By: Nick Morales
If I were to ask you “Why aren’t you following your dreams?” Coming up with excuses is easy. Let me give you some examples… I’m too old, I just can’t, I don’t know how. For some believing these statements has become a crutch that they lean on, not even realizing that this limit is something they created over time.
In this article we talk to a Veteran who refuses to take NO for an answer.
Jake Newman is the epitome of Soldier. He’s a great leader and tactician.
The 1st time I met Jake I just arrived to the 1st Infantry Division and my sponsor was showing me around. I had the chance to get a Battle Brief from one of our Units deployed to Iraq and Jake was giving the brief. Professional, commanding and informative those were my first impressions of Jake.
My sponsor then added, “He is one of the toughest and meanest NCOs I’ve ever met.” Then I met Jake in person after redeployment, all that was said was true; he is Firm, Fair and Consistent, everything young Soldiers need.
Jake’s military career is covered in moments that anyone can be proud of, a Veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, first responder to the 9-11 attacks on the Pentagon, an innovator and trail blazer within the Public Affairs CMF (Career Management Fields).
If you get the chance to meet Jake, you would leave with a couple of things, but the one that tends to stand out, is his love for NASCAR. I remember saying “come on bro, all they do is turn left” and his response was “just go to a race.”
Now let’s fast forward a few years, his military career was coming to an end (retiring after 20 years in the U.S. Army), and if anyone asked him what he planned to do after leaving the Army, his answer was always, “I’m going to go do Public Relations or Video Production in NASCAR, preferable for Hendrick Motorsports (His favorite team, and the winningest team in NASCAR).”
To those of us who know Jake our thoughts about his post Army life are endless. “He’s got it all figured out!”, we would say, but now is the time that Jake took all those years of experience and made the opportunities to put them into practice for himself.
Leaving Fort Bragg in the rearview mirror, Jake headed to the Charlotte Motor Speedway, with the hopes of landing a Job working for NASCAR. He packed up everything in his Pick-up with RV in tow, and lived in his camper at the Speedway until he could land a job and more permanent place to live. He started applying for jobs at race teams and reaching out to his network of contacts in the industry with the hopes of making his dreams a reality. For months, he continued this process until he began to question whether he needed to look at another career path, and place to live. Then he got the call. He got his first interview at NASCAR Productions, and from there, doors began to open.
Often times when we look at successful people all we see is the end result, their success! We’re ignorant of the hard work and pain that got them there. Then some chalk up their accomplishments to luck. Jake doesn’t leave anything to chance, he used the skillset he refined over 20 years in the Army to ensure that his dreams became a reality.
We often say when it rains, it pours but we use this phrase with a negative connotation. Looking for the positive when things aren’t going the way we envisioned is tough, however with a positive mental shift we can begin to see the good in just about anything.
Moving to a new city, hopes of finding his dream job and trying to put the pieces of his life back together is an unsurmountable task to most people, but Jake was up for it.
Taking the first step toward his dream, that’s when everything fell into place. Getting the call for an interview with NASCAR, then moving into his new place, the decisions Jake made were panning out. To top things off he met the woman of his dreams that would eventually lead to a life Jake never thought possible.
Jake became a freelance producer for NASCAR Productions which opened the door to work on two of Fox Sports’ NASCAR programs: Raceday and Race Hub. He was living his dream, but it didn’t stop there. He later became Associate Producer for the International Motorsports Association team at NASCAR Productions. Then, the second part of his dream career came true. A position opened up with Hendrick Motorsports for a Video Content Creator. Jake applied and was offered the position.
In less than a year at Hendrick Motorsports, Jake has been promoted to Production Manager in the Creative Services section of the Marketing Department, and oversees production of all video and photo content for the 14 time NASCAR Cup Series Champions. If you ask Jake what the coolest part of his job is, he will tell you two things…First, was winning the Cup Series Championship (with his current favorite driver, Kyle Larson) in his first season with the team. Second, is that he works for Jeff Gordon, who was Jake’s favorite driver from the time he started following the sport until Gordon retired from driving in 2016.
While Jake’s career accomplishments stand out, one thing he will always emphasize is that “Jobs come and go, but family is forever.” Shortly after moving to Charlotte, Jake met and married the woman of his dreams and became a husband, a dad, and a leader of a different formation. He will be the first to tell you that he could not have accomplished any of the successes he has enjoyed over the last several years without the love and support of his family.
The main takeaway to Jakes story is this, your dreams are never too big and never too far from becoming a reality.
“The journey of a thousands miles begins with a single step.”
Jake Newman, you're an inspiration to many. Thank you for being a Beteran!