dad was a battalion commander at the time, and I would often babysit for one of his company commander's kids, who had a bunch of West Point stuff around his house. He would talk to me and my brother about it off and on, and I came home one day and announced that was what I wanted to do — go to West Point and be an Infantry officer. And I'm very happy I did, especially because I met my wife on a blind date shortly before graduation! I've been married for almost 22 years now, have two daughters and a cat. I'm not a big fan of the cat though!
SCV: How are you feeling about your service time coming to an end?
SG: I've had a great set of experiences in the Army, and I know that I will miss aspects of it. But then I start looking at what the next potential job that could be, and it's exciting. What is it that I can do now so that when I show up on day one, I'm bringing value? I'm excited about what's going to happen once I retire. Particularly if this fellowship can set me up to have a foot in the door with some organization to continue doing this kind of work, because it is rewarding. That's sort of what I think about it.
SCV: What did you learn about yourself in the Army that you probably couldn't have learned elsewhere?
SG: I'm always hesitant to say that it's something that can't be learned somewhere else. I think that people go down their own paths, and they learn something based on their journey. It can be easy to discount others experiences and feel like they can't understand or have experienced what you have. But then you find somebody that has had a completely different path in their life, and yet they learned the same or similar lessons.
I think one of the things that may be more challenging to understand on the civilian side is the number of jobs I've had. In the army, you do a lot of on-the-job training. For example, in college, everybody trained to be the platoon leader. But once you're actually there, your job isn't actually to be a platoon leader, your job is to learn how to be a company commander. It's all building you out so that you can do the next role better, learning the bigger picture. So, with the variety of jobs, you get a range of experience that helps broaden your mind. That's something that I think is relatively unique and is something that has been a great experience.
SCV: How did you decide to do your fellowship with SCV?
SG: I've known Hank for a number of years, so when I would see him posting on Facebook about cybersecurity — something that had become a part of my job in the army — I decided to reach out. When we caught up and I learned about venture capital, to me, it just sounded like a dream job. The idea of having a set of resources to help someone overcome a problem is really fascinating to me. This was probably maybe two years ago…two or three years ago.
So, when I got closer to my retirement and I started thinking what would come next, I learned about the SkillBridge Program, and I reached out to Hank, and the rest is history. Really, what it comes down to is an opportunity to do something where you're touching people's lives. I love that SCV is focused on not just the idea of generating a return, but getting national security recognized and into a commercial sector. Consolidation, intrusion suppression, all the things that we talk about I've heard from SCV. Those are the types of things that make you want to get out of bed in the morning. You're doing something that matters, and to me that's extremely exciting.
SCV: What're you most looking forward to during your time with SCV?
SG: I'm looking forward to learning. You can do learning on your own and read books about venture capital and marketing but working in a collaborative environment is really valuable. I'm looking forward to learning from everyone at SCV and understanding the different viewpoints. When you can tap into someone else's experiences, you can learn so much more and build off each other. So, I'm looking forward to taking advantage of the intimate work setting here that I wouldn't necessarily experience at a larger company. What I see here is a team that wants to play off each other and are willing to accept assistance and to ask for assistance. That's the type of environment you want to work in.
SCV: What do you like to do in your spare time?
SG: I'm really big into reading science fiction. So my most recent enjoyable thing to read was Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. I also like to read what my daughters are reading because interaction with the kids is a big deal. I don't really have that many hobbies, my life has been pretty busy, and priorities come into play. And so, things that would take me away from being around my family are things that I've not really engaged much in. When I was in grad school and my eldest was about three, I'd be sitting and doing schoolwork and she'd be off to the side coloring and whatnot. And every now and then, she'd interrupt me and be like 'let's play hide and seek!'. And at first I was like, 'I don't have time for hide and seek,' but then I realized, 'I'm a dad I can do anything!' And it's those little moments of joy that make you really realize how important it is to spend that time deepening your relationships.
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