A Passion for Giving
While Gateway Bronco founder and CEO Seth Burgett derives great satisfaction from watching customers drive off in their industry leading, custom resto-mod Broncos in search of adventures, that’s only a piece of his motivation. Philanthropy has also been written into the plan from the beginning.
“I’ve long considered charity to be part of my personal mission in life,” said Burgett. “I am motivated to improve the quality of life for others through engineering and Gateway Bronco is ‘the vehicle’ to execute that vision.”
Given Burgett’s early professional background inventing minimally invasive medical device robots, and a career that resulted in more than 40 patents or patents pending, it’s no surprise that many of his philanthropic initiatives have revolved around health-related charities. That focus will continue, but Gateway Bronco’s latest charitable project, a Bronco being given as part of a sweepstakes with proceeds benefitting the Special Operators Transition Foundation (SOTF), takes a slightly different approach and speaks to Burgett on a deeply personal level.
SOTF is a non-profit organization committed to helping the Special Operations Forces from the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines transition from their military service into their next successful career in civilian life. Through executive coaching, networking, mentoring, and interview prep, SOTF prepares these highly-skilled warriors for a return to the civilian work force.
The seed for this SOTF sweepstakes came from an existing Gateway client who came up with the idea for giving away a Bronco. “My initial impression of SOTF’s work was so strong that I immediately began my due diligence into the opportunity,” Burgett said. “Within a few weeks, I flew to Atlanta with our team and met with fellows who had gone through the program, and then had dinner with the organization’s CEO, Tommy Stoner, as well as one of the members of his leadership team. Their model resonated with my background as an executive mentor in Young Presidents Organization (YPO), knowing the value of great coaching in business, motorsports and life. It’s a powerful model when done right.”
The mission of SOTF speaks to Burgett from a couple different directions. For one, he has had a long personal history of great mentors, executive coaches, and racing coaches to help him develop his potential, and he believes in the model. “While you can grow and develop on your own, a coach can add jet fuel to the speed of growth,” he said. “They can provide an objective perspective, helping you recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and then build a plan to increase the slope of your personal learning curve. That’s critical for growth that maximizes a person’s potential. Ultimately with coaching a leader maximizes their impact on society.”
The second part of SOTF’s mission that appeals to Burgett is the extreme nature of special forces — that is, the type of mentality developed to overcome any challenge they’re presented.
“I’ve always had a passion for living at the extremes,” he said. “That passion has resulted in completing three Ironman competitions just to understand the limits of human capacity. Our special operators do that on a routine basis. They stretch what is humanly possible, pushing the limits. I’ve always been fascinated personally by learning what the human body can do before it breaks, how long humans can function under maximum duress. I want to know how physical training can prepare the body and mind to raise the ceiling. That’s exactly what special operators do.”
Burgett has competed in extreme sports like endurance barefoot water skiing, Ironman triathlons, adventure racing, competitive mountain biking and historic road racing in a 1967 Shelby. That passion for extreme activities is even reflected in the high-performance road-going performance his team has created in the first-generation Ford Broncos that Gateway Bronco builds. Broncos that push the boundaries of stability, ABS braking, handling and comfort through patented innovations to improve the primitive capabilities of the vintage SUVs.
The skills and experiences of America’s special operators, combined with SOTF’s programs, meld these interests together for Burgett. “I’m fascinated by how we can stretch performance boundaries. And I’m a firm believer in coaching, both in giving and receiving. You put these two concepts together and we can help American veterans. It’s the perfect charitable activity for me. It is absolutely improving the quality of life from these military families transitioning back to civilian life.”
This holiday season, you can share that passion for giving by purchasing tickets to the sweepstakes for loved ones for Christmas that could result in someone close to you winning a truly spectacular once-in-a-lifetime gift — the SOTF Bronco, and the thanks of our nation’s returning special forces.
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