Reading about the Afghan situation 10 years after US military involvement began got me
thinking about what I was doing 10 years ago and how much has changed, for me
and for the world. Ten years ago I was working at the National Security Agency,
in the Department of Defense, as a policy director and staff officer. I wrote
many intelligence reports about Afghanistan, and helped to create policies and
procedures that contributed to the US military effort there. I was definitely
thinking globally, but somewhat isolated working safely inside a large defense
But I longed to get outside of government, outside of my safe place, and I wanted
to start a business. I left the government and went to work for a technology
company, so I could learn more business skills before setting out on my own.
When I was ready to start my business, I looked to local universities to see
what technologies were available for licensing that I could develop and market.
I noticed a stroke rehabilitation device at the University of Maryland Medical
System that had been patented and clinically tested, but was not available for
sale, so I decided to take a closer look.
After about a year of doing market research, validating the patent, talking to stroke
survivors, and meeting with the device’s inventors, I decided to acquire the
rights to the device and manufacture it. In late 2006, Encore Path was formed
to build and sell the device, which was then called BATRAC, or bilateral arm
trainer with rhythmic auditory cueing. It would be almost 3 more years before
the device was on the market, but I had finally taken my leap into
entrepreneurship, outside of my global, but isolated, existence.