Veteran Entrepreneur: Jim Letzring, Owner, Blitzkrieg Blasting

Written by: Brady Drake

Jim Letzring started in the North Dakota National Guard in August of 1986. In 1990, Letzring graduated from Jamestown College and moved to Gillette, Wyoming where he worked in the oilfield and coal mines. He married in 1991 and had a daughter named Kyndra that same year. He would later get divorced. In 1999 he went on to Officer Cadet School and was commissioned in 2000. In July of 2013, he remarried to Shawnda and retired from the Guard that same year. He moved back to North Dakota in 2015 and started Blitzkrieg Blasting, LLC in 2020 which does mobile dustless sandblasting, surface preparation and rust and paint removal.

“I was looking for something different from the 30 plus years of land surveying,” said Letzring.

What was your first job once you finished your service?

Land Surveying

What led you to military service?

I wanted to learn construction equipment and mechanic sills. I also wanted it to help pay for school.

Did you take advantage of military benefits when starting your business?

Not right away but, I have since been certified as a SDVOSB (Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business).

What skill that you learned in your military service do you use most in your business career?

I think the ability to plan has been instrumental in my success.

Would you have been able to start a business without your military experience? Why or why not?

Probably not because I wouldn’t have had the self-confidence and drive to at least give it a try.

What words of encouragement do you have for a fellow veteran nervous about taking the plunge into entrepreneurship – or maybe a veteran who started a business and is struggling?

If you want to start a business, just go for it and give it a try. You’ll never know how it would turn out if you don’t do it. If you can, start out on the side, if possible, while working a regular job. This is what I currently do.

Many veterans struggle with finding a sense of purpose when reintegrating into the civilian world. How can getting involved in the business community help with that reintegration process?

Being able to run your own business gives you a personal sense of accomplishment. My business is slow right now but when I do get a blasting job done and the metal is there all clean and ready for whatever coating, I feel good.

What are some things you would’ve done differently with your business career if given a second chance?

I would have started sooner by looking for a used system like I did a year

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.