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Nathan Cox is blessed and he knows it. He says he has been given much and he doesn’t take this for granted. He quotes Luke 12:48: “to whom much is given, much will be required.” This simple statement closely meshes with 68 Ventures’ purpose statement: “to see all we can do with all we’ve been given.”
When Cox was younger, he wanted to be in law enforcement or the FBI, but the military came calling.
“I always had a strong passion to serve my country in the military and growing up I always knew at some junction I would go that route,” said Cox. “I wanted to play football for The University of Alabama, like my father did, and I had the opportunity to do that. I always knew I would circle back to the military and serving my country in some fashion and 9/11 sped that up.”
That’s when Cox says he joined the Marines and fought in Iraq as a Rifle Platoon Commander, and was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal with combat “V” for Valor in recognition of his actions while in combat. Upon his return home after an injury and multiple surgeries, his father, who was in the real estate development business, had accumulated land and holdings and he turned over all his investments to Cox and left it to him to turn it into something worthwhile.
“My father was extremely successful but the day he retired there wasn’t a business to take over or to come back to,” said Cox. “He told me, ‘you’ve got an education and a good reputation of telling the truth and doing the right thing, so don’t mess it up;’ and that was an amazing gift to be given. His mentorship and investment have been invaluable to me.”
Having grown up around the real estate business, Cox said it was natural he would pick up that mantel and make something of his father’s gift.” Today, he has 17 successful companies, mostly related to the real estate and land development industries.
“I started right at the end of the heyday of real estate and the world started unraveling but I was still involved in it and saw the potential of what the business would be like for me,” said Cox. “I am also fortunate to be in a vibrant and growing area that created a lot of opportunities for people in my field.”
Cox says his time in the military was so impactful that it helped shape him into the businessman he is today, and it taught him many life lessons. He says it gave him the confidence to overcome challenges and the relationships have lasted to this day.
“Being a leader, I put the needs of others in front of my own,” said Cox. “There’s an expression – leaders eat last. In the military, at least in the Marines, the lowest ranked person eats first and I feel like that’s how the world should work. I have a responsibility to serve you, not be the boss and you serve me. That was a big lesson for me to learn.”
To give back to the military community, Cox worked with several investors to create the Fallen Heroes Memorial at the Battleship Memorial Park to pay tribute to all the Alabamians who have given their lives in service since 9/11.
“The project took a long time to complete but we were able to raise the money and had generous sponsors and it was so cool to be able to honor the people from our state,” said Cox.
A holding company with 17 operating businesses, Cox describes 68 Ventures as an entrepreneurial-based platform with the vision to bet on the right people and give them the resources they need to be successful.
Cox says the company’s portfolio circles back to real estate and development, but there is room for more opportunities to diversify and build relationships with others that have the expertise to build businesses in different industries.
“We at 68 Ventures are most inspired by the things that have the most impact on the community and things that make the quality of life better,” said Cox.
Looking to the future, Cox says he wants to help people and his community in more ways, not only helping businesses grow but also looking to develop future entrepreneurs and investing in local schools. His most recent accomplishment was offering Bayside Academy land to expand the school.
“We have a great relationship with the Baldwin County Board of Education and we’ve been able to donate several school sites for them – by the end of the year, it will be five sites; including one for Baldwin County and one for Bayside,” said Cox. “That only happens because we have wonderful philanthropic partners that are affiliates with the things we are doing.”
One such investment Cox has made is in Baldwin Prep Academy. “It’s a huge game changer for our community,” said Cox. “They are educating kids to come out of high school with a diverse training program for all industries, including construction, welding but also cosmetology, and create a wonderful platform for about 800 kids to enter the workforce every year. I am extremely excited by that prospect.”
When asked about his business’ name, he got excited to tell the story of hockey player Jaromír Jágr, who wore the number 68 to remind him of his grandfather (who was killed the 1968 Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia) and of the reason he played the game – to honor his family and persevere when times get hard. Cox says his 68 is being reminded of the people who came before him and who helped get him to where he is. He says it’s a tribute to them and a reminder that he is here for a reason.
By giving back to the community in as many ways as possible, Cox hopes this will make the area an even better place to live and where residents will want to stay.
“My dad always said, ‘you help because you can, you don’t help for recognition,’” said Cox. “We help because we’ve been put in a position to do it.”
Click here to read the Business View – November 2022
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