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Former helicopter pilot buys Puyallup print shop

Loud, loyal, and (still) addicted to coffee

Keith Besherse (a.k.a. “Bald Guy” on social media). Photo credit: Adrienne Z. Milligan

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Eagle Scout and Retired Lt. Col. Keith Besherse first enlisted in 1988 as an Army infantryman assigned to a company of the 104th Division in Moses Lake. He was subsequently awarded an ROTC scholarship and graduated in 1992 with a Computer Information Systems degree from Northwest Nazarene University. In 2012, he earned a Master's in Adult Education with an aviation education focus from Trident University International.

Besherse and Dawn Davis, his wife, met while in college. She graduated in 1990 with a Speech and Hearing Pathology degree. As an avid quilter, she is always looking for the next project and is deeply involved in several community service activities. They have a 26-year-old son who is autistic.

Besherse recalls, "I was commissioned into the Army in 1992 as an aviation officer. I flew reconnaissance with the air cavalry of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). As a major, I helped create and train a multi-role aviation battalion with support, medical evacuation, and cargo helicopters for deployment to Iraq with 25th Infantry Division. Most of my Army career was spent managing operations centers to coordinate and integrate the capabilities of many different units to achieve specific objectives."

When asked if the Army uniquely prepared him for going into business for himself, Besherse replied, "The Army, especially in my roles as a planner and directing operations centers, helped me learn to see which details were important and how to ignore the background noise. The Army teaches you how to show up in a new circumstance, assess the situation, and quickly become part of the solution. Who I meet and what we talk about is constantly changing. I have been trained to be flexible."

Besherse said, "Many of my peers still don't understand why I chose to own a very small company in a high-risk/low-margin industry instead of finding stable employment in government or a large company."

So why did he buy a print shop? He remarked, "At the time, I didn't know why. I had to be in it for three months before I knew why I was in it. We were doing a print job for St. Francis House -- Puyallup Valley. The print pieces we produce help them serve their customers -- the vulnerable and needy of our communities. What they do is important, that makes the print piece important, which makes what we do important."

He learned to be passionate about print after he was already committed to running the business.

As a business owner, he introduces his military connections to community members. Opportunities could be for possible employment, services needed, or volunteering.

Besherse's advice for those who want their own business: "It is a job. Some of the rewards are intangible. One advantage: No bureaucracy."

He continued, "My advice for all transitioning servicemembers is: ‘Go meet people.' You don't know what opportunities you will uncover. They say 80 percent of the job market is hidden (never advertised as a job opening). Don't take the linear path from MOS to job Y only because O Net says that job is what you are qualified to do. Explore, you might find a reason to be passionate about something you would never have considered. You are much more than an MOS. Be a gift to the world."

Minuteman Press, 2102 East Main Ave., #111, Puyallup, 253.841.3161,

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