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Bravo, sir - well done

image Stephen Moreno, owner of 12 Bravo Construction

HOUSTON - From VA counseling and medications for PTSD to running his own construction company - Stephen Moreno of 12 Bravo Construction is motivated.






    At 17, with a young son and working two jobs, the high school dropout joined the Army. His entrance exam scores weren’t good, so the only jobs offered Moreno were infantry and combat engineer. He chose the latter.
    The three main aspects of combat engineer are mobility, counter mobility and survivability, all three of which he did during his eight years enlisted and his deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
    But after eight years, the Army told Moreno he had to be medically retired as an E-6. He wanted to stay in, but no.
    “I’ve always been an entrepreneur,” Moreno said. He took this can-do attitude and started his own handyman service while studying HVAC. Via networking with other vets and contacts, Moreno found steady work in construction and repair.
    Moreno worked as a roofing supervisor in 2014, then as a project manager for an AC company in 2015. He was this company’s top project manager.
    Even though this job didn’t go well in the long run, Moreno was taught a valuable lesson: getting out of his comfort zone.
    “I learned how to deal with customers,” he said. The result was personal growth. “I can handle more stuff now. Things that used to make me anxious and angry back in the day, I can handle more stuff now because I pushed myself outside my comfort zone.”
    He left in 2016, got back into the handyman work again, and eventually started 12 Bravo, naming it after the MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) of the combat engineer.
    12 Bravo did $580,000 in business it’s first year. Moreno not only got his HVAC license, but 17 other licenses and certifications. Not bad for a high school drop out. “It means something to me,” he said.
    There are two sides to 12 Bravo: the HVAC side and the construction side. Moreno has three other guys working for him, including his son from Colorado.
    “It was a complete accident,” he said. “I didn’t intend for it to get this big. I just pushed myself outside my comfort zone, and I started hanging around the right people who motivated me to do better and want to do better.”
    The two primary lessons Moreno took with him from the Army to the civilian world were: (1) Motivation. This is what keeps him doing things that he might not feel like doing at the time, but has to. He tells his guys, “False motivation is better than no motivation.”
    Number two is leadership. “I might not like it. I might not agree with it, but I have to handle it.” The example he gave is taking the hit if one of his employees makes the mistake and it costs him. Leadership means he does what he has to in order to get the job done, to achieve the objective.
    Moreno has two big goals. He wants to do $1 million in HVAC sales in 2019, and he wants to produce an app that helps contractors run their businesses from their phones. His goal is $35 million in sales from this app.
    With the money from this app, Moreno wants to invest in helping disabled vets become more self-reliant, not on medications, but upon being able to own franchises of 12 Bravo in any one of its varied services. He wants to get them out of the counseling circles (and perhaps self-pity ruts) into being able to face the challenges of life and running a business.
    “I’m comfortable where I’m at,” he said, “but I always want more. I’m always driving.”
    Not only is Moreno driving himself to get out of his comfort zone and do better, he wants the same for other vets.
    Bravo, sir. Well done.
    12 Bravo Construction bivouacs out of Pearland. -dsz

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Author Info
Dan Zulli dan@constructionnews.net