Stay sassy, classy and a little badassy — Unknown — This isn’t really a quote but more of a mindset. We waste our time rehashing things over and over again. Don’t dwell on past mistakes… focus on manifesting joy especially if someone is trying to pull you down.
As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tami Fitzpatrick.
Tami Fitzpatrick is founder and CEO of Entropy Technology Design. Entropy is a Florida certified Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) startup and government contractor that developed the NIMBUS™ threat detection technology. Their smart sensors and software platform create new and untapped data fields to provide advance warning and protection against severe weather, lightning and pre-tornado conditions as well as manmade threats such as invasive drones, infrastructure mapping, and other security and public safety threats.
Ms. Fitzpatrick’s professional background includes 25 years’ experience in small corporate management, international trade, advanced technology development, product conceptualization, global sales and marketing. She has served on state and local Advisory Boards and been featured in local and national media as a leader to watch.
Her background story is so intense, fascinating and astonishing that you’ll surely wonder if you’re reading a movie script. She moved to Beirut and ended up leaving the country and her marriage under dramatic circumstances. It was upon her return home to the United States that she started her company. But her life mission is more than just saving lives — it’s a movement to change the world and how we help one another.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I had just evacuated in the back of a military helicopter with my three children with only one suitcase each. As an ex-pat I had been living in Lebanon since 1991 and working at the US Embassy in Beirut for the past several years. I was also coming out of a traumatic and heartbreaking marriage. It was 2006 and Israel and Hezbollah had gone to war. After helping to support the evacuation efforts of the thousands of US citizens in Lebanon, which is a story in and of itself, I asked the Ambassador if I could be on the last chopper out. He granted my request and after what felt like an eternity, I found myself back home. I experienced almost the same amount of culture shock coming back as I did 15 years earlier after leaving my career, family, and life for love. A princess-like life had been promised…but not delivered. That’s another story (upcoming book) filled with love, deception, isolation, trauma, facades and rebirth.
Once back home I had less than two weeks to find a home, furniture, car and clothing and to get my children in school. Next, I filed for divorce and with no child support or alimony I set out to make a life for my children and I. It was around that time that I met a talented physicist and inventor of a handheld lightning detector. He offered me a job in sales. Not a course I anticipated, but it felt right. This turned into the founding of a new business and myself taking on the role of CEO and learning every factor of the business from the ground up. Domestic and international sales (to over 22 countries) reached $3 Million and opportunities to expand the technology into other applications were developed but my creditor didn’t agree with our vision or the opportunity we had built, so we were starved out. After a year of devastating hardship, I made the decision to get back in to the ring, but to develop completely new technology capable of reading Mother Nature’s mind when she has an attitude. This time, however, with a team of expert engineers who could support the vision and mission I had in mind. Today, we’re working with the Pentagon and DoD to continue with the research and development of our VLF (Very Low Frequency) magnetic field sensors, software and hardware under the brand name of Nimbus Vision.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
We are a team of physicists, engineers, and programmers doing something no one has done before…literally. We’re focused on low frequency magnetic fields and the detection of threats (both natural and man-made). The seed was planted over thirty years ago when my Chief Technology Officer, Edward Shaver read about a little boy who was struck and killed by lightning while playing second base during a little league game. The story read “Act of God…nothing could have been done to prevent this death.” He knew there COULD be something done, and this sparked the invention of the first commercial handheld lightning detector. His goal was to give early warning with a device that was simple enough, even a child could use. Fast forward to today and we are on our fourth generation of technology innovation but with SO MUCH MORE to offer! We’re developing new ways to detect and track storms, lightning, pre-tornadic conditions. We’ve adapted our proprietary technology for infrastructure mapping and the detection of man-made threats such as malicious spy and attack drones. All of our technology innovations are focused on the goal of increasing personal safety and productivity while decreasing liability. The world can be made better with a vision that applies new technology in new ways.
