Forged in Fire
Luis Garcia (Left) and Zachary Stangle, MBA (Right)
Our story starts in the sands of Afghanistan between two best friends fighting for their country. As young marines, our founders, Zachary Stangle and Luis Garcia, served as explosives engineers in Afghanistan's bloodiest battle of Operation Enduring Freedom, Battle of Sangin. During their 7 month deployment, 3rd Marines 5th Battalion lost nearly half of their men to severe wounds and 25 were killed in action, primarily caused by enemy Improvised Explosive Devices (IED's).
On a routine patrol, Luis and Zachary's squad came under heavy enemy fire and were pinned down on a berm for more than two hours. Enemy fighters outnumbered the marines 2 to 1 and moved between fortified positions as they began to flank and surround the exposed troops. Zachary says, "it's crazy how much you talk during a firefight like that; you'd think all you'd be focusing on is the enemy and trying to survive, but you'd laugh if I told you how many times we talked about food while getting shot at. During this firefight, Luis and I looked at each other and said, 'if we ever get out of this, we are going to start a company together' as we both raised our rifles to engage enemy troops advancing on our position. Absolutely ridiculous to think that we were both dreaming of starting a business together while bullets are whizzing past our heads."
Both Zachary and Luis were awarded with two of the nation's highest medals for heroism, leadership, and valor because of their actions in combat and went on to serve in Afghanistan together for a second time. At the end of their enlistment, Luis relocated to Chicago to pursue a career in construction and contracting and Zachary stayed in California to get his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and build a reputation as a very successful business consultant.
By combining Luis's unparalleled passion for construction and Zachary's expertise in business operations, customer service, and efficiency, Veteran Builders Group was born. Both Zachary and Luis feel as if they are "being pulled" to build this company because of its greater service to at-risk veterans. Mast of the profits generated by their projects go directly into developing care facilities that take homeless or at-risk veterans off the streets and give them a free apartment of their own for up to a year. This is why Veteran Builders exists and what keeps our people so passionate: Every project accomplished is a veteran saved from homelessness, starvation, or suicide.
From the sands of Afghanistan, to the streets of Los Angeles, Zachary and Luis have fought side by side to protect and defend their brothers and sisters; Veteran Builders is their tool for doing that today.