By Martie Thompson
Briant Becote is a busy man. In addition to being a husband and father, he is a naval aviator and small business owner. Originally from Rhode Island, he wanted to be a sound engineer, but he attended the University of Rhode Island to be near a girlfriend at the time. He ended up without the girlfriend but with master’s degrees in organizational psychology and computer science — since the school did not offer a degree in sound engineering.
He joined the U.S. Navy and spent five years in San Diego, before being sent on a three year tour to Japan. In 2010, while in Japan, he had the honor of being selected to be a naval aviator and in fact is currently serving a seven month deployment to Japan.
Becote has been married to wife Erin for 14 years and they have two daughters, Brooklyn, age seven and Cadence, age six. They are holding down the fort here at home while Briant Becote serves our country.
- How did you come to live in St. Johns County?
As a naval aviator I’ve lived all over, eventually ending up at NAS Jax. We purchased our home in St. Johns four years ago after also considering Eagle Landing in Clay County. We were attracted to St. Johns County, like so many other people, because of the incredible school district.
- What do you most like about living in this area?
I really like my immediate neighbors. We are all good friends and enjoy hanging out together. Also, we like the proximity to St. Augustine; we enjoy going there a lot. Plus we are pretty close to my work at NAS Jax.
- You are a small business owner. What can you tell us about your business?
I have owned Strategic Passions Learning Academy, a development center for middle and high school students located in Mandarin, for the past year. We offer supplemental and enrichment education as well as college test prep and career consulting. My wife Erin is the academic director and we also have a team of academic coaches.
- Do you volunteer with any local or national organizations?
Since opening Strategic Passions, I have had to cut back in this area a bit, but for the previous couple of years, I was the regional fundraising manager for Girl Scouts Gateway Council for St. Johns and Flagler counties. This covered 120 troops and I oversaw $1 million in fundraising, including the Girl Scout cookies. I found the demand for the cookies to be phenomenal. I’ve never seen a fundraiser where people will go out of their way to buy an item like they do Girl Scout cookies. I also have been a part of the disaster action team for the American Red Cross. I started in San Diego, continued in Japan and now here. If there is a local emergency like a house fire, the disaster action team responds to comfort the family and provide immediate assistance, such as arranging for temporary housing in a hotel.
- If you could eat just one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I’d have to say pizza, as long as I could have different toppings. That would keep it fresh.
Photo courtesy Briant Becote