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Caught in the news recently: our very own distiller, Brian Facquet! Brian was recently named one of City & State’s Agriculture Power 50. We all know how hard Brian works, and if you follow his business ventures, you’ll know he never stops reaching or improving. The journey has been a joy to follow, and we’re proud that he’s achieved this recognition. From Prohibition Distillery {now Do Good Spirits} social media stream:

“From the very beginning our goal as a distillery was to make the best quality spirits possible. And along the way we received some awards for those spirits. But today, our founder Brian won a different type of award. He was named one of City & State’s Agriculture Power 50 for his progressive position as president of the New York State Distillers Guild.

If you see Brian this week, tell him congrats. Oh, and also let him know how good that headshot looks.”

Full article and media listing – City & State, 12 September 2021

Congratulations! Brian was also featured last week as a guest on Craft Spirits Podcast, where he discusses all things distilling, as well as the impetus for the rebrand from Prohibition Distillery to Do Good Spirits.


You can also navigate to this podcast directly from within Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Links to Brian’s bio and business story if you’d like to read more about his work.


This Friday, we’ll be talking with Patrick Shearon, founder of supply chain project leadership company, North Sky Leaders. Though his background as a USMC Logistics Officer got him an early start in this field, Patrick attributes much of his success to the principles he learned and practiced at USNA. Join us to learn more about the field of supply chain management, founding a company, and how USNA set him up for success. He’s got an inspirational message as well as client cases to share–you DO NOT want to miss this!

The New ’96 Hour with Patrick Shearon
Topic: Delivering Success through Supply Chain Leadership
Date/Time: September 24 at 1pm ET

Register here. Remember that you’ve got to be *LIVE* with us to get your questions answered. See you then!

Welcome to the new season of The New ’96 Hour! We’ve got a booming season ahead with a great lineup of guests, and we start with a powerhouse: Joe Crandall. He’s the owner & CEO of a fully veteran-operated consulting company, and he also works behind the scenes to make Veteran Shark Tank the premier pitch competition for veteran entrepreneurs. Join us to learn more about his story, the highs and lows of running a consultancy, and how he’s made “veteran-owned and veteran-operated” into a force multiplier for growing veterans and growing business.

The New ’96 Hour with Joe Crandall
Topic: Growing Veterans, Growing Business
Date/time: Aug 20 at 1:00pm ET

Register here! Remember that you’ve got to be *LIVE* with us to get your questions answered. See you then!

Time: 1:30pm-2:30pm EST

Late breaking – just saw this on the wire. Patriot Boot Camp will be hosting Dennis Volpe this afternoon for a live webinar. Please join Patriot Boot Camp and Dennis Volpe, Principal, Leadership Research Institute as we discuss “Entrepreneurship and Resiliency.” Q & A will follow.

Register for the webinar here.

Virtual Networking All Call, Thursday (6/11), sponsored by Re4ormed LLC:

Veteran and mililitary-spouse entrepreneurs and small-business owners, if you’d like to pitch your business and find help addressing your challenges, or you just want to provide mutual support to our tribe, please join this month’s Annapolis All Call sponsored by Re4ormed (CEO and founder – Mark Mhley). The event will be held virtually this Thursday (6/11/2020) at 5pm EDT. Whether you’re in the DC/Baltimore/Annapolis area or beyond, please join the Annapolis All Call for some powerful virtual-networking and mutual-support.

Virtual meeting Zoom link here.

And don’t forget this transition tip – LinkedIn offers a 1 year free Premium subscription for veterans and their family caregivers, which includes a number of powerful tools to help you take your next step. LinkedIn Veteran Subscription

Global-X Challenge key date reminder: the deadline for ONR Global-X Challenge white paper submissions is fast approaching! White papers must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EDT on May 25, 2020. Read the official guidelines before submitting, and check out ONR Global on the web for more details.

Global-X is a nine-month international science challenge that will seek revolutionary research through active worldwide cooperation to solve present and future U.S. Navy and Marine Corps needs. If you missed the kickoff webinar, which was hosted by our own Capt. Matt Farr on 23 April, the video is available on YouTube. Interested participants can also register on the Global-X Slack channel to begin connecting with fellow researchers. Feel free to share!

The Alumni Association announced today that DC SACC (Washington DC, June 2020) has gone virtual and will be held online from 10-12 June 2020 in lieu of the in-person gathering slated for Crystal City. I suspected this would happen ever since I read the recent Jacksonville event had been held online (Jacksonville, 16-17 April). The SACC team is still working on a number of details about the event, but here is what has been released so far:

  • Two days of webinars
  • Connect virtually with recruiters from industry-leading employers
  • Connect with representatives from advanced education institutions
  • Learn more about Blue and Gold Officer opportunities

Registration is open, both for candidates and companies looking to recruit. The list of companies participating has not been posted yet. You can visit the website to see what has been posted so far (they are also active on FB and Instagram). Stand by for further details when they are finalized. In the meantime, you can probably guess at least some of the details by looking at the notes for the Jacksonville conference.

