Security Guard To CEO: Inside Brandon Ocampo’s Incredible Success Story
From working as a security guard to servicing over 25,000 customers, Two Way Direct CEO Brandon Ocampo’s success story is the stuff of fiction.
Presented by Luke Lintz
For Brandon Ocampo, CEO of Two Way Direct, his is a story of determination and persistence. How else could anyone explain having to go to work as a security guard just so you could build a relationship with your prospective clients? That’s exactly what Ocampo did and the gamble paid off. The rest, as they say, is history.
Two Way Direct is in the business of supplying two-way radio solutions to private and public organizations. They provide a push-to-talk technology enabling their customers to communicate between private talkgroups nationwide without having to rely on expensive repeater systems.
When he set out to start his own business 16 years ago, Ocampo already knew that the stakes were high. Coming from a family who had experienced many financial struggles, to dropping out of college later on, struggling to get the attention of clients and pounding the pavement for months just to get his first deal through the door, Ocampo realized that he couldn’t afford to play around in life.
So he was intensely focused on his path with only one thing at the back of his mind: to succeed despite the odds around him. He simply had to make the most of time and every opportunity given to him. And that he did.
Speaking in a recent interview, Ocampo narrates the adversities he had faced, while growing up in a small town back in Carmel Valley, California. He felt inspired to hit the street and start hustling for his own money early in life, working as a pool boy and recycling empty cans. He earned $3 an hour and saved just about every dime he made so he could put them into something major afterward.
That “major” thing was his dream; to own his own business. But first, you had to kiss frogs on your way to glory. So Ocampo took up a job in sales while trying to work his way through college at the same time. In the end, he gave up his pursuit of a degree at San Diego State University and ditched his sales job altogether.
When he started Two Way Direct at first, Ocampo had to test the waters so he could be certain of his next move instead of jumping in with both feet. “I took a leave of absence from San Diego State University,” he says. “I figured, if I can’t get this business going in a year, then I’ll go back to school.”
In the end, however, he made up his mind and went all in with the business, investing both time and his meager resources to push the business. Thankfully, according to Ocampo, he could also rely on the bookkeeping skills of his mother to take care of the accounting of the fledging company.
“My mom was a bookkeeper; which came in handy because she was able to teach me how to file all the necessary paperwork to start my business. She was my first employee and worked for free in the beginning and eventually became my CFO. I don’t know where I’d be today without both my parents’ love and support,” he says.
There was no looking back from that point. The new company couldn’t survive on goodwill forever. Ocampo simply had to secure his first client and his first contract. It came, though; months later after he had been forced to take up a job as a security guard so he could establish a working relationship and trust with a prospective client at the time: Omni San Diego Hotel.
It was a major win for Ocampo, and the start of great things to come for Two Way Direct. That first order became a launch pad for other deals to come through the door, deals from brands like Costco, Overstock.com, General Electric, SpaceX, NASA, and countless others.
Moving forward, the last 16 years have seen Ocampo’s business supplying two-way radio solutions to high-end clients like the Secret Service, police, fire departments, hotels, casinos, and so on. The company also works with construction companies, churches, schools, golf courses, theme parks, hospitals and other businesses of all sizes.
The next step for Two Way Direct is consolidating on their wins and successes over the years. Ocampo has several projects up his sleeves for the future, like collaborating with technical partners and growing his team to keep up with demand.
Starting from a couple hundred thousand dollars a year in orders, Ocampo and his team are now pushing to hit the $10 million per year mark and even surpass it. With the right team in place and all hands on deck, Ocampo is confident that the mark is attainable. This is why he is devoting a lot of money to online advertising and now opening the doors of the company to bring in new talents.
According to Ocampo, the business is growing quickly with only about 15 sales reps servicing more than 25,000 customers’ accounts. So hiring more people into the sales force is imperative. “We need to hire at least 30 more account managers, just to distribute these accounts out. We’ve got a formula that works and we’re ready to scale.”
With all he’s achieved in life so far, Brandon Ocampo reveals that if there’s anything he’s learned over the years, it is resilience; to do whatever it takes and never give up.