How Lou Schager’s Naval Experience Prepared Him for Success in the Franchising Industry
After 27 years in the Navy as a Commanding Officer, Lou Schager leveraged his leadership skills in the franchising industry as Mosquito Joe’s Brand President.
By Lou Schager, U.S. Navy Veteran and Mosquito Joe Brand President
For veterans returning to civilian life, the franchising industry provides a great way to build relationships, get involved with the community and utilize strategic decision-making skills. Before joining the Mosquito Joe team in 2017, my time in the Navy proved to be the perfect preparation for franchising.
In 1990, I graduated from the United States Naval Academy and began my journey through the Naval Aviation pipeline. I was privileged to serve 27 years in the U.S. Navy, primarily flying F-14 and FA-18 aircraft for much of my career, graduated from the Navy’s Strike-Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) and served as the Commanding Officer of an FA-18 squadron. Throughout that time, I flew 110 combat missions in support of our U.S. and coalition forces over Iraq and Afghanistan over five separate deployments.
During my last tour, I led as the Commanding Officer of Naval Air Station Oceana. This tour required a shift in mindset, as I was now the provider of customer service for 16,000 people after years of receiving outstanding support as a warfighter on the front lines. My staff included over 1,400 sailors, civilians and contractors, serving 16,000 personnel on three installations encompassing over 7,500 acres. I oversaw operations, force protection and facilities management for over 1,000 buildings and 180,000 flight operations annually while regularly engaging with senior military leadership and local government officials. My area of responsibility included two airfields, over 300 FA-18 aircraft, oceanfront property and infrastructure totaling over $3 billion with an annual operating budget of $100 million.
Even though the military provides veterans with leadership skills and an entrepreneurial spirit, adjusting to civilian life can be difficult. Through exposure to the brand as a loyal customer, I was drawn to Mosquito Joe and knew it could be the perfect opportunity to take advantage of my military-inspired leadership skills, strategic thinking and a disciplined approach to following processes. After leaving the Navy, I connected with the founders of Mosquito Joe and soon joined the corporate team as their Chief Operating Officer before being named Brand President of Mosquito Joe in 2017.
As a new and emerging market, demand has always been high for mosquito control solutions — our services bring a greater quality of life outdoors to families, friends and their pets without worrying about mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. In addition, as seen when the Zika Virus scare was at its height, consumers are relying on our outdoor pest control services to add a line of defense against Eastern Equine Encephalitis, West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease. In addition to protecting against vector-borne illnesses, Mosquito Joe gives franchisees the ability to make outside fun again for their community, and I am proud to help grow the brand.
Serving in a leadership capacity in the military requires as much of an emphasis on building relationships as it does on making informed, strategic decisions. It is all about bringing a greater quality of life to families. Veterans leave the military with natural leadership skills and have an inherent understanding of how to share best practices and help each other succeed. Similar to the best-run military organizations, Mosquito Joe franchisees are always helping each other and constantly working on advancing their teams to provide their community with the best mosquito control services possible.
As veterans, franchising is an optimal field because it allows business owners to follow their passions and interests without starting from scratch. At Mosquito Joe, our franchisees are given a proven system to follow and are able to become an important part of their community by providing an essential service — the ideal opportunity for our nation’s heroes.
Lou Schager was named the President of Mosquito Joe in 2017 after joining as their Chief Operating Officer. Schager and his wife Leslie are long-time Virginia Beach residents and have two sons. Find out more about Mosquito Joe here.