Veteran Spotlight: John Hensley
For many of our service men and women, finding a career path after serving our country can be difficult. Some veterans are not only finding a career path, but also an opportunity to become an entrepreneur through the sport of pool. That’s right, 8-ball, bank shot, corner pocket – pool!
The American Poolplayers Association (APA) is the world’s largest pool league with nearly 250,000 poolplaying members competing weekly in amateur leagues across the globe. Similar to golf or bowling leagues, APA Leagues utilize a scoring system that allows players of any skill to compete and win.
Thousands of our country’s service men and women have competed in APA (also known as CPA in Canada and JPA in Japan). But, several have taken their passion for the sport, and more importantly their passion for becoming a business owner, to the next level by becoming an APA franchise owner.
John Hensley joined the U.S. Navy in 2003 and spent 12.5 years on active duty. At 23 years old, he was already older than most people when he enlisted. John needed a career, benefits, and a plan.
He signed up as a Hospital Corpsman and was stationed in Bremerton, Wash. After working in the Emergency Department for three years, John was transferred to San Diego, Calif., onboard the USHS Mercy TAH-19. He deployed within a week and did two humanitarian deployments while stationed in San Diego. John left as the department’s leading petty officer. From there he transferred to the Naval School of Health Sciences and obtained his radiology tech certificates. John spent four more years at Balboa Naval Hospital working in the Radiology Department before transferring to the USS San Diego LPD-22. He was the sole radiology staff member and did several short missions, and one very long deployment. He ended his career as an E5/HM2.
Now a father, John knew he needed to be home more, so he decided it was time to move on to life after the Navy. Because he had a plan, the decision for John was an easy one.
He had been playing in the APA League in San Diego on and off between deployments for years, and as he learned more about the organization, he decided he wanted to become an APA franchisee, more commonly referred to as a League Operator.
APA League Operators promote, grow and manage APA Pool Leagues.
John felt that it was a good fit for him and his family based on APA’s nearly 40 years of success at franchising their pool leagues, and his desire to own his own business.
His military service prepared him well for working with people from all walks of life that participate in APA Leagues.
John relocated with his family to Kansas City to run the APA League in Jackson County, Mo. Other veterans-turned-APA-franchise-owners that have gotten into the business opt to stay closer to home. Although APA has been recognized by Entrepreneur magazine, Franchise Business Review and many other franchising publications as a top franchise option, there are still several non-franchised APA territories across the country and the globe.
John’s advice to exiting service men and women considering becoming an APA franchisee is to prepare yourself well.
“Do the research. Call other APA franchise owners or talk to the one in your area. APA encourages you to talk to them about their experience as a League Operator. You’ll be given all the tools to be successful,” said Hensley.
He’s also found a lot of parallels between being a League Operator and being in the military.
“When you become a League Operator, you need to be able to focus on your success just like you would in the military. You have a lot of people looking up to you for advice, rulings, fairness, and to provide a great competitive environment. Most of these things you’ve been doing for years on active duty, so a lot of it will come naturally,” he added.
Veterans can also take advantage of APA’s VetFran program that offers our former servicemen and women a considerable discount on their franchise fees.
If you’re interested in learning more about becoming an APA League Operator, fill out this form.