A week ago, Kitch Kennedy posted on the Class of 1996 Facebook page, asking any classmates who own small businesses to post a link in the comments so that he could support it in some way – either by purchasing or sharing to a wider audience. A couple of days later, I saw William Marks’ post (also on the class FB page) about Facebook-sponsored grants for small businesses – then read about efforts by the Alumni Association to champion Almuni ventures in both Nagel’s 24 April update to the class and the April 2020 edition of WaveTops (released 29 April). I decided to try to synthesize all of this information one place. Please reach out if you have additional information you’d like to share, and I will update this post! I will also work on a static page here for all of this, so please send me ideas or feedback.

Roundup from Kitch’s post:

I’m adding Brian Faquet’s Prohibition Distillery (Roscoe, NY) to this list, as well. as anything else I can dig out of people’s FB posts and from LinkedIn (below). Please send me others!

From William Marks – Facebook is offering MILLIONS of dollars in cash grants and ad credits for people who own small businesses in 27 different cities around the nation. More information here and you can PM William about it as well (ans see his 23 April FB post).

As you probably read in Nagel’s recent update to the class, the Alumni Association has launched a business directory to help alumni support and showcase alumni-owned businesses by class, location, or industry. If you are a small business owner, consider registering your business to help them build the resource – and help get more folks interested in your product or service.

As April draws to a close (along with week 6 of teleworking), I find myself reflecting on the great work our classmates are doing from sea to shining sea (and around the world). We, collectively, are no stranger to success; lately, however, I find myself gravitating toward positive, impactful, or motivating stories – and many of us are making those stories become headlines. Here’s a collection of recent publications or news appearances by ’96ers that I chanced to see over the last few weeks (and there are probably more that I missed). I wanted to share these with all of you –  while these stories represents a mere smattering of what we are doing around the world, the words (written and spoken) are resounding. Stay strong, ’96!

On the Air: Prohibition Distillery Pivots from Spirits to Sanitizer

Brian Facquet, Founder and Head Distiller at Prohibition Distillery in Roscoe, NY, recently spoke with Yahoo Finance about the company’s shift from making spirits to making hand sanitizer amid the coronavirus pandemic. Check out his interview here, which aired April 20th!

Check out Prohibition Distillery online to see their current catalog, which includes both small and large shipments. Whether you need 2 or 6 bottles, or a case of 25 – Brian’s got you covered! They even make 5-gallon buckets with pump dispensers.


Report: The Analysis and Policy Implications of the Crisis

Harrison Schramm, Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), was recently interviewed for an episode of Government Matters, which aired April 15th. During the interview, Harrison discussed his new report about coronavirus, the impact of the pandemic on policy and operations, and what we are learning from it. Watch live here!


Article: On Economic Resiliency, Self-Growth, Organization Culture, and Being Purpose Driven

Brian Grana, Consultant/Philanthropist/Veteran Advocate/Non-Profit Advisor/Venture Capitalist/Marine (whew!) recently published an article entitled “Redux: ‘That which you measure gets better*’ – Assessing My Value Propositions during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which I discovered on LinkedIn. In this article, Brian shares some of his experiences and discusses his four Value Propositions.  Brian’s advice to us all: “Especially during challenging times… never miss a chance to make yourself better. I hope you find this article useful and please share with Veterans in transition!”  Thanks for your wisdom and continued patriotism, Brian.


YouTube: Keeping Sailors Informed During Challenging Times

Capt. Tim Kinsella’s initial COVID-19 address to NAS Pensacola (broadcast via Youtube and posted on Facebook and Twitter on 25 Mar – follow NAS Pensacola on either channel) appeared in my social media feed a few weeks ago, so I watched it. I started to think about how many classmates we have who are currently serving as COs – some ashore, some afloat, some domestic, some overseas. And I realized that they are truly being challenged in ways that I could not have possibly imagined when I was still active duty. BZ to all of you who are in command, leading the sailors who stand watch for this great nation.

Catch Tim’s op-ed, entitled “‘We are in a fight.’ But it’s one we will win,” published 10 April in the Pensacola News Journal. Sage words, and well worth the read, regardless of where you live.


Perspective: Focus on What Matters and Build Emotional Resilience

Dennis Volpe, a Leadership and Organizational Consultant, Veteran Mentor, and Strategic Advisor, is focused on developing others to perform at higher levels and improve their overall effectiveness. His recent article, published 27 April on LinkedIn, caught my eye with an opening Abraham Lincoln quote: “The best way to predict your future is to create it,” which is a favorite of mine. He explains what Emotional Intelligence is, discusses opportunities our current reality creates, and challenges us all to observe ourselves (and others), learn from our recent experiences, and use cognizance and clarity in building a new reality that emphasizes emotional resilience. One of the simplest, yet most thought-provoking and positive reflections I’ve read since the start of the pandemic. 

