Owner and CEO of JS Solutions, Jason Swafford shares insight into his entrepreneurial journey and the importance of mentors. JS Solutions (JSS) is a Veteran-Owned Small Business dedicated to providing comprehensive solutions, strategic consulting, and support services to Federal Government Agencies (classified and non-classified contracts) with the Department of Defense (DoD), prime contractors, and commercial organizations. JSS, headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama, offers professional staffing, integrated logistics support, technical and engineering services, and consulting services.
Q: JS Solutions is a young company. Tell us about how you started and what you do.
A: JS Solutions started two years ago, as a one-person consulting company. We worked with multiple consulting clients and did strategic consulting for government contracting companies. Then we added our government contracting support lane to the company. We started providing logistics, programmatic and technical advisory support services to Army aviation, specifically to PM Apache and to Army Futures Command. We also started a technology lane to provide enhanced training for NASA or companies going into space. We try to take what we’ve learned in Army aviation training and in combat situations to help commercial space companies and NASA with their future training. JSS aims to make it safer, easier and more cost-competitive, so it’s not so expensive and high-risk for them.
It’s almost impossible to do this alone. You have to have a team that you can trust. At JSS, we’re fortunate to have an excellent team that is passionate about what we do and eager to achieve our goals.
Q: Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey.
A: Being an entrepreneur is a ton of work and you’re going to run into things that you didn’t think you would. One of the biggest helps to me is having mentors and colleagues who I’ve worked alongside and respect, who can give me advice. They are willing to provide me insight from when they were in the same phase of a company I am in now. Finding those resources is hugely beneficial.
Mentors can be your age, older, younger or in other industries. A mentor doesn’t have to be someone who’s been there before or who’s been there longer or who’s more senior, it can be anyone open to helping you make your entrepreneurial journey what you want it to be.
Q: What advice do you have for people trying to seek out mentors?
A: Get involved in organizations within Huntsville, like the Small Business Association, The Catalyst, the universities, and others that can help you get plugged into different networks. If there are companies or owners you see doing what you want to do, connect with them and try to start a conversation. See if they’re willing to meet for lunch or dinner, ask questions and flat out
ask them to mentor you. The worst they can do is say no. If they say no, then that mentorship relationship wasn’t meant to be. I haven’t had anyone that I’ve asked to be a mentor tell me, “no.” I don’t expect my mentors to really do much for me. I only hope they will provide some guidance and answers I can take with me on my journey.
Q: What mentorship advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?
A: Be more patient and listen more. If I could go back, I would try to be a little bit calmer, more patient, listen more and pay more attention to my teammates and team members around me. I’m happy with how far I’ve come, and I’m excited to see where JS Solutions will go. In Huntsville, the sky’s the limit.