Learn about Florida Entrepreneur David Moorefield:
In July of 2006, David Moorefield, Owner and Founder of DAK Resources, Inc., officially retired from active duty after serving over twenty one years in the United States Marine Corps. Upon retirement, Moorefield took some time to decompress and adjust to civilian life after spending the last seven years overseas. His first opportunity for employment was with The University of Phoenix, where he taught Business Accounting, Ethics and Statistics Courses. He was also utilized as a coach to help new students find employment. In May of 2007, Moorefield received a phone call that laid the groundwork for what would later become DAK Resources.
"I received a call from a business in Charlotte, NC," he said. "They needed a logistics officer to help them go after a large contract with the Marine Corps out of Jacksonville, FL. I reached out to a retired Marine Colonel that I knew that was perfect for the job. He was on-board, but he was pretty vocal that he wanted me on the team as well. I came on as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and got to work putting together a team to go after this opportunity."
Seeing an even great opportunity and a future in staffing, Moorefield reached out to the individual he was working with at the time and expressed his desire to start his own staffing company. It was Moorefield's dream and desire to continue serving veterans and their families as they left active duty and entered the private sector. Moorefield got the support he was looking for and also started working with the Vet Fast Track program out of the Small Business Development Center at The University of North Florida. He received helped putting together a business plan and was coached on how to approach lenders, among other things. DAK Resources was officially launched on April 8th, 2008.
From startup to second-stage
"Some people said I was crazy for starting a staffing company right in the middle of the recession," he said. "Then again, people also said I was crazy for joining the Marine Corps. We've been through our share of ups and downs, but we're focused on the freedoms and rights of veterans and retired veterans when they leave active duty. I found the courage to start my own business the same way I found the courage to serve in the Marine Corps. I follow the guidance of my heavenly father."
Moorefield has experienced his share of challenges, both expected and unexpected. Perhaps the biggest challenge has been getting comfortable with the philosophy of other businesses and business owners compared to that of the military. Moorefield shared that in the military, you didn't have to worry if someone was being honest and straightforward. As he's learned, it's different in the corporate world. He's also seen a lack of honor with some civilians in the private sector. Once such experience led to a significant situation that might have derailed other entrepreneurs.
"We were using a payroll company for back office support, payroll and other HR related services," he said. "They failed to pay income and federal taxes on our behalf. A year later, I found out that we owed $290,000 to the IRS. Fortunately we reacted fast and got with a tax attorney who was able to significantly reduce the bill. That was the last time we ever used a payroll company. Today, we either do it internally or use an ASO and they show proof of everything they do."
From 2015 to 2016, DAK Resources grew 164%. That number nearly tripled the following year. This year, DAK is on course to grow at an astounding 1,404%. DAK Resources' secret sauce comes down to who they hire for their clients. Veterans bring many skills to the table. DAK Resources is also quick to inform their clients about the tax credits and savings that come with hiring veterans. In fact, the federal government offers businesses a $9,500 tax credit to hire disabled veterans. Those businesses employing veterans are also able to save approximately $9,000 in yearly medical costs when they hire veterans, who are still covered by the federal government. Moorefield and his team have done such a phenomenal job in this space that other larger staffing agencies, such as Kelly Services and Adecco, will routinely use them to find qualified veterans.
The internal team consists of three active recruiters, a bookkeeper/assistant and Moorefield. They currently have 126 field employees staffed on different clients across the country. The workplace culture can be described as one where employees work hard and take a tremendous amount of pride in what they do. Moorefield starts his days at 5:00am and doesn't finish until 7:00pm. DAK Resources is also extremely fair to its employees when it comes to compensation. As Moorefield shared, other agencies will keep 50% of wages that come into the company. DAK Resources keeps 10% and the other 90% goes to the employees.
Keeping a competitive edge
Moorefield shared what drives him and what his company does to give back to the local community. "We lose 24 vets every day due to self-inflicted wounds," he said. "People identify their self-value with their employment and what they bring to society. A lot of vets are unemployed and, as a result, they don't see their own self value. We help vets find their value. On a personal level, I serve as a mentor and an alumni of Wounded Warrior. The founder and I served in the Marine Corps together."
What it means to be a Florida Companies to Watch Honoree
"It's truly an honor," he said. "It's also an honor to serve and to watch an organization grow from a thought on a piece of paper to where we're at today. It really says a lot about the employees and the leadership. What inspires the most gets rewarded the most. Also, excitement and enthusiasm breads excitement and enthusiasm.
I believe we were selected based on our work ethic, loyalty to clients and employees and the excitement we bring to the table. We're proud of what we do and we really enjoy it."
Looking ahead, Moorefield has big goals for DAK Resources. After a lender remarked that a good goal would be $10 million in five years. Moorefield responded by saying, 'By 2022, the company will be at $300 Million in annual sales."
Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
What advice does Moorefield have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Ensure that you're following your passion," he said. "No matter what you're doing, as far as a type of work, always honor those who you serve and those in authority. It's important to be humble and to know the direction in which you're going. Also, never ever give up. Something we share with recruits who want to be Marines is that when the drill instructor picks them up for the first time, they stand in front of them and affirm an alliance. They let them know that even when they want to quit, they're not going to quit on them. Don't quit on yourself. It's also important to have a mentor, or someone you can speak with in confidence. You want that someone to always encourage you to keep going. Opportunity is always right around the corner when you want to give up. Lastly, stay true to yourself, your values and your superior being."
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