By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
The Vanquish Worldwide family of companies numbered three a little over two years ago. Today, Eric Barton says the count stands at 28.
To say that the Maryville-based enterprise has grown exponentially since its founding in 2007 would be an understatement. We sat down recently with the company’s Founder, a former Marine turned entrepreneur, to learn more about the Vanquish Worldwide portfolio that touches everything from global logistics to professional household management training.
“My drive in life was to impress my mother,” Barton told us. The Owner, President and Chief Executive Officer grew-up in Centralia, a community in Southern Illinois, with a mother who was the youngest of seven siblings.
“She was very loving to me,” he says, adding, “That’s where my inspiration and confidence came from.” It was clear that her influence had not waned when we interviewed the business executive in his recently acquired second Vanquish Worldwide office building near Foothills Mall.
Barton says he paid cash for the building, one indication of the success that he is now enjoying. The story, however, begins a little more than two decades earlier.
At age 17, Barton felt a need to leave his hometown. He joined the U.S. Marines and served for 11 years, rising from the enlisted ranks to become a commissioned officer. Almost immediately after arriving at Camp Pendleton, Barton says that he started pursuing his college degree.
“Education has been a big part of what I am,” he says, recalling a former Warrant Officer who “got me interested in books, leadership and success.” It is a calling that has driven him for years and one that is now a part of his portfolio of enterprises.
Barton told us that one of his early goals as a Marine was to complete his college education, at least on the same schedule as his former high school classmates. In fact, the driven Marine took as many as 26 semester hours in those early years in the service to earn his B.S. in Electronics Management from Southern Illinois University. And, as the laser focused person that he is, Barton finished college ahead of his high school classmates.
Later, Barton earned three Master’s degrees – one each in Business Administration concentration in Information Technology, Public Administration concentration in Knowledge Management, and Divinity. Today, he is working on his doctorate in Business Administration with a concentration in Leadership.
Along the way, Barton started a family and had three children. He did tours of duty in the Middle East and Africa, including serving two years under legendary Marine Four-Star General John Allen. During those years, Barton was honing his skills as an intelligence officer.
While attending the Army Chaplain School, the Bartons adopted two sons.
“Seven of us were living in a 900 sq. ft. apartment,” he said, explaining times were so tough that, in addition to serving as a Church Youth Director, the family also signed-up for Food Stamps.
Formal education, service as a Marine, and the inspiration he received from his mother provided the solid foundation that has allowed Barton to not only build a vibrant new business in Maryville, but also give back to the community in many ways.
NEXT: From the Marine Corps to the corporate world.