The Culture of Entrepreneurship

Maia and her Dad at Defender Industries annual picnic.

Me? A Business Owner?

I didn’t set out to be an entrepreneur. In fact, I was quite comfortable working for someone else. I was forced into the role in an effort to maintain autonomy; I wanted to take care of my baby, but I also didn’t want to give up my career. So we made the decision that my husband Jeff, would be the one who stayed home with our daughter for as long as we could. I had a job loved, and was an integral part of the marine side of a wholesale treated lumber company. I had great benefits, and while the office dynamic was challenging at times, I managed to carve out a niche for myself.

So back to Jeff…he’s really smart. His intelligence comes, not only from his college degree, but in his ability to teach himself how to do almost anything. As a kid, he progressed from taking apart radios and and putting them back together to repairing his brother’s boat engine which had been all but destroyed in Super-storm Sandy. One of the things Jeff taught himself to do was graphic design and coding websites. For two years, as he took care of our daughter and watched her grow, he also immersed himself in everything he could find in the industry. An offer by the largest independent boating company, Defender Industries out of Waterford, CT, was more than Jeff could refuse, and we made the difficult decision to find a preschool for Maia so we could continue our respective careers.

We found the perfect place right around the corner from my employer. While Maia had lots of fun, and had found a loving and caring teacher in Miss Karen Kuski, she caught every illness in the book. She had multiple ear infections, suffered from bronchial infections and stomach bugs, and finally headed up to Hasbro for ear tubes. Her pediatrician finally told us something had to give, and recommended removing Maia from the daycare situation to get healthy. We found ourselves facing one of the biggest decisions in life, but knew in our hearts that Maia deserved to be healthy and happy, and would always come ahead of our careers.  Jeff had had his time with His Girl; now it was my turn. I took advantage of the Family Leave Act, and unwittingly embarked on an adventure that would change my life forever.