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Air Force veteran gives back through book aimed at changing lives

Joe Paranteau said the book will help veterans, and others, who need to learn to sell themselves and take military experiences with them.

TEMPLE, Texas — Editor's Note: The video above if from a story on Veteran's with PTSD in March 2021.

Joe Paranteau is an Air Force veteran who served in both the Cold War and the Gulf War and while he says it was a long time ago, it feels like yesterday.

"I'm still surprised when I think about how much time has gone by since then and it seems like yesterday," he said.

Paranteau said he comes from a long family lineage of those who have served in the military. He jokes about why he joined the service, citing excellent SAT scores but a dismal GPA and that colleges had no idea what to do with him. 

"When I joined it was honestly the best thing to happen to me because I didn't know what I wanted to do with myself," Paranteau admitted. "The military has a great way of figuring out where they need you. So, I said I would go in under open electronics area and they will slot me in somewhere."

He said they did just that and placed him in one of the toughest technical schools for over a year. He said he learned how to fix aircraft control radar, navigation systems and weather systems. He said one of his first duty assignments was in Germany during the Cold War when the wall was still up.

Paranteau said he didn't go to an Air Force base, instead he worked in tactical environments and got to travel all over in Germany and in the world helping manage the Army airfields.

"It was tremendously exciting and I had a blast because I wasn't in a traditional Air Force base environment which made it even more interesting because being in an Army community of First Armored Division in Germany, people didn't know what Air Force people did because there was a lot of saluting going on, a lot of question marks but I really got to learn a lot about the Army," Paranteau said. "I have tremendous respect for the different branches of service and a lot of life long friends that are still Army."

Paranteau is a proud Native American and said more Native Americans serve in the military than any other minority group. He said it's because they have a warrior culture and when you stop and think about how Native Americans were treated by the U.S. government but still sign up to fight for the freedoms of the very land they were forced to give up, he said he understands if some are confused as to why.

"It comes back to the warrior culture and the land, so the land here is what a lot of people have a connection to," Paranteau said. "The land is very important to us and it's worth fighting for and it's worth preserving."

Credit: Joe Paranteau

Today, Paranteau is an accomplished sales expert, selling more than $1 billion dollars in revenue in just five years. As a result, he wrote his first book, "Billion Dollar Sales Secrets," to help others develop their own success story.

"This book is for anyone who has ever had to sell, for non-sellers, for people who might be transitioning like veterans into the commercial business space and you need to sell yourself," he said.

Paranteau said the book will help veterans, and others, who need to learn to sell themselves and take military experiences with them. He said the book is for business owners, small business owners, consultants and for charities, too. He said a lot of people sell but do they, he said, sell effectively.

"The inspiration for the book was in my career, I had a chance to start a business inside my company at Microsoft, where over a five year period, I was able to sell a billion dollars. Now, that equates to $2.5 million dollars a day and it was a challenge, it was fun but it was after I did that, I had the confidence to do what people have told me my entire career, and that's to write a book," he said.

Paranteau said writing the book and giving others a roadmap to finding success, especially fellow veterans who are transitioning out of the military, is an extension of his military service. It's a continuation, of serving others for the greater good and he does it through the three main teaching points of the military: Honor, service and discipline. 

"All three of those things relate perfectly to selling," he said.

The reality of racial discrimination for Native Americans in Texas and throughout the business world is real, and Paranteau said the biggest thing he sees is that people don't think Native Americans are still around. Paranteau said, without realizing it, people appropriate the Native American culture all of the time, like dressing up at Halloween.

"You know, you can say it's benign and what's the harm in having a little girl dress up like Pocahontas but then I ask, do we dress up like Koreans or African Americans? People will tell me no, that's crazy," he said.

Paranteau said it is a very fine line because, as a whole, they want people to know they are still here and he wants people to acknowledge the culture. He said he also wants people to be aware and engage in conversations because that's what raises the awareness that Native Americans still exist all around us.

Paranteau said there are 6.6 million people who identify as Natives in this country and that more education is crucial, especially when it comes to the history of our great nation and to not do so would be shameful.

"We are all still on a path to discovery and some of the great things that, even in military history, the Cavalry has learned has come from time with Native American scouts," Paranteau said. "In our modern world, we tend to think that everyone has the same path, shopping at the same stores, watching the same movies, we're all just Americans. While that may seem the case, I think it's a mistake to think that we all started from the same place and being connected to our histories, all of our histories, is important."

Paranteau is a proud veteran and an even prouder Native American that has found his niche to help those around him become better people. His book is his gift to those he's never met, those he has and to the men and women who are looking for a better life, just like he was when he joined the Air Force so many years ago.

His purpose behind the book is to show everyone who reads it that they are meant for so much more than they ever imagined. Paranteau hopes those that read it take away the tangible skills that will help to elevate them to new heights.

"'Billion Dollar Sales Secrets' is very much a workbook and so as you go through each chapter, I challenge everyone to put into practice what you're learning," he said.

The world, Paranteau said, is ours for the taking and we all get one shot at this ride of life and he hopes everyone makes it worthwhile, that's what he hopes people walk away from the experience with him on the pages of his book.

"It's not just about you having a successful sales career, the thing that's amazing is you can have a successful career in whatever you do and make your ability to transact value with other parts of it and actually do something with it," he said. "Don't just squander your resources, make your communities better, give to others in need, help and be the change you want to see in the world."

If you would like to purchase a copy of Joe's book, you can do so here.

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