We’re focused on safety and disrupting the way man-made and nature’s severe weather threats have historically been offered by introducing a new layer and frequency of detection. Technology and climate change threaten our world today — our personal data, our lives, we’re creating passive sensors that will sense the threats coming — threats of malicious attack or spy drones with spy cameras and bombs, from protecting you in your own backyard to public events and our warfighters. Our sensors provide an invisible layer or frequency of protection for the greater good. Final phase will halt the threat with our non-kinetic, non-lethal disablement technology.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Funniest mistakes? Probably not laughing at my own mistakes enough! Thinking I had to be perfect, strong, and in charge! Thinking I had to play by everyone else’s rules. I’ve been an entrepreneur all of my life. Starting with small modeling projects, radio and television work, my own advertising agency and a leap to a third world country at the peak of my young career! I think the best answer here is to look at ALL of your mistakes, learn from them and then laugh! They were necessary. Move on! Plus — Always, always, always act with integrity, honesty and competent determination and you will succeed.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
Yes, and oddly the person who has helped me the most is a woman I met while on a panel speaking about bootstrapping our businesses. She held nothing back and spoke about overcoming bankruptcy, bullies, and incredible hardships. I was so impressed with her raw honesty and inspired by her strength. We became friends and her advice has always been priceless. That said, I haven’t always had as many mentors as I wanted and that would be my advice to young entrepreneurs. As women I think we try to be all things. Be strong. Be brilliant. By all means be that…but don’t be too proud to ask for help and support.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
Moving away from tradition and creating a new normal is a natural part of our evolution. To me a “not so positive“ disruptor occurs when greed and technocapitalism manipulate the system and turn a healthy concept in to one that harms or excludes the benefit to ALL. Healthy disruption is good. That doesn’t mean it comes without growing pains. Some things need to change but I would hope they can without losing the memory of or historical knowledge of what got you there in the first place. How about being a disruptive Woman? Women are more adaptive, open and nurturing and would understand this on a level closer to their hearts. Change is inevitable. Maintaining integrity and honoring what came before should be honored. Embracing change is necessary. I see disruptive change as I do the honoring of our elders. Whether the elder is an individual or an old piece of technology…both were disruptive and brilliant at one point. Disruption can be exciting and good. Our tech is an example of that.
It’s also hard to explain something disruptive since it represents shifting what we’re accustomed to with something unknown. Scary to most. No one really likes change until they get comfortable with it. They reject it and say it isn’t possible. Many great ideas get tossed into the delete folder because of that. You have to stay on it and remain determined — which is what my company did. Example: When we demonstrated our ability to detect activity on a frequency no one has been able to even see/hear before and prove what we were hearing, we launched a domino effect of interest. You just need the right, receptive audience. Especially when you’re on the inside of the development of something, as we have been for many years, you know it, you live and breath it. Your level of confidence is matter of fact so that when someone challenges it and is a naysayer…well the gratification of seeing their face as you prove your theory is sweet.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
- “The rewards for working through obstacles define who we are and make the success of our persistence even sweeter”. — Tami Fitzpatrick (I wrote this after overcoming great obstacles and realizing that it’s all well worth it. Don’t give up on your dreams.)
- Stay sassy, classy and a little badassy — Unknown — This isn’t really a quote but more of a mindset. We waste our time rehashing things over and over again. Don’t dwell on past mistakes… focus on manifesting joy especially if someone is trying to pull you down. Don’t give unpleasantries permission — simply refuse to let them in your thoughts and actions. Have compassion and set clear boundaries. This is a way to love yourself more. As I’ve said before, maintain self-awareness and self-respect.
- Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are. Stay in touch with what is happening, but trust those who you have given the responsibility to. Select well and with thought. It takes a village…it takes a woman.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next.
