A drive to overcome life’s challenges and the desire to make an impact in the Austin community inspired couple Don Bice and Jennifer Ransom to start two home-focused businesses this year.

Originally from a small town in Northeast Texas, Ransom and Bice first met in high school before embarking on separate life paths. Bice joined the military and left for Germany, followed by Silicon Valley and the tech world; he also earned an MBA and worked in finance on Wall Street, while Ransom worked in state government and the nonprofit industry. Since they reunited nearly 20 years later, the couple has supported one another through life’s challenges, including Bice’s spinal cord injury, Ransom’s cancer diagnosis, the death of close family members, plus navigating through the pandemic.

“Don is determined, and we both have that ‘square peg in a round hole’ mentality,” Ransom said. “By any means necessary we’re going to power through it.”

After the last few years of personal and worldwide challenges, Ransom and Bice decided to go all in on their business goals: The couple started an emergency restoration services company, VetCor of Central Texas, this October and are launching Tailored Living, a home organization business, in mid-December. Bice and Ransom are actively hiring and looking for individuals to join both teams, including those interested in working for community-focused and mission-driven companies.

“All of these life changes in the last couple of years have given me the courage that I lacked before,” Bice said. “This is not scary. Cancer is scary, dying is scary. Running a business is cake after that.”

VetCor offers a range of services including water damage repair and cleanup, mold remediation, crime scene cleanup, deep cleaning and tree or debris removal. The company primarily employees U.S. veterans and was formed around the customs, values and norms of the U.S. Military.

“We look to bring in military folks or from law enforcement or fire departments who know how to react to a crisis,” Bice said. “I found VetCor to be, as a franchise, a perfect fit for what I enjoy doing to build a team to respond to these crises.”

Bice describes himself as a an “emergency services junkie” and thrives helping others. In addition to his time in the military, he is also a Major in the Texas State Guard and went full-time active duty working for the state, coordinating between the Texas Military Department and civilian agencies in the fight against COVID-19. This experience, combined with volunteer work across the world, spurred Bice to make it a full-time business when the opportunity with VetCor presented itself.

“Who better to respond to a crisis than the U.S. military,” he said. “We come in sharp, calm, prepared and trained to help. It might just be water damage in someone’s home, but to them it’s a big emergency.”

Ransom also pivoted mid-career; before the pandemic began, she was most recently doing strategic planning and consulting for nonprofits across the state. In 2020 she began going back to school for interior design and came across Tailored Living, which is focused on custom storage and home organization systems, with a focus on closets, garages, home offices, pantries and garage floors.

“I went from trying to solve unsolvable problems to getting to work with my hands and be creative and do things that make people happy,” Ransom said. “Serendipity just dropped Tailored Living into our laps, and it was the perfect entrée for me mid-career to get into a new industry.”

One thing that sets Tailored Living apart is the client service piece: It is all about bringing calm to chaos and giving people back their time, space and sanity by providing detailed, specific solutions.

“On the face of it that means building cabinets, but it’s really about connecting with clients and solving their problems in specific ways tailored to their needs,” Ransom said. “We approach clients with a consultative process. The business really sells itself and I think both of these companies do.”

What spoke to the couple about both VetCor and Tailored Living was the company culture, as finding a community-driven, mission driven company with a team mentality was critical, along with the ability to give back to the community.

“That’s difficult to translate as a city grows into a metropolis,” Ransom said. “It’s critical as the region grows that we keep the small-town feel, and that’s where we can leverage our businesses to make a greater impact.”

Both Bice and Ransom agree it is never too late to pursue one’s dreams, especially when pivoting mid-career, which has brought the couple even more joy and value in life.

“That’s why I really push people, because you don’t know how much time you have,” Bice said. “At the end of the day, there’s no reason you should stop yourself from chasing your dreams.”

For any of your home-focused needs, visit www.tailoredliving.com and https://vetcorservices.com/central-texas/.https://vetcorservices.com/central-texas/

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