Episode 83: Kevin Cortes, Phil Kendro, and Chris Soriano

Kevin Cortes and Phil Kendro - Marine Corps Veteran's Birthday Ball

Phil Kendro and Kevin Cortes.jpg

Phil Kendro and Kevin Cortes, both retired US Marine veterans and previous guests of Rise Up Radio sit down with Rise Up host, Jared Kelley to discuss the upcoming Marine Corps Veterans Birthday Ball and the Veterans Beer Club. Kendro was a flight instructor during his military service and currently flies for San Diego Sky Tours. Cortes is on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Veterans Coalition. The men talk about how difficult the transition process can and often is for military service members retiring from the military and going back into civilian life. It was that experience that led both Cortes and Kendro to want to do something to help out other service members in San Diego. Kendro explained, “We’re transition Marines, and we’re very fortunate that this guy across from me, Kevin, had a brainstorm probably about a year and half ago and said we really need to reach out to the community and come up with an idea.” There are 2500 veteran related nonprofits in San Diego and Cortes explained, “When we were transitioning we didn’t have anyone in the civilian SD community that was giving us a hand up. We had to navigate all that San Diego had to offer with respect to veteran resources. We had to go on our own and figure it out.” That led them to create the Veteran’s Beer Club. Cortes added that they’re not promoting beer drinking, “we just called it something that has an attractive name and we’re here to promote networking. “ The US Marine Corps will be celebrating its 242nd birthday November 10th, but often according to Cortes and Kendro, although former commanding officers get invites to go, what happens is a lot of folks once they depart military service aren’t getting the invites. Going to a ball as a retiree isn’t always a good fit. “So there is kind of an identity loss there, “Cortes said, adding, “I think the key factor in that is never forgetting. That’s a resonating theme throughout our service. Never forget where you came from, being a Marine is something that is part of our DNA. And being a Marine is something we need celebrate and we can never forget, it doesn’t stop when you get out of uniform.” Kendro explained the concept of having a veteran’s ball was born. The Ball is also a benefit with money going to the Marine Corps Scholarship Program, Toys for Tots and the San Diego Veterans Coalition. All veterans are invited, not just Marines.


Chris Soriano - Clever Talks

Featured Guest Chris Soriano.jpg

Chris Soriano, CEO and Executive Board Member of Clever Talks joined Rise Up Radio host, Jared Kelley to talk about rallying people in San Diego around the veterans and to discuss Clever Talks upcoming Tactical Fest which will benefit the Navy SEAL Foundation. Clever Talks holds events with inspiring speakers who are viral stars and different YouTube celebrities, and well known successful businessmen and entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban. Soriano told Kelley that he wanted to inspire a lot of people through using ideas. They put on a conference that included some YouTube celebrity and viral stars as speakers, and from there began getting a lot of people approaching him telling him how the conference had really changed their lives. He and his team also began to realize a majority of their audiences were military. “From there we said, let’s go all in and figure out why these military troops are coming to the events, why do they want to get inspired and what are they searching for”. He added that things just pivoted from there. When asked why he does this, he said, “My heart string that was tugged constantly was really ideas. An idea is a thought or suggestion to a possible course of action. When you have an idea that is where your life changes.” He went on to say, “I want to dedicate my life finding some of these best coolest ideas. I wanted to create this unique platform where people can share their ideas and make them a reality.” Soriano unpacked the what and the why of the upcoming Tactical Fest. The event will include several great tactical companies, like 5.11 Tactical and some great defense companies. He also told Kelley there will be a night-vision escape submarine that the community can board. He explained that they have been able to partner with the Maritime Museum who is letting them use their B-39 Submarine so that the community can wear night-vision goggles and experience what it’s actually like to “get in there and navigate like you’re on a Special Forces team.” The National Guard will be there and there will be food trucks, lots of demonstrations, a beer truck and more. Soriano also shares how he got Mark Cuban to speak and their event this past January. 



1. The University Club is hosting the San Diego Marine Corps Veterans Birthday Ball Celebration on Saturday, November 18th. They are inviting ALL San Diego Veterans to celebrate the Marine Corps Birthday. Head over to their website to get more details and purchase tickets. Any questions can be directed to usmcveteransball@gmail.com and vbcsandiego@gmail.com

2. Clever Talks is hosting Tactical Fest on Saturday, September 9th 11am - 5pm at Waterfront Park San Diego. It will be an unforgettable experience. Mark your calendars and head over to their website to get all the details. You can also contact Chris directly at Chris@CleverTalks.com