When the business is good but the mission is greater: this is how Marine veteran Bryant Griffith views his entrepreneurial path. Owner of JAWS — Junk And Waste Solutions, Bryant conducts his company in a responsible way that serves not only his customers, but his neighborhood and beyond. Bryant’s entrepreneurial spirit is intricately tied to his generous nature, and they both stem from his own desire to foster community.
When Bryant got out of the Marines after a decade, he found himself longing for the community, identity, and purpose that had easily been fulfilled by the Corps. After working successfully within the corporate world, he realized he still felt aimless and lost, unable to see how he fit into the larger picture. He began to work with his father, known for being a good steward by repurposing resources. However, his dad’s ability to see a second life in materials had a drawback: they pile up.
In an effort to limit overwhelm, Bryant proactively decided to organize the resources that had been saved from a landfill’s fate. He began sifting through the materials to see what could be reused, donated, or —if unable to be useful— dumped. As Bryant spoke with waste removal companies to clean up the piles headed to the dump, he learned the high cost of disposal and how their business models worked. He realized that he could provide this service in a more affordable and eco-friendly way, thus JAWS — Junk And Waste Solutions was launched.
JAWS is an economically and environmentally conscientious business, determined to lower costs for customers while ethically disposing of junk and sustainably evaluating the discarded items that are requested to be removed. If items can be salvaged, Bryant and his team make sure they stay out of the landfill by repurposing, reusing, and/or donating, working alongside local nonprofits to continue the legacy of good stewardship set by his father.
Yet JAWS is only a small part in Bryant’s journey as an entrepreneur. His true purpose is to bridge the community together, providing whatever is needed. “I get to go out there and touch community needs,” Bryant says. “I can be an advocate for veterans, and I can connect people together, whether it’s through goods or services, or just being involved in the community and knowing who to connect.”
“My business is more or less just a vessel, an amplifier of the real mission,” explains Bryant. “It gives us the resources internally, whether that be monetary donations or goods that don’t need to go to the landfill. But on a bigger level too: I have guys that are training to use power tools and to use equipment, so we can also do things like disaster relief.”
With the proper equipment, knowledge, and willingness to help, JAWS has expanded its definition of “local community” by providing disaster relief wherever is needed, as was the case for Hurricane Ida in 2021. Bryant organized two shifts between his team, sending each group to Louisiana for two weeks at a time to provide aid. “We went into areas that hadn’t been opened yet after the flood, the first boots-on-the-ground in starting to do a ‘muck out.’ That is where the area is flooded, and there is mold and sewage, all kinds of stuff,” describes Bryant. “We come in, we take all the ruined goods out of the house, we start the demo process so it can air out. We cut the drywall, we remove flooring, we get the spaces ready for remediation. We’re able to do those things because our business gives us that capacity.”
Bryant has found a way to foster, grow, and give back to his community with JAWS — Junk And Waste Solutions. With his inspiring business, he was chosen to be one of nine Semi-Finalists for the Military Entrepreneur Challenge pitch competition at the Business Beyond the Battlefield Conference 2023. With his faithful marketing director —Balboa the service dog— by his side, Bryant was the overall winner, taking home over $27k in prizes. With $25,000 of in-kind legal services and $2,000 capital grant, he is looking to grow to the next level to have the opportunity to add veterans to his team, as well as aid with more disaster recovery when needed. Learn more about JAWS — Junk And Waste Solutions here.