An Interview with Jerod Allen about the Foundation and Mission of BullyBag
Q: Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us a little about your early life and the path that led you to join the US Marine Corps?
Jerod: I joined the Marines – I couldn’t see myself in any other branch of the military. The Marines were a natural fit for me; the discipline, the camaraderie, and the brotherhood. I always had a knack for the water, and eventually I became a MCIWS (Marine Combat Instructor of Water Survival). I never wanted to leave, if I’m being honest. But my packet to become an officer was denied for reasons of quota at CMC, and after about a month of trying to decide in my rack in Okinawa, I made the decision to separate. The Marines and that foundation of excellence is a part of who I am; from the high bar I set for myself and our team to achieve, to a no excuses humility.
Q: As a US Marine Corps Veteran, you worked as an insurance claims adjuster. Why was this work important to you, and what were some of your biggest frustrations?
Jerod: In the Marines, integrity is everything. If you lie, people can die. That’s just the facts. As an insurance adjuster the importance of telling the truth, to pay the claim if it is owed profoundly struck me right away. Waking up with the attitude of “Do the right thing” is a good way to live, and a great career to choose where your baseline decision is “is this the right thing to do”. I love adjusting, helping others recover, being the “second responder” so to speak when catastrophes occur. It’s a great role to have, and a code that is easy to adhere to – Do the right thing. Everyday. Every claim.
Q: BullyBag was conceived long before its inception, and long before it was named. Tell us how BullyBag became the company’s moniker.
Jerod: In 2016 I had no clue what I would call the company; I only knew it would somehow involve the US Marine Corps. During the months leading up to my decision, I kept coming back to the USMC bulldog mascot named Chesty (after the most decorated Marine of all time, Chesty Puller). The first use of the Bulldog with the USMC goes back to 1922 when the great Major Smedley Butler introduced the first mascot, Mr. Jibbs. As a Marine, or Devil Dog as we are also known, the reference to dogs and Chesty are ongoing, so as a tribute to my Marine Corps heritage, I decided on BullyBag as the name of the company. As it worked out, we have been able to maintain several consistencies with the Bulldog as part of our image and product names.
Q: Tell us more about General Chesty Puller; what qualities did he embody?
Chesty, though I never met the man, was said to be a tremendous leader. He knew his troops by name and was never cavalier about sending his Marines into battle or on a mission he knew many would not come back from. A man of fierce integrity and grit. Chesty was a “hard charger”; a man highly respected within the military community who loved the Corps and all it embodies.
Q: How do these qualities align with BullyBag’s mission?
I think the quality of perseverance; taking the time to do it right is an integral part of our mission. We don’t rush to push a product out – we want to contribute in benefiting the lives of others through our Industry Tool Solutions. As a result our solutions endure field testing for their useful application, a process which is crucial, and tiresome; but in the end it’s worth it so that others may benefit.
Q: How are these qualities also exemplified in BullyBag designs?
Jerod: It’s really a matter of humility and asking “What don’t we know”?
Our Tool Solutions are not simply a CAD drawing that looks good and will sell – they are all designed in application, in the field. We ask what we don’t know daily and especially when considering a new product. Is this a solution? Is designing and implementing this product going to be useful and a long term benefit to others? Those are our baseline questions. If those questions are a resounding “Yes” then further questions follow: Where is its stress point? How can we take what we know and make a better, stronger, more professional tool that is more ergonomic, cost effective for our customer without compromising quality? The last question is a matter of aesthetics. We want to make a difference in the lives of the niche professionals we serve.
Q: BullyBag donates to a variety of anti-bullying and animal rescue programs and charities. Tell us more about BullyBag’s stance on bullying and what inspired this advocacy.
Jerod: We donate time, money and product to charities that we see make a difference. We align particularly well with Stand for the Silent as well the Kansas City English Bulldog rescue. Both of these organizations truly believe in the benefit of sacrifice for the sake of others. Stand for the Silent for example was started by parents that lost their son to suicide resulting from extreme bullying he faced that they were unaware of – he was silent and didn’t share his struggle, eventually he was overcome with despair resulting in him taking his own life. A heartbreaking story, but one they have turned into helping others. I have been impacted by suicide and its affect it leaves for the ones left behind and the story of SFTS impacted me as well as our team.
Q: Discuss the BullyBag trademark, “Claim the Storm,” and why it has more depth to it than one might expect.
Jerod: Claim the Storm is a multi-layer motto for us and was one of our first registered trademarks. Claim the Storm points to the work that we do as inspectors and estimators, as a lot of our work is based around post storm events. Claim the Storm also means to endure – an uplifting statement that prevails. We all deal with storms in our lives, in our minds and families, but we can endure no matter how bad things may seem. We must own the elements of the storm within, and persevere on towards greatness. A parallel to this is a USMC billboard I saw the other day; a photo of a Marine charging through mud and muck and the caption says “Battles are won within”. I get that. Life has challenges – Claim them, and move forward.
Q: In addition to “Claim The Storm,” BullyBag has a few other T-shirt worthy catch phrases. Tell us about the origin of “You’ve got the Grit. We’ve got the Gear,” and some of your other favorites.
Jerod: You’ve got the grit, we’ve got your gear is a call out to the grit required to handle the work that needs to be done. Whether it is 100+ degrees out, in dusty areas, slippery roofs, hanging from a rope or in wet back up sewer situations – the work that we make our tools for is not easy.
It takes grit.
We’ve got the gear.