FOUNDER & CEO OF 'THE PROGRAM' & USMC SPECIAL OPERATIONS OFFICER
TOPIC: LEADERSHIP & ATTACKING ADVERSITY
Eric Kapitulik was born and raised in Thompson, CT and attended Pomfret Preparatory School where he was a three-sport varsity athlete. Upon graduating, Eric attended the United States Naval Academy. While there, he was a 4-year varsity letter winner and played on three NCAA Division I Lacrosse Tournament teams. During his junior year, Eric received the Lt. JG Frank McKeone Award, given to the Navy player who most demonstrated spirit and sportsmanship and who served as the unsung hero. Eric was also named Navy’s Most Outstanding Defenseman his senior year at the Academy.
After graduation in 1995, Eric went on to serve in the United States Marine Corps as both an Infantry Officer and Special Operations Officer with 1st Force Reconnaissance Company, 1st Marine Division. As a Force Reconnaissance Platoon Commander, Eric led a team of 20 covert operations specialists on numerous Special Forces related missions, including long range reconnaissance patrols, hostage rescues, high altitude jump exercises, ship takeovers and gas-oil platform takedowns.
In 1999, during a routine training mission to prepare for an upcoming deployment to the Persian Gulf, Eric and his platoon were in a helicopter crash that resulted in the death of seven Marines. In response to this tragedy, Eric created the Force Reconnaissance Scholarship Fund to benefit the children of his fallen men.
Eric left active duty after eight years of service and received his MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business in 2005. In 2008, Eric founded The Program LLC, a team building and leadership development company for high school and collegiate student athletes and corporate teams.
Since 1999, Eric has been helping to raise funds and has done so through public speaking engagements covering “Leadership and Overcoming Adversity” and through participation in numerous Iron Man Triathlons and other ultra endurance races around the world.
Eric holds himself to high standards and always strives to do ONE MORE™. In addition to finishing 8 Iron Man triathlons, Eric has competed in numerous marathons, The Canadian Death Race Ultra Marathon, The Eco Challenge, The American Birkebeiner Ski Marathon, and was a competitor on The Outdoor Life Network’s “Global Extremes Challenge”. Eric is also an avid mountaineer and has summited five of the Seven Summits (the highest peaks on each of the seven continents): Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. Elbrus, and, most recently, Mt. Everest.