Wes O'Donnell

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Wes O'Donnell
William Wesley O’Donnell

August 26, 1977
Dallas, Texas
NationalityUnited States of America
EducationUniversity of North Texas Police Academy, American Military University
OccupationAuthor, filmmaker, speaker, professor
OrganizationWarrior Lodge
Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business

William Wesley O’Donnell (born August 26, 1977) is an American author, filmmaker, TED speaker, U.S. military veteran and veteran’s advocate. He is the author of three books and served in both the United States Army and the United States Air Force.

Early life and education

O’Donnell was born in Dallas, Texas, United States and attended Marcus High School where he participated in AFJROTC. After graduating in 1996, O’Donnell enlisted in the U.S. Army serving as an infantryman in Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division.[1]

O’Donnell separated from the U.S. Army with an honorable discharge in January of 2001 and attended the University of North Texas Police Academy. After graduation, O’Donnell became a peace officer with a certification through the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education.[2]

In November of 2003, O’Donnell enlisted in the United States Air Force as a surveillance radar journeyman where he achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant in the 552nd Maintenance Group and separated with an honorable discharge in November of 2007.[3]

While serving on active duty, O’Donnell participated in Operation Desert Thunder and Joint Interagency Task Force South. While serving, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in International Relations.[4] He also earned a Master’s in Business Administration from American Military University in 2011.


After separating from the military in 2007, O’Donnell joined the German multinational conglomerate company Siemens as a biomedical engineer. Leaving Siemens in 2011, O’Donnell started his own company in Dallas, Texas called MD-Advantages as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) that manufactured modular medical carts.[5] O’Donnell simultaneously started the eCommerce store Modern Workspace and used the drop-shipping model to earn income while building his primary business.[6]

After securing a provisional patent on his modular medical cart, O’Donnell sold his design for an undisclosed sum of money.[7]

In January of 2013, O’Donnell founded the veteran-focused media company Warrior Lodge and began giving speeches on his success in business.[7] In 2014, he would write his first book, Rise: The Veterans Field Manual for Starting Your Own Business to assist other veterans interested in becoming entrepreneurs.[8] In 2015, O'Donnell was quoted as saying "Entrepreneurship is like jumping out of an airplane and assembling your parachute on the way down."[9]

In 2014, O’Donnell moved from Texas to Michigan to teach as a professor of business analytics and marketing at Baker College in Muskegon, Michigan.[10] After moving to Michigan, O'Donnell wrote the book A Cowboy Without a Coat.[11][12][13][14]

As a speaker, O’Donnell has spoken at the U.S. Air Force Academy[15] alongside Simon Sinek, TEDx[16] and 28 corporate clients.[17]

O'Donnell's great uncle was the Hollywood distributor and philanthropist R.J. O’Donnell.[9] O'Donnell is currently working on a documentary called Cry Havoc that examines how the Vietnam Veterans became the face of an unpopular war.[18]

O’Donnell is currently a writer and columnist for InCyberDefense Magazine, Soldier of Fortune Magazine, War is Boring, OneZero, Gen and has been featured in Bustle and Fatherly.[19][20][21]

O'Donnell is married and has three children.


  • O'Donnell, Wes (2014-03-28). Rise: The Veteran's Field Manual for Starting Your Own Business and Conquering the Online Economy. WarriorLodge.com LLC. ISBN 9780996014304.
  • O'Donnell, Wes (2018-03-28). A Cowboy Without a Coat: How a Texas Exile Learned to Love Michigan. WarriorLodge.com LLC. ISBN 9780996014366.
  • O'Donnell, Wes (2020). Own the Crowd: From TED Talks, To Weddings, To Job Interviews. ISBN 9780996014380.

Military Awards and Decorations

  • Army Achievement Medal[1][3]
  • Army Good Conduct Medal
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
  • Army Service Ribbon
  • Expert Badge - M-16 Rifle
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • Distinguished Graduate - Airman Leadership School
  • Air Force Outstanding Unit Award



  1. 1.0 1.1 Perez, Bianca (January 20, 2001). "U.S. Army DD214" (PDF). Retrieved October 31, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. Crawford, Kevin. "UNT Police Academy". Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. Retrieved October 31, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Weisbecker, Mike (November 17, 2007). "U.S. Air Force DD214" (PDF). Retrieved October 31, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. "Class of 2008" (PDF). American Military University. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 7, 2011. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  5. Crane, Joseph (February 18, 2015). "Veteran on the Move, Episode 42". Veteran on the Move. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  6. Walls, Pat (August 24, 2018). "Growing An Online Furniture Shop To $13k/mo Post-Military". Starter Story. Retrieved October 31, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Braatz, Adam (October 14, 2019). "Vet Pivot Episode 5". Vet Pivot. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  8. Garrison, Dan (September 13, 2018). "The Garrison Project". iHeart Radio. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "IMDb". Internet Movie Database. October 31, 2019. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  10. "Rate My Professors". Rate My Professors. January 12, 2016. Retrieved October 31, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. O'Riley, Andy (April 5, 2018). "Meet Muskegon Author Wes O'Donnell". Positively Muskegon. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  12. Johansen, Bill (April 15, 2018). "Rotarian Publishes Book". Rotary in Motion. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  13. Szatkowki, Annie (July 6, 2016). "Interview with Professor Wes O'Donnell". Fox News 17. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  14. Pritchard, Denise (October 7, 2016). "Interview with Wes O'Donnell". ABC News WZZM. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  15. "2016 National Character and Leadership Symposium USAFA" (PDF). 2016 Program. February 26, 2016. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  16. "TEDx Data Visualization Can Save the World". TEDx YouTube Channel. December 10, 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. "E-Speakers". Marketplace by E-Speakers. October 15, 2019. Retrieved October 31, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. Perez-Martinez, Bianca (July 25, 2019). "Meet the Military Veteran Filmmaker Who Wants to Change the Way Hollywood Makes Movies". Medium. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  19. Perez, Bianca (September 15, 2019). "Muck Rack Verified Journalists". Muck Rack. Retrieved October 31, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. McNamara, Mike (October 12, 2017). "Wes O'Donnell: The Real Reason the US Navy Keeps Hitting Merchant Vessels". All Marine Radio. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  21. "The Coming Iran War (that could have been avoided) – Wes O'Donnell". US Politics. September 17, 2019. Retrieved November 3, 2019.