In 1995, 25-year-old Ihechiluru Ekeke moved from Nigeria to New York to pursue the American dream. Two years later, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He expected to serve only a few years, but what he did not anticipate was falling in love with the military.
Ekeke went on to attend Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a field artillery officer. He had several tours overseas, serving in Iraq, Kuwait and Korea. He also taught military science to Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) students at the University of Texas at Arlington. His job as a ROTC instructor brought him to settle down in Northern Texas with his wife, Ogechi, whom he met in Nigeria in 2002, and his four kids. In 2017, Ekeke retired in order to spend more time with his family. He finished his military career as a captain with 20 years of service.
Following retirement, he went through the executive MBA program at Texas Christian University, where he graduated in Spring 2019. Ekeke knew he did not want to enter the corporate world, so he began the process of starting a business in August 2019. By February 2020, he purchased and opened a franchise professional home repair and improvement company. Although he was not a handyman by trade, he was drawn to the company’s core values, and its focus on helping people.
Since starting his business, Ekeke has actively looked for ways to support others in need. The company has a day of service in which franchise owners donate construction materials and their own time to benefit their communities through home improvement projects. Because of his military background, Ekeke plans on using the day of service to help fellow Veterans in need of home repair services with the help of local organizations.
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Writer: Aubrey Hutson/Joanna Hwang