Innovation comes easy when passion and purpose combine, or at least it does for Bill Thompson. A Chief Warrant Officer Four with 21 years of service and 10 years in the Special Missions arena, Bill has spent much of his military career developing clandestine and overt technologies to support Department of Defense operations ranging from intelligence gathering to direct action.
While deployed in Iraq in 2010, Bill began seeing many parallels between his expertise in intelligence preparation and his long-term passion for hunting white-tailed deer. This inspired him to create Spartan Forge, a software solution that integrates machine learning, big data and military targeting to simplify the hunter’s pursuit and help achieve their goals. We asked Bill to share more about his story, Spartan Forge and why he chooses to #livelacedup.
Why did you join the military?
I would like to say it was for some profound and patriotic reason, but honestly, I just wanted to leave North Dakota and see the world. Where I’m from, if you weren’t a farmer or a banker, there wasn’t much you could do there to succeed. I am proud to say that when I re-enlisted it was because I truly understood how unique and special our country was and I felt compelled to continue defending it.
What inspired you to start your company Spartan Forge?
My role as a Warrant Officer has always involved satisfying the intelligence requirements of the Commander to enable combat operations. Spartan Forge has allowed me to continue the practice of intelligence preparation of the battlefield, but now it’s for the hunter.
How does Spartan Forge work and how do you feel this will revolutionize hunting?
Hunters need to optimize their hunting while afield, Spartan Forge does that through A.I. models trained with collared GPS data that predict the best times and places for hunting. We also aggregate tons of environmental and academic data pertinent to hunting to help our customers make more informed decisions about when and where to hunt. Hunters today are underserved by the technology sector; at the very least, I will serve as a check to that disservice.
You lace up your boots every day in service. Does that hold meaning for you and why?
The last thing I do before I leave for work is to lace my boots up, and taking them off is generally the first thing I do when I get home. I laced them up for the first time in basic training 21 years ago and soon I will take off my boots for the last time as a Soldier. That procedure started my military career, it was a part of my every day, and soon I will take them off for the last time and end my career. Lacing up is very emblematic of this journey and serves as a reminder that each day is a new opportunity to serve this great country.
What about Boot Campaign’s mission is important to you?
It’s extremely important to me that we honor our fighting women and men who have given so much in the name of freedom. Boot Campaign’s tailored programs do so much for Veterans and their families and I am going to do all I can to make sure they have the financial resources they need to continue their efforts.
What does it mean to #LiveLacedUp?
I believe waking up every day and resolving to improve your community is a moral imperative, at every level. I have benefited so greatly by having some amazing and, admittedly, horrible leaders. Coaching has been one way I’ve been able to provide that leadership and mentorship to the community, while stationed in Europe and at home. Coaching our children’s and the community’s youth teams gives us the opportunity to inspire new generations to venerate our country and lead by example. I would also like to go back to my home state of North Dakota and help provide youth who grew up in troubled or challenging circumstances with that same sense of deep meaning and commitment to something greater than themselves that the military has given me.
What does patriotism mean to you?
Simply put, patriotism for me means love of one’s country. The American experiment and all of its fruits has truly made this world a better place. Unabashed patriotism by Americans in the American system is what is needed to preserve what has been bestowed to us by our progenitors. If we don’t coalesce around that national identity with a sense of pride, we risk fracturing and losing this great place that so many have fought and bled to preserve or simply be a part of.
To learn more about Bill Thompson or his company, Spartan Forge, visit www.spartanforge.ai.