There is a glaring gap in the ability to reliability validate the biofield. Our grasp and understanding of the fundamental laws of quantum electrodynamics and quantum mechanics have put the two pieces of this mystery in separate hands. Because of its relevance to health and wellbeing, the human biofield is the topic of increasing research efforts.
While a significant amount of research has been devoted to understanding the efficacy of healing or manipulating the biofield to improve health, the significant and glaring gap in these efforts has been the absence of a technology to validly and reliably measure the biofield itself. At the right time I plan to focus on a developing a new technology to, in very simple terms, detect how our thoughts effect our health. Our theory and initial approach will be to develop a technology capable of detecting and mapping the human biofield. This will ultimately produce new, actionable data on the real-time function and pattern of the biofield and its relationship to activity of the nervous system. You can learn more at https://www.accelerated-consciousness.com
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
Level playing field. Unless the entrepreneur is capable of self-funding their disruptive idea, they will need outside funding support. This means Angel, PE or VC. The biggest challenge my company faced early on was explaining this disruptive concept. When you’re at the sketch phase of a new disruptive idea, it often means it’s a complete unknown and you’re swimming upstream against well-established products. “If it isn’t broken, why fix it?” is the typical mindset of most so in my opinion, and experience, you have to work twice as hard, know your market, problem/solution, funding needs and projections to the nth degree to prove your theory. Now once you’re able to provide functioning prototypes or betas, then the pitch may get a little easier. Now take that and couple it with the fact that women-led startups received just 2.3% VC funding in 2020 and you have a new challenge. Harvard Business Review reported that the pandemic had a disproportionately adverse impact on women’s careers. Some speculate that the pandemic made investors more wary of risk and more likely to stay with the “boys’ club which made it tougher for women to beak in. After all, only 12% of decision makers at VC firms are women and most firms still don’t have a single female partner, according to an analysis last year. The lack of gender equality in funding startups leads to further problems. It affects the overall jobs picture for women exponentially. It also likely to slow the recovery and efforts to tackle inequality.
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
I’m part of a group called The KNOW Women lead by Sarah Benken. This powerhouse international group features and promotes fellow members with tons of podcasts and webinars.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I’ve dogged bombs in Beirut, evacuated my family in the back of a military chopper with nothing more than one suitcase of belongings, I’ve dealt with bullies in the boardroom and dishonest men who claimed they were there to “help and support me” when all they wanted was to traumatize, polarize and then kick me out of the back of the bus. I’ve LEARNED how to see them coming and how to handle them. If you allow them to walk over you, of course they will. When that happens, that’s on You. Trust your gut. Listen to your inner wisdom. I can’t tell you how many times I have looked into someone eyes and sensed a darkness. For years I ignored it or brushed it off. Then I realized that those subtle back of the neck hair crawls were spot on. Every. Single. Time. I’ve been a leader all my life. Not the smartest one when I started out and that’s okay. But mistakes are great when you learn from them. I’ve lost everything, sold belongings, furniture and my car to keep food on the table and a home overhead for my children. I’ve gone through hell, but that hell made me appreciate everything I had once I stood up and charged forward again. Don’t give up your dream. Don’t let any man or women tell you what you feel in your heart isn’t your true destiny and desire. Work smart. Work from a place of love. Connect with whatever source gives you inspiration and power and be bold.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“No matter where you go…there you are.” My decisions have taken me to other countries, dismal situations and deep hardship. But no matter where you go, there You are….your mind is ultimately in charge. You can overcome even the darkest hour. When trouble comes…shift your focus on something positive and allow it to pull you forward. Stop dwelling on the negative or the past. It is over. Focus forward and stay calm. You’ve got this. Don’t get trapped by “living in your head”. According to the National Science Foundation, an average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive thoughts. Think about that ;) If you have been working on bringing your dream to life but find it hard to sustain a sense of joy, vitality or pleasure then you may want to lovingly, but firmly guide yourself away from those negative, repetitive thoughts living in your head.
How can our readers follow you online?
My social media and website links are:
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!