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Marine, entrepreneur and UMUC alumni Jake Messier keeps his promises on both

When Jake Messier dropped out of college in his junior year to join the U.S. Marine Corps, he said he promised his dad two things—that he would see the world and that he’d finish his college education.

Messier became a Marine and spent the next nine years as a combat correspondent, traveling to 43 countries from Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean, to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, covering stories about fellow service members.

When Messier was assigned to Yokota Air Base in Tokyo, Japan, he said he knew that would be his last assignment―and his last chance to make good on the second part of his promise. He enrolled at UMUC on base and set to work completing a bachelor’s degree in sociology.

“What started off as strictly utilitarian, in terms of just getting a degree, turned into a love of sociology and a pursuit of knowledge,” said Messier. “UMUC made it easy and accessible. All I had to do was put in the time.”

As a civilian, Messier has applied his learning to the various positions he has held in the TV, public relations, and marketing fields, broadening his skills along the way. He has even received offers of partnerships but turned them down, opting instead, as he always has, to do things his own way.

At age 45, Messier founded HEARD Strategy & Storytelling, a marketing firm in Worcester, Massachusetts. He also launched Olderpreneur Coach, a consulting service focused on supporting and encouraging older entrepreneurs like himself.

“There are no excuses or passing the buck,” he said. “Accountability starts and ends with me. And it’s truly wonderful.”