Former Marine spy David Seamon believes U.S. military contractors should be further educated about the city’s sophisticated armed forces sites if they hope to attract additional high-technology companies catering to the military machine.
As the new executive vice president for marketing for the Greater Colorado Springs Economic Development Corporation, Seamon is barely moved into his office on the 10th floor of the Wells Fargo building, but he is already chomping at the bit to get to work.
In an interview with the Business Journal, Seamon said to attract additional military contractors, “they need to know about the military facilities we have here – we need to raise the profile of the city.
“We will also develop and execute a plan to sell Colorado Springs to site brokers and consultants,” Seamon said.
The EDC will also consider membership in an organization called the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, he added. Membership in that organization will assist in educating site brokers and consultants about the city and its opportunities.
“We want those people aware of Colorado Springs as a business location,” Seamon said. “If we do, we’ll generate more of a return on the investment the community has in this operation.”
It is quite possible many military contractors know only about the big three in the Springs, Seamon said. “They know about NORAD, the Air Force Academy, and Pikes Peak.”
“That’s common to most easterners,” he said. What they don’t know about, he said, is Peterson and Schriever Air Force Bases, where a lot of high-technology software and equipment is used.
Seamon comes to the EDC from Decatur, Georgia, where he most recently served as executive director for the Development Authority of DeKalb County, Georgia. Because the EDC conducted a national search for the position, it likely sifted through dozens of candidates before making its choice.
“We are delighted that David chose to join our team,” said EDC president Rocky Scott. “His credentials and strong background in economic development marketing made him first choice,” Scott said.
Seamon’s military career sent him into two war zones. He arrived in Somalia the day after the conflict began. He decided to end his military career as a Captain after serving in Desert Storm and Somalia, where he went months on end with no contact with his family in order to protect his cover.
As a spy, Seamon went undercover looking for weapons caches, to track warlords, or to find out what the adversary was up to.
“It was no place to be if you wanted your marriage to last,” he said. “I decided what was important in my life is my family.”
Seamon thought he was a tough guy growing up, always getting into fights. It was the “short man complex,” he joked. It took him five years to finish high school. “I was borderline, on the fence,” he said about his trouble-making attitude as a teen. His father deserted the family when he was young. The family went on welfare, and his mother sometimes held difficult jobs to keep the family together.
Soon, she realized it was up to her to pull the family out of poverty, to get them away from the projects.
“Mom decided she wanted to go to college,” Seamon said. “She drove 30 miles to Winston-Salem each morning and 30 miles home every night to go to school.”
She got her bachelor’s degree. “Then she decided she wanted to get her master’s degree,” Seamon said. She got the degree, but it was not enough.
“She decided she wanted to get her doctorate,” said Seamon. “She got that too – we went from welfare to my mom having a doctorate in eight years.”
Seamon said he is proud of his mother, Barbara, not just for her efforts in raising him and his two brothers, but for her determination to work her way through college. “She remarried around the time of her doctorate dissertation, and she’s been married for about 30 years.”
He and his brother didn’t understand why their mother had to spend so much time at school, Seamon said. Eventually they understood.
Seamon’s high school education took place at a school for troubled boys.
“It was a school to save kids like myself who were drifting,” he said. He got through high school, even if it took longer than he expected. Then he joined the Marines.
“They harnessed all that energy,” he said of the Marines. “They broke my back.” However, he was a good Marine, and he eventually made it through Officer Candidate School, and was commissioned an officer.
In Washington, D.C., when terrorists struck New York City and the Pentagon, Seamon said it made him long to be back in the military, at least to help fight off the nation’s newest foes. “I could smell the jet fuel burning,” Seamon said of the attack on the Pentagon.
He earned a bachelor’s degree at Regents College while in the military, and after being a civilian employee, he soon discovered he needed a business education. He graduated from Wake Forest University, where he earned a masters in business administration. He followed that up by nearly a year at Oxford University in Europe.
Seamon received a Master of Business Administration degree from Wake Forest and a B.A. from Regents College. He also studied European business at Oxford University.