EPISODE 10 Vacationland Distributors
episode 10 summary
Marine Leader to Business Leader
Major Nick Bezanson, United States Marine Corps grew up in South Portland, Maine. As a kid, he built model airplanes, but he never envisioned he would become a Marine pilot.
He went to the University of New Hampshire and enlisted with the Marines after his junior year. After college, Nick decided to become an officer and graduated second in his OCS platoon.
He was on a path to becoming an infantry officer when he heard the Marines needed pilots. “I never put it together that a kid from Maine could go fly for the Marines. It’s something I dreamed about as a child, but nobody ever told me I could go do it.” Nick began as an F-18 pilot on the West Coast, then transitioned to flying C-130s in Okinawa, Japan. He deployed to Iraq and finished up active service as a flight instructor for three years.
Nick and his wife Nicole made the decision to move back home to Maine to raise their two children. Nick made the transition a little easier by joining the Reserves. And he went back to school at the University of Southern Maine to get his MBA. Post MBA, he planned to work in corporate America. But he also knew in his heart that to have the freedom he wanted, he was going to have to risk big and start something on his own.
During his capstone course at USM, he worked on a project with a partner where they spotted an opportunity for a niche craft beer distributor in Maine. Overnight success – no! Nick worked corporate jobs to help pay the bills in the early years of the business. Then he went all in, working full time on the business. But it was not until his new business partner, John, came along that the business finally took off.
10 years later, Vacationland has over 50 employees in two locations, Maine and New Hampshire. Nick achieved that freedom and quality of life he knew he wanted. The best part – creating a culture of family where all the employees can experience the same. Nick also came to appreciate the critical skills for entrepreneurial success he built while in the Marines.