You can find one of Dennis’ earlier articles, entitled “Rugby, Resilience, and COVID-19: #WITH YOU” (04 April 2020), here.

Email sent via Classmail 4/24/20

Greeting ’96 Classmates.

I’m writing today to summarize today’s Council of Class Presidents (COCP) meeting.  It was held on-line for the first time ever.  And if you can imagine what it might like to have ~80 people on a VTC with Presidents 70-80-90 years old…it was probably worse.  But also pretty comical at the same time.  We had briefs from various people to include the Commandant of Midshipman.


  • USNA opted to allow Midn to reside elsewhere.  That was in some part due to the 2 x suicides of Firsties at USAF Academy.  They were in some part attributed to their very strict isolation policies (they have since been relaxed).
  • Most events are postponed or cancelled.  Meetings, Commissioning Week, Dedications, Ceremonies, All Academy Challenge, etc…
  • They have NOT determined how I-Day or plebe summer will be run yet.  They are evaluating numerous options.
  • Midn are continuing their education via on-line methods.  They are also doing virtual clubs and physical fitness challenges.
  • They gave restrictees the option to stay at USNA to work off their time or postpone their time and stay somewhere else.  There are about 40-50 Midn currently in Bancroft Hall.  A handful of Midn have been ordered to return to USNA due to liberty incidents.  The group in Bancroft is basically the work detail to keep basic functions and maintenance going.
  • They have stepped up rodent / pest control while Bancroft and King Hall are virtually empty.
  • Many have asked why USNA is doing things differently than USMA and USAF Academies for graduation.  The Dant said “each Academy has their own set of facts, assumptions, and variables” and therefore they may or may not follow suit with other Service Academies.
  • They have NOT decided exactly how the virtual graduation will be held on 22 May.  They are capturing lessons learned from USAF graduation.
  • For now, the Navy / ND game is still on for Ireland but they are evaluating options.
  • They are still trying to figure out next year’s plebe appointments with potential candidates that have not taken the ACT / SAT.
  • The Class of 2020
    • Of course everyone wants to “help” the Class of 2020 with their graduation.  Based on USAFA graduation, they ask that classes not get out in front of USNA activities.  Apparently, there was a lot of confusion and stepping on each other. As a class we do not have anything planned.
    • They are also asking for any digital media (videos, pictures, memes, etc…).  If you want to tag any, use #usna2020.
    • Ultimately, the message from the Dant regarding graduation was to the effect of “it sucks but we are in the war fighting business and we are going to miss a lot of things in our career.  Get used to it.”
    • Orders to their first duty stations start getting cut next week.


The Mail Center and HAZMIN building / move has begun.  This is a predecessor to the new Center construction.

  • ~$22M building.  ECD July 2022.
  • Will have 2 event decks and can host a 240-person event.

They are still negotiating with Annapolis in parking and gate entryways.


They just hosted the first of the series online (Jacksonville) and was a success.

  • Washington DC SACC is still planned June 11-12
  • San Diego SACC is planned August 20-21
  • Dallas SACC is planned October 29-30


Most of the copper from the dome has been removed.  They have started making items for sale through a contracted company. (See https://usnachapeldome.com/)  They will continue making items until the copper is gone.  We could do a group-buy of custom ’96 copper challenge coins with a price point $120-125 per coin.  If anyone thinks they can get a group buy together and would like to run that, let me know.


If you would like to register your alumni-owned business with the Naval Academy Alumni Association & Foundation, you can go to their new page located here https://www.usna.com/alumni-businesses. They are making an effort to help others find and connect to alumni-owned businesses.


Don’t forgot to mark your calendars for our 25 Year Reunion 01-03 Oct 2021.  Expect everything to go “live” (Westin room blocks, registration, etc…) ~ Feb 2021.


Although times might be tough right now, don’t forget that you can still donate to the Class Gift.  If you are on a monthly auto-donation, you can always increase your value just a little…maybe an extra $5/month.


As of now, it is still planned. Let me know if you have season tickets and want your parking spot at our tailgate.

  • If you’d like to help out with the operating costs, feel free to contact Nikki Battaglia.  You can send her donations via Zelle (use her phone number (904) 535-5810).  We also accept paypal at usna1996tailgater@gmail.  Contact her for other methods of payment.
  • As a reminder, the tailgate is a completely separate account and self-funded through donations and we use no class funds to pay for anything.


With that, I’m signing off. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns and I’ll do my best to find an answer.

Nagel Sullivan