An entrepreneur, strategist, business broker and former Army Captain, David Molina spends his time helping business owners exit and retire before the age of 82. David currently serves on the alumni association board of his alma mater Oregon State University. Previously, David volunteered on the boards of OMSI, LatinoBuilt contractor trade association, and national veterans nonprofit Operation Code. After college, David first served his community with a governor-appointment to the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs.
Prior to wearing a suit and helping navigate business owners retire, David donned a hard hat and drove an excavator moving dirt and scaling a small civil company focused on the federal marketplace, recruiting young people, veterans, Latinos and immigrants and exposing them to complex challenges and building systems and tools to operate.
In 2014, David founded and scaled Operation Code, an open source project turned 501(c)(3) veterans nonprofit focused on tackling the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs red tape to ensure veterans like himself could use the New GI Bill to pay for tuition, room and board at code schools, accelerated learning programs specializing in hands-on software development training. In his capacity as Founder & Executive Director David put a board together, led the creation of the nation’s first software mentor protege program focused on veterans, increased veterans diversity hiring pipeline at software companies, software company partnerships, and successfully lobby Congress to modernize and update the New GI Bill to prepare veterans for 21st century jobs while securing $75 million in federal funding for military veterans to train as software engineers.
David first enlisted in 2000, enrolled in Army ROTC after 9/11, earned an Officer Commission in Infantry in 2004, and served to 2013 rising to the rank of Captain. Between 2011 to 2013 David proudly served a 24-month tour of duty as the Plans, Training & Operations Officer (S-2/3 OIC), Public Affairs & Protocol Officer at the Joint Personal Effects Depot (JPED), a unique battalion-sized Army unit located on the Port Mortuary Affairs Campus at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. In that role, among other responsibilities, David served as point on all protocol impacting the organization, ensure cross-training certifications, modernized the organization’s SOPs using HTML and SharePoint, authored Standard Operating Procedures, coordinated visits with general officers and Members of Congress, launched JPED’s intranet website using SharePoint, coordinated and developed the command’s external top-level domain website www.jped.mil with the DotNetNuke framework, and was a key staff member of the commander providing executive support. During President Barack Obama’s visit in August 2011, David served as the Army Liaison to the Secretary of the Army and Sergeant Major of the Army.
Prior to being honorably discharged in March 2014 and awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and The Lt. Rowan Award, David fell in love with hacking and building from scratch while attending his first hackathon at AngelHack in New York City and founded Dover Coders to get together with other likeminded coders in/near the military base over coffee and laptops. Only two showed up, another defense federal contractor and David. In the months leading to David’s exit from the military he took online Ruby on Rails coursework at One Month Rails and installed ruby, rails and learned how to use the command line as a member of the Baltimore on Rails group, and once in Oregon, a proud RailsConf, Ruby on Ales, and Cascadia Ruby scholar, and Portland Ruby Brigade member, and an avid user of HackHands.
Before his 18-mo tour at Dover, David was co-founder & managing partner of Portland-based, BilingualHire, a bilingual staffing & executive search company co-founded with fellow OSU alumni Edith Quiroz and Rosa Olivares. Despite being told they were too young to be consultants, together they conducted bilingual executive searches and bilingual staffing in a time before LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter using nothing more than a trusty laptop, a deep rolodex, a legal notepad, passion, and a lot of heart. The co-founders launched the company in an 2-bedroom Beaverton apartment where they furnished it with second-hand Dania furniture, Dell computers running Windows that always froze, and literally went door-to-door landing clients from Oregon State University to Linfield College School of Nursing, and from State Farm to The Wallace Medical Concern all while permanently changing the lives of high potential bilingual talent statewide through interviews at Portland coffee shops and taquerias while putting a dent in the Oregon diversity talent pipeline market.
A staunch veterans advocate, David served a brief 6-month stint as the Committee Administrator of the House Committee on Veterans & Emergency Services during the 2009 legislative session. Prior to the legislature, David served an 18-month mobilization as the night shift Summary Court Martial Officer at the JPED at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland where he meticulously inventoried and returned the personal effects of hundreds of deceased and wounded service-members. In addition to his night shift duties, he took time to improve operational readiness and unit standards and ultimately was tasked by the command to update the organization’s SOPs, and co-authoring the Center for Army Lessons Learned JPED Handbook, a best practices and situational awareness guidebook for field commanders.
In his early 20s, David selflessly served Oregon as a governor-appointed Commissioner on the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs becoming the youngest to serve as commissioner and vice-chair logging thousands of miles throughout the state ensuring Mexican immigrants were heard loud and clear. As Commissioner, David organized and hosted forums on civil rights and healthcare disparities holding elected officials accountable to the Mexican/ immigrant community. Post-college David also served as a president-appointed member of the OSU President’s Board of Visitors for Diversity and Inclusion advocating for diverse faculty and staff, Oregon Community Foundation Latino Partnership Advisory Council on grant-making, a regular contributor on Univision KUNP-TV, and regular guest on Portland’s community radio KBOO 90.7FM on Radio Tonalli.
Earlier in his military career, David served as Aide-de-Camp to Army Major General Terrill Kay (T.K.) Moffett and Brigadier General Eldon Regua, first starting his officer career as a 2nd Lt. with the 1/414th Drill Sergeant Battalion at the Vancouver-based, 104th Division, and before that at Portland-based, 364th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne) where he began his enlisted career as a private first class in the Special Functions Team under the leadership of Lt. Col. John Lopey.
After 9/11, David enrolled in Army ROTC at OSU where he earned his bachelor of arts in political science and Officer Commission in Infantry. While an undergrad, David earned a distinguished international internship to study and train abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica at the Institute for Central American Studies (ICAS). At ICAS, David wrote for Mesoamerica, a Central American journal covering the social, political and cultural news of the region that was published widely and distributed to a variety of distinguished universities and national NGOs. While serving as ASOSU Multicultural Affairs Task Force David launched his campaign bid for student body president, an active ROTC cadet and Ranger Challenge team leader, a proud Sigma Nu, and co-led the effort to bring the National MEChA Conference to the Corvallis campus, first time to the pacific northwest. Just a year earlier and not even accepted to the university David led the strategic implementation of Oregon becoming it’s own MEChA region with a name in the Nahuatl language, that no one could pronounce.
The son of Mexican immigrants from Nayarit, Mexico, David was born in Hood River, Oregon where they lived in migrant camps, and was subsequently raised in the Skagit Valley in Mount Vernon, Washington at the Ted Erickson Campo Rojo (near LaConner). A product of migrant head start, David attended public elementary, middle school and high school where he dropped out in his sophomore year to work at LaConner Fish Company and in the fields. Ultimately, David re-enrolled at Mount Vernon High School and became a delegate to the National MEChA Conference at Michigan State, the National Youth Leadership Forum on Law & the Constitution, the Washington State Migrant Student Leadership Program, and Washington State Hispanic Youth Pre-Law Summit. After finishing high school a year and day late, David leveraged running start at Skagit Valley College only to find no MEChA chapter, David founded it, 5 months later led the chapter to nationals at UCLA, and 3 months later co-organized the Gente del Sol/People of the Sun Festival attracting over 3,000 community members, 125 lowriders, awarding 50 trophies and raising $10,000 in one day for student scholarships, and national coverage in Lowrider Magazine.