Meet Rich Turner, a current MBA student at the Leeds School of Business and Founder of Bulwark Coffee Company! Bulwark Coffee Company is the first-ever coffee company to donate 100% of profits to first responders and veterans. It uses a direct-to-consumer, subscription-based, e-commerce model, and is set to launch in May 2022!
Rich was born in Costa Rica and came to the U.S. when he was 17 years old. After graduating from college, he joined the United States Marine Corps where he was selected to attend the coveted Naval Aviation School in Pensacola, Florida. Shortly after flight school, he completed multiple combat deployments as an attack helicopter pilot, until he was medevac’d from Iraq in 2009, returning to the United States. However, soon after his return, he redeployed with Marine Reconnaissance and other Special Operations teams until 2017. While deployed, Rich completed an Engineering Masters with CU Boulder and submitted assignments from various spotty WiFi signals across the world! After his service in the Marine Corps, Rich wanted to give back to the community. When he began Bulwark Coffee Company, he believed that first responders and veterans would be the ideal community to support and sought out to do exactly that through selling premium coffee.
Rich returned to CU Boulder in 2020 to receive his MBA. He is currently launching two companies, Bulwark Coffee Company and Rich in Thought, a personal brand that enables Rich to support various entrepreneurial projects and deliver quality content that provokes thought and inspires growth. Each company will be paired with a foundation—Bulwark Foundation and Rich in Thought University, respectively.
About Bulwark Coffee
Bulwark Coffee Company is a premium coffee company with an e-commerce presence that donates 100% of profits to first responders and veterans. After his service in the Marine Corps, Rich wanted to give back to the community. He began by creating Bulwark Coffee Company as he believed first responders and veterans would be the ideal community to support.
Bulwark Coffee Company is designed with the sole purpose of raising awareness for the service and sacrifice of first responders and veterans while dedicating 100% of profits to supporting these heroes. As background, most coffee roasters and other retailers often support first responders or veterans, yet they only commit a small fraction of their revenue to support. Bulwark Coffee Company is eager to differentiate itself and change the competitive landscape of the coffee industry by introducing a new level of commitment and service.
Bulwark Coffee Company is comprised of two team members, Rich and fellow MBA alumni, Craig Coppock. Craig is a former Army Green Beret and Leeds graduate. Craig handles the finance and the backend of the coffee operation, while Rich runs the operations, business development, marketing, and other front-end operations. While Bulwark Coffee Company is a for-profit company, it partners with Bulwark Foundation to distribute its profits to charity. Bulwark Foundation has three sitting board members that are all veterans.
Upcoming Projects and Events
Rich is launching a unique go-to-market strategy that includes a fitness challenge beginning in January 2022, titled the M-A-M (Murph-A-Month) Challenge. The M-A-M Challenge is designed to raise awareness of both Bulwark Foundation and Bulwark Coffee Company’s upcoming launch in May 2022. As a background, “the Murph” is an incredibly challenging fitness exercise inspired by a Navy SEAL Lieutenant. It is a timed event consisting of a one-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and a one-mile run to completion. Rich’s fitness challenge is open to the public and specifically targets CrossFit enthusiasts, first responders, veterans, and other fitness-conscious people. Rich will be running it with various first responder units across the country, from January 2022 to May 2022, and will kick off the launch of Bulwark Coffee Company on May 31, 2022. For more information specific to the M-A-M Challenge, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter! Anyone can participate in the challenge by signing up here!
Rich also has a stretch goal of publishing his first book in 2022. Even with his other ventures, he remains on track to achieve this goal!
Rich has found managing time and team members to be a difficult task. He is focused on finding people with priorities that align with Bulwark Coffee Company’s business, projects, and initiatives. He remarks on creating a fully committed team,
“Conflicts should be addressed early, and communication is incredibly important to reveal any unaddressed concerns in order to get them out of the way early on. Launching a venture is an adventure in itself. People are either in or they’re not.”
Advice for current students
Rich provides the following advice for students,
“Because ventures are so incredibly difficult and time-intensive long before they are rewarding, ensure that your venture aligns with your ethics, emerges from your passions, and is something you are willing to discuss with anyone and everyone. There are no half-measures in succeeding as an entrepreneur.”