We had the good fortune of connecting with Florian De Castro and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Florian, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
All of my business ventures do have a central theme, the establishment of a business that would last for several generations and would become part of a family legacy that I intend to leave behind for future generations. If you ever saw the movie Crazy Rich Asians, one of the tenets of that movie, generational wealth is basically what I am talking about. I’m an immigrant who came from the Philippines, single mother household that struggled financially while I was young. While I did very well academically during high school, it wasn’t enough to earn a full 4-year college scholarship. So, I enlisted in the Air Force, applied and got selected to attend the US Air Force Academy. Fast forward 25 years, I retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 21 years of active duty. Now, my wife is also an immigrant and our son is the first generation of our family here in America. Throughout that time I studied both business and how to achieve generational wealth, the struggles and issues regarding it. I’ve modeled my business similar to Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway. In that, it’s a company that owns other companies. Additionally, the companies I plan to own will be in the following industries or markets: real estate, education, media, IT / technology, virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), banking / finance, telecommunications, health, transportation, energy and Space. I believe this is the proper mix of industries and market that can weather the test of time.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
While I consider myself a business owner and entrepreneur now, I started out as an employee. And I think most business owners, while they may have started out as employees, mentally and mindset-wise, they were never employees. Now, there’s actually a study done in 2017 by Syracuse University that on average, most Veteran business owners are more successful in business than their civilian counterparts. To this day, if someone was to ask me what’s the best business school to go to, I would say the US military! The military actually teaches the skills one will need to succeed in business. The only issue why more in the military do not go into business is more due to their mindset. They never get past realizing that what they learn from the military actually applies to business.
Now professionally, I didn’t have a typical career. In most cases, I definitely took the “Road Less Traveled”. I am one of handful of officers that had an ICBM Operators Badge, a Space Operations Badge, and a Cyber Operations Badge as well as prior-enlisted as an Intelligence specialist. I was the senior Nuclear Operations commander in charge of 150 nuclear missiles during the week of 9-11. We were in an alert status not seen since the Cuban missile crisis. I was also one of a the few commanders that have actually launched an operational ICBM. Then I became a satellite command and control operator with the Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN) where I learned about most of the different satellites that orbited our planet. From there I became a Commander for the Thule Air Base Tracking Station, 800 miles North of the Arctic Circle, 800 miles South of the North Pole. At the conclusion of that assignment, I was assigned to headquarters US Air Force Command where I was part of the team that created the Numbered Air Force for Air Force Cyber Command, became an executive assistant to the Chief of Staff, the Air Force Space Command Chief Scientist, and the three-star Vice Commander of Air Force Space Command. I then went overseas and was stationed at NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command, Naples, Italy. During that time I was the NATO’s Southern Command’s multi-national team lead for their Nuclear Operations, Cyberspace Defense, and Space teams. This was the time during the Syrian civil-war and Russia’s invasion of Eastern Ukraine and Crimea. After three years overseas, I returned to Colorado and served time as the Director of the Missile Defense Agency’s Space Center and Ballistic Missile Defense Watch Officer. I was slated to become the next Commander of a Recruiting Squadron but chose to retire from the Air Force. I spent the next three years after military retirement as a defense contractor and contract lead and worked for United States Northern Command during the 2015 Hurricane season and as a Science and Technology Analyst for the US Space Force.
My employment career spanned from being an enlisted, Military Intelligence Specialist, to an officer dealing with nuclear weapons, satellite systems, cyber operations and warfare, anti-ballistic missile defense operator, to defense contractor working hurricane disaster relief and the latest in science and technology for the US Space Force. Everything that I did in the past paved the way for what I am doing now. Steve Jobs during his 2005 Stanford commencement address pointed out that the only way to connect the dots is when you look back and then you find out and realize that everything that you’ve been through paved the way to where you are now. And frankly, that makes “all the difference”.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my friend has never been in Colorado Springs, then they definitely need to see Garden of the Gods and eat at the Garden of the Gods Resort and Club. I would then take them to see the US Air Force Academy and perhaps play 9-rounds of golf and then the Broadmoor for some drinks later than night. The next day, we’ll hang out on the range at the Magnum Shooting Club and have a steak lunch at the Steak House at the Flying Horse. Depending on the time of year, perhaps catch the game at either the Switchback or Rocky Mountain Vibes Baseball stadiums.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mother Zenaida, wife Lenie, and son Dylan are the primary reasons that I do what I do now. My mother provided both lessons of successes and failures. I will sacrifice myself to make sure Lenie has what she needs when I am no longer here. And my son Dylan is my legacy. I hope he later on appreciates all that I have done for him even though it may seem that I was tough on him and did not make his life easy.
Lastly, the US Air Force and my time as a cadet with the US Air Force Academy. I frankly would not know where I would be with now without both experiences. My life would have taken a different path versus the Road Less Taken!
Youtube: KPPF Radio 1040 AM – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN1aYRkRE2FUZaGtI-zTCcQ
Other: Executive Producer for the PAT N GO with Paul Browning Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xUY2SIUB3s PAT N GO Show: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcjeM-y-wyvfvLt4TzEjwFw KPPF Radio Podbean Podcast: https://kppfradio.podbean.com/
Mr. Isko Moreno – Mayor of the Philippines; Mrs. Danette Haag – Mrs. Colorado 2021, Mrs. Lenie de Castro – Spouse; Mr. Dylan de Castro, son; US Air Force Captain Rondre Baluyot – Cousin; Mrs. Anya Myers – host of The Immigrant Show